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.
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.
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.”