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Hudson Mfg Bankruptcy and the Reality of Firearms Manufacturing


Hi guys, thanks for tuning in.
I’m Ian McCollum, and I want to talk for a minute about
the reality of the firearms industry. So I’m sitting here recording on an iPhone in a
hotel room because I am actually on a trip right now doing some photography for
the next Vickers Guide book. But we have seen some news come out today,
or yesterday perhaps by the time you see this, that Hudson Manufacturing has formally
declared bankruptcy. And I think it’s worth taking a minute to talk about the reality of
the firearms industry and how this applies. So in fact, when you look at it, some of the
guns that I’ve been particularly excited about in recent years … haven’t done all that
well, and that could be fairly disconcerting. But to be honest, this doesn’t come to me as a
huge shocking surprise. And I think that’s because I look at a lot of historical firearms companies. And if you
watch all the videos that I do you’ll have seen them too, although maybe it hasn’t really sunk in. The reality
of the fact is: most firearms companies go bankrupt. Most of the new guns that are put out, whether
today, or 50 years ago, or 150 years ago, most of them don’t actually work out.
We can look at some of the most iconic, ultimately most successful firearms manufacturers
in American or even in world history, and see that they all, like, if they haven’t
gone bankrupt they’ve come close. Samuel Colt invents the revolver, one of perhaps
the most fundamentally revolutionary concepts in firearms technology, and proceeds to go bankrupt
on his very first gun, the Colt Paterson revolver went bankrupt. It was only a couple of years later with
basically one really outstanding fanboy client in Walker, who commissioned the Walker revolvers that
allowed Colt to form a new company and actually make enough money to form a serious long term
manufacturing concern. The Paterson company just died. Paterson revolvers, while ahead of their time and
this great technology, they didn’t sell, people didn’t want them, people didn’t buy them. And the company
went out of business in an ignominious failure. So if, like, the guns that I’ve been
excited about recently of particular note include the Hudson H9 and
the HMG Sturmgewehrs. And as you guys obviously have seen,
neither of those has gone all that well. Now the Hudson went better and what’s interesting is…
Let me back up a step. The firearms industry, especially in the United
States today, is a very precarious one in that… It’s not that guns won’t sell, guns in fact sell very
well in the United States on the civilian market. And of course, there’s always a market
for military firearms across the world. Every nation has to have a military, and
they’re all going to buy guns for them. The problem is there are a
lot of people making guns, and there are a lot of very good
guns available on the market today. If you look at handguns, you almost have a hard time,
like, if you have 500 or 600 dollars in your pocket, you’re gonna have a difficult time
making a bad decision on a handgun,
unless you buy a Taurus Judge or something. But if you look at the major manufacturers, you got
Smith & Wesson making M&Ps – excellent guns. You’ve got Ruger making Ruger Americans
– those are good guns. You’ve got Glock, shoot, for 500 or 600 bucks you can get almost
any Glock out there and it’s going to be a fantastic gun, as good as anything on the market.
And … like what more do you want, it’s gonna be super reliable, it’s gonna be accurate,
it’s … everything you would want. And you’ve got probably half a dozen really top-tier
manufacturers that are making guns like this, HK, Steyr, basically everyone out
there on the market makes, FN, everyone out there makes a really good
service type automatic pistol. And so for a company like Hudson to try and break
into that market with what is, I continue to believe, a very good pistol. The problem is it’s a very good
pistol but it’s also a relatively expensive pistol. They were selling that thing for like 1,100 or
1,200 dollars, which is about double the going rate for a standard generic, like it’ll shoot 9mm, it’ll
do it with boring reliability, and it’ll do it accurately. And you know what? You’re gonna be able to
count at least five or six law enforcement or security agencies that are using the same gun that you are,
almost regardless of which major manufacturer you buy. So, how do you break into that market?
You know what, it’s difficult. And as best I can tell, I don’t have any
actual data on this, but there are rumours that I’ve heard and this makes
intellectual sense to me, unfortunately, is that Hudson shot themselves in the foot with
the H9A, the aluminium framed Hudson gun. They introduced that at Shot Show in 2018, so a
little over a year ago, and there were a lot of people… – like that was a fantastic gun. And I’m actually…
in fact, I’m part of the problem here, I shot the H9A from Hudson and at that point
we had gotten a test, Karl and I at InRange TV, we’ve gotten a T&E standard H9 Hudson pistol,
steel frame, and we shot it and we really liked it. … But there’s two of us, there’s me
and there’s Karl, and we had one gun and we both wanted one because we did,
and we still do, really like that pistol design. So I was planning on buying myself a Hudson H9,
and when I got to Shot Show and I shot the H9A (aluminium frame), I looked at that thing, I shot it
and I realised this shoots like just as well. You know, the recoil, the system that Cy and
Lauren Hudson came up with really does work. It’s not just the weight of the gun, it’s that
mechanical system that they designed, it’s great. And the aluminium framed H9A weighed
something like four or six ounces less, it was substantially less, but it shot just
as nicely. And so I figured, well, shoot, I’m not gonna buy a steel one. These aluminium
frame guns are coming out right around the corner, that was what they were advertising
at Shot Show. I’ll just … wait, I’ll get one of those, and a lot of
people said that exact same thing. But they weren’t able to actually
release the aluminium frame guns, and I don’t know why at this point.
Hopefully someday, we’ll find out why. But they shot themselves in the foot, like,
they killed their future sales by announcing the new product without being able to
immediately actually release the new product. And this is emblematic of how delicate
