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SHOT BUSINESS J U N E / J U LY 2 0 1 7 VOLUME 25, ISSUE 4
POLICE PERFECT Featuring 50 products expressly designed to meet the demanding needs of law enforcement. BY RICHARD MANN
CASHING OUT Emerging technologies are pushing cash to the curb. That spells big changes for retailers. BY MARK E. BATTERSBY
NSSF UPDATE Promoting proper gun handling; fixing NICS; raves for Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp.
FROM THE COUNTER How one Midwest gunshop is thriving under a pro-gun presidency.
RETAILER TOOLBOX Your most valuable asset isn’t listed on your balance sheet.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The big firearms show in Germany was an ideal venue for showcasing SHOT Show.
COVER PHOTO BY JOHN HAFNER
EDITOR’S NOTE Is cash still king? Yes, but not for long. Get ready to change how you process payments.
NEWS BRIEFS At Vista Outdoor, a thirst for experience leads a brand manager to a turkey blind; Sig Sauer expands its HT line; and Starline now offers brass for shooters who want to
handload the .338 Federal. FYI Hydration solutions are a popular accessory. Here’s how to dip your toes in the water.
FIRING LINE Springfield’s SOCOM 16 CQB is an eye-catching M1A variant in .308 Win.
UNDERCOVER SHOPPER Buying an airgun in Delaware is a true smallbore pursuit.
WHAT’S SELLING WHERE
NEW PRODUCTS Hydro Flask stainless-steel drinkware is a hot trend; Spyderco’s Lil’ Sub-Hilt pocketknife.
SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 3
Is Cash Still King? SLATON L. WHITE, Editor
Yes, but not for long
long time ago, I had a friend who rarely pulled a wallet out of a back pocket to pay for anything. Instead, he would remove a wad of bills from his right front pocket, all held in place with a monogrammed silver-plated money clip. With a flick of the wrist, he would slip off the clip, peel off the required number of bills, and hand them to a cashier. It was, really, an involved bit of theater, and he loved every moment of it—especially if the tab required a large number of 20s. I thought of him the other day while standing in line at a coffee shop as the patrons in front of me used plastic, rather than what used to be called “folding money,” to pay for their purchases. It was mostly a mix of credit and debit cards, with a few smartphones thrown in. When I handed over a five-dollar bill, which required the counterperson to make change, I felt like a dinosaur. I grew up in a world where cash was king. No more. These days,
emerging alternative technologies are pushing cash to the curb. My adult daughters, for example, rarely have any sort of cash on hand; their generation just doesn’t use it. And their generation will, ultimately, change how shooting-sports retailers process retail transactions. As Mark E. Battersby shows in “Cashing Out” (page 42), the cashless world isn’t quite ready for prime time, but it’s awful close. One driving force in this transformation is a push by governments to end cash transactions that support underground economies and criminal money-laundering efforts. Such 4 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
transactions are difficult to track, unlike e-payments, which leave an easily traced trail in their wake. Also fueling the change is the adoption, around the world, of wireless, handheld devices to pay for goods and services, enabled by near field communication (NFC). A customer can load a smartphone with his credit-card information and then complete the transaction by holding the phone over a payment terminal and tapping a button on the phone. The benefit here is that a savvy retailer can integrate this technology into the store’s social media efforts. “Adopting any of these new and emerging payment systems largely depends on what the customers of your firearms business prefer and are willing to deal with,” Battersby says. “Right now, it’s probably safe to say your older customers would prefer to use the payment devices with which they are most comfortable—credit cards, checks, and cash. But your younger customers think and act differently. Many rarely have cash on hand, preferring to use payment devices accessed through their smartphones. In order to attract and keep such customers—something essential to the long-term health of your business—you will have to eventually accommodate their payment preferences. And that means you will have to take that big step into a world without cash.”
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, Senior Vice President, Managing 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 4, 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 email@example.com. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to SHOT Business, P.O. Box 6364 Harlan, IA 51593.
National Shooting Sports FoundationÂ®
FIREARMS INDUSTRY JOBS
JOBS.NSSF.ORG Search for Jobs. Recruit Employees. Opportunity Awaits.
Bits & Pieces Eley Launches New Website Eley, the top
NEWS BRIEFS NEWS
Jessica Klodnicki with guide JIm Lutat—and her first turkey.
choice in ammunition for Olympic competitors, recently launched a new easy-tonavigate website. On the menu bar of the web page, users will find direct links to all Eley products and other important information. Under the Test Facility tab, users can find valuable information describing the testing procedures Eley uses, and why its ammo is so accurate and reliable. Questions? Shoot over to the upper-right-hand corner to the Contact Us tab for a rapid response from a qualified professional at Eley. (eley ammunition.com)
Taurus USA Sponsors SASP Taurus USA continues to support the next generation of shooters through its sponsorship of the Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP). The national championships take place next month at the Cardinal Shooting Center in Ohio. Taurus USA not only sponsors two of the four SASP stages—Speed Trap and In and Out—at the event, it also donates handguns for the competition that are used throughout the year. In addition, Taurus sponsors one $1,000 high school senior scholarship to be used for college. “We are proud to support this shooting program,” says senior marketing manager Vince Abrams. (taurususa.com)
This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.
Thirst for Experience
ecessity is the mother of invention.” It’s an old canard, but one that still rings true, especially when you take a close look at CamelBak, a manufacturer of hydration packs, water bottles, and insulated drinkware. Nearly 30 years ago, an EMT competing in the “Hotter’N Hell 100” bike race in Texas wanted to find a way to
carry water with him so he wouldn’t lose time stopping to hydrate. He filled an IV bag with water, slid it into a gym sock, and pinned it to his jersey. “That foundation is still the spirit of CamelBak today,” says Jessica Klodnicki, vice president and general manager of the outdoor recreation division of Vista Outdoor, which acquired CamelBak in August 2015. “When we look for
JUNE/JULY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 7
The First Choice For Wholesale Firearms, Ammunition & Reloading Supplies
product opportunities, it’s all about supporting people and athletes to go farther and faster. Think of it as an untethering of sorts, where they don’t need to find a water stop.” She notes that hydration is a much bigger story than it was a generation ago. “I think people now know more about hydration and nutrition for performance, and I think that more and more people now understand the benefits of hydration. My father used to take us on some crazy hikes in the boonies with one canteen for a family of four. You would never do that now.” She tells me this while sipping coffee from a CamelBak travel mug in turkey camp. This is her first hunting trip, and she has just taken her first turkey. Her experience can tell a retailer a lot about Vista
Outdoor and its commitment to its brand portfolio. “I had a degree in advertising and public relations, and always wanted to work in the outdoor industry,” she says. “Didn’t get there at first. I ended up working nine years for an infantproducts company and then seven years for Newell brands. These were all consumer products, never the outdoor space, but during that time I always enjoyed the outdoors. I was a runner, a cyclist, and did some triathlons as well.” Her “aha” moment came during a two-year stint in Paris for Newell. Thinking about what she wanted to do next, she decided she really needed to get outdoors. “I ended up making my way to Mizuno, where I ran brand marketing for golf, baseball, softball, volleyball, and running,” she
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says. “For the first time in my career, I was able to marry my passion to my profession. From Mizuno, I went on to Bell bike helmets and Blackburn cycle accessories.” Both were acquired by Vista Outdoor in April 2016. When the outdoor recreation division was formed in August 2016, Klodnicki was promoted and put in charge of CamelBak, Camp Chef, and Jimmy Styks standup paddle boards. “We’ve been supporting the military with hydration packs, and those packs have crossed over into the hunting space, even though they weren’t designed specifically for that use,” she says. “Now when we look at product opportunities, we look for places where people are being active and need to hydrate, and obviously one of those areas is hunting. “I strongly believe that when you are in charge of research and development and marketing, you have to have a passion for it. And it certainly helps if you actually go out and get engaged in it,” she says. “It’s really hard to understand the nuance of what products should do for a user if you haven’t seen it or tried it.” Given her new assignment at CamelBak, and the importance of hydration to hunters, she realized she needed to broaden her outdoor experience to include hunting. I was sitting next to her in the blind when she took that Rio Grande. Later that morning, while sharing coffee with the guides and listening to the stories, she nodded her head. “Get it?” I asked. “Got it,” she said. — Slaton L. White
The Steyr Arms AUG A3 M1 Long Rail bullpup platform now benefits from a longer top rail to accommodate optics and backup sights.
Steyr’s AUG A3 M1 Long Rail In response to an overwhelming number of requests for a longer top rail for its AUG A3 M1 bullpup platform, Steyr Arms recently announced that it is now in full production of a Long Rail version of the rifle. Offering 25 numbered slots, the new Long Rail version provides a significant increase in surface area for use with both optics and back-up iron sights. The top rail on this new Long Rail version of the AUG A3 M1 rifle boasts two more slots than the original flat-top AUG A3 SA, but is still the same overall rail height over the stock comb, providing optimal cheekweld with a wide variety of optics and iron sights. The Long Rail extends a full 5.5 inches back from the receiver, placing its rearmost edge almost in line with the front of the ejection port for better placement of a rear iron sight. The Long Rail also features lightening cuts along both sides and milled areas underneath to greatly reduce weight. Overall weight of the AUG A3 M1 Long Rail is 7.8 pounds, and it is available in Black, Mud, OD Green, or White for either the standard AUG stock or the NATO-style stocks, which accept STANAG magazines.The AUG A3 M1 Long Rail includes one translucent polymer 30-round magazine and an owner’s manual. SRP: $2,099. The rail is available separately for $145. (steyrarms. com)
STARLINE ADDS .338 FEDERAL CASE Introduced in 2006 by Federal and Sako, the .338 Federal can achieve the same muzzle energy as some magnum calibers, but with less recoil. It also fits in standard-length shortaction rifles and AR-10s without sacrificing magazine capacity. Furthermore, the .338 Federal is known for its accuracy. It hits harder than the .308, and shoots flatter than the .358 Winchester, making it an excellent choice for close- to mid-range biggame hunting.
As the .338 Federal expands to new platforms, consumer demand for quality brass to reload this cartridge has increased as well, which is why Starline Brass is adding the .338 Federal to its growing line of rifle brass. The family-owned business, best known for its full line of handgun cartridge cases, will soon offer brass in .243 Win., .223 Rem., 300 Blackout, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, and .260 Rem. as well. (starlinebrass.com)
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TenPoint Introduces Lightweight Carbon Phantom RCX
TenPoint’s new Carbon Phantom RCX uses a new cam system.
