Monday, June 1, 2009
Casualty of the times
According to an e-mail I just read, it looks like Knight Rifles is going belly up. I don't own, nor have I ever fired, one of their products, not being too terribly interested in black powder guns at this point in my life (especially in-line black powder guns, which I consider a travesty, but to each his own) , although that could change someday.
This latest casualty of the times started me thinking about the hunting firearms industry as a whole. When you stop to think about it, aside from the collector who feels compelled to acquire multiple guns in multiple chamberings, how many customers can the hunting firearms industry count on? The average hunter, unless he is a habitual shooter, looks at his rifle as a tool, a part of the total picture of hunting, a means to an end. He has little need for a slew of rifles, even if he can afford anything he wants. It's my position that this type of customer makes up a substantial part of the hunting firearms market. So, in good economic times companies like Knight rifle can depend upon the collector to keep them in business, but when things turn downward, collectors cut back and average hunters already have their guns, so the whole market for hunting guns sours.
Realistically, once you have a good deer/elk rifle, you don't really need much else if you're a big-game hunter. Barring theft or act-of-God destruction, and assuming reasonable care and maintenance, you could hunt with that same old friend from womb to tomb and likely never wear it out. Gun companies know this, which is why they continually come up with new chamberings that do little more than gild the lily and goad folks into buying their latest and greatest offerings. A wise person/hunter sees through this barrage of advertising and turns a blind eye towards it. Perhaps this, coupled with a severe recession, had something to do with Knight Rifles's demise.
P.S. When Remington stepped into the AR15 field, I wondered about the wisdom of the move. Now, however, I realize it was a good decision for the company's survival. To the best of my knowledge, Remington was heavily tied to the hunting firearms field, which has been static for some time. By encompassing the red-hot black rifle market, Remington is able to stay afloat and not end up like Winchester. A shrewd move, I'd say, even if the world doesn't need another AR15 maker/marketer. (The world could use a few more ammo makers, but I digress.)