Gun Buying Panic On The Horizon? Ruger and S&W Stock Price Both at 52 Weeks Highs [POLL]

Disclaimer: This post is not about politics, it is about how the election cycle is going to effect the gun industry, and consumers, over the next 12 months.

Yesterday, both the Smith & Wesson (SWHC, 2yr chart above) and Ruger (RGR, 2yr chart below) shares were at 52 weeks highs. Just a few months ago firearm component suppliers were still telling me that sales were very slow (and so presumably the firearms these components were used in).

It is my hope the investor confidence in SWHC and RGR reflect that they anticipate solid, sustainable growth…. but I suspect it is that investors are anticipating a gun buying panic and so are investing early.

The third major listed firearm manufacturer, Vista Outdoor Inc. (VSTO, maker of Savage, CCI, Federal, Bushnell) was spun off earlier this year from ATI and so we don’t have any history to compare its performance with.


Smith & Wesson is now trading higher than it has been in the past five years. It was, in fact, only slightly higher ($21.38) in October 2008, just before Obama’s election the following month (and so at the height of the 2008/09 gun buying panic).

What do you think? Is the industry recovering from recent poor sales since the last panic, or will gun stores be empty this time next year? Sound off in the poll below …



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Maybe the summer sales bonanza has something to do with this. The NICS report showing August being one of the biggest gun buying months ever is something that might be fueling the stock buying frenzy before the release of Q3 financials.

    • M

      Well, August is before hunting season so I wouldn’t be surprised

    • I hope so … but consumers in this industry … need i say more

      • Well, the only ones worse than us at panic buying are the snakes on Wall Street.

  • Matt

    NICS are always up in the summer and leading into fall hunting season. Couple that with a possible democratic re-election and that is a recipe for high growth and sales.

    • Bruce

      Given the front runners, it looks like a bad election year for gun rights. The Donkey ticket and the Elephant ticket are both filled with people that couldn’t care less about rights. They just care about how they are going to spend money.

  • Shayne

    I think it is more related to Holiday spending, Firearms as gifts for the spouse and children is cool again. My son is wanting an AK, daughter is looking for a AR in black and purple, ‘Tis the season.

  • Tim U

    I think there will be a panic again around November 2016. I see no sign the GOP can be resuscitated with how hellbent on committing suicide they are. And then there will be massive panic in the gun world, again.

    My plan is to be completely done with my purchases (ammunition or reloading components excluded) before the panic so I can sit back and avoid the chaos. Or, as a home ffl, I can be an evil capitalist and make some money. I haven’t decided yet.

  • Bear The Grizzly

    We all know it is going to happen…again. The hardest part is knowing it is coming and not having the money to actually participate.

    • Eventually, guns will come back on stock at discount prices … you just need to hold out for 18+ months.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    Each subsequent panic is less and less terrible lately. We’ve had plenty of them in the last several years and now it seems like everyone is catching on and it’s not getting quite as out of hand. High public support for firearms seems to be helping as well.

  • Andrew Hobby

    Excellent news! its the perfect time to sell some guns 🙂

  • Rock or Something

    As long as that ammo keeps coming.

  • Don Ward

    Welp. Better panic buy before everyone else panic buys.

  • gunsandrockets

    Considering how Hillary is campaigning by openly advocating expanded gun control, the 2016 marketplace will react with panic buying.

    Me? Sounds like the perfect time to sell.

  • Grindstone50k

    I need to buy up lowers, not because I’m panicking, but because of the suckers who will be panicking.

  • Bill

    Being more deeply invested in the market than I ever wanted to be due to an inheritance, I’ve spoken to my broker more in the last 3 weeks than the last three years. Apple was down 25% at one point, that doesn’t mean the end of the IPhone. Don’t read ANYTHING into what the market is doing now.

    And if you just have to, look at those two companies and what they DON”T rely on to drive sales: ARs. Sure they have them in their line-ups, but they also have a more diverse product line than a lot of other companies, particularly Ruger vs S&W. You could say that the WalMart sell-off flooded the AR market, driving those companies down while opening space for these companies to expand (I was being facetious)

    The only panic I’m feeling is that eventually gun owners will learn that they don’t have to panic every time a Democrat breaks wind

    There, I’m over it now – they’ll still panic.

  • lifetimearearesident

    Considering the current oversupply of AR manufacturers I do not see the next panic driving up prices for ARs in the near term. Actually the AR market needs a panic just to keep prices at current levels.

  • ozzallos .

    It’s coming for no other reason than Hillary. The longer she remains a viable candidate, the more likely a panic is to occur as people realize just how anti-gun she is. They’ll hedge purchase on the off chance of her winning, or any other liberal candidate for that matter. Frankly, the competition only gets worse in regards to policy.

  • Bought my first gun in june ’08. (10/22 w/ threaded barrel)

    Since then, I’ve amassed many more, and bought a box of ammo every week. I’m completely good now.

  • salty

    how about just blip in the markets?