HOW TO MANAGE ACROSS THREE GENERATIONS Pg. 22
A SPECIAL 16-PAGE SECTION TAKES AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT AN EXTRAORDINARY FOUR DAYS IN LAS VEGAS Page 31
Smith & Wessonâ€™s M&P 45 Shield packs a powerful punch in a small package Pg. 24
Eyesight is precious. Wiley X shooting glasses help keep harm at bay Pg. 48
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.
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A P R I L / M AY 2 0 1 7
VOLUME 25 ISSUE 3
EDITOR’S NOTE SHOT Show seminars struck pay dirt.
NEWS BRIEFS CRKT unveils a new tactical knife; Mossberg brings back the 590A1 Magpul 9-Shot pump.
48 FYI How to manage employees who are part of three separate generations.
FIRING LINE Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 Shield packs a powerful punch in a small package.
UNDERCOVER SHOPPER Looking for .22LR MSRs in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia.
GOOD STUFF Eyesight is precious. A modest investment can keep harm at bay.
SHOT SHOW 2017 The vast amount of new product may be the big draw, but the SHOT Show is really much more than that, as this sampler, taken from the pages of SHOT Daily, amply demonstrates.
WHAT’S SELLING WHERE
NEW PRODUCTS A Colt double-action Cobra; a new folder from Helle; and an innovative way to smoke from Camp Chef.
COVER PHOTO: TIM IRWIN
FROM THE NSSF The 2017 SHOT Show kicked off what promises to be a banner year for the firearms industry.
NSSF UPDATE A new COO; major firearms study released; a key compiiance conference for FFLs; “Don’t Lie” comes to Pittsburgh.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Is your range ventilation system meeting minimum standards? Here’s what you need to know to get the lead out.
RETAILER TOOLBOX Why firearms dealers should conduct background checks on all potential employees.
SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 3
Pay Dirt SHOT Show seminars delivered the goods
can’t begin to count the number of seminars I’ve attended during my career. Most, to be blunt, were a waste of time—regrettable affairs in which ill-equipped speakers droned on and on to an indifferent, bored-tothe-bone audience. One notable new-product seminar, conducted early in the morning at a trade show breakfast, featured a product engineer so lackluster that his own publicrelations manager fell asleep during the presentation. The few that delivered useful nuggets of information, though, were worth their weight in gold, especially when they featured a charismatic speaker who knew his material— and his audience. In that vein, you could say NSSF struck gold with its full slate of seminars conducted the day before the 2017 SHOT Show opened. I was especially impressed by the new Executive Management Seminar. SHOT Business contributing editor Peter B. Mathiesen covered “Make Some Noise: Open the Throttle and Dominate Your Marketplace,” by Ken Schmidt, former director of communications at HarleyDavidson. Mathiesen didn’t really know what to expect, but he came back flushed with excitement. He told me, “A terrific presentation full of power and passion.” I looked at him and said, “That’s the headline.” You can read his article on page 35, but in essence, Schmidt said that passion for what we do, not a description of product attributes, is the key to continued success. Contributing editor Rob Staeger felt he struck pay dirt when he attended a session with marketing expert Dan Coates on the challenges of managing three generations of employees. Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials all must be managed differently to get the best results. One telling point Coates 4 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
made regarded the work ethic of Millennials, which is often criticized by older workers. “I can get more than 40 hours of productivity from them,” he said. “I just can’t get it at the times I want.” That’s because Millennials prefer to arrive later than Baby Boomers or Gen Xers, but will stick around long after the others leave for the night. I recall a retailer telling me the same thing a couple of years ago. He said, “Baby Boomers will come in early to open the store, but they don’t want to stay late to close. Millennials hate to come in early, but will stay late. I had a devil of a time with my schedules until I figured that out. Once I did, everyone was happy.” Coates so impressed Staeger that he interviewed Coates shortly after SHOT show for his FYI column (page 22). His insights in how to motivate and manage each generation are worth a close look. Lastly, a pair of social media seminars helped attendees figure out this often-confusing landscape by offering tips on which platforms work best. Your time at SHOT Show is precious and needs to be spent well. The SHOT Show seminars are worth the investment.
Slaton L. White, Editor
SLATON L. WHITE, Editor James A. Walsh, Art Director Margaret M. Nussey, Managing Editor David E. Petzal, Shooting Editor Mike Toth, Special Projects Editor Judith Weber, Digital Content Producer Hilary Ribons, Editorial Assistant CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Larry Ahlman, Barbara Baird, Scott Bestul, Philip Bourjaily, Christopher Cogley, David Draper, Jock Elliott, William F. Kendy, Mark Kayser, David Maccar, Richard Mann, Peter B. Mathiesen, Brian McCombie, Tom Mohrhauser, Robert Sadowski, Robert F. Staeger, Peter Suciu, Wayne Van Zwoll
ADVERTISING: 212-779-5316 Gregory D. Gatto, Vice President, Publishing Director Jeff Roberge, Advertising Director Brian Peterson, Western Sporting Goods Sales Katie Logan, Southern Sporting Goods Sales David Hawkey, Northeast Sporting Goods Sales Amanda Gastelum, Integrated Marketing Director Ingrid Reslmaier, Marketing Design Director
BUSINESS OPERATIONS Tara Bisciello, Business Manager
CONSUMER MARKETING Robert M. Cohn, Consumer Marketing Director Stephanie Fry, Fulfillment & Planning Manager
MANUFACTURING Michelle Doster, Group Production Director Stephanie Northcutt, Production Manager
BONNIER Chairman, Tomas Franzén Head of Business Area, Magazines, Lars Dahmén Chief Executive Officer, Eric Zinczenko Chief Financial Officer, Joachim Jaginder Chief Operating Officer, David Ritchie Chief Marketing Officer, Elizabeth Burnham Murphy Chief Digital Revenue Officer, Sean Holzman Vice President, Integrated Sales, John Graney Vice President, Consumer Marketing, John Reese Vice President, Digital Operations, David Butler Vice President, Public Relations, Perri Dorset General Counsel, Jeremy Thompson
SHOT Business (ISSN 1081-8618) is published 7 times a year in January, February/March, April/May, June/July, August/September, October/ November and December by Bonnier Corporation, 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5695, and is the official publication of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Flintlock Ridge Office Center, 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470 (203-426-1320). Volume 25, issue 3, Copyright © 2017 by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation, production and advertising offices are located at 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5695 (212-779-5000). Free to qualified subscribers; available to non-qualified subscribers for $25 per year. Single-copy issues are available for $5 each. Send check, payable to NSSF, to: SHOT Business, c/o NSSF, 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470-2359. SHOT Business accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and photographs. All correspondence should be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. Requests for media kits and advertising information should be directed to Katy Marinaro, Bonnier Corporation, 625 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 1270, Chicago, IL 60611. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in the USA. For Customer Service and Subscription questions, such as Renewals, Address Changes, Email Preferences, Billing and Account Status, go to: shotbusiness .com/cs. You can also email SBZcustserv@cdsfulfllment.com, in the U.S. call toll-free 866-615-4345, outside the U.S. call 515-237-3697, or write to SHOT Business, 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016. For editorial inquiries, write to Slaton L. White, SHOT Business, 2 Park Ave., New York, NY 10016 REPRINTS: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to SHOT Business, P.O. Box 6364 Harlan, IA 51593.
National Shooting Sports Foundation®
Our industry’s customer base continues to evolve. It’s time to change with it, or get left behind. Join us in Austin, Texas, for a jam-packed agenda of informative sessions. Connect with industry leaders and hear from influential speakers. Register today for the premier forum for leaders of the shooting sports industry, the 2017 NSSF Industry Summit.
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Bits & Pieces
NEWS BRIEFS NEWS
Otis Technology Renews Partnership
Otis Technology is renewing its partnership with the Kids & Clays Foundation, a charity group whose proceeds benefit various Ronald McDonald House Charities. The Kids & Clays Foundation is a community of shooting sports enthusiasts committed to supporting Ronald McDonald House Charities and improving the lives of children and their families. By partnering with sponsors and shooters, Kids & Clays generates funds to help support the needs of Ronald McDonald Houses across the nation. “Without companies like Otis Technology, we’d be unable to grow the foundation to where it’s at today,” said Doug Jeanneret, executive director for Kids & Clays. “We’ve experienced year over year increases in participation and were able to generate more than $1.2 million in revenue in 2016 alone.”
ALPS OutdoorZ Teams Up With RMEF ALPS OutdoorZ, a division of ALPS Brands, has entered into a corporate partnership with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF). “Like RMEF, ALPS OutdoorZ values elk conservation, the protection of their habitat, and ensuring that our hunting heritage is protected for future generations. These common values make our partnership a natural and valuable fit for both companies,” says Dennis Brune, ALPS Brands founder and president. As part of the deal, ALPS OutdoorZ will introduce a line of RMEFlicensed hunting gear.
The Tecpatl knife, designed by Michael R. Rodriguez, is the latest model in a line of knives from CRKT’s Forged by War program.
CRKT’s New Tactical Knife
he motto of CRKT’s Forged by War program is, “Designed by Vets. Driven by Duty.” Its aim is to deliver mission-ready tools designed by warriors. In addition, CRKT donates a portion of the profits to the designing veteran’s charity of choice. The Tecpatl tactical fixed-blade push dagger is the latest release in the program. Designed by Michael R. Rodriguez of Fayetteville, This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.
North Carolina, it’s the type of tool he wishes had existed while he was serving overseas as a member of the 7th Special Forces Group. The blade features a black powder-coat finish for corrosion resistance. The first finger hole at the base of the blade is perfectly sized for most digits, and the adjacent open hole makes for a rock-solid grip. The knife is secure in the closed-fist position, making it ideal for pushing or slashing. If a situation shifts, the low-profile hold allows you to grab your gun, or an assailant, without dropping or shifting the knife’s position in the hand. The Kydex sheath is spring-loaded with a MOLLEcompatible gear clip so it’s always exactly where you need it. SRP: $89.99. (crkt.com) APRIL/MAY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 7
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The Mark X is an upgrade of the company’s wellregarded Mark VII boltaction rifle. Several versions will be offered.
Shaw Precision Guns Unveils New Mark X Rifle From Shaw Precision Guns, a division of E. R. Shaw, America’s largest independent manufacturer of gun barrels, comes the new Mark X, an evolutionary upgrade of the Mark VII bolt-action rifle, designed to set new standards in custom rifle affordability. Essentially, this is a custom rifle that offers consumers a choice of barrel lengths from 16.25 inches to 26 inches in two different contours. More than 100 chamberings are on offer, from .17 through .458 in both commercial and wildcat calibers. The new Mark X differs from the Mark VII in that it features both cosmetic and functional improvements, among them a ¼-inch-thick integral recoil lug, an attractive flat-sided patented receiver with an integral Picatinny scope mount base, and controlledround feeding. In addi-
tion, the highly acclaimed AccuTrigger is standard, as is a five-round detachable magazine and a laminated stock in a choice of brown or black. Essentially, the E. R. Shaw Mark X is a custom, made-to-order rifle, yet the SRP starts at $1,399 for the basic blued chrome-moly version
with laminated stock. Options include stainlesssteel barrels and actions, left-hand actions, Timney trigger, high polish or matte metal finish, a Grade V checkered walnut stock, barrel fluting, and Shaw’s patented spiral fluting at an additional cost. (ershaw barrels.com)
Nikon Debuts Black Riflescope Series
ikon is doubling down on its commitment to American shooters with the introduction of the Black riflescope series— a new category of dedicated optics with models engineered for both precision long-range rifle and action-shooting AR enthusiasts. For the precision rifle shooter, Nikon’s Black X1000 is offered in a range of 4–16x50mm and 6–24x50mm models with X-MRAD or X-MOA tactical-style reticles synchronized to elevated windage and elevation turrets. Each of the new reticle designs presents the shooter with a visually clean yet highly functional and advanced tool for estimating range or maintaining holdovers. Shooters looking for rapid-action targeting capability with AR/MSR platforms can rely on the new Black Force1000 1–4x24 riflescope with capped turrets and SpeedForce reticle. When the riflescope is dialed down to 1X magnification, the reticle’s illuminated double horseshoe center portion serves as a quick reference for reaction-speed target acquisition and engagement as well as for establishing
moving target leads. The SpeedForce MOA reticle also integrates BDC circles and hash marks for precise intermediaterange target holdovers. The new Black series reticles can be applied to virtually any shooting application, regardless of caliber or ballistic performance, and can be further optimized for specific shooting situations utilizing Nikon’s Spot On Ballistic Match Technology. All Black series riflescopes feature a 30mm main body tube built with aircraftgrade aluminum alloy and Type III hard anodizing, providing exceptional ruggedness and optimum strength-to-weight ratios. Each also has an optical system built from Nikon’s lead- and arsenic-free Eco-Glass, which is optimized with the company’s full multilayer coating on all air-to-glass lens surfaces. Spring-loaded instant zero-reset turrets provide precise, repeatable corrections on all Black riflescope models. And like all Nikon riflescopes, the new Black series is backed by the company’s No Fault policy for repair or replacement. (nikonsportoptics.com)
DAY TO NIGHT IN ONE SIGHT?
IT’S A SNAP. NEW FOR 2017:
LUMINOUS LITEPIPES TM
Transform your favorite HIVIZ® LiteWave® handgun sight into a nighttime performance tool by simply snapping in our new Luminous LitePipesTM. Luminous LitePipesTM offer intense brightness during the day, but when charged with any light source for only 15 seconds, you’ll get 30 minutes or more of glowing brightness in complete darkness! It’s an affordable, innovative alternative to tritium, and the patented HIVIZ interchangeability literally makes upgrading your sight a snap!
SEE WHAT YOU’VE BEEN MISSING
The Black series scopes use 30mm main body tubes constructed of an aircraftgrade aluminum alloy.