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ne of TenPoint’s three new crossbows for 2017, the Carbon Phantom RCX, generates maximum efficiency by combining a newly engineered reverse cam-bow assembly with a newly engineered stock- and carbon-fiber barrel combination. At the heart of the crossbow’s efficiency is the bow assembly’s new RCX Cam System. Measuring 13.375 inches axle-to-axle when cocked, the bow assembly creates an increased power stroke, at 16 inches, for a crossbow measuring just 35.5 inches long. In addition, it allows the lightweight 160-pound bow assembly—equipped with 10.5-inch RCX limbs and new Brownell Rhino string and cables—to generate speeds up to 385 feet per second. The machinedaluminum riser features an Over-the-Top limb pocket and Zytel Limb Suspension System that both separates and isolates the limbs from direct contact with the riser to reduce sound and vibration. Preinstalled String Dampening Rods (SDR) further reduce noise and vibration. The ACX (Adjustable Comfort Crossbow) stock is molded from PolyOne OnForce polypropylene and features a one-piece adjustable cheekpiece and butt plate. The butt plate simply slides along a rail and can be secured in any position within a 1-inch range to match the shooter’s length of pull. In addition, the stock is equipped with larger rubber safety wings that include finger reminders when the shooter’s hand is in the proper position on the fore-grip, further helping to prevent the fingers and thumb from moving above the flight deck. A fully enclosed trigger guard provides added safety as well. SRP: $1,699–$1,799. (tenpoint
Sig Sauer Expands HT Line Sig Sauer has expanded its Sig HT hunting line of premiumgrade rifle ammunition with the addition of .308 Win. Featuring an all-copper 150-grain bullet that delivers deep penetration and maximum
terminal ballistic performance, the cartridge is a good choice for mid-size game such as deer, antelope, pigs, and predators. “Sig HT ammunition is extremely effective in the field, and our initial Sig HT offering in supersonic 300 Blackout has been in high demand because of its outstanding performance,” says Dan Powers, president of the Sig Sauer ammunition division. “Retailers and their customers are asking for additional calibers in this lead-free, all-copper hunting round, and we will continue to expand the line to meet even more hunters’ needs.” Sig HT cartridges are made with premium nickel-plated shell cases, and flashreduced propellant is used to minimize visible signature while shooting in lowlight situations. Premium quality primers are also used to minimize variations in velocity. (sigammo.com)
NOSLER GOES LONG Nosler has added a new offering to its semi-custom, bolt-action rifle lineup: the Nosler Model 48 Long Range. Designed from the ground up with the serious hunter and target shooter in mind, the robust action is machined from a solid block of steel in order to provide a rigid platform for tack-driving accuracy. The bolt rides smoothly on precisely machined action rails, and the rifle benefits from a match-grade 26-inch Shilen stainlesssteel barrel. Available in 6.5 Creedmoor, 26 Nosler, 28 Nosler, .300 Win. Mag., 30 Nosler, and 33 Nosler. SRP: $2,495. (nosler.com)
Smith & Wesson Big-Game Dinner Helps Local USO Chapter
mith & Wesson Corporation contributed $34,000 to the Pioneer Valley USO, a unit that serves the Massachusetts-based Westover Air Reserve Base and the surrounding military communities. For the past 10 years, proceeds from the company’s annual Big-Game Dinner have benefited the Pioneer Valley USO and its programs supporting American military personnel and their families. David Mendoza, Pioneer Valley USO board president, said, “It is truly an honor for the Pioneer Valley USO to benefit from the annual Smith & Wesson Big-Game Dinner. We could not provide the needed level of support to
our military men and women and their families in Western Massachusetts without this type of generosity.” The Smith & Wesson BigGame Dinner offers attendees
a chance to dine on a variety of wild game prepared by a team of dedicated volunteers. The sold-out event hosted nearly 500 guests and featured a menu of pheasant, quail,
Smith & Wesson contributed $34,000 to assist a local USO chapter in its outreach efforts to military personnel.
elk, caribou, bear, boar, and venison. Led by Chef Norm Boucher from the Chicopee Comprehensive High School culinary department, volunteers created dishes such as antelope and caribou bourguignon, Southern-style pulled boar, and pot roast of Maine black bear. In addition to the food preparation team, Smith & Wesson employees and friends donated more than 500 volunteer hours to make the event a success. All game served was donated by hunters affiliated with, among others, Smith & Wesson, Foggy Mountain Guide Service, Linx Wildlife Management, and Smoldering Lake Outfitters.
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STOCK UP NOW
U P D AT E
BY STEVE SANETTI, NSSF PRESIDENT AND CEO
FROM THE NSSF
Needed: A Loud Voice Industry members can and should work together to promote proper gun handling and storage practices
hen an Arizona mother walked into her bedroom and saw her toddler playing with her husband’s gun, it was the Project ChildSafe lock she’d put on the gun the day before that she credited with preventing a tragedy in her family.
As a program of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Project ChildSafe is the industry’s nationwide effort to help prevent firearms accidents by educating gun owners on the importance of properly storing firearms when they aren’t in use. It’s a program that helps prevent accidents and saves lives, and it relies heavily on industry participation to do so. In the past three years alone, more than 3,500 retailers, ranges, hunting and shooting groups, and safety instructors have joined with NSSF to help
This decline in accidents is a direct result of efforts to educate gun owners. All of us in the industry want to see that trend continue, but to make that happen, we need to work collaboratively to expand and amplify the messages of the Project ChildSafe program. Recently, this effort was bolstered by a grant from the Department of Justice that enabled us to provide tools and resources to retailers across the country, including counter cards, window stickers, and other in-store materi-
As retailers, you are the men and women directly interacting with ﬁrearms purchasers. You are in the best position to talk to gun owners credibly. promote Project ChildSafe and its firearms safety messages. We are the nation’s leading voice on firearms safety and responsibility—and rightfully so. It’s what the American public expects of us, and our efforts are working. According to the latest research, the number of fatal firearms accidents dropped 17 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 489, the lowest since recordkeeping started in 1903. Fatal firearms accidents showed the largest percentage decline of any category, in a year that saw record firearms sales. 14 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
als. As retailers, you are the men and women directly interacting with firearms purchasers. You are in the best position to talk to gun owners credibly, and authentically. You know they don’t want to be lectured, and yet you know how important it is that they be reminded to securely store their firearms when not in use. Together, we can speak with a powerful and effective voice about safety and responsibility. We want our safety message— “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.”—to be everywhere. Every
time someone thinks about a firearm, buys ammunition, or walks into a gun store, we want them to think about the importance of safe firearms storage. The more we get these messages out, the more firearms owners, particularly newcomers or those who are not firearms enthusiasts, will be reminded to take important yet simple steps to properly and securely store firearms when not in use. And the bigger the role retailers can play in this effort, the more they are doing to help prevent accidents and saves lives in their home and community. More and more, consumers are looking to the companies and organizations they buy from to do more than make or sell a good product—there is an expectation that these organizations will also work to be “good corporate citizens.” That expectation extends directly to the firearms retailer, perhaps even more so than most. Demonstrating a genuine commitment to public safety through programs like Project ChildSafe is no longer a luxury. We need retailers and FFLs to get involved in this effort today, and we need to visibly show this commitment. The majority of retailers in the U.S. should be actively delivering messages about firearm safety and promoting responsible firearms storage. If we don’t, who will? And will they really represent our point of view? I think we all know the answer to that.
It’s not about changing your marketing, communications, and customer outreach plans, but rather folding this important message and safety imagery into them. If there’s a community safety event coming up, be a part of it, and work with local law enforcement to distribute free Project ChildSafe gun locks and safety information. Project ChildSafe is your program, and we are here to help in any way we can. NSSF has the tools and resources you need—counter cards, window decals, and website tools available at projectchildsafe.org. And while you’re on the website, take two minutes to fill out and submit our Supporter Form. There’s no cost, and we’ll send you information and materials you can make available to your customers, along with logos, window decals, and other tools you can use to visibly show your involvement. We’ll also provide a list of ideas on how you can help support our efforts in your community. Together, we can change the discussion on firearms for years to come.
Steve Sanetti NSSF President and Chief Executive Officer
FATAL FIREARMS ACCIDENTS FALL 17 PERCENT The National Safety Council’s “Injury Facts—2017 Edition” shows that the number of fatal firearms accidents dropped 17 percent from 2014 to 2015, to 489, the lowest total since record-keeping began in 1903. That’s about three-tenths of 1 percent of the 146,571 total accidental deaths from all other listed causes, which are up 8 percent from 2014 to 2015. The decrease, which was the largest percentage decline of any category, came in a year that saw record firearms sales to many millions of Americans. “This latest release shows that the vast majority of the 100 million American firearms owners meet the serious responsibilities that come with firearms ownership,” said NSSF president and CEO Steve Sanetti. “They store their firearms safely and securely, and follow the basic rules of firearms safety when handling them. The educational programs sponsored by the firearms industry and safety instructors nationwide, such as the NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, are also part of the reason for this everdownward trend.”
Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp Gets Big Thumbs Up
t started with a group of strangers feeling each other out and wondering if their abilities would make the grade. In the end, the “campers” of NSSF 2017 Spring Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp departed not only as close friends, but also with each knowing their firearms handling skills had improved tenfold. “Everyone wonders at the start if they have what it takes to master the skills our pro shooters have,” said Tisma Juett, NSSF manager, recruitment and retention. “But what they also have in common is an enormous desire to learn, and that’s why, when this camp ended, there was nothing but a long line of grinning faces and really, really good shooters.” Held in April, NSSF’s second Shooting Sports
Fantasy Camp focused specifically on 3-Gun, with seven of today’s top pro shooters training 30 students. The pros included Dianna Muller, Chris Cheng, Robert Vogel, Randi Rogers, Tommy Thacker, BJ Norris, and Ryan Muller—some of the most respected 3-Gun competitors in the country. The camp began with everyone flying into Las
Vegas on Thursday, April 20. NSSF-provided transportation whisked them off to the Aliante Casino and Hotel. From there, NSSF provided hotel accommodations, meals, ammunition, evening receptions, a bag full of shooting swag for every shooter through the event’s conclusion on Sunday. During their time at the Clark County Shooting Complex, shooters learned how to perfect holster skills, firearms and stage transitions, shooting while moving, barrier and obstacle negotiations, and more before dividing into teams for an intense 3-Gun relay match on the final day. Another Shooting Sports Fantasy Camp this year is planned for October 26–29. Get details at shootingsports fantasycamp.com.
FIXNICS MAKES A DIFFERENCE Every federally licensed firearms retailer is required to run a background check through the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) before transferring a firearm to an individual. Because of the vital role of background checks, since 2013, the firearms and ammunition industry through NSSF initiated a campaign to ensure states submit all disqualifying mental health records to the NICS system. Data from the FBI shows that at the end of 2012, far too many states failed to submit disqualifying mental health records. At that time, 19 states had made fewer
than 100 such records available, and 12 of those had made fewer than 10 records available. The industry’s FixNICS campaign addresses this by advocating for changes to state laws so agencies and courts will submit mental health records. After FixNICS victories in 16 states, only 3 states have fewer than 100 prohibiting mental health records in the federal system. Since FixNICS’ launch through the end of 2016, the number of disqualifying mental health records submitted to NICS increased by 170 percent, to nearly 4.5 million. Learn more at FixNICS.org.
© 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.
JUNE/JULY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 15
U P D AT E
FROM THE COUNTER
Selling Guns in a Trump Nation We find out how one Midwest gun shop is evolving under a pro-gun presidency
his is the first installment of a new column, “From the Counter,” which will appear periodically in Shot Business. While this column will provide a perspective from behind the counters of various firearms retailers across the country regarding how various product categories are performing in their area, it’s not just a longer version of What’s Selling Where. Instead, this column aims to examine the market strategies, customer service efforts, and inventory management adjustments those retailers are successfully deploying as a way to help retailers everywhere compete in these changing times.
The first several weeks of the Trump administration were nothing short of a whirlwind of change. Many firearms retailers had prepared preemptively for a Hillary win, and in the wake of a Republican win, some retail outlet turns have quieted. We wanted to
find out how firearms businesses were adjusting to a Trump win, and its effects on the retail bottom line. First up: Davenport Guns in Davenport, Iowa. Founded in 2014, and located in the heart of middle America, this store stocks an average of 500
long guns and handguns. The 3,600-square-foot facility has a 12-lane indoor firearms range and a staff of 18 employees. The store is open seven days a week. Davenport is part of the Quad Cities, which encompasses Rock Island and Moline in Illinois, and their
sister cities, Davenport and Bettendorf, across the Mississippi River in Iowa. This retailer was ready for a Democrat to win in November. “We were prepared for a Hillary presidency. Although we had strong stocks of MSRs and some
Davenport Guns, founded in 2014, is located in the Quad Cities region.
