T HE T HE R M A L OP T IC S MARKET IS HEATING UP pg. 35
THOUGH THE FOCUS WILL BE ON LONG-RANGE SHOOTING AND MSR PLATFORMS, YOU’LL ALSO SEE INTEREST IN RED-DOT SIGHTS FOR CONCEALED CARRY
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE FIRING LINE
Remington’s R1 Double Stack .45 ACP is worth a close look Pg. 21
Leupold’s VX-6 HD riﬂescope is a new “gold” standard Pg. 44
T HE N E W Z E I S S CO N Q U E ST V 4
DREAM BIGGER W H AT E V E R D R E A M H U N T I S N E X T O N Y O U R L I S T, S U C C E S S I S N O W W E L L- W I T H I N R A N G E. S E E T H E N E W V 4 AT Z E I S S . C O M / C O N Q U E S T V 4
EDITOR’S NOTE In the rush to woo younger customers, don’t forget the Baby Boomers.
VOLUME 26 ISSUE 2
NEWS BRIEFS Badlands takes a new direction with Approach FX; Kids & Clays celebrates 20 years of helping families.
FYI Building quality garments for the everyday guy and gal.
FIRING LINE Remington’s Double Stack .45 ACP is worth a close look.
UNDERCOVER SHOPPER Looking for a homedefense gun is made easier when customer service comes first.
22 STAYING FOCUSED Optics manufacturers intend to stay focused on products for long-range shooters and MSR enthusiasts. At the same time, you’ll see more red-dot sights for concealed carry. BY ROBERT SADOWSKI
HOT STUFF The thermal optics market is expanding rapidly. Don’t get left behind. BY BRIAN MCCOMBIE
NAVIGATING A BUSINESS LOSS Knowing the intricacies of the federal tax code can help take a big bite out of a business loss. BY MARK E. BATTERSBY
GOOD STUFF Leupold creates a new “gold” standard.
44 46 50
WHAT’S SELLING WHERE
NEW PRODUCTS Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station; Bertucci watches.
FROM THE NSSF Get to know two members of NSSF’s government relations team.
RETAILER TOOLBOX Put criminals on notice with highly visible signage detailing your FFL’s security features. Know the steps you can take to make would-be crooks try for an easier target.
NSSF UPDATE A new NSSF range safety and etiquette video debuts; NSSF launches members-only state law database; Project ChildSafe Memphis kicks off. FROM THE COUNTER This independent retailer in the Deep South builds relationships that drive a customer-service culture.
Forgotten Market In the rush to woo younger customers, don’t overlook the Baby Boomers
ver the past couple of years, I’ve devoted a lot of space in SHOT Business to the challenges (and rewards) of selling to the Millennial generation. There are a lot of them, and their business is important to all of us in the shooting-sports industry. But a while back I read an advertising column by Janet Morrissey in The New York Times that reminded me that we should not forget the Baby Boomers. Morrissey notes that much of the marketing world is focusing on “new ways to woo and dazzle the highly coveted Millennial generation.” In a way, some of these companies have been seduced by the chase after a younger market. They see Boomers as old-school geezers not worthy of further investment. She quotes Larry Light, co-author
of Six Rules for Brand Revitalization, who says these companies “want to market to the cool segment, the modern segment, the ‘in’ segment.” Light also says that many of these same marketers are Millennials, which may help explain why they do what they do. Another reason for ignoring Boomers is that Millennials are seen as the future; marketers want to lock them in early and keep them for life. Yet, one of the takeaways I’ve learned while talking to shootingsports manufacturers about
Millennials is that this generation has nowhere near the financial resources of the Baby Boomers. That is causing a massive shift in how they shop. In some cases, they buy used, rather than new; in other cases, they trade rather than buy. A friend of mine calls these younger consumers “water spiders”; they float along, never really taking a deep dive or making a total commitment to a product line. And that is upending the business models of many companies. Consider this: There are still a lot of Boomers out there, and that is the generation that sees itself as perpetually young. They are redefining the meaning of retirement, and they want to remain physically active. Maybe most important, they have a lot of discretionary income. Given this behavior, Morrissey says that the biggest mistake that marketers make is overestimating the value of connecting with Millennials rather than Boomers. Here she quotes Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, Inc.: “While the Millennials are sharing stuff, Boomers are buying stuff. If you are a brand, you are in business to make money, and a tweet or share doesn’t translate into actual bottom-line dollars.”
Slaton L. White, Editor
SLATON L. WHITE, Editor James A. Walsh, Art Director Margaret M. Nussey, Managing Editor David E. Petzal, Shooting Editor David Maccar, Special Projects Editor Judith Weber, Digital Content Producer CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Larry Ahlman, Barbara Baird, Scott Bestul, Philip Bourjaily, Christopher Cogley, Jock Elliott, Tim Irwin, William F. Kendy, Richard Mann, Peter B. Mathiesen, Brian McCombie, Tom Mohrhauser, Robert Sadowski, Robert F. Staeger, Peter Suciu, Wayne Van Zwoll Anthony Licata, Editorial Director Gregory D. Gatto, Senior Vice President, Managing Director ADVERTISING: 212-779-5316 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 MANUFACTURING Michelle Doster, Group Production Director Kelly Kramer Weekley, Senior 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, 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 February/march, 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 26, issue 2, Copyright © 2018 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 866-6154345, 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.
YOU HAVE QUESTIONS.
WE HAVE ANSWERS.
NSSF has dozens of reports and industry indicator data available in our brand new online portal to help you better understand current market conditions. Here’s a sample of what you can ﬁnd: INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
NSSF® REPORT 2017 EDITION
Helping Our Members Make Informed Decisions
SURVEY REPORT | TREND DATA 2008-2016
WITH FIREARM IMPORT AND EXPORT DATA
This edition also includes manufacturing trends for ammunition as sourced from Census Bureau’s Annual Survey of Manufacturers (ASM) and import/ export statistics for firearms compiled from the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) are presented in conjunction with the AFMER numbers to provide a more accurate picture of the historical production that has been made available to the U.S. market. Used collectively, these data sources help to provide an overview of the firearms and ammunition manufacturing industries. Information on production, imports, exports and other manufacturing variables are only a piece of a more complex puzzle of the firearms industry. Other factors outside of the manufacturing sector, such as the retail sector, the economy and the political climate must all be taken into consideration. The limitation of the AFMER data is that it reflects historic trends; however, using the data in combination with other reports provides a more complete picture of the industry. Firearms and ammunition production provide a significant contribution to the national economy in terms of jobs, wages, and benefits. In addition, capital expenditures on materials (energy, equipment, fuels) help boost local economies.
ESTIMATED RETAIL DOLLARS
2016 $2.9 BILLION Source: Southwick Associates HunterSurvey/ShooterSurvey
2016 SHOOTING SPORTS INDUSTRY
For Firearms Retailers
Providing a comprehensive overview of firearms production trends spanning a period of 25 years, this report is based primarily on the data sourced from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF’s) Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Reports (AFMER). Every effort has been made to provide accurate and updated information so the reader may keep this edition as a reliable resource for trend information. Production data is a leading indicator of industry performance; this is especially true when combined with other valuable sources of information.
OPTICS MARKET SIZE
FINANCIAL BENCHMARKING REPORT
Helping Our Members Make Informed Decisions
IN THE UNITED STATES
This report provides both trend data and consumer survey information that will allow NSSF members to better understand optics categories such as: rifle scopes, spotting scopes, binoculars and range finders.
Prepared by: Southwick Associates, P.O. Box 6435, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035 Phone: (904) 277-9765, Fax: (904) 261-1145
INDUSTRY INTELLIGENCE REPORTS
NSSF® REPORT NSGA SHOOTING SPORTS PARTICIPATION
SURVEY REPORT 2017 Edition
DISCOVER CCW / Instruction / Tactical Training
This is an annual study measuring the number of participants in 9 shooting sports and 2 net categories. Frequency of participation, demography and a geographic profile are included for hunting with firearms, bow-hunting, target shooting (handgun, rifle, shotgun, airgun and archery) as well as muzzleloading and paintball. State by state participation data is also included.
• Average number of students per class?
Clay Target Sports • Average price per round?
Handgun & Rifle • Number of lanes operating?
Range Revenue • How much customers spend on-site? • Percentage of revenue generated by source category? • Annual gross revenue?
Operational Expenditures • Average annual / hourly salaries? • Full and part-time? . . . and much more.
Prepared by: Southwick Associates, P.O. Box 6435, Fernandina Beach, FL 32035 Phone: (904) 277-9765, Fax: (904) 261-1145
Prepared by: Industry Insights, Inc. Columbus, OH (614) 389-2100
Also posted are historical and trend data for: • NSSF-Adjusted NICS Based on FBI NICS Background Checks, industry indicator for monitoring market conditions as related to ﬁrearm transfers.
• Hunting license sales. • Firearm imports, exports and U.S. production. • Excise tax collections on Firearms and ammunition.