the firearms industry really is, like you can be doing well, you can be
selling guns and one little mistake, like announcing that new product just too
early, can cannibalise all your own sales. And all of a sudden there’s no cash flow,
which means you can’t continue development of the aluminium frame gun, or whatever your next
improvement is, and then, boom, like no cash flow. How do you pay your employees?
How do you pay the machine costs? … Especially if you’re producing guns, you owe
taxes on those guns to the federal government. There’s an 11% excise tax on firearms and ammunition,
some of you guys may not be aware of that, but … I think more than the heaviest sales tax
anywhere is owed by the manufacturer upon… in the case of a company like Hudson, if they’re
outsourcing any of their machining, when they receive and are invoiced for a wholesale price gun,
they at that point owe federal excise tax on it. So if you produce 1,000 guns at $800
apiece that’s like an 80,000 dollar bill (do I have that right? I’ve
drunk a little bit of wine). That’s a significant tax bill that you owe right then
for those guns before you’ve actually sold them. So there’s a lot of financial liabilities
that you’re going to incur in this process. And that appears to have been the death knell and killed
Hudson. One little mistake, you advertise that new gun just too early, and boom, that’s it. No
more sales. No more sales means no cash. No cash means your company goes bankrupt. So, I
don’t know what the outcome will be with Hudson. I am in particular concerned for the people
who had guns in to Hudson for repair. And I know some people are going to be really
pissed at Hudson that they bought new guns and they didn’t work, they broke. Well, the
reality of the matter is every firearm requires a substantial amount of testing
and break-in before you can determine what are the problems and what are the
manufacturing tweaks that you need to make. And this is a particular problem for new companies,
or small companies developing firearms. If you look at major … like successful military
firearms, look at really any of them, the AR-15, the FAL, the G3, the 1911, the Mauser bolt-action rifle. All
of these guns, they take about 10 years to get right. It’s ten years of we’re gonna make the
first version, we’re gonna ship a bunch, people are gonna get them, people
are gonna start using them, we’re gonna find out – like we can’t
afford to, you know, to make 50,000 guns and put 1,000 rounds through every one of
them. Manufacturers can’t afford to do that. They’ll sell the first version to someone.
That person, if they’re a major military, will do that initial testing for them whether they
realise it or not. And then the company realises, “Oh, OK, our extractor has this problem. We need to
change this about the extractor, maybe then, you know, the gun has problems B, C and D, and we’ll fix
those”. And then we have the second version. Mauser is particularly easy to watch this
process on. They start with the Mauser in 1889, and it’s not until 1898 that they have
the final tweaked version of this design that becomes really the world standard.
The AR-15 / M16 is kind of the same way. The early guns had problems, … they iterate,
they tweak, they improve the design and now the AR-15 is really the best overall firearm
that has ever been developed ever by anybody. And you’ll see this with everybody else.
The FAL, the G3, they all go through this process and they all seem to take about eight
or ten years to actually get right. So the fact that some of the very early Hudsons
ended up having problems, that doesn’t surprise me. And honestly, if you’re the kind of person
who is willing … to purchase an early iteration of a gun, it shouldn’t surprise you either.
You should be ready and expect that to be a thing. Now, … where the question comes is, how
does Hudson respond to those problems? And as long as the company had cash
flow, they seemed to be doing just fine. They were, you know, taking in problems
recognising what the root cause was, fixing those individual guns and sending
them back to customers. And then, I hope, iterating their design to prevent those
problems from coming up in future production. The problem is when they run out of
cash flow they can no longer do that. And now if you send a gun in, you’re in this weird limbo
of the company’s gone bankrupt, they have your gun. … I hope, I would like to say that I trust, that
Cy and Lauren Hudson will make sure that everyone who had a gun at Hudson for repair, even if it
doesn’t get fixed, it at least gets shipped back. It would be an absolute travesty if Hudson’s bankruptcy
involves like selling guns that have been returned to them for a repair that were already purchased
by customers. That would be unacceptable. Unfortunately those people – well hopefully something
will develop in the future, I don’t know but cross your fingers. Hopefully something will develop,
there will be some support, aftermarket support, for existing Hudsons. But… This is kind of part of the process of
firearms design, and that’s just how it works. The problem is firearms are a
complicated mechanical device and our standards for a firearm
are really remarkably high. … Again this is one of the things I don’t
think a lot of people really consider, like a firearm by our standards, especially
today, it has to be 100% reliable. Like it can’t have any sort of
substantial malfunction over hundreds, if not thousands, of cycling iterations.
For a mechanical device, that’s huge. You know you look at your computer, if your computer
freezes up every once in a while, or your cell phone freezes up every once in a while, you don’t
think about it, you just reboot it. No big deal. But we’ve gotten this attitude that a firearm
has to be absolutely 100% reliable and, you know, having one malfunction in a hundred
rounds is unacceptably poor reliability. That’s a 1% error rate, and that’s really not
that bad by a lot of standards. You know, you kind of have to get to like the
aviation industry before you have the same accepted standard of reliability as you have with
the firearms industry. I’m not saying that’s bad, I’m just saying think about what that requires from
a manufacturing and an engineering standpoint to actually have a mass produced product
that costs, say, 500 to 1,000 dollars that will run a 1,000 iterations without a single malfunction,
and that’s including … a wide variety of ammunition that people are gonna put into it that the
