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Exhibiton: Firearm manufacture


Hängematte
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Nations gun show in northern Virginia - you will have some smaller manufacturers there exibiting and selling their products but not the big ones. It's a vending show, after all!

What means smaller? Less than 10 000 firearms per year? or mor like 15 000 - 30 000?

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I don´t know what you´re trying to achieve, but with most manufacturers except for some smaller ones and speciality companies the only one you´ll meet at either of these shows will be a salesperson, eager to show you the latest products and tell you their sales pitch but that´s about it.

There might be some well known gun guys strolling through Shows like that, but Chances are that the big bosses of various bigger manufacturers are way beyond manning their exhibition tables themselves. You might luck into them and they might really be at "their" tables for a time, but the ones that will be there will most likely be eager to browse the exhibition themselves.

If they are gun people at all. Some "Manufacturers" are not even a single Company anymore but simply part of a huge consortium that holds various companies.

Marlin Firearms Co. belongs to the Remington Firearms Co. which for example, is part of the Freedom Group, which is in turn held by Cerberus Capital Management.

Winchester is owned by Miroku (from Japan) again: there´ll be a salesperson there, not Mr. Tkaneshi Tamagotchi or whoever their CEO is.

Could be a daunting task to meet the boss with some of those.

If we´d knew what you´re trying to achieve with this "personal contact to manufacturers" we might be able to point you into the right direction.

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What means smaller? Less than 10 000 firearms per year? or mor like 15 000 - 30 000?

More like custom builders with numbers in the 100s

Look, what chokee pointed out is quite true. If you want to meet with the guys just to inform yourself, the shot show is the best one. You'll find all kind of people to talk to and give you the highlights of their products. It's basically a sale show for resellers on the store / small distributor level.

If you qualify for the bigger stuff - not a problem. People in certain technical and management positions are usually in the background and if you want a price on a couple thousand guns, special models for your store chain or want to sell them a concept or technology, they can make themselves available.

The whole issue is rather, what are you looking for?

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Thank you chokee and Boule! oppinnion

Maybe I should give you more information. I don´t want to get in contact with the big boss of any manufacture, but I wanted to get in a personal contact on an exhibition with anybody from the company, because I´m going to do a market research. It is easier to get worth informations with a questionary on en exhibition, than via phone calls and e-mails.

For sure you heard about MIM technology and I want to know how many of the us manufactures still use CNC cutting or if they already use MIM for some parts. H&K or Glock for example were really successful with their MIM parts, if I got here the correct information. Than there are the brazil company Taurus which uses MIM andy a lot of firearm users are not satisfied with that. This is my subjective opinion.

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Hi there, sorry for the late response!

I am afraid that if companies are not forthcoming with that information when you ask them by e-mail.... (where they can easily forward your question to technicians who are capable of answering your questions)

Then they won´t tell you in person either. Either because they don´t want to tell you at all.... Or because like i said before, you´ll most likely run into a salesperson there that might not even be able to answer that question, and if he could, he may not be willing if he´s not sure if it´s ok for him to tell you. My best guess is that when asking that questions you´ll get the usual babbling about how they use the latest and greatest technology and quality control and that their customer service is very good and they´ll take proper care of you if you run into problems with their product...

Aside from that, this information is readily available on the Internet. BUT: it will require a lot of legwork on your part to extract that information from various sources such as reviews in blogs and message boards and the like.

I want to know how many of the us manufactures still use CNC cutting or if they already use MIM for some parts.

Uhm.... that´s easy!! Almost EVERY SINGLE ONE of them uses MIM parts. Not in every gun they make, it´s more prevalent in their cheaper lines, but really there aren´t any big manufacturers that don´t use MIM parts in at least some of their guns.

Oh, and they don´t make their MIM parts themselfes for the most part anyway. They buy them from subcontractors that are set up for MIM. If at all, they add finishing touches with a CNC but they don´t make these parts.

A manufacturer not using MIM parts in at least some of their guns, is the (absolute!!) exception, not the rule.

MIM and CNC is not mutually exclusive anyway, many a MIM part has finishing touches added with CNC machines to critical places. So it´s not black and white either.

Some Custom shops/manufacturers would be your best bet to find a gun entirely machined from billet steel and the like, as far as big manufacturers goes: No chance. It´s simply too cost prohibitive to CNC machine some parts where it´s not needed, technically.

