SHOT Business January / February 2024

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SHOT Business | January/February 2024




18 • BORN BALLISTIC By Andrew McKean








16 • FYI








36 • SAFE SPACES By Christopher Cogley






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Cover image by Samson Manufacturing Samson Manufacturing releases B-TM folding stock for the Ruger® 10/22® Takedown®




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36 ❚


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GAIN YOUR ADVANTAGE Vudu riflescopes — where durability, precision and versatility meet. Vudu riflescopes are constructed to meet the most rugged demands of the serious precision shooter. With surgically precise turrets, exceptional glass and clarity, and high-performance reticle options, the Vudu line of riflescopes let you deliver that critical shot when it matters most.

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5 -25x50 F F P

EOTECHINC.COM ©Copyright 2023 EOTECH, LLC. All rights reserved. EOTECH®, HWS®, Vudu®, and EFLX™ are registered trademarks of EOTECH, LLC

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This issue’s cover brought to you by:

SAMSON MANUFACTURING RELEASES B-TM FOLDING STOCK FOR THE RUGER® 10/22® TAKEDOWN® This isn’t just a stock — it’s a statement. A backpack ready addition to the iconic A-TM and B-TM folding stocks, fulfilling the demand for a Takedown® version. It’s a throwback to the glory days of the 1980s A-Team, injecting a dose of rugged nostalgia into the arsenal of its proud owners. Continuing the legacy of its highly praised predecessors, the Samson B-TM Folding Stock for the 10/22® Takedown® showcases meticulous craftsmanship. With its deep-stained walnut, a wood renowned for its historical durability in fine woodworking, the stock showcases unique grain patterns, such as swirls, knots, stripes, and straight grains. Each stock is one-of-a-kind with its own distinct grain pattern, enhancing the overall aesthetic. The remaining components are precision-machined from high-quality metal, selected for superior strength, hardness, and corrosion resistance. Samson Manufacturing currently offers the only wood folding stock for this platform. Designed to fit the Ruger® 10/22® Takedown® with a carbine-profiled barrel, it is available with either stainless or black oxide hardware and is compatible with Samson’s existing B-TM accessories such as the barrel band, flash hider, swivel stud adapter, and sight package. Staying true to Samson’s legacy of delivering tactical dominance without the fuss, installation is fast and easy. Overall length when apart and folded: Receiver - 13.5” Assembly - 201⁄8” with B-TM flash hider Samson is expanding into executive gear. The Wallet™ by Samson Manufacturing is a testament to robust design. Forget flimsy alternatives; this wallet safeguards your cards and hard-earned cash. The minimalist design is machined from aircraft-grade aluminum and boasts RFID protection, bottle openers, superior internal retention, and a rivet system to hold it together — because elastic is for underwear. Add-ons such as Airtag or coin holders are available. Patents pending. The new tactical pen by Samson Manufacturing features an all-metal construction and glass breaker. Ready for everyday and emergency use, it embodies confidence and style. At Samson, attention to detail isn’t an option, it’s a requirement. ABOUT: Samson Manufacturing is the leading manufacturer of top-tier firearms parts and accessories, proudly serving as a trusted U.S. Government Defense contractor (Cage 037R7). Driven by a dedication to excellence and innovation, they have made a name for themselves in the industry by consistently delivering superior quality and value to commercial, military, law enforcement and OEM markets since 1994.


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The MRADELR™ is a high quality, military tested, off-the-shelf, extreme long-range system with user changeable barrels. Designed to deliver precision typically achieved only by custom-built rifles, this rifle expands the bolt-action MRAD family to include 416 Barrett with additional large caliber options available in the future.

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Safe Spaces

Secure storage of guns is a key component of responsible firearm ownership.


ur industry has welcomed millions of new gun owners to its ranks during the past four years. After purchasing that new firearm and all the essential

accessories to accompany it, the added cost of a gun safe might seem like an unnecessary expense to some first-time gun owners. The reality, though, is that safely storing firearms is one of the most important responsibilities of gun ownership, and it should never be overlooked or undervalued. That’s why in this issue you’ll see an article on selling gun safes (see “Safe Spaces,” page 36). The main body text focuses on key features of gun safes, such as size, security features, and fireproof ratings. But to me, asking a few basic questions. The range of questhe real meat of the article is our interview tions includes safe size, location (house or with Stephen Hall, co-founder/CEO of Lock It garage), and intended use. “By that I mean their Up Safes, an Oklahoma retailer that specializes main concerns—fire, theft, or just keeping guns in safes. out of reach of children,” he says. The answers Hall told SHOT Business that when a custo these questions help Hall and his staff pintomer enters the store, he and his staff start by point particular models for the customer to consider. Interestingly, Hall says, “We rarely ask what their budget is. Instead, we start off with a good, better, and best choice. Typically, most guests opt for a good or better safe, mainly due to budget considerations.” Because safes can be cumbersome objects that take up a lot of storage space, some retailers prefer not to carry them. That’s fine, but you’ll do your customer a favor by recommending a retailer that not only can sell a gun safe, but has the knowledge and expertise to install it correctly. I’d also like to direct your attention to “Does ChatGPT Belong in Your Business?” (page 24). Michelle Scheurmann has written about the benefits and pitfalls of social media for SHOT Business. Here she takes a closer look at Artificial Intelligence (AI), which seems to be in the news nearly every day. When she first pitched the article me, I instantly thought of Skynet (the artificial intelligence entity in the sci-fi classic Terminator franchise). But at this point, AI is a bit more mundane. She says that many of us already use AI and may not even know it. (Do you log onto to your smartphone with facial recognition? If you do, you’re using AI.) As she notes: “We are just entering the AI age, and for many it’s uncharted territory. But it’s here to stay. As a retailer or manufacturer, you should look closely at how best to use this new tool to your advantage.”

EDITORIAL & CREATIVE EDITOR w SLATON L. WHITE GROUP MANAGING EDITOR w HILARY DYER ART DIRECTOR w TOD MOLINA ADVERTISING SALES TEAM w DON HARRIS w TOBY SHAW w BRAD BISNETTE COLE PUBLISHING ADMINISTRATION PRESIDENT, COLE PUBLISHING w JEFF BRUSS PRESIDENT, GRAND VIEW OUTDOORS w DERRICK NAWROCKI NSSF ADMINISTRATION PRESIDENT & CEO w JOSEPH H. BARTOZZI SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CCO w CHRIS DOLNACK VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING w BILL DUNN SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC AFFAIRS, ASSISTANT SECRETARY & GENERAL COUNSEL w LAWRENCE G. KEANE VICE PRESIDENT, HUMAN RESOURCES & ADMINISTRATION w DEB KENNEY VICE PRESIDENT & CFO w JOHN SMITH MANAGING DIRECTOR, MEMBER SERVICES w JOHN MCNAMARA SHOT BUSINESS is published six times a year: January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, and November/December by COLE Publishing, Inc., 1720 Maple Lake Dam Road, Three Lakes, WI 54562 and is the official publication of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Flintlock Ridge Office Center, 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470-2359. All rights reserved. Contents may not be printed or otherwise reproduced without written permission of COLE Publishing. Postage paid at Three Lakes, WI 54562 and at additional mailing offices. COLE Publishing is not responsible for researching or investigating the accuracy of the contents of stories published in this magazine. Readers are advised that the use of the information contained within this magazine is with the understanding that it is at their own risk. COLE Publishing assumes no liability for this information or its use. COLE Publishing assumes no responsibility for unsolicited editorial, photography, and art submissions. In addition, no Terms and Conditions agreements are recognized by COLE Publishing unless signed and returned by the Editor. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: SHOT BUSINESS P.O. BOX 220, THREE LAKES, WI 54562. ADVERTISING: Advertising inquiries should be emailed to No responsibility will be assumed for unsolicited materials. SHOT BUSINESS is a registered trademark of NSSF. Contents copyright ©2024 by NSSF. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited unless expressly authorized by publisher. MEMBER/SUBSCRIBER SERVICES:

Slaton L. White, Editor


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12/6/23 9:57 AM





Retay USA Releases 20-Gauge Shotgun


etay USA, the North American sales and distribution arm for Retay Arms, the Turkish shotgun manufacturer, recently introduced the Gordion Compact 20-gauge semi-auto shotgun with 24- and 26-inch-long barrels. The shotgun is built on a full-size 20-gauge frame and fitted with a shortened stock designed to accommodate four shims that allow a shooter to adjust the length of pull for a perfect fit.

Although the Gordion Compact is perfect for a growing shooter, it was designed for any shooter, regardless of size or age. The full-sized 20-gauge frame and shortened stock allow the user to customize the fit with any or all of the four 1⁄4-inch shims to adjust the length of pull from 12.5 to 13.5 inches with the removal of two Phillips head screws in the butt plate. An optional full-sized Gordion stock can also be purchased and fitted to the shotgun. “We designed the Gordion Compact 20 gauge to fit a broad range of users, from new shooters to

by S laton L. W hite


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youth, and all sizes and ages in between. The Gordion Compact offers real LOP fit for that custom gun feel,” says Christian Handy, CEO of Retay USA. The barrel of the Gordion Compact is not hammer-forged. Instead, according to Handy, it benefits from a new, modern process of deep-bore drilling that does not stress the barrel or affect its integrity. “The result is a strong, extremely accurate, deadstraight barrel with dense and accurate shot placement,” he says. “The shotgun also incorporates Retay’s Inertia Plus bolt system that use a patented

rollover internal torsion spring to forcefully rotate the bolt head into battery, which keeps it from being jarred out of battery. The result is a quieter-closing, low-bolt rattle, and no missed shots.” The Gordion Compact comes complete with five choke tubes, a choke wrench, shim kit, and Retay’s five-year limited warranty. Available in a variety of finishes, including Extra Black, Mossy Oak Bottomland, Realtree Max-7, Onyx, Walnut GreyCon, and Walnut Jet Black. SRP: $899-$999. (


12/13/23 1:09 PM


Using End Caps to Boost Sales


o many, gun cleaning is an activity as exciting as watching paint dry. It is, nevertheless, a critical part of gun ownership, and gun owners are in constant need of gun cleaning components. And that is why retailers need to stock up on these items, which range from bore cleaners to disposable wipes. A key element to increasing sales is where and how these essentials are positioned in your store. That’s where end cap displays can make a big difference. In the past year Remington helped Fleet Farm Stores and Dunham’s increase sales of Remington gun-cleaning products through the installation of Remington end caps. In both cases, these retailers saw dramatic double-digit increases in year over year point of sale purchases.

 Remington will customize end caps to a particular retailer’s space and product-mix needs.

