Gun Stocks on the Move…

I know what you are thinking… But no, not those kind of gun stocks. I’m talking about the kind related to public trading.

I know we are not a politically oriented venue, but sometimes political events directly impact our realm. In this case it appears that the two main publicly traded firearms manufacturers are reporting a pretty decent amount of growth. How can we tell? Well, I think we can look back and see that record numbers of gun sales (primarily determined by the increase in the number of NICS checks) is obviously a big contributor. I would also assume that there is a corresponding increase in ammo purchasing. The New York Times has a pretty interesting timeline that illustrates current events (related to terrorism and fear of gun control) and gun sales.

This past week, Smith & Wesson (SWHC +6.1%) and Sturm Ruger (RGR +4%) soared in early trade primarily related to the speculation over the Executive Orders President Obama was expected to take.

I know a number of people “panic buy” weapons and ammo whenever there is a whiff of news regarding changes to gun laws, specifically in the United States. What is also pretty interesting is that there is a ton of stock trading going on at the same time—basically people ALSO profiting on the panic.

Now that the Executive Orders have come out (and for the most part appear to be “paper tigers”) it will be interesting to see what happens in the market specifically related to these entities. It would also be interesting to follow the stocks and see WHEN the increases start to occur; do they occur ahead of the news, when the news breaks, or in the time just after news is relayed.

Stocks to watch are:

  • Smith & Wesson (SWHC; guns)
  • Sturm Ruger (RGR; guns)
  • Alliant Techsystems (ATK; ammo)
  • Olin Corp (OLN; ammo)
  • Cabelas (CAB; retailer with ~20% profit related to firearms)
  • Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. (KKR; retailer—owner of Academy Sports)

Tom is a former Navy Corpsman that spent some time bumbling around the deserts of Iraq with a Marine Recon unit, kicking in tent flaps and harassing sheep. Prior to that he was a paramedic somewhere in DFW, also doing some Executive Protection work between shifts. Now that those exciting days are behind him, he has embraced his inner “Warrior Hippie” and assaults 14er in his sandals and beard, or engages in rucking adventure challenges while consuming craft beer. To fund these adventures, he writes medical software and builds websites and mobile apps. His latest venture is as one of the founders of; a search engine for all things gun related. He hopes that his posts will help you find solid gear that will survive whatever you can throw at it–he is known (in certain circles) for his curse…ahem, ability…to find the breaking point of anything.


  • Bob

    Cabelas… not a good buy. Loosing $$, selling off assets, and possibly selling company.

    • Wm Strange

      Thanks, Bob.

    • Bill

      Interesting – I had no idea. Expanding their retail store chain too quickly?

      • Rusty S.

        No, an activist investor, or as we used to call them “corporate raider” gained control.

        • Dan

          Maybe the other shareholders need to file a class action against this activist.

        • Paul White

          I mean, Cabela’s is overpriced as hell too, so they’ve got that mark agaisnt them

          • Ethan

            They’re priced fairly decent. Nothing to write home about, but they’re not gougers like Dicks or Bass Pro.

  • MrEllis

    Everyone should totally panic.

    • Bill

      Agreed. Stocks are rising, sales are at an all time high, the market is flooded with new products, time to jump out a window, or turn a shipping container into an underground bunker for when the blue helmets arrive.

      • Bob

        I enjoyed your sarcasm. Gun sales are surely rising. But the stock market is tanking on Chinas’ crash. Gun sales alone will not support a company the size of Cabelas. Cabelas is like most retailers today. Half their product is made in China.

        • Bill

          Thinking back to when Cabela’s was mail order only, even with their retail stores I’m guessing gun sales are a small percentage of their business. Pink camo, jerky spice and crank baits take up a lot of their floor and web space.

          • Bob

            Oh,….. the good old days!

      • MrEllis

        New products? It stifles innovation. You sell more of the same at a higher cost. But yeah, I’m fairly certain every person on The Hill up to an including the president have stock.

        • Bill

          “New products” being everybody with access to a machine shop cranking out some variation of AR15 or some useless accessory therefor.

          • MrEllis

            Ahh, stuff for your things, gotcha. Yeah, we love doodads a bit too much sometimes.

  • LetsTryLibertyAgain

    There is collected wisdom in the market. It seems that central economic planners (government types) know less than any of us, but markets know more than all of us. When gun stocks rise against an otherwise falling market, that is significant.

    But what I really want to know is, when can I buy a brick of 22 ammo for anywhere close to $20 again?