Guns And Ammo Spark Jobs Boom

gun shop sales new jobsBy Aaron Smith

Guns and ammo are selling briskly these days, and that means weapons makers are hiring. Some manufacturers are scrambling to find enough workers.

Mike Weddle, head of maintenance at Dynamic Research Technologies, an ammunition manufacturer in Albany, Mo., says he is adding 10 new hires to his staff of 35. DRT's machine operators make between $10 and $17 an hour -- a healthy paycheck in a region where it's tough to find a job and the cost of living is relatively low.

DRT currently cranks out 80,000 bullets per shift and operates two shifts per day. But that's not enough to meet demand. So Weddle is adding a third manufacturing shift and building an additional facility.

"Demand picked up a year ago -- it quadrupled," he said. "It just went crazy." He says .223 caliber ammo, which is for semiautomatic rifles, is particularly difficult to keep in stock.

DRT is a tiny part of an industry that employs about 240,000 nationwide, according to an estimate from Brian Rafn, who follows the gun industry for Morgan Dempsey Capital Management. And like DRT, many of the giants in the business of making guns and ammo are also expanding.

More: Guns In The Workplace: Gun Shop Owner And Legislator Face Off

"Sturm, Ruger and Smith & Wesson have both added manufacturing capacity, which includes labor and shifts, in the past year," said Wedbush Securities analyst Rommel Dionisio.

Caleb Ogilvie, a concealed-carry instructor who works at Cabot Gun & Ammo in Cabot, Ark., said that employees at a nearby Remington plant in Lonoke are telling him that "they're running full swing up there, running 24-7."

The good news for Smith & Wesson, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Colt and Remington is that they're based in regions of New England and upstate New York where manufacturing has vanished, leaving a labor pool that's hungry for work, according to Dionisio. He said that many of the added jobs are "temporary, contract-type hires, as opposed to full-time, permanent hires" since the companies don't know how long the surge in demand will last.

But these companies also need highly-skilled workers. Rafn said that competition among gun makers is fierce for top-notch engineers. That's because it's the engineers that come up with the unique gun-design flourishes that inspire gun buyers to add to their collections.

"To get a guy to buy his 29th or 30th gun, you've got to come up with a whole new frame," said Rafn. "We're always looking at new products, and it's these guys who design them."

New features include ergonomic frames, triggers with innovative safeties or actions, or side-mounted laser sights, to give guns a competitive edge. Engineers with the computer-design skills to create them can easily earn $100,000 a year, he added.

More: Workplace Homicides Up 50 Percent In The Last Year

Jacob Herman, chief operating officer for Red Jacket Firearms in Baton Rouge, La., agrees that finding qualified workers is the biggest hurdle for his business, which has an 18-month long backlog of orders. Red Jacket, a family-owned company with 30 employees, makes AR15 semiautomatic assault rifles but has had to stop taking new orders for the time being.

"Finding skilled machinists and advanced skilled labor is one of the biggest problems that we face in getting products out the door," said Herman.

"The firearms industry is fighting for the same employees as the exploding oil business, both here in the Gulf [of Mexico] and in the Dakotas," said Herman, referring to the oil boom in North Dakota, where workers are flocking for jobs with Halliburton, Continental Resources, Hess and Whiting Petroleum.

Machinists can also go into business for themselves as gunsmiths, making about $60,000 a year repairing and maintaining firearms.

Mark Raines, who spends his days refinishing, rebarrelling and nickel-plating, said the orders are piling up at his shop, Masters of Gun and Rod, in Tallahassee, Fla.

"The demand is so high, that I've probably got 250 guns in here for repair at any given time," said Raines. "You make a good living, [but] you don't get rich. Because any time you work with your hands, you're limited to how much you can turn out in a 24-hour period."
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mouse

Get a good safe for ammo and "Stock up'" for all you own if you hunt and or sport shoot! Its going to get scars!, Even brass for reloading.

March 27 2013 at 11:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
shalebrook

Barack Obama-spokesperson-via The department of Homeland Security-for the guns & ammo industry.

March 27 2013 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill Ridenour

I think that the so called boom in ammo sales is inspired by the purchase o 1.6 million rounds of ammo by the Department of Homeland Security. The question is, what do they need it for?

March 27 2013 at 9:05 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill Ridenour's comment
applebaumjm

You are right, but you have one slight typo - it is Billion not million.