Proof Research Steps Up
roof Research is a Montana-based science-driven defense/ aerospace company committed to developing nextgeneration materials and composites to produce carbonfiber barrels and weapons systems that lighten a warfighter’s load while increasing durability and effectiveness. As part of its commitment to quality and to implementing the highest standards in its products, production process, and daily operations, Proof Research recently earned AS9100 certification. This certification—considered the quality-management gold standard in the aerospace industry—is a widely adopted and standardized system recognized by all major aerospace and defense original equip-
As part of its commitment to quality and high production and operating standards, Proof Research recently earned AS9100 certification.
ment manufacturers. “The AS9100 standard applies additional and stricter quality requirements for certified companies in their sales, design, purchasing, and manu-
facturing departments. At Proof, our goal is to continually raise the bar in quality and performance across the board, and the AS9100 certification is a key step in reaching that
ARE YOU READY?
FIRST SHOT CONFIDENCE BAD THINGS HAPPEN FAST Get a grip on your ﬁrearm and GripSense technology reacts as fast as you do to illuminate and guide your sight to threats. CENTERFIRE® LIGHT AND LASER SIGHTS with GripSense™ Available for Ruger LC9, S&W M&P Shield, and Glock 42/43 © 2 0 1 7 La se r ma x, Inc . A ll ri g hts reserv ed .
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goal,” says CEO Larry Murphy. AS9100 certification was developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the European Association of Aerospace Industries in 1999. Because certified companies adhere to and comply with AS9100 standards, they are considered “preferred supplers” for aerospace/defense OEMs. Firms with preferred supplier status are typically considered more viable and attractive businesses with which to conduct business in the aerospace/defense industry. (proofresearch.com)
Koola Buck Spray Koola Buck, known for its portable refrigeration systems and its popular anti-microbial game bags, now offers the same patent-pending bacteriareducing technology used in the game bags in a convenient aerosol spray. Koola Buck Anti-Microbial Carcass Spray features bag-in-bottle technology that prevents the aerosol propellant from mixing with the all-natural antimicrobial spray inside the can, making certain its unique blend of anti-microbial inhibitors works properly. Because many hunters often process their animals in warm temperatures, this new spray can help ensure the safety and quality of the meat that is harvested and processed. Bacterial growth is slowed by spraying the meat’s surface, helping prevent spoilage. SRP: $12.99. (koolabuck.com)
Team Armalite 2017 Roster Announced For the 2017 season, Armalite is stacking its competitive shooting team with some of the best shooters on the circuit. Team Captain Greg Jordan will be returning for his fourth season and will be joined by Team Armalite veterans Hunter “Nubs” Cayll and John Mouret. In addition, Rick Torres and Tom Lackley will round out the roster. “Knowing the role Armalite has played in the development of firearms throughout history, specifically the AR-15 platform, I consider this a great honor,” says Jordan. Returning for his second year with Team Armalite, Cayll will continue his climb to the top. Cayll, relatively new to competitive shooting, has proven that being born with no hands is “no excuse” to keep him from succeeding. Cayll can often be seen at the major industry trade show events on the range helping to educate new shooters. He also lends his
knowledge and experience to the NubAbility Athletics Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to coaching kids with limb loss. Mouret is a veteran shooter and sergeant with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. In addition to 3-Gun competitions, he will be participating in law enforcement multi-gun matches, utilizing off-the-shelf patrol rifle configurations from Armalite. Although Torres is relatively new to 3-Gun, his experience in law enforcement and his passion for shooting give him, Armalite believes, a natural ability to succeed at a competitive level. Lackley, a junior shooter, will be joining Team Armalite as a factory shooter. This year marks his third year shooting competitive 3-Gun. (armalite.com) Armalite’s 2017 competitive shooting team will consist of seasoned veterans and newcomers.
The Mossberg 590A1 Magpul 9-Shot shotgun, originally offered as a distributor exclusive in 2014, re-joins the company’s lineup in 2017.
By Popular Demand Mossberg brings back a tactical pump Originally offered as an RSR Group exclusive in 2014, the 590A1 Magpul 9-Shot shotgun returns to Mossberg’s full line this year. Pairing the 12-gauge pump-action platform with Magpul’s SGA adjustable stock and MOE forend and an XS Sights’ Ghost Ring sight system helps elevate the performance of this tactical shotgun to the point where it is the only pump to pass U.S. Armed Services MilSpec 3443 requirements for endurance, accuracy, and quality. Based on Mossberg’s proven 500 pumpaction platform, standard features of the 590A1 include non-binding twin action bars, positive steel-to-steel lock-up and antijam elevator, dual extractors, an anodized aluminum receiver, and an ambidextrous top-mounted safety. Enhancements to the 590A1 include nine-shot capacity with 2¾-inch shells (one less with 3-inch shells), 20-inch heavy-walled barrel with an openended flush magazine-tube design, and a durable Parkerized finish on exposed metalwork. The adjustable stock allows a user to customize length of pull (from 12.25 inches to 14.25 inches) through a series of halfinch stock inserts. Optional cheek risers can also be used with optics or raised sights. The MOE forend features an extended length and is designed with front and rear hand stops for improved manipulation. The forend is also compatible with Magpul MOE rails for ease of adding accessories. Completing this 590A1 package is the XS Ghost Ring sight, consisting of an anodized-aluminum receiver-mounted rail and sight (adjustable for windage and elevation) paired with an AR-style white-stripe front sight. SRP: $836. (mossberg.com)
THE FEAST BEGINS AT AGUILAAMMO.COM High-performance centerfire, rimfire, and shotshells. Now accepting new dealers and distributors. Â©2017 Texas Armament & Technology LLC
Today, more and more manufactured firearms, including many models of pistols and most AR/MSR rifles, have rails for attaching accessories. Crimson Trace offers numerous options to help firearms owners across America decide what rides on their rails. There are nearly a dozen Crimson Trace accessory options for firearms with rails. The LiNQ wireless-operated laser and light systems are designed to securely attach to most rifles that feature Weaver or Picatinny accessory rails. The remotely operated LiNQ module can be placed in a variety of locations on the rifle and houses a brilliant green laser and 300-lumen white LED light. The replacement activation grip utilizes Crimson Trace’s patented Instinctive Activation technology, a feature designed to activate the laser when the firearm is held in a normal firing grip and when the user is ready to fire. No other product in the laser sight industry offers this capability. The replacement activation grip activates and operates
the module through a secure, singular, closed system. The module operates in four modes: light only, laser only, laser and light, and laser and strobe light. The newest LiNQ model, the LNQ-103G, is designed to fit AK-type rifles and has a green laser diode. It offers the same features as the original LiNQ. The Rail Master Pro laser sight and light is a red or green laser paired with a 100-lumen LED white light. Operation modes include laser and light, light only, laser only, and laser and strobe light. The CMR-204 (green) and CMR-205 (red) will fit most pistols, rifles, and shotguns with M1913 Picatinny or Weaver accessory rails. The popular Rail Master laser sight is well known for being compact, powerful, and
affordable. The CMR-201 (red) and CMR-206 (green) have tap-on/tap-off Instant Activation and auto shutoff when left inactive for five minutes. A coyote tan version and a 100-lumen white-light-only model are also available. The durable and versatile MVF-515 is an easily installed and operated forend grip that offers a red or green laser paired with a powerful 200-lumen LED white light. Light modes can be moved from momentary or strobe to constant on. Crimson Trace offers more than 260 products that are available at more than at 2,500 dealers across America. The company’s products can be easily installed without requiring modification of the firearm or special gunsmith skills. (crimsontrace.com)
Crimson Trace offers more than 260 accessories in various combinations of lasers and lights for a wide variety of pistols, shotguns, and rifles.
14 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
Lipsey’s Special Offer Lipsey’s has added the highly anticipated stainless-steel option to the popular line of Ruger Bisley Flattop .44 Special revolvers. Lipsey’s has offered Bisley .44 Special revolvers since 2010, but only in a blue finish. Now these desirable configurations will be available in a tough, weather-resistant stainless steel. They are being built on the midsize .357 Magnum frame in both the 4 5/8-inch and 5 ½-inch barrel lengths. Rosewood laminate grips and pinned front sights adorn these rugged sixguns. Jason Cloessner, Lipsey’s vice president and product development manager, couldn’t wait to add these revolvers to Lipsey’s growing line of special makeup firearms. “Our lineup of Ruger singleaction .44 Specials continues to be one of my favorites. The stainless Bisleys give you both a classic and a functional field gun,” he says. The all-new stainlesssteel Bisley Flattop .44 Specials are now available and ready to ship. An authority in NFA regulations, Lipsey’s also offers a robust line of silencers, short-barrel rifles, and accessories designed to help retailers serve their customers at a high level. (lipseys.com)
Riding the Rails with Crimson Trace
We’d like to thank our competition for paving the way in polymer pistols.
we ’ll take it from here. ®
Cleanest, Crispest Short-Reset Trigger Unmatched Modularity in Caliber and Frame Three Grip Sizes for the Perfect Fit Easiest, Safest Takedown Instinctive Point-of-Aim
U P D AT E
BY MELISSA SCHILLING, NSSF DIRECTOR, CONFERENCES & EXHIBITIONS
FROM THE NSSF
A Show of Shows The 2017 SHOT Show kicked off a promising year for NSSF—and the entire shooting industry
he 39th Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, owned and operated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, signaled a positive year ahead for the firearms industry. Strong attendance, upbeat buyers and sellers, and a series of packed special events that collectively made up “SHOT Week” resulted in one of the top-rated SHOT Shows.
The show spanned January 17–20 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Industry professionals packed the aisles from the opening bell, and attendance totaled nearly 65,000, surpassing last year’s turnout to make it the secondmost-attended SHOT Show ever. International attendance was particularly strong: ➤ Visitors
from 111 countries, including 12 of 13 Canada provinces. ➤ 6,513 international registrants—up nearly 300 from 2016. ➤ 1,023 delegates to the International Buyer Program, up nearly 350 from 2016, and with two more countries added to the roster, bringing the total number of participating countries to 37.
There were thousands of products displayed on the show floor—firearms, ammunition, accessories, optics, knives, gun safes, apparel, and law enforcement equipment, among other categories. More than 500 new products from 338 companies were exhibited at the New Product Center, sponsored by U.S. Concealed Carry Association. In addition to the more than 1,600 exhibiting companies on the main show floors, the NEXT 2.0 Pavilion 16 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
provided first-time vendors from the show’s extensive waiting list with welcome visibility and potential new customers. All of this is why SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world. “I think we’ve arrived at a point where we’re truly balancing the needs of an enormous crowd of industry professionals with the venue and services they need to successfully set the course of their businesses for the months ahead,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer, “We are pleased to see that our efforts to produce a continuously high-quality show have once again paid off.” The show drew excellent reviews from exhibitors and attendees. Just a few of the comments from some of the show’s many sponsors included: “SHOT is always a great opportunity to showcase our product line. Our traffic numbers were huge, and I think we reached a record number of people this year.”—Jan Mladek, Smith & Wesson, SHOT Show University and HAVA Golf Classic sponsor “SHOT is always very productive for us, giving us time to meet with our existing clientele and a chance to meet new customers and build relationships.”—Matt Allbritton, Daniel
Defense, SHOT Show Mobile App and hotel key card sponsor “The attendees are always passionate, as pickup trucks play an important role in the outdoor lifestyle. SHOT is an excellent venue for meeting new potential customers.” —Dave Sowers, Ram Truck, Title Vehicle sponsor “We were swamped! It’s been a banner year, with our gun auctions drawing all sorts of customers.”—Donald Hall, GunBroker.com, NSSF Member Lounge sponsor In addition to title sponsors, SHOT Show supporters included Aguila Ammunition, Brownells, Carhartt, GunBroker.com, Sig Sauer, U.S. Concealed Carry Association, Vista Outdoor, and Winchester Ammunition. “We couldn’t do this year after year without our sponsors,” said Dolnack. “We appreciate them taking their support of SHOT Show to a new level.” The high energy from the floor continued into other events. One of the biggest was the NSSF State of the Industry Dinner, with a sold-out crowd of more than 2,200 guests packing the ballroom on the show’s first evening. There, NSSF president and CEO Steve Sanetti, in a speech entitled “A New Hope,” listed a series of priorities that the industry needs to focus on to
help protect its future. “Our overriding hope is that when it comes to helping stop the misuse of firearms by criminals, and preventing access to them by legally prohibited felons, the violently mentally ill, and the drug gangs who terrorize disarmed inhabitants of our cities, the American public will realize we are all on the same side,” he said. After dinner, guests were treated to entertainment by Mike Rowe, star of the wildly popular Dirty Jobs television show and advocate of skilled trade workers. He had the crowd rolling with laughter for more than an hour. Other big moments were the presentation of the NSSF Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award to Alan Mossberg, who guided O.F. Mossberg and Sons for decades, and the Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award to Ashley Hlebinsky, author and curator of the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. We’re looking forward to several other events this year, especially our annual Congressional Fly-In, taking place the first week of April, and our first-ever 3-Gun Fantasy Camp, taking place in Las Vegas from April 20 to 23. For the full list of NSSF events, visit nssf.org.
Melissa Schilling NSSF Director, Conferences & Exhibitions
FROM THE NSSF
BY BILL PROVENCHER
U P D AT E
YO U S H O U L D K N O W
A Clean Operation Why range ventilation systems should use HEPA ﬁlters
s the owner of an indoor range, you have numerous options available to you when it comes to the choice of filters used in your ventilation and air filtration system. That system, of course, is an essential component of your range construction. You should have one installed, and it must meet certain criteria, all aimed at keeping your staff, your customers, and the environment healthy. But with so many filters to choose from, and at a wide range of prices, where do you start? My company, Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation, encourages the use of HEPA filters and the following explains why. What Is a HEPA Filter? ➤ An
essential component of most range ventilation systems is the HEPA filter. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters remove 99.97 percent of particles 0.3-micron and larger in diameter. HEPA filters are rated at minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) of 17, and can trap tiny particles of smoke and lead that filters having a lower rating would miss. HEPA filters are also furnished with gaskets and locking-pressure mounts that provide a positive seal around the filter mounting to the filter frame. This ensures that all airflow is passed through the HEPA filter and that only filtered air gets to the other side. Almost all standard non-HEPA filters having a MERV rating lower than 17 are installed in racks that do not form a positive seal around the filter.
