There are two very distinct types of manufacturers in the gun world as America battles the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Firstly, there are the gun manufacturers who were forced to shut down to varying degrees, some more serious than others. They’ll be battling production and shipping problems for months. Then, there are the essential gun manufacturers, as deemed so by their states. The only battle these manufacturers have is keeping up with an absurd demand, which is a welcomed problem for most.
Essential Gun Manufacturers and an Increased Demand
A quick check with a handful of other gun manufacturers revealed that most are handling the virus-related fallout in similar ways. And these essential gun manufacturers continue to produce and ship firearms and accessories.
Linda Powell, Director of Media Relations for Mossberg, spoke about the company’s manufacturing process.
“We feel pretty fortunate right now that we’re still deemed an essential manufacturing business,” Powell said. “For us, so far none of our facilities have been impacted directly through local or state government mandates. So, we are trying to continue business as usual as far as the manufacturing side of the business. And all non-essential or office workers who can work from home are doing so.”
That said, Powell said how quickly the increased demand made its way down to the manufacturer level surprised her.
“We have seen a tremendous surge in orders, in particular what we would classify as our tactical or personal defense categories, which would be primarily shotguns and handguns,” she added. “Specific models [are] our 590 Shockwave and our 590 Mag-Fed, as well as standard pump-action defensive shotguns. We have shifted the majority of our production to those categories—not exclusively, but most of our focus is trying to fulfill the orders that are coming in right now.”
SIGnificant DoD Demand
Then there’s SIG. Michael Marotte, Media Relations Manager for SIG Sauer, said his company has received designation through the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security as “essential” to national security, as have SIG’s suppliers. Consequently, SIG is pushing forward with production.
“All of our employees have been deemed ‘essential employees,’ and that even goes down to our supply chain,” Marotte said. “If they’re extruding handguards for us, they’re ‘essential.’”
However, Marotte said that “business as usual” at the company has shifted to a new kind of business as usual.
“Pretty much any non-essential office staff, which is almost all of us, who can work from home are now working from home,” he said. “Down on the production floor, we haven’t slowed production at all. However, we’ve implemented a six-foot spacing rule and we’ve increased our cleaning and sanitation quite a bit.
“We have a cafeteria in our facility in New Hampshire. Even there they’ve spaced the tables out more and have no more than four people at a large table. They’ve even moved some tables out into the large lobby, which we closed anyway, to increase the spacing. We’re also having staggered breaks just so people aren’t all clustered in the same place at once.”
Mike Humphries, Media Relations Manager for Springfield Armory based in Geneseo, Ill., said his company’s doors remain open. Springfield is pushing forward with its customers in mind.
“Springfield Armory has been deemed an ‘essential business’ through the Illinois Governor’s Executive Order, and as a result, remains open and is fulfilling orders,” Humphries said. “In keeping with efforts to ensure a safe working environment for its employees during these unique times, all Springfield Armory employees capable of working off-site are currently doing so.
“We do not foresee any impact on our ability to fulfill customer demand for our products or a negative effect upon our ability to continue the development of future product offerings while still addressing this current surge of demand.”
Rising to the Occasion
Camille Torres, Marketing Manager at Oklahoma-based RISE Armament, said her company began seeing an increased demand from the COVID-19 situation nearly two weeks ago. But instead of closing or cutting back, RISE is working hard to fill orders.
“It’s important to us to provide Americans with the products they need and want,” Torres said. “So as long as we can protect the health and safety of our team, we’ll continue to manufacture and ship our triggers, rifles and components.”
Despite a Tuesday declaration by Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt that many businesses close for a couple of weeks, RISE plans to continue production. However, Torres said RISE is taking extra precautions to ensure the health of employees during this trying time.
“To protect our team members, we’ve increased our health and safety measures to extend beyond CDC recommendations,” she said. “Some of the actions we’re taking include sanitizing parts before they transition from one team member to another, sanitizing surfaces hourly, wearing gloves and restricting non-employee access to our facility. We’ve also made adjustments to allow the recommended distancing between team members.
“In addition, the company provides catered lunch or dinner for each shift. Since restaurant options are limited and grocery store shelves are sparse, management wanted to make sure everyone can save their groceries to enjoy at home with their families.”
This is a constantly evolving situation. As governors continue with more temporary regulations, it’s likely other companies will be affected. We’ll keep you informed moving forward.