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Smith & Wesson reports dip in sales as demand for guns wanes

But stock price surged Thursday on Supreme Court ruling overturning New York state gun restrictions

Attendees looked at a display of Smith & Wesson handguns during the National Rifle Association's annual convention in 2018.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Gunmaker Smith & Wesson said Thursday that sales dipped in its most recent fiscal year, dropping $236 million from the 12 months prior as the gun market cools off after surging demand during the pandemic.

Still, guns made by the Springfield-based firearms giant are flying off the shelves. Even with an 18 percent decline from the year before, the 12 months ending April 30 were Smith & Wesson’s second-biggest sales year on record. And profits, while down from $243.6 million, beat analyst estimates to come in at $194.5 million.

Chief executive Mark Smith said on a call with investors Thursday that the drop in sales was to be expected, as fiscal year 2022 looked more like “a normal year.”

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“Our revenue this year was significantly impacted by the overall normalization of consumer demand for firearms,” he said.

Sales are still up from prepandemic times and the dip comes after a record year as the pandemic, coupled with racial equity protests and a divisive presidential election, drove consumers to buy firearms like never before. Smith & Wesson raked in $1.1 billion in net sales in fiscal year 2021, more than double the prior year’s figure.

Moving forward, Smith said, the company expects demand for guns to continue to decline as it has so far this year, in part thanks to “the record inflationary pressures on the pocketbooks of mainstream American households.”

Smith & Wesson is one of the nation’s largest and well-reputed gun manufacturers, though the company — and the industry — has come under increased scrutiny as the United States grapples with a gun violence crisis. Smith & Wesson firearms have been used in some of the deadliest mass shootings to date.

Smith said Thursday that the company is committed to working with legislators to find “real solutions” that will make communities safer, keep guns out of the hands of “criminals and the mentally unstable,” and maintain the rights of law-abiding Americans.

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“I want to express the deep sorrow that all of us at Smith & Wesson feel for the victims of the unthinkable acts of evil that have befallen our nation recently,” Smith said. “It is impossible to rationalize the acts of these perpetrators of violence, especially those who show such disregard for the lives of the most innocent among us.”

Gun-maker stocks soared last month after the shootings at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, and a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. That’s a common response to incidents of mass violence; consumers rush to buy guns in anticipation of calls for greater restrictions on gun ownership. The Senate signaled on Thursday that it is close to a bipartisan agreement on gun control measures.

Smith & Wesson’s stock surged 9.6 percent by the markets’ close Thursday, fueled in part by a Supreme Court ruling that is expected to expand the right to carry a firearm in public in states with stricter gun laws like New York and Massachusetts.


Andrew Brinker can be reached at andrew.brinker@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andrewnbrinker.