Do I Need One? ➤ HEPA
filters should be used on all systems that recirculate air back into the range. This provides a clean airflow supply with lead exposures below the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) allowable limits. That limit allows for a maximum exposure of 30 micrograms per
cubic meter (without the use of a respirator) over a timeweighted eight-hour average. In addition to the recirculation system needing a HEPA, I strongly recommend the use of these filters on the exhaust system funneling range air from the building to the outdoors. Some have argued that exhaust air need not be filtered through HEPA filters because the levels of contaminate through most commercially available filters designed for this purpose produce air with lead particulate below the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) allowable limits. However, over time, even these small amounts of lead being discharged into the environment will contaminate surroundings to a degree that exceeds the EPA limits—and then you’ve got a cleanup problem on your hands. I once witnessed a range whose system had discharged unfiltered air into the outdoors for more than 20 years. This resulted in lead contamination on the roof and in the soil around the building. Furthermore, the retail area inside the building had been contaminated by outside air pulled back into the building through the heating and cooling units. The result for that range owner: An abatement remedy that cost him more than $500,000.
What’s the Cost? ➤ One
common complaint about HEPA filters is the cost of replacing them—HEPA filters do generally cost more than other filter types. The life of a HEPA filter depends on several things, including your bullet trap design, volume of shooting, and the overall configuration of your building. We’ll explore how these things affect filter life in later articles, but the following three steps will keep your HEPA filter costs under control: 1. Install a good pre-filter.
These can protect the HEPA filter and extend its life. Pre-filters have lower MERV ratings, but they can remove most of the larger contaminants before they reach the HEPA filter, thereby reducing the load on the HEPA. 2. Consider investing in a new filter rack. Your filter
supplier and your range ventilation maintenance contractor can help you find the best solution based on your current installation design and help you decide whether it’s worth the investment to change it. It’s important to look at the long term and compare the return-on-investment (ROI) of each proposed alternative. 3. Make sure your exhaust motor is adequate. It is criti-
cal to maintain the airflow in your range at a negative pres-
sure to ensure that contaminate created in your range does not migrate into your non-range spaces. If the exhaust motor is sized and designed properly, the exhaust modulates to maintain this negative pressure between your range and the non-range part of the building as your filters load. With an inadequate exhaust motor and fan, the range will lose its negative pressure when the HEPA filter is only slightly loaded, and you will then need to change that filter more often to maintain the negative pressure. Have questions about your filter and ventilation setup? NSSF has a number of resources available to help, including a team of Range Action Specialists who can meet with you for an onsite consultation. For more information, go to nssf.org and click on the “Range” heading at the top of the page, or contact Zach Snow, NSSF manager, shooting promotions, at email@example.com. Bill Provencher has been a principal at Carey’s Small Arms Range Ventilation since early 1992. Carey’s systems provide customized air handling using top-grade filters and other components to expel airborne ballistic contaminants and evacuate smoke downrange. The company has designed and built hundreds of range ventilation systems, all guaranteed to meet OSHA, NIOSH, and EPA requirements. APRIL/MAY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 17
U P D AT E
Hugh Wiley Appointed Chief Operating Officer of NSSF
he Board of Governors of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc., announced in February the appointment of Hugh C. Wiley to serve as its chief operating officer. He will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the NSSF, reporting directly to president and chief executive officer Stephen L. Sanetti.
Wiley brings many unique business skills to the NSSF. The graduate of Bowdoin College has had decades of managerial and marketing experience in both national and international organizations. Most recently, he was the principal/partner of Content Wise Associates, LLC, a digital, social, mobile, video, and content media strategic consulting firm. Previously, he had been the worldwide publisher of Businessweek, worldwide publisher of The Fortune Group, publisher of Fortune Small Business, EVP of sales,
marketing, and media for Time Inc. International, and president and publisher of Time Inc. Latin America. A hunter and shooter since childhood, Wiley has long been a staunch supporter and defender of the Second Amendment. He is a competitive trap shooter, a life member of the ATA, and president of the Atlantic Indians Trapshooting Association, and is active in skeet, sporting clays, rifle, and pistol shooting. He is also president of the Camp Fire Club of America, the oldest big-game conservation organization in
America, and past president of its conservation fund. A life member of the NRA, Wiley has hunted in Africa, Alaska, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, and South America, as well as the U.S. “Hugh has worked for us as a consultant since the middle of 2016, and it is unbelievable how energetic and enthusiastic he is about the mission and goals of the NSSF,” said Sanetti. “He brings many new skills and a fresh perspective to all we do, and we are delighted to be working with him as we head into a bright future in 2017.”
Wiley is a lifelong hunter and shooter.
NSSF chairman of the board Robert Scott commented, “Hugh’s personal and professional backgrounds are a perfect match for the needs of the Foundation in its role of representing, promoting, and defending the industry.” “I am delighted to be joining the NSSF, and I look forward to furthering the Foundation’s mission and vision,” said Wiley. “This is a critical time in NSSF’s and our country’s history, so I am thrilled to have the opportunity to make a difference in supporting our shooting sports.”
2017 FIREARMS INDUSTRY COMPLIANCE TAKES PLACE IN MAY—REGISTER NOW!
o-hosted by Orchid Advisors and NSSF, the 2017 Firearms Industry Compliance Conference will take place May 8–10 in Arlington, Virginia. Now in its fourth year, this conference features industry experts discussing how to successfully navigate the intersection of legislation, regulation, and compliance with that of operations, logistics, and technology. The conference includes nearly 20 breakout sessions
18 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
spread over three focus tracks, providing opportunities for all FFL types—as well as freight companies and second-tier suppliers—to join in the discussion of how to improve their business functionalities. Just a few of the many breakout session topics scheduled for this year include best-in-class laser and barcode scanning technology, serial
number control, modernday ERP systems, and supporting compliance tools. Attendees can also take part in one of three preconference workshops on the afternoon of May 8. Track A will be an NFA workshop, covering various forms, corrections, the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR), and suppressor construct and marking. Track B delves into Best Practices in Retail Security, with an
emphasis on risk assessment, cost of breach, preventive controls, detective controls, self-audit, insurance, and ATF interaction. Track C will focus on technologies for FFLs, such as point of sale and compliance and operational integration through e4473, eNICS, and eA&D. The 2017 Firearms Industry Compliance Conference will take place at the Westin Arlington Gateway. To register, go to ficconference.com.
FIREARMS OWNER STUDY RELEASED To help manufacturers and retailers understand consumers on a deeper level and identify new business opportunities, NSSF has supported Southwick Associates in producing the first-ever consumer segmentation study of firearms owners—and potential first-time owners. Eight customer segments have been identified, each with its own unique product preferences, attitudes, and needs. Based on more than 100,000 surveys, key results include: ● Motivations toward hunting, shooting, and firearms purchases. ● Types of shooting activities pursued. ● Detailed profiles for the unique protection-oriented segments. ● Firearms they want to buy in the next five years.
● Products and accessories purchased in the past 12 months. ● Most important product features desired by each segment. ● Shopping habits and annual amount spent. ● Their path to purchase (e.g., media usage, prepurchase research, etc.) To learn more, go to southwick associates.com and click on the “Firearms Consumer Segmentation” link under the “Commercial” column heading. NSSF members receive a discount. While on the site, check out the free “First-Time Firearms Buyers Segmentation” report. This information is valuable because more than 24 million Americans think they are likely to purchase their first firearm within the next five years.
Register Now for NSSF 2017 Industry Summit
ake plans now to attend the 2017 Industry Summit. The longstanding NSSF Industry Summit has been responsible for many innovative and effective programs that have helped build participation in target shooting and hunting—something now more crucial than ever to the health of our industry. The Summit provides attendees with the latest research related to the firearms and ammunition industry, hunting, and target shooting, while delivering cutting-edge information from experts. The 2017 NSSF Industry Summit will work to share dynamic, replicable models
of success that contribute toward a common goal of increasing participation in hunting and target shooting. Summit attendees are decision makers from all segments of the firearms industry, including retailers, range owners, members of the conservation community, and wildlife agency professionals. The Summit takes place June 5–7 in Austin, Texas, at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol. For agenda and registration details, go to
“Don’t Lie” Messages Cover Pittsburgh
s part of an ongoing national effort to help prevent illegal straw purchases of firearms, NSSF and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) took time in February to remind the public in the Pittsburgh area that stiff penalties are in place for individuals convicted of such purchases. Billboard advertisements for the program were purchased by NSSF in key locations throughout the region, with the message, “Buy a gun for someone who can’t and buy yourself 10 years in jail. Don’t Lie for the Other Guy.” More than 5.3 million weekly media impressions were delivered via billboards around Pittsburgh, while more than 1,500 thirty-second radio spots aired on local stations weekly throughout the campaign. No taxpayer dollars were used, as the program is funded in full by the firearms industry. “Don’t Lie” is a cooperative program between ATF and
NSSF. The effort was developed more than a decade ago to raise public awareness about the seriousness of the crime of purchasing a firearm for someone who cannot legally do so. The program also helps ATF educate firearms dealers to be better prepared to deter potential straw purchases. The public campaign drives home the message that anyone attempting an illegal firearms purchase faces a stiff federal felony penalty of up to 10 years in jail or up to $250,000 in fines. This public awareness campaign is only part of the “Don’t Lie” outreach effort. The program also involves educating firearms retailers to better detect and prevent straw purchases. FFLs are provided a “Don’t Lie” retailer kit containing a training video and informational brochure for storeowners and staff, as well as pointof-purchase displays aimed to deter illegal straw purchases. To learn more and order your “Don’t Lie” retailer kit, visit dontlie.org.
NEW ATF ORGANIZATIONAL CHART AVAILABLE At NSSF’s request, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has released a new organizational chart for its Office of Enforcement Programs and Services (EPS) that lists all divisions and branches, plus contact information for each. To download, go to http://bit.ly/2m27LZz.
© 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.
APRIL/MAY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 19
U P D AT E
R E TA I L E R T O O L B O X
Looking for Red Flags Pre-employment background checks help keep trouble at bay
s an FFL, checking a potential employee’s background can be considered an essential component of your store’s overall security planning. Even the most basic checks will likely provide the big red flags that can tip you off to a potentially dangerous hire. And with today’s internetbased providers, the cost of performing these checks is now often quite manageable. Let’s look at why you should consider adding this component to your hiring process.
WHY SHOULD YOU CONDUCT BACKGROUND CHECKS? ➤ When
it comes to safety, employers have an obligation under OSHA to provide a safe workplace, one that is free of known hazards, and that includes security risks. It can be easily argued that hiring an individual with violent tendencies, tendencies that could have been
discovered with due diligence, would represent a disregard for that obligation. Such an operational failure can then present serious liability risks if other employees, vendors, and customers are subsequently victimized. For these reasons, many employers opt to perform at least a criminal background check on potential employees before finalizing any
offer of employment. FFLs should take particular note of this because it is stipulated by ATF that prohibited individuals are not allowed to handle or sell firearms under any circumstances. Similarly, if such a prohibited individual causes harm to anyone, such as a customer or vendor, the employer may be liable if there was an opportunity to
learn about this tendency, such as the existence of a public criminal record. Security is another concern, particularly for FFLs, where most if not all employees have access to firearms and ammunition. A security background check is critical to ensuring your prospective employee has not had any prior arrests or convictions for
A security background check is critical to ensuring your prospective employee has not had any prior arrests or convictions for property crimes.
20 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
B Y J O H N B O C K E R , N S S F S E C U R I T Y C O N S U LTA N T T E A M M E M B E R
property crimes, including larceny, burglary, or robbery. Many retail theft and robbery investigations show that insiders have often assisted in the execution or planning of such crimes. When it comes to security background checks, consider, too, that most employees will be managing cash, and many will be making decisions that affect the company’s profitability or reputation. For any individual hired in these roles, employers should consider doing a background check that confirms the individual does not have a history of fraud, negligence, or theft. HOW DO YOU CONDUCT A BACKGROUND CHECK? ➤ Technically,
calling references and prior employers listed on an employment application is a form of background screening, and this should be your first step with any potential new hire. Though listed references are rarely going to be anything but positive affirmations of a potential hire’s capabilities— no one puts down as a reference someone they didn’t get along with and who wouldn’t say good things about them—as an employer, what you’re trying to gauge is what the potential employee is like to work with and if they will likely be a good fit with your other employees and customers. Still, making these contacts can also be done to try to uncover any fabrications or exaggerations on the application or résumé, or during the interview. Use your good sense and also validate the reference itself. Beyond references, your next step will be criminal and financial background checks, or a combination of both, which are performed by service providers outside
your company. Keep in mind that there are limits to what you as an employer can and should discover and use. Credit and background checks require employee consent. Without consent, such checks can be illegal. Use a reputable service or consult legal counsel and get advance permission before conducting background screenings. If you use an employee’s credit rating in the hiring process, you must be sure there is a legitimate business purpose for doing so. Lower credit scores disproportionately affect some individuals, including displaced workers, recent immigrants with little or no credit history, and others affected by unplanned bankruptcy. Eliminating a potential hire on that basis alone can create a discriminatory hiring dispute. Even with a legitimate business purpose, the employer must also be sure to follow the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) rules. Background checks can inadvertently turn up information that discloses a person’s inclusion in a protected class. Even if this information is not used in the hiring process, it is risky for an employer to have such information at this stage because it raises the possibility of a discrimination claim. For this reason, many employers use thirdparty services to conduct background checks, with those services turning over only information that is relevant to the hiring process. There are many federal, state, and local laws that limit the type of information an employer can seek out, so be sure to consult an
attorney knowledgeable of these regulations. Background screenings must be relevant to the job. For example, there is probably no need to get a driving record for someone who will not be driving for the company. Be consistent in how you conduct your background checks. For instance, it’s okay to conduct background screenings on a group of applicants after they’ve made your short list, but it’s definitely not okay to conduct background checks only on minorities or immigrants. When something of concern is uncovered during a background screening, consider giving the applicant the opportunity to share more information about the situation. While you still need to be consistent in how the situation is handled, it’s possible there’s a mistake that can be rectified or there are extenuating circumstances that change the view of the situation. Of course, if you’re going to give the opportunity for explanations, be consistent and offer this opportunity every time a particular situation arises. Consider, too, you may not or should not make hiring decisions based solely on arrest records. An arrest is not the same as a conviction, as all individuals in the United States are “innocent until proven guilty” in a court of law. Never use NICS for any-
thing besides a firearms transfer accompanied by a Form 4473. Per 28, C.F.R. §25.11 of the NICS Regulations, accessing or using the NICS, or permitting access to or use of the NICS by another, for any unauthorized purpose is a violation of federal law, sanctions for which may include criminal prosecution, a civil fine not to exceed $10,000, and/or cancellation of the NICS inquiry privileges. Share background check results on a need-to-know basis only. All relevant records should also be maintained in secure, confidential files. NSSF’s Store Security Audit team can help you assess the need for background checks and how to conduct them during their daylong, in-store consultation visit. For more information, go to http:// nssf.org/retailers/ SecurityAudit/. NSSF also partners with a variety of vendors, including one that conducts background checks, to provide products and services at a discount to its members. Log in to the members-only side of nssf. org to discover more.
