The sales of guns and ammunitions surged since the re-election of President Barack Obama. Early this month, it had been reported that gun shops are experiencing supply shortages as many people started buying ammunition and firearms amid Congress’ ongoing debate for stricter gun control laws.
Gun manufacturers are now hiring more workers to increase production and meet the increasing demand of consumers, according to report from CNN.
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Dynamic Research Technologies (DRT) in Albany, Missouri is one of the ammunition manufacturers adding jobs. Mike Weddle head of maintenance of the company confirmed that he is hiring 10 additional workers. Machine operators in the company receive $10 to $17 per hour, which is a good pay in an area where it is hard to find a job.
DRT is building another facility and it is adding a third manufacturing shift. The company is operating two shifts per day and it is producing 80,000 bullets per shift.
“Demand picked up a year ago — it quadrupled. It just went crazy,” he said. According to Weddle, .223 caliber ammunition for semiautomatic rifles is selling fast and it is difficult for the company to maintain its stock.
Brian Rafn, analyst at Morgan Dempsey Capital said that the big businesses in the gun industry are also expanding their operations such as Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR). According to Rafn, the two gun manufacturers started increasing their manufacturing capacity including labor and shifts since last year.
The CNN report said that Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ:SWHC), Sturm, Ruger & Company (NYSE:RGR) and Colt and Remington are based in New England and upstate New York where manufacturing jobs have disappeared; workers looking for jobs are benefiting from the hiring boom, even if they are just temporary or contractual.
The three companies are only hiring temporary workers because they cannot tell how long would the increase in the demand for guns and ammunition would last.
According to Rafn, gun manufacturers are in need of highly-skilled workers, and noted that competition for top-notch engineers is strong. Engineers are responsible in creating new gun designs and features such as ergonomic frames and triggers with innovative safety or action that would attract gun buyers to add a new gun to their collection.
“To get a guy to buy his 29th or 30th gun, you’ve got to come up with a whole new frame,” said Rafn. “We’re always looking at new products, and it’s these guys who design them,” said Rafn.
The chief operating officer of Red Jacket Firearms, Job Herman said that it is hard to find qualified workers in the gun industry. “Finding skilled machinists and advanced skilled labor is one of the biggest problems that we face in getting products out the door,” he said.
The company makes AR15 semiautomatic rifles and it is experiencing a backlog of orders. The company stopped taking new orders.
“The firearms industry is fighting for the same employees as the exploding oil business, both here in the Gulf [of Mexico] and in the Dakotas,” Herman added.
Workers are moving to North Dakota due to the booming oil industry in the region. They are applying for jobs at Halliburton Company (NYSE:HAL), Continental Resources, Inc. (NYSE:CLR), Hess Corp. (NYSE:HES), and Whiting Petroleum Corp (NYSE:WLL).
Mark Raines, a machinist and owner of Masters of Gun and Rod in Tallahassee, Florida said orders are piling up and he spends his days refinishing, rebarelling, and nickel plating. He said,.
“The demand is so high, that I’ve probably got 250 guns in here for repair at any given time. You make a good living, [but] you don’t get rich. Because any time you work with your hands, you’re limited to how much you can turn out in a 24-hour period,” he said.
The gun industry is undoubtedly flourishing these days. It is probably the very reason why hedge funds and money managers are still buying or increasing their stockholdings in gun manufacturers. The total investment of financial firms in the gun industry is approximately $79 million during the fourth quarter of 2012.