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3-D printed guns wave of future: Strategist

Gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson is up almost 60 percent so far this year, but one strategist thinks long term it could go the way of Blockbuster thanks to 3-D printing.

"I feel like in the future Smith & Wesson is essentially doomed because you have companies that are literally allowing you to print your own firearms," Lido Isle Advisors president, Jason Rotman, said in an interview Thursday with CNBC's "Closing Bell."

"Whether that's the best idea for society, that's another conversation."

The blueprints for the world's first 3-D printed gun, "The Liberator," were downloaded around 100,000 times in just three days back in 2013, according to Forbes.

3D printed gun, "The Liberator".
Source: Kamenev | Wikipedia Commons
3D printed gun, "The Liberator".

Rotman acknowledged Smith & Wesson may have a little more room to run in the short term, but thinks technology will eventually win out—much like Netflix muscled Blockbuster out of the way.

"I think a better long-term investment is 3D Systems, who has the technology that is for the future whereas Smith & Wesson is kind of an outdated business model," he said.

"Furthermore, there's no recurring revenue. You buy a gun, you hold onto it for 10 years. That's not interesting to me."

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Rotman insisted he didn't necessarily mean that Smith & Wesson would go out of business.

Brian Ruttenbur, an analyst at Sterne Agee, couldn't disagree more. He's anticipating at least 20 percent growth on the back end for the firearms industry and is bullish on Smith & Wesson.

He noted that there has been a wave of background checks and a long-term trend for concealed carry permits. Women are also getting into shooting sports, Ruttenbur told "Closing Bell."

"We're seeing a long-term trend for buying action and we're seeing a recovery in the firearms market after a very weak 2014."

Ruttenbur also dismissed the notion that 3-D printed guns were the wave of the future.

"People that buy firearms, and there's 8 million firearms sold a year, aren't printing their own guns. They're going to the gun range with their family and friends and buying concealed carry permits," he said.

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Disclosure: Brian Ruttenbur and Jason Rotman, as well as their families and firms, do not own Smith & Wesson.

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