Access all this and more today at NSSF.ORG.
ENGINEERED TO BREAK BARRIERS
Jim Gilliland, Army Master Sergeant
UNTOUCHABLE PERFORMANCE BEYOND 1,300 YARDS Introducing the new Savage MSR 15 Valkyrie. The purpose built modern sporting rifle engineered exclusively for the cutting edge 224 Valkyrie™ round.
NEWS BRIEFS NEWS
PR O M OT I O N S
AWAR D S
O UT R E AC H
Bits & Pieces GPO, USA, Hires Joel Harris GPO, USA, has hired Joel Harris, owner of Harris Global Marketing and Communications, to handle the company’s public relations. “Joel brings a high level of experience, competence, and expertise to GPO, USA,” says Michael Jensen, CEO of GPO, USA. “I couldn’t be more pleased to represent GPO, USA,” Harris says. “As an optics expert, I recognize highquality optical products, and that is exactly what the GPO brand stands for. I look forward to building a sustainable public-relations program and network for GPO, USA.”
Mossberg Hires Richard Kirk O.F. Mossberg and Sons, Inc., has brought on Richard Kirk to be senior director of marketing. Kirk most recently served as head of marketing communications for Kimber Mfg. In his new role, he will be responsible for developing Mossberg’s corporate brand strategies; website management and digital initiatives, including new-product campaigns; consumer promotions and web advertising; oversight of corporate partnerships; and trade show/ event management.
This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.
Founded in 1992, Badlands is dedicated to building quality packs and clothing.
A New Direction Badlands launches Approach FX
uilding a brand takes years of hard work. Just ask the folks at Badlands, a Utah-based manufacturer of quality hunting packs and hunting apparel that was founded in 1992. The original intent was to create gear that was “based on the pursuit of unconditional perfection and quality.” FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018
NEW S BRIEFS
Approach FX is a camo with a color palette more suited to hunters in the Midwest and East.
The First Choice For Wholesale Firearms, Ammunition & Reloading Supplies Supplying Retailers, Gun Clubs & Ranges Great Prices, The Best Selection Multiple Warehouses For On Time, Every Time Delivery Iowa • Nevada • North Carolina
Now, a quarter century later, Badlands is recognized for doing just that. And it backs that up with a lifetime unconditional warranty. “At Badlands, customer service and honoring our warranty is number one,” says Blake VanTussenbrook, Badlands marketing manager. “This means that whatever happens to your pack or your apparel, we will fix it or replace it, no matter what. If we weren’t completely confident in our products, we couldn’t offer this warranty.” At this point, many manufacturers would not want to mess with such success. Not Badlands. In the beginning, the manufacturer had built its products using licensed camouflage patterns. In 2017, it decided to go in a new direction by introducing Badlands Approach, a new proprietary digital
camouflage pattern that allows hunters to adapt to a variety of surroundings. The neutral color palette creates visual confusion through numerous layers of colors and shapes that work in changing light and vegetation. Approach is available on Badlands’ iconic packs, but there is also an assortment of Field Systems technical apparel for every hunting scenario, from spring gobbler hunts to Western mule deer hunts. But while Badlands Approach can cover a wide variety of hunting situations, the manufacturer received customer feedback that the pattern was a little too Western-focused, with too much green for lateseason whitetail hunts. So for 2018, Badlands is releasing Approach FX, with a color palette more suited to Midwestern and Eastern hunting. Approach FX
features more brown, tan, and neutral tones to blend in with hardwood forests. The line has 20 new apparel pieces and several packs designed with the Eastern hunter in mind. The layering system includes designs specifically to help stand hunters cope with extreme cold. “Badlands Approach was developed over five years through trial and error, and Approach FX is no different,” says VanTussenbrook. “We put different versions of the camouflage into action in many different states in order to dial in on a final version that is ultra-versatile. Just like Badlands Approach camouflage took the hunting world by storm in 2017, we have no doubt that hunters will instantly see how effective Approach FX will be in their hunting grounds and want to put it into action.” (badlandspacks.com)
RAISING THE BAR Cordura doesn’t view fabrics as an afterthought. It recently launched a revolutionary new material that might just raise the bar on boot and uniform fabrication. NYCO Extreme is a fabric that “allows us to really push the boundaries of lightweight, durable materials that offer the kind of ergonomic fit and stretch performance that tactical operators need in the field,” says Cindy McNaull, Cordura’s global brand and marketing director. To showcase the capabilities of this fabric, Cordura partnered with Crye Precision to develop the VTX fabric, which is Crye’s branded version of the new NYCO extreme fabric. Crye used the VTX fabric to create the new G4 uniform.
Compared to standard 50/50 NYCO mil-spec, the new Crye Precision VTX fabric built on the new Stretch Cordura NYCO Extreme material is reported to be 17 percent Magnum’s Elite Spider boots benefit from Cordura advanced technology.
lighter and four times more breathable, while also offering three times the tear strength and at least 60 percent faster drying time. This revolutionary uniform fabric is far from the only way that Cordura is helping to keep tactical operators and outdoor enthusiasts covered. Cordura’s AFT (Air Flow Technology) 3D Spacer fabric is also featured in Magnum’s new Elite Spider X boots, designed specifically for specialists and tactical operators. The AFT 3D material helps make these boots lighter, tougher, and more abrasion-resistant, while also providing the kind of critical airflow that operators need. (cordura.com)
Kahr’s Special-Edition Pistol As a member of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Global Response Staff, John “Tig” Tiegen took part in more than 40 overseas deployments that provided lowprofile security in highthreat environments. He also was an essential part of the rapid response to the terrorist attack on September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, killing four Americans—Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs.
Only 1,000 of these specialedition pistols will be made.
Last year, he and his wife, Margaret, founded Beyond the Battlefield, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Its
mission is to provide support for wounded veterans as they face the many challenges encountered during rehabilitation, the healing process, and reintegration into everyday life. To assist Tiegan in his new role, Kahr is launching the TIG series ST9 pistol. The 9mm sub-compact pistol has a 4-inch barrel and will feature a Kryptek Typhon print on the polymer frame. Other features include an accessory rail, a blackened stainlesssteel slide, front slide serrations, and white three-dot sights. It ships with two 8-round magazines. SRP: $541. This is a special edition pistol—only 1,000 will be
made. Engravings on each pistol will include its number in the series, the TIG logo, TIG’s signature, and the Beyond the Battlefield logo. The first 50 guns (#1 through #50) will be sold in three-gun sets. Each will include the Kahr ST9, the Auto Ordnance Tommy Gun TIG model, and the Magnum Research Desert Eagle TIG model, as well as an autograghed copy of Teegan’s book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi. Part of the proceeds from the sale of each firearm will be donated to the Beyond the Battlefield Foundation by Kahr Firearms Group. (kahr.com)
Not the Same Old Thing
n the hydration game, HydraPak believes the tide is turning. “The consumer has become the king,” says Morgan Makowski, marketing director of HydraPak, a Californiabased manufacturer of hydration products. “You just can’t offer the same products year after year. You need to be nimble, and the top priority is to develop great products, something new and exciting every year.” Makowski suggests that HydraPak’s growth might be due to a better sense of what a modern customer wants, rather than relying on tried-and-true products. “I think it’s just listening to the market more, and making sure we evolve and innovate more than our competition,” she says. “The consumer wants a refresh on hydration.” Among HydraPak’s new products for 2018 are the Stow flexible bottle and the Expedition 8 L flexible storage tank. The Stow is a lightweight, flexible bottle made of HydraPak’s ultra-durable, abrasion-resistant TPU, with a spillproof nozzle and a built-in loop for a
carabiner or clip. (The loop also serves to keep the bottle compressed when empty.) It’s available in four colors (blue, gray, green, and orange) and two sizes: 500ml (SRP: $14) and 1 liter (SRP: $17). Filled with water, the Stow feels almost like jelly, changing shape to fit your grip. “It’s not a hard, round design,” says Makowski. “It’s meant to be very accessible. So if you’re hunting or fishing, it could be in your cargo pocket or your fishing vest, or you can clip it anywhere as well. “It feels good to drink out of,” she adds. “The cap has an LMS valve in it, so if you fill it with water and you have the cap open, you could shake it and move it around, and unless you apply an extreme amount of pressure to it, it’s not going to leak any water.” It’s meant for taking a quick sip and tucking away with no fuss. The Expedition 8 L is a high-capacity, flexible storage tank made of ultradurable TPU, with a Plug-N-Play cap for easy pouring and a flexible handle for easy carry. It has dual interior baffles to
HydraPak believes “the consumer wants a refresh on hydration.”
