Vista Outdoor, the umbrella company comprised of familiar brands like CamelBak, Giro, as well as several firearm and ammunition companies quietly announced Tuesday it would sell off its gun manufacturing brands (Savage and Stevens firearms) as part of a refocusing effort.
The decision comes in the wake of REI and Vancouver-based MEC’s decisions earlier this year to halt orders from Vista after considerable pressure and petitions from the stores’ customers. “We believe that it is the job of companies that manufacture and sell guns and ammunition to work towards common sense solutions that prevent the type of violence that happened in Florida last month,” explained REI in a March statement. “This morning we learned that Vista does not plan to make a public statement that outlines a clear plan of action. As a result, we have decided to place a hold on future orders of products that Vista sells through REI while we assess how Vista proceeds.”
It remains unclear if Vista Outdoor’s recent decision to sell off Savage and Stevens is a direct result of public pressure, though. For their 2018 fiscal year, which ended on March 31, 2018, Vista reported a general decrease in firearm demand that is impacting the shooting sports industry, which could be to blame. The company also plans to shed Bell, Giro, Blackburn, and Jimmy Styks paddleboards due to lackluster performance.
Despite Vista’s pivot away from firearm manufacturing, the company is doubling down on one of its best-performing categories: ammunition. “Vista Outdoor is excited about the potential of each of our core businesses, particularly ammunition, which is our largest core business,” said the company’s CEO, Chris Metz, in a press release. “An increased focus on our heritage ammunition business will manifest itself in more innovative and breakthrough new products introduced over the next few years.”
Reception of the news by gun-rights groups and the like remains to be seen, but so far no videos of gun owners shooting up their CamelBaks or Camp Chefs have surfaced on Youtube as they did during the Yeti fiasco last week.