John Bocker is an NSSF Security Consultant Team Member and the managing director at JB Group, LLC, based in Denver, Colorado. JB Group is a business security and integrity strategy consultant organization specializing in maximizing profitability, risk management, employee integrity, and operational controls. Visit jbgroupco.com or call 720-514-0609 for more information. APRIL/MAY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 21
B Y R O B E R T F. S TA E G E R
Age Before Duty A Millennial research expert discusses managing a multi-generational workforce
It’s a message Coates took to heart when he founded YPulse, a youth marketing and Millennial research group. The experience has given him insight into managing all generations, not just Millennials. “As a manager, you have to be aware of what generation you’re communicating with to relate to them,” he says. “There’s really no way to make a Millennial think and act like an Xer or a Boomer,” says Coates. “The things that have shaped them preclude them from looking at the world that way. And yet it’s possible to understand and motivate generations other than our own. “If you understand a generation’s perspective, you can cast things in terms that make sense to them. It’s not manipulative. In fact, it’s inclusive.” The key is understanding how the different generations were forged. Boomers came of age in the postwar era, a time of relative ease and prosperity. “They lived by the credo, ‘Never trust anyone over the age of 30 until you turn 30, and then never trust anyone under the age of 30.’” In a world where global superpowers were carving up the world, their mindset was formed with an Us vs. Them mentality. The trick to managing Boomers is to get on their side against a common enemy, such as your competitor. Don’t become their “Them.” Generation X came of age in very different times and were brought up in different 22 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
ways. “They were largely unprotected as children,” he says. “All of the bad behaviors that the Boomers invented, the Xers perfected.” This resulted in a generation that’s “alienated, risk-seeking, and viewing the world in a sort of trust-no-one, competitive, zero-sum-game mindset,” says Coates. “They’re largely a generation of free agents trying to reach the top.” Gen Xers are typically lone wolves, preferring managers to tell them what they want and when they want it, and then to get out of their way. This is entirely the opposite viewpoint of Millennials, a generation raised on collaboration. “Millennials were very much raised as treasured and special,” says Coates. “Team orientation was a big thing. Millennials in the workplace love to mitigate decision risk by consensus, and they really do feel like there can be win-win solutions.” Unlike Boomers, Millennials aren’t interested in maximizing shareholder value and destroying the competition. “That’s not what they woke up to try to achieve this morning,” he says. Instead, they want to make the world a better place. Sometimes that’s by working for a company that puts service and sustainability high in its mission statement. Other times, it just means helping people solve problems. “Millennials don’t like to sell anything to anybody,” says Coates—a factor that complicates the retail process. “For
Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials have vastly different worldviews, resulting in different approaches to work.
most of my staff, the way to get them involved in the sales process is to ask them to help a client. For example,‘This client needs help figuring out her options. Can you help talk her through what the opportunities are?’” Rather than selling per se, it becomes a matter of giving a customer the information she needs to reach a buying decision. “And even then, when it
comes time to convert that intellectual process into a sale, you might want to give them a little support,” says Coates. If they’re not comfortable closing the sale, have them walk the customer over to a Gen Xer, who’ll be happy to take their money. It’s a functional symbiosis. Even if your workforce is of different generations, everyone’s on the same team.
ack when he was running a tech company that has since become part of IBM, Dan Coates had a chance to talk about management with Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey told him, “Any organization that doesn’t align itself with the goals and aspirations of the next generation of employees is doomed to fail.”
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The Little Big Gun Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 Shield packs a powerful punch in a little package
ife is about compromise. And so it is with defensive handgun selection. You must balance various attributes, such as power and recoil, capacity and caliber, carry comfort and size, and sometimes even price and performance. The reason we have so many defensive handguns to choose from is because the compromises people are willing to make vary. Smith & Wesson’s newest compact-carry pistol—the 45 Shield—addresses a subset of that population with its own rendition of compromise.
At less than 6.5 inches long and measuring less than an inch across the grip, the Smith & Wesson Shield is very compact. At 21 ounces unloaded, it is also amazingly light for a 7+1 round .45 Auto. The 45 Shield should be undeniably cozy to carry, but the obvious compromise question is whether a shooter can comfortably control a pistol this diminutive and powerful. In other words, is it possible to use the 45 Shield to get multiple threat-stopping hits quickly? It took a 200-round range session to sort this out. I feared the ultra-thin grip would be painful, and I suspected the pistol would be a bit hard to hold onto during recoil. Neither suspicion proved true. I experienced no pain in my palm, and the aggressive stippling on the grip never allowed the pistol to slip, even when I was shooting with one hand. Where the 45 Shield will get your attention is with muzzle flip. Using a full-size 1911 chambered for the .45 Auto, from concealment I can generally put 5 shots into a 5-inch circle at 5 yards in about 3.5 seconds. With the 45
S&W’s new 45 Shield is compact, reliable, accurate, and easy to carry.
Shield, I was pushing the 5-second limit of this drill due to the excessive muzzle flip; it took a tad longer to get the pistol back on target. This pistol will rock your wrist when you pull the trigger, and after 200 rounds, I did experience a bit of wrist fatigue. But, none of this is to suggest the 45 Shield is a bad idea. Five threatstopping hits at 5 yards in less than 5 seconds is performance you can
24 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
hang your hat on, particularly when you consider the trifling size of the package that allows you to deliver this lethal gift. Smith & Wesson ships two magazines with each 45 Shield, which is offered in two variants. One magazine holds six rounds and the other, which has an extended base plate, holds seven. One version of the Shield does not have a frame-mounted thumb safety; the other does.
And, while this safety is not as easy to engage as those you will find on 1911s, it is just as easy to disengage. I had no problem thumbing the safety down during fastpaced shooting drills. It’s not often a handgun captures the admiration of industry insiders like the Smith & Wesson Shield has done. I’ve heard more shooters and firearms instructors whom I trust sing the praises of the origi-
nal 9mm Shield more than any other handgun currently produced. All Smith & Wesson has done is offer that same ergonomics, reliability, and optimal shooter interface, with a version of the Shield chambered for America’s premier defensive handgun cartridge. Shooting the .45 Shield, I got that same “turn it up” vibe I feel every time I hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird” on the radio. No wonder the Shield has such a following. The two new 45 Shields increase the line to 22 models. This extensive selection of pistols is made up of versions that come with recoil-reducing porting, Crimson Trace laser sights, and others that are California-compliant. I suspect it’s just a matter of time until these same features are offered on the 45 Shield. Admittedly, this pistol is not a handgun for the weak of heart or weak of wrist. However, if you can handle the rock and roll, you’ll be hardpressed to find a more compact and lightweight .45 Auto this reliable, accurate, and easy to carry. SRP: $479. (smith-wesson. com)
Rimfires in Roanoke Can a modern sporting rifle in .22LR be found in the shadow of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains?
modern sporting rifle in .22 just makes so much sense. If you burn through a few bricks of ammo during an afternoon at the range, you’ll pay about 20 cents for each .22. If that were .223 Rem./5.56 NATO, it will cost more than twice as much, putting a big dent in your budget. And big dents like that mean shooters shoot less and worry about what they do expend. Several companies are making MSRs that are just like their big brothers; they feature similar trigger groups, weight, stocks, and sights, but cost hundreds of dollars less. That’s one big plus. Another big plus—these smaller brothers are a whole lot of fun to shoot. That’s the attitude I had when I set out for an MSR-style rimfire in the Virginia city of Roanoke.
FREE POPCORN! ➤ It’s hard to be objective when a store offers free popcorn and coffee before
you even step inside. But I’ll try. This store has been designed more for the shooter than for the hunter. When I asked for a semi-
auto .22LR in an MSR platform, the clerk immediately walked me to a Smith & Wesson M&P-22. He showed me the features and
handed it to me with the action open. He also talked about the Mossberg Plinksters, one in AK-47style and another a spinoff of a Ruger 10-22. He knew the 10-22 wasn’t an MSR, but he recommended it because of its reliability and extensive accessories. I was waiting for a big push on the Ruger, but it never materialized. I realized he was simply offering options for me to consider. That done, he walked me over to the cartridge offerings and told me all about each one they carried. He had practical advice, and was cheerful answering all my questions. STORE B ➤ This firearms store shares its roof with a pawnshop in a less-quaint section of this southwest Virginia city. It has about 75 long rifles and another 50 handguns on display. I asked for a .22 in an MSR platform or semi-auto action, and was first shown a mostly composite AK-style .22. The clerk said that on this gun, the larger mags were not reliable. He then showed me a classic Savage Model 64 semi-auto and a Marlin Model XT-22 bolt-action. He said if he were buying one, he’d get
26 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
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He knew his .22s and was happy to share his knowledge.
He showed me all of his options and gave me a tour of his ammo stocks.
He knew most of the features, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of all the guns he offered.
They did not carry a .22LR-chambered MSRstyle gun but they did have several semi-auto rimfires in different styles.
The clerk understood what I was looking for and did good research to get me prices.
Nothing relevant in the store, but the clerk offered to order guns right there at a good price.
The clerk had little to say about the guns.
The clerk offered a cool Plan B, but had no actual rimfires in MSR style.
I waited less than a minute for help, and the clerk was cheerful.
After a short wait, the clerk apologized for not getting to me sooner.
The clerk shrewdly made lemonade from lemons by offering to order any gun I wanted online.
If you are going to display nearly 1,000 guns, you need to have more than a few clerks to handle the customers.
SCORING SYSTEM: Outstanding:
an S&W M&P-22. “They made them right,” he said. “I’ve tried to get them in but haven’t been able to.” STORE C
LEMONADE FROM LEMONS ➤
This small independent store carries mostly used guns and hunting and shooting accessories. It also has a good archery selection. Despite having about 150 guns on display, they did not have the MSR-
style .22LR I was looking for. But the clerk whisked me over to a computer terminal and started searching MSR-style .22s on a wellknown wholesaler’s website set up to show the SRP as well as that store’s price. He showed me the M&P as well as the Walther, H&K, and Mossberg Tactical 22. He gave me good prices for each and said he could have any within 10 business days. He also showed me a number of used .22
28 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
semi-autos, such as classic Winchesters and Remingtons. STORE D
LITTLE TO SAY ➤ This big-box store has nearly 1,000 guns displayed. But how long would it take for me to get a chance to speak with a counter salesman? As it turned out, quite a while. After about 10 minutes, I noticed small signs directing customers to take a number, deli-style.
It wasn’t just the free popcorn—really. The store had what I wanted as well as cheerful, informative clerks. As a bonus, the clerk also told me all about .22LR ammo options and why there was such variation in the prices. He was selling guns and ammo, but he gave me a free seminar. Safeside Tactical 1201 Shenandoah Ave. NW 540-682-8881 safeside tactical.com
I grabbed one, and in another five minutes I had the privilege to speak to a live person behind the counter. The clerk was efficient, but he said they did not have any MSR-style rifles in .22. But he did produce some exotics: an FN SCAR replica, called an MK22 and made by ISSC. Another was a replica of a German WWII Sturmgewehr. Both were fascinating guns with price tags in the $650 range.
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Last year, the Winchester brand celebrated 150 years of legendary excellence. The ride doesn’t end there. The innovative technology that has made our brand a leader in the hunting and shooting sports industry for a century and a half continues today.
Long Beard® XR®
Deer Season XP® Expedition Big Game Long Range
Without question, one of the major attractions of the SHOT Show is the vast amount of new product lining the miles of aisles. But itâ€™s really much more than that, as this sampler, taken from the pages of SHOT Daily, amply demonstrates. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN APPENZELLER
32 Sign of the Times Call it a sign of the times. Med-Eng, a division of Safariland, used the 2017 SHOT Show to launch the Avenger Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). The bomb disposal and tactical robot has been engineered to provide police and military response teams with enhanced capabilities to manage ongoing and emerging threats posed by terrorists, particularly in urban environments where car bombs are of concern. The Avenger’s dexterous arm and claw can easily reach inside, above, and below cars, pickup trucks, and delivery vans to remotely investigate suspicious devices. The system includes an on-board computer that fuses data from multiple Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear & Explosive (CBRNE) sensors and cameras and relays it to a command post. This integrated sensor suite provides a mission-critical tool for managing CBRNE and Hazmat threats, such as a terrorist’s dirty bomb, mitigating risks to the surrounding public. The numerous sensor ports are compatible with many specialized sensors that bomb squads already have, so they can make use of their existing equipment and attach new tools in the future. (med-eng.com)
Tnw Tweaks the Asr
Nikon’s Top Sales Reps
ikon Sport Optics recently announced the winners of this year’s sales rep awards. Recipients were selected based on a number of criteria, including superior customer service. “This year’s sales rep award winners deserve a lot of credit for standing out among our excellent sales team. We firmly believe that we have the best salesforce of any optics company in our industry,” said Randy Garrison, associate general manager of Nikon Sport Optics sales and operations. Nikon’s Salesman of the Year award was presented to David Deveny of Owens Outdoor Sales. Deveny’s professionalism, reliability, and significant sales percentage increase over 2016 made him a clear
TNW Firearms, a designer and manufacturer of modern and historical firearms, located in Vernonia, Oregon, is now offering the innovative and popular Aero Survival Rifle in versions that comply with California and New York firearms regulations. Previously prohibited in these states due to restrictions on long guns with a pistol grip and a detachable magazine, this new variant of the Aero Survival Rifle (ASR) comes with an ergonomic fixed stock that meets the criteria allowing the use of a detachable magazine with a rifle. Like all ASRs, the California-compliant
choice for the award. “My focus this year was to spend significant time with my customers and provide the best customer service possible. I also tried to identify the right Nikon products that will sell the best for each dealer to help them grow. I credit Waylon Owens for setting the mantra, ‘Attitude determines altitude,’ ” said Deveny. The Staff Choice award went to Mike Freiberg of Elevated Outdoor Sales. Nikon also announced six Elite Salesmen: Tom Wiley, Professional Marketing, Inc.; Aaron Doolin, The Dolph Co.; Brent Vogler, Owens Outdoor Sales; Jake Porter, Odle Sales; Nick Gamel, Odle Sales; and Bret Dolph, The Dolph Co. (nikonsportoptics.com)
model is a takedown firearm, “making it the perfect pistol-caliber carbine for outdoor enthusiasts, ranchers, pilots, or anyone else who needs a portable, rugged, and reliable semi-automatic rifle,” says company spokesman Matt Foster. Though similar in appearance and manual-ofarms to an AR-platform rifle, the ASR is an original design that uses Glock magazines. It is available in 9mm Luger, .357 Sig, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm. The design allows a user to switch between similar cartridges with nothing more than a change of barrel and bolt assembly.
