TAKING THE SHOOTING RANGE EXPERIENCE TO A HIGHER LEVEL Pg. 40
RETAILERS WILL SEE AN INTERESTING MIX OF EXPENSIVE SPOTTING SCOPES AS WELL AS MORE MODESTLY PRICED BINOCULARS PG. 27
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE GOOD STUFF
Banded Brands is dedicated to the hardcore waterfowler Pg. 44
Winchesterâ€™s newest version of the Super X autoloader Pg. 22
VOLUME 25 ISSUE 2
EDITOR’S NOTE Are you in tune with the “Super-Consumer”?
NEWS BRIEFS Remington is back on track; Weatherby launches a rifle designed by women for women.
FYI Stormy Kromer marries tradition with innovation.
FIRING LINE Winchester’s new SX-4 is the latest iteration of the Super X autoloader line. UNDERCOVER SHOPPER On the hunt for the big picture in trail cams in northern Georgia.
GOOD STUFF Banded Brands aims to serve the hardcore waterfowler.
CRYSTAL CLEAR The trend is easy to see. High-end spotting scopes continue to gain ground, but at the same time you’ll see some price-point binos as well. BY ROBERT SADOWSKI
SCOPES, EXPLAINED Modern riflescopes are complicated packages. If you can’t explain how they work, you won’t be able to sell them. BY WAYNE VAN ZWOLL
MEMBERSHIP HAS ITS PRIVILEGES Blackstone Shooting Sports, based in North Carolina, takes the shooting range experience to an entirely new level. BY ROBERT SADOWSKI
WHAT’S SELLING WHERE
NEW PRODUCTS Hults Bruk’s hatchet; Browning’s Hell’s Canyon BTU parka; Wolverine’s Vortex hunting boot; HydraPak reservoir.
COVER PHOTO: TIM IRWIN
FROM THE NSSF With the result of the presidential election, the outlook is bright for our industry and its customers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Powerful and well-heeled anti-gun forces are organizing and renewing efforts to take away our Second Amendment rights.
NSSF UPDATE The suit to fight the microstamping law can proceed, and Hollywood’s recent $13M anti-gun movie flops. RETAILER TOOLBOX An expert’s advice on how to set up and connect your alarm system to maximize its ability to prevent burglaries.
SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 3
Royal Treatment Have you identified your most important customer?
ne of the most timeworn of all business aphorisms—The customer is king—is often honored more in the breach than in the observance. A friend of mine once sat in a meeting with a new management team. They were discussing customer service issues when an executive loudly proclaimed, “Who in the hell is the customer to tell us what to do!” Soon thereafter, that chair had a new occupant. But customer service, as seen in every installment of Undercover Shopper, is the linchpin to continued success. Smart retailers long ago figured that out. Now, get ready for “SuperConsumers.” According to The Economist (which has studied research by Eddie Yoon of the Cambridge Group), “These people are not defined simply by the amount of stuff they buy (though they tend to be heavy users), but by their attitudes to the product.” The article also notes that these shoppers regard the things they consume as answers to powerful emotional needs. When I read that, I instantly thought of the emotional needs that drive a customer looking at personal defense firearms. But, Yoon points out, all too often companies treat super-consumers as “weird obsessives to be dismissed or ignored. That is a mistake, for they can, when treated well, propel growth.” The marketing manager at a tactical boot manufacturer once told me that when the company began its social media efforts, they were overwhelmed by the number of people who logged on to complain about the product. The CEO was going to pull the plug on the whole shebang when someone pointed out that these were people who had invested 4 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
in the company by buying a pair of boots; they were people who wore them every day; and, most important, these were people who were passionate about the product. They were just trying to help the company make better products. Who wouldn’t want customers like that? “We decided these folks were a tremendous asset,” she said. They made some of them brand ambassadors by sending them a hat with the company logo. That was the sole investment, but it made those folks acolytes for the company. Yoon says companies need to strengthen their connection with super-consumers. You can do that by studying Twitter feeds or reading letters of complaint that show an emotional connection to the product—or to service. Secondly, reward these folks for their loyalty. Some retailers already do this in various ways, either through email blasts about special sales or a personal phone call when a special item comes into stock. Only a tenth of customers are super-consumers, but they account for 30 to 70 percent of sales and an even greater share of profits. In the long run, it’s worth the effort to identify this group and treat them accordingly. They truly are kings.
Slaton L. White, Editor
SLATON L. WHITE, Editor James A. Walsh, Art Director Margaret M. Nussey, Managing Editor David E. Petzal, Shooting Editor Mike Toth, Special Projects Editor Judith Weber, Digital Content Producer Hilary Ribons, Editorial Assistant CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Larry Ahlman, Barbara Baird, Scott Bestul, Philip Bourjaily, Christopher Cogley, David Draper, Jock Elliott, William F. Kendy, Mark Kayser, David Maccar, Richard Mann, Peter B. Mathiesen, Brian McCombie, Tom Mohrhauser, Robert Sadowski, Robert F. Staeger, Peter Suciu, Wayne Van Zwoll
ADVERTISING: 212-779-5316 Gregory D. Gatto, Vice President, Publishing Director Jeff Roberge, Advertising Director Brian Peterson, Western Sporting Goods Sales Katie Logan, Southern Sporting Goods Sales David Hawkey, Northeast Sporting Goods Sales Amanda Gastelum, Integrated Marketing Director Ingrid Reslmaier, Marketing Design Director
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Tara Bisciello, Business Manager
CONSUMER MARKETING Robert M. Cohn, Consumer Marketing Director Stephanie Fry, Fulfillment & Planning Manager
MANUFACTURING Michelle Doster, Group Production Director Stephanie Northcutt, Production Manager
BONNIER Chairman, Tomas Franzén Head of Business Area, Magazines, Lars Dahmén Chief Executive Officer, Eric Zinczenko Chief Financial Officer, Joachim Jaginder Chief Operating Officer, David Ritchie Chief Marketing Officer, Elizabeth Burnham Murphy Chief Digital Revenue Officer, Sean Holzman Vice President, Integrated Sales, John Graney Vice President, Consumer Marketing, John Reese Vice President, Digital Operations, David Butler Vice President, Public Relations, Perri Dorset General Counsel, Jeremy Thompson
SHOT Business (ISSN 1081-8618) is published 7 times a year in January, February/March, April/May, June/July, August/September, October/ November and December by Bonnier Corporation, 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5695, and is the official publication of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Flintlock Ridge Office Center, 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470 (203-426-1320). Volume 25, issue 2, Copyright © 2017 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation, production and advertising offices are located at 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5695 (212-779-5000). Free to qualified subscribers; available to non-qualified subscribers for $25 per year. Single-copy issues are available for $5 each. Send check, payable to NSSF, to: SHOT Business, c/o NSSF, 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470-2359. SHOT Business accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. All correspondence should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Requests for media kits and advertising information should be directed to Katy Marinaro, Bonnier Corporation, 625 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 1270, Chicago, IL 60611. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA. For Customer Service and Subscription questions, such as Renewals, Address Changes, Email Preferences, Billing and Account Status, go to: shotbusiness .com/cs. You can also email SBZcustserv@cdsfulfllment.com, in the U.S. call toll-free 866-615-4345, outside the U.S. call 515-237-3697, or write to SHOT Business, 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. For editorial inquiries, write to Slaton L. White, SHOT Business, 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016 REPRINTS: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to SHOT Business, P.O. Box 6364 Harlan, IA 51593.
National Shooting Sports FoundationÂ¨
2017 events Calendar April 4-5
NSSF Congressional Fly-In
NSSF Industry Summit
April 20-23 April 23-26 October 26-29 November 9-12
NSSF Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp Las Vegas, NV
Austin, TX June 13-15
SHOT Show Exhibitor Academy Las Vegas, NV August 2-4
NSSF Import/Export Conference Washington, DC
Firearms Industry Compliance Conference Arlington, VA
January 23-26, 2018
SHOT Show Las Vegas, NV
Bits & Pieces
NEWS BRIEFS NEWS
Thompson/Center Arms Launches Social Media and Digital Brand Campaign
Thompson/Center Arms recently launched a new social media and digital campaign that it’s calling #PeopleOfTC. Highlighted by compelling photography, personal stories, and quotes, #PeopleOfTC is designed to celebrate the employees, heritage, products, outdoor lifestyle, and partners that come together to make up the T/C brand. “Every T/C firearm we build is a result of the dedication and passion of the people behind the brand,” says Danielle Sanville, T/C’s brand manager. “Our employees and their passion for our products provide the key ingredient for these firearms. We realized that our customers and partners feel the same way, so we developed a campaign that will bring us all together.”
Weatherby Partners with Dangersoup Dangersoup has been named as creative and media agency of record for Weatherby. Tasked with advertising and creative needs, Dangersoup will also highlight new lineups with the yearly catalog and coordinate new-product launches with Weatherby’s internal marketing department as well as their public relations agency of record, Gunpowder, Inc.
This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.
Remington altered its internal product development procedures to ensure the relaunch of the R51 would go off without a hitch.
Back On Track
ou’d have to be sitting in a bathysphere at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, searching for signs of the frilled shark, Pacific viperfish, or giant tube worm, to not know of the ordeals of the Remington Outdoor Company these past few years. It’s the kind of trouble that would sink most enterprises, but somehow this venerable institution has managed to stay afloat. And for those who have hung on, they now see a light at the end of the tunnel—and it’s not an oncoming train. “Let’s start with the positive,” says John Fink, director of firearms product management. “We’ve launched, or are positioned to launch, 144 new products in all categories, and we have a strong distributor network. We have benefited from a substantial investment in capital from 2014 through 2016. We have also simpli-
fied the company’s footprint through the consolidation and elimination of 10 facilities, and we have centralized research and development, product management, and marketing. All of this will make us far more efficient and better able to respond to the needs of the marketplace.” And the negative? FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 7
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The low bore axis of the R51 helps tame recoil, and its snagfree profile makes it ideal for covert carry.
“We were very unstable in 2009 and 2010,” he says, “but now we have a renewed focus on stability and are far more focused on strategic long-term thinking. We believe we are well positioned for 2017.” A lot of the stability and long-term strategy are a result of Remington’s new CEO, James “Marco” Marcotuli, who has quickly moved to right the ship after a series of ill-advised moves. Here, the original launch of the R51 comes readily to mind. By now, most Remington staffers are sick and tired of talking about the R51, but the company admitted it made a mistake by bringing the compact semiauto pistol to market too soon. When it recognized the magnitude of the problem, it pulled the product and said it would make it right. The revised R51 was featured at the SHOT Show, and it seems this time around they got it right. “I think we did,” says Dillon Jennings, sales and business development manager of MSRs and handguns. “The relaunch is part of our new process for new products. Everybody is being held to a much higher standard. R&D doesn’t get the gun to me to launch unless Jim Marcotuli says, ‘It’s absolutely ready.’ He signs off on every single step of the process, from mistakeproofing the line to continuity of supply.” Marcotuli does this through what is known internally as the “evidence book,” a compilation of all the product testing as well as plans for sales and distribution. The evidence book for the R51 was
6 inches thick, and Jennings says Marcotuli went through every page before approving the launch. “The R51 relaunch was a year-long process of collecting marketing materials and planning sales and customer announcements,” Jennings says. “When we announced the R51 to sales and customers, we had already signed off on all testing and were well into production, with a large quantity of guns in inventory. We gave our customers time to place orders and prepare their own plans on how they were going to sell it. Only then did we announce a hard retail date.” Under this new system, Jennings says, “new product won’t launch if it hasn’t been signed off by Marco. It won’t launch until we have a significant quantity in inventory. It won’t launch until we’ve had partnership conversations with every single one of our major customers. And it won’t launch if the price isn’t right. We bring all of these things together, the entire company. The process involves everybody—and I mean everybody. In this way, everybody has buy in and everybody’s got a piece of the process.” Another key aspect of Remington’s reset is repairing dealer relations. “You know how we deal with that?” Jennings says. “By coming out with products that are exactly what we say they are, exactly when we say we will. We need to build back some confidence, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.” (remington. com) —Slaton L. White
Mossy Oak Develops New Camo Pattern
esigned specifically for the hardcore Western and open country hunter, Mountain Country combines Western blue-green sage, aspen, and conifer trees with mountainous rock formations, resulting in one of the most accurate Western patterns ever created. There’s also Mountain Country Range, which Mossy Oak created to conceal smaller, hunting-accessory-sized items. This pattern also incorporates the blue-green sage of Western landscapes and mountainous rock formations, but eliminates the tree elements. “At Mossy Oak, we think nature is the best designer. Our job is to pay attention to that rather than creating a computergenerated version of the natural world,” says Toxey Haas, founder and CEO of Mossy Oak. “Camo is best when it has been designed in the wild rather than in a lab, so we’ve spent countless seasons in the field, testing different patterns to bring Western hunters our new Mountain Country.” The first pieces of Mountain Country apparel appeared in select Western state Wal-Mart stores last fall, as well as through a new hunting camouflage maker, NOMAD. The selection was understandably limited to basics—pants, T-shirts, and hoodies made up the bulk of
Mossy Oak’s Mountain Country camo has been designed for the hardcore Western hunter.
the offerings. However, many more apparel and accessory options are forthcoming in 2017. Apparel makers Walls and Browning have licensed the pattern, Scent Lok has signed on to have Mountain Country options available by fall 2017, and Outdoor Cap will be producing headwear. Other Mountain Country licensing
agreements are expected. Mossy Oak has marketing and promotions planned throughout 2017, in print and television, via the internet and social media, with advertisements, reviews, and product giveaways designed to coincide with applicable hunting seasons. (mossyoak.com) —Brian McCombie
The top-of-the-line Ledlenser X21.2 delivers 1,500 lumens of light out to 600 meters as well as a runtime of nearly 100 hours.