keep it stable when full, and there are lashing points to strap it down. Like the Stow, a loop on the cap will keep it compressed when it’s empty. SRP: $60. (hydrapak.com)—Robert F. Staeger
Firearms Business Insurance
HIVIZ POISED FOR GROWTH HiViz Shooting Systems, best known for its LitePipes line of
luminous sights, recently was acquired by the Rogers Group. The Rogers Group and its affiliates consist of 16 diversified
companies with approximately 2,100 team members and operates mainly in the construction aggregates, highway construction, metal powders, manufacturing, and realestate industries. “The Rechters and their existing group of companies are a natural fit for HiViz,” says Phil Howe, president and CEO of HiViz Shooting Systems (at the time of the acquisition). “Dan and Rick Rechter will serve on the company
board. They are genuine outdoorsmen and avid hunters, and I am very comfortable and confident in their honest values and business expertise. After 23 years, I’m excited to continue our fastpaced growth.” Howe will continue to serve on the board and will remain involved in key roles in the development and growth of HiViz to maximize the manufacturing facility in Laramie, Wyoming. (hivizsights.com)
Wholesalers & Distributors Retail Sales Manufacturers & Importers Ammunition & Bullet Manufacturers Indoor & Outdoor Ranges Gunsmiths Firearms Instructors
31 Parker Road • Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208
800.526.2199 • email@example.com • www.guninsurance.com
Starline Brass Is a Family Affair The bicentennial year 1976 saw the launch of Starline Brass. From a sweltering Quonset hut in Covina, California, the new manufacturer began making .38 Special cases with cast-off machinery from the government’s military arsenals. Those same machines still run at Starline’s 30,000-square-foot plant in Sedalia, Missouri, producing cases in 80 calibers for personal defense, hunting, cowboy action shooting, and more. The company’s team isn’t shy about saying Starline makes superior cases, produced efficiently and inspected 10 times to ensure tight tolerances. The brass is drawn vertically on the dated equipment, but Starline relies on these machines to avoid variations of wall thicknesses on all its cases. “They just don’t make them like they used to,” says general manager Bobby Hayden. “We do incorporate some CNC grinders, but our production equipment is mostly vintage stuff reconditioned, retooled, and brought back into service. Everything is cast iron and solid—simply done, but well-designed.” Hayden was a teenager when he began working in Starline’s old Quonset hut, learning about metals and manufacturing from skilled tradesmen. He learned the business side from his father. In the mid 1970s, Starline’s co-founder, Robert Hayden Sr., was hired to run Sierra Bullets in Santa Fe Springs, California. The company had new owners, and the former owner, Frank Snow, stayed on temporarily to help with the transition. Hayden and Snow became friends. “We were at a ballgame,
watching the Dodgers play, and we were talking about business,” Hayden says. “And Frank said, ‘You know, Robert, we ought to do something together.’ And I said, ‘Well, let’s go into the case business.’” Hayden continued running Sierra Bullets but worked on Starline’s business plan in his free time. Snow, meanwhile, was busy scrounging for affordable used-machineshop equipment. The third partner, Paul Knepp, was a tool-and-die maker for Sierra Bullets. He
Starline Brass thrives on creating niche products.
focused on the necessary tools to make .38 Special cases. In short order, Starline was in business. Next came .357 Magnum and .45 ACP. Soon the little company was making cases with custom headstamps for Federal, Winchester, and Remington. But in the early 1980s, Starline started selling brass factory-direct, with its very own headstamps. Then Federal got a lucrative contract for the FBI’s brief experiment with 10mm; it turned to Starline for help with cases. “And that was some big
numbers,” Hayden says. “We were selling and shipping probably 750,000 cases a month. So that’s when we really got kicking. We got real orders. We were making money.” The two-year run with 10mm cases allowed the company some operating capital and gave it the ability to move into the next game with new calibers. Starline eventually offered .40 Smith & Wesson and 9mm. That’s when Hayden saw that, despite Starline’s growth, it wasn’t big enough to compete with the major manufacturers of common pistol-caliber cartridge cases like .45 ACP and 9mm. “We had to get a niche in the marketplace,” he says. “So we decided we were going to make a lot of different types of old-line cartridge cases. You know, the cartridge cases you couldn’t buy anyplace.” The team focused on calibers common on the American frontier, such as .44-40 and .45 Colt, for people who wanted to reload cartridges for vintage or replica revolvers, lever-actions, and single-shot, long-range buffalo rifles. The move positioned Starline for huge growth, serving the cowboy action shooting community well into the 21st century. Joining the team in the late 1980s was a young man not long out of high school named Robert Hayden, Jr. “Bobby had come out of high school and did not want to go to college,” Hayden says. “So, I put him in the business. And he did every nasty job you can do. I remember down at the Quonset hut, in the summertime, it would be 120 degrees inside that building. We had
fans blowing on everybody, but he learned to do everything from the ground floor up.” For Bobby, it was a paycheck, trade school, and a business college all rolled into one. He especially appreciated the mentoring of the tool-and-die makers. “I was very fortunate in the fact I had those gentlemen to learn from,” he says. “They taught me to overdesign equipment, build it better than it needs to be, to keep it simple, and to always keep track of the quality. I worked my way through the machine shop. Then the plant manager got a job offer from PMC in Nevada, so I took the reins of the facility. I was 20 at the time. It was pretty big stuff.” Taking so much responsibility at such a young age was daunting, but Bobby proved to be a fast learner. The next challenge was overseeing the company’s relocation. Starline had no room to grow in California, so it moved to larger facilities in Missouri. “When we unplugged in California, we were making about 20 million cases a year, and after we got here, in the first 12 months we made 40 million,” Bobby said. “The growth was right there, ready to happen.” Starline has added more rifle-caliber cases, including .223, .300 Blackout, .308, and its progeny 7mm-08 and .260. The company recently added 6.5 Creedmoor for longrange shooters. More products are in the works, but the company doesn’t rush a new case into production without complete research and development, which also helps assure quality. (starline brass.com)—Bill Miller
Walls Unveils New Camo Clothing System
KIDS & CLAYS CELEBRATES 20 YEARS OF HELPING FAMILIES What started with a single sporting clays event to help critically ill children and their families has grown into a two-decade-old national organization benefiting hundreds of thousands of families each year. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kids & Clays Foundation, which supports a national series of sporting clays events with proceeds benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). Ronald McDonald Houses provide housing and other help to critically ill children and their families across the country. One of the original Kids & Clays sponsors is the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which continues to support Kids & Clays to this day. “We are proud to support the Kids & Clays Foundation for its 20 years of helping children and their
families through the shooting sports,” says Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “Our organization and the shooting industry as a whole believe in giving back to communities and organizations across the country, and we can’t think of a better group to help. “In an age where shooters and firearms seldom get good press, the Kids & Clays events are a shining star for our industry.” Another key sponsor is David Baron, owner of Baron Technology and president of the Kids & Clays Foundation. “We are honored to be supported by a vast array of companies in the outdoor industry for the past two decades,” he says. “This support is making a large difference in the lives of many critically ill children and their families, and we owe them all a debt of gratitude.” (kidsandclays.com)
Walls Outdoor Goods, best known for its durable outdoor workwear and hunting apparel, is unveiling HID3, a proprietary concealment system that features a new camo design that uses a mixture of small and large patterns designed to disrupt the human outline while blending into nearby surroundings. This new concealment system will be featured in the Walls Pro Series. “The decision to develop the HID3 camo pattern and to incorporate the design into our full concealment system stems from a growing performance hunt market,” says Brad Bromstead, vice president of marketing and merchandising at Walls Outdoor Goods. “The tech-
nology behind our HID3 concealment system establishes Walls Pro Series as a performance brand, equipping our hunters with the essential tools for success.” The Walls Pro Series HID3 concealment system uses technical, quiet fabrics along with soft snap buttons to fight against unwanted sounds in the field. It also utilizes HID3 Scent, a two-step system that captures and controls 99 percent of human odor-causing bacteria and regenerates without washing. The science behind HID3 Scent is a silverbased antimicrobial finish that prevents the formation of odor-causing bacteria. A second layer of protection captures and degrades microbes that cause unwanted odors. (wallsoutdoorgoods.com)
FROM THE NSSF
Get to Know NSSF’s Government Relations Team Proﬁles of two members of NSSF’s GR team KAYLA BERUBE POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE MANAGER
➤ Now that Kayla Berube has settled into one location long enough to establish residency, she can start to think about her first personally owned firearm. Until she joined the NSSF staff in 2017 as manager for its Political Action Committee, she’d barely had enough time to unpack her bags. “Time has been an issue,” confesses the 28-year-old from Millbury, Massachusetts. Since she graduated from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, it’s been a whirlwind. She cut her teeth working for the Connecticut Republican Party during the 2010 election. That was succeeded by a Massachusetts special election, then work at the Republican National Committee before returning to Massachusetts for then U.S. Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) reelection campaign. She followed that one with another Massachusetts U.S. Senate special election before taking a role as executive director of Hawaii’s Republican Party. Next came campaign work in Oregon for a U.S. Senate candidate, and then as deputy campaign manager for a State Senate candidate in Orange County, California. From there, she headed up Governor Scott Walker’s presidential bid in New Hampshire, later managing a California congressional campaign. Last year she served as campaign manager in West Virginia for the reelection of Attorney General Patrick
Morrisey. Now at NSSF, Berube might be hanging pictures in her office for the very first time—but it’s not slowing her down. “I wanted to use my skill set from campaigns and apply it in a different way,” Berube explains. “I wanted to work for a cause I believe in wholeheartedly.” Berube grew up the daughter of a firefighter who had her shooting for as long as she can remember. “I shot a Tommy gun when I was 10, so my first time was well before that,” she says. “I grew up shooting with my dad and brothers, but I’m still waiting to tag my first deer. I have never seen a deer while hunting—but always see plenty of them in my parents’ backyard,” she says, laughing. Even though she’s waiting to make a mark on a deer tag, she’s quickly made her mark within NSSF. “The energy level here is similar to what I experienced on campaigns,” she says. “Everyone is passionate about what they’re doing. For me, raising money to support the issues important to us is always difficult, but everyone is sincerely invested in a larger cause because of the unique challenges our industry faces.” MARK OLIVA WASHINGTON, D.C., PUBLIC AFFAIRS MANAGER
➤ If it appears that National
Shooting Sports Foundation’s Mark Oliva leans in to listen closely to you, it because he is. And it’s not just because he’s the public affairs manager in the Washington, D.C., office.