16 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
B Y P E T E R B . M AT H I E S E N
pistols, we hadn’t gone off the charts buying. That said, with Hillary in the White House, I saw the future of any product that was a semi-auto being vulnerable. I believed Hillary would have been far more aggressive than the previous administration regarding any SKU that used a cycling action,” says Jeanelle Westrom, the store’s owner. There was little to no panic-buying pre-November. While sales are no higher than they were at this last time year, the good news is that the sales needle has not lowered as the year moves forward. “We live in an area with multiple MSR manufacturers,” Westrom explains. “Our customers focus on mid- to high-grade rifles. Entry-level MSRs have never been a big part of our retail mix. I feared that when Trump won, all we would hear were the sounds of crickets in the store. In reality, the place is seeing great turns and is quite noisy. The store’s gun range is the busiest it’s been in its history.” NEW IDEAS ➤ This
retailer says keeping up with marketing trends and understanding what motivates customers is key to any business’ survival. Attending SHOT Show University during this year’s SHOT Week in January was key to ensuring this newer store’s growth. “Just as it has been in past shows, this year’s SHOT Show University was an indispensable way to bring new marketing ideas to the staff of our store,” she says. Westrom cites the “Guerilla Marketing” seminar by Christopher Zane as an important way to incor-
porate new strategies in her store. One concept presented was the creation of an electronic file of ideas. Anyone who works at the store can access, read, and contribute to the “ideas file” at any time. One of the new employee-generated ideas recently submitted was to organize a fun-day shooting league at the range. Westrom followed through. “We now have guys practicing an extra couple of hours a week so they can win a box of ammo,” she says. Another idea was to offer a free gun cleaning twice a year. “For our female clients, this is huge. They bring us their pistols, get them cleaned, always buy more accessories, and often use the range. This is all part of our strategy to appreciate our customers and develop them into lifetime customers.” COFFEE AND… ➤ Other
strategies have included fresh coffee, and cookies baked on the premises. “We really want our customers to know that we appreciate their business. We look forward to making sure they enjoy themselves when they’re in the store,” she says. Westrom did warn there are parameters surrounding the “coffee group.” “Be careful,” she tells me. “You don’t want to create a barbershop environment where the old guard rules the new shooter. The expe-
rience must be fun, inclusive, and involve mentoring without criticism.” Other basics include maintaining a clean, well-lit store. Westrom reminds retailers that you should never overwhelm consumers at the door with large displays. To increase sales, stock accessories between the door and the gun counter. THE SUPPRESSOR SURGE ➤ Westrom
sees the deregulation of silencers as the next big retail curve. “Looking ahead, the new administration will make the shooting sports safer and far more noise-friendly. As it becomes more affordable, with less red tape, our customers will respond in droves,” she says. Westrom says her store is investing significantly in silencer inventories. She has already committed to a few open orders for a monthly delivery of new inventory to make sure she can keep up with demand. “You can’t stay in business waiting for the next panicbuy. You don’t want the reputation as a seesaw retailer who capitalizes on customers’ worst fears to make money,” she says. “Our goal is to build steady growth of loyal customers. By developing new strategies to engage shooters, you will keep your store profitable long after the political storm has passed. Shooters who love our sport are a joy to sell to, and they will always endure
far beyond the next bubble,” says Westrom. LESSONS FROM THE COUNTER ➤ While
the angst surrounding the political climate has relaxed, success for the industry’s frontline sellers will hinge on solid retail strategies. Many of them boil down to focusing on new and innovative tactics that engage your staff, because that is what will continue to engage the customers. Bottom-line lessons learned from this retailer include making a commitment to stronger customer service, building new and loyal buyer relationships, creating events to drive store traffic, and adding value for the retail customer. Is your store doing something unique to improve your turn rates, margins, or customer recruitment/retention? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch with the column’s author to tell your story.—Patrick Shay, NSSF director, retail services
“I feared that when Trump won, all we would hear were the sounds of crickets in the store. In reality, the place is seeing great turns and is quite noisy.” —JEANELLE WESTROM, STORE OWNER JUNE/JULY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 17
U P D AT E
BY ROBBIE BROWN
R E TA I L E R T O O L B O X
What’s a Customer Worth? The tangible value of people who buy at your establishment is greater than you think
usiness consultant Robbie Brown, who has an extensive background in retailing, wholesaling, and distribution service, has been CEO of numerous companies in the shooting sports industry, including several retail chains and distribution companies. He’s a frequent roundtable moderator and speaker before industry trade shows, and has published hundreds of articles in various trade magazines. The following is just one of the articles he’s created for us (you’ll find all his articles at NSSF.org, under the Blog/Retailers drop-down menu at the top of the page). Enjoy. —Patrick Shay, NSSF director, retail services If I asked a bunch of retailers what they consider to be their most expensive asset, many would answer their inventory, as it’s the largest balance sheet asset. Some might answer it’s the value of their real estate, their location, or their investment in staff and training. Others would consider their sterling reputation their most important asset. These are all good answers, but in reality the most valuable asset a business has is one that isn’t even listed on the balance sheet: its individual customer. Customers drive sales, which represent the top line of the profit-and-loss statement. Not only do your customers represent present and future sales, they are, hopefully, a walking, talking endorsement of your store, and freely encourage others to buy from you. Your customer base, central to your success, is also a fragile and perishable asset. Despite all the potential customers represent, retailers perpetually do things (or don’t do things) that serve to erode consumer loyalty. In many cases, stores do things that permanently drive customers away, 18 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
and that’s a scenario for disaster because those same customers will—often for many years—tell their friends about their bad experience and vow never again to shop there. The cost in lost sales and damaged reputation is huge. DOES THIS SOUND LIKE YOU? ➤ Let’s
talk about how you might be driving away your customers. In my experience, the top reasons customers leave are staff indifference, non-competitive prices, failure to match a competitor’s prices, poor return policies, lack of product selection, failure to resolve consumer complaints, stock-outs on advertised products, and the perception that the retailer views consumers as a commodity rather than a treasured asset. All of these are bad for business, but the most egregious retail transgression of all for a merchant to commit is to address customer complaints by stating, “It is our policy…” as a reason to not accommodate the consumer. Such policies are most likely in direct conflict with the common customer policy of dealing only with retailers who are willing to sat-
isfy a problem regardless of where the fault lies. Take a step back now and think: How many customers haven’t you seen in a while, maybe for months, whom you used to see on a regular basis? Do new customers come in and never return? Are you regularly losing sales because your customers are saying they can get the same item cheaper at the store across town? If you’re saying yes to any of these questions, it’s time you put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and it’s time to make a change. ADD UP THE NUMBERS ➤ One’s
appreciation of the customer is heightened if you can estimate the dollar value of each consumer over the average lifetime of your consumers. No, that doesn’t contradict what I said about not treating customers like a commodity—crunching the numbers can easily drive home the impact each customer has on your bottom line. Begin by determining your total number of customers. (If you don’t have that number, then shame on you.) Your active
customer email list is a good start. Your background check forms for firearms purchases are another good source. And it’s possible your store’s POS system captures this kind of information through daily or weekly customer transaction counts, as well as the average value of those transactions. Next, build several theoretical customer-purchasing profiles. For example, let’s assume a customer who is age 30 might be a customer for 20 years. If this customer buys at least one gun every four years at an average price of $700, that’s $3,500— and that’s before all the ammo, accessories, apparel, licenses, shooting courses, range fees, etc. With enough profiles, you can then estimate the lifetime value of many of your customers. Are they each worth $3,000, $10,000, $25,000, $50,000, or higher? Let’s say the average consumer for our industry, over a 20-year period, will spend $10,000 to $25,000. If you lose 100 customers over 20 years, that amount to lost sales of $1,000,000 to $2,500,000. Ouch! Remember, it is much cheaper to keep an existing customer versus trying to gain a new customer—and far less work than trying to woo back customers who’ve had a bad experience, or convince the people those soured customers told about it that they ought to give you a try. It is in your best interest to honor your most valuable asset—and keep them returning again and again.
B Y M E L I S SA S C H I L L I N G, N S S F D I R E C T O R , C O N F E R E N C E S A N D E X H I B I T I O N S
U P D AT E
YO U S H O U L D K N O W
NSSF and IWA Make Great Business Together The International Weapons Exhibition in Germany was an ideal place to showcase the benefits of attending the SHOT Show
n the last issue of Shot Business, I provided you with a wrap-up of this year’s SHOT Show. We took some time right after the show to gather the numbers for our annual SHOT Show survey—and we’re pleased to say that the satisfaction rating remains at a tremendous high, one made all the more impressive considering to the size of the show.
Then we headed across the Atlantic to take in a gobal view of the firearms industry at the IWA (Internationale Waffen Ausstellung, or the International Weapons Exhibition) Sporting Classic Show in Nuremburg, Germany. And, oh, what a show that was! The first major event on our calendar after SHOT Show is always the IWA show. This year, we were especially looking forward to our trip to Germany, having seen a significant increase in international attendance at the 2017 SHOT Show. We were pleased to see our international visitors—who traveled to Vegas from 111 countries, including 12 of 13 Canada provinces, with a total of 6,513 international registrants—up nearly 300 from the 2016 SHOT Show. We also had more than 1,000 delegates attending our International Buyer Program, up nearly 350 from 2016, and with two more countries added to the roster, bringing the total number of participating countries in this program to 37. The increase underscores the value the U.S. firearms market represents for the global firearms industry, and vice versa. This year we had 342 individuals from 38 countries visit our Las Vegas Hospitality Suite at
the IWA. As our primary goal in attending IWA is to encourage international attendance at SHOT Show, having that lounge available is key to helping buyers who haven’t made the trip or who only occasionally make the show better understand just how much both SHOT Show and the city of Las Vegas have to offer them. The suite has proven itself year after year in improving our networking with international buyers, providing them refreshment, a break from the busy IWA show floor, and one-onone time with NSSF staff. They also have the chance to visit with representatives from the city of Las Vegas, the Venetian/ Palazzo hotel complex, and our show management partners at ConvExx, which provides them an invaluable behind-the-scenes look at how the SHOT Show works and the dizzying array of opportunities it provides international attendees. A bonus to those visiting our Hospitality Suite this year, which was graciously sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, was the chance to win either a complimentary stay at the Venetian/ Palazzo during the 2018 SHOT Show or an iPad Air. We were pleased to award the hotel stay
to Pietr Nowicki with Magazyn Uzbrojenia, and the iPad Air to David Feerick with Gowen & Bradshaw Ltd., and we’re looking forward to seeing both gentlemen in Las Vegas next January. “Each year we strive to improve SHOT Show so that everyone who takes the time to attend reaps the rewards,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “In fact, we’re now not just the SHOT Show, we’re officially SHOT Week. From the HAVA Golf Classic taking place the Sunday before the show opens and the jam-packed Monday pre-show events—such as the Supplier Showcase, Executive Management Seminar, and Industry Day at the Range—to our ability to fit in hundreds of new exhibitors each year and our carefully designed, audience-specific educational programs, such as the Law Enforcement Education Program and Retailer Seminars, we literally have something for everyone.” The 2018 SHOT Show will take place January 23–26 in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Sands Expo Center. Registration is slated to open in the fall, but it’s not too early to reserve
your hotel room. As we have in the past couple of years, we encourage early hotel registration, as Las Vegas is host to several other large trade shows taking place at the same time as SHOT Show. As many of you have come to find out, this can make finding a room convenient to the show venue later a challenge. Indeed, many hotels in the SHOT Show/ NSSF block are routinely sold out by midsummer. NSSF’s reserved SHOT Show hotel block has an extensive list of hotels, with rooms from as low as $29 a night to sky’s-the-limit. Reserve your room through our booking partner, onPeak, and you’ll be ensured our Best Price Pledge, the ability to pay for your room once you arrive in Vegas, group booking control, reservation protection, and no added or hidden fees. To learn more, visit SHOTShow.org, click on the Las Vegas heading at the top of the page, and then the Hotel and Travel link in the drop-down menu. Our next stop is our annual NSSF and Fair Trade Import/ Export Conference, taking place August 2–4 at the Grand Hyatt Washington, in Washington, D.C. For more information on that event, visit nssf.org and click on the Events heading at the top of the page. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com to learn about how we can help you network. JUNE/JULY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 19
B Y R O B E R T F. S TA E G E R
HydraPak prides itself on durability, and it backs all of its products with a lifetime warranty.