manufacturer doesn’t have any control over. Again, I’m not trying to make an excuse
for companies that can’t do that, I’m saying we’ve set a pretty darn high bar
and we should understand how high that bar is. … Now another element of the firearms
manufacturing industry today that I want to touch on is how difficult it is
to meet that standard. And in this example I’m gonna touch on the HMG Sturmgewehrs. I think the
problem with Sturmgewehrs is that Hill and Mac did not fundamentally understand just how different
firearms manufacturing and standards
are from, like, general engineering. So they had an engineering background. They worked
in the engineering and manufacturing industry, but they had not worked in guns. And I think they
underestimated how complicated it would be to manufacture a reliable and effective firearm.
And I think we see some of that in their decision to tackle four separate calibres all
right at first, right at the beginning. They were going to offer those guns not in
one single calibre with others added later after the first one came into production, but no,
they were very confident that it would be no big deal to offer them in .223,
.300 Blackout, 7.62×39 and 8mm Kurz. … They’re not the only people to fall
victim to this, like look at the L85, the British standard-issue
bullpup infantry rifle. Those rifles were designed by people who had
engineering backgrounds, but they had never worked in firearms design before. And that turned
into a legendarily crappy, terrible gun. Not because the guys who designed them
weren’t decent engineers and draftsman, but because they didn’t have the experience in
firearms specifically, and there are so many little small issues that can become just
Achilles heels on firearms for reliability. I don’t know exactly what’s going on
with Hill and Mac, unfortunately. I suspect it is a whole lot of those little
problems compounding one upon another. I continue to maintain hope that we will see
those guns at some point, but I don’t know. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is when it
comes to firearms manufacturing you have to have deep pockets to be able to have a really
good chance of pulling off a new design. The way that works is … you have to
design the gun, make some prototypes, get the prototypes working and then you
have to transition from prototypes to serial manufacture, you have to be able to…
– like making a prototype, relatively speaking, is easy because
every prototype is hand fitted. So you make the parts, if they don’t fit you file a
little bit here, file a little bit there, get it to work. Prototypes often run really well, in fact we see that
with the L85s, the very early prototype guns run great. It’s like the farther they got along in the
design process the worse the guns got. Well the step after you got prototypes, the
next step you have to do is go to an actual production line, and what that means is you have
to set up this whole array of tooling and jigs and machines to produce every part. And … like you’re not allowed to touch those parts before they go into the gun. You have to
take a part raw off of every machine, put it together and make a functioning firearm.
And that is a huge engineering challenge. I have done, I’ve just the smallest amount
of experience actually in that sort of industry and doing that. And if you don’t,
I would encourage you to… If you don’t want to … like get into that
industry or try and research into it deeply, trust me when I say that that’s a
huge engineering undertaking. It may not sound like one, but that’s
where all the minutiae and the really … difficult and unglamorous part of
engineering and manufacturing comes in, is making sure that all your tolerances,
clearances, your machine settings (like how many parts can you run with this
cutting bit before it’s too dull, and now it doesn’t make parts to the right tolerance any more),
stacking tolerances. All these things come into play. … I’m jumping back and forth here But this is an example where John Garand
was such an effective and brilliant man, is he designed his firearm, the M1 Garand, and he
also did a ton of work designing the machine tooling to put it on to actual serial production.
And because he understood the gun so well he was in a perfect place as a talented engineer to
design the machine tooling to actually produce that gun. And, if anything, that machine tooling is just as difficult
of a design project as making the gun in the first place. So, making that jump from prototypes to serial
production is huge, and the way this works normally with a gun that’s going to
actually be a market success, is that this is being done by a major company that has
deep enough pockets that it can afford to make, like it’ll set up the tooling and they’ll make
100 guns or 200 guns or 1,000 guns as an experiment basically. Like make those and see if
they actually work. And then use that, test those guns, use what you learn to tweak your production
line and get that actually working, and producing guns without problems. Where you run into trouble is when you’re
a small company and you can’t afford to just make that many guns
without actually selling them. And so what those companies tend
to do is they’ll make a production line. … It seems OK, on paper it ought to work, cross
your fingers, start making guns and ship them. And then when those guns inevitably
have problems because the production line inevitably has some failure in it
somewhere, then all of the guns that have reliability problems are going to get
shipped back and it’s that return shipping, and repair, and shipping back out, that is just a cash
suck that will drain – they’ll bleed a company dry. Too many returns and repairs will
just kill a manufacturing company, and that’s endemic to a lot of the firearms
industry today. Simply by the nature of the complexity of the machines that
we call firearms that they’re making, and this very high standard of
reliability that we’ve set for them. So, I guess my point in this is unfortunately it’s really
hard to make a firearm and then actually sell it. And I haven’t even gotten to the part of:
I do have to convince people to buy it. Even if you get through all of this process, you
have to come out the other end with a gun that is interesting enough, at a low enough price
point, to convince enough people to buy it that you’ll actually make a profit, and it’ll be
worth you producing a large number of these guns. … In fact, here’s the way to think