Spreading the Gospel Ledlenser’s mission is to demonstrate the value of buying a better flashlight One doesn’t have to be an industry analyst to know the market for flashlights is flooded. Do a random search for them on any online shopping site—the results are overwhelming. Options for the sportsman start at just a few dollars and then can run up to as much as $500, the going rate for the Ledsenser X21.2 (which radiates a massive 1,500 lumens). There are lots of highly rated flashlights for $50 or less. Why pay 10 times more? And how can a retailer feel good about stocking high-end lights if they believe their regulars will pass? “For some customers, $40 is a lot of money for a flashlight,” admits Shannon Jidas, associate brand manager for Ledlenser. Still, pricey gear is a worthy investment, if it’s built to take lots of abuse, she says. These are the pieces that consistently deliver at critical moments—not just this season, but year after year. “You are paying for durability,” Jidas says. “You can get a run-ofthe-mill 10-to-100-lumen light, but you can break it in six months. You want something that survives running over of it with a pickup truck, dropping it out of a treestand, or having it spill out of a blind bag and into a marsh.” Executives at Leatherman Tool Group believe they partnered with makers of great flashlights and headlamps when they acquired Ledlenser a few years ago. “Leatherman historically sold a lot of flashlights as accessories to our multi-tools,” says Ben Rivera,
Leatherman’s CEO. “A flashlight fits our brand mission of helping one be prepared for the expected and unexpected. Leatherman and Ledlenser flirted for a number of years as we dipped our toe in the flashlight business. Ledlenser was appealing to us.” Ledlenser claims its superior technology—such as lenses, patented reflectors, and the new CREE LED chips—helps produce more powerful spot beams that enhance long-range illumination. Programmable controls adjust light levels for different tasks. “What really differentiates us from other lights is the ability to focus a beam with one hand,” Jidas says. “There’s no twisting, just pushing the bezel backward and forward with your thumb. You can put those lumens where you want them, how you want them.” Coatings include hard-anodized or “Frozen Black” textured surfaces. Some models have titanium parts. Headlamps are made with userfriendly controls like switches that accommodate gloved hands and scroll wheels to control brightness. The aforementioned X21.2, with its $500 price tag, delivers 1,500 lumens more than 600 meters.
10 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
The T2 offers Ledlenser performance at a lower price point.
Want to double the lumens? Pay another $50 for the X21R.2 ($550), which operates off a rechargeable battery and, according to Ledlenser, “puts most car headlamps to shame” with 3,000 lumens. Given the realities of the market, Ledsenser understands that the X21.2 and X21R.2 aren’t for everybody. That’s why it also offers a number of models at lower price points. For example, the models below this top level start at around $300, and drop from there. And for the customer who can’t see paying more than $50 for a flashlight, Ledlenser offers the T2, one of its best sellers, which throws 240 lumens for $44. The least-expensive model is the K2, a $10 keychain light that casts 25 lumens. “The challenge is getting customers to think through their flashlight and headlamp purchases,” Jidas says. “And at the retail level, we’re training the guys behind the counter.” At the same time, Ledlenser constantly reinforces the concept that though superior lights cost more, they ensure reliability and performance year after year. (ledlenserusa. com) —Bill Miller
For Women, By Women Weatherby’s new Camilla bolt-action rifle joins the Vanguard family It started with a conversation among the “Women of Weatherby.” Jessie Duff, a member of this small yet influential industry group, thought women hunters deserved a rifle actually designed to fit their anatomy. She found a powerful ally in Brenda Weatherby, wife of Weatherby’s COO, Adam Weatherby. “We had a blank canvas, and from that the Vanguard Camilla was born,” says Duff. “It’s the first rifle of its kind to be designed by women and built by Weatherby.” The Camilla, named in honor of Roy Weatherby’s wife,
is made of Turkish A-grade walnut, with a rosewood forend and grip caps. A lovely fleur-delis checkering pattern accentuates the gun. It comes with a 20-inch cold-hammer-forged barrel, a hinged floorplate, and a fluted bolt. A high comb provides optimal cheek weld and eye-to-scope weld for faster target acquisition, and the short, slim forend reduces weight and provides a better overall feel for women shooters. But maybe the most important design feature is the recoil pad’s negative angle, which Duff pointed out to me last summer. The smaller pad, the toe of which is canted away from the shooter’s body, fits a
women’s shoulder and chest area better than the traditional design found on most rifles. Length of pull is 13 inches, which also helps a women achieve a better cheek weld. When I asked Duff about the rifle’s performance in the field, she said, “I carried it on a bear hunt recently, and it exceeded my expectations.” The Camilla is chambered in .223 Rem., .243 Win., and 7mm-08 Rem. SRP: $849. (weatherby.com)
—Barbara Baird Jessie Duff helped design the Camilla, the first Weatherby rifle built for— and by—women hunters.
Many pursue excellence. We deﬁne it.
Rangemaster CRF 2000-B and 1600-R: extended, precise LoS ranging and onboard ballistics
Visus: a classic masterpiece and iconic design
At Leica, the only thing we’ve ever pursued is elevating the standard for sport optics performance and excellence. We’ve done exactly that with our new lineup of Rangemaster compact rangeﬁnders, Geovid HD Edition 2200 rangeﬁnding binoculars, Noctivid binoculars, and Visus and Magnus i riﬂescopes.
Geovid HD-B and HD-R Edition 2200: innovation, extended ranging and onboard ballistics
Noctivid: our best binoculars ever
Magnus i: the pinnacle of performance
Each reaching beyond what was ever thought possible, each elevating Leica’s own deﬁnition of sport optics “excellence.” See for yourself our new standards of sport optics excellence. Visit www.leica-Sportoptics.com or join the conversation on Facebook at /LeicaHunting.
Elite Survival Systems Builds on Innovation
n the sea of plain vanilla and copycat nylon gear makers, Elite Survival Systems stands out. It is familyowned and operated, innovative, and its record of growth is remarkable. For more than a decade, Elite Survival Systems has increased its sales year over year. This is no accident.
Elite Survival acquired its stitching competency by creating bags for motorcycles.
The 2017 catalog has more than 1,100 SKUs, all backed by a lifetime guarantee. Most of the products are made in Missouri, with the philosophy that the quality of each one should far surpass the purchase price. It’s one thing to say that and another to deliver on it, but for 30 years the Bogue family has been doing just that. Along with Assault Systems
and Recon, Elite Survival Systems is one of three brands owned by Bryan Bogue. Bryan’s parents started Assault Systems in 1979. The company first attended the second SHOT Show—and has been to every one since. Each piece produced by Elite Survival Systems is born from a uniquely allAmerican story. Bogue’s father had a motorcycle shop
12 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
in the 1970s. The AR was just making its way to consumers, and accessories were few and far between. With Bryan’s mother already sewing motorcycle bags in the back room, Bryan’s father and his partner devised a new 1000D nylon case with fitted magazine pouches. This was the first case specifically designed to hold an AR-platform rifle. Mrs. Bogue spent hours reengineering and fighting the new nylon item with her sewing machine and was ultimately successful. As a result, in 1979 the Assault Systems brand was born, and manufacturing moved to Fenton, Missouri, with four SKUs that sold primarily at trade shows. For some years the product line grew, and the company produced a full line of nylon bags, cases, holsters, belts, and accessories. Then the industry hit hard times, and the company struggled. With every family member working for the company, it was a tough call to sell it in 2003. Bryan had seen the sea change coming and had already started Elite Survival Systems to import tactical nylon gear. He purchased the Assault Systems name and associated intellectual property and started a sewing production operation once again. He still honors the lifetime warranty from the old days. Elite Survival Systems today produces many of the Assault Systems designs and has moved on to produce innovative original products, such as the Range
Bags designed for concealed-carry use are in high demand these days.
Roller Bag. Historically, Elite Survival Systems’ top sellers have been concealment holsters and rifle cases. Shooting belts and gear bags have been outselling projections for the last couple of years. A standout item has been the M4 Roller bag. It’s a behemoth of a bag designed to hold two assembled rifles and all the gear you could think to accompany them. At 35x16x12 inches, it holds more than some people can lift. With that in mind, it features a luggage-style telescoping handle and large roller wheels. Today’s dealer-direct focus at Elite Survival Systems has really paid off. It currently has twice the number of accounts serviced a little more than a year ago. Its product line continues to grow as well. (elite survival.com)
Clearing the Air Black Cloud cleans up its act with Flitecontrol Flex Federal Premium’s popular Black Cloud waterfowl ammunition now comes in an improved version: Flitecontrol Flex. The new load will perform better, and it will simplify a retailer’s life, too. Original Black Cloud was deadly stuff, but it patterned badly in ported choke tubes, leading to dissatisfaction and confusion among waterfowl hunters. Now you’ll be able to sell Black Cloud to all your waterfowling customers regardless of which choke they use, and you’ll be able to sell them ported tubes without having to explain that they shouldn’t shoot Black Cloud. The Flitecontrol wad is designed to produce tight patterns by staying with the shot 15 feet past the muzzle, then separating cleanly. Rear braking fins pop open to slow the wad, while window-shaped cuts in the side allow air inside the wad to equalize internal and external pressure. That’s all fine until you run a Flitecontrol
wad through a ported tube, where the ports first chew the side windows like graters, then bleed off the pressure from expanding gases that’s supposed to open the rear fins. The result is poor, erratic patterns instead of the deadly downrange performance for which Black Cloud is known. The new wad is redesigned
with new materials and thinner brake fins. The side windows are gone, replaced by slits that are compatible with ported tubes. The results, as I saw on a goose hunt and on the patterning board, are excellent. The new Black Cloud Flex contains the same mix of ridged Flitestopper pellets and round shot for bet-
Black Cloud Flitecontrol Flex has been redesigned to shoot and pattern more accurately.
ter on-game performance and patterns. The new Catalyst primer promises more consistent ignition and much cleaner burning performance, alleviating the complaint that Black Cloud dirtied gun barrels. Available in 10-, 12-, and 20-gauge offerings. (federalpremium.com)
U P D AT E
BY STEVE SANETTI, NSSF PRESIDENT AND CEO
FROM THE NSSF
A New Hope The outlook is bright for our industry and its customers
uch to the surprise of pretty much every pollster and pundit, Donald Trump is now President of the United States of America. Regardless of the many things he said during the presidential campaign that we might not agree with, or which gave us pause, or which were stated in an “inartful” fashion, on the issue for which hunters, target shooters, collectors, plinkers, the firearms industry, and its customers were most concerned—our individual right to keep and bear arms—he stood steadfast. The losing party’s platform promised repeal of the Protection of Lawful Commence in Arms Act, the reenactment of the ineffective so-called “assault weapons” ban, the imposition of nationwide firearms registration in order to enforce an illusory “universal background check” for non-retail firearms transfers, a Supreme Court dedicated to overturning the Second Amendment’s guarantee of an individual right to keep and bear arms, and the imposition of even more restrictive gun control regulations by executive order. There is now hope for a return to reality under the new administration. President Trump is one of the few New York City residents to actually have a concealed-carry permit. His sons are avid hunters and outdoorsmen. His support of the Second Amendment during this election cycle never waivered. And he now has the opportunity as President to make good on his campaign promises to “respect it 100 percent.” So what might we hope for? One of the first orders of business in maintaining our vital system of government checks and balances will be to nominate at least one, and possibly more, justices to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Trump’s choices, which must be confirmed with the advice and consent of the Senate, promise to be faithful to the wording of the U.S. Constitution. Because there will likely be Second Amendment cases heard by the Court, which with the late Justice Scalia upheld the
Second Amendment as an individual right to possess a firearm by a single vote, there is hope that it will remain the supreme law of the land. Any attempt to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commence in Arms Act, which prevents legally baseless lawsuits against manufacturers and sellers of lawfully sold, non-defective firearms, would have to be passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by the President. Since both houses now are controlled by a party whose platform pledges to uphold our rights, we are hopeful that any such repeal efforts will either not pass or be vetoed. A so-called “assault weapons” ban, enacted in 1994 by then president Bill Clinton, was allowed to expire in 2004. A U.S. Justice Department study showed it had no appreciable effect on violent crime, which has continued to drop to 25-year lows even as semi-
14 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
automatic rifles and handguns have become the top sellers in America. A recent Gallup poll also shows that support for such a ban has dropped to an all-time low (36 percent). We are hopeful that any attempt to reinstate such a ban on today’s modern sporting rifles will again be either defeated in Congress or vetoed. We can look forward to the abolition of ill-conceived executive orders regarding sporting ammunition and import bans, and a U.N. Ambassador who will oppose international gun control efforts. We can hope to fix the flawed National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) so that all 50 U.S. states uniformly include disqualifying records such as felony convictions, arrest warrants, and involuntary mental health commitments under existing law so that legally disqualified persons can’t purchase firearms at retail. We can hope that hunting
and recreational shooting on federal lands are restored to their rightful place as wholesome and safe outdoor recreational pastimes for all Americans, not only to preserve our precious traditions, but also to benefit wildlife through the excise taxes such activities generate. And we look forward to the management and conservation of wildlife based upon sound science, as well as the protection of the use of both traditional and alternative ammunition on a voluntary basis as local circumstances dictate. In short, there are many reasons to hope that the new administration will look upon the hunters, sport shooters, and firearms owners of America as valued friends, partners, and a legitimate component of our nation’s rich diversity. By respecting the rights and freedoms of those who have caused no untoward harm to anyone, it can help restore badly needed faith in our government and its institutions, which has been so terribly violated by the heavy-handed actions of those who scorn our way of life. Perhaps above all else, that is what we hope for.
