According to the Detroit News, a 32-caliber Davis Industries semiautomatic pistol was allegedly used by a 6-year-old boy to shoot and kill his first grade classmate.
Dealer literature describes the Davis P-32 as “our original pocket pistol.”
Davis Industries Pistols Traced to Crime Scenes by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 1997
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Davis Industries Pistol Production History
Davis Industries is one of six companies in southern Califonia known for manufacturing the majority of Saturday Night Special handguns, or “junk guns,” in the United States. In a 1992 Wall Street Journal article, reporter Alix Freedman noted that Davis Industries was founded in 1982 by Jim Davis and his wife Gail. Gail Davis is the daughter of Saturday Night Special patriarch George Jennings. Wrote Freedman, “Low costs and high production are key….The popular Davis derringers account for about 25 percent of Davis’s annual production…and they pay off all overhead, letting Jim Davis make pure profit from the rest of the product line.”
According to its promotional material, dealers, “Look to Davis for value….Davis Industries has been offering Americans one of the finest selections of affordable arms for personal protection for over ten years now.” Davis handguns are made of an inexpensive die-cast zinc alloy and are sold at low prices at or below $100. Davis’ “smaller than palm-sized” .22, .25, and .32 Standard Series models are “handy little spitfires [that] list for just under $70!” The Journal reported that the Davis .380 pistol had a production cost of $15, a wholesale price of $55, a dealer price of $63 to $68, a retail price of $95 to $100, and an illegal street price of $150 to $600. One advertisement aimed at dealers states, “More than ever, Americans want value. They don’t mind paying a fair price for quality goods but the goods have to deliver on their promise…every Davis gun is priced to let you maintain a full profit markup and still give your customers a terrific deal. That’s Value with a capital ‘V.'”
In 1995 Davis settled a product liability lawsuit brought by a first-time gun owner whose Davis P-380 pistol exploded while he was practicing with his new weapon. The man’s hand was injured and a shell casing fragment lodged in his eye, requiring surgery. Davis settled for $40,000.