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Old May 18, 2009, 07:35 PM   #1
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The Direction of Sturm, Ruger Firearms

For what it's worth I own 5 Rugers. I own several other brands, but not as many as in the Ruger nameplate. As a disclaimer, I consider Rugers to be very good, affordable guns.

For years, they have made an outstanding series of guns especially for the money. Their byline has always been A Working Gun for the Common Man (slightly paraphrased and misquoted I am sure). Their product line by and large has met that requirement admirably. With Bill Ruger's passing, they have diversified their product line greatly with the latest AR-15 knockoff, the LCP, the SR9, and the LCR.

What I find most concerning is that in their eagerness to release an exciting new product(s), it seems they have made shortcuts in their introduction of the LCP and the SR9 in particular. When business is slow, it is the time to apply the full rigor of product testing before releasing it to the public. Every company bases its sales and longevity on its reputation. Sturm Ruger has a very enviable reputation to uphold. It might lose that hard earned respect very quickly if its product quality particularly with respect to new product introduction does not improve. Ruger has always pioneered the development of new manufacturing processes that allow cost reductions without a compromise of quality.

This is the first time I have ever heard the quality of the 10/22 called into question for instance. I bought one several years ago but have not even looked at them recently due to being $50-75 more than what I paid at the time. I have not even heard anything about the Ruger Gold Label as well. I am assuming that they could not make a classic S/S cost effective with other companies like CZ competing.

It would be nice to see the Ruger Deerfield carbine make a comeback as well. With the latest AR offering, Ruger seems to really be taking a bold step in the wrong direction. It is about time they get into the AR market, but they need to offer 2-3 grades of gun with at least a base model that does not have an MSRP tag of $2,000. Ruger has never made its reputation with $1,000+ guns (excluding the Red and Gold Label). Why would now be the time to start? With many companies that offer $800-1200 ARs, how is this being price competitive?

If Ruger really wants to make a market breakthrough, they need to develop a medium size and weight .45 ACP (or .40 for that matter) around the $5-600 price mark. They make guns that are now currently scaled up models of the original P85/89 with minor improvements. This series of semi-auto handguns have always been overbuilt for the caliber intended especially. The SR9 was a step in the right direction, but it needs to be continued. Everyone has always said their Ruger is built like a tank. Isn't it time that people said their Ruger was built like a Ruger, feels like a Browning, shoots like a Colt, and is priced just right?
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Old May 19, 2009, 10:11 AM   #2
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It may be that the development cost for this thing is low enough that they don't have to sell all that many to make a few bucks.

Its not like they are gojng to make a splash in the generic AR or 1911 market. Just too many players in those games.

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Old May 19, 2009, 10:27 AM   #3
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I think that lots of Ruger fans would be happy saying that a Ruger felt like a Ruger, shot like a Ruger and was built like a Ruger. They would do things that were innovative when gun writers (or the market) couldn't persuade other companies to do, such as the floating firing pin on their single action, at least, eventually. They also exploit the market, if you will forgive me for putting it that way, for a given product by offering it in a large variety of calibers, barrel lengths, finishes, and other features, sometimes much more so than the competition.

There are two things that we as consumers really know little about from the companies standpoint. One is the competition and the other is the market. I've mentioned before that we like to talk about how we'd like this gun or that gun to be reintroduced. I could come up with a list as long as my arm and I have long arms. Then one day someone's dream gun shows up on a dealer's shelf and sits and waits for Mr. Right to come along. Eventually everyone that wanted one has one, if they can afford it, and then the manufacturer stops making them and goes on to the next project. Somehow a distributor may figure into a lot of these unusual variations but I don't know the details of that part of the business but some of the larger distributors carry a lot of the risk in these sort-of-special runs by buying the whole run.

Actually I think that when business is slow they are more likely to do less with new product development and introduction. But who knows what next month will be like?
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Old May 19, 2009, 10:43 AM   #4
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IMO, the younger Rugers are following the same blind trail as the Walton kids have with the former great empire of Wal-Mart. Sadly, the good ol' days are probably past us now. Quality, integrity, and a profit margin that is "good enough" are nowhere to be found these days. My biggest pain is the loss of fine Winchesters and Rugers that could have been kept, and were better than what I can afford to buy now. I waited for years to get my hands on a M77 International .308 in SS. They now make one--for only $1,000! Affordable Ruger handguns are also leaving us fast. The MkIII .22 Competition Model I want is now over $500:barf:! I can't afford to plink like that, so I'm buying a Buckmark URX for $150 less. One day, maybe corporate execs. will learn to listen to what people want and forget about the greed they feel? By then, there will be nothing left that's made in the USA.

