Firearm makers Smith & Wesson (SWHC) and Sturm, Ruger (RGR) are retreating after Benchmark analyst Mike Greene wrote that the growth in the number of applications for handgun purchases appeared to slow last month. In a note to investors earlier today, Greene reported that adjusted applications for FBI background checks had risen 14.7% last month, down from 20%-plus growth levels from May-August. Greene's adjusted application data excludes applicants who are seeking concealed-carry permits and consequently may not be buying a new firearm. Greene, however, maintained Buy ratings on shares of Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger. In early trading, Smith & Wesson sank 4.04% to $10.45, while Sturm, Ruger gave back 2.65% to $47.35.