Steve Sanetti NSSF President and Chief Executive Officer
BY LARRY KEANE, NSSF SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT AND GENERAL COUNSEL
U P D AT E
YO U S H O U L D K N O W
The Job Isn’t Over Powerful anti-gun forces are organizing and renewing efforts to take our rights away
s our new year begins, we can be thankful that the American people in November elected a president who has pledged to protect our Constitutional rights, as well as a majority of both houses of Congress who will work to ensure that our individual right to keep and bear arms will be preserved. While we can be relieved that the candidate who promised to repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and pursue additional infringements on the Second Amendment will not be reassuming residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the work of those who love liberty and our nation’s hunting and shooting sports traditions is truly never over. We cannot afford to let our guard down over the next four years, or even over next two years, when the next Congressional midterm election take place. To the contrary, American gun owners will need to remain involved in the political process to help ensure that the defense of our Second Amendment remains strong. The NSSF will see to it that our industry remains vigilant and poised to act so that both the rights of our customers and the lawful commerce in firearms are protected at all levels of government and in our courts when needed. You may have read recently about a group of well-heeled law firms announcing the formation of a coalition with gun control groups and proclaiming their readiness to file lawsuits or provide representation on a pro-bono basis in jurisdictions across the country where opportunities may present themselves. So far, that effort has been only a small media event, but we can safely assume that such lawsuits will be filed. When this happens, we will hear that no one is challenging the Second Amendment, but rather seeking “commonsense” solutions to prevent
“gun violence,” or some other focus-group-tested paean from the gun control songbook. We have seen this play out very recently. NSSF and coplaintiff City Arms East, LLC, in December announced an agreement with the City of Pleasant Hill, California, to end a lawsuit challenging a 2013 ordinance that sought to impose burdensome and unlawful firearms and ammunition sales restrictions on local firearms retailers. As a result of the settlement, Pleasant Hill will pay $400,000 to cover legal fees incurred by NSSF and City Arms East, LLC, in bringing the suit. We succeeded in our goal to protect the ability of federally licensed firearms retailers to open, operate, and grow their businesses in the City of Pleasant Hill. As we predicted when the city council made its decision to go forward with its ordinance, which only put into place duplicative regulation and did nothing to enhance public safety, it was very likely that taxpayers would be left paying the tab. For the city council’s unwarranted political decision to target law-abiding businesses, it and their pro-bono legal team left the city with a hefty bill.
We know from several cases in the recent past that elected municipal officials, their gun control group allies, and likeminded trial lawyers will target manufacturers and retailers if they see a political advantage in doing so. This is, after all, far easier than attempting to solve the multi-causal nature of crime and violence in their cities. In other words, the political past is likely prologue. Then there are the states. The narrow passage of a ballot initiative in Nevada to expand background checks to cover private firearms transfers will likely embolden gun control groups to pursue more restrictions in the states where this mechanism is available to them. That a similar initiative failed in Maine will be paid little heed. Their pockets are deep, and the game is long. The so-called “swing states” will be the battlegrounds. Next up is New Mexico, with another background check expansion effort. As is the case with every new state legislative session, there will be more gun control bills, and NSSF will be there to look out for your interests. While we know that more federal gun control regulation will not be forthcoming, we
cannot assume that the passage of what would be favorable legislation on Capitol Hill is a foregone conclusion, where Republicans hold 52 seats and 60 votes are often required to move forward procedurally. Rather than swinging for the fences, hitting solid singles and doubles would be the more effective means of securing some victories. Toward that end, we will pursue the completion of export control reform that would transfer the regulatory oversight of exporting sporting arms and related items from the State Department to the Commerce Department. That will be good both for business and enhanced international trade, and allow the State Department to concentrate on preventing the export of military equipment. Another priority is the Hearing Protection Act, which would remove sound suppressors from the National Firearms Act. Moving that legislation forward will require a concerted effort—and we can expect the opposition to misrepresent the issue. Thank you for the confidence you have shown in NSSF. We will be keeping you informed as we navigate the political landscape of a new Congress, in the state capitals, and on the municipal level.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 15
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California Appellate Court Reverses Dismissal of Suit to Block Enforcement of Microstamping Law
California Appellate Court has reversed the Fresno Superior Court’s dismissal of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) lawsuit seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the state’s ammunition microstamping law and remanded the case back to the lower court to hear arguments.
“We are pleased by today’s ruling because it means we will now be able to prove in court that this ill-considered law must be enjoined because it is literally impossible to comply with its requirements. When we ultimately prevail in this case, law-abiding consumers in California will once again be able to purchase new models of pistols this law currently prevents our industry members from selling in the state,” said Larry Keane, NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel. NSSF and SAAMI filed the lawsuit on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court, seeking to block the enforcement of the state’s microstamping law, violations of which are a criminal offense. The state statute, enacted in 2007 but not made effective until May 2013, requires that all new models of semi-automatic handguns sold be designed to incorporate the unproven technology. Under this law, firearms makers would have to micro-laser engrave a gun’s make, model, and serial number on two distinct
parts of each handgun so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on cartridge casings when the pistol is fired. “There is no existing microstamping technology that meets the requirement of this ill-considered law. It is not technologically possible to microstamp two locations in the gun and have the required information imprint onto the cartridge casing. In addition, the current state of the technology cannot reliably, consistently, and legibly imprint on the cartridge primer the required identifying information from the tip of the firing pin, the only possible location where it is possible to micro-laser engrave the information,” said Keane. In 2007, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semi-automatic pistols. The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. The
Microstamping technology law is impossible to comply with, and NSSF will prove it in court.
California legislature subsequently reorganized certain statutes concerning the regulation of firearms, including the microstamping law, in 2010. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification. Harris was elected to the U.S. Senate in November.
CUSTOMER RELATIONS EXPERT YACEK JOINS RETAIL ADVISORY COUNCIL NSSF is pleased to announce that Hank Yacek has joined its Retail Advisory Council. Yacek has nearly a quarter-century of industry expertise, ranging from warehousing to owning his own retail establishment. In 2011, Yacek joined AcuSport, one of the country’s leading distributors of firearms, ammunition, and shoot-
ing sports goods, as its Retail Solutions Manager. In that capacity, he leads The Edge, AcuSport’s training and management program that works with independent retailers to find solutions to create winning customer experiences in their stores. “We are thrilled to have Hank join our Retail Advisory Council,” said
16 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
Patrick Shay, NSSF Director, Retail Development. “His
hands-on, in-the-field approach to creating retail solutions that drive customers back to stores time and again means he brings a unique insight to our group of experts. That’s something from which both the Council and our member retailers will greatly benefit.” NSSF’s Retail Advisory Council is made up of a number of highly regard-
ed industry retail professionals. They work to add their combined knowledge banks to the input of NSSF’s members and create resources and solutions that improve how today’s firearms retailers do business. To learn more, including information about the many benefits of joining NSSF, visit nssf.org.
CONGRESS STRANDS BIPARTISAN SPORTSMEN’S ACT IN UN-PASSED ENERGY CONFERENCE REPORT
$13M Anti-GunThemed Movie Flops
n December 9, 2016, the anti-gun-message film Miss Sloane was released in 1,648 theaters nationwide— released, yes, watched, not so much. Miss Sloane opened as the 11th most-watched film of the weekend and took in only $1.8 million in its opening week, making it the 75th worst-performing movie release of all time. By midmonth it had tumbled to the 16th most-watched movie and was dropped from 185 screens compared to the previous weekend. Yet again, Hollywood’s liberal elite missed the mark with what Americans consider entertainment, producing a propaganda film for the Brady Campaign while ignoring the fact that nearly 52 percent of Americans believe protecting the Second Amendment is more important than gun control. The ignorance of the antigun left is even more ironic, when you consider that data indicates that more Americans bought guns on 2016’s postThanksgiving Black Friday than saw Miss Sloane in its opening weekend. According to the FBI, the agency processed 185,713 gun background checks on Black Friday through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) — a record high for the day. Now let’s do some math. The average price of a movie ticket in the United States is $8.61, so if you divide Miss Sloane’s exact opening weekend numbers ($1,844,972) by $8.61, you can assume that 214,282 people saw the movie.
However, we must consider the fact that Miss Sloane’s target audience resides in urban areas, and the film was released only in select cities, where average ticket prices are higher. Factoring in the average ticket cost in New York City ($14.30), Washington, D.C. ($13), and Los Angeles ($13), the new average becomes $12.22—translating to only 150,980 people who likely saw Miss Sloane on its opening weekend, a whopping 34,733 people fewer than purchased a gun on Black Friday. The film was in production for months before Election Day, of course, so its producer may have thought that it would serve as inspiration for the gun control lobby to follow post-election. But the film’s abysmal performance is likely only one of the surprises its backers have had to stomach since Election Day. Maybe next time, Hollywood should wait to let the voters speak and then consider their audience before the next flop, which reportedly cost producers $13 million to make.
The 114th Congress adjourned without having passed the Energy Conference Report that contained the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Congressional leadership didn’t feel important components of energy policy were in place in the legislative package and the measure languished in the conference committee as both sides of Capitol Hill focused on the continuing resolution needed to fund the federal government through April 28, 2017.
NSSF would like to thank U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) for their stewardship of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) also deserves acknowledgment for her work on crafting a bipartisan bill. We also thank the thousands of American hunters, target shooters, and gun owners who contacted their congresspeople during the effort to pass this legislation.
Cal City Pays NSSF $400K for Legal Fees NSSF announced in December that it and co-plaintiff City Arms East, LLC, reached an agreement with the City of Pleasant Hill, California, to end a lawsuit challenging a 2013 ordinance that sought to impose burdensome and unlawful firearms and ammunition sales restrictions on local firearms retailers. As a result of the settle“hide the ball” tactics used in ment, which was approved by the process of passing the the Pleasant Hill council, the ordinance that even the city’s City of Pleasant Hill will pay own planning commission $400,000 to cover legal fees had opposed. To avoid a trial incurred by NSSF and City and reach a settlement, the Arms East, LLC, in bringing city modified those aspects of the lawsuit. its regulation that NSSF and The plaintiffs were able to City Arms argued were in provide concrete instances of violation of state law and the Pleasant Hill’s missteps and United States Constitution.