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Old May 19, 2009, 11:03 AM   #5
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It appears that you can't please everyone.............

For every thread here lately along the lines of "What is Ruger thinking?" I can point to an earlier thread complaining about Ruger not making XYZ.......

"Ruger doesn't do concealable guns". "Bill Ruger said no honest man needs more than 10 rounds". "Ruger doesn't sell hi capacity mags for their Mini's". "The mini just isn't half the gun that an AR is"..........

Etc........etc.......until the cows come home.

Look at the last 4 products introduced............

SR9 (Hi cap 9mm aimed at the civilian carry market)
LCP (Pocket .380 aimed at the CCW market)
LCR (Pocket .38............)
Piston AR with an MSRP that folks don't like too much. (when's the last time you paid MSRP?)

In the midst of this they've also begun selling 20 and 30 round Mini mags to civilians again.

Now we've got threads lamenting the direction of Sturm, Ruger.......

Sturm has been deceased for many a year, with Bill Ruger following him several years back. The company is going in a much more gun owner friendly direction. Yes, I fully believe that Bill Ruger's much discussed comments were political expedience and business calculation on his part, but he did say them and got roundly trounced by gun owners for his trouble. Let's not rehash all that here, it's been said enough. Apparently someone at Ruger has been listening.

Maybe there are those who would prefer that they stick to over-tough revolvers and cheap .22 plinkers. There's something to be said for that perspective and that's certainly what got the company where it is today. That all being said, there's room for more products in the marketplace and I'm happy to see them out there and to own several of them personally.

As to the happens. Yes it's been a high profile embarrassment to have two product launches with two consecutive recalls (with a third possibly in the works [SP101 .327]). But it shows Ruger's commitment to product safety to recall guns for "possible" problems with no reports from the field of said problem. In both the SR9 and LCP it was a design issue which is a wholly separate animal from a manufacturing QC issue. Separate processes involved there.
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Old May 19, 2009, 11:18 AM   #6
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Maybe this all came about since the young'uns decided to coin the phrase, "Arms makers for responsible citizens"? I'd say it's not a manufacturer's place to determine how responsible the customer is while they pad their pockets with profit. Going head to head with Sig Sauer in a tactical carbine match ain't gonna help me get my Compact Stainless 7mm-08 any faster.

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Old May 19, 2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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I own a few Rugers and regard them as well made firearms. My last Ruger purchase was a pre-recall LCP and to be honest, the fact it was recalled was very disappointing to me. Couple the LCP issues with the SR-9 issues and you certainly have a bad run for Ruger.

What still gives me faith in Ruger is how they handled both recalls. Ruger was up front about both, paid for shipping both ways and generally turned those recalled units around very quickly. Yes a recall is disappointing, but Ruger stood behind their product and made it right. That to me says volume about Ruger's committment.

As a side note, my LCP was "damaged" in Ruger's custody (long story but we'll leave it at damaged) during the recall process. This did not make me happy. To Ruger's credit, they replaced the damaged parts, no questions asked.

Ruger appears to be going through some growing pains with their product expansion, but I can say that I'll certainly continue to support them.
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Old May 19, 2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Ruger is trying to get into what sells. Their Mini 14 is a joke compared to ARs that outsell it 25:1. They are trying to get a share of the AR market by jumping on the piston AR bandwagon (although that wagon crashed 30 years ago when it was tried). $2,000 for a AR will street price about $1,500 competing with the SIG 556. I'll take a SIG over a Ruger any day of the week.
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Old May 20, 2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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really, what innovations are left for companies like Ruger?

The 1911 market has everything from $400 serviceable guns to $5000 gunsmith specials.

The AR market has just about anything you might want starting at $700.

No real room there to maneuver.

They have come out with a new caliber (.327 federal). Not something real useful in my mind, but moderately innovative. Not much you can really do with DA revolvers that could be called innovative.