“I’ve had a lot of loud things go bang next to my head,” explains Oliva, who retired from a 25-year Marine Corps career and joined NSSF just before the 2017 SHOT Show. He climbed the ranks working in public affairs for the Corps, serving four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He capped off his career as a Defense Fellow for a Virginia congressman on Capitol Hill, where he got an inside view of the challenges of moving legislation. “I was able to draft a bill for Congressman Scott Rigell to push concealed-carry authority from the Secretary of Defense to installation commanders for personal and force protection measures,” Oliva says. “The bill had been introduced in previous years by others, but we worked with other members to get it attached to the National Defense Authorization Bill and signed into law.” The 44-year-old honed an early appreciation for firearms. He started hunting as a teen, but once in uniform, he was introduced to a new world of firearms. He’s still an avid hunter, taking every opportunity to get his chocolate Lab, Bourbon, out for a pheasant hunt or climb into a deer stand before the sun comes up. “I loved working with Marines,” he explains. “I was able to make a contribution to something I truly believed in, and that was my Corps. To be able to come over to NSSF and apply myself to a
whole new set of passions seemed like a perfect fit.” Oliva’s been able to step in and lead teams for NSSF’s annual Congressional Fly-In and work on Wounded Warrior issues, getting into the woods with recovering troops. He recently represented NSSF at a Hunting & Fishing Access for Veterans roundtable at the Department of the Interior with Secretary Ryan Zinke. He’s also become a quick study on the Hearing Protection Act, Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, and the Fix NICS Act, among others. “One of the things I’ve enjoyed about this job is that you come in to start your day with a great plan,” Oliva explains. “By 9:00 a.m., that’s out of the window because of events in the news or developments on Capitol Hill. There’s a lot of agility required and the issues we’re fighting for are not easy, but they’re crucial to our industry.”
BY JOHN BOCKER , NSSF SECURITY CONSULTANT TEAM MEMBER
RETAILER TO OLBOX
Put the Criminals on Notice Highly visible signage detailing your FFL’s security features can send criminals to an easier target
hat a difference a sign makes! Call me crazy, but when I was overseeing more than 100,000 firearms as a corporate security director, I learned fast that security awareness signage was a critical element in preventing thefts. With more than 90 locations across 17 states, I was constantly aware that a burglary or firearms loss could occur at any moment. Take my word, you need to experience only one bad burglary—followed by the public outcry for more security—before you’re quickly looking for ways to increase your store’s security. More than anything else, I learned about burglar alarm and closed-circuit security camera systems during that time as a corporate security director was the fact that alarms and cameras told you what occurred and when, and even possibly who the perpetrators were. What they do not do is deter desperate and brazen criminals.
COVER THE BASICS
➤ My first approach to “target
hardening,” a term used to describe physical security protection, was to assess the exterior perimeter protection of our stores to make it more difficult for criminals to penetrate our buildings. This included adding bollards or decorative landscape boulders (and even Jersey barriers, where appropriate), adding Lexan film glass protection where it was missing, reinforcing fire exits with barricade locks after hours, and reinforcing receiving area overhead doors after hours. These best practices had not been a part of our initial security design, but after several unexpected and highly publicized burglaries, our pre-construction plan-
ning for future stores was upgraded with these features. Beyond these physical improvements, we also made the corporate decision to remove, at the end of each business day, all handguns from displays in which vandal-proof cases and security glass were not installed. That requires an investment in labor, but it’s a major step forward in preventing handguns from being stolen. Remember, your goal, at minimum, is to slow down the bad guys in the event you can’t deter them completely. PUT THE CROOKS ON NOTICE
➤ After making a significant financial investment in our premises and firearms protection program, we told the criminals about it! Yes, we conveyed to the public exactly what our security features were in writing via awareness signage at the front and rear of every facility. Prior, we had your typical alarm company and “CCTV Cameras in Use” decals posted, but we now added highly visible signage that stated, “All Firearms Removed and Secured After Hours.”
This should be the next step in your program. I continue to hear of FFLs being burglarized when all guns are secured and inaccessible after hours but the stores are lacking signage. This results in unnecessary insurance deductibles, repair expenses, and downtime. The message you’re conveying with this signage is that the really valuable stuff is locked away, so don’t waste your time breaking in. Not only did these changes increase our confidence in our approach to securing our firearms after hours, but we decreased our incidence of burglary in the years following and eliminated much public outcry regarding stolen firearms on the streets. Here’s how you can accomplish this: Inspect the exterior of your facility and evaluate what signage currently exists. Are your alarm company decals faded and in need of replacement? Are they installed at all entry points to your building? Does your landlord or management company have Neighborhood Watch signs installed? Add them if not. Evaluate what other signs in your store are clearly visible
to would-be criminals, signs that plainly tell them you are a highly secure and concerned FFL. When adding additional signage, consider the following list. Most should be available online or can be printed locally for a modest cost. Your local law enforcement can also make specific suggestions: THESE PREMISES PROTECTED BY CCTV PREMISES UNDER 24-HOUR REMOTE CCTV SURVEILLANCE ATF “THEFT OF FIREARMS WARNING” SIGN (STATUTE 18 U.S.C – 922 U) ALL FIREARMS REMOVED AND SECURED AFTER HOURS NO TRESPASSING—VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT GUARD DOGS ON DUTY AREA PATROLLED BY LOCAL POLICE WE SHOW ONE FIREARM AT A TIME ID REQUIRED FOR FIREARMS SHOWINGS
NSSF’s Store Security Audit team is standing by to assist you with any physical or operational security issue. For more information, visit the Retailer section of NSSF. org. NSSF also partners with a variety of security vendors that often provide significant discounts on their products and services to NSSF members. Go to the Membersonly side of NSSF.org to learn more.
BY AUTHOR HERE
New NSSF Range Safety and Etiquette Video Debuts
SSF recently announced the release of an all-new “Introduction to Range Safety and Etiquette” video. Designed to provide guidance for firearms use on shooting ranges both indoors and out, the video is available to both industry members and the general public through the Vimeo streaming site (vimeo. com/220814809) and on nssf. org (nssf.org/ranges/). The new video replaces an older version on the subject and is set against the backdrop of a brightly lit, wellappointed shooting range. The female moderator articulates the basic rules of gun safety, especially as they apply to use on an indoor firearms
A moderator lists the basic rules of gun safety in NSSF’s new video.
range, before covering an array of range etiquette topics such as range officer commands, how to uncase your firearm on the range when you first arrive, and what to do if a firearm is accidentally dropped on the range. There are also safety tips specific to handling semi-automatic handguns and revolvers. NSSF encourages all its members to download this video and make it available to their customers through a monitor streaming the video, as part of their safety curriculums, and as required viewing for first-time firearms purchasers.
NSSF LAUNCHES MEMBERS-ONLY STATE LAW DATABASE Understanding the state laws affecting our members’ businesses is crucial. Each business owner will want to ensure compliance with state statutes so that they and their employees do not inadvertently run afoul of state officials. Our members also need to plan for their future success with a complete understanding of the legal environment in which you operate. For these reasons, NSSF is pleased to announce that our members may now access a compendium of state laws relevant to our industry. NSSF members will be able to access an interactive map to search the statutes in any state, starting with overview and organized by the categories most relevant to your business needs:
DESIGN LIABILITY LICENSING MANUFACTURING MARKETING PREEMPTION SALES TRANSPORTATION This resource will be updated as new legislation is passed. To access this new NSSF members-only state law database, sign in to the NSSF Member Portal and start your research. Have questions or comments about this new offering? Please contact Benjamin Erwin, berwin@nssf. org. Need to join NSSF? Visit nssf.org and click the “Join NSSF” link at the top right-hand corner of the page.
