Whether you like to shoot birdies or bogeys, Sturm, Ruger & Company can accommodate you. The company, also called Ruger, is one of the nation's biggest gun makers and the only one that produces all four categories of firearms: pistols, revolvers, rifles, and shotguns. Models include hunting and target rifles, single- and double-action revolvers, muzzleloading guns, and double-barreled shotguns. Its guns are sold by independent wholesale distributors to independent firearms retailers and chains, including Academy Sports and Cabelas. Ruger also makes metal products -- known as castings -- for the commercial and military markets. Sturm, Ruger & Company was founded in 1949 by William Ruger and Alexander Sturm.
Chasing after the faster-growing segment of the hunting market and working to expand its products portfolio, Ruger in mid-2012 acquired a minority stake in Kodabow. Ruger hopes the crossbow manufacturer, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania, will boost sales and broaden its customer base.
The company's firearm sales have doubled from about $133 million in 2005 to more than $266 million in 2009. Indeed, sales increased by more than 50% in 2009 vs. 2008 driven by extraordinary retail demand beginning in late 2008. The company said the unusually high demand is likely driven by politics and the economy. Sales of handguns -- purchased with self defense in mind -- were particularly strong. To keep pace, Ruger increased production in 2009 by 56% from 2008 and 101% from 2007.
Firearms account for more than 95% of Ruger's net sales, with its Pine Tree Castings (PTC) division comprising the balance. PTC supplies the architectural hardware, sporting goods, marine hardware, firearms, precision machinery, pneumatic and hand tools industries, among others. The company stopped manufacturing titanium castings in 2007 and consolidated its Arizona casting operations into its New Hampshire facilities. Following the move, Ruger produces only castings made from steel alloys.
The company's top four distributors contribute about half of its total firearms sales. Foreign sales (primarily to law enforcement and government agencies) account for less than 5% of the total.
The firm is among a number of gun makers being sued by municipalities alleging gun companies knowingly distribute guns to disreputable dealers, which then sell them to criminals. (As with tobacco suits, the cities hope to regain some of the costs related to gun crime.) The vast majority of these cases have now been dismissed or withdrawn.
An investment group led by Allianz Global Investors Management Partners owns about 10% of the company's shares. – less