about it. Think about how many brand new small-scale startup
car companies there are. Now, granted, a car is a substantially more
complicated … mechanical thing than a firearm, but that’s why there are like zero
startup small-scale car companies. You can’t do that on a production basis. The only
ones that are out there are making prototypes. Like the closest thing we have to a … start-up
production car company is Tesla. And Elon Musk, running Tesla, has enormously deep pockets to
be able to afford this sort of initial production setup. That’s the same situation that gun companies
are in. If you want to design your own firearm and put it into production you are
taking on a tremendously difficult task. And it should not be underestimated
just how harrowing that process will be. And most of the time it results in failure. Now
we can see that, if you watch my videos you’ll see that historically how many gun companies – I mean
just recently, I just did a video on the Whitney Wolverine. It’s exactly what happened there. Those
were guys who knew what they were doing, they were talented engineers that ran a manufacturing
company, and they still went into the ground, trying to make a gun that was
actually fundamentally a good gun. I am about to produce videos on carbines
made by Lee and by Armstrong and Taylor during the Civil War, or right after the Civil War.
You’ll see those videos coming up very shortly, those companies both [went] into the ground. All of us who … enjoy firearms are lucky that
James Paris Lee was willing to take that experience and still – like you’ll see this, Lee’s
carbine, it was an ignominious failure, and yet he was willing to go back into
the industry and try a second time. And ended up inventing the detachable box magazine,
which is a huge part of firearms engineering history. So I can’t say it’s a surprise to me.
It is a disappointment, I am very sad about it, but I can’t say I’m hugely shocked
or surprised to see a lot of the companies producing innovative, interesting new products like
the Hudson H9 and the HMG Sturmgewehrs, I have a hard time being surprised to
see those companies not succeed. It’s unfortunate, but it really is how this industry
works. So, if there is an upshot to this video, cynic that … like the realistic part of me says
if you’re thinking about designing a firearm, don’t. In fact … if you watch the interview I did with
Tony Neophytou, fantastic, extremely humble, brilliant firearms designer in South Africa, when
I interviewed him I brought up this question. I said OK you know, if you’re gonna invent a new firearm,
where would you start? And he immediately reacts, he said, “Oh, don’t, like sit down until the feeling passes.
Whatever you do, don’t get into this field. It’s a disaster.” He’s not wrong, unfortunately. From the consumer perspective, if you’re the guy
looking to buy a new gun, here is my one piece of advice. Never pay for a gun upfront. If it’s
not ready to ship, do not pay for it. And right now, I regret not saying that, or not being
clearer about that, with the HMG Sturmgewehrs. I learned this lesson, boy, like 15 years ago. I paid
full price for a semi-automatic reproduction FG42 really quite early in my firearms collecting years. And I lost 100% of my money, that company went
out of business. This was … before Rick Smith, this has nothing to do with the
semi-auto FG42s that are available now. Those are fantastic guns, and you’ll
notice they do not accept payment upfront, … there’s a fee to get on the waiting list, there’s
$100 earnest money. That’s nothing. On a $5,500 gun, 100 bucks to get on a waiting
list, no big deal. That’s there to ensure that SMG knows that they have a realistic
actual waiting list for the guns. What I paid for was full price for a gun
on the promise that when it was done I would get one, and
that was a mistake. And if I have one piece of advice for all of
you guys it is do not make that mistake. And I feel very bad for everyone who
did pay for an HMG Sturmgewehr, and I think there is still hope that
those guns will come through. I don’t know the mechanism. I don’t
know what’s going on at that company, but because we have not seen any bankruptcy
issues, I think things are still moving, albeit very slowly, there. And I have hope that
we will get those guns. But in the future, going forwards, I will never recommend
that anybody ever pay in advance for a gun that’s not actually ready to ship. And to be honest, if a company asks for that
payment, it makes me sceptical about them. The companies that are out there that are doing…
– there are plenty of companies, not plenty, there are a few companies like SMG, Smith
Machine Group. Rick Smith is a fantastic guy, his guns take a while, but he comes
through and they’re of excellent quality. There’re guys like that who are making
reproductions, interesting new guns, and they do not charge upfront. And I think
that’s my one big takeaway from all of this. So I hope that you don’t hold it against
myself and against Karl over at InRange that some of the guns that we’ve been
very excited about have turned out to have these problems with Hudson
going bankrupt and HMG kind of AWOL. Unfortunately, I think that really is just the nature of
the firearms industry today for … small companies. It is an extremely difficult industry. It is one far more difficult than most people getting
into it realise. And if you’re one of those people who emails me, and there are a number of you,
saying I’ve developed this new gun, it’s awesome, I’m ready to invest my life savings in putting it
into production. I’m gonna sell a bunch, or make it. It frightens me whenever I get those
emails because this process usually does not work out well for people. Every once in a
while it does, and for a few people it turns out to be just an absolute, you know, phenomenal success.
Gaston Glock made a phenomenal success. But for every Gaston Glock there are 99
more people who have crashed and burned, and lost a lot in the process, unfortunately. So, I think I’ve probably rambled on
enough about this, I’m going to turn this off. We’ll be back tomorrow with more of our
regularly scheduled Forgotten Weapons content. Until then: [1] Don’t pay in advance. [2] Don’t get into the gun industry except as a hobby. [3] And if you want to build a new gun and sell it and
become rich, beware of what you are getting into. Thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “Hudson Mfg Bankruptcy and the Reality of Firearms Manufacturing