What would they do in the SA revolver market? Bring back the Bearcat?

They are dealing with the CC market pretty effectively.

Their rifles have always been a bit stodgy, if pretty good.

And you really can't do much to their shotgun. its pretty solid. Unless they wanted to get into defensive shotguns, but a lot of people are already there.

They could do things with the 10/22 and Minis, but whats the point.

I thought their 44spl carbine was kind of neat, but the marketplace did not appreciate it all that much.

Whats left?

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Old May 20, 2009, 11:51 AM   #10
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I dont believe there is a finer made gun out there then the Ruger #1.
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Old May 20, 2009, 12:08 PM   #11
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Dakota Arms
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Merkell double
Holland double
Ed Brown
Ultra Light Arms

Sure there's a bunch of rifles that are over and above a Ruger #1.
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Old May 20, 2009, 12:49 PM   #12
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If you don't like the products produced, or you think "they" are doing it all wrong, then do what Americans have done for centuries and start your own company and show them how it's suposed to be done. Or vote with your wallet. Or write the fine folks at Ruger a letter telling them what you think they should be making. Or whatever. Just quit whining.
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Old May 20, 2009, 01:28 PM   #13
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My company makes its own ARs. I've written Ruger. I don't buy Ruger. When Ruger makes something that I want for the price I'm willing to pay, I will buy. So far no luck.
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Old May 20, 2009, 05:53 PM   #14
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What I find most concerning is that in their eagerness to release an exciting new product(s), it seems they have made shortcuts in their introduction of the LCP and the SR9 in particular.
Both the LCP and SR9 were new models for Ruger, not just variations of existing models. It is not uncommon for gun manufacturers (and all manufacturers) to have some problems in early models. SW had mag release and corrosion issues with the very first M&P models. Glock had several problems when they built their first polymer pistols.

Ruger has been very responsible in recalling their guns for even minor problems and making them right. And it's not like they have quit building their guns that sell - their single action revolvers, .22 semi-autos, etc. Personally, I'm excited at the expansion of the Ruger line. I recently bought an LCP and will likely buy an LCR once the bugs are worked out.

As far as their new AR and it's price, keep three things in mind. First, this is a piston driven system (like an AK) and not a direct impingement system like a true AR. A number of buyers have expressed an interest in such a system and there are few direct competitors at this time (LWRC is one). ARs of this type typically sell higher than direct impingement systems. Second, ARs are premium priced right now and I would expect prices to drop in the future. Finally, the $2,000 MSRP is just that -- suggested retail. The actual street price will likely be quite a bit less once the "I gotta' have the latest" buyers are finished.

Ruger is responding to the market. Be glad they have. Colt didn't and they are now a shadow of their former self.
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Old May 20, 2009, 06:09 PM   #15
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Their new SR556 looks very well thought out.
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Old May 20, 2009, 08:24 PM   #16
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I only have two Rugers, both are customized 10/22's....very happy with both. Unfortunately the new ones seem to be comprised of plastic and spray paint which translates into cheap. If they will do this on the one model I am familiar with, they are probably doing it to the entire product line.

Moves like this are reminiscent of what Winchester did to the model 70 in the mid 60's. Compromising quality for more market share is a fatal error. Customer loyalty and product quality will both go down in a death spiral of the company.
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Old May 27, 2009, 04:06 PM   #17
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new guns

I see so many buying foriegn guns,you might want to take a look at who owns the rifle manufacturers.and the more calibers the more its going to cost on all we really NEED all the whiz bangs.fewer cartridges means less price.and more production on the fewer cat.
Who owns REM,who Marlin,who H&R.and the powder and ammo companies.
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Old May 27, 2009, 07:32 PM   #18
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If Ruger really wants to make a market breakthrough, they need to develop a medium size and weight .45 ACP around the $5-600 price mark.
I may be missing your point here, but isn't that exactly what the P345 is? It is not nearly as bulky as the earlier P Series .45's. It is lightweight and has dimensions that are pretty similar to those of a Colt Commander.

It is less than $500 and imo it is probably one of the best buys to be had in a .45 ACP semi-auto.
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Old May 27, 2009, 07:39 PM   #19
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I haven't checked in the last few days, but Ruger stock has nearly doubled since last year. Somebody must thing that they're doing something right.
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