Riding the Wave Hydration solutions are increasingly popular accessories. Companies like HydraPak can help retailers dip their toes in the water
t’s a simplification to say that the human body is 60 percent water. The actual number varies by age and gender, and different parts of our bodies contain different amounts of the fluid. Our lungs are 83 percent water, for instance; our bones are composed of just 31 percent.
But Morgan Makowski, marketing director of HydraPak, suggests that retailers might want to consider another number, because revenue from hydration products has been flexing significant sales muscle. “Year after year, there’s a 30 percent growth in that category,” says Makowski, “while most other categories, like cams and backpacks, are flat.” A lot of this growth is spurred by innovation, says Makowski, citing things like the double-wall insulated bottles made by Yeti and Hydro Flask. But HydraPak—a company that supplies hydration solutions not just to the public, 20 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
but also to manufacturers such as North Face, Sitka Gear, and more—has its own innovations to brag about, and is poised to help retailers ride the wave of this expanding category. The company offers an incentive program to retailers, as well as training videos and sell sheets for sales staff and point-ofpurchase materials intended to inform the consumer. With the incursion of backpacks into mass-market stores such as Target, Makowski has seen specialty stores struggle to compete on price—but they can prevail on quality, offering gear that’s more attuned to an outdoorsman’s needs. “The
smaller guys can’t sell an $80 pack anymore—they need to sell a $150 pack to meet their margins,” she says. “Putting a reservoir in gives the customer more reason to buy.” And built-in hydration systems sometimes need replacing. If a pack’s existing reservoir fails, a replacement costs only $30 or so—much less than a new pack. “If you’re carrying packs, why not carry reservoirs and hydration systems that can go into those packs?” says Makowski. Reservoirs (such as HydraPak’s Elite, Shape-Shift, and Full-Force models) are the first segment of a store’s com-
prehensive hydration selection, says Makowski. Next up are bottles: “We make flexible hydration solutions, very compact and portable. You can have it when you need it and pack it away when you don’t.” HydraPak’s Stash, for example, is a lightweight bottle that collapses and folds away when empty. Makowski also suggests carrying insulated bottles for coffee or other hot liquids. Filters are also an important part of the equation. Makowski recommends (HydraPak partner) Katadyn’s new B-Free filter: “It’s one of the fastest and lightest filters in the market. It can fit onto a standard water bottle or you can put it on a large water storage system.” Retailers should look for certain things when stocking their shelves. For one, says Makowski, plastic products should be 100 percent BPAfree, a serious health concern. Packability is also important. HydraPak’s flexible bottles and reservoirs are extremely lightweight and fit wherever they’re stashed—and since they compress, they take up no more space than the water they’re holding. Ease of cleaning is important, too. HydraPak’s reservoirs are reversible and dishwashersafe (top shelf only). Other key features in HydraPak’s reservoirs are a universal pack clip that locks in to the inside of a pack and a plug-and-play adapter that connects the hose to the reservoir pouch. “You can keep your tube routed through the pack and refill the reservoir without having to reroute your whole system,” she says. “We’re trying to save people time.” “When you have a hands-free source of hydration built into your pack, it is so much easier to stay hydrated,” says Makowski. “The reservoir creates this hands-free hydration experience—something I think more hunters should be thinking about.” (hydrapak.com)
C H A S E
A L L
Y O U R
D R E A M S.
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BY MICHAEL O. HUMPHRIES
A modern take on the Vietnamera M14, the SOCOM 16 CQB is available in .308 Winchester.
Cutting Edge Springfield’s SOCOM 16 CQB is an eye-catching new M1A variant that gives customers a compact and ultra-modern .308 carbine
utting-edge” may not be the first phrase that comes to mind when you think of the Springfield Armory M1A rifle, based on the Vietnam-era M14 military rifle. With its traditionally styled stock and classic M1 Garand-pattern tilting bolt-locking system, this .308 Win. rifle just screams retro and a relatively narrow customer base, right? Wrong. With the new SOCOM 16 CQB, Springfield has turned everything you think you know about the M1A rifle on its end and offered consumers a compact, ultra-modern tactical carbine.
Stock Options Let’s start with the stock. On a standard M1A, you get a wood or synthetic stock with a classic-style curved pistol grip. Not so with the CQB. This one features a composite “Archangel” stock that sports an AR-pattern collapsible buttstock on its commercial-pattern buffer tube (you can switch it out with another buttstock assembly, if you so choose). The included stock has five positions of adjustment as well as an adjustable cheekpiece. The vertical pistol grip is removable/ swappable too, but it is in the AK (rather than AR) pattern. The bottom of the stock has an enlarged and flared magazine well that is designed to help shooters guide in a fresh magazine quickly, though the fact the walls of the well extend down a short bit make inserting and removing
a short 10-round magazine a bit of a chore. At the front of the stock are M-LOK slots on the sides and bottom, and Springfield ships the rifle with one 7-slot and two 3-slot rail sections for these areas. Dual quick-detach (QD) sling attachment points are located at the front of the stock and also above the pistol grip. The matching handguard has a slot cut out to allow clearance for the included “scout” position optics rail for mounting a long eye relief optic. Speaking of optics, the SOCOM 16 CQB is offered in two versions: one with an included optic and one without. Now, you may be thinking that this optic would go on that forward rail, but stick with me for a moment. Located on the receiver just forward of the rear sight unit is a stripper-clip guide that hearkens back to the
22 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
original Cold War–era M14 design. However, Springfield also offers an optic mount in this position for a mini red-dot and sells the rifle as a package equipped with a Vortex Venom 3 MOA red-dot unit. Weighing in at 1.1 ounces and measuring just under 2 inches in length, the Venom adds practically no bulk to the firearm. The SRP for the Venomequipped carbine is $2,396. The version without the Vortex is $2,099, and sports the standard stripper clip guide. The barrel of the SOCOM 16 series also warrants discussion. It is short. Very short. It measures 16.25 inches and has a short muzzle brake on its threaded end. To tame recoil from a .308 projectile coming out of a gun this short would take one heck of a welldesigned muzzle brake, and this one fits the bill.
If you do not mind increased flash and blast, this brake makes it hard to believe this little carbine is a .308 Win. Topping off the end of the barrel is an XS Sights post with a tritium insert. The rifle weighs 9.2 pounds (no lightweight by any means, but it helps in taming recoil along with the brake), and its overall length is 35.5 inches with the stock collapsed and 38.5 inches with it fully extended. It comes packed with one 10-round magazine, an owner’s manual, a cable lock, original packaging for the Venom optic (if so equipped), and a very nice zippered case. Springfield also offers 20-round magazines for sale. The result of all this innovation is that you have a tough-asnails semi-auto that is as small as many 5.56mm carbines, has an adjustable length of pull and the option of a red-dot
sight, all while packing .308 Win. power.
Hands-On I received a sample SOCOM 16 CQB equipped with the Vortex red-dot optic for testing. I took it out to the range with a selection of Federal and Winchester ammo to put it through its paces. Due to the non-magnified, 3 MOA red-dot optic, I kept it to 100 yards against steel plates. The rifle proved to be fast and accurate against these targets, and the muzzle brake tamed the kick. If you have customers that like the M1A but want something a bit more modern, then this is the version for them. And even if a customer has never heard of the M1A, get this gun in their hands. They’ll most likely become a fan. (springfield. armory.com)
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UNDERCOVER SHOPPER STORE A
SATISFACTION GUARANTEED ➤ There was a clerk helping another customer when I arrived at this national big-box store. He called a second clerk, who answered my questions about the seven airguns on display among the several hundred long guns on the wall. All airguns were .177-caliber pellet guns, mostly break-action, spring-propelled. He was knowledgeable about the guns and seemed in no hurry to leave the counter. He had to keep the trigger lock on the gun, which is a bad way to get a feel for a gun. He didn’t know much about ammo options, but he made a point to tell me all about the store’s extended warranties program. STORE B
Delaware Air Looking for airguns in this little state is a lofty pursuit
any states have some types of airgun restrictions, but Delaware—no Nirvana in regard to general gun laws—restricts airguns to .177 caliber or smaller. That puts out of reach the new, effective big bores available to consumers almost anywhere else, but it does not seem to dry up Delaware residents’ desire for airguns. Many stores near Wilmington and Newark had a good selection of airguns, and one store had many guns, ammo options, and accessories. In addition, most store personnel had a good working knowledge of their products and were eager to share it with me. Although hunters and shooters in the First State certainly will not be doing any big-game hunting with any of the latest big-bore airguns, I have no doubt there are a lot of squirrels, chipmunks, and other varmints on the run. There are also plenty of options for folks who just want to punch paper with an airgun.
24 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
➤ This small independent store displayed guns and survival gear in a way that reminded me of a jewelry store: glass counter cases in the center and guns in glass cases along the wall. It was pleasant and understated, even though they found room for about 130 guns all together. No one else was in the store, and I was greeted by several friendly “hellos.” A younger clerk helped me out and went into the back to get the only model airguns they sold—Stoeger A-TACs. He seemed to know the gun well, and when he didn’t have an answer, he looked to the instruction booklet for the relevant information. I asked about the trigger weight, and he cocked the break-barrel and let me fire it in the store, which he said he
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UNDERCOVER SHOPPER really should not do. They did not have any ammo for an airgun, though he said they were getting some in soon. STORE C
HEAVEN ON EARTH ➤
At first I could not find any airguns at this national big-box chain. They were not with the 500 or so other new guns on display. I was about to ask if they had any airguns at all when I saw a display set up apart
He was a wealth of knowledge about airguns and hunting, and discussed the pros and cons of various models.
from the firearms and close to the hunting clothing. Here, I found an airgun heaven. More than 10 brands and about 50 guns were represented. Some guns were out of boxes with trigger locks on them while others were in boxes. There were semi-autos, CO2-propelled models, and break-barrel guns. Several clerks were nearby, and I was dying to have questions answered. Finally I made eye contact and the clerk walked over to me.
FEAST FOR THE EYES ➤
This small store in an upscale strip mall caters mostly to waterfowl and upland bird hunters, but it crams in about 200 new and used guns on its walls. They had a few airguns and were helpful in answering
my questions regarding the various features. They recommended a break-barrel Benjamin Titan 2 because it shot 1,200 fps and was the fastest among those they sold. While airgun supply was limited, the store was a feast for the eyes for any bird hunter, with classic doubles and old decoys as well as Filson- and Beretta-branded clothing and gear. If I hadn’t been in the market for an airgun, I could have spent a lot of time here.
How’d They Do? Customer Service
The clerk was helpful and friendly from the moment he arrived on the scene.
He had a working knowledge of airguns, and was familiar with most of the models he showed me.
Seven gun options is a pretty good on-hand selection.
Several clerks were available to help me, and all were interested in my pursuit.
The clerk was quite familiar with the gun.
They only carry one make and model, though they had several of the Stoegers on hand.
It took a few minutes for a clerk to make his way to help me, but once he did he was very helpful.
He had several airguns of his own and was glad to share his experiences.
They had six shelves of new airguns and many accessories, such as pellet options.
The proprietor didn’t know much about the guns other than what was on the boxes.
Just a handful of airguns were in stock.
I received attentive personal attention in a busy little store.
SCORING SYSTEM: Outstanding:
26 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ JUNE/JULY 2017
Like the knowledgeable clerk, the delightful airgun enclave impressed me. The large selection of CO2, spring, and pneumatic guns was displayed near fun accessories, like various targets and just about every style of pellet you could ask for, all in .177. This is, after all, Delaware. Cabela’s Christiana Mall 1100 Stanton Christiana Rd. #1410, Newark, DE 19702 302-266-2300
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AS FOUND ON THE NEW
50 LAW ENFORCEMENT PRODUCTS THAT SHOULD COMMAND
THE ATTENTION OF ANY RETAILER BY RICHARD MANN
aw-enforcement-related products remain a strong segment of the ﬁrearms and accessories industry. With just a shade over one million sworn ofﬁcers, this would seem to be a niche market, but civilians also crave cop-capable equipment. It would take an encyclopedic volume to highlight all that is new, but here are 50 police-perfect products— including guns, optics, ammunition, and accessories—that are sure to turn the heads of cops and civilians, and put cash in your registers. (Note: Three trends that any retailer should be aware of in this arena are thermal optics, reﬁned MSRs, and riﬂes in 6.5 Creedmoor.)