  1. you don't design a gun because you can
    you design a gun because you can't not to

    works for ANY new product, even loaf of bread

  2. Just look at what the EV1 did to GM. All Tesla had to do was solve all the problems GM discovered. I would go so far as to say the EV1 was the true Tesla Mark 1.

  3. This leads me to a question I hope you haven't already answered, and I hope some of you guys can shed some light on it. Why don't we see more startups trying their hand on hand fitted, high quality, high price competition guns?
    It seems a lot easier than tooling up. Of course you won't get rich, but you weren't going to get rich anyway. I'm talking about actual "guy in his garage". As long as you hand fit every gun you don't need expensive machinery, right? For those who enjoy gunsmithing and want to get into the industry, isn't this a more viable way to make yourself a name? It's what they do with musical instruments anyway. Sure, you still need a capital, but it's a small one.

    Or are the various licences, taxes and regulations too prohibitive for this sort of endeavor? I'm Italian and there's no way you could do that here, how's the situation in the States? And I'm talking about the nice states, not rotten hellholes like California and Massachcch… Mashh… The place with Boston.

  4. Agree with others that have mentioned the disheartening statistic that most new businesses fail within a short time frame from inception. I personally liked the look of the H9, but never really understood how the recoil management system was a next generation advancement over readily available current products. It's a crowded field and the H9 didn't shine bright enough next to its competitors (IMHO).

    There is also a political aspect to this, as the firearm industry in general is facing the reality of a regulatory environment that is looking to heavily restrict (possibly ban) the very product that is being made for public sale. Ironically, S&W is moving its logistical operations out of its home state of MA because of the pressure placed upon it by both state authorities and a protesting public for whom the 2nd amendment is an anachronism. There are broader social movements afoot as well, with special interest groups pushing banks and VC firms to divest their funds from firearms companies. And more recently, a court decision has cleared the way for a liability suit brought by family members of the Parkland shooting victims based upon their interpretation of various marketing practices (I'm reasonably sure that decision will be appealed).

    As an KS veteran will tell you (because a lot of KS has evolved into a thinly veiled pre-order system), don't spend any money you're not willing to absolutely lose.

  5. The first time I recall a firearm pre-payment scheme going south was the 100% Titanium Revolver advertised around 1983. Though I wasn't personally burned, I learned that lesson at age 17.

  6. If I were ever inclined to come out with a new gun design, I would build several dozen, and give them all to friends/family to "shoot the shit out of." I would require them to use all different types of ammo, and require them to record the type of failures/frequency of failures. I would refine it/redesign it, then repeat the process. I would do that over and over until I had a polished, functional product, or until I realized that it is not going to work. If I did end up with a polished product, I would take my design to larger firearms manufacturers, and try to get THEM to build it (for the reasons that you made clear in this video.) It's one thing to design a working gun, it's another to try and produce large quantities of them.