© 2017 National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. All Rights Reserved. SHOT Business®, SHOT Show® and all other trade names, trademarks and service marks of the National Shooting Sports Foundation appearing in this publication are the sole property of the Foundation and may not be used without the Foundation’s prior express written permission. All other company and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 17
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R E TA I L E R T O O L B O X
Wired for Security How to set up and connect your alarm system to maximize its ability to prevent burglaries
n the last column I wrote for SHOT Business, I examined the essential components of a modern security system. There are three ways these components work together today: via hardwiring, through a wireless connection, or by use of a hybrid system that utilizes both technologies. WIRED SYSTEMS
Wired systems are convenient when sensors such as passive infrared devices (PIRs), vibration detectors, and others require power to operate correctly, though they may be more costly to install. They are available in varying degrees of sophistication. Entry-level wired systems utilize “star network” topology, wherein the alarm panel is at the center and all associated devices “home run” their wires back to that panel. More complex panels use a “bus network” topology, wherein wiring is run in
Video recording equipment can be set up to operate via a sensor.
a data loop around the perimeter of the facility, with “drops” for the sensor devices. Sensor devices in a bus network must include an integrated unique device identifier, used to identify which alarm device is actually activated. WIRELESS SYSTEMS
Wireless systems today tend to be less expensive to install than hardwired systems. They often use battery-powered transmitters, which are easier to install and have less expensive start-up costs. One of the biggest advantages of
wireless monitoring alarm systems is that they are immune to a burglar cutting a cable or from connection and downtime failures of an internet provider. With wireless systems, the most important connection is the one between the on-site control panel and the alarm-monitoring central station. These are primarily cellular connections (which is why they are immune to internet connection failures). Depending on the distance between the wireless device and the control unit, as well as the construction materials of your
facility, one or more wireless repeaters may be required to reliably transmit the signal of a sensor fault to the alarm panel. HYBRID SYSTEMS
Hybrid systems use both wired and wireless sensors to realize the benefits of both while minimizing the cons. The wireless portion still alerts in the event the hardwired portion fails and vice versa. In a hybrid system, transmitters or sensors can be connected through the premises’ electrical circuits to transmit coded signals to the control unit panel. The control unit panel usually has a separate zone for each different sensor, as well as internal trouble indicators, such as would result from a main power loss, low battery, broken wires, etc. These systems may incur additional expense for labor installation of wiring and components but should not incur any additional monitoring expenses over other system types. SENSOR REACTIONS
There is one other determination to make when designing your system: what your sensors should do when they are triggered. Sensors can be designed to do many jobs. They can alert your system 18 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
B Y J O H N B O C K E R , N S S F S E C U R I T Y C O N S U LTA N T T E A M M E M B E R
to sound an alarm; activate a strobe, siren, or fogging system; send a text or video message; initiate zone- or device-specific video recording; and, of course, notify the monitoring facility and local law enforcement. The most popular choices in sensor-activated actions tend to be: • Audible considerations: Internal and external sirens should emit high-decibel, ear-piercing auditory alarms intended to quickly deter burglars in the early act of vandalizing or breeching a facility. • Internal strobe lights: These serve to disorient and confuse burglars who have gained access to your facility’s interior. • Fogging systems: Though they tend to be more expensive than other deterrents, they can be wonderfully effective. When activated, these systems nearly instantaneously fill an interior area with thick fog that, while safe to breath, reduces visibility to just inches. This quickly disorients the intruders, both preventing them from finding the merchandise they were looking to steal and from quickly finding exit doors, which can aid arriving law enforcement in catching them, literally in the act. You now have the basic pieces of the hardware available that make up the core of an alarm installation (other than the specifics of camera and video recording equipment, which is a subject unto itself ). Where you install the various pieces is your next consideration before making your investment.
covered when you’ve taken into account external doors and storefront glass. But roof access panels, HVAC systems, areas above and around gun storage vaults, and facility service doors must all be protected with adequate sensor devices. This may include contact devices along with motion sensors. Panic/hold-up devices should be included in your plan, in addition to those dedicated panic buttons that are standard on your alarm control panels. Such devices may be stand-alone buttons installed at strategic locations around the facility and in the main office, such as by cash registers or in inventory warehouse rooms or facilities, or as a pendant carried by staff members. These devices are critical for summoning police in lifethreatening situations. Every burglar alarm system—whether hardwired, wireless, or a hybrid— should include a dedicated backup power supply that should maintain the sys-
tem’s integrity for eight or more hours. In tandem, your alarm monitoring should include reporting power failure, low-battery, and tampering alerts. Hardwired alarm systems using traditional or IP network connections to the alarm-monitoring service should further include a cellular backup service to sustain system integrity. You should have a solid idea of the alarm system types available, their necessary components, and a roster of installation tips that go a long way toward thwarting most physical break-in attempts. With all that said, I’d like to offer a couple of caveats. First, I strongly recommend having a professional complete your installation. Seriously, skip the DYI route. You’re protecting firearms, for goodness’ sake! Besides, your insurance carrier will most likely require a licensed professional complete the alarm system installation. Second, I personally rec-
ommend hardwired systems. They are much more reliable, and you’ll never have the low-battery issues or service interruptions associated with the wireless systems. If you choose a wireless system or a hybrid system that includes a wireless component, do your homework carefully and balance their advantages against the expense of a fully hardwired system. NSSF’s Security Team can audit your existing security system and address concerns. Contact Patrick Shay, NSSF Director, Retail Development, at email@example.com for more information.
Wireless alarm systems are less expensive to install than hardwired systems.
It’s easy to think you’re FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 19
B Y R O B E R T F. S TA E G E R
Under the Skin A brand with deep traditions like Stormy Kromer must move forward carefully
few dozen people were huddled in sleeping bags outside Sacred Tattoo Studio by the time the sun rose. It was a chilly morning in the city of Marquette, and the people, who would number almost 100 by the end of the day, were waiting to get a tattoo of a Stormy Kromer cap, a brimmed wool number that has symbolized Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for more than a century. It was a novel promotion: Anyone getting a $60 tattoo of a Kromer cap would get a free cap, and a replacement every five years.
“We figured if you’re going to put our cap permanently on your body, we should make sure that you permanently have one on your head,” says Gina Thorsen, Stormy Kromer’s president. The popularity of that deal is a testament to the cultural heft of the brand. People got inked in memory of a father, a grandfather, an identical twin. For others, the tattoo meant home: “There’s a lot of rugged pride that people can survive in that place, where it’s so very cold and so very remote,” says Thorsen. The company is named after Stormy Kromer, a railroad worker and semi-pro ballplayer who, in 1903, asked his wife, Ida, to modify one of his baseball caps to keep him warm. The wool caps became popular, and Stormy and Ida’s business grew until they sold it in the 1960s. Years later, in 2001, the cap was being discontinued, until Thorsen’s father, Bob, made a deal to use the Kromer name and the rights to make the cap. Now Stormy Kromer makes the original cap and some variations out of its Ironwood, Michigan,
The Stormy Kromer hat is an American icon. Even so, the company is open to more modern versions, especially hats that appeal to women.
headquarters. One of the first variations on the Kromer original was the Petal Pusher, a cap for women with a woolen flower accenting the design. “Within two years of launching that product, it was our third-bestselling style,” says Thorsen. “Women told us, ‘I want to stay warm, but I want to look good, too.’” When Wisconsin, Kromer’s second-biggest market, passed a law in 2016 legalizing blaze pink for hunting, Stormy Kromer launched a pink cap (called the Blaze, naturally). “We initially thought that this was just a women’s item—
20 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
we’re very supportive of getting women out in the field—but we discovered many men felt that the pink was more visible than the orange.” Now the Blaze collection includes men’s and women’s styles in pink and orange. “Most purchases are made by women, and we think to ignore that segment is doing a disservice to yourself,” says Thorsen. “They’re a key part of the demographic, and they want products that are designed for them.” So Kromer is making sure to offer caps like the Snowdrift and the Milly, specifically styled for
women. The Millie has a hole in back to accommodate a ponytail—something customers had been asking for, even going so far as to cut holes in the back of their hats to make it for themselves. The trick with running a company as steeped in tradition as Stormy Kromer is honoring that tradition while moving forward, such as the subtle alterations the company’s made to its traditional Mackinaw coat to improve the fit. Any more dramatic step is taken with great care. “Every year we’re looking to build things that
can last—even for generations,” says Thorsen. For instance, in 2017, the company is not only offering a bomber-style hat (the crown will retain the Kromer sixpanel design), but also a cap made from a softshell material instead of wool. “We’ve had some pretty heated conversations about whether or not a soft-shell fabric would fit in our line,” says Thorsen. “It came down to us making sure the design had all the properties of an original, and the fabric we chose even has sort of a heathered property. Ultimately, we decided the functionality that’s 100 years old is there, and it’s really okay to mix it with a modern fabric.” Meanwhile the company is reaching out to its retail partners with a personal touch. CEO Bob Thorsen took a weeklong road trip last summer, delivering customer orders. “He’d show up and say, ‘Here’s your order, and I’d love to talk to you about growing our businesses together,’” says Thorsen. The shops were impressed by the personal attention. (stormykromer. com)
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B Y D AV I D D R A P E R
Proven Powerhouse Winchester updates its Super-X autoloader
he 80-year-old Model 70 notwithstanding, a decade is a lifetime in the consumer cycle as manufacturers constantly test the waters with new introductions. In light of that, the Winchester Super X3 shotgun, introduced in 2006, isn’t the new kid on the block anymore. Although it’s still popular with waterfowlers, wingshooters, and clay junkies, the reliable autoloader has faced stiff competition in recent years as Remington, Benelli, and other manufacturers have brought new semi-auto shotguns to market. For 2017, Winchester looks to get back in the game with the fourth iteration of the Super X line.
The Winchester SX4 is a welcome upgrade of the reliable SX3.
In a classic case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Winchester opted to avoid wholesale changes in designing the SX4. Instead, it took a proven powerhouse and fitted it into an updated chassis with some new body styling to both meet customer demand and adapt to changing market dynamics. The wealth of changes in design and manufacturing technology over the last 10 years allowed Winchester to not only build a new shotgun, but also do so with a more competitive price point that will fall somewhere below the current price of the SX3.
Let’s take a look at the engine that drives the legendary reliability the Super-X line has been known for since its introduction. Innovative when it first hit the market and benefiting from incremental evolution since, Winchester’s Active Valve system utilizes dual self-adjusting gas ports located in the barrel bracket to deliver the appropriate amount of gas needed to drive the action no matter what size shell is being fired. This workhorse creates a true do-all shotgun that will go bang whenever the trigger is pulled, even after thousands of rounds, as several field tests on the dove
22 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
fields of Argentina can attest. It was during just such a trip that I got to see the SX4’s reliability for myself. For three days we heated our shotgun barrels on successive waves of doves and ducks. At the end of the trip, my shotshell bill exceeded 2,000 rounds—modest by most shooters’ standards in Argentina—and the test-model SX4 never wavered. Same goes for the new SX4s my hunting partners were wielding. If the shotgun showed little trouble handling all those rounds, my shoulder also survived the test—a testament to the Active Valve gas system’s ability to
mitigate recoil by venting excess gases rather than shoving them back into the bolt and, by consequence, the shooter. Compared to its predecessor, the SX4 sports a slimmer look that creates a faster, more comfortable swing. This comes thanks to a lighter overall weight that also pushes the shotgun’s balance closer to center. The trigger guard is now crafted from a wear- and weather-resistant composite material that has become almost ubiquitous on pricepoint guns from nearly every manufacturer. Both the bolt handle and release button have been made larger in response to demands from waterfowlers, who are often encumbered by thick gloves. The reversible safety button was also upsized. While the receiver on the SX4 keeps the same aluminum alloy construction as its sibling, and retains the chromeplated chamber and bore, both the carrier and bolt release on the new shotgun get a nickel Teflon coating that speeds up an already lightning-fast action and reduces the threat of corrosion and wear. Other standard features carried over from the SX3 include the ever-popular Invector-Plus choke system, a back-bored barrel, and ¼-inch spacers to adjust length of pull. (Shims for adjusting drop and cast are absent from the initial SX4 introduction.) The SX4 I swung in Argentina was the Black Shadow model with a black receiver and composite stock matched to a 26-inch blued barrel. It will be available in both 3-inch and 3 ½-inch capable receivers. SRP: $800 and $940, respectively. That latter price will also get you a walnut Field model with a 26-inch or 28-inch barrel. For 2017, Winchester will also introduce a Waterfowl Hunter SX4 in Mossy Oak Shadow Grass in either 3- or 3 ½-inch chambers, the magnum of which will go for $1,070. (winchesterguns.com)
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Scouting for Game Cams On the hunt for the big picture in northern Georgia
GENERAL KNOWLEDGE ➤
This well-known outdoor big-box store was bustling. I walked to the hunting section and found about 150 cams across about seven brands on display. I got familiar with the models as I waited to catch the eye of a clerk. I could have sworn one clerk saw me—and turned away. Maybe he 24 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
didn’t want a trail cam question. But I finally flagged down a clerk, who seemed glad to help me out. He didn’t know much about how to get good shots of deer entering and exiting a power line, but he was quite knowledgeable about cams in general. We talked all about features like trigger speed, detection range, and various flashes. He gave me his time
and was not rushed, even though it was a busy time at a busy place. STORE B
ON MY OWN ➤ This small, independent gun range recently got into the hunting and reloading business. I walked to the area that had hunting accessories and checked out the trail cam offerings.
ost outdoor stores focus on guns first and foremost. Trail cameras are a small part of their lineup. Couple that with the fact that the technology changes each year, and a serious lack of good information available to consumers can become a problem. I went to four North Georgia stores and asked about cams (including wireless models) for recording deer activity on a utility power line, a common way to hunt in the area. I was mainly interested in seeing what would happen when I dug deeper and sought information that any consumer would need to know to make an informed decision. You might think purchasing a trail cam would be an easy process, but rapid changes in technology have complicated matters. For instance, the new Bushnell Trophy Cam HD Aggressor offers wireless connectivity straight out of the box, with a SIM card and data included, and is ready to go to the woods immediately. The camera itself has been radically improved and now offers highresolution 14MP images and a lightning-fast trigger speed.