Hunting Works For America
his fall, NSSF’s Hunting Works For America Program expanded its reach by adding three new chapters: Hunting Works For Illinois, Hunting Works For New York, and Hunting Works For South Dakota. These are the 15th, 16th, and 17th states to join the program, which works to utilize each state’s unique and diverse network of businesses, conservation and shooting sports organizations, and other non-traditional supporters of hunting, such as convention and visitors bureaus, to raise awareness for the economic impact of hunting. All told, the Hunting Works For America program, begun in 2010, today represents more than 2,800 business, organizations, and associations working toward this common goal.
BY AUTHOR HERE
In mid-December, NSSF announced that West Coast Armory was awarded a Five-Star range rating.
PROJECT CHILDSAFE MEMPHIS LAUNCHES NSSF, along with Mayor Jim Strickland, D. Michael Dunavant, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, City of Memphis leaders, and law enforcement officials announced in October the kickoff of Project ChildSafe Memphis. Several kickoff events mark the start of a year-long, community-led effort encouraging gun owners to “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” “It is heartening to see just how many of our community leaders and organizations have united in support of this program to launch Tennessee’s first Project ChildSafe Community in Memphis,” said Mayor Strickland. “Memphis represents the first Project ChildSafe community effort in Tennessee and it will serve as a model for similar firearm safety efforts across the state,” said NSSF president and CEO Steve Sanetti. Project ChildSafe Communities is supported by NSSF through a twoyear $2.4 million grant by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The initiative will provide local law enforcement agencies with thousands of gun locks to distribute across Memphis. For more information on Project ChildSafe Communities, visit projectchildsafe.org.
West Coast Armory Earns NSSF Five-Star Rating
n mid-December, NSSF announced that West Coast Armory was the newest range to be awarded the organization’s top Five-Star rating for range excellence. This Washington State company has two footprints: A dual-purpose range and retail facility in the bustling suburb of Bellevue, across Lake Washington from Seattle, and a second retail-only storefront a few miles southwest in the town of Issaquah. The Bellevue location, commonly known as the Bellevue Gun Club, consists of Bay 1’s twelve 20-yard lanes for pistol calibers and ten 25-yard lanes with wider stalls and touchpad carrier controls in Bay 2. Bay 3, a tactical bay, is available for use by the range’s Gold members, for hosted events, and for law enforcement training, while Bay 4 boasts ten 20-yard lanes for pistol and shotgun use. All bays are wheelchair-accessible, and Bays 2 and 3
accommodate rifle calibers up to .308 and shotguns, in addition to handguns. The spotless, well-lit, climate-controlled range facility is complemented by West Coast Armory’s team of experienced instructors, who host an assortment of classes offered each month. They are also available for private instruction. An impressive lineup of rental firearms offers something for everyone, and a shooting simulator provides added entertainment value for both members and their non-shooting guests. The well-designed membership program ensures shooters of all interest levels and budgets can enjoy the outstanding facilities and its amenities. The range also accommodates private events, such as corporate outings, bachelor parties, and birthday parties. The West Coast Armory Pro Shop fronting the range facilities offers a wide range of ammunition and accessories.
© 2018 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.
by author UPD ATETH E COUNT FROM ER here
Sidney’s Department Store and Uniforms
rom the Counter” is the NSSF’s timely industry perspectives from firearm retailers across the country. Our goal is to identify and highlight innovative market strategies to help retailers compete more successfully. Lessons learned will be drawn from an array of regions with diverse market economies in an era of political change. While this column has focused on larger retailers in the past, this month we’ll visit an independent retailer in the Deep South.
SIDNEY’S DEPARTMENT STORE AND UNIFORMS, AUGUSTA, GEORGIA
The firearms side of this business keeps more than 1,000 guns in stock, with 300 handguns and a large number of custom and midto high-grade sporting shotguns and rifles. Combined with its clothing business, there are more than 10 million SKUs throughout this store. Sidney’s has three full-time employees, with two to three part-timers on the firearms side. The store is open six days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.weekdays and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturdays.
time in law school in the early ’80s, young Steven Fisher began taking over the reins of the family business.
It wasn’t long before he found that he had a knack for dealing with government culture.
ADOPTING A “CAN DO” CUSTOMER SERVICE CULTURE
Sidney’s was founded as a haberdashery in the late 1800s. During the 1960s, this uniform and soft goods company began to handle firearms to fill duty belt orders from the local police department. These solid relationships built from the uniform supply business migrated into and eventually expanded to firearm sales. By the 1980s, the store was an active firearms supplier. After returning from Vietnam and then spemding
Sidney’s owner, Steven Fisher (top), keeps more than 1,000 guns in stock. Combined with its clothing business, there are over 10 million SKUs in the store.
Back in 1983, a friend at a local military installation mentioned in an off-hand comment that they needed 88,000 rounds of .38 Special. Dupont, the government distributor at the time, told the customer the order would take six months to fill. Upon hearing this, Fisher figured he could get most of the order into his station wagon and deliver it to the military later that afternoon. “I went to Ellett Brothers and filled my station wagon with what wound up being 66,000 rounds. It just wouldn’t hold anymore. We met on a gravel road, transferred the shipment, and I delivered the rest of the order in a few days,” says Fisher. That was just the beginning of this retailer finding a niche in delivering sales to law enforcement and local military customers. Today, that “can do” culture translates into every transaction in the store. “It comes down to sincerity and showing that you care about the sale and the customer’s satisfaction. You have to look them in the eye, share their passion, and always be fair. All of my employees do it, and they believe it,” says Fisher.
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EXCLUSIVE AFTER-HOURS CLIENT EVENTS
While honest service is king, Fisher also notes the importance of exclusive client interactions. One of Sidney’s holiday traditions started with a construction company that regularly purchased work clothing. That company regularly gave out bonuses at their annual Christmas party and thought that many of its employees would enjoy getting to spend time at the store after the party. “We stay open on these [Christmas party] evenings with specials tied to those specific customers. With great frequency, the workers, with bonuses in hand, arrive at our store for a slice of pizza and some ice cream after the party. Traditionally, they purchase a notable Christmas gift,” says Fisher. SNAGGING AND CONVERTING TRANSFERS TO STORE SALES
Capturing store traffic for an accessory after a transfer is a reasonable goal for most retailers. However, this store makes every effort to seize the entire sale. “When someone calls and wants to do a transfer, of course we offer to take care of their needs. However, we are quick to inquire about what the exact firearm is and the total purchase cost. Nine times out 10, by the time we break down the cost of shipping, the service fee often charged by the web vendor and our transfer fee, our store can easily beat the total cost of the item by at least $75,” says Fisher. “In most cases, we have the gun in stock. And if we don’t, we can have it delivered—
often by the next day. It’s pretty hard for a customer to say no when he can have the gun in hand at least one or two days sooner with around $100 savings,” he says. Fisher adds that after they get the transfer customer in the store, they send them home with a vast assortment of accessories. It has become one of the most effective strategies for gaining new clients or regaining a former client the store may not have seen for a long time. CAPITALIZING ON THE USEDGUN COUNTER
One of the strongest profit centers in the store is the used-gun counter. While there are no real trade secrets, Fisher just doesn’t understand why more stores don’t get involved in selling and trading used guns. “Yes, it’s a skill, but no, it’s not rocket science,” he says. Although price and technical knowledge are paramount, the numbers and information have never been easier to access. “It’s just so easy to research pricing and resolve technical questions. However, you still need to
be able to read people. You need to have a feel for what will make them happy and what feels fair,” says Fisher. Another critical component of this store’s commitment to used-gun sales is that its customers can trust the store to offer a “No Questions Guarantee” for the gun’s performance. Doing this requires a gunsmith. This store has two on retainer. “Every single gun is checked out. When a customer buys it, he knows if the firing pin breaks, we will take care of it, even a few years later,” says Fisher. Trading is an art, and this retailer believes it’s a disappearing skill. It goes beyond the ability to read a customer. It requires listening that permits a thorough understanding of what that customer’s wants are so that the store can meet their needs. LESSON LEARNED
Lessons learned from this retailer center on building relationships that drive a customer-service culture. OFFER AN EXCLUSIVE EVENT
Create an environment in which customers feel they’re being treated to
by peter b . UPDATE
something exclusive and special, and then add a dash of fun. Holidays are supposed to be joyful. For that matter, so should the retail experience—every day. IDENTIFY UNIQUE SALES OPPORTUNITIES While prod-
uct diversity can always strengthen a retailer, finding products not sold or serviced by larger competitive retailers can increase traffic and sales. For this retailer, the used-gun counter is central to this strategy. LEARN THE ART AND SCIENCE OF THE SALE Treat your cus-
tomers like family and let them know you truly care. Listen to their wants and needs. They’ll almost always tell you exactly what they want.
Create an environment in which customers feel they’re being treated to something exclusive and special, then add a dash of fun. Holidays are supposed to be joyful.