  7. You are making a valued point here. One thing is clear, price is directly related to quality, the latter of which in turn translates to reliability! Take the LugerMan Luger you tested. You were surprised how well that gun worked… well, they could make this gun in that quality only for a certain price ;-). If the design and engineering is near perfect, and the manufacturing tolerances are state of the art, you have, considering the system used, a near perfect firearm.

  8. "Don't pay for anything which isn't ready to ship" as a principle applies to so many industries. The games industry is terrible for it.

  9. Ronnie Barrett, developing shoulder-fired .50BMG guns without having any engineering background, comes to mind as the most recent individual success story that is an exception to the rule.

  10. Remember that even the great John M. Browning would make his prototype and Winchester still had to make a production version. Thankfuly his genius was such that the production versions were remakably faithfull to the original prototypes supplied by Browning

  11. I think another component is the pitfall many new startups, firearms and otherwise, fall into- death by viral success. When you have a new product that gains viral success before shipping, it very often leads to manufacturing issues trying to keep up with demand. In particular when you have to contract out manufacturing (as Hudson did). This inevitably leads to QC issues, and has sunk countless companies.

  12. Some things you mentioned don't apply (anymore) especially to small quantity production guns like Hudson H9 or Sturmgewehrs. Hudson contracted an experienced machining company to make their parts, a company which i am fairly sure also has extensive engineering capabilities that they offer, but i would not think that any fundamental design work was done by them. Nevertheless, one does not set up an oldschool production line for small quantity production of firearms today. With CNC machines and automatic tool changers, the flexibility of manufacturing is vastly increased, and with the small quantities Hudsons capital could afford, parts are made in small batches with reasonable flexibility. And the how-to of clamping the part and how to achieve the tolerances isn't something Hudson bothers with. It is most often in fact the thing you pay the machine operator for.

    More or less i would imagine the process works in the way that Hudson delivers 3d CAD files (luxurious) and/or 2d views (still the default in many companies) with annotated tolerances, and the why and how of the manufacturing isn't something they have to worry about.

    Hudson would worry about if their design works (which includes tolerances and clearances ofc) and would eventually make changes to them.

    To come back to the point of "designing the production line" this is only viable if you're fairly certain that you'll make at least 100,000 guns or more. Basically once you secured a fairly large contract. And even then, i would kind of question if a company would set up some sort of specialty machine for most operations. CNC mills and lathes are flexible and yet still very efficient.

    I've seen rumors about disagreements between Hudson and the contracted manufacturing company about out of spec parts with serious amounts of money involved. I expected to learn more about this from this video, which was sadly not the case.

  13. Maybe not the end?

    https://www.guns.com/news/2019/03/27/troubled-hudson-h9-pistol-may-see-a-limited-rebirth

  14. yo also have governments clamping down on civilian ownership like the UK and now new Zealand, so you costomer base is dropping. after the uk pistol ban loads of gun shops went under.

  15. There have been so little innovations in firearm technology (look how many calibers are still viable at 100 years of age or more) that the market is very, very crowded and saturated. For a newcomer to come in with a premium price and capture market share you would almost HAVE to have some sort of innovation the likes of which we haven't seen in the post-WWII era. Either that or some sort of incredible social-media campaign that targeted the right people. I've heard that is very effective in the 30 and under crowd. Most poeple buy the cheapest gun they can find though. Of the last 100 or so co-workers to ask me "should I buy this" or "what should I buy" maybe 2 ever took my advice. They all end up with some sort of no-name 300 dollar AR or whatever 400 dollar pistol Academy has on sale.

  16. i said the same thing about the aluminum frame gun. on any tool that your life depends on, we should expect it to meet a standard of less than .0003-.0002% failure rate.

  17. Oh great and wise GunJesus, do you think another manufacturer would buy the rights to the H9 and add it to their catalog?

  18. 5:10–8:12 Giving the example of consumers thinking they'd hold off on getting it so they could get the aluminum frame model H9.
    It reminds me of one of one visit to a gun shop, I see a less popular gun I've been considering buying for >1 year now, the Steyr M9a1. The guy behind the counter tells me, "Steyr just announced the a2 at Shot Show last week." And so now I'm holding off on the 6-12 months I expect it to take for them to get distributed and for the first 1000 round review saying it's good to go.

  19. I have big problems with my H9 but i fixed most of them myself with a file, never could contact Hudson support, called them over a thousand times. I hope Rock Island buy them

  20. My Hudson H9 is my bedside firearm. I had to replace the rear sight with a taller one and I only shoot 124gr or heavier. So far 3k rounds and counting. Sucks to hear about them going out of business.

  21. Over a decade of historic, increased gun sales and these companies still go bankrupt or claim decreased revenue.
    Bad management and greed.

  22. Ian, you touched on our high expectations on the reliability of firearms. I believe that comes from the fact that when someone NEEDS a gun to work, that 1% is too large of a chance for someone to take.

