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Shares of firearms maker Smith & Wesson (NASDAQ: SWHC) are seeing a nice rally during Monday's pre-market session after the company announced preliminary sales for the fourth-quarter that exceed analysts' expectations.

Smith & Wesson announced preliminary net sales from continuing operations for the fourth quarter were approximately $129 million, an increase of approximately $28 million, or 28%, compared with net sales from continuing operations for the corresponding quarter a year ago.

This is significantly higher than the company's previous guidance of $113 million to $118 million, and higher than analysts' estimates of $119 million.

The company also announced that preliminary firearm order backlog increased to approximately $439 million as of April 30, 2012, an increase of $252 million, or 135%, compared with the end of the fourth quarter last year, and an increase of $240 million, or 121%, compared with the most recent sequential quarter.

Smith & Wesson noted that the increase in net sales and backlog were driven by continued strength in orders across its product line, including M&P branded products such as pistols, modern sporting rifles, and the new Shield, which had a very successful launch in the quarter.

Fourth quarter net sales were also aided by the significant efforts of the operations team to maximize internal manufacturing capacity and accelerate deliveries from component suppliers.

According to a few analysts Benzinga spoke with, the strong bookings are likely also attributed to the 2012 election cycle, where President Obama could challenge gun ownership laws going forward, so customers have been flocking to protection products just in case laws are changed.

This should not come as a surprise, since Strum, Ruger & Co (NYSE: RGR) announced strong first quarter bookings back on March 21, where Strum, Ruger actually had to temporarily suspend acceptance of new orders because demand was too great.

Currently, shares of Smith & Wesson are trading up over 14% at $7.12 per share. SWHC is also up 58% on the year.

Smith & Wesson Holding provides products and services for safety, security, protection, and sports in the United States and internationally. The company offers firearms, handguns, sporting rifles, hunting rifles, black powder firearms, handcuffs, and firearm-related products and accessories.

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