How’d They Do? Customer Service STORE
After I flagged down a clerk, he ended up being glad to help.
Very good knowledge about cams in general; less so about the latest technology.
A decent number of cams, well-organized by brand.
The clerk was quite helpful and friendly, but he said he didn’t
no stars Apparently, the clerks aren’t expecting to sell a lot of cams, so no one has bothered to learn much about them.
Just a handful, though I was told they would be getting more.
The clerk didn’t pretend to know everything about trail cams, but he had solid experience with the products.
He had some general knowledge of cams, but he was not up on the latest technology.
A substantial number of choices.
Cabela’s 152 Northpoint Pkwy. Acworth, GA cabelas.com 470-315-7500
I got the impression he had never used a trail cam.
A meager selection, though the clerk said the supply would increase closer to hunting season.
The clerk was patient and genuinely tried to help me.
After I sought him out, the sales clerk was friendly and tried to help. STORE
SCORING SYSTEM: Outstanding:
After a minute or two, a clerk walked up and asked if I was finding what I was looking for. I asked about the trail cams displayed, and said I was especially interested in one that billed itself as the simplest cam on the market. I asked the clerk about image quality and trigger speed. He just kind of laughed and said he really didn’t know much about trail cams because he wasn’t a hunter. I was on my own. I stopped by the store at another point. Different clerk, same response. I showed myself out. STORE C
There were about 100 of them in five different brands. I asked if he knew much about them and he said, “No,” but he’d get the clerk who does. Turns out the store expert apparently got that distinction simply because he owns a cam. The clerk tried to answer my many questions, and I soon realized he had a rudimentary knowledge of cams but was not familiar with the latest models and how wireless or advanced functions operate. Still, he made an effort and read a lot of boxes trying to get answers. He stuck with me for 15 minutes before I’d had enough.
IN-HOUSE EXPERTISE? ➤ I walked into this big, independent box store and asked a clerk where the cams were. He walked me to them.
IDLE HANDS ➤
The trail cams were near the gun
counter in this big athletic-merchandise box store. I examined the 40 or so cams on display for a while. I was curious to see if the clerk who was sitting idly behind the gun counter would eventually notice me and offer to help. Nope. So, I walked over to him and asked if he knew much about these trail cams. He looked at me hesitantly before saying, “I can try to help you.” He knew a little about them, and steered me to the brands he had heard were reliable. He also ended up reading a lot of the copy and specs on the boxes, but he really didn’t have much to offer in the way of helping me set up a cam on a power line. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 25
COMPLETE SHOOTABILITY: LIGHT, CRISP M2.0 TRIGGER. TACTILE RESET. AGGRESSIVE TEXTURE. OPTIMAL GRIP ANGLE. MADE IN USA
40S&W | 45AUTO
THE TREND IS EASY TO SEE. GLASS FOR MSRS AND LONG-RANGE SHOOTING CONTINUES TO GAIN GROUND
BY ROBERT SADOWSKI
Optics for the MSR platform continue to cover the range from red-dots for close-up work to magniﬁed optics for precision long-range shooting. If you sell MSRs, then having a range of optic choices is a must-have. The trend in longrange shooting optics is toward FFP (ﬁrst-focal-plane) reticles, which have the ability to increase in size as the magniﬁcation is increased. This means the ranging capability of the reticle is easier to use. These scopes also are getting a bit smaller and more compact, so they have less of a footprint. This year you can expect some new spotters and some economical binocular models as well. Here’s the ﬁeld to view.
BARSKA Designed for hunting or target shooting, the new Level Series of riflescopes debuts with a 3–12x50mm (SRP: $535.75) model equipped with a red-and-green illuminated reticle that allows the user to select the optimal reticle and brightness for the current environment lighting. The new 20–60x85mm
b u s h n e l l The compact Elite Tactical DMR II-i 3.5–21x50mm is designed for long-range, precision shooting, and features the new G3 illuminated reticle.
Level spotting scope (SRP: $2,500) is great for both hunting and bench shooting, and offers good image quality with an apochromatic extra-lowdispersion objective lens and a BaK-4 prism. Other features include a tabletop tripod, a hard travel case, and an all-weather protective soft case. The Level ED 8x42mm binocular (SRP: $714.40) is an all-purpose binocular fea-
turing extra-low-dispersion (ED) lenses that reduce chromatic aberration. Shock-absorbing rubber armor provides protection to the optics and creates a non-slip ergonomic design. (barska.com)
BUSHNELL The compact Elite Tactical DMR II-i 3.5– 21x50mm (SRP: $1,932 to $1,999, depending on reticle) is designed for longrange, precision shooting and features the new G3 illuminated reticle, which provides precision holdovers at any range. It also allows shooters to more quickly engage moving targets in any light. The Elite Tactical LRTSi in 3–12x44mm (SRP: $1,616 to $1,680) and 4.5– 18x44mm (SRP: $1,813 to $1,867) are designed for precision shooting on MSR platforms. The Elite Tactical SMRS (SRP: $1,822) is designed for
b a r s k a The Level 20–60x85mm spotting scope works for hunters as well as bench shooters. short- and mid-range shooting with an illuminated BTR-2 reticle and should appeal to 3-Gun participants. The AR Optics line has five new models. The Enrage Red Dot (SRP: $240) is equipped with a 2-MOA dot with eight brightness settings and a high-rise mount. The Incinerate Red Dot (SRP: $240) features a tube design and a circle-dot reticle. The Engulf Micro Reflex Red Dot (SRP: $255) is super compact and compatible with MSRs and pistols. The 3X Magnifier (SRP: $259) mounts behind nearly
thing seen through the optical device. (carson. com)
carson The HookUpz 2.0 connects a smartphone to nearly any optic.
any red-dot and flips into place when magnification is needed. The Digital Sentry Night Vision (SRP: $353) is a 2X monocular that can be helmet- or firearmmounted. (bushnell. com)
CARSON The HookUpz 2.0 (SRP: $89) connects nearly any smartphone to an optic— binocular, monocular, spotting scope, riflescopes—to digitally record and capture every-
The new value-priced Spectrum series riflescopes feature a firstfocal-plane reticle. Models include a 1–4x24mm (SRP: $199) and two side-parallaxadjustment models—a 3–9x40mm (SRP: $219) and a 4–12x44mm (SRP: $249). (crosman.com)
CRIMSON TRACE The LinQ system (SRP: $649) is now available for AK-type rifles. The laser/ light unit design uses Bluetooth-like technology to control a tactical light/laser module without cables or touch pads. The Master Series for 1911-style pistols goes green (SRP: $449) with new green-diode laser grips made of wood or G10 for full- and com-
h i - l u x The PentaLux TAC-V 4–20x50mm FFP is a first-focal-plane scope with a 30mm tube, which makes it well suited for precision, long-range shooting on the MSR platform. The CW-1 reticle is an intuitive and fast MilRadian ranging reticle.
c e n t e r p o i n t The Spectrum benefits from a first-focalplane reticle.
pact-size 1911s. The laser/holster packages now include a Blade-Tech Klipt Ambi IWB concealed-carry holster with a Crimson Trace laser sight for a Walther PPS Gen2 pistol (SRP: $229, red; $309, green). The latest Lasergrip in red is now available for the Kimber K6 revolver SRP: $399. (crimsontrace.com)
ers enhanced clarity, and the CW-3 reticle offers a Christmas tree grid for precise shot placement. The PentaLux TAC-V 4–20x50mm FFP (SRP: $770) is also a first-focalplane scope with a 30mm tube, and it’s well suited for long-range shooting on the MSR platform. The CW-1 reticle is an intuitive and fast MilRadian ranging reticle. (hi-luxoptics.com)
HI-LUX OPTICS The Phenom 5–30x56mm (SRP: $950) features a 34mm tube and first-focalplane reticle. The massive 56mm objective lens deliv-
KONUS The new LZ30 series of riflescopes includes two models—a 2.5–10x50mm
k o n u s The LZ30 series of riflescopes includes a 2.5–10x50mm and a 3–12x56mm. Both use an illuminated and engraved Duplex reticle, a 30mm tube, and a dual-locking system.
(SRP: $400) and a 3–12x56mm (SRP: $430). Both feature an illuminated and engraved Duplex reticle, a 30mm tube, and a dual-locking system designed to maintain zero. (konuspro.com)
LEAPERS/UTG Long-range shooters will like the Accushot 4–16x56mm (SRP: $280), as it comes equipped with a 30mm tube, a bubble leveler located at the
6 o’clock position to eliminate cant, and an etchedglass illuminated mil-dot reticle with dual red/ green color. The BugBuster series of compact scopes now has a nofrills 3–12x32mm scope featuring a 1-inch tube, adjustable parallax, and a mil-dot reticle. Other features include premium zero lockable and resettable target turrets with ¼-MOA per click adjustments, plus a pair of medium-profile quickdetach MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rings. For MSR shooters, the 6.4-inch ITA red/green CQB T-Dot Sight (SRP: $63) offers economy along with a rugged 1X power red-dot sight. Other features include a red/green illuminated T-Dot reticle, flipup lens caps, and a QD mount base. UTG Steel Picatinny Ring sets are available in 1-inch, 30mm,
and 34mm sizes, in various height profiles and snap-free contours. Need some height? The Super Slim 20 MOA Elevated Picatinny Mount (SRP: $28) offers 20 MOA of height and a 13-slot Picatinny rail, so longrange shooters can get the most elevation out of their scope. (leapers.com)
LEICA The new open-bridgedesign Noctivid binocular line offers superior performance with a rugged, compact body that provides comfortable ergonomics. Two models include an 8x42mm (SRP: $2,599) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,699). The Geovid CRF-2000-B (SRP: $799) is a compact laser rangefinder capable of measurements out to 2,000 yards. It has 7X magnification, weighs only 6.5 ounces,
l e i c a The Geovid HD-B Edition 2200 laser rangefinding binocular comes in two models, an 8x42mm and 10x42mm, which can range out to 2,200 yards.
and fits in a shirt pocket. The Rangemaster CRF 1600-R (SRP: $599) laser rangefinder features accurate line-of-sight ranging to 1,600 yards, 7X magnification, and auto-adjust brightness display. The Geovid HD-B Edition 2200 laser range-finding binocular comes in two models—an 8x42mm (SRP: $2,549) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,599)— both of which can range out to 2,200 yards. They also feature more precise ¼-MOA adjustment and a Micro-SD card slot that allows the shooter to upload custom ballistics data. (us.leica-camera. com)
LEUPOLD & STEVENS The LTO (Leupold Thermal Optic) Tracker (SRP: $879) is a hand-held thermal observation and game-recovery tool that provides exceptional image quality, fast 30hz frame rates, and detection of heat sources out to 600 yards. It features 6X magnification and a sensor that is effective from -4
degrees F to 140 degrees F. The new VX-3i LRP (Long Range Precision) scopes (SRP: $1,065 to $1,250, depending on model) offer high-end features in an affordable riflescope. Built off the VX-3i line, the LRP is equipped with the Twilight Max light-management system and either first- or second-focal-plane reticles. Reticle options include the MOA-based TS-32X1 and T-MOA, the milbased TMR, and the new CCH (Combat Competition Hunter) reticle. Models include a 4.5–14x50mm, a 6.5– 20x50mm, and a 8.5– 25x50mm. The flagship VX-6 line has been improved and renamed the VX-6HD series (SRP: starts at $1,300), with models available in magnification ranges of 1–6x24mm, 2–12x42mm, 3–18x44mm, 3–18x50mm, and 4–24x52mm. All feature the Twilight Max Light Management System, a new automatic reticle-leveling feature, and a new Custom Dial System elevation adjustment. (leupold.com)
n c s ta r The VISM ADO is a compact scope with an integrated reflex sight.
