BREAKING: Smith & Wesson Selling Thompson/Center, No Buyer Yet

The gun maker will be sold in the near future.

Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc., announced yesterday its plans to sell the rifle brand Thompson/Center Arms as part of its “broader strategic plan that will focus on its core Smith & Wesson brands,” the company said in a press release to investors.

Smith & Wesson acquired Thompson/Center in 2006 when S&W was still under the control of American Outdoor Brands (AOB). Smith & Wesson Brands kept the firearms division of Thompson/Center, T/C Arms, when it split with AOB. It has not announced a buyer for the T/C Arms brand.

“Thompson/Center is a beloved hunting brand with a longstanding heritage, and we are committed to ensuring a smooth transition. Thompson/Center Arms’ loyal consumers should rest assured that they will continue to receive the world-class firearms, accessories, and customer service support that the brand has been known for since its founding in 1965,” said Mark P. Smith, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands, Inc. 

“We remain fully committed to the hunting and long-range shooting market, and with this divestiture we will be able to now focus on these categories under our iconic Smith & Wesson brand.  Additionally, this will allow us to immediately redirect manufacturing capacity to increase overall production volumes, allowing us to gain additional market share while simultaneously increasing profitability,” Smith continued.

SEE ALSO: A Sub-MOA 6.5 Creedmoor for $400? Thompson/Center Compass — Full Review

The company told investors that divesting T/C Arms will benefit S&W’s bottom line through higher overall production levels, increased margins, and lower marketing costs. The decision will not result in a workforce reduction at S&W, according to the press release.

T/C Arms’ most popular firearm is likely the budget-friendly bolt-action T/C Compass line of rifles. Muzzleloading firearms comprise the majority of its offerings, and the company also makes a semi-automatic rimfire rifle called the T/CR22.

Smith & Wesson has endured its fair share of controversy over the last few years. The company has faced multiple lawsuits from the families of victims of mass murders, including a suit from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. In February of this year, a Canadian judge ruled that the company may be liable for a 2018 shooting because the company has not implemented “smart-gun” technology.

SEE ALSO: Going the Distance with the New Performance Center T/C LRR (Full Review)

In 2019, Smith & Wesson’s former parent company, American Outdoor Brands, forced a split with S&W in what many observers believed was an attempt to shield AOB from negative press related to firearms. S&W brought with it all the firearms brands while AOB retained the outdoor products and accessories brands.

Here’s what then-S&W CEO Michael F. Golden said about T/C when S&W acquired the company in 2006:

“The acquisition of Thompson/Center Arms is an important step in our diversification strategy. Thompson/Center Arms has consistently delivered both profits and strong gross margins while building its position in the hunting rifle market. This move will expand our presence in the $1.1 billion long gun market by providing immediate entry into the hunting rifle and black powder segments, which represents approximately $600 million in domestic sales. In addition to carving out a leadership role in black powder and single shot hunting rifles, Thompson/Center Arms has developed tremendous expertise in manufacturing long-gun barrels, a competency that will be important to Smith & Wesson as we expand our capabilities even further into the long gun market.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over four years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Waco. Follow him on Instagram @bornforgoodluck and email him at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Mike in a Truck May 7, 2021, 12:21 pm

    “Bottom Line”. Says it all right there. Ive owned T/ C products since the 70’s and this is what happens when a compny gets away from its original owners and sucked up by the “bottom liners”. I hope Ruger buys them.

  • philip gilroy May 7, 2021, 7:58 am

    S&W and TC wouldn’t honor a lifetime warranty on my TC Thunderhawk syntheic stock that gave way and blew the barrel out of the stock. sent it to them 6 wks later got it back with a note saying sorry can’t help you.At least I wasn’t hurt.Original TC company would have handeled it different.

  • Buckshott00 May 5, 2021, 5:42 am

    “T/C Arms’ most popular firearm is likely the budget-friendly bolt-action T/C Compass line of rifles.”

    Really?? They’ve only been making the Contender / Encore in one form or another since 1967? Their Muzzleloaders are *likely* still some of the best selling muzzleloaders money can buy.

    I think this might actually be a good thing. T/C had a more diverse line before they were purchased. Maybe new ownership will do them good.

    • LJ May 7, 2021, 12:45 pm

      As someone that has been a Contender owner and collector since the 70’s, that one left me scratching my head too. I always thought the Contender and Encore were the premier product lines. I own two Contender frames, a blued first generation version I use for bench-rest shooting only, and a stainless steel later model with the new hammer selector for hunting. I own 24 custom wildcat and factory barrels. Numerous SSK barrels.

      After S&W took over, I sent in my early model frame to get the new style hammer conversion done and sent along a letter explaining this was a target use only frame and told them not to change the trigger pull. When I got it back they had absolutely ruined the original factory trigger pull which was silky smooth, very light, and perfect for the bench rest/target shooting.

      The new trigger pull was almost twice the original factory trigger pull and extremely gritty. The take-up was terrible. It felt like one of my Glock triggers, which is fine for self defense guns but sucks for precision target work out to 500 yards. Even the newer SS model had a better factory trigger. I ended up having to spend another $200 to get it fixed. That’s inexcusable.

      Hopefully the new owners will care about T/C – and their customers needs – and bring back the great company we all became accustom to decades ago.

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