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Davis Industries

Chino, California

Number of Employees: 15

Estimated Annual Revenue: Refused to release information


Year .22 .25 .32 .380 9mm .45 Total
1990 28,492 3,770 40,888 70,102 0 0 143,252
1991 29,915 2,886 37,459 100,816 0 0 171,076
1992 37,114 3,532 38,126 109,007 0 0 187,779
1993 43,501 4,465 31,729 98,576 0 0 178,271
1994 21,124 1,075 13,032 31,380 18,513 0 85,124
1995 11,283 281 3,959 26,866 2,782 0 45,171

Company Facts:

Davis Industries is one of six companies in southern Califonia known for manufacturing the majority of Saturday Night Special handguns, or "junk guns," in the United States. In her 1992 Wall Street Journal article, reporter Alix Freedman noted that Davis Industries was founded in 1982 by Jim Davis and his wife Gail. Gail Davis is the daughter of Saturday Night Special patriarch George Jennings. Wrote Freedman, "Low costs and high production are key....The popular Davis derringers account for about 25 percent of Davis's annual production...and they pay off all overhead, letting Jim Davis make pure profit from the rest of the product line...."

According to its promotional material, dealers, "Look to Davis for value....Davis Industries has been offering Americans one of the finest selections of affordable arms for personal protection for over ten years now." Davis handguns are made of an inexpensive die-cast zinc alloy and sold at low prices�at or below $100. Davis' "smaller than palm-sized" .22, .25, and .32 Standard Series models are "handy little spitfires [that] list for just under $70!" The Journal reported that the Davis .380 pistol had a production cost of $15, a wholesale price of $55, a dealer price of $63 to $68, a retail price of $95 to $100, and an illegal street price of $150 to $600. One advertisement aimed at dealers states, "More than ever, Americans want value. They don't mind paying a fair price for quality goods�but the goods have to deliver on their promise...every Davis gun is priced to let you maintain a full profit markup and still give your customers a terrific deal. That's Value with a capital 'V.'"

For women's self-defense needs, the company claims, "Davis protects day and night." Davis anchors its ads with supposed symbols of feminine prestige and moral values�pearls, wedding rings, money, and even the Bill of Rights. One ad features sparkling, small caliber pistols as the safeguard for one's "Precious Possessions." Another advertisement warns women: "What with all the crime in the streets these days, a woman needs a body-guard more than ever."

In 1995 Davis settled a product liability lawsuit brought by a first-time gun owner whose Davis P-380 pistol exploded while he was practicing with his new gun. The man's hand was injured and a shell casing fragment lodged in his eye, requiring surgery. Davis settled for $40,000.

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All contents � 1998 Violence Policy Center