All of which begs the question: why are end caps so productive? “End caps not only allow a manufacturer to showcase best sellers and pair items together to increase purchases, but end caps also grab a consumer’s attention, helping them find what they need faster. And that can also trigger impulse buys,” says Eric Labelle, senior national account manager at Vista Outdoor Shooting Sports. “We find that on average, end caps lift gun-cleaning accessory sales between seven and 12 percent.” Labelle also notes that end caps serve another important purpose as well. “Education on the end cap via a QR code that leads to gun cleaning videos ensure consumers are buying the right products for the intended result, which drives product satisfaction. It also reminds customers to clean their firearm more often. That drives frequency, which is important in this category.” Remington will customize end caps to a particular retailer’s space and product-mix needs, but as for location Labelle says, “Gun cleaning is a solid bridge between ammunition and firearms, so locating the Remington Gun Care end cap here can be very beneficial. And because end caps, in general, can drive impulse buys, locating them in areas close to the checkout counter can also help.” Ammo end caps, which Remington also will provide to retailers, are another way to boost sales. Labelle says that retailers can expect to see, on average, a significant lift in ammo sales with specialized ammo end caps. “In many situations, we’ve seen more than 10 percent lifts in ammo sales.” Like with gun-cleaning end caps, Remington will customize its ammo end caps to fit the product mix and merchandizing needs of the retailer. And just like what you see in real estate, location is everything. “Ammunition on an end cap near the checkout counter or inside the entrance of the store during the various hunting and shooting seasons makes it easy for the consumer to easily find what they need for their shooting activity,” Labelle says. Another good location is between the firearm and ammo sections of a store; there the end cap will help create a natural sales bridge between the two. Another excellent location for an ammo endcap is near the firearm sections of a store; once a gun is sold, the sales associate can point the customer to the endcap to buy ammo for it. For best results, Labelle says ammo stock should be customized to the relevant season. For example, an endcap featuring duck and goose loads in the weeks approaching waterfowl hunting season will help boost sales.

 Gun-cleaning end caps near the checkout counter or inside the entrance of the store make it easy for the consumer to quickly find what they need.

“End caps are nothing new,” he says. “But if you truly want them to increase sales, they must be used creatively with specific purpose and great graphics.” (


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Walther’s new PD380 is designed to elevate the concealed-carry experience. In the world of concealed carry, Walther has long been synonymous with precision, reliability, and unmatched craftsmanship. With a legacy that spans generations, Walther has once again set a new standard with the PD380, a compact .380 ACP pistol that embodies the perfect fusion of power and ease of use. At the heart of the PD380 lies its unrivaled ease of use. Boasting minimal recoil and an effortless-torack slide, the PD380 becomes an ideal companion for everyday carry, even for those new to shooting. Weighing in at a featherlight level, the PD380 slips effortlessly into a holster, pocket, or purse. Its compact dimensions, designed to balance comfort and concealability, make it an excellent choice for anyone seeking a reliable, high-performance pistol. The PD380 includes a number of features designed to enhance the shooting experience. A performance duty-grip texture, for example, has been designed to provide a secure hold while Superterrain slide serrations allow for quicker and


more responsive hands-on engagement with the pistol. An ambidextrous paddle magazine release allows the user to swiftly reload. The overall magazine design gives the PD380 9+1 capacity. The PD380 also benefits from versatile shooting options with the Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA) trigger system, allowing for both rapid follow-up shots and the option to carry with the hammer down. The ambidextrous slide-mounted safety lets the user engage or disengage the safety mechanism using either hand. “At Walther, our team continuously engineers every firearm with reliable precision, state-of-the-art craftsmanship, and the Walther legacy,” says Jens Krogh, vice president of marketing and product development for Walther Arms, Inc. “The PD380 was designed with an unrivaled sense of comfort and ease, concealment, and features that build confidence with each shot.

The compact dimensions provide a balance between innovation and concealability, making it an excellent choice for a beginner or a seasoned expert seeking a reliable, high-performance pistol that doesn't compromise personal protection.” (waltherarms.COM)


veryday Carry (EDC) is a growing market that focuses on preparedness and survival. Someone interested in EDC may be carrying multi-tools, flashlights, knives, and everyday items such as a smart phone, wallet, and keys. In the past year, according to Google Search Trends, there has been more than a 40 percent increase for the search term “everyday carry.” Searches for similar terms, such as “concealed carry,” “concealed carry gear,” and “concealed carry clothing,” have been trending upward for the past decade as well. “Concealed carry isn’t just for gun stores or just for firearms; it’s about securely carrying personal items,” says Kristy Dineen, director of brand marketing and e-commerce at Rothco, a company that specializes in concealed-carry gear. “Whether your customers are trying to keep their passports and electronic devices secure while traveling or utilizing the pockets for EDC, the versatility of Rothco’s concealed-carry gear will keep their belongings safe. For example, the pockets on our Concealed Carry Jacket, designed for spare ammo magazines, are the perfect size for a flashlight, multi-tool, pocket knife, or small electronic device.” Rothco’s concealed-carry line features jackets and vests, their best-selling CCW Hoodie, and bags and holsters, all designed with concealed-carry features. In addition, Dineen notes that aside from the outdoors and survival market, Rothco’s jackets and vests are also a good choice for travel because they can keep personal belongings secure while the wearer is in transit. “Almost everyone carries hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars of technology on them and concealed-carry gear can be used to carry all that tech securely and safely,” she says. “An item like Rothco’s Undercover Travel Vest has concealed interior pockets large enough to hold a tablet, cell phone, camera, or other electronic devices and even has hidden pockets to keep your passport or wallet safe and secure.” Rothco’s Concealed Carry 3 Season Jacket is designed to keep the wearer warm while providing two internal pockets for quick and easy access. Features include two inner padded universal handgun concealed pockets (one on each side) with hook-and-loop closures and four inner mag pockets with hook-and-loop closures. The jacket is constructed of a washed 100-percent cotton outershell with an insulating quilted inner lining. A pair of tricot-lined front zipper pockets keep hands warm while also holding EDC items. Last fall Rothco introduced the Concealed Carry Woobie Jacket, continuing with the progression of the iconic Woobie collection, which ranges from a field-proven military poncho liner to a mid-weight jacket. This line has all of the concealed-carry functionality of the company’s popular outerwear series. The jacket features Rothco’s signature ambidextrous internal padded and reinforced concealed pockets with hook-and-loop closures, two mag pouches (one on each side), and a two-way zipper. The quilted outer shell is 100-percent polyester, with a six-ounce quilted liner that provides all-day warmth. “Product demand for these items has been growing, and so has our selection,” Dineen says. “And, there is more to come.” (


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12/6/23 9:59 AM


Falco Holsters Unveils New Dealer Program


alco Holsters, known for handcrafted leather holsters and customized everyday carry solutions, recently introduced a cutting-edge dealer program tailored for brick-and-mortar retailers. The program showcases dealer-only Falco Multifit holsters, streamlining SKU management and optimizing retail space utilization. “Our dealer-exclusive category is designed to enhance the retail-to-consumer relationship at the counter level,” says Katarína Zacharová, vice president of sales and marketing for Falco Holsters. “Each holster is crafted to bring value to both merchants and their customers, offering exclusive products not available elsewhere—not on our website and certainly no better deals on Amazon or any other e-commerce platform.” Zacharová emphasizes that this Falco program will deliver seven key benefits for participating dealers. Exclusive Product Line: There will be no direct-to-consumer sales via Falco e-commerce. “We do market the products to our online customers; however, rather than selling directly, we refer customers to your store. The sale is yours,” she says. Brand Ownership: No third-party sales are allowed. “While we own the listings of these products on Amazon to maintain control, they are listed at MSRP, with a four-week lead time, and we charge for shipping. This way, we ensure consumers will not get a better deal on the exclusive products online.” Enhanced Profitability: Attractive margins ensure retailers enjoy a healthy bottom line, with no minimum order quantities. “We make it easy. Falco starts small by learning what products move and grow the relationship by analyzing your preferred product options and inventory. Because we consider our competitors, our pricing ensures excellent value.” Strategic Pricing Policies: Falco requires its dealer partners to sign and comply with its MAP policy. “While there are challenges to monitoring in-store sales, we monitor online offers and promotions to protect your business. This structure provides retailers with a competitive edge in the marketplace.” Efficient Inventory Management: Falco has created an easy-to-navigate sizing system that keeps the SKU count low and saves shelf space. “Attractive packaging clearly shows firearm compatibility parameters, taking the pressure off salespeople.”

Territory-Based Exclusivity: The distinguishing benefit of carrying Falco holsters is their exceptional value and benefits that draw people in. “If you understand the advantage of curating a product selection that resonates with your customer base, you are the partner Falco seeks.” In-Store Marketing Support: Falco caters to the needs of its dealers by offering choices to include banners, signage, POS displays, giveaway/raffle items, swag, and more. “Also, Falco advertises with nationally recognized platforms, building brand awareness at the consumer level.” Simple Ordering Process: Dealers can place orders with Falco or its distribution partners. “We maintain communications with you and provide direct dealer support throughout the process. Orders may be fulfilled with U.S.-based partners, meaning there are no import requirements or overseas shipment issues. Products are shipped via UPS or FedEx.” (

Taurus USA Reintroduces the 917C Taurus USA, a leading manufacturer of firearms for everything from personal protection to hunting, recently promoted Caleb Giddings to general manager of marketing. Giddings originally joined Taurus as marketing manager after consulting on the project that would result in the award-winning Taurus 856 Executive Grade. He steps into his new role leading the marketing department after playing a crucial role in the successful launches of many new products, including the first-ever optics-ready defensive revolver, the Taurus 856 T.O.R.O (Taurus Optics Ready Option). “I am tremendously excited for my expanded role here,” Giddings says. “I can’t wait to keep working with the team in marketing to continue to promote not just the Taurus brand, but also Rossi and Heritage.” In his new role, Giddings will oversee marketing efforts for Taurus USA and its family of brands, including Rossi USA and Heritage Manufacturing. “I’m looking forward to SHOT Show 2024. Between the new products we’re launching and the upgrades to our display, I’m excited to showcase what our brands are doing.” One of Giddings’ first accomplishments is the reintroduction of the 917C, a compact version of the company’s legendary Taurus 92. The Taurus 917C was popular with customers thanks to its compact size, easy shooting characteristics, and fulllength accessory rail. Unlike other compact double-action/single-action semi-automatic pistols, the new Taurus 917C is capable of mounting full-size weapon-mounted lights and other accessories. In addition, the 917C is compatible with all Taurus 92-style magazines. “I actually had one of the original 917C pistols all those years ago, and I regret selling it,” says Giddings. “I’m a huge fan of traditional double-action semi-autos like the Taurus 92, so bringing back the 917C makes a ton of sense to me. I can’t wait to put some serious rounds downrange out of this.” SRP: $599.99. (taurususa.COM)


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12/6/23 9:59 AM

Celerant Re-Starts Automated Ordering and Product Feeds


ealers can now resume using MGE Wholesale’s dealer services through Celerant’s retail software to increase both store and online sales. These services, which include automated ordering and product feeds, were on hiatus because of the long-term effects of the global pandemic, but are now completely reactivated. To streamline inventory, dealers can integrate their Celerant point of sale software with MGE Wholesale. This enables dealers to import MGE’s catalog and order electronically, helping them build their product database without manual data entry, drastically reducing errors and saving time. Dealers can streamline the ordering process even further by setting up minimum and maximum thresholds in the retail software, which automatically sends purchase orders to MGE when inventory is low for a particular product, thus helping the dealer keep store shelves stocked. “We have been partnered with Celerant for several years, with many of our dealers using their point of sale and eCommerce software,” said Brad Rupert, general manager of MGE Wholesale. “After pausing our integrated services at the start of the pandemic, everyone at MGE is excited to once again offer these services to our dealers, and doing it through Celerant’s software makes it easy.” Dealers of MGE Wholesale can offer their customers more products both online and in-store. This is accomplished by pulling product data feeds and displaying them on Celerant’s eCommerce platform and store kiosks with images, MAP pricing, inventory counts, and more. Dealers can set pricing rules to automatically change the price of online products by a percentage or dollar amount and set data level rules to ensure products are displayed only if MGE has enough on-hand quantities. Orders placed online or on the kiosk can then be routed to MGE for store replenishment. “We are excited to reactivate our integrations with MGE for our dealers,” said Michele Salerno, marketing director of Celerant Technology. “It was just a couple of months prior to the start of the pandemic that we announced our new partnership and then temporarily paused the automations due to market circumstances. It’s refreshing to resume these services.” (

