July 17, 2006
Guns that Aren't: Why do manufacturers hype rifles and shotguns that you can't get?
By David E. Petzal and Phil Bourjaily
Fellow gun nuts: We hear from each other, from gun writers, and from manufacturers, but gun dealers give us a perspective that we don’t get elsewhere. Scott Moss, who is the third generation of that family (all of whom have taken lots of money from me) to sell firearms, has agreed to come on the blog from time to time and tell us what’s on his mind, good or bad, about the guns he handles. If you’re interested in buying from him or selling to him on consignment, you can call Forest & Field, Norwalk, CT 203-847-4008.—Dave Petzal
The Ruger Gold Label Shotgun
You know what I really dislike? Gun manufacturers who hype guns that don't exist. As soon as a magazine publishes an article about a new gun that isn't in production, the phone calls start and I have to tell my customers the item isn’t available and probably won’t be for 6-12 months.
A case in point is Ruger, which announced the P85 9mm handgun three years before I had one in my case. The Ruger Red Label 20 gauge took two years to arrive. The newest addition, a side by side shotgun, is still scarce a year after its introduction. The irony is I saw one at a shoot I went to in upstate New York a few weeks ago. I asked the guy where he got it and he told me that a friend of his was an oil burner repairman with an FFL who got it from a friend who works at Ruger. How pathetic is that? One of my larger Ruger distributors had five in 2005 and NONE so far in 2006.
I’m not sure what the point is of promising what you can’t deliver. While Ruger isn’t the only company that promotes its products this way, it certainly is sending the wrong message. We all appreciate new products, especially if they’re good ones. And most people don’t mind waiting a little while. However, I’ve been doing this a long time, and companies that play this game insult the intelligence of many in their audience. And, they just might outfox themselves when they find their late-coming product upstaged by a more innovative design by another maker.