BY ROBERT F . STAEGER
Suit Up! Huntworth shows how to sell hunting garments for the average Joe Millennial
et’s not blame the victim here: An outdoors retailer recently emailed Neal Ash, president and CEO of Huntworth, about the company’s Disruption digital camo pattern. The pattern sells well in his stores, the retailer said, but it’s also the top item for his customers to steal. Now, we can quibble with that retailer’s definition of “customers,” but what seems beyond dispute is that with Disruption, Huntworth has a hit on its hands.
Disruption appears to be particularly popular among younger and more technicaloriented hunters, Ash says. Unlike tree camo, it’s not so much about blending in as it is making sure that the animal can’t perceive you as an object. Huntworth incorporates three elements to make this “visual noise” happen: “For one, we’re trying to create a 3-D effect with the digital pattern,” says Ash. “There are also micropixels within the pixelated areas. And we created kind of a sense of motion in the pattern.” Considering this pattern has proven appealing to Millennials, let’s take a look at other things Huntworth does to catch their eye.
we’re not trying to sell a Rolls Royce either.”
Innovation Part of what makes Huntworth products so appealing is Ash’s drive to
innovate, particularly when it comes to materials. One such fabric is the four-way stretch performance hexagon-knit terry that lines the company’s new performance midlayers. “It’s like tubular yarn,” says Ash. “Or a soda
Pricing “The perception out there is that Millennials are all working for startups or Google, but that’s a small minority,” says Ash. “Some of them can afford the high-end clothing, but I think for most people it’s a challenge to be able to spend several hundred dollars for a jacket. “I build quality products for the everyday guy,” he says, noting that most of Huntworth’s garments are at the $99 price point or lower. “We offer a very strong value proposition. We’re not trying to compete on price, and
straw. It wicks moisture away from you.” That stands in contrast to a lot of wicking materials, which use a chemical treatment. The hexagon pattern also helps relieve heat. There’s also Huntworth’s new high-density fleece jacket. “Fleece is hard to print on—you don’t get the crispness of the pattern,” says Ash. “But the high-density fleece we came up with allows a nice print, a soft hand feel, and a lot of warmth without bulk.”
Huntworth knows that its customer base is mainly deer hunters, so it designs clothing expressly for them.
Ash also loads Huntworth garments with useful features—but only the right ones for the job. “It’s important to decide which features matter most,” says Ash. Huntworth’s customer base is largely made up of deer hunters, so incorporating a harness hole into its jackets is a key selling point. Sherpa-lined pockets are another, as they help to keep hands warm during long days in the cold. Some midlayers have elastic thumb straps to keep the cuffs down. But every feature is a trade-off, and must earn its cost to keep the gear at a reasonable price point. Maybe most important, by focusing relentlessly on value, Huntworth sells. (huntworth gear.com)
BY BRIAN MCCOMBIE
FIRING LIN E
A Fistful of Firepower Remington’s R1 Enhanced Double Stack .45 ACP is worth a close look
or 2018, Remington Arms Company continues its expansion into the handgun market with the introduction of the R1 Enhanced Double Stack in .45 ACP. Built on Remington’s R1 1911 platform, the R1 Enhanced is an impressive pistol and should fill a number of consumer-interest slots for handgun buyers, including those looking for a personal-protection handgun. I recently had the chance to use a new R1 Enhanced Double Stack, putting more than 200 rounds through it at my local range. Using a variety of range and self-defense ammunition brands, I found the R1 Enhanced was accurate and malfunction-free; indeed, it was fistful of firepower for those who like the .45 ACP round.
At the range, I first fired off a dozen practice rounds, then got down to some accuracy testing. At 10 yards standing and shooting offhand, I was able to shoot 1-inch and better four- and five-shot groups with a variety of ammunition brands. My best was a half-inch 4-shot group with American Eagle’s 230-grain FMJ rounds. Next, I shot from a rest at 20 yards, and had no problem consistently pegging 2-inch groups with both range and self-defense ammunition. My top group consisted of five shots of Remington’s HighTerminal Performance (HTP) 230-grain JHP round that measured just 1.4 inches. To check magazine functionality as well as the Double Stack’s feeding and ejecting abilities, I loaded a 15-round magazine with different ammo, including the Remington HTP round, Browning’s 230-grain FMJ BTP Performance, and 185grain FTX Hornady Critical Defense. I repeated this ammo sequence five times, inserting the full mag, releasing the slide, and firing 15 rounds as fast as I could. I have used 1911s that won’t switch back and forth between ammo brands without at least some jams, espe-
The Enhanced Double Stack comes with a performance trigger that’s adjustable for overtravel.
cially when the brands include different styles and bullet weights. But the R1 Enhanced fired all 15 rounds without a hitch. And that tells me Remington’s engineers have done something very right with this pistol. The Enhanced Double Stack comes standard with many high-end features, including a match-grade, 5-inch stainless-steel barrel and bushing, a fiber-optic front sight, and an extended performance trigger that’s adjustable for overtravel. The anodized aluminum match trigger on my R1 Enhanced measured
out a crisp 4 pounds of pull, according to my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. The pistol’s front- and rear-slide serrations are a real help when racking back the slide. And the beavertail grip safety has a checkered “memory bump” that essentially reminds you to press into the safety. The wide thumb safety snaps in and out easily and positively. The pistol comes with two 15-round magazines, each with a bottom bumper pad. About the only thing the R1 Enhanced Double Stack does not have that I usually find on
a higher-end 1911 is an ambidextrous thumb safety. The R1 Enhanced weighs in at 41 ounces (unloaded) and has a suggested retail price of $999.99. That price surprised me. Given the features, accuracy, and functionality of the pistol, I would’ve expected a price tag much closer to $1,500. The 9mm versus .45 ACP argument has become a fixture in the shooting world. One of the strongest arguments in favor of the 9mm has always been its superior round capacity compared to most .45 Autos. Yet, the R1 Double Stack 45 (as well as other high-capacity .45 ACPs) really undercuts the “more firepower” argument of 9mm aficionados. Which is why when showing the R1 Enhanced Double Stack to a customer, a salesperson should start off by mentioning the round capacity, suggests Remington product manager Dillon Jennings. “And don’t be afraid to bring up recoil,” Jennings adds. “Sure, a .45 is going to have more recoil than a 9mm, but you need to factor in the slightly larger grip radius on the R1 Enhanced. It gives a shooter more control and negates some of that recoil.” (remington.com)
Service With a Smile Looking for a home-defense handgun is made easier when retailers truly commit to customer service
fter recently moving downtown, my wife and I decided it might be a good time to invest in a new handgun for home protection. I’ve owned a Colt Government Model .45 for more than two decades, but lately I’ve been eying the tactical semi-autos in .40 S&W from brands such as Sig Sauer and Heckler & Koch. I also wanted a pistol that my petite, five-foot-tall wife with no shooting experience would feel comfortable training with and using. So we headed to Raleigh, North Carolina, home to a large concentration of gun shops, to find our ideal handgun.
HAPPY TO HELP ➤ The first store on our list was located
in a trendy neighborhood shopping center in North Raleigh. Its professional facade with fresh awnings and bright sig-
nage invited us in. The store was filled with handguns, long guns, accessories, and lots of customers. It was clearly a popular spot with local shooters. Barely a minute after we walked in, a friendly sales associate asked how he
could help us. After listening to our handgun wish list, the former Air Force Airman quickly steered us to a long glass counter filled with the latest semiauto models. He advised that a compact 9mm would be ideal for my wife and presented models from HK, Walther, Springfield, and a few other well-known manufacturers. The associate spent a lot of time with us and seemed happy to answer all of our questions. In fact, we stayed at this store longer than we had planned because he was so helpful. Before we left, he offered us a business card and wrote down details of each gun that we had examined. The service and product selection made this store a great jumping-off point for our search and set a high standard. STORE B
➤ Only four miles from Store A, our second stop seemed like a world away. I initially drove past this store because its exterior signage was obscured by the used-car lot in front and the gaudy pool and spa outlet next door. The only person in the store, an amiable sales clerk, welcomed us inside. We soon learned that he is a minister who works part-time at the gun shop. He showed us a couple of 9mm semiautos—apparently the go-to caliber for female shooters—from the store’s small collection. The preacher then launched into a lengthy parable about gun safety that involved his prior job at a bank and a recent dream he had about a home break-in. Several minutes into the yarn, it was clear that storytelling was a passion for him.
How’d They Do? Customer Service
����� The sales associate wasn’t pushy or overbearing. He knew exactly how to interact with new customers.
���� The associate was knowledgeable about handguns and eager to share what he knew.
���� Although missing a couple of key brands, this store had a solid selection of handguns and long guns.
�� The sales clerk was polite but not polished. This was clearly his side job.
�� The clerk had a “working” knowledge of firearms, but I never considered him an expert.
�� The store featured a limited but top-notch selection of products.
���� The outgoing shooting instructor quickly sold my wife with his knowledge and thoughtfulness.
����� The affable veteran really knew his firearms and how to put a novice shooter at ease.
�� The selection of firearms was limited.