BERGARA B14 BMP
BMP stands for Bergara Match Precision, and this rifle’s chassis is machined from 7075 T6 aluminum. It incorporates QD swivel attachments and Magpul M-LOK slots. The incredibly smooth action and barrel nut allow the barrel to be changed or replaced, and the magazine well can be used as a support brace. Available in .308
Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor, with a threaded #5 contour barrel, this should be an ideal designated marksman rifle. SRP: $1,699. (bergarausa.com)
BNTI ARMS BATTLE RIFLE This Florida-
based manufacturer is the U.S. headquarters for small arms exported to vetted African armed forces and police units. Its new .308 Winchester Battle Rifle features a mil-spec forged lower and upper receiver, with a hard-coat anodized or Cerakote finish, a 16.5-inch match-grade barrel with a 1:10 twist, and a Magpul ACS stock. (bntiarms.com)
THE B14 BMP (BERGARA MATCH PRECISION) UTILIZES A SMOOTH ACTION. IT SHOULD BE AN IDEAL DESIGNATED MARKSMAN RIFLE. AVAILABLE IN .308 WINCHESTER AND 6.5 CREEDMOOR.
CMMG MKW ANVIL XBE A new carbine from
CZ BREN 2 The ever-
CZ 805 BREN S1 PISTOL With its 11-inch
CMMG, the MkW Anvil XBE is chambered in .458 SOCOM. With CMMG’s unique Powerbolt design, the rifle uses a modified AR10-size bolt for increased durability. The rifle is also built on an AR10-size frame with a custom receiver to minimize weight and increase ergonomics. It has a 16-inch barrel, billet upper and lower receivers, and a single-stage mil-spec trigger. It weighs 7.5 pounds. SRP: $1,849.95. (cmmginc.com)
evolving needs of military forces led to further development of the Bren platform. The Bren 2 has a shorter gas system that allows for barrel lengths down to 8 inches, with settings for normal use, suppressed use, and adverse conditions. It is available for military and law enforcement only via special-order. (cz-usa.com)
barrel, the S1 has proven to be a popular SBR candidate for customers wanting to convert it into an NFA firearm. Those who don’t wish to register with the ATF can equip it with CZ’s adapter kit, allowing
CMMG BUILT ON AN AR10-SIZE FRAME, THE MKW ANVIL IS CHAMBERED IN .458 SOCOM. IT HAS A 16-INCH BARREL AND A SINGLE-STAGE MIL-SPEC TRIGGER.
easy installation of aftermarket arm braces. Chambered in .223 Remington/5.56 NATO, and 300 Blackout, the 805 Bren S1 Pistol retails for between $1,799 and $1,899. (cz-usa.com)
CZ P-10 C This is CZ’s
newest pistol, and the CZ grip angle avoids that brick-in-the-hand feeling that plagues many striker-fired handguns. Interchangeable backstraps allow it to fit a wide variety of hands, and the P-10’s trigger breaks at a clean 4 to 4.5 pounds, with a short, positive reset. It has a fiber-reinforced polymer frame, a nitride finish, and metal
three-dot sights. With a 15 or 17+1 capacity, the CZ P10-C is available in 9mm Luger or .40 S&W. There is also a suppressorready variant in 9mm. SRP: $499 to $541. (cz-usa.com)
DAN WESSON SPECIALIST COMMANDER When
police departments approached Dan Wesson to build a more reliable and durable 1911, the manufacturer said, “Can do!” The Specialist is available in 9mm or .45 Auto and has a forged stainless-steel slide with a serrated rib and a single tritium dot in the rear and front sights. It also
has an integral rail, front strap checkering, an undercut trigger guard, a recessed slide stop, an ambidextrous thumb safety, and an extended magazine release. Available in Commander and fullsize. SRP: $1,597. (cz-usa.com)
DPMS GII AP4-OR A new optics-ready carbine built on the revolutionary GII platform, the AP4-OR has a forged monolithic bolt carrier, dual ejectors, an Aermet extractor, a steel feed ramp, and reduced bolt geometry. The upper receiver has been improved for left-handed shooters, and it is available in .308 Winchester. SRP: $1,349. (dpmsinc.com)
FN 15 DMR II A reengineered version of the DMR, the DMR II uses the all-new FN Proprietary M-LOK Rail System to provide extreme rigidity and less deflection to ensure that mounted accessories do not shift. It has an 18-inch match-grade, coldhammer-forged barrel with a 1:7 twist, a Surefire Pro Comp muzzle device, a Timney trigger, and a Magpul MOE grip and buttstock. SRP: $1,999. (fnhusa.com)
THE SPECIALIST COMMANDER IS AVAILABLE IN 9MM OR .45 AUTO AND HAS A FORGED STAINLESSSTEEL SLIDE WITH A SERRATED RIB AND A RECESSED SLIDE STOP.
THE FN 15 TACTICAL CARBINE Chambered for the
cating oil, lanyard, and proprietary speed loader are standard. SRP: $1,699. (nighthawk custom.com)
REMINGTON MODEL 700 MAGPUL The
new 700 Magpul features adjustability in the comb and length of pull to allow for a perfect fit. The 22-inch heavy barrel is threaded for a suppressor or other muzzle devices, and the detachable magazine is perfect for tactical applications. It’s available in .308 Winchester and .260 Remington. SRP: $1,175.
THE COMPACT FNS OFFERS THE SAME FEATURES AS STANDARD FNS PISTOLS, BUT IT HAS A 3.6-INCH BARREL. IT IS DESIGNED TO BE SNAG-FREE FOR IMPROVED CONCEALMENT AND A FASTER DRAW.
300 Blackout, this carbine is duty-ready out of the box. Equipped with FN’s proprietary rail system, it offers a stronger, more rigid platform for accessories and optics. It features a 16-inch barrel, a carbine-length gas system, a low-profile gas block, a Surefire ProComp muzzle brake, and Magpul MOE furniture. SRP: $1,599. (fnhusa.com)
Sky Hawk is a compact six-shot revolver chambered for 9mm Luger, but half- or fullmoon clips are not required. Every part is machined from billet steel or aluminum, and it’s available with a 2- or 3-inch barrel. A gold bead front sight, Houge grips, hard-coated frame, TSA-approved travel case, cleaning rod, grip-removal tool, lubri-
FNS COMPACT The
Compact FNS offers the same features as standard FNS pistols, but comes in a shorter, 3.6-inch barrel. The snag-free design should help better conceal the firearm and deliver a faster draw time. The front sight also has a larger dot for faster target acquisition. The FNS Compact has a 12- or 17-round capacity, depending on the magazine used. It weighs 23.4 ounces and is 6.7 inches long, and should be ideal for plain-clothes officers or detectives. SRP: $599. (fnhusa.com)
NIGHTHAWK SKY HAWK KORTH The
REMINGTON RP9/ RP45 This new
polymer handgun is a high-capacity striker-fired pistol with a very slim and adjustable grip profile. It’s available in 9mm or .45, with a respective capacity of 18+1 or 15+1. It weighs only 26.4 ounces, and with a suggested retail price of $489, it should be popular with officers who must purchase their own firearms. (remington. com)
RUGER AMERICAN COMPACT Ruger’s striker-fired American
SAVAGE MSR 15 The new 15 Patrol and Recon carbines from Savage mark the company’s initial entry into the MSR market. Both rifles have 5R button-rifled, 16-inch barrels with a long-lasting Melonite QPQ finish, and Savage’s trademark zerotolerance headspace control. These rifles also feature the proven .223 Wylde target chambering and a standard gas system. SRP: $849, Patrol; $999.99, Recon. (savagearms.com)
Compact features a trigger with a short take-up and positive reset. It is performance-tested for sustained +P ammunition use and is equipped with Novak LoMount Carry three-dot sights. The pistol has a modular grip system, can be fieldstripped easily, and has an ambidextrous slide stop and magazine release. With its 3.35-inch barrel, it measures 6.65 inches and weighs 28.7 ounces. SRP: $579. (ruger.com)
SAVAGE MSR 10
Savage has also introduced two AR10 MSR variants. The MSR 10 Hunter and Long Range models address some longstanding shortcomings of MSRs designed for larger cartridges. Both are compact units that feel and handle more like an AR15, and both utilize customforged uppers and lowers. Available in .308 Winchester and 6.5 Creedmoor, the Hunter has a 16- or 18-inch barrel, and the Long Range has a 20- or 22-inch barrel. SRP: $1,399, Hunter; $2,199, Long Range.
This is a tactical, pump-action 12-gauge shotgun available with a field or pistol-grip stock and an 18.5inch barrel. It will accept 2¾ or 3-inch shells and has a fixed
RUGER THE STRIKER-FIRED AMERICAN COMPACT FEATURES A TRIGGER WITH A SHORT TAKE-UP AND POSITIVE RESET. IT ALSO HAS AN AMBIDEXTROUS SLIDE STOP.
Cylinder bore. SRP: $299 to $349. (stoegerindustries. com)
bore. Police department purchasers will undoubtedly love the price. SRP: $599 to $649. (stoegerindustries.com)
The new M3000 Tactical semi-auto is available with either a field or pistol grip and comes with an 18.5-inch barrel. The inertiadriven gun will also accept 2¾or 3-inch shells, and like the P3000, it has a fixed Cylinder
WEATHERBY VAC The new
Vanguard Adaptive Composite (VAC) rifle from Weatherby is intended for precision work and has a threaded barrel. VAC rifles are guaranteed to deliver sub-MOA three-shot
REMINGTON THE MODEL 700 MAGPUL FEATURES AN ADJUSTABLE COMB AND LENGTH OF PULL TO ALLOW FOR A PERFECT FIT FOR IMPROVED ACCURACY.
groups at 100 yards, and come with an adjustable two-stage trigger, a three-position safety, and a fully adjustable stock. Vac rifles are available in .223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. SRP: $1,269.
from. Available in 8x42, 10x42, 8.5x50, 10x50, and 12.5x50, these binoculars feature a custom-molded carry case, HD Glass, hydrophobic coatings, and tripod adapters. SRP: starts at $1,000. (gpo-usa.com)
PASSION HD BINOCULARS COME IN FIVE VERSIONS, ALL OF WHICH ARE SUITABLE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT SURVEILLANCE OR EVALUATING A DISASTER SCENE FROM A DISTANCE.