MISSION FIRST TACTICAL LAUNCHES BELLY BAND ULTRALITE Mission First Tactical (MFT), manufacturers of stateof-the-art USA-made rifle/carbine accessories and holsters, recently announced the newest edition to the Belly Band holster family: the new Belly Band Ultralite. This new belly band holster was specifically designed without additional storage and engineered for smaller carry firearms. “We listened to the market and the end user when they asked for a smaller footprint for smallerframed people or those who prefer a minimal footprint and don’t require additional storage,” says David Edelman, vice president of Mission First Tactical. “The Belly Band Ultralite provides increased comfort and discreet concealability for those who choose to carry compact handguns.” The new MFT Belly Band Ultralite holster’s comfortable, all-day carry is achieved with 3D Spacer Mesh Fabric. Special channels allow for more efficient airflow, increasing comfort in comparison with other elastic-type holsters. An open-air weave construction design provides for air/moisture to pass through, naturally hindering bacterial growth. Maximum breathability keeps you cool and dry all day long, and a soft, medical-grade hook-and-loop construction ensures no chaffing. “The Belly Band Ultralite holster has a self-laminated fastening end that can be cut and trimmed


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with scissors for a custom fit,” says Edelman. “The hard laminate trigger shield protects the firearm’s trigger from unwanted intrusion. It’s ambidextrous and compatible with a wide variety of firearms. The best thing about this holster—the user needs no belt. That makes it a great device for users who enjoy active lifestyles such as walking, jogging, hiking, biking, and other activities. Designed to go wherever you go, this belly band is a great solution if you’re wearing activewear such as shorts, sweats, or leggings.” The MFT Belly Band Ultralite holster is designed to accommodate waist sizes from 26 to 52 inches. SRP: $39.99. (missionfirsttactical.COM)


12/6/23 9:59 AM



Samson Manufacturing Gives New Life to Ruger’s Mini-14

here is a famous quote from the popular 1980s television series The A-Team that goes: “I love it when a plan comes together.” That quote could be added to the mission statement for Samson Manufacturing. During SHOT Show 2020, Samson announced production of the A-TM stock, which duplicates the design of the factory folding stock Ruger used on the Mini-14. The stock is also compatible with Ruger’s Mini Thirty rifles. The plan was to get Ruger on board, produce duplicate stocks, and sell them. The plan was simple, if a bit random. Sure, the folding Ruger stock was cool, but who would buy one? Who still shoots a Mini-14? Was there really a market for such a product? Turns out Samson was on the money. Chris Sullivan, marketing manager at Samson, says the stocks have been “wildly popular.” Demand for the A-TM folding stock for the Ruger Mini-14 has been especially high. “Many of our customers like that retro look of the 1980s Mini-14,” he says. And while the A-TM stock provides that nostalgia, the release of the Hannibal Rail helped push the Mini14 platform into current times. (By the way, Hannibal was the A-Team’s leader.) “The combination of A-TM stock and Hannibal Rail has made the rifle relevant again,” he says. The plan started to unfold when Samson and Ruger signed a licensing agreement. Ruger provides Samson with the raw metal castings, Samson machines the finished parts. Initially, Ruger provided the wood stocks, but with Ruger acquiring Marlin, Ruger needed to focus on in-house wood stock production. Samson tapped Benelli for the current wood stocks. The result was customers clamoring for folding Mini-14 stocks and satisfying their thirst for nostalgia and a pseudo AC-556 clone. (The now discontinued AC-556 was Ruger’s select fire Mini-14.) Backorders weren’t part of the plan, but did show Samson was onto something. The B-TM stock for the Ruger 10/22 was also announced in 2020. Although not as popular as the A-TM stock, the B-TM stock, along with Samson’s additional accessories, have spiked in popularity with shooters. This makes sense, since truckloads of 10/22s are sold each year. “A lot of other companies are producing 10/22 aftermarket parts because of its popularity,” says Sullivan. “Plus, the 10/22 is a folding-stock rimfire that doesn’t fall under laws that restrict the folding-stock centerfire Mini-14.” A bull barrel version of the 10/22 B-TM stock, announced last year at SHOT, has also been released. Dealers can tap into their customers who own Mini-14s and 10/22s by stocking Samson folding stocks. It should also give their customers peace of mind that the stock is licensed by Ruger. Distributors include RSR and Sports South. —Robert Sadowski (

Savage Arms Licensed Apparel and Gear Now Available The Savage Arms licensing program, in partnership with the Group 3 Holdings licensing group, is now shipping orders to retailers and product is available direct to consumers. The new line is comprised of hunting apparel, camping equipment, and lifestyle apparel. Several items are available via with additional SKUs coming on weekly. “While so many hunting and outdoor enthusiasts take to the fields, forests, and highlands this fall, it is great to see our gear and apparel become available,” says Beth Shimanski, director of marketing at Savage Arms. “From casual T-shirts and outerwear around camp to more technical apparel—we designed the new gear with the features in mind that matter to those who enjoy the outdoors.” Several new lines/items, including basecamp products, technical hunting apparel, sportswear, non-technical apparel, functional bags, and storage products, will continue to become available as Savage extends and further develops the line extensively in 2024. (savagebasecamp.COM)


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by robert FIVEa sadowski MINUTES

WITH ... SB: What opportunities do you see?

Steve Kramer, Vice President, Marketing, Springfield Armory

SK: We live in an era of rapidly advancing new technology such as Artificial Intelligence, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Conversational AI for customer service and engagement, and the growing ability to harvest analytics to assist in calculating the ROI and success of marketing strategies. The firearms industry as a whole has classically been slow to adopt cutting-edge technology, but these tools offer incredible benefits that help gain insights into customer behavior, preferences, and trends. Sb: When you get up in the morning, what gets you excited about working in the industry? SK: I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to work with the talented people at Springfield Armory to help advance a brand that, although well established, has incredible potential for growth. It has been exciting to see Springfield expand into new product categories and the growth of our customer base. SB: How will you meet the expectations of your customers?

Driving the Train At Springfield Armory, product is king, and developing exciting new products is the locomotive engine of growth.


teve Kramer is an experienced industry professional and the vice president of marketing for Springfield Armory, where he leads an in-house

team developing advertising strategies for the company’s growing portfolio of products. After serving in the Marine Corps as an infantry squad leader, he earned a degree in film and video production. He has spent the last 20 years representing brands in the firearms, optics, and outdoor space.

SHOT business: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the industry in the next five years? Steve Kramer: I believe the major challenges over the next five years are likely to stem from a combination of regulatory and supply-chain factors that will require adaptation and strategic planning within the industry. Restricted sales of our products are an obvious concern, but the ongoing global supply-chain disruptions the country continues to face as well as economic uncertainty are likely to be ongoing challenges.


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SK: Customers today want a clear path to make informed decisions regarding their firearms purchases. We strive to give the customer the knowledge to make that purchase decision before entering the store. To achieve this, we start by providing a fully featured website with detailed, media-rich product landing pages. Our daily content website,, provides further support with articles and videos by the top content creators in the industry. Postpurchase support is also extremely important, and owners can now use the new Springfield Armory customer dashboard and mobile app as a centralized hub of resources and support for their purchases. SB: In a very competitive world, how does

Springfield Armory stay ahead of the pack?

SK: At Springfield Armory we believe that new

products “drive the train,” and we are constantly working to give our customers the new and exciting firearms options they are asking for. A perfect example of this is our new Echelon, a full-size 9mm duty-grade pistol with a host of innovative features. In addition, we have recently expanded into a new manufacturing facility that is helping us meet the strong and consistent demand for our products. Equally important is getting the message out in an increasingly


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by slaton l . white

media are carefully curated to provide educational and shareable content. Our Velocity program, a dealer training and rewards portal, has been especially well received.

 The Echelon is a 9mm

SB: Springfield Armory has a website, “The

full-size duty-grade pistol.

Armory Life,” along with a quarterly four-color magazine with the same title. Both are well-executed outreach programs designed to connect and engage with your customers. How have both been received?

crowded and competitive market. We use a multi-faceted marketing approach that we have developed internally and refined over a number of years that has resulted in very successful new product launches.

SK: “The Armory Life” has proven to be a

SB: Springfield Armory recently has released a number of new products, including the Hellion 5.56mm Bullpup variants and the Model 2020 Rimfire, to go along with such well-established products such as the SAINT and XD lines. How do you conceive of marketing programs for these lines?

SK: Creating effective marketing programs for

Springfield Armory’s new products and legacy lines requires a strategic approach that takes into account the unique features and target audience of each product. As the company grows and enters new product categories, we have opportunities to introduce the brand to new consumers. A prime example of this was bringing our first dedicated hunting rifle to market with the Model 2020 Waypoint. This intro into that market segment opened up awareness of our entire product line to a customer base that may have not been fully

aware of our brand, namely the hunting community, and required a unique marketing approach.

SB: How do you keep your dealer network informed of your new products?

SK: Effective communication with our dealer

network is crucial to the success of Springfield Armory. We are represented by The Evans Group, which does an outstanding job sharing our products with dealers across the nation. To support this effort, we create email campaigns that highlight both new and legacy products, outlining features and benefits, specifications, pricing, as well as marketing collateral and training materials. Our digital platforms and social

remarkable success. Offering readers and followers informative and entertaining firearms lifestyle content, the website at features a new article every day and has had 33 million pageviews since its launch. In addition, our quarterly “The Armory Life” print magazine has a circulation of 250,000 subscribers. Both the content on the website as well as the magazine are free, with the latter being available to Springfield Armory warranty registrants.

SB: What is the FIRSTLINE program? How does it work?

SK: Springfield Armory’s FIRSTLINE program

was designed to support those who serve both our nation and its citizens by offering them discounts on a select line of our products. Available to a wide range of qualified professionals, the program offers a select listing of Springfield Armory firearms at discounted pricing in a simple, streamlined process. Rather than involving complicated rebates or post-purchase discounts, FIRSTLINE is designed to deliver immediate discounts and offerings. Qualified users can simply visit one of nearly 200 authorized dealer locations nationwide and purchase the firearm of their choice. Visit our site and click on the FIRSTLINE link to learn more about it.


 This 5.56mm Bullpup variant of the Hellion combines portability with performance.


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 is a key digital asset.