Otis Technology Sales Awards Outstanding performance merits recognition, and Otis Technology honored two of its best at SHOT Show
tis Technology announced its 2016 Sales Representative of the Year award Tuesday morning at the SHOT Show. The manufacturer presents this award annually to the sales representative who has shown initiative, sales growth, and outstanding effort and customer service. The recipient was J.B. McCarty of Ken Jefferies & Associates. McCarty covers North Carolina and South Carolina, and he is an avid outdoorsman. In addition to being an accomplished sales professional, McCarty is also a pit master who has won the North and South Carolina State Championship as well as earning consecutive topfive finishes at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest in Memphis, Tennessee. Jeff Scarlett, Otis Technology’s Eastern region sales manager, said, “J.B. has been integral in
expanding business in the Carolina market. His concentration in farm and home accounts has been instrumental in the growth of that channel and the brand as a whole.” Frank Devlin, director of commercial sales at Otis Technology, said, “The synergy between J.B. and Jeff is one of the main drivers behind the growth of the territory. Their collaboration has really had a positive impact on sales results this year.” Otis Technology also presented Sokol Associates with the 2016 Sales Agency of the Year award. Sokol, based out of Oakdale, Minnesota, took top honors in 2013 and 2014, and has more than 50 years of experience in the outdoor sports industry. It represents Otis Technology in the upper Midwest and Great Lakes territories. The award was presented to Jon Sokol by Devlin, who said, “We are extremely fortunate to have aligned
Blowback-operated for simplicity and reliability, the ASR has both an upper and lower receiver machined from 6061-T6 aluminum, and is available finished in hard-coat anodized black, dark earth, and OD green, as well as two variegated finishes—Tiger Pink and Tiger Green. Like an AR, the ASR has a buffer tube and a right-side push-button magazine release. The California-compliant ASR uses a Thorsden stock. It also comes with one 10-round magazine. SRP: $829.99. (tnw firearms.com)
J.B. McCarty (center), of Ken Jefferies & Associates, is the Otis Technology Sales Representative of the Year.
ourselves with outstanding sales agencies. The Sokol team as a whole has really embraced the Otis brand and is an excellent extension of our salesforce.” Otis Technology is known
for manufacturing advanced gun-cleaning systems. Its Breech-to-Muzzle design has positioned it as the gun-care system of choice with the U.S. military. (otistec.com)
The popular Aero Survival Rifle is now offered in a Californiacompliant version that features an ergonomic fixed stock. The rifle, which uses a Thorsden stock, ships with one 10-round magazine.
34 Joint Effort When a pair of pros team up, the result is a superior line of tactical knives by david maccar
hen Browning introduced its Black Label line of knives at the SHOT Show a few years ago, nobody knew exactly where the venture would lead. To some, it seemed like yet another attempt by a company to extend its name into a different product category by shamelessly slapping its logo on products it really knew nothing about. But what Browning did was different. The knives it produces are of superior quality and honor the brand’s storied heritage. Black Label Tactical knives are designed primarily as a joint effort between world-renowned veteran SWAT officer and martial arts instructor Jared Wihongi and master bladesmith Russ Kommer. The line has since expanded to include a variety of tools and implements of selfdefense for various situations and needs. They also happen to be quality blades that are well-made, always with an eye toward style. “For me, there are three basic elements to a good knife: functionality, quality, and good looks,” says Rafe Nielsen, Browning’s product
manager. “The Wihongi Signature Series knocks all three of these out of the park. Especially the good looks part. It’s hard to beat a knife that just flat out looks cool.” It’s Wihongi and his unique background that bring the extra flair to many of the Black Label knives. Their shape, construction, materials, and even attitude are all on full display in his new Signature Series. “Jared Wihongi is one of the most respected knife experts in the country. To have his influence on his own Signature Series really brings the authenticity to a new level,” says Nielsen. “And then to have it based on his Maori background, it almost feels like a custom knife from him.” And it appears Wihongi and Kommer have been busy. There are seven new entries coming to the Black Label line this year, five of which bear the knife designer’s name. “Our Black Label knife line continues to grow and develop into a comprehensive line for our tactical customer. For 2017, we have something for just about
everyone,” Nielsen says. “These are fully functional, high-quality, and authentically designed knives that live up to the Browning name.” First up is a distinctive new tool, the Wihongi Signature Series Tomahawk. The blade, which is ¼-inch thick throughout, is etched with a Maori warrior tribal motif as a tribute to Wihongi’s heritage. The hawk features a semi-sharpened blade edge on the spike
The Wihongi Signature Series Tomahawk is a new take on an old design.
end and holes machined into the steel for balance and weight control. The head is attached to a forked tang with three flush-mount screws atop a cord-wrapped handle. The hawk also comes with a rugged Kydex belt sheath. SRP: $69.99. A bit small but just as stylized, the Wihongi Signature Dagger has a fixed doubleedge full-tang blade of hollow-ground 7Cr17MoV steel with a brushed finish and etched Maori designs similar to the Tomahawk. It also includes flush-fit mosaic scale pins, a stainless-steel bolster, and a butt cap with silver accents. The dagger comes with a black Kydex sheath with slots and eyelets for easy attachment to belts, packs, or other gear. Another etched blade, this one a bit bigger, is the Wihongi Signature Kukri (pictured above). The knife has a vicious-looking recurved fulltang kukri blade, again with a brushed finish Cr17MoV steel and a deep-draft reverse tanto blade profile. Again, the blade is etched with a Maori tribal design. The folder features an ambidextrous thumb stud and a steel pocket clip. (browning.com)
The Power of Passion Passion, not price, is the key to continued success by PETEr b . maTHiESEN
en Schmidt, former director of communications at HarleyDavidson, began his tenure with the company just months before its near collapse. But he was on board during a storied brand recovery. Schmidt’s passion for the outdoors parallels his love for motorcycles. As the keynote speaker at the NSSF’s Executive Management Seminar, he opened with the question, “Who in this room created a hunter this year?” He then explained the need for every member of the shoot-
ing sports to take responsibility to bring one more hunter into the fold annually. “It’s about changing the conversation to how much fun we have as hunters, instead of engaging in the arguments that are against our industry. Let’s talk about how cool it is to shoot a deer, drag it back to camp, and put it on the dinner table. It’s simple: If we don’t bring new hunters into the sport, we will die.” Schmidt pointed to numerous parallels that motorcycles have with the shooting sports industry and warned
about the race to the basement. His example included the flat-screen television market, which has seen prices plummet from $1,200 to under $500. “You can buy a Honda for $16,000 less than a similar Harley, but enthusiasts still pick a Harley. That’s the power of passion.” And it’s that passion that can help ensure the future of the shooting sports. “Everyone must be on board with a brand that’s committed to passion for the American dream,” he said. “That’s the key.”
The passion of shooting sports participants must be harnessed to ensure a bright future for the industry.
Science and Colors First Lite Performance Hunting is launching an addition to the technical apparel brand’s arsenal of camouflage and solid-color options. Using the scientific backbone of the popular Fusion pattern, Cipher offers a lighter color palette for hunters who understand Fusion’s effectiveness but want an option with lighter colors and tones. Launched in 2015, Fusion was warmly received by hunters because of its ability to provide a sense of depth almost anywhere in the field. The DNA of First Lite’s family of patterns is derived from the Golden Ratio, which is the recurrence of particular shapes and colors throughout nature. By adhering to this algorithm and incorporating the perfect ratio of light and dark colors, First Lite believes Fusion and Cipher promote the negative space created by large and small-scale breakup instead of creating the “blob effect” found in most patterns. “We see Cipher as the best possible complement to Fusion, one of the most effective patterns currently on the market,” says First Lite founder and co-CEO Kenton Carruth. “The key is the ability of the patterns to work at any distance. What we call ‘color blobbing’ has always been the biggest hurdle in traditional camouflage patterns. Most of these appear as a dark blob of color outside of 10 yards. But Cipher and Fusion incorporate enough visually disruptive qualities to give both bowhunters and rifle hunters an advantage both in close and at long range. We wanted to give the hunter a choice of proven, highly effective patterns, and we feel we’ve achieved that by offering Fusion, ASAT, and now Cipher.” Cipher will be available throughout the First Lite product line as a sister pattern to Fusion, beginning with existing product late next month. New 2017 styles will be available in Cipher and other options later in the spring. (firstlite.com)
36 Blaser Steps Up When Blaser USA executives went looking for an authority to guide them in their entry into the women’s market, they found Anne Mauro, who was instrumental in designing a line of shotguns for an Italian shotgun company. Blaser’s new line of shotguns and rifles is called Intuition. Mauro, who is also the coach of the University of Maryland shotgun team, has applied her international competition– winning knowledge of shotguns not only to the Blaser F16, but also to a woman-centric version of the R8. Everything in the R8 is modular, and one gun can be configured in 47 different calibers. The stock length, grip, cast, and pitch have been reduced and redesigned to fit a woman. SRP: starts at $3,787. The F16 features assisted-opening, and Mauro says, “The crisp closer is very keen for a sporting clays shooter.” A shorter length of pull, a slight Monte Carlo comb, a smaller grip radius, and a lowprofile receiver make this 12-gauge wellsuited to women. “I can’t wait for the ladies to start shooting this gun,” said Mauro. SRP: Sporting, $4,195; Game, $3,795. (blaser-usa.com) —Barbara Baird
Anne Mauro with one of the new women’s F16 over/under shotguns from Blaser she helped design.
Subtle Changes S&W’s M&P M2.0 is right on target by david maccar
hen a pistol is already a remarkable machine, people get nervous when that pistol undergoes changes, new versions, or updates. But if they’re done well, those changes amount to refinements that make that remarkable machine a truly fine pistol. Such is the case with the new Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0, an update of the incredibly popular M&P line of handguns. The fact that it took 11 years for an update to be necessary is a testament to the original M&P’s design. The M2.0 is still a short recoil-operated, locked-breech semi-auto that uses a Browningtype locking system. It features a unique takedown method that doesn’t require a dry-fire pull of the trigger, for added safety. While the original M&P’s target demographic was law enforcement, it quickly got into the hands and holsters of shooters in all walks of life and for all purposes for which a pistol is suited. The M2.0 is just different enough to make M&P fans giddy. The changes are subtle, but they were made with input from law-enforcement officers, profession-
al competitors, and everyday concealed carriers who rely on the M&P.
New Grip The M2.0 retains the proven 18-degree grip angle of the original, which allows for natural pointing. But S&W engineers also looked at and made changes to the part of the pistol that contacts the hand the most, adding a more aggressive stippling. They also added a fourth interchangeable palm-swell insert that falls between medium and large on the size scale and is dubbed medium-large. While it may seem trivial, when you shoot the M&P in rapid succession with the different-sized inserts, you can really feel the difference in stability and comfort.
New Trigger The factory trigger was always the big gripe about the M&P. Shooters found it to be mushy and quickly replaced it. S&W listened, and the M2.0’s redesigned trigger is crisp, with a lighter pull and a positive, audible reset.
And the Rest The controls on the M2.0 are nearly identical to that of the original, with an ambidextrous slide stop, a reversible steel magazine release button, and an optional thumb safety lever. The M&P M2.0 is chambered in either 9mm or .40 S&W, and it comes with a 4.25-inch barrel. Best of all, it is available in gun shops now. (smith-wesson.com)
Input from experienced M&P users resulted in an improved pistol—the M2.0.
What Is All the Rage in Social Media?
s Twitter dead? Should businesses pay more attention to Instagram and Facebook? And how can YouTube help increase exposure in a crowded marketplace? The latest in social media strategies for the firearms retailer was laid out at a SHOT Show University seminar with Michelle Scheuermann of BulletProof Communications, LLC, during her presentation, “Advanced Social Media Strategies.” In the seminar, Scheuermann focused on three platforms she says deserve the most attention: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. “Ignore the popular line of thinking that Twitter is the place to be. There are too many trolls, making the experience unpleasant and providing little to no value,” said Scheuermann. She also stressed that retailers should only take on what they can comfortably
Hybrid Pack for Women
handle and do well. “You aren’t giving your business any further service by halfway focusing on something,” she said. And if, as an owner, you find you can’t do it all, you can hire a specialist or find a trusted employee to manage the task. Scheuermann said she’s having the most success with Instagram at the moment, even though it is owned by Facebook and they are starting to tweak the algorithms. Her tips for the photo-driven platform are to post often, use 5 to 10 hashtags per post mixed between unique and popular tags, and switch your personal account to a business account. Finally, Scheuermann discussed YouTube strategies for increasing views on branded channels. Of all the platforms, YouTube is the easiest for making simple changes resulting in big gains.