GPO PASSION HD BINOCULARS Many
forget the importance of binoculars for law enforcement. Whether used for surveillance or evaluating a disaster scene from a distance, GPO has five premium models to choose
TRIJICON REAP IR Small, light, and lethal, the Trijicon Electro Optics REAP IR is a mini-thermal riflescope. The REAP IR features a 12-degree field of view, 2.5X magnification, a stadiametric rangefinder, five reticle patterns, and an 8X digital zoom. For tactical units operating in total darkness, it earns its badge and name, and weighs only 21 ounces. SRP: $7,999. (trijicon.com)
LEUPOLD MARK 8 3.525X56MM This
new riflescope seems almost purpose-built for the police marksman, as it offers all the optical qualities that precision and long-range shooters expect. Weighing just 32.5 ounces, the Mark 8 3.5–25x56mm has a powerful 8:1 magnification ratio, which is ideal for target engagement and observation— the two primary roles of a police sniper. Simplified ZeroLock dials are a welcome
addition, as is 90 MOA of elevation travel and a generous field of view. The scope is also available with a variety of highperformance reticles. SRP: $3,899.99. (leupold.com)
NIKON BLACKFORCE 1-4X24
Blackforce is a new category of optics from Nikon, and it offers models engineered for precision long-range and active shooting. Those looking for rapid-action targeting capability with AR/ MSR platforms should find the 1–4x24 riflescope ideal. When dialed down to 1X, the reticle’s illuminated double horseshoe center portion serves as a quick reference for fast engagement, as well as to establish moving target leads. SRP: $399.95.
ment knobs. SRP: $5,999.99. (trijicon.com)
TRIJICON IR PATROL A versa-
tile, multipurpose, high-performance monocular that provides a clear, sharp image in total darkness, the IR Patrol is available in five models that offer various features and magnification. The LE100 is a handheld model with a 19mm objective lens. The LE100C has the same features as the LE100, plus an imagecapture feature. The M250 can be helmet-mounted, and the M250XR features a 4.5X optical zoom, 8X digital zoom, and a stadiametric range finder. The M300W can be mounted to a rifle. SRP: $4,995 to $5,595. (trijicon.com)
NIKON WHEN DIALED DOWN TO 1X, THE ILLUMINATED DOUBLE HORSESHOE RETICLE ON THE BLACKFORCE 1–4X24 SERVES AS A QUICK REFERENCE POINT FOR FAST ENGAGEMENT.
TRIJICON SNIPE IR This
thermal-imaging weapons sight has a full 640x480, 12-micron thermal image sensor and fully digital, 60 Hz image processing. Its advanced VisRelay collimating optic eliminates parallax with partnered day optics. The SNiPE IR mounts in front of
NIKON BLACKFORCE 4-16X50 For law
enforcement’s precision shooting tasks, this riflescope comes with X-MRAD or X-MOA tactical-style reticles synchronized to elevated windage and elevation turrets. Accurate and repeatable, the adjustments enable precise dialing of elevation come-ups and wind compensation. It is affordably priced at $599.95.
TRIJICON MRO PATROL Trijicon’s
MRO has become a favorite carbine sight with tactical operatives. The new MRO Patrol adds the most-requested accessories to a combat-ready, red-dot optic. These include lens covers, an ARD Kill Flash, and a new lightweight, quick-release mount. It weighs 5 ounces and retails for $919. (trijicon.com)
TRIJICON IR HUNTER This
compact thermalimaging rifle sight combines a full 640x480, 12-micron thermal image sensor and fully digital, 60 Hz image processing with digital focus and contrast controls. Four models offer various features and magnification, including 8X Digital Zoom, multiple reticle options, and turret-style adjust-
LEUPOLD THE MARK 8 3.5–25X56MM IS IDEAL FOR TARGET ENGAGEMENT AND OBSERVATION. A VARIETY OF HIGHPERFORMANCE RETICLES ARE AVAILABLE.
FEDERAL PREMIUM THE NEW 135-GRAIN HST LOAD IN .38 SPECIAL WAS SPECIALLY ENGINEERED TO BE USED IN BACKUP SNUBNOSE REVOLVERS.
an existing day optic and is optimized for use with the 4x32 ACOG. It features No-Shot Zero sight-in, is 7.4 inches long, and weighs 24.6 ounces. SRP: $9,999. (trijicon.com)
A FULL LINE OF DEFENSIVE HANDGUN AMMUNITION IS AVAILABLE, ALL LOADED WITH ALL-COPPER PROJECTILES, DESIGNED TO PROVIDE BARRIER-DEFEATING PERFORMANCE.
.308 Winchester. SRP: $32.95 $34.95. (federalpremium. com)
FEDERAL PREMIUM GOLD MEDAL RIFLE WITH BERGER BULLETS
Federal Premium Gold Medal rifle ammunition has always been a top choice for law enforcement designated marksmen. Now, those shooters have even more accurate options, with new Gold Medal Berger loads featuring Berger bullets with high ballistic coefficients. New offerings are available for the .223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 Grendel, and
GBW LEGEND PRO
A manufacturer based in Venice, Florida, GBW Legend offers a full line of defensive handgun ammunition, which it calls Legend Pro. Loaded with all-copper projec-
tiles, each is designed to provide barrier-defeating performance. GBW also offers centerfire rifle cartridges for common law enforcement chamberings such as the .223 Remington, 300 Blackout, and .308 Winchester. (gbwcartridge.com)
FEDERAL PREMIUM .38 SPECIAL 135GRAIN HST The .38 Special
has always been a favorite backup gun for law enforcement officers, and Federal has just made it better with the new 135-grain HST load. The load was engineered to be ideally adapted to the snub-nose revolver and utilizes a 135-grain version of the popular HST bullet. (federalpremium. com)
33 FEDERAL PREMIUM
GOLD MEDAL BERGER LOADS NOW FEATURE BERGER BULLETS. NEW OFFERINGS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE .223 REM., 6.5 CREEDMOOR, 6.5 GRENDEL, AND .308 WIN.
POLYCASE .357 MAGNUM ARX
Once the darling of police agencies, the .357 Magnum has faded from view. But Polycaseâ€™s new .357 Magnum load, which utilizes its copperpolymer injection-molded projectile, should restore some luster by offering .357 Magnum power, but with less recoil. The 86-grain ARX bullet leaves the muzzle at 1,650 fps. SRP: $19.99.
REMINGTON FREEDOM BUCKETS For
SIG SAUER .223 REMINGTON 77-GRAIN MATCH
officers in small departments who have to purchase their own training ammunition, Remington has expanded its Range Bucket line to include the .380 Auto, .40 S&W, and .45 Auto. The .380 Range Bucket will contain 500 rounds, the .40 S&W 300 rounds, and the .45 Auto 200 rounds. SRP: $90 to $200. There’s also a new Freedom Bucket containing 180 rounds of 300 Blackout for $33.73. (remington.com)
ELITE With a muzzle velocity of 2,750 fps, this 77-grain Sierra OTM (open-tipped match) bullet is ideal for designated marksmen or other officers assigned perimeter protection with patrol rifles, carbines in the AR platform, or even precision bolt-action rifles. SRP: $24.25, per box of 20. (sig sauer.com)
SIG SAUER EXPANDING SONIC 300 BLACKOUT Intended as a
hunting load for the 300
HORNADY BLACK Hornady’s newest ammo line, Black, is specifically tailored to firearms generally considered to be within the tactical arena, many of which are commonly used by law enforcement. The packaging is easily identifiable, and the loads are intended to provide high performance for high-volume shooting. Offerings include .223 Remington, 5.56 NATO, 6.8 SPC, 300 Blackout, .308 Winchester, 7.62x39, and 12-gauge. SRP: $15 to $35, per box of 20; 12-gauge, $16.33, per box of 10. (hornady.com)
Blackout, this ammunition is ideally suited to law enforcement because it offers a high degree of terminal performance without an audible signature. With wide expansion and deep penetration, the subsonic Blackout load should be perfect for police snipers and other tactical team applications. SRP: $28.50, per box of 20.
clean it—anywhere, anytime. It has a tanto blade and is surrounded by ergonomically designed glass-reinforced nylon handles to provide a secure grip in the face of mud, blood, rain, or sand. Open length, 8.125 inches; weight, 4.3 ounces. SRP: $99.99. (crkt.com)
is a compact—and remarkably lightweight—tactical axe. Infused with the practicality of a modern SWAT tactical tool, but wrapped in ancient Nordic design, it has a practically indestructible 6.7-inch carbon-steel head with a black powder-coat finish. The Rune would make a great addition to any patrol car, because, as every street cop knows, you never really know what you will be faced with. SRP: $150. (crkt.com)
THE 77-GRAIN SIERRA OTM (OPEN-TIPPED MATCH) BULLET IN .223 REM. IS IDEAL FOR PERIMETER PROTECTION WITH PATROL RIFLES AND AR CARBINES.
CRKT HOMEFRONT TACTICAL The
in-field, no-tool-needed, takeapart capability of the Homefront lets you disassemble it and
CRKT RUNE This
THE TANTO-BLADE HOMEFRONT TACTICAL DISASSEMBLES FOR COMPLETE CLEANING IN THE FIELD. THE GLASS-REINFORCED NYLON HANDLE PROVIDES A SECURE ALL-WEATHER GRIP.
GALCO WRAITH 2 HOLSTER An
evolution of Galco’s popular Wraith belt holster, the Wraith 2 combines features from the existing Paddle Lite and BlackGuard models, along with four patent-pending innovations, to create a highly versatile and concealable multipurpose holster. For plainclothes officers or others who do not desire Level 3 security, the Wraith is an easy-on, easy-off, versatile holster. SRP: $49.95. (galcogunleather.com)
HI-VIS FIBER OPTIC SIGHT Hi-Viz is now
and stainless-steel ball-bearing design in order to provide reliably consistent locking action and a more solid feel when performing control techniques. Closed length: 8.75 inches. Open length: 19.75 inches. SRP: $196. (safariland.com)
PROTECH HARD ARMOR Protech
Tactical, another brand in the Safariland Group, has introduced several new hard-armor products, including a Boltless Helmet Suspension System (SRP: $675), a Boltless Shield with Ballistic Lens Cap ($5,280), and a Tactical Weapon
offering a front- and rear-sight set with interchangeable LitePipes and easy-to-adjust rear sight elevation for Smith & Wesson M&P pistols. The new Adjustable Sight Set fits all M&P full-size and Pro pistols in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 Auto. SRP: $95.95. (hivizsights.com)
MONADNOCK AUTOLOCK X3 BATON
Monadnock (a Safariland brand) has a new baton with a largerdiameter shaft. The AutoLock X3 HG baton meets the demand for smaller-size batons that can still provide a large surface-contact area. The baton also features an updated cam
GALCO AN EVOLUTION OF GALCO’S POPULAR WRAITH BELT HOLSTER, THE WRAITH 2 IS A HIGHLY VERSATILE AND CONCEALABLE MULTIPURPOSE HOLSTER.
Trunk Box ($2,592 to $2,670). These are forward-thinking, life-saving, law-enforcement tools. (safariland.com)
SAFARILAND 7TS HOLSTER
SAFARILAND VIEVU With all
Officers with the Taser X26P and those with a Surefire XC1 light attached to their firearm can now enjoy the benefit of comfortable carry with the highly soughtafter 7TS holster. This includes holsters that will fit Surefire XC1–equipped Glock 17, 19, 22, and 23 pistols, as well as 4.25-inch barrel S&M M&P pistols in 9mm and .40 S&W. The 7TS holster is injection-molded and constructed of Safariland’s proprietary SafariSeven material. It is available in plain black, basketweave, and high gloss. SRP: $95. (safariland.com)
the recent focus on body cameras for police officers, Safariland and Vievu have partnered and developed a proprietary camera auto-activation system to automatically activate a Vievu LE4 body camera any time a firearm is drawn from a connected Safariland 7TS holster. An officer in a stressful or potentially life-threatening situation no longer has to make the conscious decision about whether first to turn on the camera or to draw a weapon.
SAFARILAND RDS HOLSTERS
Safariland has a new line of holsters designed for handguns with red-dot optics. The majority of these models feature Safariland’s patented Automatic Locking System. The red-dot handgun sight is quickly evolving to become the future of the defensive handgun, and Safariland is evolving to meet that trend. SRP: varies according to model. (safariland.com)
SPYDERCO STRETCH II LIGHTWEIGHT
With a full-flat grind VG-10 stainless steel blade and an injectionmolded fiberglass-reinforcednylon handle, the Stretch II Lightweight is a great everydaycarry knife suitable for the general utility chores faced by today’s patrol officer. Closed length: 4.71 inches. Weight: 3.7 ounces. SRP $134.95. (spyderco.com)
purpose folding knife with a broad blade crafted from CPM S30V. It features a full-flat grind and a four-position hourglass clip supporting left and right side, as well as tip-up and tip-down carry. SRP: $334.95. (spyderco.com)
SUREFIRE PR1 PEACEKEEPER
Surefire Peacekeeper flashlights were developed for law enforcement and are powerful, rechargeable illumination tools. The PR1 features high-performance LED and a 600-lumen beam. It can also provide a useful 15-lumen beam, activated via its tail-cap switch. The PR1 is powered by a rechargeable 18650 lithiumion battery, but it will also run on two disposable 123A lithium batteries. Length, 5.37 inches; weight, 6.2 ounces. SRP: $250. (surefire.com)
SPYDERCO OPUS The Opus is a versatile, all-
THE INJECTION-MOLDED 7TS HOLSTER CAN HANDLE A TASER X26P AS WELL AS SUREFIRE XC1 LIGHTS ATTACHED TO FIREARMS.