MEOPTA The MeoTac 3–12x50mm (SRP: $2,530) is designed for tactical use and features a 34mm tube and windage and elevation ranges of 100 MOA and
55 MOA with click adjustments of 1∕3 MOA. In addition, the illuminated MilDot 3 RD reticle is located in the first focal plane. New BDC reticles (the illuminated red-dot BDC-2 and BDC-
crimson trace A crimson Trace laser sight is now available for a Walther PPS Gen2 pistol.
l e u p o l d The flagship VX-6 line has been improved and renamed the VX-6HD series, with models available in magnification ranges of 1–6x24mm, 2–12x42mm, 3–18x44mm, 3–18x50mm, and 4–24x52mm. All feature the Twilight Max Light Management System.
u.s. optics The bravo Series is now lighter, shorter, and more streamlined.
n i k o n The Monarch 7i VR Laser Rangefinder features technology that reduces the effect of external vibrations.
3) are available for the MeoStar R2 and MeoStar R1r scopes. (meopta sportsoptics.com)
MEPROLIGHT The FT Bullseye sight (SRP: $199 to $209, depending on model) is a low-profile micro reddot-style optic for pistols that combines fiber optics and tritium to provide the illumination needed under all lighting conditions. Available in red- or green-dot/circle for all Glock models, as well as Springfield XD and XDM.
NCSTAR The VISM ADO (Advanced Dual Optic) incorporates a primary 3–9x42mm compact scope and integrates a reflex sight into the top of the scope to create a streamlined optic system. The reflex sight is spring loaded and deploys with a push of a button. The next generation of the SRT Scope series features an all-new SRT V3 3–9x42mm compact scope. Designed for MSR platforms, the laser sys-
tem has been upgraded to a green laser integrated into the top of the objective lens bell housing. The Mark III Tactical V3 sight has been updated with a red-and-blue
n i g h t f o r c e The ATACR series now includes the ATACR 7–35x56mm.
illuminated reticle powered by a AA battery. The top of the scope body is machined to accept an NcSTAR Micro Dot for a low-profile backup-sight option. (ncstar.com)
NIGHTFORCE OPTICS The top-of-the-line ATACR series now includes the ATACR 7–35x56mm (SRP: $3,600), which comes in a first-focal-plane configuration and features a 34mm tube that allows 100 MOA/27 Mil-Radian of elevation adjustment and 60 MOA/17 MilRadian of windage adjustment. The ATACR 4–16x50mm (SRP: $2,400) scope is configured with a second-focalplane reticle and designed specifically for hunters. The new fixedpower Competition SR Fixed 4.5x24mm riflescope (SRP: $1,950) is purpose-built to comply with 2016 Civilian Marksmanship Program and NRA service rifle match rules, which now allow use of riflescopes. (nightforceoptics.com)
NIKON The Monarch 7i VR Laser Rangefinder (SRP: $400) features Nikon’s optical VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, which reduces the effect of external vibrations and makes it easier to steady the rangefinder to range objects at long dis-
m e o p ta The MeoTac 3–12x50mm is designed for tactical use and has an illuminated MilDot 3 RD reticle located in the first focal plane. tances. The 6X magnification allows users to range out to 1,000 yards. (nikon
even at extreme distances. (sightmark.com)
SIG SAUER SIGHTMARK The new premium Pinnacle 3–18x44mm TMD riflescope (SRP: $1560) features a rugged 34mm tube, a first-focalplane reticle, and an oversize turret design with distinct .1-MRAD windage and elevation adjustments. The Tactical MilDash (TMD) reticle is specifically designed for onthe-fly range finding and quick target acquisition
The TANGO6 riflescope line is now equipped with LevelPlex, an anti-cant system, and new T120 tur-
rets. A Dev-L holdoverstyle reticle is also now being offered. Most models have a shortened 34mm tube so they are more compact. Models include 1–6x24mm (SRP: $1,680), 3–18x44mm (SRP: $2,400), 4–24x50mm (SRP:
m e p r o l i g h t The FT Bullseye sight is a low-profile micro reddot-style optic for pistols.
4A-IF, which allows the user to switch the illuminated ring around the illuminated center dot on and off with the press of a button. Another option on the Z8i line is the ballistic turret flex (BTF), which can be configured separately using several different types of ballistic compensation correction. It can also be attached and removed at any time without tools.
t r i j i c o n The MGRS (Machine Gun Reflex Sight) was created to withstand the constant, violent battering of machine guns and features a large objective lens with a 3X2-inch viewing area and a 35 MOA segmented circle reticle.
$2,520), and a 5–30x56mm (SRP: $3,120). The WHISKEY5 Gen2 line of scopes includes a 30mm tube and locking turrets. The Dev-L reticle will be available in TANGO4
4–16x44mm and 6–24x50mm models. The full-size ROMEO6 red-dot sights now feature a ballistic circle dot or plex reticle and a solar-power option. The KILO2400ABS laser
rangefinder offers longer ranging and features a built-in applied ballistics system that is app-based. The KILO2200MR laser rangefinder is the big brother to the KILO2000, offering longer ranging, a milling reticle, and reduced laser-beam divergence. (sigsauer.com)
sightmark The Pinnacle 3–18x44mm TMD has a rugged 34mm tube, a first-focal-plane reticle, and an oversize turret.
The new Z8i riflescope series offers 8X zoom magnification with a large field of view. Available models include a Z8i 1–8x24mm, Z8i 1.7– 13.3x42mm P, Z8i 2–16x50mm P, and Z8i 2.3–18x56mm P. Z8i 1–8x24 and Z8i 1.7– 13.3x42 P riflescopes also feature the Flexchange
The new Essentials line of value-priced binocular models offers multiple compact, roof-prism designs, some small enough to fit into a pocket. Models include an 8x21mm, 10x25mm, 12x25mm, and 16x32mm (SRP: $14 to $37). A 10x25mm monocular (SRP: $12) is also being offered. Mid-size porroprism binoculars include an 8–24x25mm, 10x25mm, 4x30mm, 7x35mm, 10x50mm, 10–30x50mm, 10x32mm, and 12x50mm (SRP: $12 to $132). The new Focus Free series of mid- and full-size binoculars offer an instantly clear view with no focus necessary. Models include an 8x25mm, 7x35mm, and 8x32mm (SRP: $58 to $59). (tasco.com)
TRIJICON The MGRS (Machine Gun Reflex Sight) was created to withstand the constant, violent battering of
z e i s s The TERRA ED line is designed to be compact, light, and sturdy, and its fiberglass-reinforced, waterproof casing helps protect it from the elements. For 2017, models will be available in black, gray, green, and brown.
machine guns and features a large objective lens with a 3X2-inch viewing area and a 35 MOA segmented circle reticle. SRP: $4,999. Centered within the reticle is a 3 MOA dot for precise aiming at close combat, as well as extended ranges. The unit is powered by a single CR123A battery that lasts about 1,000 hours of continuous operation. (trijicon.com)
U.S. OPTICS The design of the new Bravo Series was developed based upon requests from military, law enforcement, and competitive shooters. The MR10 Bravo (SRP: $2,450) and LR17 Bravo (SRP: $2,900) are lighter, shorter, and more streamlined. Features include a shorter scope to accommodate night vision, a compact turret section for better compatibility with commonly used mounts, locking elevation and windage knobs, an elevation revolution counter, an elevation zero stop, and integrated paral-
lax and illumination control. (usoptics.com)
VORTEX The Razor AMG UH-1 (SRP: $700) is the first holographic sight to combine the durability, reliability, and energy efficiency of a red-dot, but with the sight picture, zero-distortion, and comprehensive reticle pattern of a holographic sight. Runs on a Micro USB rechargeable LFP 123A battery or CR123A battery. (vortexoptics.com)
ZEISS The Victory SF binocular series now has new features available in 8x42mm (SRP: $2,850) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,900) models, including a more precise focusing system and smoother handling. In addition, an extra click stop has been built into the rotating eyecup. The new Victory SF is also available with new black armoring. The Conquest Gavia 30–60x85mm angled spot-
ting scope (SRP: $1,999) was specially developed for hunters and wildlife/ nature observers. Powerful 60X magnification offers great detail. The spotter also is lightweight and compact for easy transport. The Victory V8 riflescope line now includes three rail-mount scopes in 1–8x32mm (SRP: $2,999), 1.8–14x50mm (SRP:
$3,666), and 2.8–20x56mm (SRP: $3,999). The 50mm and 56mm objective models include the ASV bulletdrop-compensator system. Terra ED binocular models are now available in black, gray, green, and brown. Model include 8x32mm (SRP: $370), 10x32mm (SRP: $400), 8x42mm (SRP: $400), and 10x42mm (SRP: $450). (zeiss.com)
vortex The Razor AMG UH-1 is a holographic sight that combines the durability of a red-dot with the sight picture and comprehensive reticle pattern of a holographic sight.
THE MEANING OF LIFE
D N U O F M O D L IS SE a Corporate ladder AT T H E T O P O F
VERACITY 4 -20X50MM Heavy on precise engineering and light on gadgets, the Veracity gives you 5X zoom and our ﬁnest glass for excellent optical quality. And with the front focal plane reticles’ trajectory and windage features, a long shot is never a long shot.
PHOTOS BY AUTHOR
M O D E R N R I F L E S C O P E S A R E C O M P L I C AT E D P A C K A G E S . I F Y O U C A N ’ T E X P L A I N T H E M A N Y F E AT U R E S O F E A C H , Y O U WON’T BE ABLE TO CLOSE THE SALE. b y way n e va n z w o l l
I As scopes have improved, they’ve grown bigger, heavier, more complex—and more expensive. While sporting rifles cost five or six times what they did when I bought my first Scope-Chief, the ascent of scope prices has been even steeper. Some now list for more than $2,000; those under $200 are widely considered “entry level.” To pay more for a scope than for the rifle it serves, most shoot-
Iron sights and fixed low-power scopes have gone the way of carbon paper and telephone cords. I doubt younger hunters would lament the passing of these no-frills “dinosaurs,” but they did the job. And there is something to be said for rugged simplicity. ers want to know how the optic will help them kill game, drill X-rings, or hit steel plates out yonder. That means retailers who sell scopes must speak an evolving language.
REFLECTION AND REFRACTION Every scope worth clamping to a rifle has coated lenses. In the 1930s, a Zeiss engineer found that a lens wash of
magnesium fluoride (a colorless crystalline compound with a low refractive index) limited reflection and refraction (the bending of light beams passing from one medium to another of a different refractive index). You can lose up to 4 percent of incident light on every uncoated glass-air surface in a scope. Other rare earths affecting specific wave lengths further trim light loss. Fully
dial it in Scope controls are there for a reason— Help your customer learn how to use them properly.
.multi-coated optics (every lens, several coatings) yield the brightest images. Another treatment protects end lenses from scratches. For distortion-free aim in rain, hydrophobic coating beads water; hydrophilic coating “slips” it. Fog-proofing matters as much as lens coatings. In 1947, soon after the debut of its 4X Plainsman, Leupold & Stevens tapped a process used on Merchant Marine vessels to prevent fogging in optics. Two years later, Leupold became the first American firm to replace the air in its scope tubes with nitrogen, and market fog-proof scopes. Argon is now used as well. High resolution helps you distinguish detail. A healthy human eye can resolve about 1 minute of angle in good light; magnification multiplies that level of resolution. ED (extra-low dispersion) lenses have resolution-enhancing compounds. Fluoride glass contains zirconium fluoride. Fluorite, an optical form of the crystal fluorspar (calcium fluoride), has a low refractive index, ranks low in optical dispersion (separation of wave-lengths or colors), and also boosts resolution. For clear aim, target and reticle images must be crisp. Rotating a scope’s eyepiece focuses the reticle so it appears sharp in the same apparent plane as the target. The European (aka helical or fast-focus) eyepiece is upstaging ocular housings with lock rings. Oddly, few hunters adjust either type. Here’s a great tip to help your customer do it properly: Loosen the lock ring, if present, and spin the
eyepiece out until the reticle appears soft. Point the rifle at the northern sky. Don’t aim at a target because your eye will try to bring it into focus. You want the eye relaxed, so it registers only the reticle. Now turn the eyepiece in until the reticle is crisp. Shut your eyes, then open them to check. Snug the lock ring. You needn’t re-focus the reticle until your eyes change.