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by robert by shannon farlow FYI a sadowski

gun and is safe for all stocks. It removes carbon residue and bore fouling, lubricates moving parts, and protects against rust and corrosion, making it an ideal all-in-one solution for gun owners. “The ability to clean, lubricate, protect, penetrate, and preserve all firearms has made Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil the go-to oil for all shooting sports,” says Ballistol USA president Patrick Palumbo.

Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil, first formulated more than a century ago, remains popular because it has so many uses.

Not Just for Guns Because it has such a wide range of applications, Ballistol generates consistent sales yearround. In addition to gun care, customers purchase the oil to use on equipment, tools, security locks, and much more. “Ballistol products have been doing extremely well in farm- and home-supply stores,” Palumbo says. “With so many uses for it, you should always keep a can handy for anything from a frozen lock on a ranch gate to a dusty saddle that needs to be cleaned.”

Ingredients for Success

Miracle Oil

A tried-and-true formula still works wonders.


echnological advances across today’s firearms, ammunition, optics, and training systems have elevated shooting performance at the range and in the field. However, one leading gun-

care brand continues to serve the needs of a growing number of shooters with a product created 120 years ago. Ballistol USA offers a full line of premium gun-care products, but the company remains best known for the original formula Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil, which was developed in 1904.

Ballistol’s popularity in the United States is growing. Sales for 2023 are up a solid 30 percent over the previous year. Palumbo attributes the company’s success to two key factors—a broad marketing campaign backed by a highly effective product. “We continue to build brand awareness through multiple marketing channels, including print advertising, network television, digital advertising, and maintaining a strong social media presence,” he says. “It also helps to have a product that truly works so well that customers

firearm, including the wood stocks. It could protect a soldier’s leather kit from the elements and was even used to treat minor cuts, lacerations, and bruises. After dominating the European gun-care scene for decades, Ballistol entered the U.S. market in 1993, where it became a hit with the muzzleloading community as a blackpowder solvent. American blackpowder shooters soon discovered the oil’s do-it-all qualities and began using it for everything from sharpening knives to waterproofing hunting boots.

All-In-One Solution A “Miracle Oil” Innovative shooting sports products can often be traced back to a military origin. This holds true for Ballistol, which was developed by Dr. Helmut Klever for the German military at the beginning of the 20th century. The “miracle oil” was actually a mineral oil that excelled at cleaning, lubricating, and protecting every part of a


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Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil works on virtually everything—metals, wood, leather, rubber, and most synthetics. It won’t harden or gum up over time like some lubricants. It also won’t freeze, even in the coldest temperatures. Because the biodegradable oil contains no carcinogens and isn’t harmful to skin, it can be safely applied using bare hands. Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil can be used on every

Ballistol USA president Patrick Palumbo with a nice whitetail deer.


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The newest addition to the line is Suppressor Cleaner. The formulation can also clean AR bolts and muzzle brakes.

stick with it after trying for the first time. The effectiveness of our product is the biggest thing driving our sales. Simply put, Ballistol works.” Also important, the company is focused on providing exceptional customer service. They have also been working hard to grow their dealer network, partnering with local gun stores and shooting ranges across the country. “We love dealing directly with our dealers and offer low minimums for our brick-and-mortar partners,” Palumbo says. “Whether you have a simple how-to question or need to place an order, a real person will answer the phone and be able to help you. We have always offered a money-back guarantee on our products and will never be afraid to do so.”

New Products for 2024 Ballistol USA continues to expand their gun-care lineup. They recently released a new suppressor cleaner, which has been welcomed by long-time customers as well as shooters who are new to the brand. Using the Ballistol suppressor cleaner is a simple, one-step process. Best of all, it solves the common problems inherent with cleaning suppressors.


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“Not only is it an excellent suppressor cleaner, but it does a great job at removing any stubborn fouling,” Palumbo says. “I really like using this to clean AR bolts and muzzle brakes as well.” The company is set to introduce several new products in 2024, including a bore solvent, bluing

repair, synthetic lubricants, and specialty cleaning tools. Although the new product lines are expected to generate enthusiasm from shooters of all stripes, it’s a sure bet that the original Ballistol Multi-Purpose Oil will continue to serve shooters for generations to come. (


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From its origin with the iconic Fullfield riflescope


to the revolutionary Eliminator laser rangefinding scope, Burris products have married precision and performance for the past 52 years. by Andrew McKean


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or much of his professional life, Don Burris unintentionally occupied a place at the hub of American sports optics. Not only

did he establish a riflescope company under his own name, but he connected the nation’s foundational optics brands with the rise of modern hunting and precision shooting. An Oklahoma native, Burris was a successful aeronautics engineer before joining Redfield Gunsight Co. just as that Denver, Colorado, based company was bringing magnified riflescopes to the hunting market. Up until that time, in the late 1950s, Redfield was mostly known for making precision iron sights for competition shooters, but it had just acquired the riflescope business from Kollmorgen Optical Corp., which manufactured scopes under the Stith line. The purchase was especially timely, as centerfire cartridges like the .308 Winchester, .223 Remington, and .280 Remington were all introduced within a few years of the Kollmorgen purchase. American shooters were scrambling to buy magnified rifle sights to maximize the effectiveness of those flat-shooting rounds, and Redfield was primed to provide them. “Those early Kollmorgen scopes were all fixedpower scopes built on 26mm tubes, in the German tradition,” recalls John McCarty, who joined Don Burris at Redfield in 1961. “Don didn’t mince words. He said, ‘This is America. We don’t need millimeters here. We need inches.’” Burris oversaw Redfield’s production of scopes built on one-inch tubes and soon brought one of the first variable-power scopes to the market. Meanwhile, Redfield developed a rotating dovetail ring-and-base design that became the standard scope-mounting

system for a generation of riflemen. Burris was a lifelong hunter, and he saw the need to incorporate precision aiming capabilities in Redfield’s scopes. Under his watch, Redfield came out with the Accu-Range system, which used two reticles that could bracket a target and give shooters a close approximation of distance. Don Burris’s enduring contribution to the optics industry was the development of the Wide Field riflescope while at Redfield. “It was an ultra-wide-angle scope,” says McCarty. “But the Redfield marketing department said that customers weren’t going to know that it’s a wideangle because externally it looked like every other scope on the market. So, Don went back and lopped off the top and the bottom of the objective so that it looked wider than it was tall.” The scope now looked like a rectangular television screen. Consumers flocked to it, making it the best-selling scope in America for nearly a decade. “It was a mess to manufacture,” says McCarty. “Production would have been much easier if it had stayed round, in order to thread washers into it, screw it all together, and seal it. Instead, we had to cast a rectangular objective bell, and all the lenses had to be held in with a screw at the top and the bottom and then sealed with an O-ring. We scrapped more of those scopes than we sold.” Burris was restless, and he left Redfield to start a company that made mountaineering equipment. It turned out that the pull of the optics industry was too strong to resist. Within a decade Burris had started his own optics company, under his own name, in the farm country around Greeley, a good hour north and a little east of Redfield’s Denver facility.

 The Signature LRF 10x42 is Burris’s first laser rangefinding binocular; it can range targets from 5 out to 2,600 yards. The unit retails for just under $1,000.


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 The digital Burris app allows hunters access to ballistic data.

“He was attracted to Greeley because Don loved to golf, and the Greeley Country Club was one of his favorites,” says McCarty. “But Don recognized that in a rural community where the men worked the fields all day, their wives would be a good and reliable labor force. As an added bonus, most people in Greeley hunted antelope, deer, and elk on their days off. They were shooters and hunters, and they knew the value of reliable, durable gear.” Burris Optics Company remains in Greeley, its 47,000-square-foot plant busting at the seams on a crowded industrial lot near the Poudre River. Because there’s no more room to build on the site, the company opened a second location across town to accommodate overflow. The company that bears its founder’s name still produces sports optics that are designed to make shooters and hunters more capable on the range and in the field, incorporating precision aiming attributes in nearly every gun-mounted optic. Products have included an improved version of the old Redfield wide-angle riflescope, which Burris called the Fullfield, introduced in 1975. Iterations of the scope are still being made by Burris, under the Fullfield E1 and Fullfield IV banners. The company pioneered the use of double springs, patented as the “Posi-Lock” system, to make windage and elevation adjustments repeatedly precise. Burris was an early leader in development of bullet-drop-compensating reticles. And in 2010, Burris introduced the revolutionary Eliminator electronic scope that combines a laser rangefinder with a ballistic calculator to guide distant shots to the 10-ring of a target or the vitals of a big-game trophy. “The consistent thread of the company through the decades has been the development of products that were designed and perfected by people who actually use them,” says Jordan Egli, Burris’s director of marketing. “That is a legacy of Don Burris. He was a hunter who wanted to make products that he would enjoy using. We’re still a company of hunters and shooters.”


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The company’s location, which Egli describes as “where Colorado’s high plains meet the Front Range,” shapes the personality of Burris Optics. “We have pronghorns, mule deer, and elk close by, and come hunting season, there’s a lot of empty cubicles. But it’s still a relatively small town, and we have multiple generations of Greeley residents who work at Burris.”


The other force that shaped the personality of Burris Optics Company, of course, was Don Burris himself. Equally adept at inventing products, drumming up markets, and keeping Greeley operations humming, Burris kept cash coming in with his riflescope accessories. The first was Burris’s Taper Lock dovetail bases, then Zee Rings to fit Weaver-style bases, and later Signature scope rings with offset inserts to solve problematic mounting challenges. Meanwhile, Burris was cranking out as many as 1,000 scopes a day from the Greeley plant, the

operations of which were overseen since 1975 by John McCarty, Burris’s former Redfield colleague whose title these days is Burris’s president emeritus. A flurry of introductions in the late 1970s and 1980s included a compact riflescope to serve the growing number of mountain hunters, a line of variable-power handgun scopes, and the industry’s first scout rifle scope. Other ground-breaking products followed, including the “Light Collector” line of scopes that had an adjustable aperture, similar to that found in camera lenses; it allowed users to control aberrations by adjusting the amount of light entering the scope. Later, Burris introduced the “Posi-Lock” turret that locked elevation and adjustment controls so that the scope could never be bumped off its zero. And even later, Don Burris invented the Automatic Compensating Reticle, similar to Redfield’s rangefinding scope. The design, which was drafted without the use of computer-derived ballistics tables, allowed

users to dial twin reticles to determine both distance and holdover. But the fervid pace of innovation wasn’t to last. Don Burris died of a rare blood disease in 1988, and the company moved into what Egli calls a maintenance period. Meanwhile, competing optics brands sprouted up around the industry, and the rise of offshore production came to dominate the sports-optics sector. Burris was acquired by Beretta Holding Group in 2002.