The best new law enforcement product for 2017 has to be the LEUPOLD LTO TRACKER. This unbelievably compact thermal-imaging unit weighs only 7.4 ounces and is less than 6 inches long. It provides exceptional image quality, fast 30hz frame rates, and detection of heat sources out to 600 yards. Primarily intended for hunters, this cool device can change the way street cops or law enforcement surveillance teams do their job. It has more than 10 hours of continuous use from a single CR123 lithium battery. It is the pick of this 50-product litter. SRP: $909.99.
THE STRETCH II LIGHTWEIGHT (LEFT) IS A GREAT EVERDAY-CARRY KNIFE. THE OPUS (RIGHT) IS A VERSATILE, ALL-PURPOSE FOLDING KNIFE WITH A BROAD BLADE.
The Less-Lethal Option P R O T E C T I N G L I V E S A N D P R O P E R T Y D O E S N ’ T A LW AY S H A V E T O R E LY O N D E A D LY F O R C E B Y J O C K E L L I O T T
arlier this year, in Berkeley, California, some protesters at a conservative speaking event went into full-blown felony riot mode, injuring citizens and causing nearly a half-million dollars in damage to the University of California and local businesses. and In February, a conservative blogger who had his arm broken in three places by an anti-gun activist at an anti–Second Amendment event in 2015 was recently convicted in Portland, Oregon, of unlawful use of a weapon for pointing his semi-auto handgun at a group of protesters who he believed were menacing him.
Events such as these highlight the need for less-lethal options for protecting lives and property by both law enforcement agencies and ordinary citizens. To deal with the need to match the force of the response to the situation, the National Institute of Justice advocates a Use of Force Continuum that includes less lethal options. Many law enforcement agencies follow such protocols, which basically lay out appropriate responses for escalating situations. Less-lethal options present an opportunity for gun dealers who want to help citizens protect themselves and law enforcement agencies better do their jobs. Ordinary citizens and law enforcement officers (LEOs), however, have different agendas in using less-lethal options— citizens want to deter and escape from those who would do them harm, while LEOs generally want options that will assist them in controlling and/ or arresting people. Not all options available to law enforcement are available to ordinary
citizens, and the options available to citizens, and the training requirements to use them, may vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. As attractive as they may be for application in the appropriate situation, less-lethal options have their limitations: • Nothing works 100 percent of the time. The less-lethal option that may be effective on one
PYROTECHNIC GRENADES DESIGNED FOR OUTDOOR USE FEATURE A LARGE COVERAGE AREA.
person may not be effective on another. •All less-lethal options can be lethal or cause injury under the right circumstances. Dave DuBay, vice president of Less Lethal for Safariland, says, “Every use of force has the potential to cause injury, and products can be misused.” •All less-lethal options should be accompanied by training. Ty Weaver, director of advanced weapons and munitions for Sage Ordnance Systems Group, says, “People need to know what they have and how to use it properly, whichever lesslethal option they choose to deploy.” •Legality depends on location and policy. Legal use of lesslethal options for personal and home defense is highly dependent on whatever laws apply in the jurisdiction in question. This requires a knowledge of federal, state, and local laws. In addition, the use of less-lethal options for law enforcement depends not only on applicable laws, but also on department policy.
The range of less-lethal options is extraordinary: • Batons/canes: These are effective at arm’s length, can be used by civilians (again, where legal) and law enforcement, and offer the potential to hold someone at a distance or to deliver a variety of blows that can cause pain or injury. • Pepper (OC) spray: These offer a maximum range of about 15 feet and are frequently carried by law enforcement. Availability to civilians varies by jurisdiction. Pepper foam and gel are also available to law enforcement. • Tear gas (CN, CS) spray: These dispensers offer a maximum range of about 15 feet and are available to law enforcement. Availability to civilians varies by jurisdiction. • Taser: This tool offers a maximum range of about 15 feet and is frequently carried by law enforcement. Availability to civilians varies by jurisdiction. • Malodorants: These can provide area control across a variety of ranges depending upon how they are deployed. They are available only to law enforcement. • Hand-thrown munitions: These may contain pepper gas, tear gas, smoke, or other options. They are available only to law enforcement. • Pepperball projectile launchers: These are effective out to about 60 feet. They are available to law enforcement and may be available to civilians in some jurisdictions. • Less-lethal ammo for conventional firearms: Such munitions offer an effective range up to 30 feet, depending upon the type. Readily available to law enforcement, their availability to civilians depends on the jurisdiction and the type of projectile. • Specialized projectile launchers (such as 37mm and 40mm launchers): These tools
are available to law enforcement
PROJECTILE LAUNCHERS COME IN SMOOTHBORE AND RIFLED CONFIGURATIONS.
only. They can be had in both smoothbore and rifled configurations, and may have a range up to 150 yards, depending on the ammunition. A wide array of munitions are available for these launchers, including impact rounds, soft-impact rounds, ball rounds, multi-ball rounds, powder (OC, CS, and inert) rounds, smoke rounds, and more. The way in which manufacturers of less-lethal options work with gun dealers varies. For example, Sage Ordnance Systems Group has a distributor and dealer network that stocks products for non-NFA-controlled items. If a dealer sells a controlled item, such as a 37mm launcher and ammo, to an agency, Sage will drop-ship direct.
Both the ammo and launchers are regulated. By contrast, Safariland does not stock dealers and will only drop-ship directly to agencies. Both Sage and Safariland offer dealer sales support and training to end users. The key to selling less-lethal options to law enforcement is finding a match between what the agency needs and what the dealer has to offer. Retailers need to know and understand the applicable laws in their jurisdictions; the need for additional or specialized insurance, if any; the products and how they should be applied; and the strategic needs of the law enforcement agency with which the retailers are working. Resources • Safariland (safariland.com) offers impact munitions (40mm, 37mm, and 12-gauge); launchers; accessories; chemical-agent devices, including chemical grenades and devices; and tactical devices, training aids, batons, and training for agency personnel. Sage Ordnance Systems Group (sageinternationalltd.com)
SOFT TOUCH THIS HIGH-SPEED PROJECTILE USES A PLASTIC BODY AND A FOAM NOSE. IT IS FIRED FROM 40MM LAUNCHERS.
offers: launchers; ammunition, including multiple variants of less-lethal ammunition in 37mm smooth bore, 37 SAGE Rifled, 40x46mm NATO, and 12 gauge; and hand-thrown munitions, aerosols, and malodorants. Sage also provides training for agency personnel, including instruction in applicable case law.
JUNE + J U LY 2017
Is cash still king? Not for long +
By Mark E. Battersby
JUNE + J U LY 2017
One of the oldest adages in business is, “Cash is king.” But is it? These days, emerging alternative technologies are pushing cash to the curb. as cash transactions that support underground economies and crimiAdmittedly, many people still do nal money-laundering efforts are difficult to track, unlike use cash. However, debit cards e-payments, which leave an easily traced trail in their wake. now appear to be the most popular In Germany, strong moves toward limiting cash transactions form of payment, closely followed are underway. Nearby Sweden has advanced far along the cashless by cash and credit cards. The rest path, as many banks no longer accept or dispense cash of any is a mix of checks, money orders, sort; bill and coin transactions now represent only 2 percent of prepaid cards, electronic paySwedish commercial activities. While the elimination of cash is ments, and online bill paying. not yet a government policy in Retailers and others have plenty of reasons to eliminate cash. Doing so obviously reduces the temptation of employees to steal and helps reduce the chances of a robbery. It also means no one has to count change, make sure a cash drawer balances, or haul cash to the bank at the end of the day. Though credit cards help solve these problems, they come with a cost, one that retailers tend to pass on to customers. Retailers typically end up raising the prices charged to everyone—including those who pay with cash—to cover the fees that the credit card companies charge. As an alternative to government-issued cash, Bitcoin made its first appearance in 2009. Today there are hundreds of other cryptocurrencies, often referred to as “altcoins.” These are mainly used for large transactions, and in the U.S., the IRS has ruled Bitcoins and several of its counterparts are not actually currencies, but rather an “investment” vehicle that fluctuates in price. You may read a lot about Bitcoins, but as a gun-store owner, you really don’t have to pay much attention to it (at least for now). A few years ago, the Federal Reserve predicted there would be $616.9 billion in cashless transactions in 2016. That’s up from around $60 billion in 2010. Not too surprisingly, governments have been increasingly pushing for a cashless society,
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Canada, the country is voluntarily moving toward credit and debit card payments at a remarkable rate. Right now, a whopping 77 percent of responders to a recent survey said they preferred to eliminate cash altogether. In the Netherlands, cash is definitely not getting the royal treatment; in many places, it has simply ceased to be recognized as legal tender. More and more Dutch stores, from the upscale healthfood Marqt stores to local bakeries and bagel shops, take credit or debit cards exclusively. Some retailers even describe going cash-free as “cleaner” or “safer.” Though American consumers are not as far down the cashless road as their European counterparts, there is no doubt that cash alternatives will continue to command more attention, especially with younger buyers. ●
GO ING M OB IL E
Mobile commerce, or M-commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services through wireless, handheld devices such as cell phones and personal digital assistants (PDAs). It represented 34 percent of all eCommerce transactions globally in 2015. PayPal, the online payment system, continues to add more merchants, and now counts 14 million merchants to complement the platform’s 170 million users. Users can utilize PayPal’s mobile phone app online and in stores. Electronic money, or e-money, is the money
balance recorded electronically on a stored-value card. E-money is a floating claim on a bank or other financial institution that is not linked to any particular account. Examples of electronic money are bank deposits, an electronic funds transfer, direct deposit, payment processors, and, of course, digital currencies. Although the digital era has been in full swing for some time, many shooting, hunting, and firearms businesses have yet to invest in the latest technology. Near-field communications (NFC) is one such technology retailers might consider as part of their marketing campaigns. Many mobile payment systems have been introduced in the past few years, including Google Wallet and Apple Pay. With these and other similar applications, consumers with mobile devices have a “digital wallet” accepted by shooting sports merchants with active NFC terminals. The list of digital wallets accepted by merchants is growing. According to many reports, Wells Fargo Bank will soon launch an NFC-based mobile payment service. To use these mobile wallets, such as the one Wells Fargo plans, consumers enter their credit card information in their phone. Then, when shopping with merchants who use NFC technology, the consumer holds the phone over a payment terminal and taps a button on the phone or enters a PIN. Another benefit of the new NFC technology is integration with social media. Imagine, with a quick scan customers can automatically alert followers of their location—your shop or firing range—along with an invitation to join them. A firearms business can achieve similar results by setting an NFC tag by the shop’s entrance, and a friend or “like” request for your operation’s web page will be sent to customers with an NFCenabled phone as they enter the premises. ●
GET SM ART
Along with the convenience offered by cashless transactions is an increased aware-
ness of security concerns. A good example is provided by the new chip-encoded smart cards, which an estimated 90 percent of consumers will soon have. By now, every gun shop owner and manager should be aware of the so-called liability shift that occurred when the new EMV (Europay, Mastercard, and Visa) technology was introduced (See SHOT Business, October/November 2015). No longer will credit card companies be liable for fraudulent use of credit and debit cards scanned or keyed into the old, non-chip credit card payment transaction technology. Instead, businesses that continue to utilize the older nonchip technology will find themselves, not the credit card companies, liable for fraud. Finding a suitable approach for transitioning from conventional credit cards to the new EMV smart card technology has been difficult. Fortunately, there is good news for merchants in that true integrated solutions have recently been introduced. This new tool is a cutting-edge implementation of technology that takes current POS system data and migrates the communication with a chip-processing device. This streamlined process meets regulations, consumer demand, and the bottom-line concerns of merchants. Adopting any of these new and emerging payment systems largely depends on what the customers of your firearms business prefer and are willing to deal with. Right now, it’s probably safe to say your older customers would prefer to use the payment devices with which they are most comfortable—credit cards, checks, and cash. But your younger customers think and act differently. Many rarely have cash on hand, preferring to use payment devices accessed through their smartphone. In order to attract and keep such customers—something essential to the long-term health of your business—you will have to eventually accommodate their payment preferences. And that means you will have to take that big step into a world without cash.
