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>> Viking helmets on firearms, just one of the many new design elements helping small gun makers win over customers. The big three players, Remington, Sturm Ruger, and Smith and Wesson, have lost market share to these smaller, privately-held companies, like Florida-based Spike's Tactical, which is using provocative marketing to sell more guns.
Reuters correspondent Tim McLaughlin explains.>> It seems like in the marketplace, people want something a little different from the mainstream rifles that are made. They're looking for customization, different colors. AR-15s even come in pink these days. And then you see some things that are more tongue-in-cheek. Like Spike's Tactical, they have a safety setting on one of the gun pieces that they make, what they call full libturd, which is really just sort of an insult directed at liberals.
And it's a really hot-button issue obviously because sometimes these rifles have been used in some of our worst mass shootings.>> The gunman who opened fire at a Las Vegas music festival last year, killing 58 people and injuring hundreds, used weapons made by small and large companies. But unlike the big gun manufacturers, smaller players have sidestepped scrutiny about their products or the source of their financing.
>> They're having no trouble getting their financing from community banks, from equipment makers. They rely on machining equipment and they'll get lending from them to buy the machines that they need to make the rifles.>> The demand for rifles surged during the Obama years, so much so, the large companies couldn't keep up.
The smaller players saw that as their in, and they've become permanent fixtures in the market ever since.