  23. It's a shame because I kinda like the firearm and the story behind it. Hudson was also offering a limited law enforcement discount (off duty not for law enforcement contract) that didn't take off either.

  24. Hudson might of made something special, but it sure was ugly !!!
    I wouldn't of paid more than a few hundred bucks for one because of the way it looks.

  25. Coonan recently went bankrupt (maybe not official, but it has happened according to anyone involved with them) and I had a gun sent to them for an inventory swap offer made by them. Sent certified mail to see if they could send back the original gun, no home to sign for mail. I've reached out to ATF as to if the gun should be reported as stolen and no response there either.

  26. Feels bad for both Hudson and HMG. If I weren't living in California, I would love to buy an H9 and STG.

  27. I really hope someone takes up the H9 in aftermarket support or a reiteration, because it is one sexy little 9mm

  28. I suspect it would have helped if they hadn't wasted a lot of money on 3D metal printing – the process isn't mature enough yet for such a precise application.

  29. The firearms industry is a boom and bust industry, companies go bankrupt between wars… Atleast historically, right now its a boom… Thank the best gun salesman in the U.S. Obama

  30. I brought a tactical knife supposedly made by Smith & Wesson, purchased from a reputable dealer and it was a piece of shitte. The box it come in claimed manufactured in the US, on the knife it had made in China.

  31. When talking about reliable firearms, if you expect 100% reliability you will only be shooting some very boring guns.
    Looks over at my Tec-9 jam-o-matic…
    However I will say that if there is a malfunction every other pull of the trigger the fun is severely reduced.

  32. I'll agree with you to some extent on Taurus Revolvers, but never knock there Semi Autos, they have stepped there game up with the G2C & TX22.

  33. I agree with just about everything you said. The only thing I would add is at ~9 minutes you start discussing the issues with the Hudson guns breaking because they are a new design. With that- people buying them, breaking them, and sending them in for repair at a level that received attention.

    The issue I have with that statement is that generally speaking it was covered up that the gun didn’t work when it was introduced. The thing no one discussed was that Hudson was using several guns to keep a single pistol running at range day. The writing was on the wall, everyone ignored it and talked the gun up while buying their BS about them not having firing pins. (Raises hand for being a naysayer)

    In their defense. Part of this is the absolute absurdity that products have to be ready for prime time at Shot Show. It’s 2019, we don’t have to release every new product at a trade show all at once. We have computer phones in our pockets with near constant access to the interweb. The firearms industry is 10-15 years behind the curve on tech integration.

    Companies need to get with the program and stop designing their campaigns around physical print- in that system, a company comes out with a new product at Shot, and article is written and then cleaned up for advertiser friendly relations before printed- buying months of time for production to catch up.

    That is fundamentally not compatible with the consumer’s attention span, and my ability to walk into the same booth, snap a picture with my iPhone, and post it to Instagram in seconds (provided I can get network in the Sands).

    Adapt and overcome.

    Everything else in this video is highly insightful for anyone who wants to understand the nuts and bolts of how the industry works should watch to completion. Good work 👍

  34. Same with new cars but the car manufacturers just sell off their companies if the recalls get too expensive. Than you are stuck with a truck that has 16 recalls and it is extremely hard to sell or you take a major loss on resale even if you have all the completed recall paperwork. Ps. Dont buy a ram truck made in Mexico! Except mine. Lol

  35. this is actually a very good point about announcing something prematurely. i've seen this before in a company completely unrelated to guns manufacturing, when consumers are holding off from buying something because they expect changes to be made "soon" ™. looks like common marketing fail.

  36. Having a innovative product and available spare parts in today's business climate, very difficult to do.
    Competing on cost (affordable), size (concealabilty), weight (carry all day), thinness (but thick enough to control), capacity (more weight) and reliability. Must be accurate too!
    Throw in product design time and manufacturing lead time, your ALREADY late to market.

  37. Thanks Ian, no one should blame you or Karl for liking or getting excited about a new firearm. You both appear to be stand up guys and you're not afraid to voice any negatives about a firearm. The rest is up to us as adult consumers. Daddy Ian and Daddy Karl can't hold our hands forever.

  38. Glad to hear you address this. I hope hmg makes it for their own sake. I'm worried they possibly produced a bunch of parts or guns thinking they were close to putting something out only to realize there's some flaw and now they have money and time in unusable product and can't do anything about it. They should have stuck to one caliber at a time and not tried to have them so modular. Id have been happy if they were all one called regardless of which they chose

  39. Firearms have not gone obsolete for a very long time, in terms of models and designs. The G98 isn't a line infantry rifle like it once was, but the action is by no means obsolete for hunting, target shooting, marksman rifles. You can say what you wish of the 1911 being old, but its not really obsolete by any standard. The Browning M2 is coming upon a century of service, The AR platform, G3, FAL, AKM and related guns are all old enough to collect social security. The MG3 is a so called World War 2 relic that just doesn't seem to die off as a LMG/MMG. Old guns are just fine for combat, and the old designs keep being made.

