When I awoke the other morning and opened the usually email flyer from CDNN Sports like I always do, something jumped out of the advertisement at me that grabbed my attention. It wasn’t some super deal on Korean made Glock magazines or some deal on an off brand .22 caliber rifle, it was the big bold print announcing the almost give away pricing on what was supposed to be Remington’s latest entry into the full size pistol market the Remington RP9. This comes at an odd time considering how relatively new the RP9 is to the market and how poorly received Remington’s last pistol the R51 was and its massive recall and replacement.
2017 The Year of Remington Layoffs
The firearms market like any other manufacturing sector goes through its ups and downs as Presidents come and go from the White House and the economy changes. Few companies have the history and reputation of Remington in the firearms market and fewer still have been able to have the longevity that Remington has. All of the biggest names in the firearms world that are on par with Remington in terms of sales and stature have faced the same thing over the past few years,Colt, Smith & Wesson, and Mossberg all have had to make changes and reinvigorate sales. This however is something Remington has struggled with.
In the last year alone Remington has announced three rounds of layoffs to its staff starting in Late 2016. In was however in March of 2017 when the company announced that 122 jobs were being cut from the Illion, New York facility. That came on the heals of the cut of 39 employees at the Huntsville, Alabama plant at the end of the 4th Quarter of 2016, which started the ball rolling. This past September even more cuts to the Illion plant were announced as a third round of cuts eliminated 55 more positions. In total that makes around 216 positions in a year, and of those 177 were at the main facility. To put that in perspective in 2014 the New York facility employed 1300 full-time workers, that number is now down to around 1000.
A String of Failures
I will admit that I am not employed in the manufacturing end of the firearms industry so I can’t speak to the plans and outlines of a boardroom in a major gun manufacturing firm. What I can tell you is that from a writer and firearms industry point of view Remington has had a string of failures the last few years and that isn’t good for business. The company whose name is synonymous with dependable shotguns and hunting rifles is slipping farther behind each quarter. The last report I saw was that the company a 24% drop in sales to the tune of a loss of $44 MILLION in possible revenue, that stings no matter who you are.
The biggest issues that hit Remington sales in the last few years have been the lackluster release of the R1, a 1911 pattern pistol, the R51 a pocket 9mm designed for conceal carry use and the Remington ACR which often gets confused with the Fabrique Nationale SCAR. The current issues with the RP9 just add to the woes that have been becoming the norm. When you add that with the stories of problems with Remington’s iconic Model 700 rifle’s safety, well you don’t need a degree in economics to see it’s not going to be good for investors or for employees of the company.
The Future ?
I don’t own a crystal ball, if I did I wouldn’t need to work, that being said I don’t know the future of Remington or what their plans are. I don’t foresee the company going bankrupt anytime soon since they still have an estimated revenue of near $900 million, but I will predict their will be significant changes to upper management soon. Correcting the path of a massive company doesn’t happen overnight, but it takes calculated risks and research and development. The last part of that statement has fallen flat at the company the last 8-10 years at it shows. I am optimistic that the R&D team will take the RP9 and dress it up and give it something to separate itself from the rest of the polymer pistols rather than discontinue it altogether.
I personally never would have thought that a Remington pistol would get the terrible reviews the RP9 has gotten and sell for less than the cost of a Taurus. I was actually surprised when the company even reentered the pistol market with the R1 a few years ago. In many people’s opinions in the gun industry Remingtons attempt to move into the already over crowded polymer pistol market was a miscalculation from the very beginning. To date it would seem that those people have been correct.
Where do you stand on the Remington RP9 and on the company’s position ? Do you think they are in danger of being sold from the Freedom Group, or will Remington shock us all and follow Smith & Wesson’s lead and start buying up smaller companies to do the research and development for them ? We are living in interesting times, when almost quarterly yet another gun manufacturer is in financial trouble.