If the late 1980s and 1990s were relatively quiet for Burris, the introduction of the Eliminator in 2010 sparked a resurgence of innovation that has defined the company’s recent products. The Eliminator, which contains a laser rangefinder inside the body of the scope, takes much of the guesswork out of longrange shooting solutions. Early versions of the second-focal-plane Eliminator (the Grim Reaper depiction on the side

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of the scope hints at its lethality, but Egli claims the name was intended to assure buyers that they would be “eliminating” doubt and guesswork with distant shots) gave shooters ballistic holds only when used at the highest magnification. But next generations featured a built-in ballistics calculator that provided holdover references at any magnification. The latest iteration—the Eliminator 5—was released late last year and provides a full suite of aiming solutions for just about any projectile out to 2,000 yards. In recent years, Burris has produced a line of thermal optics and vastly expanded its offerings of rings, bases, and mounts. Its Oracle and Oracle X archery rangefinding sights have become one of the hottest products on the target archery circuit. The company’s XTR Pro precision riflescope similarly has become a darling of Precision Rifle Series competitors. This year Burris is debuting two products that marry its tradition of optical excellence with electronics in service of precise shooting. The Signature LRF 10x42 is Burris’s first laser rangefinding binocular; it can range targets from 5 out to 2,600 yards. The unit retails for just under $1,000, pairing good optical performance with a lightning-fast laser and processor. The rangefinding bino doesn’t have a ballistics calculator by design, says Egli.

“That’s in keeping with Burris’s DNA of being affordable by being efficient,” he says. The rangefinder is intended to be used with the company’s new Bluetooth-enabled Veracity PH riflescope, which features a programmable digital elevation turret. Range your target, turn the turret to the precise distance, and then follow the hold that’s informed by the specific load dynamics that you upload from the mobile app. The Veracity PH, which is available in 4-20x50, retails for just under $1,200. “With those two products, the Signature LRF and the Veracity PH, you can range any target, then pair that data with all the capabilities of the riflescope and the mobile app,” says Egli. “It’s the best expression of the brand’s personalities of innovation, commitment to incorporating practical ballistics into our products, and then making them user-friendly. The digitally enhanced riflescope is the culmination of things coming to fruition to produce the cleanest solution we’ve ever developed on the ballistics side. It’s not the Eliminator—it doesn’t have the laser rangefinder built in. And it’s not custom [elevation] knobs, because the customization is done internally. It just seems to work.” Egli says Don Burris would be happy to see his company’s commitment to innovation extend into its fifth decade in Greeley. “Some optics companies

 The Veracity PH riflescope features a programmable digital elevation turret.

pride themselves on premium glass and fine plex reticles, but as a Western hunter, Don understood that Kentucky windage would take you only so far,” says Egli. “At some point, you have to trust the math, and if you’re going to be shooting at some distance, it’s not enough to guess.” (



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MAYBE. MAYBE NOT. by Michelle Scheuermann


here’s been a lot of chatter lately about artificial intelligence (AI). Many think it has the potential to revolutionize entire industries.

A lot of this chatter centers on ChatGPT, which stands for Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer, a languagebased chatbot developed by OpenAI that debuted on November 30, 2022. OpenAI launched ChatGPT for free and received over one million signups over its first five days. The easy-to-use and conversational interface took the world by storm. It can help with tasks such as answering simple questions, generating code, writing copy for press releases or social media posts, and crafting creative stories. OpenAI has also introduced notable projects such as DALLE•2, a popular AI art generator, and Whisper, an automatic speech recognition system. OpenAI has since launched ChatGPT-Plus, a paid version with faster responses and more options for $20 monthly. Should your business take advantage of any of this?


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Most likely AI is already helping you with your business daily. For example, your online store could be using a “chatbot” to answer customer questions on your website or social media. If you read SHOT Business online through your smartphone, you most likely used facial recognition software to unlock the phone—which is AI. Finally, a familiar example for us in the outdoor industry is using chatbots and AI in social media to filter posts and comments (and restrict your posts to followers). Since the launch of AI, several third-party apps have sprouted up that businesses can use to help make tasks easier and faster. Jasper.AI and Grammarly are two I’ve used in the past year. Grammarly is an online grammar editor that will catch everything from using passive voice to spell-check to offering options for split infinitives. It has been beneficial for proofing when writing press releases, articles (such as this one!), and even e-mails if you install its browser extension. Jasper.AI has helped me by feeding me suggested prompts for writing e-mails, press releases, and social media posts. According to their website, it interfaces, or uses, the most powerful version of ChatGPT (the version for which


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OpenAI wants to assess an additional charge). You can “chat” with it and ask it to respond in your brand’s voice, which it learns from your website, or by uploading a creative brief. This is where it is most valuable, as it can technically write an entire marketing white paper based on your voice. I used Jasper.AI when it originally came on the market, but eventually abandoned it because at the time it was not a helpful tool for my needs. With the buzz over ChatGPT, I re-subscribed (at a hefty price of $120 per month so I can have multiple brand voices for it to pick up) and discovered the interface now works more smoothly. However, it needs to gain more knowledge in the conservation world. For example, I needed a start on a marketing plan for a non-profit conservation organization focused on ducks. I asked it to write a vision statement for an upcoming conservation raffle. It gave me: Imagine a world where every individual understands the importance of conservation, respects nature, and actively participates in preserving our planet. All was good until I read “respects nature, and actively participates in preserving our planet.” In fact, in almost every output it defaulted to “preservation” rather than “conservation.”

Those deep in the conservation world know there is a vast difference between those words; they are not interchangeable terms. I also asked ChatGPT to help write a mission statement for this non-profit’s duck hunting membership program. However, it seems the chatbot thought the duck membership program was more about petting ducks than hunting ducks. Here’s what I got: To promote the preservation of waterfowl and their habitats, while also fostering a community of members who are passionate about wildlife conservation and education. For the vision statement it wrote: The vision for the Duck Membership Program involves creating a future where waterfowl and their habitats are protected and thriving, and where members are actively engaged in conservation efforts and educated about the importance of preserving wildlife. There’s that “preservation” word again. But perhaps this is my fault. Like any computer program, ChatGPT and Jasper.AI are only as good as the inputs given to them. Perhaps my inputs are off ? Maybe I should have been more explicit about what a “duck membership” is? Let’s move into the world of firearms. I asked ChatGPT to write a pitch to a gun magazine about a new handgun designed specifically


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for women. I received: In a monumental stride towards inclusivity and innovation, [Company X] unveils its latest creation, the [Product X] designed specifically for women. As the firearms industry embraces diversity, the firearm stands tall as a symbol of empowerment, blending refined aesthetics with cutting-edge functionality. Join us as we delve into the exquisite craftsmanship and exceptional features that make the [Product X] the embodiment of strength and sophistication. I also asked Jasper.AI the same thing, and here is its opener: Today, we’re thrilled to announce a groundbreaking addition to our portfolio–the new [Product X], a firearm specifically designed for women. [Product X] is not just a new product line, but a complete program that empowers women to take their personal protection into their own hands... This line has been crafted with the needs of women in mind, combining elegance with high performance. Jasper’s more powerful ChatGPT version gives more detail for the pitch to the editor. But both AI versions did deliver good information. Here’s the kicker on all this; your colleagues are already using some version of AI. That’s no doubt because ChatGPT is free. And though you can see above how the “paid” vs. “free”

 Since the launch of AI, several third-party apps have sprouted up that businesses can use to help make tasks easier and faster.


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A l l wa s g o o d u n t i l I r e a d “ r e s p e c t s versions have differences, a good writer can take the “free” version and spice it up with their deeper knowledge of the product. There are, however, those in our industry who remain skeptical of the benefits of ChatGPT. At a recent outdoor writer conference, I heard of writers using ChatGPT to write reviews of products. When the subject came up, the editors in attendance expressed concern regarding originality and copyright issues. I’ve used Jasper.AI to help rewrite a boring lede on a press release or spice up a social media post. If it can help us communicate better, is that wrong? Should the person reading the gear review know it was written (mostly) by ChatGPT? Again, as we’ve seen above, this tool is only as good as its inputs. Even customer service-focused chatbots online are becoming better at their role. What about security and safety? Businesses and individuals must prioritize safeguarding their data and intellectual property. In the default version of ChatGPT, data is used to train the language model, which may raise security concerns. Jasper.AI has recognized this and offers an AI Policy ( for businesses to use.

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We’ve only scratched the surface talking have no idea ED how to compose a “profesINSPECT HELD AND ONE CAN BEtexting NAME. OURmeaning EARNING about AI-powered tools. Take a hard lookBYatHAND BEFORE sional” memo, one that does not use what AI tools your website might be using. Do emojis or acronyms that are indecipherable to you have an AI policy for your employees on older colleagues. I’ve heard more than one edihow much they should (or shouldn’t) use tor complain that some press releases are unusChatGPT? Like most tools, ChatGPT and others Eable because of poor punctuation and non-stanWE PRODUC IN SMALL QUANTIT IES, like it can be used for great good, butEACH suchOF OUR STATION dard Susage (such asMORE all caps and three exclamaG NO CRAFTIN WE’RE PER DAY. programs can also wreak havoc when used tion points at the endA of every sentence). THAN 20,000 ROUNDS Y IN THAT SENSE. BOUTIQ UE AMMO COMPAN improperly. We are just entering the AI age, and for er.territory. But it’s here to bett not more ismany it’s uncharted Where AI might be of real service is helping er. bett is better younger staffers craft more intelligible press stay. As a retailer or manufacturer, you should releases and other internal and external commu- look closely at how best to use this new tool to nications. Many new hires who grew up with your advantage. OUR PRODUCT HAS BEEN COMPARED TO HANDMADE JEWELRY, BECAUSE IT’S MADE BY PEOPLE WHOSE CRAFT TOOK YEARS TO DEVELOP. AND YOU CAN’T

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Visit us at booths 42304 and CF116.

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There’s no reason to pay more than your fair share. by Mark E. Battersby


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iStockPhotos/supawat bursuk ❚


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is the rare shooting sports business owner or manager who doesn’t attempt to keep their annual income tax bill to a minimum through tax planning. Why, then, is a bill

for a tax that is one of the biggest expenses of many businesses, one that is prepared by the local taxing authorities, often paid without question?

Property tax is a local levy based on the market value of privately owned property, examples of which would be land, buildings, and assets (which include so-called “fixtures” that can’t be removed without damage to the property) attached to that of an equipment retailer or manufacturing operation. Businesses that rent (rather than own) space are affected as well; studies have shown that property taxes constitute between 15 to 25 percent of the rent paid by such businesses. Unlike most other taxes, property taxes are calculated by a government employee who multiplies the property’s value and applies the tax rate to the property’s proportionate value.

Photo courtesy of NSSF


 Property taxes are an inevitable cost of doing business, but there’s no reason to pay more than your fair share. Venetian, Level 2

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Visit us at NSSF booths 42304 and CF116

NSSF® Congressional Fly-In April 9-10, 2024 • Washington, D.C.

NSSF Marketing and Leadership Summit May 7-9, 2024 • Ponte Vedra, FL

NSSF Range-Retailer Business Expo™ July 10-11, 2024 • West Palm Beach, FL

NSSF Annual Import/Export Conference July 30-August 1, 2024 • Washington, D.C.

National Shooting Sports Month® August 2024 •

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For more information, visit NSSF.ORG.

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Not too surprisingly, there are literally hundreds of variables that can come into play when attempting to determine the value of property. It can be, and often is, a process fraught with error. How can a shooting sports retailer seeking the lowest property taxes possible discover and correct these omissions and errors?