E l i m i n at i n g c a s h h e l p s reduce the chances of a robbery. It also means no one has to count change, make sure a cash drawer balances, or make night deposits at the bank. JUNE/JULY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 45
W H AT ’ S S E L L I N G W H E R E
West Guys OR Good Guns, Medford Just across the California state border, this 2,000-square-foot store specializes in home defense and has an average of 400 firearms in stock. Handgun sales are steady and only slightly under pre-election numbers. Smith & Wesson Shields, Ruger LC9s, and Glock 17s are getting equal attention. “Our sales have remained strong even after the election,” said counter salesman Jim Kincaid. “I do find it strange that three weeks after Trump got elected, all of our backordered .22 ammo showed up.” Modern sporting rifles are still moving at a nice pace—four to five a week. Most turns are going to S&W Sports and Ruger 556s. Anything in .22 is moving, with Ruger and Savage in the lead.
Large-caliber bolt-action guns should start moving by the end of June, Kincaid said.
AZ Sprague’s Sports, Yuma Specializing in law enforcement and military sales, this large Arizona independent rests just 15 minutes from the Mexico border. MSR sales have held steady, and since March high-end rifles have been outpacing lower price points by a three-to-one margin. Two popular models have been Daniel Defense and FN’s FNAR. “I wouldn’t say we didn’t see this coming, but the traffic on MSRs is still strong, and we don’t see it falling with the high-end rifles,” said manager Chad Converse. Other long guns from Tikka and Sako are selling extremely well for this time of the year. “We see a big retail opportunity
with distance shooting. Many of these minute-of-angle bolt-action guns are doing super well. It also rains profits on the optic side,” Converse added.
Uncle Oly’s WA Gun Shop, Mount Vernon
This small family-run shop keeps fewer than 100 used firearms in stock while bringing in new inventory as custom orders. Handgun sales are steady for Uncle Oly’s and continue to make up the lion’s share of turns. Sig Sauer P238s and Ruger LCP2s are seeing the most action. “I continue to promote doing transfers,” owner Brian Olson said. “We do them cheaper than anyone else within 100 miles, and it has a major effect on driving traffic into the store.”
Midwest City Guns, KS Bull Alton
Located on U.S. Route 24 in north-central Kansas, this large independent keeps more than 3,500 firearms in stock and has nearly 10,000 square feet of floor space. Handgun sales still rule at this retailer. Top sellers include Smith 686s, Ruger LC9s, and price-point pistols such as SCCY’s CPX-1 and CB 9mm. A few sporting clays shotguns are moving, including Browning Citori models and a couple of trap guns. “We are having a slow early summer—nothing is moving super fast unless there’s a special price on it,” said owner Brice Ballard. “Locally, we depend on the farming and oil industries. Today they are not very healthy in this part of the country.” Sales of MSRs have remained flat since January, with only three
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or four units being sold some months. The top seller remains the DPMS Oracle.
Top Gun MO Shooting Sports, Arnold
Located in south St. Louis County, this store keeps more than 700 guns in inventory while operating an NSSFcertified Five-Star range. Handguns have slowed somewhat but are turning steadily. Sig 320s, Beretta APXs, and Glock Gen4s lead the pack. “We are definitely seeing slower traffic across the board. What keeps us selling guns is our range program,” said general manager Cody Blissett. “Our ‘Rent Before You Buy’ program consistently moves product with both experienced and new shooters.” MSR sales are flat at just two to
four per month. This retailer reports that the higher-end rifles are significantly outpacing the lower-price points.
Western Trail NE Sports, Scottsbluff
With more than 1,000 firearms in stock, this large independent in western Nebraska also stocks a full line of general sporting goods for both fishing and camping. Handguns are priced to sell, and the store is moving its older inventories of H&K VP9s and Smith Shields and M&Ps. “We are focusing very hard on reducing inventory to find the right sales mix for our local market. The ag economy dominates our region, and it’s the slowest we’ve seen it in a long time,” said owner Bruce Rollins.
B Y P E T E R B . M AT H I E S E N
East Bob’s Gun CT Exchange, Darien
With 500 firearms in stock, this retailer, only 15 miles from the New York state line, has been in business for more than 50 years. Bob’s specializes in handguns, reloading supplies, and higher-end shotguns. Sales of concealed-carry handguns have been brisk for several months. Here, Smith Shields and Glock 43s lead the pack. Demand for 1911s has increased and is expected to continue through the summer. Most orders are going to Wilson Combat and Sig Legion models. Early summer sporting clays guns are moving, with good turns on Beretta Onyx Pros and Benelli Super Sports. “We have seen a remarkable number of older clays shooters moving to 20- and
28-gauge over/unders to reduce recoil,” said counter salesman Hunter Tassitano. Beretta 686s are leading the smaller-gauge category. Bolt-action rifles are starting to move, especially Tikkas and Sakos in .243. These sales are driven by a local gun club that features a running deer competition.
Sports VT Wright Shop, Newport Located in Northern Vermont just 5 miles from Canada, this shop stocks general sporting goods with an emphasis on soft goods and hunting firearms. Handgun sales are steady. Sig 320s are in the top spot, followed by Glock 17s and Smith Shields. Small calibers rule the rifle counter, with classic Ruger 10/22s leading the way. “Summer and the holidays are our prime time for .22
sales,” said manager Cecile Odin. “It would be even better if our customers weren’t still so nervous about past ammo shortages. But lowering prices on ammo and having a strong inventory is changing the mindset,” she said. MSR sales have been even this year, about one a week, with Smith M&P Sports pulling the best numbers.
Sports, NY Target Glenville Featuring 3,200 square feet of new retail space, this Albany-area store stocks a diverse mix of sporting and home-defense firearms. Although traffic is down from last year, handgun sales are comparable with 2015 levels. Leading the category are Smith Shields and Sig 320s—both pulling strong numbers.
South GA Googe’s, Hazlehurst Located in rural southeast Georgia, this general sporting goods, gas station, and meat-supply store stocks 250 new and used guns. For this retailer, summer is all about plinking. “We are so glad to see .22 ammo come back. Smallcaliber sales can be up to half of our sales during the summer,” said partner Ray Googe. Standbys like the Ruger 10/22 and Marlin leveractions are crossing the counter at this store. Sales of handguns are slower than last year but still holding their own. Glock 43s and Ruger LCPs are getting the greatest attention. Googe’s moves about one MSR a week, most often a Ruger 556.
Outdoors, LA TP Monroe
locations in northern Louisiana, this sporting goods retailer splits its inventory among fishing, soft goods, archery, and firearms. The stores turn nearly 5,000 firearms a year. Handgun sales are steady but down from last year. Glock 43s lead the pack, but Ruger LCP2s are also moving quickly. Springfield’s XD Mod 2 is coming on strong. “Although total numbers are down, we are still doing well,” said owner Bill Petrus. “To get real fast traffic in the store, it can require a sale. Many of the rebate programs, such as those from Springfield, are a big help.” MSR sales also are steady at about four to five a week. DPMS Oracles and Ruger 556s occupy the top spots. Sales of higher-end MSRs, such as those by Black Rain Ordnance, are increasing.
Nagel’s Gun TX Shop, San Antonio
This shop had its beginnings in Robert Nagel’s garage back in the 1940s. It has since grown to one of the larger independent gun shops in the state. Handguns are on the move for summer, with steady turns on Glock 43s, Smith Shields, and the entire H&K VP line. “Although handgun sales are good, we expect next year to be more about providing services, such as gunsmithing and training, to sustain our volume,” said counter salesman Gilbert Trevino. “We see new shooters coming into the market who will demand more service.” MSR sales are consistent and continue to grow in the hunting segment for whitetails and hogs. Springfield Armory and Patriot Ordnance are selling well.
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Firearms Business Insurance Wholesalers & Distributors Retail Sales Manufacturers & Importers Ammunition & Bullet Manufacturers Indoor & Outdoor Ranges Gunsmiths Firearms Instructors
31 Parker Road • Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208
800.526.2199 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.guninsurance.com
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Spyderco ➤ Designed
by renowned knife maker Butch Vallotton, the Lil’ Sub-Hilt is a more compact, pocketfriendly version of his first Spyderco collaboration, the Vallotton Sub-Hilt. Like the original, it features a beautifully crafted handle constructed with full skeletonized stainless-steel liners and stainless-steel bolsters. They are paired with contoured, polished G-10 scales and complemented by matching G-10 inlays in the bolsters. The result is a stylish subhilt-style handle with a seamless fit that accurately replicates Vallotton’s coveted custom knives. SRP: $309.95. (spyderco.com)
Spyderco’s Lil’ SubHilt, designed by Butch Vallotton, is a pocket-friendly knife.
No Magnetic Closure Technology, the Bino XR optics case provides separate, easy-access compartments for a set of binoculars and a rangefinder. The upper storage pouch can accommodate most 10x42 and smaller binos, while the lower storage pouch can accommodate most rangefinders. Available in Badlands Approach camouflage, Serengeti Brown, and Gunmetal Gray. SRP: $149.99. (badlands
Utilizing Badlands Zip-
The Badlands Bino XR optics case can store binos and rangefinders.
It’s Like Having Super Powers Now you can see through steel. See what’s going on inside your barrel with the BorecamTM Digital Borescope with Monitor from Lyman®. It gives you access to the inner secrets your gun may be keeping from you. Images from the miniature digital camera can be captured from the display and saved to a memory card. Keep ahead of wear and damage with technology you can trust from Lyman Products.
PHOTO BY JUSTIN APPENZELLER
Hydro Flask One of the hottest trends right now is stainlesssteel, double-wall, vacuum “drinkware.” These items are sturdy enough for camp, but also nest easily in the cupholder of a pickup or SUV. Hydro Flask’s take on this category begins with the classic brushed-stainless-steel look, but expands to add multiple colors. The Tumbler (think of a Starbucks Venti) comes in two sizes— 22 ounces and 32 ounces (the 22-ounce version on the left costs $29.95). The smaller—and aptly named—“Rocks” (below, $7.50) is a 10-ouncer with a beveled bottom that provides a shelf for the pinkie, giving you a firmer grip on the cup. Other features include TempShield insulation that keeps cold drinks cold up to 24 hours, hot beverages hot as long as 6 hours. An insulated press-in lid helps prevent spills. Hydro Flask’s unique powder-coat exterior adds slip-free grip and extra durability. There is also a lifetime warranty. (hydroflask.com) (Continued on page 48)
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FEEDS ON ALMOST ANYTHING WITH A RAIL. OVER 150 PISTOLS. ONE HOLSTER. You don’t need a different holster for every handgun. Omnivore locks on to virtually any handgun with an accessory rail—light-bearing or not. And releases on command with an intuitive thumb release. It’s the next generation of retention.
Available in Light-Bearing Models
Multi-Fit with Level 2 Retention
Adjustable, 3-Position Thumb Release
Compatible with BLACKHAWK! Holster Mounting Platforms