Looking to bring its signature designs and features to the first woman-specific, Western-oriented daypack in the Extreme line, Alps OutdoorZ has created the Monarch X. “After successfully introducing the Extreme line of hunting packs, we knew we couldn’t stop there,” says product manager Zach Scheidegger. That was the impetus for the new Monarch X daypack–meat hauler hybrid. It
Social media is increasingly important to retailers, and Instagram is a vital part of the equation.
“YouTube is very specific in its method of tracking videos and making them available to users. It needs to see you post often and use very specific keywords in your title, description, and tags,” she said. No matter which platform retailers focus on, Scheuermann stressed that
can be used as a standard daypack, but it can also be used to haul out meat. The shoulder straps and waist belt are designed to fit a woman’s physique more comfortably than a standard hunting pack. Dual aluminum stays help distribute the weight evenly, while Lycra shoulder straps with built-in load lifters and a molded foam waist belt ensure a comfortable fit. (alpsoutdoorz.com)
they have fun with it. “Above all, you need to show the personality of your store, and create a tribe of your own online. User-generated content is probably your best friend, so find those people who are zealots for your brand and cater to them, comment on their posts, and create a relationship.”
built to last After a century, Browning’s BAR is still going strong by brian m c combie
n 1917, the Great War in Europe was in its third year. Here in the United States, John Moses Browning was working on an idea for a light, gas-operated machine gun that might help break the stalemated trench warfare being waged across the
Atlantic Ocean. What was needed, he felt, was a relatively lightweight rifle that could be carried by an individual soldier, but that would still be able to fire fully automatic. Existing machine guns already had proved themselves deadly on the
battlefields. But they were large and heavy, needed to be mounted on tripods or wheeled carriages, and required two- and even three-man teams to operate. It took him all of three months, but John Browning came up with a rifle the U.S. Army
The BAR providing covering fire during World War II’s Okinawa campaign in 1945. The rifle’s ability to work effectively in challenging conditions is one reason for its storied reputation.
quickly accepted: the BAR M1918, aka the Browning Automatic Rifle. Or, as we know it, the BAR. The .30-caliber BAR was considered one of the most effective light machine guns ever made, and it saw significant action in World Wars I and II and the
When John Browning set out to design what became known as the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) a century ago, he wanted a relatively light .30-caliber rifle that could serve as a portable machine gun for infantry units.
Lt. Val Browning, son of John Moses Browning, was responsible for training troops in the function and use of the BAR.
Korean War, and was even used during the Vietnam War. Approximately 50 years after the BAR’s inception, the Browning BAR sporting version was introduced. While mechanically different from the original BAR, the sporting BAR fea-
tured a similar look and was as tough and accurate as the original. It soon became the go-to rifle for many American hunters. All of which makes 2017 a doubly significant year for Browning: the 100-Year Anniversary of the iconic BAR and the
fifth decade of the sporting BAR. “The longevity of the BAR is a testament to Browning’s commitment to high quality as well as the strength of the basic BAR design,” says Aaron Cummins, Browning’s product manager. “Of course, the sporting BARs are much different internally than the fullauto military BARs. But both are Brownings, and that means they are built to last.” To celebrate these milestones, Browning introduced new and upgraded BARs at the 2017 SHOT Show. The commemorative model is the BAR Safari 100th Anniversary rifle, and only 100 will be made. All are chambered in .30/06 SPRG. The stocks are made of oil-finished Grade V Turkish walnut, and there are special anniversary gold engravings on both sides of the receiver. With a 22-inch stainless-steel barrel and an overall length of 43 inches, the BAR Safari weighs in at just an
ounce over 8 pounds. Browning is also making the BAR MK3 and BAR MK3 Stalker, BAR MK3 in Mossy Oak Break-Up Country, and the BAR MK3 DBM. The MK3 models feature aircraft-grade alloy receivers and multi-lug rotary bolts as well as hammer-forged barrels. Detachable magazines with the unique Browning hinged floorplate allow a shooter to drop the floorplate, detach the empty magazine, and pop in a new magazine in seconds. These BARs are drilled and tapped for optics, too. “All of these 2017 BAR MK3s will also come with special 100th Anniversary serial numbers,” Cummins says. “It should add some collector value to these rifles as well as give people a chance to own a piece of Browning’s history. Not that we are going anywhere. We expect the BAR to be around for another 100 years.” (browning.com)
40 Voice, Activated Henry Ford once remarked, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse.” It’s a good example of how customers are much more in touch with their needs (in this case, more speed) than they are with practical solutions for their problems. Gerry Katz, vice chairman of Applied Marketing Science, explored this dichotomy during Monday’s inaugural NSSF Executive Management Seminar session “Voice of the Customer: The Most Misunderstood Term in All of Marketing.” In a nutshell, the voice of the customer is not about listening to customers’ demands for features or technical specs, and it’s not about following industry thought leaders or reacting to anecdotes from your sales staff or tech support. Instead, Katz described a methodical process in which one-on-one interviews are conducted with current and potential customers, which are then transcribed and culled for key phrases about things the customers need. Next, those needs are grouped into categories and prioritized by those customers. It’s important to have customers involved in each step. Our industry is full of enthusiasts, and Katz warns against mistaking our own voices for the voice of the customer. We may share values and need many of the same things as our customers, but we often prioritize those needs differently, and use the wrong words to describe them. Those words matter—they carry the emotional freight of the needs, and help ensure that the solutions you arrive at are the ones your customers are asking for. —Robert F. Staeger
Figuring out just what customers want when they’re in your store can be tricky because what they say may not necessarily be what they mean.
clearing the air The redesigned Black Cloud ups its performance by PHiL bOUrJaiLy
ederal Premium’s popular Black Cloud waterfowl ammunition now comes in an improved version: Flitecontrol Flex. The new load will perform better and it will simplify a retailer’s life, too. Original Black Cloud was deadly stuff, but it patterned badly in ported choke tubes, leading to dissatisfaction and confusion among waterfowl hunters. Now you’ll be able to sell Black Cloud to all your waterfowling customers regardless of which choke they use, and you’ll be able to sell them ported tubes without having to explain that they shouldn’t shoot Black Cloud. The Flitecontrol wad is designed to produce tight patterns by staying with the shot 15 feet past the muzzle, then separating cleanly. Rear braking fins pop open to slow the wad while window-shaped cuts in the side allow air inside the wad to equalize internal and external pressure. That’s all fine until you run a Flitecontrol wad through a ported tube, where the ports first chew the side windows like graters, then bleed off the pressure from
expanding gases that are supposed to open the rear fins. The results are poor, erratic patterns instead of the deadly downrange performance for which Black Cloud is known. The new wad is redesigned with new materials and thinner brake fins that will deploy regardless of drops in pressure. The side windows are gone, replaced by slits that are compatible with ported tubes. The results, as I saw on an early September goose hunt and on the patterning board, are excellent.
Flitecontrol Flex patterned very well through the ported Patternmaster tubes I used on the hunt. The new Black Cloud Flex contains the same mix of ridged Flitestopper pellets and round shot for better on-game performance and patterns. The new, lead-free Catalyst primer promises more consistent ignition and much cleaner burning performance, alleviating the complaint that Black Cloud dirtied gun barrels. Available in 10, 12, and 20 gauge. (federal premium.com)
Flitecontrol Flex, an improved version of Black Cloud, will burn cleaner and perform better in ported choke tubes.
Radical Departure CRKT’s Homefront just might change the face of field knives forever
ometimes the simplest ideas can be the most complicated concepts to carry out. Renowned knife designer Ken Onion and the team at Columbia River Knife and Tool weren’t necessarily looking to create a new knife category when they set out to design the CRKT Homefront, which they launched late last year. They were simply looking for a way to develop a versatile workhorse of a knife that was easy for people to field-strip. What they delivered, however, was a knife that might very well change everything. “With most folders, if I’ve just gutted a moose, I’m probably not going to want use the same knife to spread peanut butter on my crackers at lunch,” Onion says. “But you should be able to, right? I mean, if you look at most of the things a soldier carries into the field, he can take them apart, clean them thoroughly, and put them back together without any tools. Why not a knife?” It was that motivation that drove Onion and the team at CRKT to want to create a knife that could be taken apart, cleaned, and put back together in the field without any tools. It might seem like a simple idea, but
by cHriSTOPHEr cOGLEy
the practical application proved to be anything but. “We worked with Ken and came up with several ways to make it work, but we could never figure out how to create something for mass production,” says Doug Flagg, vice president of sales and marketing for CRKT. “We truly believed in the concept, though. So about three years ago, we made it a priority, and Ken dedicated himself to figuring out how to make it work.” Onion and CRKT went through the arduous process of trying to materialize an idea from concept to reality. There were the usual ups and downs, successes and failures. Each solution led to new problems, but the biggest challenge the team faced was one of simplicity. “Folding knives seem so simple, but the reality is that there are a ton of moving parts working together that the average consumer will never see,” Flagg says. “We had to figure out how to incorporate all those moving parts in a way that they were completely contained within the knife. You can’t have screws and other small parts falling out in the field when people are trying to clean it.” The design also had to be intuitive. If it
CRKT’s Homefront is an innovative folder that quickly can be completely field-stripped for cleaning in the field.
required a user’s manual in the field, there wouldn’t be too many people who would be eager to attempt the disassembly. “When you are introducing an entirely new concept into the market, the first generation needs to be so obvious that everyone can understand what it is and how to use it just by looking at it,” Onion says. The challenge wasn’t coming up with a solution; it was coming up with a solution that could be manufactured with consistent results. This proved especially difficult with the knife’s pivot point. “You can’t have any blade play at all. But it also
can’t be so tight that it doesn’t open smoothly every time. It’s a big challenge,” Onion says. “I probably had 20 different ways to do it, but the manufacturability was the problem. You had to be able to replicate it and have it work the same way every time.” The solution was a small switch on the outside of the Homefront’s pivot point. By sliding the locking lever to one side and rotating the wheel at the base of the knife, the handle separates, leaving you with three easy-toclean pieces. Simple? Yes. Game-changing? Yes, again. (crkt.com)
Going Mainstream Think suppressors are a fringe product? Think again
by barbara bairD
n February 2016, the BATFE reported the number of registered silencers in the U.S. had exceeded the 900,000 mark. This statistic does not surprise Matt Ohlson, Remington’s director of consumer accessories. “Obviously, with our military contracts as well as growing civilian interest, it was a natural move for Remington to augment our firearms and ammunition lines with a silencer portfolio. That’s why we acquired Advanced Armament Corporation,” he said in an interview last September at Remington’s annual new-product seminar. “Silencers are not becoming mainstream; they are mainstream now, and once users realize the myriad benefits, they want to shoot everything suppressed.” Ohlson also says that by SHOT Show 2017 he expects that well over one million silencers will be in consumer hands, boosted by hundreds of thousands of applications waiting to be approved for tax stamps in an effort to beat the ATF 41F July 13, 2016, enactment date. During previous years, tax stamp wait times stretched out to longer than one year. Last fall, though, approval time estimates fell to between six months to a year. Ohlson noted that the majority of the silencers added to the record had been sold in the past five years, with double-digit increases year over year. Presently, 42 out of 50 states allow for silencer ownership, and 40 states allow for some form of hunting with them. Prospective owners have to fill out federal paperwork, undergo a background check, pay a $200 tax per item, conduct the transfer through an FFL/SOT in their state, and wait for approval until they can
Read More Online Top: The Ti-RANT 45M is a modular centerfire pistol can that gives the end-user added flexibility regarding length, weight, and sound reduction. below: Other new accessories include flash hiders and subsonic pistons.
To see all four issues of SHOT Daily in full, go to shotbusiness.com.
take possession. This is in stark contrast to certain countries in Europe in which silencers, where legal, can be purchased relatively easily. “Wherever there’s a firearm, there’s a silencer benefit,” says Ohlson. “Target shooting, plinking, home defense, hunting, military, law enforcement—even patrol officers. It really is an across-the-board benefit for any shooting discipline that you’re doing.” According to Ohlson, three trends are currently driving the suppressor market.
Trend #1: Choices, Choices, Choices Ohlson sees more companies coming into the market, new designs pushing the technical envelope, and prices dropping with increased competition. “Five to 10 years ago, suppressors were the realm of the specialist gun owner, someone who navigates all the legalese behind it and how to own it. What’s happened now is that suppressors are more mainstream. As a result, more everyday gun owners are jumping on the silencer bandwagon. As the market matures, there will be more product choices, and logically more price-point plays.”
Trend #2: Do-It-All Silencers There is increasing interest in the onecan-to-do-it-all, aka the do-everythingcan for pistol, centerfire, and rimfire firearms. For one tax stamp, you can own one silencer that can be used on multiple hosts and multiple calibers. “AAC offers suppressors that will cover multiple rifle calibers—such as .308 Win., 300 AAC Blackout, and 5.56 from a .30-caliber silencer—and pistol cans that shoot both centerfire pistol and rimfire cartridges. However, we don’t offer a do-it-all right now,” he says.
