Say Yes to the Dress: Smith & Wesson is Now a Lifestyle Brand

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Just in time to outfit your local militia for the coming Mayan end of the world in 2012 is the Wild Things Tactical Smith & Wesson Collection.

A new brand licensing deal, Wild Things Tactical aims to help the iconic gunmaker extend “its iconic status as a rugged truly original American brand to a line of apparel for both gun enthusiasts and a wide range of consumers.” That’s right: Smith & Wesson is now a lifestyle brand.

It’s the latest brand extension from a firearm brand that’s turned itself around in the last half decade.[more]

For a year short of three decades, Wild Things has produced mountaineering and outdoor gear for “individuals who are knowledgeable about their outdoor activities.” Through its Wild Things Tactical label, the brand has also offered gear targeting armed forces and police uses. Now, it has become the sole licensee of Smith & Wesson and will offer four categories of branded gear: Shooting, Range, Tracking and Hybrid.

Pointing to jackets with such features as built-in pockets for concealed carry of a handgun and belt loops made to accommodate holsters, the CEO of Wild Things LLC says the line will “echo the essence of the Smith & Wesson brand.”

From the press release:

“The rivets, snaps and buttons are recognizable parts of Smith & Wesson firearms and ammunition.  The gun handle grip motif is present on several pieces, while a graphic of an original vintage blueprint of a classic Smith & Wesson .38 can be seen on the lining of the jackets. Lastly, the zipper pulls are made from the hammer of a classic .45 caliber pistol.”

The small details such as the “hammer” zips will be the stuff that creates buzz with gun collectors and fans. And the extension seems like a smart move for Smith & Wesson to take advantage of the, er, exploding gun and gun accessories market.

What’s more, other gunmakers like Browning have already extended their brands into the clothing sector.

That said, Smith & Wesson has nearly shot itself in the foot with brand extensions before.

In the late 1990s, Smith & Wesson released a line of mountain bikes. How about Smith & Wesson cologne, only $49.95? Or a Smith & Wesson BBQ pellet smoker from Sam’s Club?

Yet these may make more sense than Beretta USA’s “Classic Hardwood Cheese Board” or, gulp, the “Beretta Stainless Steel Leather Flask.” Both prefect compliments to your Ruger-branded steaks.

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