PERPLEXING DILEMMA In my youth the only scopes adjustable for target focus were varmint and competition models. An AO (adjustable objective) sleeve up front brought the target into focus and eliminated parallax error—the apparent shift of the reticle as your eye moved off the sight’s optical axis. At the target distance for which parallax is corrected, the crosswire stays put even when your eye moves off-axis. You avoid error at other ranges only when your eye is centered behind the scope. Most AO sleeves and, now, the more convenient parallax/focus dial on the left turret face, appear on high-power scopes. Ironically, parallax can be most problematic at low power, where your eye has a wide exit pupil in which to move off-axis. Scopes without an AO feature are typically parallax-corrected at 100 or 150 yards. A scope’s erector assembly, so called because its lenses reverse the upside-down image formed by the front glass, is a tube inside a tube. A cam slot in the erector tube of variable scopes moves lens-
es closer together or farther apart as you rotate the power ring. Windage and elevation adjustments tilt the erector tube. A 30mm scope may have a larger erector assembly than does a 1-inch (25.4mm) scope–or not. Big lenses yield superior resolution. But an erector tube that’s slender relative to the main tube has a greater adjustment range. Early reticles, made of hair and spiderweb, broke. Windage and elevation adjustments moved them offcenter in the field of view. Now glass-etched reticles (engraved or cut by acid on the lens) are replacing suspended reticles. They’re always centered. The frontmounted, first-plane reticle, standard in Europe, is becoming popular stateside in longrange scopes. Its dimensions remain constant relative to the target throughout a variable’s power range, so it serves as a ranging device at every setting. But in hunting scopes at low power, the reticle is hard to see in cover, and when you crank up magnification for a long poke, it’s thicker, hiding small targets. Rear- or second-plane reticles do not “grow and shrink” with the target. Some reticles have brandspecific names. “Lee Dot” was an early one. Another, often misused to describe a type, is Duplex. That’s a Leupold label. The generic term for this popular design is “plex”—on which you’ll see various alternative prefixes. Range-finding reticles include ladders that bracket targets on the vertical wire. Rangecompensating scopes let you hold center far away. The
Leatherwood sniper scope was a pioneer in this field. The mount had a cam calibrated for bullet drop. Moving this cam to the proper position for the range, you aimed in the middle. Surging interest in longrange shooting has birthed specialty scopes for that purpose. The Burris Eliminator has a laser-ranging device you can program with load data to get a lighted aiming point for a center hold at any reasonable range. In tests, I set this scope for a 150-grain load in my SIG 3000—a .308—then read the range from the laser: 395 yards. An orange dot glowed in the reticle’s bottom wire. Dot on the bull’s-eye, I drilled the target just half a minute from center.
RANGE ADJUSTMENT High magnification can cost you low-end utility in “threetimes” hunting scopes. That’s not “3-power” but the range of power. Think 4–12x or 6–18x. Now there are five-, six-, even eight-times scopes. For scopes you plan to adjust frequently for range, repeatable adjustments are a must. To check a scope’s adjustments after zeroing, I shoot around the square, 20 clicks at a time: first right, then down, then left, then up to my original setting. Quarter-minute clicks should yield groups 5 inches apart, the last atop the first. Resettable dials let you index dial “shells” to “0” without an internal change after zeroing. A zero stop sets a travel limit on the dial, for a no-look return to “0.”
PHYSICS & MATH MADE EASY Magnification, or power, helps us see detail. I recall when Weaver sold its K4 4X scope as perfect “for most longrange shooting.” Now hunters carry variables with top ends to 20X. The animals haven’t changed; nor has the optical triangle, which shows how magnification limits eye relief and field of view. Eye relief is the distance from the ocular lens to your eye that delivers a full, shadow-free field. Boosting power can reduce ER (as it does field) and make it more critical–and cause earlier “black-out” as your eye moves toward and away from the lens. Intermediate- and longeye-relief scopes for carbines and pistols have smaller fields than do riflescopes of standard 3 ½-inch ER. High power also reduces the diameter of the light beam reaching your eye, or the exit pupil. You get EP by dividing magnification into objective lens diameter. A variable scope with a 40mm objective has a 5mm EP at 8X, a 4mm EP at 10X. Your eye’s pupil dilates to about 6mm in dusky conditions. In such light, a 4mm EP won’t yield as bright a picture as a 6mm EP would. But an EP bigger than your eye’s pupil doesn’t improve the picture.
Part country club, part shooting range, Blackstone is a trendsetter.
R E TA I L E R P R O F I L E
Blackstone Shooting Sports offers shooters new and old a ﬁrst-rate experience BY ROBERT SADOWSKI FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 41
Would you like a cappuccino after renting the H&K USP9-V1? Perhaps you want to kick back in the VIP Lounge and watch the big game after using the private, ninelane range? The new trend in shooting ranges is something of a cross between a country club and a retail experience that rivals Barney’s, NeimanMarcus, Bergdorf-Goodman, or Bloomingdale’s. Call them “guntry clubs.” Whatever the name, these shooting ranges are leading the charge to provide customers with a new experience, one that includes not only shooting, but shopping and other amenities as well.
not the sand pit
» Blackstone Shooting Sports, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is an excellent example of this new culture. This is not the sand pit where your granddad brought you to shoot. Blackstone, like other forward-thinking gun ranges, has seen gun sales double over the past decade. Now, people from all walks of life want to shoot, and these guntry clubs offer a safe, clean place in which to do so. Taylor Hayden, founder and owner of Blackstone, saw a need for an indoor shooting range and firearms store that did business differently. “I visited about 40 different facilities around the country and saw a need that wasn’t being met,” he says. “The shooting industry as a whole was sort
of a good-old-boys’ network that wasn’t welcoming enough to new shooters—people who were interested in the shooting sports but were too intimidated at some ranges to ask questions.” And though popular speak has seemed to settle on calling these shooting facilities “guntry clubs,” Hayden does not like the term because of its elitist connotation. He wants people from all walks of life to be able to have access to firearms and shooting. Blackstone’s facility was specially designed to provide new shooters with a safe, comfortable, welcoming atmosphere, while still offering experienced shooting enthusiasts the challenges and amenities they expect. Blackstone, which opened two years ago, certainly caters to those who want the VIP treatment and are willing to pay for private lanes and a private lounge. But it also caters to those who just want to shoot in a safe, state-of-the-art facility with high-tech training classrooms and a modern retail space housing an extensive stock of firearms, ammunition, apparel, and accessories.
» Personal membership fees run from $24 per month up to $149 per month (VIP membership), which includes the entire family. An initiation fee is required with all memberships. Membership has its privileges, as Blackstone pro-
Guests at Blackstone can shoot and buy gear in a relaxed, upscale atmosphere.
R E TA I L E R P R O F I L E
vides complimentary eye and ear protection, as well as discounts on ammunition, accessories, and gun rentals. Corporate memberships are available, too, so you can network or cut a deal on the private pistol range instead of on the 18th hole. The VIP Lounge is a separate part of the facility, with comfortable sofas and chairs and big-screen TVs. The space can also be rented and catered. Events are a big part of the business model at Blackstone, and the club uses a preferred list of caterers that range from casual BBQ to fancier events with chafing dishes. Hayden says the space is very popular for bachelorette parties. Once the ladies are done shooting, they can continue the celebration with a full catering staff. A gas fire pit on an outside patio is inviting, and the area makes for a comfortable setting for small talk or business dealings. Alcohol is allowed in the lounge, but only after all firearms have been secured and access to the range is closed. All shooters must also fill out a waiver, which is conveniently available on store iPads. The iPad form not only captures waiver information, it also allows Blackstone to send emails and market to customers after they leave.
removing the barriers
» Concealed carry is the strongest segment of the market, so Blackstone offers classes for shooters where they can obtain their concealed-carry permit. It also offers
other classes, one of the most popular being a followup to the concealed-carry permit class that really dives into the particular situations North Carolina permit holders may encounter. Since many new concealed-carry permit holders are also new shooters, Hayden feels it is important to be able to provide full service, from shooting and training to retail. The latter is another unique aspect of Blackstone’s, compared to the typical firearms store. There are no barriers separating the retail staff from the customer. Blackstone’s retail buying experience is more like what you would find at an Apple store. “We eliminated firearms counters completely and display our retail firearms in custom-built, upright cases,” Hayden says. “This allows our guests to browse much more freely and empowers our sales team to develop a more natural relationship with our guests. This is especially important to our visitors who are new to the industry, because entering a firearms store for the first time can be an extremely intimidating and daunting experience.” Hayden notes that the staff has been specially trained to assist customers in an environment that is easier to navigate and far less stressful. The entire experience is designed to get customers to linger and socialize. And though a guntry club may be a new wrinkle in the shooting sports business, the idea of keeping customers around is an old idea. But in this case, it’s wearing brand-new threads.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 43
B Y S L AT O N L . W H I T E
Built For Comfort Banded Brands is dedicated to the hardcore waterfowler
f you sell waterfowl gear, you no doubt are familiar with Avery Outdoors, best known for its popular line of accessories such as blind bags, neck gaiters, and gun cases. You may be far less familiar with its sister company, Banded Brands, which specializes in waders, jackets, and base layers.
“What we’re trying to do is provide high-quality, high-tech clothing made for waterfowl hunters by waterfowl hunters,” says John Gordon, media relations coordinator of Banded Brands and Avery Outdoors. “Banded and Avery are partners, so we complement each other’s product line. With these two brands, we now have everything a waterfowl hunter needs, other than guns, ammo, and dogs. Clothing, waders, decoys, gun cases, packs, bags, gloves—we have it all.” He’s telling me this as we’re sitting in a pit blind in Louisiana, where I’ve been wearing a robust pair of Banded waders for three days. The RedZone breathable insulated wader is a result of a relentless quest for what Gordon says is the “ultimate wader,” one that is durable enough to handle years of hard use, but comfortable enough to wear all day. The waders’ seams are taped in order to guarantee that they remain completely waterproof. The waders also benefit from what Banded calls SHEDS and HARS technology. These proprietary features—Super Hydrophobic Evaporative Development System and Heat Absorbing Retention System—help make the waders warm and dry. They’re great selling points, but three other design aspects really caught my eye. First, the lower legs are covered with an integrated over-the-boot gaiter made of 900D fabric. This was done to enhance durability, especially since waterfowlers— particularly those who hunt flooded timber—are constantly getting snagged on underwater objects. Second, the knees are articulated, a welcome enhancement,
given that duck hunters are constantly climbing in and out of boats and blinds. Third, the bib-fit design (with a side-zip chest adjustment) makes the waders very roomy and allows any hunter to easily add layers when a cold front makes the temperature plummet. SRP: $329.99. “We know how frustrating waders can be—they’re bulky, lack mobility, and always seem to develop leaks,” Gordon says. “Those issues instilled in us a determination to build something better.” I’d say they have. Banded also makes jackets, but the design parameters here are different than for the waders. If you consider the waders as a power fullback, then the jackets are a more-nimble option half back. “With our jackets, we aim to provide complete weather protection and warmth, but in a lighter package,” Gordon says. “We’ve seen this trend spill over from the big-game market. They’ve really gone high-tech, but the garments have shed weight. We’re trying to go that route in the waterfowling world.” Sitka and Kuiu have feasted on that idea for years. Banded wants to move into that slipstream, but it intends to do so at a much more affordable price point. The White River Wading jacket I wore lists for $259.99, less than half what a comparable Sitka jacket costs. Though you’ll see Banded in all the big chains, the company remains committed to the independent retailer. And since Banded also offers lifestyle wear (pullovers, vests, etc.), you also have a chance to add to the sale. (banded.com)
Banded’s RedZone waders feature articulated knees for improved comfort and fit.
Selling Tip When a customer hefts the RedZone waders in the store, the waders will feel bulky. But once the customer slips them on, he’ll realize just how comfortable they are. Make sure to point out the articulated knees and the bib design. Anyone who has hunted out of tight-fitting neoprenes will instantly recognize the difference. A high-tech clothing manufacturer once told me, “We redesigned our line to make wearing them more comfortable after we realized that ‘comfort is performance.’”
44 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
W H AT ’ S S E L L I N G W H E R E
West County CA Lake Gun, Lakeport Resting 100 miles north of San Francisco, this small-town California shop stays busy with 220 firearms stocked into less than 900 square feet of floor space. All things .22 are moving briskly. Ruger 10-22s, Savage Model 64 BTVs, and Marlin XT-22ROs are all posting excellent numbers. MSRs are in a state of flux, as this retailer is waiting to see which new guns will be California-compliant in 2017. At the handgun counter, Glock 19s, M&P 9s, and Smith Bodyguard 380s are attracting the most attention. “I’m thankful for the high demand in handguns this winter. It really has helped the bottom line for early 2017,” said owner Clif Rakic.
Rocky CO Mountain Shooter’s Supply, Fort Collins Keeping more than 50 safes and 600 firearms in stock, this retailer has seven indoor shooting lanes and an offsite 1,000-yard outdoor range 30 miles away. A full-time gunsmith is on staff. Handguns are always hot at this location, and Smith Shields, Springfield XDMs, and Glock 43s are selling well. Although reloading supplies have improved, the reloading department has downsized. “We just don’t have the reloaders we used to. With the possible exception of the distance shooters, most customers just don’t have time,” said owner Tim Brough. Sales of MSRs are steady, averaging three to four a week split among Core, Rock River, and Bushmaster.
Bolt-action sales have been slow since hunting season ended.