It’s important to keep in mind that challenging the property tax rate is never going to be successful. Instead, what can be challenged is the assessment made by the municipality’s assessor. Although one error is often enough to warrant an appeal of a property tax assessment, comparing local properties may be the more rewarding strategy. Total square footage, the overall property’s size, and recent improvements are all important factors. Looking for details that the local assessor may have overlooked or misstated is a great starting point for an assessment appeal. One of the best ways to gather evidence that property tax assessment was inaccurately prepared by the municipality is to look at how similar property has been assessed in the municipality’s public records. If similar property in the operation’s

locality is discovered with lower values, it may be a case for an appeal. Another facet of the property tax in many locales requires the business to provide the value of other business assets, including equipment, vehicles, and in some cases even inventory. In these cases, though local officials figure the final property tax bill, it is based on the value of the shooting sports operation’s business property as reported by the business. Obviously, understanding the local jurisdiction’s property tax rules can help ensure only the fair share of property taxes are being paid. Correcting the appraised value assessed by the local property tax jurisdiction—or ensuring current values of the operation’s other assets are reported correctly—can open the door to property tax savings for years to come. Typically, filling out a couple of forms and submitting a letter or petition will kick-start the appeal process. Since the process can vary depending on the municipality’s location, ensuring that the requirements are followed precisely is important. This is usually a process that can be accomplished by the shooting, hunting, or outdoor dealer or manufacturer without outside help. If

successful, the adjusted value becomes the new basis for the property tax for years to come. On the downside, a Business Personal Property Tax Audit is an increasingly more common occurrence and can result in unexpected tax liabilities, penalties, and interest payments. In fact, some audits can cover periods of up to four years, resulting in a time-consuming informationgathering process. Although no one knows the business better than its owner or manager, property tax appeals are time-consuming complex affairs that require an understanding of the process that exists in every property tax jurisdiction where the business has property. Thus, the need for professional help. Hiring outside professional assistance can mean success, with less time consumed along with nominal fees. Fortunately, there are firms that will undertake an appeal on a contingency basis; here, fees are based solely on the amount of a reduced property tax bill over a period of years. Since the business property tax is computed at the local level, a knowledge of business tax laws and the operation’s assets is a necessity to help ensure the shooting sports operation’s business property tax responsibilities are met at the lowest possible cost. Professional assistance may help.

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NSSF’s SHOT University™ Online is a onestop e-learning platform for firearms retailers and ranges. On-demand and free for NSSF® members, this new library of interactive online courses provides a deep-dive on critical topics ranging from compliance and regulatory issues to operational guidance and business improvement for both business owners and employees.

FOR RETAILERS: • Planning for an ATF Inspection • Standardizing Operating Procedures • Inventory Management • Notice of Revocation – Are You Prepared? FOR RANGES: • Road Map for Range Safety and Health • Addressing Lead at Ranges • Marketing Your Training Programs • Membership Strategies – Lessons from the Fitness Industry

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Spaces When not in use, firearms need to be securely stored.

by Christopher Cogley


t’s no secret that the past couple of years have seen a massive increase in the number of new gun owners. After purchasing that new firearm and all the essential

accessories to accompany it, the added cost of a gun safe might seem like an unnecessary expense to some first-time gun owners. The reality, though, is that safely storing firearms is one of the most important responsibilities of gun ownership, and it should never be overlooked or undervalued. Here are some factors to help you help your customer choose the safe that best meets their individual needs.


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iStockPhotos/Supersmario ❚


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As a general rule of thumb, the bigger, the better. Tell the customer it’s best to plan for the future. Spending a little more on a bigger gun safe now will save them from having to buy another one down the road when they’ve found their firearm selection has outgrown its safe space.


The primary purpose of a gun safe is in the name itself—safety. It is the responsibility of all gun owners to make sure their firearms don’t end up in the hands of anyone who shouldn’t handle firearms, and that includes children, thieves, and anyone who is prohibited by law from having a gun. The most reliable way to do that is with a secure gun safe. The biggest consideration when looking at the security of a gun safe comes down to two main factors: the thickness of the steel and the construction of the safe. When it comes to construction, look for a safe that has continuous welded construction instead of bolts or spot-welding, which are easier for trained gun thieves to cut through with torches or high-power saws. As for locks, traditional combination locks are arguably the simplest choice. The downside,

The thickness of the steel and the construction of the safe are the biggest considerations when looking at a gun safe.




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In addition to supporting NSSF® through membership, your attendance and participation at the SHOT Show® directly supports all that NSSF does as your industry’s trade association. From advocating on behalf of the industry in Washington, D.C. and in state capitals nationwide to providing compliance education, industry research, firearm safety programs and so much more,

NSSF’s efforts and successes are fueled by you:

our members, exhibitors, and attendees.

Visit us at NSSF booth #42304 and #CF116


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 Traditional combination locks are arguably the simplest choice, but electronic and biometric keypads provide quicker access.

though, is they don’t provide quick access to firearms in an emergency. Electronic and biometric keypads provide quicker access.


BE SAFE, NOT SORRY Stephen Hall is the co-founder/CEO of Lock It Up Safes, an Oklahoma retailer that specializes in safes. SHOT Business asked him how he and his staff handle gun safe sales. “When a first-time safe buyer comes into our store, we ask a few basic questions,” he says. The range of questions include safe size, location (house or garage), and intended use. “By that I mean their main concerns—fire, theft, or just keeping guns out of reach of children,” he says. The answers to these questions help Hall and his staff pinpoint particular models for the customer to consider. Interestingly, Hall says, “We rarely ask what their budget is. Instead, we start off with a good, better, and best choice. Typically, most guests opt for a good or better safe, mainly due to budget considerations.” As part of this process Hall and his staff tell their guests that most safes on the market are going to do the job. That said, some safes obviously do a better job than others. “Entry-level safes are going to start at 14-gauge steel,” he says. “This is great for budget seekers who want to lock up firearms from their kids while also providing some fire protection.” “Good and Better safes will fall in the 12- to 11-gauge steel category. This is where the majority of safe buyers will go, as it won’t break their budget but still provides a quality product.” Best safes feature 10-gauge or thicker steel. “This option is for those guests who want added security for guns and valuables such as jewelry, along with the higher fire rating.” One big question is “Where should I put my safe?” “Ease of installation should not be the foremost consideration when making this decision,” Hall says. “Putting a safe in the garage has both pros and cons. We see some retailers recommend the garage solely because they don’t have the right team on board to install safes in other locations, and wheeling one into the garage is the easy way out.” “Putting a safe in the garage is fine if that is the only place you can put it, but most want the safe in the home, where they can get to it quickly. Temperature and humidity are important considerations as well, and both are more easily controlled in a house rather than in the garage.” One advantage to garage installation is the concrete floor provides a solid base for safe installation. Houses built on concrete slabs also offer a solid anchor on the first level. If the safe needs to go to an upper floor, the weight of the safe and its contents need to be factored in. “As for exact location, we prefer to sit the safe against an outside wall,” Hall says. “In case of fire, the safe will typically last longer as there is not a lot that can burn on one side of the safe, thus keeping it cooler.” Finally, delivery options also need to be discussed. “We have some guests who want to pick up their safe themselves,” Hall says. “We typically say if the safe’s weight is under 500 pounds, this can be done, but for safes with a weight of more than 500 pounds, we recommend we deliver the safe. We also have the right installation tools, the people who know how to use them properly, and the knowledge to do the job without creating collateral damage to the safe or the home.”


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Aside from theft, the biggest threat to your firearms is fire. Unfortunately, the fireproof rating on gun safes can be a little confusing to almost anyone who isn’t an industry expert. This is largely because there isn’t an industry “standard” fireproof rating.

 Handguns for self defense can be stored in smaller, more readily accessible safes.


12/6/23 10:09 AM

As a general rule, the fireproof rating states how long a safe can be exposed to a fire of a particular temperature and maintain a temperature inside the safe of no more than 350 degrees F. To put this in context, the average house fire creates temperatures between 800 and 1,200 degrees F. So, if a gun safe has a fireproof rating of 1,000 degrees for one hour, that means it’s rated to keep the interior temperature of that safe below 350 degrees F. for one hour, as long as the temperature of the fire does not exceed 1,000 degrees F. Although the cost of purchasing a gun safe that meets a customer’s current, and future, needs might seem pretty steep, it’s important to remind them the purchase really is an investment in safety and security. And that’s something you really can’t put a price on.

Asid e f r om th e f t, t h e biggest t h r eat t o you r firearms is fir e .

For best results in case of fire, the safe in a house or garage should be located against an outside wall.

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❚ 41 JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2024 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS 12/1/23 8:27 AM

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re s

th S


a A to





y now you’ve likely heard about the new Archery Business Pavilion at SHOT Show. This exciting venture is a collaboration between NSSF and Grand View Outdoors (Archery Business and Bowhunting World magazines are part of the Grand View Outdoors family of brands.) Since the announcement in February 2023, many companies that have never attended SHOT have booked their space. Check out the numerous brand logos on the following two pages to see who will showcase products in the Archery Business Pavilion. It’s an impressive list. From FeraDyne Outdoors to The Pure Archery Group, representatives will be on hand to answer questions about bows, arrows, sights, rests, releases, broadheads, strings and much more. The SHOT Show covers more than 816,000 net square feet of exhibit space, featuring over 2,500 companies showcasing the latest in firearms, ammo, hunting and shooting accessories, outdoor apparel and now — archery gear! It attracts buyers, media and other industry professionals from around the world. Held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada, the SHOT Show is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for professionals involved with the shooting sports and hunting industries.


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SHOWCASING ARCHERY AND OUTDOOR GEAR “More than 4,000 retail buyers that attended SHOT Show the last 2 years have expressed interest in archery and bow hunting products,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. “The new Archery Business Pavilion provides these buyers with an opportunity to source archery, as well as firearms, ammunition, and accessories, all under one roof. “Listening to our customers is a key part of the sustained growth and success of the SHOT Show. We look forward to receiving exhibitor and buyer feedback so that we can make the Archery Business Pavilion customer experience even better for the 2025 show. “Grand View Outdoors publishes SHOT Business for NSSF and Shooting Sports Retailer, so partnering with Grand View Outdoors and Archery Business magazine made perfect sense. Grand View Outdoors brings a unique perspective with their longtime involvement with the archery industry and understanding of the firearm industry. “We included archery lanes within the Pavilion so that buyers can experience the product performance firsthand. And we added an archery component to Industry Day at the Range as well to provide both buyers and media with a hands-on opportunity to test new products and learn about the features and benefits.”


