March 2009

Down Range: 03/09

News Wrapup

Well, Barack H. Obama has been sworn in as president. Eric Holder has been confirmed as attorney general. The FBI has reported that 10 of the highest-traffic NICS days of all time have occurred since the November election. Friday, November 28, 2008, saw 97,848 clearance requests—22,716 more requests than the second-

Todd Woodard

highest day, Friday, December 22, 2006. Rounding out the top five were Saturday, December 23, 2000 (74,891); Tuesday, December 23, 2008 (73,427); and Saturday, November 6, 2008 (71,832). What’s more interesting about November 6 and three other top-ten days—Friday, November 14, 2008 (69,526); Saturday, November 15, 2008 (70,528); and Saturday, December 20, 2008 (71,409)—was that they didn’t occur on Black Fridays or the last shopping days before Christmas. Coincidence? I think not.

Another big sales figure is notable as well: Beretta U.S.A. Corp. announced its receipt of a U.S. Army contract to provide up to 450,000 Beretta Model 92FS pistols to U.S. military customers throughout the world. The total value of the contract, if all pistol quantities and associated spare parts are ordered, is $220 million. The contract was awarded along with a first delivery order for 20,000 pistols intended for the Iraqi military. Delivery of pistols against the contract has already begun.

Other good business news was that SHOT Show attendance remained strong this year, rising 3 percent when compared to its last visit to Orlando in 2007. According to preliminary figures, this year’s show attracted 25,384 attendees, 22,098 exhibiting personnel and a record 1,425 members of the media for a total attendance of 48,907. The show, held Jan. 15-18 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, comprised 715,000 square feet of exhibit space, with 1,800 exhibiting companies. Not only was total attendance up from the last Orlando show, but the number of buyers increased 5 percent.

We’ll have more reports on 2009 new-product introductions, but for now, Sig Sauer’s P238 in 380 ACP interests me mightily, as does STI International’s new AR-15 Sporting Rifle, an $1,800 unit. But at this time, these two guns are vaporware: I’m actually waiting on delivery of a Stag Arms AR-15 put together for me by writer Gene Taylor. They’re running way behind on deliveries—just like every other AR-maker I’ve heard from. I wonder why. GT

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