Komotokomotokomotomo (komotomo) wrote,
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Nockervision: Gun Companies and My Esteemed Opinions of Them - Volume 4: Smith & Wesson

[Ixia fronting, relaying for Karma]

Smith & Wesson is one of those Big Names in the gun industry, and they probably always will be. They've gotten this reputation as a high-end gun manufacturer, and even if it's not entirely true, that has been their biggest selling point. Without their reputation, they'd probably lose a lot of sales over their many mistakes.

If you walk into a gun shop and ask for a Smith & Wesson M&P, you're likely to get asked, "Which line?" They have revolvers named M&P, semi-auto pistols named M&P, semi-automatic centerfire rifles named M&P, semi-automatic rimfire rifles named M&P, and they're going to add that name to their little pocket .380 ACP pistol, now. It honestly drives me up the wall. Add in names like Centennial and Chief's Special, and what you get is a lot of names that mean nothing, anymore. Why? Because Smith is banking on nostalgia.

If you walk into a gun shop and ask to see the most powerful handgun they've got, they'll probably show you a Smith & Wesson X frame revolver. They fire huge rounds and are truly monsters of guns. However, it's almost totally a gimmick. Smith & Wesson made huge profits from getting one of their guns labeled The Most Powerful Handgun In The World (even though it was not true at the time). So, not too long ago, they decided to get that title back, and earn it. Most people want to shoot them like they want to ride a roller coaster. They want to do it a few times and then stop. They don't want to take the roller coaster home. Gun owners who want to shoot a .500 S&W Magnum want to shoot a few rounds from it. They don't want to own one. They're expensive as hell to shoot. ~$70 for 20 rounds, compared to ~$40 for 50 rounds of .44 Magnum. Why? Because Smith is banking on nostalgia.

Now, don't get me wrong. Smith & Wesson revolvers are excellent guns. While there used to be better double-action revolvers out there, they would be $2000 guns today. S&W is on top of this market simply because the market won't support anyone better.
Smith & Wesson's M&P is a great gun, but there are better things out there. They cost more, but that's the nature of the market.
The problem, IMO, is that they're trying too hard to appeal to the niche market of "OverSafetied Guns."
They put integral gun locks on a lot of their revolvers. Most people who know much about guns will ask for the version without it, if they have the choice. Sure, it's a cheap and easy way of keeping your kid from getting real access to it. However, it also nearly eliminates the possibility of it being used as a defensive gun if you keep it locked all the time, and adding something breakable that can PERMANENTLY disable your gun isn't the greatest of ideas when it's purchased to aid one in a life or death situation.
They waste (and I really mean to use that word) production time making M&P variants with on/off safety levers, integral gun locks, and/or magazine disconnects. I wouldn't say they should eliminate them all together, because the niche of the "Oversafetied Gun" does exist, but produce far fewer of them in favor of producing more "normal" M&Ps. The oversafetied M&Ps sell, but only when the normal M&Ps are sold out.

Some people might challenge me and say, "There's no such thing as too safe with a gun!" However, we effectively have FIVE cardinal rules of gun safety that state or imply not to trust safety mechanisms. Being safe with a gun is not a matter of how many levers, switches, and buttons it has on it. It's a matter of behavior.
If you pull the trigger of a gun, you should only do so under conditions where if the gun fires, nobody will be hurt. Even if the on/off safety is on Safe. Even if the integral gun lock is locked. Even if you're damn sure the gun is unloaded.
Tags: guns, nockervision
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