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Grand View Outdoors President Derrick Nawrocki added, “This partnership with NSSF represents a significant opportunity for the archery industry to come together and demonstrate the innovation, technology and creativity that defines archery with the SHOT Show. “The Archery Business team is very committed to promoting the Pavilion along with the growing list of innovative exhibitors, friends and partners who are joining us at the SHOT Show this year and in future years to come. “Our Archery Business brand has been a rock-solid guide for archery manufacturers and dealers for nearly 50 years. Many consider Archery Business to be the ‘Voice of the Archery Industry,’ providing retailers with cutting-edge gear reviews, exclusive looks at top brands, and constantly provides key intel to help drive more business in their shops.” ARCHERY BUSINESS PAVILION SPECIFICS  The new Archery Business Pavilion will be located within the upcoming annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, from Jan. 23 through Jan. 26, 2024.  Any manufacturer of outdoor, hunting, archery and crossbow related products can exhibit in the new Archery Business Pavilion.  You’ll find the Archery Business Pavilion in Caesars Forum in the Academy Ballroom.  Exhibit space is limited, and it’s first come, first served.  In future years, those who exhibited in 2024 will have first choice for space.  The Archery Business team, including editors and key staff, will be in the ballroom working on best ways to cover and promote companies that exhibit.  Additional coverage about the Archery Business Pavilion will appear in SHOT Daily during the show and within the pages of other B2B brands such as Archery Business, Hunting Retailer and Shooting Sports Retailer as we get closer to SHOT Show. BOOKING YOUR SPACE IN FUTURE YEARS Visit to see the Archery Business Pavilion floor plan for 2024. If you’re looking at a map of the entire SHOT Show space, the Archery Business Pavilion is located in the Caesars Forum area showing SHOT Show University and meeting rooms. It’s likely that by the time you read this article, it will be too late in the game for you to make the decision to join other companies in the Pavilion during SHOT Show 2024. That said, it’s never too early to begin thinking about the future, and specifically SHOT Show 2025. Be sure to look for future content in this magazine about the Archery Business Pavilion, including feedback from those companies that attended in 2024. For more information on the Pavalion and SHOT Show, visit


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BARNETT SHOWCASING NEW DEMUN CROSSBOW AT SHOT SHOW Barnett Crossbows recently announced that they will attend SHOT Show 2024 and have an additional booth in the Archery Business Pavilion. Barnett will showcase its newest and most cutting-edge arrival, the break-action Demun Handheld Crossbows Series. Barnett is the original pioneer of break-action crossbows. This new series includes the Demun Tri Strike, Demun Accu Strike and Demun Accu Strike PRO. The Demun collection is an excellent beginner crossbow for target practice and hunting smaller animals. The Demun Tri Strike and Demun Accu Strike feature single-stage break-action cocking, an adjustable fiber-optic sight, and a folding foregrip. The Demun Tri Strike has a patented three-feed chamber for quicker reloading and firing. The Demun Accu Strike features a diamond-knurl soft grip for outstanding control and feel. The Demun Accu Strike PRO features a patented two-stage break-action cocking, which reduces the draw weight by approximately 50%, a diamond-knurl soft grip, and an adjustable reflex sight. With a draw weight of 100 pounds, the Demun Accu Strike PRO sets itself apart from the other handheld crossbows in the series. Those attending SHOT Show 2024 are encouraged to visit the Barnett booth in the Archery Business Pavilion — #84265 — for a firsthand look at Demun Handheld Crossbows and other great products from Barnett. The company will have another booth — #13273 — in the Venetian Expo Level 2.


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by robert a sadowski W H AT ’S SELLING


Trading Post, Twin ORKeith’s Guns, Gresham IDRed’s Falls Keeping 7,500 guns in stock, this large independent located in east suburban Portland is feeling the pinch of a slow summer. “We had a slower summer than expected, partially because of Measure 114 that will ban several firearms and require a local police background check for all firearms. Although it moved inventory several months ago, sales have slowed as it just creates uncertainty,” said owner Keith Ward. Handguns have been the best sellers. Glock 43Xs are holding the high spot and Sig Sauer P365s are moving daily. Another fast mover is the Tisas Turkish 1911. Higher-end shotguns have sold better than they have in a long time. Beretta overand-unders and semi-autos hold a remarkably strong lead. A400s and Silver Pigeon 686s are also attracting attention. Sales of Modern Sporting Rifles are slow, but price-point brands like Smith & Wesson M&P 15 Sport are moving.

Founded in 1936, Red’s is the oldest standing gun store in the state of Idaho. The store keeps nearly 1,000 firearms in stock. For this store, 2023 was a flat year. While there has been inventory, local shooters are holding on to their cash. “It has been a quieter year across the board. Although we have good traffic in the store, our customers are spending less,” said buyer Larry Barksdale. Bigger caliber revolvers saw sales equal to that of conceal-carry guns. Big-bore Smiths and Ruger Redhawks, ranging from .357 to .44 Mag. lead the pack. Late fall posted slower bolt-action sales than the preceding fall. A few varmint guns moved, notably Montanas, Bergaras, and Browning X-Bolts in .243. MSR sales were flat at this retailer, selling an average of one a week. “Two years ago, it was all high-end MSRs. Now it’s all low-end. It’s hard to sell an MSR for more than $500,” said Barksdale.

AZSprague’s Sports, Yuma



can electronically process the paperwork. Now it takes about four months to complete. It used to take more than year,” said co-owner Jessy Rolfes.

Boone’s Fine Guns, Isle

Opening in 2008, this destination northern Minnesota store has an indoor range and keeps over 2,500 guns in stock while selling fishing and soft goods. The handgun inventory and sales have moved steadily upward. Glock 43Xs, Sig P365s, and Smith Shields continue to pull strong numbers. Over the past two years, the 9mm has been, by far, the chosen caliber. “We haven’t sold a .40 handgun in a long time,” said buyer Rayan Schick. As deer season ended, a few 204 Ruger 77s and CZ bolt-actions were still going out the door. “Our MSR sales have slowed to two a month. We have monitored this trend, and our customers have become much more price-point driven. We are also a far north rural destination, and good jobs are just getting harder and harder to find,” said Schick. “And that obviuouksy has a negative effect on our bottom line.” At this shop, the top two MSRs are models from Smith &Wesson and ArmaLite.


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Razorback Armory, Des Peres Located in west

suburban St. Louis County, this retailer specializes in general hunting guns with an emphasis on its own custom MSR and 1911 buildouts. The store stocks about 200 new and used firearms, with an even mix of long guns, handguns, and custom demo MSRs. Handguns rule here. This retailer posts high numbers of Sig P365s and P322s. Other high-selling pistols include Glock 43Xs mated with Shield brand magazines to increase capacity to 15 rounds. Remington 870s are in stock for the first time in years. Mossberg tactical shotguns are making good turns. Shotgun ammo is finally in supply. One of the biggest growth segments for this dealer is in in suppression. “There’s a mindset for a customer to deal with the wait times and the paperwork. However, it has really been a growing part of our business. We do a lot of custom suppression mods. The big change has been that we

Specializing in law enforcement and military sales, this large Arizona independent rests just 15 minutes from the Mexican border. MSR sales have picked up. Leaders include Daniel Defense, Ruger 556s, and FNs. “The political climate has heated up sales. With this being an ‘almost’ election year and world politics leading the news, our MSR sales are heating up. While we are not Covid busy, it’s brisk,” said manager Chad Converse. Bolt-actions are seeing steady turns. Christiansen Arms, Tikkas, and Ruger Americans are ranging evenly through the price scale. Converse also mentioned lever-action rifles are exceptionally hot, with .45-70s from Henry moving quickly— and when they can get them, Marlin. Handgun sales have been heavily slanted toward Glock 43Xs and Sig P365s. Ruger revolvers also seeing more turns than in the past.

Trading Post, KSThe El Dorado

Twenty miles east of Wichita, this former pawn and gun shop is now dedicated exclusively to firearms, with an emphasis on handguns. Compared with recent months, the chill of winter is bringing improving turns on handgun sales. Ruger LC9s, Glock 43Xs, and Springfield XDMs in .40 are selling well. “We were slow in the fall. Handguns are the only segment that’s selling consistently. Our local farm economy is not what it has been. We’re expecting the coming election will pick up sales quickly,” said manager Mary Ann Contour. Demand for MSRs is rising slightly to three a month. This retailer is holding strong inventory on Smith M&Ps and Rugers. Sales of bolt-action rifles slowed in late fall.


12/13/23 1:18 PM

by peter b . mathiesen

Gun Exchange, CT Bob’s Darien

Owl’s Nest, PhillipsNJ The burg

NY S&S Sales, Auburn

GAGooges’, Hazlehurst

Doctor, Moncks SCGun Corner

TXSharp Shooters, Lubbock

With 500 firearms in stock, this retailer is just 15 miles from the New York State line. In business for more than 50 years, this retailer specializes in handguns, reloading supplies, and higher-end shotguns. After a relatively slow summer (compared to the previous year), the Sig P365 and Glock 43X are garnering attention. “While we used to sell a notable number of custom 1911s, that market has gone cold. Outside of sporting shotguns and rifles, concealed carry handguns are dominating our turns. We attribute it to the increase in global violence,” said manager Hunter Tassitano. Clay target guns are moving. Beretta Silver Pigeons and Benelli M2s are making good turns. Sales of bolt-action rifles are slowing. Tikkas and Sakos in 6.5 Creedmoor and .243 lead the pack. While ammo stocks finally improved last year after a long frustrating shortage, this retailer is reporting new shortages. This shop expects 2024 to be a difficult year for ammunition across the board.

Located in southeast Georgia, this rural general sporting goods, meat supply store, and gas station sells ethanol-free fuel and stocks 250 used and new guns. Holidays are all about plinking for this retailer. “We are so glad to see .22 ammo come back. Small-caliber sales can be up to half of our sales during Christmas. Handguns have been especially brisk this month,” said owner Ray Googe. Familiar standbys like Ruger 10/22s and Marlin lever-actions are moving at this store. Although slower than last year, handguns are holding their own. Glock 43Xs, the occasional Hellcat, and Ruger LC9s rule the counter. Used Smith& Wesson wheelguns are also in high demand. MSRs, particularly Ruger 556s, are selling at roughly three a month. Used shotguns are in greater demand than they have been in several years. Ammo stocks are solid at this small store.


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Close to the Pennsylvania state line, this small dealer keeps 200 firearms in inventory and specializes in shooting sports products. As deer season winds down, slug guns continue to move briskly. Savage 220 20 gauges packaged with Leopold scopes are especially popular. “These guns are a mainstay for our customers, and they really shoot well. Our deer season combined with an extended season and extra permits lasts into February. It is an important part of our business at a small, rural shop like ours,” said owner Jim Heebner. “We package them with a mid-level premium scope and sell strong numbers all the way until Christmas.” A few muzzleloaders are still turning, mostly Traditions Buckstalkers. Handguns are slightly up. Sig P365s command the top slot, followed by Glock 19s and Ruger SR22s. Rimfire rifles are seasonally extra hot, with Ruger 10/22s and Crickets in purple and pink leading the way.

Keeping 100-plus hunting guns and handguns in stock, Gun Doctor maintains high traffic by retaining a full-time gunsmith who performs work for several other local gun shops. Deer hunting with dogs is still popular in this area, so semi-auto shotguns and buckshot loads are products that sell quickly. Browning A5s in 12 gauge and Remington 1100s are the top sellers at this store. “You stock a used Remington 1100 or Browning A5, and it’s usually gone the next day. Classic used shotguns continue to be a big part of our sales,” said owner Christy Elan. The store also moves a lot of rimfire rifles. Elan says lever-actions, especially those from Henry and Marlin, are in high demand. While this store stocks new guns, it continues to lean on used firearms for better margins. Handgun sales are steady. Glock 19s, Springfield Hellcats, and Taurus 692s top the list.

Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York between Rochester and Syracuse, this shop has about 900 square feet and two full-time employees. The shop is less than one mile from a Bass Pro Shop. At the handgun case, S&W Shields are slightly ahead of Springfield Hellcats. Sig P365s are also doing well. “I’m careful and highly competitive with Bass Pro,” said owner Paul Smith. “It’s easier than most stores think to compete, because the big stores can’t respond quickly to my special prices. Their salespeople send me customers all the time.” Recent quick movers included Cricket .22s in purple for Christmas. Ruger 10/22s, as well as American Rifles in .22 and 6.5 Creedmoor, have seen exceptional traffic. Remington 789 bolt-actions in .308 are still selling. Remington Wingmasters are on backorder in 20 and 12 gauge. A few Mossberg Mavericks are turning quickly.

In business since 1992, this is one of the largest independents in the state. With 3,000 firearms in inventory, this West Texas shop specializes in hunting rifles, handguns, and home defense products. The store saw strong sales in the last quarter of 2023. “Even without an election in full swing, business is brisk. Also, world news has been driving faster turns with concealed carry and MSRs,” said salesperson Jayden Tyler. Deer-season bolt-action rifles moved well. Turns were split between high-end and price-point rifles. Christensen Arms and Tikkas in 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and .243 secured the most attention. MSRs are turning at about five a week and climbing. Daniel Defense and Smith are pulling the best numbers. Handgun sales are strong. Sig P365s hold the top slot; Hellcats are just behind. A few Shield EZs are also crossing the counter.


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Federal’s Premium line of shotshells is all about precision performance. The new 12-gauge No. 1 buckshot load is no exception. Its payload of 16 copper-plated pellets produces tight patterns for more hits and better stopping power on predators, deer, hogs, and more. Designed to deliver increased pellet counts compared to larger buckshot sizes, it also provides greater energy and penetration on target than smaller buckshot sizes. The 12-gauge, 2¾-inch magnum load has a muzzle velocity of 1,325 feet per second and uses a buffer to prevent pellet deformation and ensure dense, uniform patterns. SRP: $15.99, five-round boxes. (



The Elite backpack can carry armor, a full-size handgun, and a first-aid kit. With an array of innovative pockets inside and out, it has also space for your laptop, documents, phone, and more. The patented “Switchblade” Deployment System gives you instant front and back protection. There are three versions. Backpack only (SRP: $499); Level 3A Kit, which includes two armor plates that can stop handgun ammo (SRP: $639); and Level 3+ Kit, which includes two armor plates that protect against rifle ammo (SRP: $1,049). Other features include a M.O.L.L.E. system and triple-staked stress points. In addition, the packs are 50-state legal and TSA compliant. (


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12/6/23 10:06 AM

by slaton l . white



ADVENTURE PRIMALOFT INSULATED JACKET The Adventure PrimaLoft Insulated Jacket ($130) and Starling PrimaLoft Insulated Jacket ($130) are packable and weather-resistant outer shells that provide the warmth of 80 grams of PrimaLoft Gold Insulation in the body and 60 grams in the sleeves and hood. They’re built to last using a 100-percent polyester plain-weave-face fabric with a DWR finish and a 100-percent nylon ripstop lining. Protection, comfort, and a secure fit are ensured by an elastic opening on the hood, a chin guard on the front zipper, an adjustable hem with an internal shock cord, and stretch gussets at the sleeve openings. In addition, reflective heat transfers keep users visible in lowlight conditions. (




Gemtech, a Smith & Wesson brand, is a leader in cutting-edge innovation and visionary designs within the suppressor industry. It has now added the Abyss 7.72 suppressor to its Abyss series of suppressors. Built on five of Gemtech’s patent-pending technologies, the design allows rounds to pass through while gasses expand into the baffle spaces, lowering pressure, minimizing muzzle flash, and significantly reducing decibels. The Abyss also lessens back pressure by routing gasses forward, away from the shooter for increased comfort and reliability. Constructed from stainless-steel and titanium components, this suppressor has an overall length of 6.6 inches without a mount, 7.3 inches when paired with Gemtech’s ETMTM (Elite Taper Mount). Abyss suppressors are designed around durability and can be mounted to barrels through direct thread standards. The Abyss 7.62 is fully auto rated and has a caliber rating ranging from 5.7x28mm through .300 Win. Mag. SRP: $945. (


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Winchester Ammunition’s new 3-inch 28-gauge shotshells are now available for upland and waterfowl hunting. The new loads will be offered in three versions. XPERT Steel is a high-velocity No. 4 3⁄4-ounce payload with a muzzle velocity of 1,350 fps. Bismuth loads feature a 1-ounce payload of No. 5 shot that exits the muzzle at 1,300 fps. Super Pheasant has a payload of 11⁄8 ounces of No. 5 shot. Muzzle velocity is 1,200 fps. (




The Evalusion Hunt, Evalusion Hi, and Evalusion Ankle boots boast a first-ever outsole material that makes them exceptionally light in weight but does so while delivering superior traction and support on any terrain. The Evalusion is the first waterproof boot series to feature the Dryshod-exclusive Dureva outsole technology. Dureva is a lightweight and abrasion-resistant fusion compound that delivers the superior durability and traction demanded in a high-performance outsole while offering exceptional comfort, energy return, and stable footing. This means a secondary rubber outsole is no longer required. By eliminating the need for a secondary outsole, Evalusion boots are nearly one pound lighter than Dryshod’s already lightweight counterparts. Such weight reduction lets you go farther and for longer duration without the fatigue commonly associated with waterproof boots. In addition to the weight reduction, the Dureva compound maximizes traction performance with the Evalusion’s multi-lug tread design. The tread offers optimal stealth by quietly flexing and bending over ground elements. SRP: $174.95. (


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12/6/23 10:06 AM

by slaton l . white




The Taurus 9mm GX4 Carry, the latest addition to the award-winning GX4 series, boasts a larger, but still compact frame designed to deliver the perfect balance of capacity and concealability. Key features include 15+1 capacity, visual loaded chamber indicator, DLC-coated barrel for enhanced durability and performance, Picatinny rail, flat-face serrated trigger, and reversible magazine release. In addition, there are three backstrap options, allowing for a custom grip for maximum comfort and security as well as Teflon-coated operational parts that allow for smooth, continuous operation. (




Cimarron considers the new Arizona Ranger Competition SA the best “competition ready” model in its extensive line of classic peacemaker-style revolvers. A wide square-notch rear sight and wide constant width front sight help deliver quick target acquisition. Slim, hand-checkered European walnut grips contribute to a better and firmer hand fit, and an action tuned in the U.S. by Cimarron’s skilled gunsmiths help set this revolver apart from other single actions. This fine tuning incorporates hammer and trigger/bolt springs that are lighter and smoother, both of which permit a crisp, no-creep trigger pull. Improved internal parts enhance reliability. Each Arizona Ranger six-shooter sports “Arizona Ranger” rollengraved on the .357 Mag./.45 LC barrel in an old-style font. SRP: $842.01 (


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12/6/23 10:07 AM


by miles hall

Civic Duty

When you get an opportunity to promote the shooting sports in your community, jump in with both feet.


he world is run by those who show up; therefore, it is entirely appropriate to say our respective communities are influenced, in part, by the various

civic clubs and the folks found within those community organizations. The Chamber of Commerce is a big one, but so are Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, Jaycees, the various Masonic groups, and AMBUCS, to name a few. These groups represent the broader front line of the community of which you are a part. Each group has at its core great ideas and drive to make the community a better place, and your participation puts you in the flow of things. All these groups do good things and have purpose, but typically in your community only one or two will have the “players,” the “up-and-coming” leaders. In Oklahoma City where I live it was Rotary. There were 11 different Rotary clubs in and around the metroplex area, but one—Club 29—was the club several friends encouraged me to join. When we sold the business in 2016 this club had more than 500 members, and the average attendance at lunch was well over 300. Given the size, the club attracted the best speakers from all over the world. That fact alone made it worth being in attendance. Yet this is not being involved; it is just attending. Remember, you are the front line of the shooting sports, the face of our industry. Everything you do, say, and are involved in represents not only you and your business but the overall shooting sports industry. You are an ambassador. I was given that humble yet daunting title by several leaders who happened to also be guests of

the range when I first joined in the late 1980s. Their encouragement helped me set the right spirit for the task ahead, and as my mother always encouraged me to do, I “jumped in with both feet.” There were lots of great things ahead, but also some challenges. The first challenge was overhearing a conversation and being referred to as the “token gun guy.” Now, I could have taken umbrage at this elitist comment and gone down a normal path of being offended; instead, I took the stance that they simply did not know me or the shooting sports world. I opted to show them the truth by my actions and deeds. This was not only fun, but planted seeds for the future that are still being harvested today. The very first opportunity came just a few weeks later. Rotary is truly international in scope with clubs all over the world. They use this leverage to create short-term exchange programs (usually a few days), such as the Adult Business Exchange and the Youth “Rotary Wings” program. Another program is a year-long “Rotary Student Exchange” for high-school students. Despite the enormity of my club, they had struggled to get members to host these folks. A longtime member reached out to me. He took time to give me the history and importance of these programs, the struggle with getting folks at the club involved, and his faith in me and our family to make it work. That inspired me on several fronts, and I agreed to host. The first exchange person, a businessman from Malta, was a wonderful soul in his mid to late 20s. He immediately connected with our young children and my wife, Jayne. He was fascinated with the fact that we ran an indoor gun range. At the

In addition to offering exchange students the opportunity to shoot at his range, Miles Hall also let the students try their hands at archery.


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send-off party for him and the other Adult Business Exchange group members, I was given the opportunity to host a high-school exchange student, Stefania Lettini, from Germany. That program, and this very special young lady, set us on a track to eventually host well over 20 individuals, mostly young adults. It brought the world into our home, but it also helped spread the word about the shooting sports in such a great hands-on way. All of our young guests wanted to see the range and store, and they all wanted to shoot, which was a first-time experience for most of them. They were such a joy to teach and be with. We learned, after they went home, that the shooting part of their visit was a big hit. The following year the next group came and wanted to go shooting. This was a great surprise to a few of the Rotary folks who were not necessarily fans of the shooting sports. A group from the “Wings” program were so upset that they were not going to shoot that they got together and respectfully but strongly let the leaders know they wanted to shoot before leaving. I received a call at 9:30 p.m. asking if we could host the entire group at the range first thing the next morning. Of course, I said, “You bet.” They were scheduled to fly out at 2 p.m. It was a tight window, but we made it happen. There were many happy faces and lots of pictures, but most importantly, positive memories of the shooting sports world. Eventually, along with several of my spirited team members, I did lots of other things within this and other clubs. Doing the introductions, prayers, bringing headline speakers (several from the shooting sports world), and of course, donating prizes such as guns, safes, and training, were personally rewarding. None of it would have ever happened had I had not been involved. Our purpose was, and still is, to grow the shooting sports. A key benefit of all this civic involvement was the opportunity to be put right in the middle of the movers and shakers of the city. You cannot buy that kind of influence. The Simple Truth is that we were able to influence in a positive way attitudes toward the shooting sports, all the while having a great time. You can do this as well. Jump in with both feet. Author bio: Miles Hall was founder and president of a multi-million-dollar firearms retail store and gun range in Oklahoma for 36 years. He is now a senior advisor helping FFLs around the country run more efficient, profitable businesses. (


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