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Old June 8, 2011, 12:30 PM   #1
Skans
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Who's the "Steve Jobs" of the gun industry?

Steve Jobs real accomplishment was taking a company that made novelty computers to a completely different level by introducing revolutionary, new products that people had to have as soon as they saw them.

Who is the Steve Jobs of the firearms industry? Instead of more Glock-a-likes and 1911's, who has the capability of leading a firearms manufacturer to making the next "gotta-have" gun?
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Old June 8, 2011, 12:35 PM   #2
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I don't think there is one. In the field of technology, major breakthroughs occur all the time. Technological capabilities are advancing at lightning speed.

In the firearms industry, major breakthroughs are normally separated by decades, not months. Nobody has revolutionized firearms the way apple revolutionized personal technology devices. I'm not sure how anyone could.
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Old June 8, 2011, 12:39 PM   #3
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Gaston Glock. Just like most new smartphones have physical features that resemble the iPhone, most pistol companies make at least one black-plastic framed gun.
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Old June 8, 2011, 12:40 PM   #4
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Bill Ruger gets my vote.
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Old June 8, 2011, 12:42 PM   #5
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The great late John Moses Browning, of course.
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Old June 8, 2011, 12:52 PM   #6
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I don't need the stuff Apple makes. It's spiffy neat stuff, but most people haven't bought any of it either.

"Steve Jobs real accomplishment was taking a company that made novelty computers..."

...and they still make novelty computers and have less than 10% of the market. Good computers, but not widely popular.

Reminds me of the Taurus Judge or whatever that thing was called.

John

P.S. - "The company’s market share grew from 7.3 percent in 2010 to 9.3 percent in 2011."
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Old June 8, 2011, 01:00 PM   #7
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...and they still make novelty computers and have less than 10% of the market.
Probably becuase their so dang expensive haha.
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Old June 8, 2011, 01:09 PM   #8
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George Kellgren of Kel-Tec
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Old June 8, 2011, 01:17 PM   #9
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Just how well knows was Browning in, say, 1920? As well known as Sam Colt was in 1860?
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Old June 8, 2011, 01:26 PM   #10
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There isn't one.

Jobs' following isn't because he's a good inventor. He has a great eye for design and is a genius at marketing, but the cult of personality around him just has no parallel in the firearms world.
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Old June 8, 2011, 02:18 PM   #11
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There isn't one.
Real development of modern firearms ended just after the CW.
Since then there have only been modifications and minor improvements on the now, almost ancient, concept of bullet in the front of a brass case that goes bang when you hit it on the back end.
We need something new.
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Old June 8, 2011, 02:31 PM   #12
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.and they still make novelty computers and have less than 10% of the market. Good computers, but not widely popular.


P.S. - "The company’s market share grew from 7.3 percent in 2010 to 9.3 percent in 2011."
Yes, but Apple is still worth more than the software giant Microsoft and is the world's second most valuable company........must be a decent business plan.

Back on track with OP, I think it would be JMB.

Last edited by shootniron; June 8, 2011 at 03:07 PM.
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Old June 8, 2011, 02:51 PM   #13
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I don't think there is one. In the field of technology, major breakthroughs occur all the time... Nobody has revolutionized firearms the way apple revolutionized personal technology devices. I'm not sure how anyone could.
I don't agree entirely- the difference is that firearms are a mature technology whereas computers and personal technology are still developing. There were numerous game-changing technical innovations in firearms design- they just came in the late 19th century!

IMHO computers and personal technology are probably where the firearms industry was in 1910 and the auto industry was in 1955; the basic fundamentals have been invented, so the new models aren't leaps and bounds better than the previous models from a sheer technical standpoint. However, a lot of refinements are reshaping what people expect the technology to do, and several substantial leaps forward are probably still on the way.
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There isn't one. Jobs' following isn't because he's a good inventor. He has a great eye for design and is a genius at marketing, but the cult of personality around him just has no parallel in the firearms world.
+1.

Sam Colt was an inventor and a good promoter but he could not run a business very well.

John Moses Browning was a technical genius but he was content to stay in the shadows and let others manufacture his designs.

Hiram Maxim briefly approached Jobs' combination of marketing brilliance, business sense, and cult of personality, but refinements by others (including Browning) quickly surpassed his original invention, and he did not have anything up his sleeve to follow it.

Bill Ruger was ~40 years too late. Also, IMHO Ruger's genius is more comparable to Soichiro Honda- the ability to look at a complex and expensive product invented by others, strip it down to what buyers really want, leave off the extraneous fluff, and sell it cheaper than anyone else can.
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Old June 8, 2011, 02:59 PM   #14
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Certainly John Moses Browning,no one else has equalled him.
A little more modern,but,not JMB,Eugene Stoner.
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Old June 8, 2011, 03:14 PM   #15
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When I think of Apple, I think of buzz and releasing the next gotta have item.

Right now I can only think of one firearm company that comes close to that: Ruger.

LCP, LCR, SR556, LC9, SR1911, you can't deny that there was a TON of buzz around the release of each of those firearms. To me, the release of a new Ruger firearm is the closest thing we've got to the buzz that accompanies the release of a new Iphone or Ipad.
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Old June 8, 2011, 03:36 PM   #16
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The Glock was revolutionary, but that was about 30 years ago. In fact, it's really more of a 1-hit wonder. Its virtually the same format today that it was when I purchased my G17 21 years ago. What else has Glock made besides the Glock?

Some of the micro-9mm pistols might make the cut - quite a bit of technology went into shrinking those 9mm's down to the size and weight that some are today, like the R9.

