How is Smith & Wesson selling the Governor so cheap?

Caleb reports that Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price for Smith & Wesson’s new .410/.45 Long Colt/.45 ACP Governor revolver will be $599. Checking S&W’s Web site, they’re saying $679. Either way, how the heck are they selling it that cheap?

For comparison, the 329PD Alaska Backpacker in .44 Magnum has an MSRP of $979. The Model 325 Night Guard in .45 ACP has an MSRP of $1,049. Like the Governor, those are large frame guns with scandium-aluminum alloy frames that are lightweight, yet strong enough to handle a stout cartridge.

The only cost-cutting measure I can see on the Governor is non-adjustable sights. On the flip side, it has a tritium front sight. (And they may have had to tool up to make a new cylinder size. Not sure.)

Couple theories:

  • S&W is using a new fabrication method or lockwork to reduce production costs, a la the Bodyguard. Has anyone removed the sideplate and eyeballed the lockwork?
  • S&W is worried enough about Taurus that they’re drastically dropping their price to compete with the Taurus Judge, which sells for about that same MSRP.
  • Whereas most S&Ws sell well below MSRP, this one will sell very close to list, though by itself that wouldn’t be enough to explain the low price.
  • Someone at S&W goofed and we’ll find out the $679 isn’t the correct MSRP. The different MSRPs that have been reported would tend to support this theory.

Hey, if they can really sell the gun that cheap it’s great news. Make another version with a shorter cylinder (that can’t fire .410 shells) and it would be a bargain for a .45 ACP/.45 Long Colt revolver. I hope they can make some other frame sizes and calibers that cheap. I’d just like to know how they’re getting the price so low.

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14 Responses to How is Smith & Wesson selling the Governor so cheap?

  1. Joe says:

    I had the same thought. Are they overpricing their other large frame scandium guns or doing this one on the cheap?

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  3. That Guy says:

    I’m guessing that they are overcharging for their other revolvers. They are selling this one at a very thin margin and hoping to make it up in that stunning volume that Taurus has made with that Judge thing.

    The problem is, that the person who will buy a Taurus is NOT the same person that will buy an S&W. By the time that the consumer is tired of sending the Judge back to Florida to be fixed, they will hopefully know enough to get a straight .44Spl or .45Colt or .45ACP S&W and have a better carrying, better balanced, and all together better choice.

  4. nathan says:

    one word: PLASTICS!!!!

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  6. AJ187 says:

    I’ve bought both Smith and Wesson and Taurus products and I think smith just needs to make this particular gun a little cheaper to compete with Taurus. They may take a lost on it but they are seeing dollar signs with how many they can sell. In the long run it will get cheaper to produce and they will see profit.

  7. Andrew says:

    I think the answer is simple, They’ve been over charging dramatically for S&W name and are now willing to the hit to break into the small bore shot-pistol market that has been so lucrative for Taurus.

  8. Icchan says:

    Well, I was going to say exactly what Andrew did, so I’ll just +1 him instead. There’s not that much difference between a GP100 and an S&W 28, so why are they so cost-different? For that matter, why are Colt ARs twice the price of Bushmaster ARs? Brand name, baby. Smith & Wesson finally realized that they need more than just two letters on a gun to reap in the sales.

    This said, for that price I’ll certainly pick up one of those as a snake gun.

  9. Les Jones says:

    The explanation I always heard was that Rugers were modern designs that took advantage of affordable mass production techniques like casting, whereas the frame and cylinder on S&Ws are forged, which is more expensive.

    Granted, S&W has been cutting costs over the years. Recessed chambers for centerfire calibers disappeared to reduce machining expense. Pinned barrels gave way to crush-fit barrels. One piece barrels gave way to two-piece barrels. Forged hammers and triggers were replaced by cheaper metal injection molded (MIM) parts.

    I’m really curious to find out if the Governor is made any different than similar S&Ws, or if the company is simply cutting margins to be competitive.

  10. jeep says:

    I think that SW decided… wait a minute those boys with Taurus are selling quite a few of those things so let’s see what we need to do to get some of the business no matter what it takes….. supply and demand will determine whether this gun sells in the 5-7+ range… personally I think SW hasn’t really hit the target on the governor yet….If SW makes one that handles the 3 inch magnum 4 10 000 buck they can charge in the 7-8 range and I won’t even flinch at buying it….. it will be sold!

  11. jeep says:

    One final thought …. if SW does come out with the 3 inch magnum version I think they should name it the US Constitution.

  12. Jack says:

    I’m sorry guys, I have shot Taurus’s for years and I have to say they are very good weapons for the price. With that being said, as good a quality as some S&W firearms are; it’s not worth almost a thousand dollars for a .38 subbie. Pure and simple, the S&W price point is too high. Maybe they are getting the picture.

  13. Les Jones says:

    Jack, I can’t completely disagree. I like S&Ws, but the price hikes over the years have added up.

    The flip side is that they are US made. I’m not a die hard made in the USA guy, but I prefer it when things are roughly equal.

    It would be nice if S&W made the prices a bit more equal.

  14. Mikeyboy says:

    The question should be, why are some S&W revolvers so expensive? Its all about competition. A S&W 442 or 642 sells for a reasonable at around $350 to $400 while an all Aluminum and cheaper to make 317 .22 revolver sells for a staggering $650. The funny thing is the Steel Model 63 .22 revolver also sells for about the same price as the 317, so it not a matter of the 317 is easier or harder to produce . Somehow Taurus can make a .38 revolver and a .22 revolver for almost the same price, but it cost 2x as much for Smith & Wesson a .22 revolver? S&W has gotten spoiled over the years and have the Sig Sauer “we can charge them anything and they will by it” attitude. The want to compete with Taurus, Charter, and Ruger so they will keep their .38 snubbie price in line with everyone else. The same with the .380 Bodyguard (even with a laser) and the same with this new Judge clone. They want in on the market so they will price it a “Reasonable” levels, everything else sold at scalper’s prices