Trend #3: Modular Silencers The modular silencer allows the user to switch the configuration from a
full-size to a compact version by removing a module from the main tube. Again, for one tax stamp you can own one silencer that allows for some level of adjustment for different applications or scenarios. “Our Ti-RANT 45M and our new Ti-RANT 9M are modular centerfire pistol cans that give our end-user the added flexibility to configure length, weight, and sound reduction to their specific needs,” Ohlson says. The Ti-RANT 9M was launched at SHOT 2017. “That silencer is an extension of our legacy Ti-RANT 9 pistol silencer, which was, and still is, one of the quietest and softest shooting 9mm pistol cans in the market,” says Ohlson. “It was discontinued about 18 months ago when we introduced the Illusion 9 [an eccentric silencer]. The Ti-RANT 9M is a concentric can with all the features of the Ti-RANT 9, but now with the added modularity. We also include a standard ½-28 and a metric 13.5-1LH piston in the box.” AAC has also been busy with the launch of a variety of new accessories, including SquareDrop Handguards, a new take on KeyModcompatible MSR handguards; Glock 34 threaded barrels, with ½-28 and M13.5-1LH options available; new flash hiders for AR9 pistols/carbines with ½-28 and ½-36 thread pitch, M14-1LH AKs, and MP5-style 9mm three-lug mounts; a new adapter that enables AAC’s Ti-RANT 45-series cans to shoot subsonic 300 AAC Blackout with a direct thread attachment to an MSR; and new fixedbarrel, improved-design spacers for Evo-9/Eco-9/Ti-RANT 9/Illusion 9, and Ti-RANT 45 series silencers. “If people want to support expanding our freedom to use silencers, they need to get behind the HPA (Hearing Protection Act) and support organizations like the American Suppressor Association and the NFA Freedom Alliance,” says Ohlson. “The HPA would take silencers off the NFA list.” (remington.com)
Honoring Leaders At the Bonnier Outdoor Group SHOT Show breakfast, SHOT Business honored seven industry leaders through the presentation of the SHOT Business Awards. The honorees were Centennial Gun Club, Independent Retailer of the Year; Cabela’s, Chain Retailer of the Year; Granite State Indoor Range and Gun Shop, Range of the Year; Rick Insley of the RSR Group, Sales Rep of the Year; Lipsey’s, Distributor of the Year; Smith & Wesson, Company of the Year; and Lew Danielson, Person of the Year. “I take such pride in our team, and it’s magical to watch them accomplish their personal goals as well as our company goals each day. They know how to make things happen. This award means everything to us, and we appreciate the recognition very much,” said Laurie Lipsey Aronson, president and CEO of Lipsey’s. Danielson, who recently announced his retirement, founded Crimson Trace Corporation in his garage in 1994 and built it into a global company with more than 250 laser-sighting and lighting products. He said, “It is with great pleasure that I accept this recognition on behalf of the Crimson Trace employees and the many customers who have purchased Crimson Trace laser sights.”
Lew Danielson (left), founder of Crimson Trace, receives the SHOT Business Person of the Year Award from SHOT Business editor Slaton L. White.
Southern Pride Zac Brown brings passion and precision to the knife business by JUSTiN mOOrE
ew things go together like firearms and knives, unless you want to add country music into that equation as well. Zac Brown’s Southern Grind, which was founded by the three-time Grammyaward-winning artist, had a booth at SHOT Show 2017 for the first time in its young history. It’s a mash-up encapsulating a knife company owned by a country music star on display at the largest shooting sports trade show in the world. Brown’s passion for high-quality blades drives his focus to create some of best knives on the market, without taking away from the blue collar roots of the company. For example, all the Southern Grind fixedblade knives start their lives as reclaimed sawmill blades, work-hardened from creating thousands of board-feet of lumber. Their first life slicing through
tree after tree is made stronger by a constant cycle of heating and cooling numerous times a day. Taking strength and durability even further, the GranDaddy knives are differentially heat-treated for maximum edge hardness, but they still retain enough flexibility to bend 90 degrees without fracturing the blade. Cerakote and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coatings are added to finish the process with a corrosionresistant and non-reflective surface. The folding knives also exhibit numerous features that don’t necessarily need to be on a standard production knife, but Brown has made sure that his products are held to a higher standard. For example, they all use solid 6AL4V titanium locks and liners, for strength and to save weight. The Southern Grind metal workshop in
Peachtree City, Georgia, is part of the Southern Ground family of brands. Located on 8 acres and totaling 150,000 square feet, this facility houses a collective of talented artists and craftsmen. Each person is a master in his respective craft—wood, leather, metals. Everyone who puts their hands on a product is passionate about quality, and there is definitely a sense of pride that they are being made in the U.S.A. However, the primary goal of Southern Grind isn’t just to manufacture high-quality knives—it supports Brown’s non-profit passion project, Camp Southern Ground. Located on more than 400 acres in Fayetteville, Georgia, Camp Southern Ground provides extraordinary experiences for children from all backgrounds, races, and religions. The camp puts a special emphasis on those with Autism Spectrum Disorders such as autism and Asperger’s, as well as learning disabilities such as ADD/ADHD and dyslexia, social or emotional challenges, and those with family members serving in the military. A portion of the sales from Southern Grind helps support the camp. (southerngrind.com)
Quiet, Please! Most shooters know that hearing loss can occur from a one-time incident or happen gradually over a lifetime of pulling the trigger. In many cases it’s a combination of the two—which is why it’s so important to wear hearing protection every time you use a firearm, whether in the field or on the range. There are several brands of quality hearing protection on the market today for shooters to choose from, but one manufacturer has steadily been building its reputation for quality over the past 30 years: Howard Leight by Honeywell. “We’ve always been dedicated to keeping our core customers—professional and recreational shooters and hunters—safe through superior hearing protection,” says Sean O’Brien, president, Honeywell, SPS Global Retail. Expected to hit the market in spring 2017, the new Howard Leight Impact Sport Bolt electronic earmuff will have the same Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22 dB and slim profile of the already popular Impact Sport, but with new and improved features. The Impact Sport Bolt will offer improved circuitry, increased amplification of ambient sound, and an industry-leading attack time of .5ms, which is 250 times faster than the current model. O’Brien says “attack time” is the interval between when the external sound level goes above safe hearing levels—such as when a shot is fired— and when the circuitry reacts to lower the amplification of external sound to a safe level. (howardleightshooting sports.com) —W.H. Gross
right where you need them. That’s the great thing about the entire line—they have zippers, pouches, grab handles, and straps all over the place, but you never feel like the features are cumbersome or that they get in each other’s way at all.
Tech-Savvy Though best known for knives and multi-tools, SOG has branched out with a new line of tough packs that can handle the elements.
Equal to the Task SOG’s new pack line is cleverly conceived and built right by david maccar
good pack is hard to find. Over the years, I’ve used a broad assortment of backpacks, gear, duffel bags, and other configurations of pouches and straps to haul things around in urban and rural environments. Not all were equal to the task. It usually comes down to the little things: the quality of the zippers and waterproofing, the stitching and the seams, how the fabric edges are finished, and the overall arrangement and design of the components. You can’t really get a feel for how a pack will function until you use it. So when a company known for great edged items—such as tactical knives, hunting knives, folders, field tools, and tomahawks—says they’re going to start making backpacks, it’s natural to be a little skeptical. You think maybe they’ve
strayed from their skill set. But in the case of the new line of heavy-duty packs from SOG Knife and Tool, I can state unequivocally that these are not novelty items with a company logo (though the green-beret skull does make a prominent appearance). They are solid gear-haulers with a ton of thought and engineering poured into their design. The packs have been introduced as a full line, ranging from the compact 18L EVAC sling bag all the way up to the spacious 35L Seraphim backpack, with four other models in between. All have killer features in addition to 500-denier nylon construction (with a water-resistant polyurethane coating). The shoulder straps on all the bags are padded, have a rigid suspension system, and come with quick-release buckles, so you can cinch down the
straps and still get the pack off in a hurry if you have to. The straps on all packs accept the sling bag and have an elasticized sternum strap that’s adjustable for length and height, something missing from many smaller packs. Plus, the small plastic buckle has an emergency whistle built in, just in case. Every SOG pack also has the ability to carry a hydration bladder, with pass-throughs for drinking tubes, plus guides on the straps. The Scout 24 pack and the two larger models have stowable, padded hip belts, giving users the ability to carry heavier loads for longer periods. The Ranger also has a hip belt, but it’s unpadded. The two largest packs— the 33L Prophet and the Seraphim—feature stowable shoulder straps, so they can function as duffel bags, with the appropriate grab handles
Even the smallest pack has a pass-through laptop compartment, as computers are so often a component of our lives these days, even in the field. The larger packs have sleeves built into them meant for laptops or tablets, and every pack sports a semi-rigid impact-resistant top pocket (that’s the shell-looking thing with the hook-and-loop panel and SOG logo), with plenty of pouches and sleeves inside to organize fragile electronic devices. It’s crush-resistant, not crushproof, but way better than just having things hanging out in a nylon pouch. Plus, it even has a walled-off place to stash a pair of sunglasses. These packs also have passthroughs for earphones. In addition, all the packs feature a laser-cut Hypalon MOLLE panel on the exterior for attaching additional gear. It works just like traditional MOLLE webbing, but it has a much lower profile and is stronger for extended use. As a final touch, ringshaped zipper pulls make it easy to get at them, even with gloves on. Speaking of the zippers, it’s truly amazing what adding a couple can do for a big pack. The Prophet and Seraphim packs have four zippers on their main compartments, allowing users to open them from the top or bottom to access gear. (sogknives.com)
The Value of a Name With licensed products, the key is quality and performance by SLaTON L . WHiTE
randed ancillary products are big business. It’s a costeffective way for a company to extend the reach of its brand without having to add expensive factory floor space. The issue is finding the right licensing company so that the products it develops reflect the values of the company that granted the license. It’s harder than it seems, but one company that has mastered the process is Utahbased Signature Products Group (SPG). “We do a lot of things with a lot of companies,” says Steve McGrath, SPG’s director of marketing
and public relations. “In the shooting sports arena, we partner with Mossy Oak, Ducks Unlimited, and Realtree, among others. But our biggest relationship is with Browning. It’s a trusted name in the outdoors, a name synonymous with innovation and commitment to excellence. So, the products we create for them have to reflect that. And they do.” For 2017, SPG is rolling out three new Browningbranded product categories: footwear, socks, and pet accessories. “The reintroduction of the Browning footwear line is a big deal,” McGrath says. The lightweight Browning Buck Shadow will be available in three versions with four camo options.
“Back in the day, Browning was the first to come out with a lightweight upland boot—the legendary Kangaroo Featherweight.” The new hunting line will consist of three categories—big game, upland, and rubber. The big dog in the big-game category is the Buck Shadow. “This will be the signature boot, a lightweight 8-incher built for the spot-and-stalk hunter in demanding backcountry terrain, where light weight, stealth, and complete waterproof protection are essential,” he says. McGrath notes that the trend toward lighter-weight boots continues to evolve. “Anyone can go lighter; that’s not the issue. Maintaining quality and performance, that’s the fine line. I think we’ve struck a great balance with the Buck Shadow. We’ve got a lightweight boot that’s structured so it can handle the heavy loads when big-game hunters pack out. As for durability, we’re using topnotch materials, and we expect it to last.” The Buck Shadow will be available in three versions with four camo options. The boots utilize modern technology such as Ortholite open-cell foam for long-lasting cushioning and OutDry, a lamination process that bonds the waterproof membrane to the boot. (spgoutdoors.com)
The Right Tools Something sporting arms customers won’t see at retail is a special build Remington Defense calls the MSR/PSR/ Mk 21. This modular sniper rifle features a Remington MSR titanium action, with a 60-degree bolt and a lightweight skeletonized chassis. Other features include a rightfolding fully adjustable buttstock, a modular handguard with removable accessory rails, a Cerakote Gen II IR reducing finish, a two-position trigger, and two detachable magazines. It’s also available in three calibers—.308 Win., .300 Win. Mag., and .338 Lapua Mag. “The key concept behind the MSR/PSR was adaptability and operator-serviceability,” says Joshua Cutlip, of Remington Defense. “Traditionally, bolt-action sniper rifles have had set configurations and required depot-level service for barrel replacements when the installed barrel was worn out. But with the MSR/PSR, the operator can change his own barrel in just a few minutes—all without losing the capability the weapon offers on the battlefield. This adaptability is valuable for many reasons—for example, to support more cost-effective training or to suit the ammunition that is available in the theatre. Sniper rifles are highly specialized weapon systems, and offering an added layer of adaptability can be a huge benefit.” The system was created to meet specific requirements of the U.S. military’s elite war fighters. (remington military.com)
Â©2015 BROWNING AMMUNITION
B Y D AV I D D R A P E R
Cheap Insurance Eyesight is precious. A modest investment can keep harm at bay
t’s a curious phenomenon, considering the consequences. Take a look down the line at any range and almost everyone will be wearing some sort of ear protection, from cheap foam plugs to expensive electronic muffs. Even in hunting situations, ear-pro has become more prevalent. Now compare that with how many people on the range are wearing certified, protective eyewear. Though shooters, and hunters, rely more on their vision than hearing, they often forgo any type of protection for their eyes.
Statistically speaking, eye injury is a real threat for firearms owners. Research shows that of the one million eye injuries suffered in the U.S. annually, an estimated 30,000 are related to shooting and general firearms use. (It is worth noting many of these studies include injuries caused by BB, pellet, and other air-powered guns.) Firearms-related eye injuries can range from irritation caused by foreign objects such as powder residue to severe ocular damage from catastrophic firearm failure. Nearly all these injuries could be prevented by ANSI-certified impact-resistant eyewear, such as those made by Wiley X. Over the years, I’ve worn several different models of Wiley X, and I currently carry the WX Rogue models in my range bag.
What first led me to the company was its history. Rather than target the commercial market from the outset, Wiley X developed its original ballisticgrade eyewear for military and law enforcement applications. Their reputation for providing quality, comfortable glasses that performed on the battlefield soon led to demand from general consumers. Now, on their 30th anniversary, the Californiabased company successfully straddles the market in both mil-tac and casual lifestyle eyewear, all of which meet, at a minimum, the ANSI Z87.1 safety standard for high-velocity/ high-mass impact. The WX Rogue, and most glasses in the Wiley X line, also meet the more rigid MIL-PRF32432(GL) ballistic standard, which must survive impact
Lightweight wraparound frames protect eyes. Inset: Lenses did not allow pellet penetration.