    I'm old fashioned, feudal, backwards and all that, but my criticism of the gun industry's modern attempt to push out brand new products endlessly, one after another, is based on the hard reality that decades, up to a century or more, of old solid designs leave little space for new products. There already is great market diversity with old designs, little innovation is to be had. If you've done it, probably someone else has and succeeded or failed. As you mention, there is such a crowded marketplace, and this is the reason why. New products aren't much different and often aren't better. Old designs never die so the list grows.

    Firearms are one of the few places where older means better in terms of market power. The older cartridge, the older the gun, the more common it is, the longer its been around the more people have perfected and understood it, the more the kinks were worked out decades ago. Common parts, availability of parts and ammunition, magazines, accessories, developments, all are to the benefit of the old. New cartridges almost NEVER add anything compared to the old ones, just one more die on the reloading bench I don't need, just one more expensive and hard to find new cartridge to go obsolescent. In some cases the new development is even inferior! When there is no REAL innovation or improvement, in a market where 100+ year old things are just as good as today, we can't be foolish enough to think that there is an ever expanding market for "new".
    One last bit, even if nobody reads, the fact that guns are something that have a HUGE long term sales issue, in that its very common for guns manufactured today to not sell brand new for years. Its extremely common for guns to hit the market and for sales to be a slow, steady thing rather than a big market rush. Old new stock is closer to a norm for guns, sales can be flattened out over time. Old manufacturers are selling new guns when thousands of the same guns are still unsold from say four years ago. Big companies are stable and set up for cash flow, steady sales, recalls and warranty work, have a diversity of guns and products, ect. They are built on slow and steady, new companies expecting mass, fast sales to prop up the company short term during its hardest phase are setting themselves up for expectations that might belong to other markets.

  40. The name Bill Ruger ring a bell… or Bren 10 ? My brother was one of the lucky ones who got his gun [ in 10mm ] minus the magazine .. a friend gave him one from a 45 acp Bren it does work very well..
    That universal mag was a selling point that as I understand didn't always work out .

  41. For a product to fail, it doesn't have to be bad. It only needs to be slightly less successful than its competitors. I don't have to be able to outrun the cheetah, I just have to be able to outrun you.

  42. Ya know.
    I interviewed with them.
    They.
    Uhh.
    I can see why they went bankrupt at the production level.
    They where not really using the right base machines for mass production.
    They where using the machinery that is sold and marketed for job shopping.

    And if you know the difference between how long a mass production over arm supported mill, or Lathe can hold its tolerances compared to a turning center or a vertical mill you will understand how I just am not surprised.

    I have a ww2 mass production equipment that I have restored for a hobby and they hold tolerances 3 to 4 times longer in the cut then the mill centers, they just support the cutters better, and the cutters are designed to wear out in a manner where the 1 tenth of the face wear effects the cutting dimensions, and those things combined do make a huge difference and it does take going to collage to learn how to set them up proficiently, and maximize production unlike job shop equipment.

  43. Too bad about HMG. They surfaced when this video was made and reported not a goddamn thing since. I'm glad I got a refund after ordering in 2015 and good riddance.

  44. No automotive startups?
    Try Local Motors. Remember the Rally Fighter? That was a few years ago, and they were not nearly on the production scale as any major car maker, but they were revolutionary and actually did make some cool cars. Still in business as far as I know.
    Maybe HMG should crowd source and/or sell "Kit Guns" like a lot of G3 parts suppliers.

  45. Well this sucks. Now I feel like I can’t buy the pistol because there’s not gonna be support for parts in the future

  46. I'm really sorry to hear about going back I was very hopeful that they were going to make the sturmgewehr they should have just stuck with 792 by 33 and left the other calibers for later

  47. You want make money… manufacture ar15s. You should do a video on the xcr (robinson armament) those rifles are pretty much forgotten and it is innovative.

  48. When he said they had enough to weather the storm cash flow equals alot in the firearm world. Also if hudson bankrupsy runs afoul itll leave a bad taste for a lot of people becuase of the huge hype put behind this that i didnt see otherwise

  49. Interesting video. If you know about it, I would be interested in hearing a summary about the MP5 clone industry for examples the story of Special Weapons, PTRs acquisition of tooling, and the once licensed foreign producers like POF and MKE. Maybe cover the German export restrictions that affect HKs consumer offerings.

  50. Don't even get me started on Hill and Mac, I put in for a gun back in like what seems like 2015 or maybe it was 2016. But either way, they continue to say the same crap "its coming soon". Now they say there is issues with the magazine, but I think you're right. They took on more than they could chew, they should have did their own R&D and picked 1 caliber to release and then made others available later on with w simple barrel and bolt switch. But I have lost all faith in Hill and Mac.

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