Smallest ID World’s Pawn, Fruitland This pawn shop manages more than 400 guns and boasts to be “the friendliest pawn shop in Idaho.” Handguns continue to move quickly, with Glock 19s and Smith Shields at the top of the list. Taurus PT111s are also posting decent numbers. “Our handgun sales have really increased since Christmas, and I have no idea why,” said manager Tom Schofield. MSR sales have slowed to about four a month. Smith Sports lead the field. Shotguns are receiving more attention than usual, with Remington 870 Expresses and Mossberg 835s splitting sales down the middle.
Midwest Gun & MI Bob’s Tackle, Hastings One of the largest independents in the state, Bob’s sports 15,000 square feet of floor space. It has more than 2,000 firearms in stock and employs an average of 30. MSR sales are down, but predator season is helping to keep the segment moving. M&P Sports and Ruger 556s lead the pack. Other long guns include postseason deer rifles. “We have seen lever-action and single-shot rifle sales at an all-time high,” said buyer-manager Steve Hayes. Henry and Marlin lever-actions in .44 Mag. as well as several CVA single-shot .44 Mags are selling well. At the handgun counter, Glock 42s and 43s lead the sales chart. Smith Shields sit in the third spot. With the exception of .22 Mag. and .22 birdshot, ammo stocks are good.
46 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
& Feather, IA Fin Iowa City
This general hunting and fishing shop keeps 300 guns in stock. It has three employees working the hunting department. Last year was the first in a decade where long guns outsold handguns. “When we looked at our numbers in January, it was a bit of a surprise. Although the gap wasn’t substantial, it certainly was unexpected,” said manager Clint Hartsock. Handgun sales are down but steady. The best numbers have been posted by SIG 238s and Glock 19s. Hartsock said demand for M&P Shields has really slipped. Predator hunting was down in January. However, high-end MSRs have outsold price-point guns almost two to one. Daniel Defense clearly holds the high spot. Sales of bolt-action guns are the slowest
this store has seen in years. But ammo stocks are in good order.
Little Joe’s KS Pawn & Gun East, Kansas City
Keeping almost 400 guns in stock, this family-run shop specializes in used rifles and handguns. Glocks and Smith Shields are on the top of the newgun list, along with strong numbers of Ruger LC9s. Used Smith revolvers are in especially high demand. “I have no idea where this used-gun run has come from, but we can’t keep a used Smith revolver in stock,” said manager Sean Boyd. A few bolt-action rifles are selling as customers have migrated to Remington 700 BDLs in .243. Sales of MSRs are steady. Price-point rifles remain in high demand. M&P Sports are also selling well. Ruger 10/22s are turning nicely, too.
B Y P E T E R B . M AT H I E S E N
East Blue Trail CT Range Gun Store, Wallingford
This family gun shop and range keeps 800 guns in stock and has 120 covered outdoor shooting stations. The store hosts range events for young and old. The handgun counter continues to see steady improvement as the year begins. “Sales on handguns are still brisk. I directly attribute the traffic to a nervous customer base. Even with a Republican win, our clients are still uncomfortable with local and state election results,” said manager Mark Slone. Glock 43s and 17s lead the sales list, but Ruger Mark 4s and Smith Victorys have garnered plenty of attention. Long guns have almost exclusively been tied to the .22 categories, with Ruger 10/22s and Smith M&P 15-22s taking the lead.
Bullseye RI Shooting Supplies, Woonsocket
This retailer specializes in ammo, handloading, and handguns. “I just took a $400 loss on a SIG MSR. I hope the manufacturers realize the position many retailers are in and consider options like rebates for some of our heavily priced inventory,” said owner Paul Conley. Turns on MSRs are about one a week, the majority being Smith Sports and Ruger 556s. The only higher-end rifles moving at this store are a few from Daniel Defense. Handgun sales are steady, and there is keen interest in 9mm. Glock 9s and Smith Shields are posting the strongest numbers. Savage Model 10-BAs in 6.5 Creedmoor are in high demand now. Better availability in reloading supplies is pushing that department’s winter sales.
Casco’s Gun-ANJ Rama, Jersey City
Located in the shadow of lower Manhattan, this retailer sells a mix of handguns, rifles, and shotguns. The store is family-run and always has fresh coffee on hand. Handguns are hot, with a variety of SIG 226s, Glock 19s, and Smith Shields posting strong numbers. As for MSRs, Windhams and LWRs are still selling moderately well. M&P Sports also are attracting attention. “MSR sales have slowed, but the political climate in New Jersey will get very busy with our governor’s seat becoming available. If a Democrat has a strong run, we will move a lot of MSRs,” said owner Lisa Casco. Shotguns are just starting to pick up, with a few Kel-Tec KSGs and Mossberg home-defense guns seeing turns.
South Nagel’s Gun TX Shop, San Antonio
From its humble beginnings in Robert Nagel’s garage in the 1940s, this shop has grown to be one of the larger independent gun shops in the state of Texas. Handguns are especially hot this winter, with steady turns on Glock 19s, CZ 75s, and Smith Shields. Sales of MSRs are steady. “Right after Trump won, we saw a sharp decline in MSR sales. But by Black Friday, they had returned to the same levels. I attribute part of the rise to the platform’s acceptance as a popular deer rifle in our area,” said countersalesman Gilbert Trevino. With deer season just winding down, sales of bolt-action guns are slowing. Yet, Ruger Americans and Browning X-Bolts in .243 are still making the register ring.
Outdoors, FL Scott Jay
This rural North Florida Panhandle retailer stocks more than 5,000 firearms. Late deer season activity has helped the store post high numbers of Savage Axis combos. Other big sellers include Browning X-Bolts and Tikkas, primarily in 7mm-08. MSR sales have slowed, but are turning to a higher price point. “Our customers are gravitating to a better gun with higher-end accessories,” said manager Jim Brown. While M&P Sports hold the high number on the sales board, Daniel Defense is rising in the ranks. The store displays value-priced MSR ammo to drive high-end sales. “We invested heavily to encourage guys to shoot their price-point rifles. When they see the results, they upgrade to a better gun,” said Brown.
Handgun sales are steady, with strong numbers of Kimber Micro 9s, Smith Bodyguards, and Ruger LCPs.
River City KY Firearms, Louisville
This dealer, with three employees, stocks an average of 400 firearms. Handgun sales continue at near November numbers in the small concealed-carry lines. Smith Shields, Ruger LCPs, and Taurus PT111s are all moving well. This store is still selling four to five MSRs a week. “In October we sold four a day, and now it’s four a week,” said owner Derrick Meyer. Smith Sports are holding onto the high-sales slot at this counter. Diamondback is a close second. A few Ruger Precisions are going to varmint hunters; here, the 6.5 Creedmoor is the clear favorite.
FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 47
Firearms Business Insurance
(Continued from page 50)
Wholesalers & Distributors Retail Sales Manufacturers & Importers Ammunition & Bullet Manufacturers Indoor & Outdoor Ranges Gunsmiths Firearms Instructors
Swedish steel head is paired with a 16-inch hickory handle to balance weight with effectiveness. It’s light enough for onehanded chopping or carving tasks, but large enough for two-handed use when needed. SRP: $149. (hultsbruk1697.se)
HydraPak ➤ The
Full-Force reservoir is equipped with an easy-to-use squeeze bulb that sprays water on command—whether you’re dousing yourself, cleaning your gear, or hydrating your dog. It’s fast filling, leak-proof, and fully reversible for easy cleaning. This 100 percent BPA- and PVC-free reservoir offers a Slide-Sea Top that opens wide for easy filling and seals tight for one-handed dispensing. Available in 2- and 3-liter versions. SRP: $48 to $52. (hydrapak.com)
31 Parker Road • Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208
800.526.2199 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.guninsurance.com
The HydraPak’s Full-Force reservoir is equipped with an easy-touse squeeze bulb.
➤ The Wetland Seat is built using a single aluminum leg designed with a wedge that can be driven into marsh soil to deliver a firm foothold. At the bottom, two side feet extend parallel to the ground to prevent the seat from sinking into the ter-
All clean. No mess. The Cyclone Rotary Tumbler is fast, effective, and hands-down delivers the best results of any brass cleaning method. The included steel pin media and cleaning solution make quick work of stubborn tarnish and grit. Steel media is virtually indestructible, ready for reuse, and perfectly sized to reach every contour of every casing. The Cyclone also includes our patent-pending, dual pan sifting system. This revolutionary sifting technology separates casings, media pins, and cleaning solution simultaneously, greatly decreasing clean up time. So you’ll get more brilliant brass, more quickly – with a whole lot less mess.
rain, even in the muddiest conditions. It’s a clever idea for hunting in flooded timber or keeping a low profile in marshes. The padded oval seat is 12x8 inches and has a non-slip surface. It comes with a shouldercarry strap for hands-free transport. SRP: $49.99. (alpsoutdoorz.com)
MOJO Outdoors ➤ Mojo’s new patent-pending spinningwing concept—Flock a Flickers—mimics a flock of ducks. The small hand-size circular spinning wings are packaged in halfdozen lots. Each Flicker has a timer that produces momentary, random flashes of spinning designed to look like a group of ducks. Intended for use in dry fields or in the water, they are equally effective on doves and pigeons. They operate up to 30 hours on three AA batteries, and the package includes six units pre-programmed with random on/off timers. SRP: $99.99.
The MOJO Outdoors patent-pending spinning-wing concept—Flock a Flickers—mimics a flock of ducks. The hand-sized circular spinning wings are packaged in half-dozen lots. Each Flicker has a timer that produces momentary, random flashes of spinning designed to fool ducks.
Browning ➤ Browning has totally revamped the Hell’s Canyon Big Game apparel lineup with improved fabrics, fit, and construction. The line will also be expanding to include styles for women and children. The new Hell’s Canyon BTU Men’s Parka will feature a two-layer, fully taped outer garment with Browning’s Pre-Vent waterproof, breathable membrane and Advanced Scent Control. The parka is hunter-friendly with an array of pockets, including hand-warmer pockets, two large chest zipper pockets, two front dump pockets with SilentSnaps, and an internal drop pocket ideal for a cell phone. Other features include harness-ready openings along with adjustable wrist closures. The insulated liner jacket features a water- and wind-resistant shell with PrimaLoft Hi-Loft Silver 80-gram insulation. Offered in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country and Realtree Xtra camo patterns in sizes small to 3XL. SRP: $319.99. (browning.
Federal Premium ➤
Federal has improved upon its industry-leading design of competition shotshells with Gold Medal Grand. These new loads provide less felt
recoil, more reliable ignition, improved shot hardness, and excellent reloadability, while still providing the same world-class performance shooters expect from Federal. Ten- and 12-gauge loads will be available in Nos. 7.5 and 8 shot, offering velocities from 1,100 to 1,245 fps. SRP: $10.95 per box. (federalpremium.com)
Rocky ➤ Rocky’s popular Stratum collection now features Venator camo and the new Venator black pattern. The jacket and pants are 100 percent waterproof, including pockets and zippers. Seams are taped and sealed. A DWR exterior coating is added for additional protection, along with Rocky ScentIQ Atomic scent control at the microbial level. Available in Mossy Oak Break Up Country in sizes small to 3XL. SRP: $129.99– $139.99. (rockyboots.com)
The Hell’s Canyon BTU Men’s Parka utilizes Browning’s Pre-Vent waterproof, breathable membrane.
technology helps support the feet. The boot also features the Boa lacing system, a glove-like fit that is quick to adjust and is extremely durable. The upper is crafted with waterproof leather welded to a molded TPU shell. Other features include a moisture-wicking mesh lining, a removable DualDensity PU EPX Anti-Fatigue footbed, and an ultralight compression-molded EVA midsole. The boot is wrapped in 600-gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for warmth. Sizes include 7–14 Medium, and 7–13 Extra Wide. SRP: starts at $200. (wolverinebootsandshoes.com)
Wolverine ➤ The Vortex, through its Vibram Arctic Grip technology, offers unparalleled grip on slippery, wet ice. Wolverine’s EPX anti-fatigue
The Wolverine Vortex offers unparalleled grip on slippery, wet ice. EPX anti-fatigue technology also helps support feet on the longest days. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 49
PHOTO BY JUSTIN APPENZELLER
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50 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ FEBRUARY/MARCH 2017
Hults Bruk This Swedish axe producer was founded in 1697, the year the company began forging steel for shipbuilding. By the 1870s, production had shifted to crafting axes for a booming forest industry. Today, as Sweden’s largest axe producer and one of the world’s oldest continually operating foundries, Hults Bruk is dedicated to maintaining a tradition of quality. Several stages of hand grinding, honing, and stropping are performed to produce a shaving-sharp edge. American hickory handles are oiled with several coats of linseed to condition and protect the wood. All Hults Bruk Premium axes come with a burly, full-size leather edge protector that secures to the axe with an adjustable leather lace. The Almike is a small, allpurpose, easy-to-carry axe that packs enough punch to split small firewood or fell a small tree. A hand-forged, 11-pound
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