48 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
from a 0.15-caliber, 5.8-grain projectile at a terminal velocity of 640 to 660 feet per second. I didn’t have that particular projectile for testing, but what I did have was a shotgun and a box of No. 8 shotshells. Fired from 25 yards, the 1 1/8-ounce load separated the lens from the frame, but, as advertised, the Selenite polycarbonate proved to be completely shatterproof. The lenses also resisted penetration, shedding off the pellets with slight dimpling. While the wearer’s surrounding flesh wouldn’t fare so well, I’m confident the eyes would be fully protected. Protection notwithstanding, whether or not a shooter wears
protective glasses often comes down to comfort and adaptability. Wiley X, and the Rogues in particular, get high marks on both counts. The lightweight, wraparound frames feature rubber tips on the earpieces that ride softly behind the ears, yet grip the head with non-slip stippling to keep the Rogues firmly in place. The nosepiece is also rubberized and fully adjustable to hug the nose without creating hotspots. For the highest level of protection, Wiley X recommends adjusting the nosepiece to create the minimal amount of gap between the lens and the side of the face. Even when set as recommended, the design still maintains decent airflow to reduce fogging and excess perspiration in hot weather. The Rogues are available in several multi-lens configurations. Lens removal and installation is pretty straightforward, though the first attempt is stiff enough you might think you’re going to break something. Trust me, you won’t. Simply put a little effort into pulling the lens from the frame and the two come apart. To install a news lens color, slide the hooks at either end of the polycarbonate glass into the edges of the frame and push the center slot into place with a snap. My kit ($120) came with a matte black frame and three interchangeable lenses: gray, clear, and rust. (wileyx.com)
W H AT ’ S S E L L I N G W H E R E
West St. OR USiA, Helens
This company specializes in a mix of military and overseas retail customers. The organization sent six employees to the 2017 SHOT Show looking for a diverse group of products. SHOT Show planning is serious business for executive director Eric Held. “I arrive a week before the show opens and often stay a week later planning our meetings. Because we do so much work in overseas retailing, SHOT is a must for our company,” he said. Although planning is key for this manager, the SHOT Show’s United States Commerce Display area is a must stop. “The U.S. Commerce Department has an area with almost 80 foreign companies that have been completely vetted and are ready for business in the U.S.,” said Held.
CO Tacticool Arms, Greeley Located on the north side of Greeley, this retail custom builder specializes in custom MSR rebuilds and sales. In its third year of retail operation, this veteran-owned company sent two staff members to SHOT Show. For many retailers, SHOT is an ideal venue to strengthen distributor and manufacturer relationships. “We’re new and growing. We went to Vegas because it is the place to build our relationships with our distributors. We came back with better pricing and a greater selection than we had last year. I just don’t think our deals would be this good meeting over the phone,” said coowner Augustin “Gunny” Salas. Although distributor meetings were a priority, booth time also was a must. “I was amazed at the
Barrett Booth. I can’t believe the number of models and the retail opportunity that exists for our store with that company,” said Salas.
Firearms, UT Joe’s Sandy
Located in suburban Salt Lake City, this retailer mixes manufacturing with retail in a 4,000-plus-square-foot facility. The company sent two employees to SHOT. “I can’t imagine missing SHOT,” said owner Adam Eaton. With the bulk of this store’s business tied to buildouts and Cerakoting, parts vendors were this buyer’s primary goal. One surprise for this retailer was the number of Asian Rim manufacturers at SHOT. “We made a few great deals with companies that we had no idea existed. This is why we go to the SHOT Show,” he said.
Midwest Kirkwood MO Outfitters, Kirkwood
Located in west St. Louis County, this independent keeps an average of 350 hunting and home-defense guns. Owner Dave Hart regularly attends SHOT Show in order to make deals and support the store’s busy MSR business. Stops included H&K, Smith Sports, and Patriot Arms. “Trump offers a calming future for our industry. I see demand for a more price-sensitive MSR during the 2017 season,” he said. Handgun booths included Ruger, Smith, Glock, and Les Baer. One of the longest visits for this retailer was at Mossberg for home-defense rifles and bolt-action rifles. Hart also said that after years of scrounging to get ammo, it was really a pleasure to go to SHOT and not scramble for it.
50 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017
Top Shot IL Academy, Chicago
With four employees, this shooting-training company was at SHOT to purchase new products for a range planned in Chicago. Reloading, targets, and handgun manufacturers were this company’s priorities. A primary stop was at H&K to view the .40 VP9. Dillon Press, Next Level Training, Action Targets, Canik USA, and Franklin Army also made the list of must-see exhibitors. “This was our second show, and it was easier to handle than it was last year. We went with a plan and got a lot more done,” said owner Chip Eberhart. Eberhart said there were numerous zoning pitfalls that he faced in trying to open a retail shooting and training facility in Chicago. “The combination of information at
SHOT and other resources from Vegas have really allowed our company to move forward,” he said.
H&H Shooting OK Sports, Oklahoma City
One of the largest independents in the country, this retailer has 90,000 square feet of floor space. The company sent seven people to SHOT. While each department head was responsible for locating new product and meeting established vendors, one new goal was to establish a law enforcement department. “We really are looking to expand our law enforcement services at H&H. And since many of the LE manufacturers don’t have a lot of reps, the show is critical to our expansion,” said owner Leroy Ussery.
B Y P E T E R B . M AT H I E S E N
East Tactical, NY AX Utica
Located in the heart of Upstate New York, this retailer/manufacturer sent five staff members to Vegas for the fifth year in a row. While working the SHOT Show, this group has found it necessary to execute a plan. “We have our list pretty well tuned before we hit the floor. There’s a lot of ground to cover. We divide the appointments between the retail and manufacturing sides,” said partner Paul Fostini. As for retail, there were some extended visits to Benelli, FNH, and Kimber. Law enforcement booths also attracted attention. Fostini said he was surprised that, despite the record attendance, the show was easier to navigate this year. “Hey, the show was much less congested. They must be doing something right,” he said.
Arsenal, CT Delta Meriden Specializing in tactical and police firearms, this retailer offers extensive firearms training for beginners as well as experienced law enforcement operators. Delta Arsenal’s facility includes 2,000 square feet of retail display. This store sent three employees to Vegas. The usual contacts were made and agreements were closed, but for buyer Tony Garibay, his first year at SHOT proved to be a revelation. “What an overwhelming and exhilarating experience. I was so lucky to have our store owner with me. I spent the first day getting orientated,” he said. Some of this buyer’s stops included Sig, where he viewed the new P320RX and P29RX. Another key visit was to Falcore Defense to discuss compliant firearms.
Enck’s Gun PA Barn, Newmanstown Located in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country, the store is 24 miles from a Cabela’s. In 2015, Enck’s embarked on an expansion from 500 to 15,000 square feet, with the addition of a 10-lane indoor shooting range. The company took six employees to the show. This retailer reported that handgun factory-direct manufacturers were its greatest priority. Stops included Ed Brown, Les Baer, and Taylor’s & Company to place 1911 orders. “Our stop at Taylor’s ended up with the manufacturer offering an all-day event at our range. This is an exciting promotion that would have never happened unless we had a face-to-face meeting at SHOT,” said Bob Enck.
South Bullet Hole, FL The Sarasota
Founded in 1947, this retailer displays up to 800 firearms. The store sent three employees to SHOT with an eye toward locating new hunting products. “New product is always the goal,” said owner Francis Misantone. “If I miss a show, I feel like I don’t know what’s going on. If I don’t know what’s new, I am really letting down my clientele and, in turn, costing the shop cash,” he said. While MSRs are always in the mix, Misantone still enjoys the classic shotgun. “I love going to a booth like Blaser and feeling the product in my hand. Although our distributer, RSR, does a great job for us, there is no substitute for putting a firearm in your hand to decide whether you should inventory it in the store,” he said.
Sharp TX Shooters, Lubbock
At 5,000 square feet and with more than 3,000 firearms in stock, this retailer knows SHOT Show is a can’t-miss event. For 2017, the family-run store brought four employees to the show. As it is for many retailers, SHOT is about keeping relationships in good standing, finding what’s new, and digging up a deal. “Post Trump, we feel that the industry will be more price-sensitive, so we spent a fair amount of time looking for deals,” said general manager Izzy Muskuiz. Long-range was also a priority. “We love precision rifles. With our shooting range just outside of Lubbock, we have the opportunity to show customers how to shoot long distance. Once they’re successful, they buy a nice rifle,” said Muskuiz.
Crazycaches TN Tactical, Kingsport
Heading to Vegas with three employees to supply an online and small storefront, this specialty retailer divides its inventory between accessories and police supplies. The show’s scale was a bit overwhelming for this new retailer. “It took us a while to figure out where we needed to spend our time. Once we got going, the amount of ground we covered was amazing,” said coowner Bo Perry. Time was spent in the Dickies and Magpul booths. Other stops included Daniel Defense, Voodoo Tactical, Tactical Solutions, and Glock. “We’re a new company, and we were pleasantly surprised how many vendors spent a lot of time with our staff. It really made feel welcome in the industry,” he said.
APRIL/MAY 2017 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ 51
Firearms Business Insurance
(Continued from page 54)
Winchester Ammunition ➤ Winchester
Wholesalers & Distributors Retail Sales Manufacturers & Importers Ammunition & Bullet Manufacturers Indoor & Outdoor Ranges Gunsmiths Firearms Instructors
31 Parker Road • Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208
Deer Season XP offers a pair of new products, while Super Clean uses zinc-core technology.
800.526.2199 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.guninsurance.com
has added three high-performance subsonic loads to the Super X line. These include a 200-grain 300 Blackout load and a 185-grain .308 Winchester load at 1,060 fps. Both are designed for improved terminal performance at subsonic velocities and have a radical profile for enhanced expansion. There’s also a 45-grain .22 Magnum load at 1,060 fps. It has been engineered expressly for use in suppressed firearms for the ultimate in low-noise performance, but it will also produce less audible sound when fired through standard .22 Winchester Magnum firearms. Predator hunting continues to grow in popularity, but so do the number of areas, particularly in the West, that limit traditional ammunition. For 2017, Winchester is introducing a lead-free option called Varmint X Lead Free. This ammo is built with similar zinc-core technology utilized in Winchester’s Super Clean pistol ammunition. It will initially be available for the .223 and .22/250 Remington and the .243 Winchester. A .223 Remington load joins the Deer
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.
Season XP lineup. With more hunters owning and shooting MSR rifles chambered in .223 Remington, the new Deer Season XP offers a 64-grain bullet specifically designed for deer hunting. There’s also a new 6.5 Creedmoor Deer Season XP load utilizing a 125-grain bullet. Winchester continues to answer the demand for better-performing yet affordable ammunition options when it comes to training at the range. Enter the Super Clean line, which in 2017 will add a .45 ACP offering. Super Clean comes with 50 rounds per box and is ideal for use on indoor ranges. Winchester rolled out the Expedition Big Game line last year. It was introduced in a range of popular big-game calibers, and this year the offerings expand with the introduction of six new loads: the .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 WSM, .30/06, 7mm Remington Magnum, .270 Winchester, and 6.5 Creedmoor. Well worth the wait, Winchester will now offer its ground-breaking Long Beard XR in 20-gauge. With improved shotshell technology that delivers more power and tighter loads in smaller-gauge shotguns, an increasing number of turkey hunters are opting for the 20-gauge shotgun. The new 20-gauge Long Beard XR will come in a 3-inch offering, loaded with either No. 5 or No. 6 shot. (winchester.com)
renowned triple-laminated stainless steel with a razor-sharp Scandinavian grind, the Bleja dispatches cutting tasks with ease. The natural curlybirch wood ensures that each knife has its own unique look; no two Helle knives are ever exactly the same. The countered handle is slim yet provides positive control for detailed projects such as carving. SRP: $229. (helle.no)
Camp Chef ➤ The
Sitka’s Ascent Shirt is lightweight and breathable, and features mesh underarm panels for ventilation.
for added protection. The pant uses a fourway-stretch quick-dry Cordura nylon blend. Articulated patterning creates freedom of movement. The waist uses lowprofile styling and has generous belt loops. Available sizes are small to 3XL. SRP: $169, shirt; $189, pant. (sitkagear.com)
Camp Chef SmokePro XXL is designed to forever change the way you smoke. Instead of choosing between the convenience of a pellet grill and the cooking capacity of a smoke vault, Camp Chef has brought both together in one wood smoker. With 1,950 square inches of cooking surface area, four meat racks, two jerky racks, and a sausage rack with 12 hooks, this smoker boasts some serious cooking space. It’s perfect for smoking jerky, sausage, pork shoulder, and many other foods that might not fit well in a pellet grill. And with digital temperature control and an automatic wood pellet auger, you don’t need to monitor temperatures all day. SRP: $899. (campchef.com)
Smart Wool ➤ Foot
Ascent Shirt is lightweight, breathable, and quick-drying. Mesh underarm panels and chest pockets provide excellent ventilation. Form-fitting sleeves provide ample string clearance. Two mesh-backed, zippered chest pockets allow ventilation and won’t interfere with binoculars. There’s a thoughtful, flip-up collar for added sun protection. The Ascent Pant features mesh-backed pockets for ventilation and an internal mesh kneepad pocket
new folding knife—the Bleja— stays true to the brand’s distinctive look and passion for functional knives. The locking mechanism and full liners offer a strong and reliable utility folder, while at the same time preserving the iconic Helle look and feel. All the standard features of a Helle fixed-blade are tucked into this compact yet robust mid-sized utility knife for everyday carry. Featuring a 3.4-inch drop-point blade made of Helle’s
discomfort can easily ruin a day in the woods, but Smartwool’s new PhD Hunt Sock collection features patented Indestructawool durability construction and premium merino wool to keep feet in tiptop shape. The socks are designed to eliminate that raw, pinching feeling at the back of the heel, chafing around the ankle bone, and discomfort along the top of the foot. Realizing all these issues were caused by one-size-fits-all cushioning, Smartwool created a first-of-its-kind sculpted cushioning system to solve these problems. SRP: $23.95 to $29.95. (smartwool.com)
Helle’s Bleja retains the features and performance for which the company’s knives are known, but in a new package—a folder. It has a 3.4-inch drop-point blade made of triple-laminated stainless steel.
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Colt’s Manufacturing Co. The Colt double-action Cobra revolver returns for 2017. A new LL2TM (linear leaf) mainspring design ensures a consistently smooth trigger pull, and the enhanced Hogue overmolded grip and trigger ergonomics create a naturally pointing revolver that is compatible with a maximum range of hand sizes and still allows for the use of gloves. The revolver also features a matte-finish stainless-steel frame and is chambered for .38 SPC +P. Unloaded weight is 24.8 ounces. SRP: (Continued on page 52) $699. (colt.com)
54 ❚ SHOT BUSINESS ❚ APRIL/MAY 2017