I am a CNC machinist by trade by the way. But it simply doesn´t make sense to machine an entire gun from billet (especially the complicated parts that are a bitch to machine) as it´s not economical and technically, completely over the top and not needed. It´s a niche market and the vast majority of average gun buyers prefer a more affordable firearm. Not every Gun guy would buy a 2000$ 1911, and you can´t build a CNC´ed 1911 and sell it for 499$.

The Problem with Taurus using MIM parts is not the MIM parts, and their guns subsequently failing on a comparably high rate. It´s Taurus´ Quality Control and the fact that many a lemon makes it´s way to the customers. And maybe they buy their MIM parts from a shitty company too.

That´s why you see Quality manufacturers like H&K, Glock, and the like using MIM parts with relative few problems if any, but lower Quality manufacturers like Taurus and others having problems with their MIM parts. (As they are indeed the weak link in some cases and will fail first if not built to a higher standard).

It all boils down to the overall quality standards of the company.

If you need an exact percentage on MIM parts use or something, i can´t help you. I can tell you one thing though: out of all the guns i own, and there are some guns in my house that cost 2500$ new, not a single one of them is without at least one MIM part. (If you don´t count my 150 year old antiques)

But let´s keep in mind that sometimes, it´s only the sights of a gun that are MIM parts...

If i had to venture a guess i´d have to say that there´s not a single manufacturer out there that doesn´t use at least one MIM part.

So the answer to your question would be:Between 99 and 100% of manufacturers DO use MIM parts in their guns. Be it a sight, a button, a safety, a hammer or whatnot.

Cheaper guns will have more MIM parts, more expensive ones might only have one or two assorted MIM parts and occasionally, but rarely, not a single MIM part.

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chokee, thank you for this nice and helpful response!

It makes the situation much mor clear for me, thanks for this explanation.

I just ask myself from where do you know, or how can you say that almost every manufacture uses MIM Parts?

Do they produce MIM Parts in the USA or in low-cost-countries?

You said already they produce the following parts produced by MIM:

a sight, a button, a safety, a hammer

What else? any more parts?

Is there any limit for manufactures for using MIM-Parts?

A manufacture who produces 5000 / a firearms could use MIM-Parts as well as an manufacture who produces mor than 50 000 / a ?

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Is there any limit for manufactures for using MIM-Parts?

Yes, as soon as it becomes economically unfeasible. That is a function of production costs for the form, setup and casting costs and how many parts will be produced compared to machining each part.

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Yes, as soon as it becomes economically unfeasible. That is a function of production costs for the form, setup and casting costs and how many parts will be produced compared to machining each part.

Is it possible to say, that it isn´t economical to produce unless 10 000 / a firearms?

I know, it regards to the complexity of the part you want to produce, but in general, is there anything like that to say?

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Is it possible to say, that it isn´t economical to produce unless 10 000 / a firearms?

I know, it regards to the complexity of the part you want to produce, but in general, is there anything like that to say?

It's hard to say. Production runs from a number of manufacturers run for longer than a single year and parts may be interchangable between different models. All of this increases the number of parts produced in a single run and thus spreads setup costs etc.

I'd hate to say but there seems to be no other option than asking a manufacturer for his "calculation" eg. how much he is willing to spend per part and then calculating the number of parts you would need to produce in order to meet that figure.

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Is it possible to say, that it isn´t economical to produce unless 10 000 / a firearms?

I know, it regards to the complexity of the part you want to produce, but in general, is there anything like that to say?

I´m afraid that can´t be said in general. You´d have to individually calculate each single part on the estimated number you´ll likley sell and then decide what makes more sense. Could be that machining it comes out 5 cents cheaper then MIM, could be the exact opposite and then again: stamping the part could be 10 cents cheaper then either MIM or CNC, so in this case, you´d most likely stamp the part if it´s still good enough quality wise that way. Local wages play into that, transport costs too, tariffs if it´s across borders.... The fact that if you already are a good buisness partner for the guys you buy these parts from plays into it, as you might get a better price then someone else.

And i´m afraid that every manufacturer will give you the bird when you ask them to show you their individual calculations for some single parts (or even the whole product) as, quite frankly, it´s none of your business... ;) It´d be a rather hefty intrusion into their internal affairs.

