As an avid blogger on the topic of firearms, I spend a lot of my time researching guns, the gun industry, and other gun blogs or website. A comment that I hear made often is that the gun public is bored with polymer striker designs. To some degree, I do agree with that sentiment. I’m just looking at the offerings from SHOT Show 2019, there wasn’t much to see that was new under the sun. Mossberg jumped into the EDC/CCW with an offering that was uninspiring and looks just like any other polymer subcompact. Glock extended the grip of the 43 and called it the 43x, slapped a “stainless” finish on the slide and called it a day. They put the G19 on a diet and reduced it to a single stack frame and gave it the same finish as the 43x and called it a G48. Not exactly ground breaking work.
A few years ago, a company by the name of Hudson Manufacturing, entered the handgun market with an excellent design and concept. They took what was best of the Glock and 1911 and merged the two. The safety trigger features of the Glock and the precise and crisp break of a 1911 trigger. Furthermore, they placed the recoil rod and spring in front of the trigger guard and beneath the leading edge of the barrel. Due to the positioning of the recoil assembly, and the all steel construction, felt recoil and muzzle flip from the 9mm gun was virtually imperceptible. This was an evolutionary step in the progression of the semiautomatic hand gun. The Hudson H9 was the talk of SHOT 2017.
Fast forward to 2019 SHOT Show, Hudson Manufacturing was a no show. The biggest trade show of the year, and Hudson was absent with an empty booth, even though they were prominently featured in the advertisement and brochures leading up to the event. This was shocking to attendees as Hudson is a big name in the gun industry. What happened? Well…as best I can decipher at this point, their capital venture partner pulled their funding, and they could not get their creditors paid. They were sued by a subcontractor of parts who is owed up to $750k. A letter from the president of the company stated they can’t afford to ship guns under warranty to their customers who sent them in for repairs. Hudson has several issues with their first run. Hudson owners who sent their guns in for warranty work may not get them back if Hudson files for bankruptcy. Given the damage done to Hudson’s reputation, they are probably headed that route. This is a shame, because Hudson Manufacturing is an all American company with an outstanding design. The execution and management of the company caused its failure.
The real story behind all this is how the gun industry is affected by capital funding. The reason we see nothing but Glock like polymer guns is because they are cheap and profitable to make and buy. They also work. Capital venture companies are looking to fund manufacturers who can turn 5-7 times the profit of initial investments in a short amount of time. Hudson’s business plan required a 10 year initial investment into a brand new revolutionary design which costs a lot to manufacture. As with all new designs, failures will occur and they were not properly funded to handle the initial bugs of the design, and their customer service suffered because of it. This is why we see Taurus producing a metric ton of guns and making money. They are affordable, and they work. They copy the operating system of the Glock, like many other companies. Because they don’t have to spend money on proprietary machines, or research and development (Glock already perfected the design), their fixed costs are low. This means lower prices to the consumer, and more sales. The profit comes from the high volume of sales.
If you read this article all the way through, thank you for your patience. Now you know why we keep seeing the same guns over and over again. If a gun company doesn’t have a military contract, they will have a tough time making it with the finicky capital venture firms. Turn a fast profit, or they cut you off. I hope a well funded group takes over, and rebuilds the company. Otherwise, a great American innovation will be lost in time like many others in the past. Like to the source material below.