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Smith & Wesson shoots higher

September 7, 2012: 1:35 PM ET

Smith & Wesson's(SWHC) profits are surging as Americans buy guns at record levels.

Shares of the 160-year-old gunmaker shot up more than 16% Friday, after Smith & Wesson reported record first-quarter sales and earnings.

The gun manufacturing firm supplies handguns and pistols to consumers, the U.S. military and law enforcement officials, but in its earnings release, Smith & Wesson pointed to the consumer as the reason for its record results. Consumers' appetite for handguns, specifically pistols, helped the company double its sales for the quarter ended July 31, 2012.

Smith & Wesson upped its forecasts for 2013, noting a nearly $400 million backlog in orders. That's more than double its backlog this time last year, the company said.

Related: Smith & Wesson feels lucky, punk!

Smith & Wesson also noted that one of its newest products, the Shield, designed to be concealed, has been "highly favored and sought after by consumers."

Smith & Wesson's stock is up more than 140% this year. Shares of rival gunmaker Sturm Ruger (RGR) have racked up sizeable gains as well, rising 40% this year. Sturm Ruger's stock gained as much as 5% Friday before easing in afternoon trading.

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Maureen Farrell
Maureen Farrell
Staff writer, CNNMoney

Maureen Farrell is a staff writer at CNNMoney and covers Wall Street, banking, mergers and the stock and bond markets. Prior to joining CNNMoney, she covered venture capital and entrepreneurs for Forbes, and mergers and bankruptcy for Mergermarket and Debtwire, both divisions of the Financial Times.

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