The year is 1996 and it’s a Wednesday. My lunch hour is booked with a very important “business meeting,” as it is every Wednesday. I’m off to the Mira Mar Trap & Skeet Club to shoot a round of skeet or perhaps some five-stand with a good friend, a guy whom I’ve known ever since he was the marketing director at Colt in the early ‘80s.
He’s agreat shotgun shooter and I look forward to our weekly Wednesday “business meetings” because I invariably get a pointer on how to shoot station 4 or hit an incoming clay as well as getting caught up on what’s happening in the shooting industry, because my buddy is a longtime industry veteran.
His name is Bob Morrison. Bob is an independent sales rep for Taurus working the Southern California and Western Region, but that’s about to change in a big way. Bruce Savane, the longtime president of Taurus is aboutto step down and Bob will be named his successor.
From the moment Bob and Claire Morrison moved from Fallbrook, Calif., to Miami, I knew things would start to happen at Taurus because Bob is nothing if not energetic. Combine that hyper-drive with a life-long career in the gun business, and you know the former West Point graduate is going to make a big splash.
Taurus International is a Brazilian manufacturer of primarily handguns, although under Bob’s leadership the company entered into several mergers and acquisitions, such as Rossi, which led the company into the long-gun field as well. But at the time, Taurus relied on selling affordable, entry-level handguns. That would change—and change dramatically—under Bob.
Bob brought a lot of innovative new products to market such as the 24/7, but his single greatest coup was the introduction of a .410 revolver named The Judge.
No one talks about such things—certainly not Bob—but the Insider has it on good authority that he grew the sales of Taurus International to approximately $400 million a year. Again, I have no hard evidence other than my intimate knowledge of the gun business, but I’d bet a free round of sporting clays that when Bob took the reins at Taurus the company was doing less than $100 million in sales. Yes, he (at least) quadrupled the company's sales.
Along the way, Bob made another strategic decision that has had far-reaching effects—he embraced NRA and began a generous program of donations, including free NRA memberships with the purchase of every Taurus gun. I don’t know the total figure that Taurus has donated to NRA, nor the number of members who have joined our ranks because of Bob, but it’s definitely not unsubstantial.
Competitors of Taurus, such as Glock and Kimber, saw the benefits of supporting NRA and followed Bob’s lead with similar programs of donations. I credit Bob Morrison for starting this ball rolling.
Bob hand-picked his successor at Taurus, Mark Kresser, who will take over on September 1. Another long-time industry veteran who has worked at O.F. Mossberg & Sons, SIG Sauerand Beretta, Mark will take the helm with the good ship Taurus steaming ahead at full speed. Bob will remain as a consultant.
Wishing you and Claire a very happy and well-deserved retirement.