Edited by chokee
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And i´m afraid that every manufacturer will give you the bird when you ask them to show you their individual calculations for some single parts (or even the whole product) as, quite frankly, it´s none of your business... ;) It´d be a rather hefty intrusion into their internal affairs.

Depends on how you ask. If you are a manufacturer, tell them what you can do, ask if they were interested in doing business and talk about a target price and quantity, it should be fine. On the other hand, that is well outside the scope of a research project

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I´m quite sure they won´t give me the information about their cost calculation, I know that.

I just want to knwo if MIM could be rentable as well for a manufacture who just produces less than 5000 / a.

I want to have a survey (via E-Mail and/ or telephone) and for that I need to decide which of those companies are interesting for me:

http://www.atf.gov/statistics/download/afm...port-report.pdf

Shall I send a request to all manufactures from 5000 or 10 000 / a on until open end?

Because for the smaller ones MIM is probably not interessting?

Does anybody know one of the supplier company who prdocues MIM parts for the US manufactures?

Is there any well-known company?

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Of course it could be feasible to buy MIM parts even for less then 5000 units per year.

It all depends on what exact part it´s about and if MIM is cheaper then to machine it in house.

Take AR15 Mil spec triggers or Lower parts kits for example.... Every Tom, Dick and Harry uses pretty much the same parts in there (if they don´t use Match Triggers like the Geissele or something) from only a handfull of actual manufacturers. That in turn means the actual manufacturer will make 100´s of thousands of these parts a year and sells them to different partys.

No matter if they build 250 AR 15´s with a mil spec trigger group or 10.000, they´ll likely buy their MIM parts out of the same parts pool.

A small manufacturer will likely just go out and try to find 250 or 500 DPMS lower parts kits for special conditions in bulk (way lower then what the end customer will pay for the same kit in a shop) to finish their lowers for example... They´ll not try and find a manufacturer that will start making these MIM parts for them by themselfes, they´ll simply buy what´s readily available already. (If it´s available for the gun they build)

The market also includes spare part kits and stuff, so the sales numbers of complete firearms will mislead you as far as actual production goes.

On other guns, it can be the complete opposite.

There is simply no "one size fits all" universal answer to your question. "It depends" is the best answer you can hope to find to that question.

And there´s other footfalls you gotta keep in mind, take the Glock facility in Smyrna for example.... They make Glocks "made in USA". That´s pretty misleading. My last information about them is that they get all the parts from Glock in Austria, and merely assemble them in Smyrna for tax purposes. It´s cheaper that way then to send the entire pistols to the US. (Import taxes on whole guns vs. parts vs. tax breaks for creating jobs there) They might make the grip portion of their Glocks in Smyrna though, since that is actually the firearm in the USA. So importing the grip portion itself probably costs the same as importing the entire gun...

So that´s one "manufacturer" in the US that you can probably toss out.

Does anybody know one of the supplier company who prdocues MIM parts for the US manufactures?

Is there any well-known company?

I don´t know any. They don´t put identification marks on their stuff so it´s not well known. It´s simply not something shooters talk about. They may talk about using a DPMS lower kit or a Daniel Defense lower kit or a Palmetto State Armory LPK, but in these cases, these are only resellers not the actual manufacturers (most likely)

You could probably find that information but it never even crossed my mind to look that up...

Look: If you are a manufacturer of MIM parts, then go and ask them if they´re interested in doing buisness with you. If you can compete, price wise, i´m sure they´ll consider that.

(keep in mind though that you are in Mexico. Some manufacturers will not want to throw any business your way as the citizens, and especially the shooting community in the USA is not a fan of anything Mexican. You couldn´t have chosen a worse place to set up shop if you want to do any gun buisness with the US. So don´t be surprised if your e-mails get thrown out unanswered because of that little fact alone. Especially when it comes to a family owned business or Vet owned ones. Take Palmetto State Armory for example: they started out last year with only a handfull of people but soon enough they got so many orders in that they had to build a new facility and hire more people, and they where backordered like you wouldn´t believe. They´re now well known at least in the US. It´s still owned by the same guy that founded the company )

If it´s really just a survey for academical purposes, then personally.... i´d abandon it. There´s not much to be gained from it and it will be outdated 6 months after you complete it, so why even bother? You´d be wasting your time on something without any practical purpose whatsoever....

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