No Stars We’re still waiting for one of the staff members to notice us.
���� Judging from interactions with other customers, they seemed knowledgeable, but we’ll never know for sure.
Although the product selection was much smaller at this store, we did find a few top-quality brands, including Smith & Wesson and Glock. STORE C
RANGE TIME ➤ The next store was located in an older strip mall, two doors down from a sketchy-looking strip club. We heard gunfire as we parked, but thankfully it came from the gun store’s indoor range. A smiling sales clerk, who also served as the in-house shooting instructor, greeted us immediately as we walked through the door. I explained that we were looking for a home-defense pistol that my petite wife would feel comfortable shooting. The former Marine just laughed, spread his arms wide, and declared that
Based on the wide selection of handguns, attractive facility, and the accommodating salesman, my wife and I both felt Store A was the clear winner. From world-class customer service to product knowledge and availability, they gave us everything we asked for with a smile.
Carolina Gunrunners ���� This store had the best product selection of all.
Very Good: ����
she could easily handle every firearm displayed in the counter. My wife was sold. The instructor then spent several minutes showing us 9mm semi-autos. He patiently walked my wife through the proper shooter’s grip and stance. She liked a compact number made by CZ, which the store also happened to offer as a range rental. Some paperwork and nearly $100 later, we were equipped with two boxes of ammo, the rental CZ, and paper targets, headed onto the range to shoot. STORE D
LEFT OUT ➤ We finished our trip at a store that, of the four, had the most professionallooking website. Based on their online content, I was expecting this gun shop
1141 Falls River Ave #110 Raleigh, NC 27614 919-803-4605 carolinagunrunners. com
and indoor range to be the hands-down winner, so I saved it for last. When we arrived, staff members were busy talking with customers, locals that they seemed to know really well. Curiously, nobody spoke to us. My wife and I browsed around the store, looking at the products. This retailer carried all of the top brands and had the best selection of the four stores we visited. Still, no one spoke to us or asked if we needed any help. We waited longer. Customers came and went. Nobody bothered to even say hello. Eventually, my wife walked to the front entrance and just stood by the door, clearly ready to leave. After spending 27 minutes in the store without anyone—store owners or staff—approaching us, we finally left.
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SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
This year, youâ€™ll see lots of platform extensions By Robert Sadowski
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
optics brands intend to stay fo c u s e d o n o p t i c s for such popular platforms as long-range shooting and MSR S . Just the same, watch for the rise of optics for handguns —and not just glass for hunting. Another important trend is the adoption of red-dot sights for concealed carry. Here’s what’s new this year.
THE 1–4X24MM LEVEL HD
RIFLESCOPE IS DESIGNED FOR ACCURATE CLOSETO MID-RANGE TARGETS.
Aimpoint The COMPM5 (SRP: $1,068) is a com-
pact red-dot sight—in fact, it’s the smallest in the Comp series—powered by a single AAA battery, which gives it up to five years of continuous on power at position seven. An advanced wedged lens system offers dot clarity and makes the sight parallax-free. The CompM5 is compatible with Aimpoint 3XMag-1 and 6XMag-1 magnifiers as well as all generations of night-vision devices. The sight is offered in standard height for MSR mounting and absolute co-witness configurations. (AIMPOINT. COM)
Barska The 1-4x24mm Level HD riflescope
THE MT SERIES OF MOUNTING KITS ALLOWS SHOOTERS TO MOUNT A RED-DOT SIGHT TO A VARIETY OF CENTERFIRE AND RIMFIRE PISTOLS.
(SRP: $464.40) is designed for accurate close- to mid-range targeting with both hunting and tactical rifles. It is equipped with an illuminated HRS .223 bullet-drop-compensating reticle, which can be used to estimate range and elevation adjustments when shooting .223 Rem. ammunition. This reticle can also be switched to either red or green and features adjustable brightness settings. The new 1x30mm HQ Red/Green Dot Sight (SRP: $196.50) features push buttons on the side of the sight to allow users to switch between redor green-dot reticles. An integrated light sensor automatically adjusts the brightness of the dot to match
the lighting environment. There is also a quick-release mount. The 10x42mm Level ED binocular (SRP: $714.40) is equipped with ED glass for sharp and detailed images. The open-bridge design features a textured rubber coating for both protection and a comfortable nonslip grip. Equipped with an attachment point for use with a tripod. (BARSKA.COM)
Bushnell The new XRS II 4.5–30x50mm rifle-
scope is Bushnell’s flagship optic. Models are configured with firstfocal-plane reticles, and reticle options include an illuminated G3 reticle (SRP: $3,289), G3 reticle ($3,149), H59 reticle ($3,149), and TRMR3 reticle ($3,149). All feature ED Prime Glass for rich color and
CARSON THE RD-842 8X42MM IS A FULLSIZE, OPEN-BRIDGE-DESIGN BINOCULAR.
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
CENTERPOINT THE PRECISION TURRET LINE FEATURES ZERO-LOCKING AND RESETTING CAPABILITIES, PLUS SIDEFOCUS PARALLAX ADJUSTMENT.
contrast, and lock turrets with RevLimiter Zero Stop that will not turn past zero. The AR Optics Haste is an ergonomic, waterproof, forward-grip laser in red (SRP: $248.95) or green (SRP: $348.95) designed to easily attach to any MSR and AR-style pistol. The Haste mounts under the bore and provides a bright, continuous, long-lasting beam with the push of a single button. The AR Optics Chase (SRP: $248.95, red laser; $348.95, green laser) is two sights in one. Push one button for a bright, continuous laser beam, push another to engage the flip-up front sight. The AR Optics Rush (SRP: $275.95, red laser; $375.95, green laser) is a high-rise mount with a built-in laser sight for close-quarters environments. It is compatible with any optic that can be mounted on a Picatinny rail. (BUSHNELL.COM)
Carson The RD-842 8x42mm (SRP: $215) is
a full-size, open-bridge-design binocular. It boasts high-quality BAK-4 prisms and fully multi-coated optics for crisp, bright images. (CARSON.COM)
C More The MT series (SRP: $47.99) of pistol-mounting kits allows shooters to mount a red-dot sight to a variety of centerfire and rimfire pistols. (CMORE. COM)
Crimson Trace The Laserguard Pro (SRP: $379,
red; $379, green) will fit Glock’s subcompact pistols. The Laserguard (SRP: $229, red; $309, green) product line now includes red and green laser diodes for Smith & Wesson’s M&P 2.0 pistol and SDVE series of pistols, as well as the Sig P320 and the Heckler and Koch VP9/40 and VP9SK pistols. (CRIMSONTRACE.COM)
Firefield The Barrage riflescope line is for
shooters who engage targets with extreme precision. Models include a 1.5–5x32mm, 1.5–5x32mm with red laser, 1.5–5x32mm with green laser, 2.5–10x40mm, 2.5–10x40mm with red laser, and 2.5–10x40mm with green laser. These scopes feature a mil-dot reticle, protective capped turrets, and single-piece mount. (FIREFIELD.COM)
The Precision Lock Turret line of
scopes features zero-locking and resetting capabilities, plus side-focus parallax adjustment and a ballistic 3–6X reticle. SRP: $99.99. (CROSMAN. COM)
The KronusPro M30 1–6x24mm riflescope (SRP: $429.99) features a 30mm tube, a multicoated lens, and an illuminated German-style reticle with a 19 MOA circle and 1 MOA
BUSHNELL THE XRS II 4.5–30X50MM RIFLESCOPE FEATURES FIRST-FOCAL-PLANE RETICLES AND ED PRIME GLASS FOR RICH COLOR AND CONTRAST.
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
OPTICS 2018 only 5.5 ounces and uses a dualfocusing system. Field of view at 1,000 yards is 264.1 feet at 7X and 149.2 feet at 17X. (KONUSPRO.COM)
THE BARRAGE RIFLESCOPE MODELS FEATURE A MIL-DOT RETICLE, PROTECTIVE CAPPED TURRETS, AND A SINGLE-PIECE MOUNT.