I'd say that the large capacity pistols of the 1980's - 1990's was a leap ahead technologically. 15 - 20 rounds of 9mm in a handgun that can be holstered was unheard of previously.

STI's double stack, modular 2011 was quite inventive. I think Sig has a modular gun out there to that is interesting.
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Old June 8, 2011, 04:24 PM   #17
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I considered a number of people.... Sam Colt, Dan Wesson, Eugene Stoner (Armalite), John Browning, Oliver Winchester, Eliphalet Remington, Gaston Glock.... Most took a single idea and built their company around it. The idea was frequently the application of a number of techical inovations or patents that were incorporated into their product line. So, to be a Steve Jobs in the gun business, it takes a good idea which grows with new techical advances.

So, I would have to put my money on Sam Colt, Oliver Winchester, and Eliphalet Remington Jr because they were innovative, but continued to be inovative for a long period of time by buying patents and improving their product line just like Steve Jobs. J M Browning basically sold his inovative ideas to other companies and allowed them to continue to show inovation and prosper.
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Old June 8, 2011, 04:35 PM   #18
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George Kellgren of Kel-Tec~Nitesites
Not to take away from these other late great names, but George Kellgren does seem to be putting in a few long days at work.
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Old June 8, 2011, 05:30 PM   #19
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I think the closest living one would be the CEO of Savage. I am sorry I cannot recall his name.

The gentleman really does have a contagious passion for firearms and shooting.

.
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Old June 8, 2011, 05:32 PM   #20
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John Moses Browning....
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Old June 8, 2011, 08:06 PM   #21
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Jobs' following isn't because he's a good inventor. He has a great eye for design and is a genius at marketing...
Actually, I believe he has a good eye for design and marketing people.
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Old June 8, 2011, 08:11 PM   #22
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When I think of Apple, I think of buzz and releasing the next gotta have item.
Quote:
Jobs' following isn't because he's a good inventor. He has a great eye for design and is a genius at marketing...
In that case, the person(s) who own Kahr.
Apple: Under powered, but conveniently sized. Generally overpriced. Not the best hardware for the money. Seems familiar now that I say it out loud.
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Old June 8, 2011, 08:15 PM   #23
pendennis
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A lot of great ...

...responses here.

For pure innovation of existing products, Bill Ruger surely has an edge. He brought investment casting to the fore. He also "single-handedly" (sorry for the pun) brought back the single-action revolver, making great advancements, so the familiar design would handle hotter modern cartridges, something the old Colt Model P could never do. He also brought to modernization the single-shot rifle. The Ruger No. 1 is absolutely elegant.

The Model 77 just about slammed the door on the Model 70 (post-64). They're accurate, reasonably priced, and great value for the money.

He also entered into the modern revolver fray with the Security Six. Not taking either side (Colt v. S&W), he brought a very innovative design to the market.

Most famously however, is the Ruger Mark I. Simple in concept, it brought real affordability to the average shooter wanting a semiauto, but unable to afford a Colt Woodsman.

Granted, none of his designs were original in the sense that they broke new ground, but Bill Ruger knew how to get the most from his modifications.

In the 19th century, there were lots of designs, in both handguns and rifles, which didn't survive in the market place. Savage and Remington both had revolvers which didn't survive. Any number of repeating rifle designs died because they weren't strong enough or were much too "Rube Goldberg-ish" in their designs. There were semiatuo designs (Mauser and Luger) which died after a few years. And probably many hundreds more we can't remember.

Right now, the PC world is broken into roughly two camps - Apple and Intel. Apple still carries the day when it comes to innovation. However, for pure utility, Intel-type PC's rule the world. When it comes to software, again Apple is innovative, but Microsoft Office rules the business world.

For pure genius over a breadth of firearm designs, John M. Browning is probably the best. Who else designed as many different firearms?
  • Model 1885 Winchester
  • Model 1886 Winchester
  • Early Model 19xx semiautos
  • Model 1911
  • Model 1935 (with post-mortem finishing design by Dieudonne Saive)
  • Browning Automatic Rifle
  • Browning Automatic Shotgun
  • Browning light and medium (Model 1918, etc.) machine guns
  • Browning .50 caliber machine gun
  • Browning Superposed shotgun

Based on sheer diversity of products, Browning surely has the edge.

Last edited by pendennis; June 8, 2011 at 08:53 PM.
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Old June 8, 2011, 09:05 PM   #24
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I think the closest living one would be the CEO of Savage. I am sorry I cannot recall his name.
That would be Ron Coburn, and he gets my vote, too. He took a bankrupt company and made it one of the most successful rifle manufacturers in the country.

Browning was a great designer and employee, but it never occurred to him to make and market his own designs, so he isn't a businees type or CEO.

Coburn was also a leader. As he walked through the Savage plant in its dark days, he noticed it was really dark. Then he noticed how dirty the windows were. He didn't have money for anything, he later said. But it only took a ladder, bucket and mop (along with some elbow grease) to fix that problem. So he rounded up the necessary equipment and cleaned as many windows as he could before he had to go back to his "other job" in the front office. When he came back through the plant, all the windows had been washed, and people were starting to clean up the place, like it mattered once more.
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Old June 8, 2011, 09:56 PM   #25
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Justin Moon

The steve jobs of modern gun manufacturing is Justin Moon ( or Kook to His family ). Kind of a mix of a Modern American education ( Harvard ) and a cult like Father for investment capital ( Daddy Moonie ) and the usual American youth bravado ( chose Kahr for the name of His company because it sounded cool, like a muscle car ) meets designer capitalist of CCW weapons.
Bill Ruger is more like the Ray Kroc of guns in my opinion..........WVleo
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