Leading Gunmaker Boosts Production, Still Can't Meet Surging Demand

Ruger pistols / Getty Images
October 29, 2020

One of the nation's largest gunmakers has massively ramped up production—and still can't meet unprecedented demand.

Sturm, Ruger & Company said it increased production 50 percent over last year, including a 15 percent surge in the second and third quarter of 2020 alone, according to an earnings report released Wednesday.

Even with increased production, Ruger's gun inventory remains "near historic lows" due to record demand, said CEO Christopher Killoy.

"Consumer demand showed no signs of letting up during the quarter," he said, because of "concerns about personal protection and home defense" caused by "civil unrest," activists' calls to defund the police, and "the continuing COVID-19 pandemic."

Killoy said the company began hiring at a "modest, albeit growing, rate" in June after shutting down all new hiring in March because of coronavirus concerns.

Even with the increased production and new hires, the company believes limited supply restrained its record-level sales over the last few months. The company expects demand to continue surging through the rest of the year.

The demand has already led to massive revenue increases for the company. It reported a nearly $100 million jump in sales over the first nine months of 2020 as compared to 2019. That jump added up to $399.6 million in sales over that time, nearly tripling the company's earnings per share.

Ruger is one of only two publicly traded American gun companies. Its public reports to investors provide some of the best insight into how gun companies are handling the record demand for guns and coronavirus precautions. The other publicly traded company, Smith & Wesson, has seen similar sales and production spikes over the past several months.

Industry experts expect demand for guns to rise again this fall because of both the holiday season and the presidential election, in which Democratic candidate Joe Biden has pushed for strict new gun-control measures.