May 04 2013 at 7:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gnobie01

YOU OWN A GUN...IF YOU WISH TO OWN A GUN...OR WOULD LIKE AT SOME FUTURE DATE TO BE ALLOWED TO MAKE THAT CHOICE FOR YOURSELF INSTEAD OF SOMEONE YOU DON'T KNOW TELLING YOU WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT DO???....JOIN NRA.....NRA.ORG...NRA.ORG...NRA.ORG...NRA.ORG...NRA.ORG

March 27 2013 at 8:49 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gnobie01

SPORTSPEOPLE...PLEASE BOYCOTT NEW YORK STATE THIS YEAR...GO ELSEWHERE THIS YEAR AND LET THE GOVERNOR OF NY AND IT'S LEGISLATURE SEE HOW MUCH TURISM IS COMING. FROM US...BOYCOTT NEW YORK STATE.........

."NO FREE MAN SHALL EVER BE DEBARRED THE USE OF FIREARMS...THOMAS JEFFERSON
.
....."IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY ABLE BODIED CITIZEN TO REMAIN WELL ARMED".............THOMAS JEFFERSON

March 27 2013 at 8:42 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gnobie01

GUESS NRA WASN'T SO CRAZY AFTER ALL....
GUN CONTROL LAWS DON'T WORK...NEVER HAVE WORKED....NEVER WILL WORK ...TO KEEP ANYONE BUT THE CRIMINALS SAFE......
.
A PEOPLE THAT ARE WILLING TO GIVE UP LIBERTY FOR THE SUPPOSED ADVANTAGE OF SAFETY......DESERVE NEITHER LIBERTY NOR SAFETY..................................BEN FRANKLIN


IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY....OVER 56 MILLION PEOPLE WERE KILLED BY THEIR OWN GOVERNMENT WITH THE HELP OF .."RESONABLE" ..GUN CONTROL LAWS...........
STALIN...20 MILLION
HITLER..13 MILLION
MAO TSE TUNG...20 MILLION
TURKEY...1.5 MILLION
GUATAMALA..100,000
UGANDA....300,000
CAMBODIA....1 MILLION
THE LIST GOES ON..................


MURDER PER CAPITA IS EVEN WORSE THAN THE UNITED STATES IN OTHER COUNTRIES WITH "REASONABLE GUN CONTROL"...

COLUMBIA...14X THE US RATE
S. AFRICA...11X
JAMAICA...YES JAMAICA....THERE IS A US TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR THIS COUNTRY OUTSIDE OF THE TOURIST AREAS ISSUED BY THE STATE DEPT.....7X MURDER OF THE US..... GUNS ARE BANNED TOTALLY HERE
RUSSIA...4X
MEXICO...3X..


ALL THESE COUNTRIES HAVE GUN BANS...PROHIBITION ON PRIVATE OWNERSHIP..OR HARSHLY REGULATED GUN CONTROLS....

March 27 2013 at 8:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
gnobie01

.

March 27 2013 at 8:35 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Dean

Misguided progressives are buying up as much amunition as possible,to "keep it off the streets",admirable sentiment,but it wont work ! Squirrel season comes in early spring here in Maine,and the critters can be quite destructive to houses and wireing causing more than a few fires,and much structural damage as they gnaw their way in makeing their nests !

March 27 2013 at 7:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
comfortablyxxxnumb

The only increase in jobs that Obama can be credited for. Good job Mr. President.
I do have a slight problem witht he article though. The anti-gun people have enough misconceptions to talk about without adding more. Many do not know the difference between an automatic and a semi-automatic or an assault rifle compared to a tactical rifle. But for the article to say "He says .223 caliber ammo, which is for semiautomatic rifles, is particularly difficult to keep in stock" just adds to the misconception. .223 is used in many semiautomatics, yes. But it is also used in other rifles (bolt actions and single shots) and even in a few pistols as well.

March 27 2013 at 1:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to comfortablyxxxnumb's comment
snugfitstudio

You tend to go through a lot of ammo with a repeater. I only shoot 3 or 4 targets when I thake the bolt action .22 to the range. With the AR, I might go through half a battle pack.

March 27 2013 at 8:08 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
nonucantmakemee

the demand will never end, it may slow some after they impeach o b a m a , but he woke America to someone wanting to be a d i c t a t o r

March 27 2013 at 1:20 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply

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