Leapers The 3-12x56mm 30mm IE riflescope (SRP: $279.97) is a new addition to the Accushot line. It features an etched-glass German #4 Dot reticle with EZ-Tap 36-color illumination, plus Low Top Zero turrets with ¼ MOA per click adjustment. New to the T8 Series is a 1–8x28mm scope (SRP: $270) with a .223 Rem./5.56 NATO-calibrated BG4 ballistic-dropcompensating and rangefinding reticle with 36-color illumination. The BG4 Reticle is designed to be fast and intuitive. The new lightweight AccuSync series of mil-std 1913 Picatinny scope rings are available in 1-inch, 30mm, and 34mm tube diameters. Each features different optimized offset distances suited to MSR platforms. (LEAPERS.COM)
THE SVTS THERMAL RIFLESCOPE LINE FEATURES THREE NEW MODELS.
center dot. The Sight-Pro PTS-2 (SRP: $209.99), a 3x30mm prismatic scope with a blue/red illuminated 2.8 MOA dot reticle, would be a nice choice for your tactical customers. The Konuspy (SRP: $1,289.99) is a 6–24X power-zoom night-vision binocular with video-recording functionality. The unit features a durable, rubber-covered body, weighs only 24.6 ounces, and includes a battery charger, AC/DC adapter, USB cable, and 8GB SD-Card. The compact Power Zoom 7–17x30mm Monocular (SRP: $49.99) weighs
The next-generation open-bridge design Geovid HD-B 3000 laser rangefinding binocular line can now range up to 3,000 yards. The HD-R 3000 lines can range out to 2,700 yards. Features include a wide field of view, edge-to-edge sharpness, and an LED display that automatically adjusts to current light conditions. The HD-B models are also equipped with the ABC (Advanced Ballistic Compensation) system. The two HD-B models include an 8x42mm (SRP: $2,945) and 10x42mm (SRP: $2,995), and the three HD-R models include an 8x42mm (SRP: $2,545), 10x42mm (SRP: $2,595), and 8x56mm (SRP: $2,895). (US.LEICACAMERA.COM)
Leupold The Mark 5 line of tactical riflescopes features two models. The 5–25x56mm (SRP: $2,339.99– $3,639.00) is ideal for long-distance
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
LEAPERS THE ACCU-SYNC SERIES OF MIL-STD 1913 PICATINNY SCOPE RINGS ARE AVAILABLE IN 1-INCH, 30MM, AND 34MM TUBE DIAMETERS.
shots, and the 3.6–18x44mm is a more compact design for medium distances. Both feature all-new M5C3 ZeroLock adjustments, which provides precise, repeatable tracking with a dead-on return to zero. The elevation dials deliver 30 mils of adjustment in three turns, at 10 mils per turn. Both scopes are available with or without illuminated reticles, including the TMR, Combat Competition Hunter (CCH), H59, and Tremor 3. The VX-Freedom scope series offers versatility for high-power big-game rifles as well as rimfire firearms, MSRs, and muzzleloaders. Models include 1.5– 4x20mm, 2–7x33mm, 3–9x40mm, 4–12x40mm, and 3–9x50mm (SRP: $259.99–$389.99). All models offer second-focal-plane reticles, including a Tri-MOA for long-range shooters, the Rimfire MOA reticle, and the new Pig Plex reticle optimized for hunting feral hogs. (LEUPOLD.COM)
Lucid The B-10 10x42mm lightweight binoc-
ular (SRP: $549) features an aluminum-reinforced glass-filled frame with a rubber-armor coating. The optic weighs 24 ounces. This openframe design also boasts high-definition ED Fluoride lenses and a smooth, precise focus. (LUCIDOPTICS.COM)
Meopta The MeoNight 1.1 night-vision device
(SRP: $4,499.99) can be used as a night-vision monocular for standalone viewing or with a riflescope to adapt it for nighttime use. Features include 1X magnification and external brightness control. In addition, the unit is capable of target detection out to 600 meters and automatically shuts off if unused for one hour. The MeoRed T 1x30mm reflex sight (SRP: $999.99) is designed for today’s MSR platforms, where quick target acquisition is a must. The unlimited eye relief of this red-dot sight enables fast and accurate target KONUS
THE COMPACT POWER ZOOM 7–17X30MM MONOCULAR WEIGHS ONLY 5.5 OUNCES.
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
THE RMS-C IS A COMPACT SIGHT NARROWED TO FIT ON SLIMMER SLIDES WITHOUT ANY OVERHANG.
ular triple mount with a QR Picatinny mount and a KeyMod and M-LOK mounting-plate system. (NCSTAR.COM)
Night Optics The new SVTS riflescope line fea-
tures three models: the Fusion NV/Thermal riflescope (SRP: $1,199), the Mid-Range Thermal Riflescope (SRP: $1,999), and the Long-Range Thermal Riflescope (SRP: $3,499). These scopes feature continuous calibration that ensures the screen will not freeze at a critical moment. The Heat Tracker feature quickly identifies the next target with an arrow pointing to targets outside of the visible screen. (NIGHTOPTICS.COM)
acquisition regardless of eye position behind the sight. Features include a 1.5 MOA illuminated red-dot reticle with 12 intensity-level settings. (MEOPTASPORTSOPTICS.COM)
NcStar The latest addition to the VISM
NC STAR THE VSM INCLUDES THE SPD FLIPDOT REFLEX SIGHT, WHICH USES DUAL-POWER-SOURCE TECHNOLOGY (BATTERY AND SOLAR) FOR ILLUMINATION.
line-up is the SPD FlipDot reflex sight, which uses dual-power-source technology. When used out in the sun, the solar panel powers the red dot, and it will automatically turn on when the spring-loaded lens is deployed. A secondary battery power source can be engaged in low-light conditions by using the side on/off illumination-control buttons. The sight uses a KPM mod-
The ATACR line now includes the ATACR 1–8x24mm (SRP: $2,800), with a first-focal-plane configuration. This low-profile scope is only 10 inches in length. The capped turrets have .1 Mil-Radian increments, and the Power Throw Lever (PTL) allows for quick magnification changes. The NX8 1–8x24mm (SRP: $1,800) is the latest addition to the legendary NXS line. Optimized specifically for short- to medium-range shooting, this small and compact scope adds minimal size and weight. Adjustments are a true Mil-Radian or .50 MOA. New reticles include the FC-MIL and FC-MOA designed for low-power riflescopes with bright center-dot illumination and bold, pointed lines at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions that help draw the eye to the center for instant target acquisition. The FC-DM reticle is also designed for low-power variable scopes with a daylight bright illuminated center dot, segmented circle, and .5 and 1 Mil-Radian markings. The Forceplex reticle is based upon the traditional post and crosshair reticle favored by hunters. (NIGHTFORCE OPTICS.COM)
Nikko Stirling The Mil Precision Reticle (MPR)
first-focal-plane riflescope includes two models: the FFP 4–16x44mm (SRP: $499) and 6–24x50mm (SRP: $499). Each scope is constructed with a 30mm main tube, and features include fully coated Microlux ETE GEN III glass coatings, 1 10 / mil click adjustments, dual red/green illumination, side parallax adjustment, enhanced lightgathering construction, and the glass-etched Skeleton HMD reticle. (LEGACYSPORTS.COM)
magnification range, this scope packs a lot into a small package. Features include push/pull locking, zero reset and zero stop turrets, 34mm main tube, and multicoated lenses. (RITONOPTICS.COM)
Shield Sights Two new handgun sights have been
added to the RMS line. The RMS-C (SRP: $420) is a compact sight narrowed to fit on slimmer slides without any overhang, making the overall system more concealable. The RMS-C will fit the Smith &
Pulsar The new Digisight N355 digital
night-vision scope (SRP: $1,799.99) was designed for night hunting but can be used during daylight. The Digisight uses a CCD sensor for extended viewing range at night and can detect objects up to 545 yards away. It features three rifle profiles with five zero saves, 13 variable electronic reticles, one-shot zeroing with freeze function, a rangefinder, and a mount for use on both MSR and bolt-action platforms with a Picatinny/Weaver rail. (PULSAR-NV.COM)
Riton Three new configurations are available in the Mod 7 line of riflescopes. The Mod 7 1–8x28mm IR-H (SRP: $1,299) was developed in conjunction with Craig Boddington and designed for shortto medium-range hunting applications, including dangerous game. It features a one-piece aircraft-grade main tube and second-focal-plane reticle. The Mod 7 1–8x28mm IR-T (SRP: $1,299) is the tactical version. It features an illuminated firstfocal-plane reticle that can be used on a true one-power magnification with both eyes open for quick target engagement. The Mod 7 4-32x56mm IR FFP (SRP: $1,499) is the new flagship model. Using a first-focal-plane setup with large
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
THE DIGISIGHT N355 DIGITAL NIGHT-VISION SCOPE USES A CCD SENSOR FOR EXTENDED VIEWING RANGE AT NIGHT.
THE NEXT-GENERATION OPEN-BRIDGE–DESIGN GEOVID HD-B 3000 LASER RANGEFINDING BINOCULAR LINE CAN NOW RANGE UP TO 3,000 YARDS.
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
RITON THE MOD 7 LINE IS DESIGNED FOR SHORT- TO MEDIUM-RANGE HUNTING APPLICATIONS, INCLUDING DANGEROUS GAME.
Wesson Shield, Glock G43, 1911 models, and 2011 model pistols. The RMS-W (SRP: $490) is water resistant. Both models fit the same footprint as the RMS, so existing users can easily upgrade. (SHIELDSIGHTSUSA.COM)
Sightmark The new Ram Series Ultra Shot
M-Spec red dot sight delivers a crisp field of view with an antireflective and scratch-resistant lens system, plus a 65-MOA red reticle with 10 brightness settings. Features include a locking QD Picatinny mount, battery, adjustment tools, and scope cover. The Ram is also compatible with the Sightmark XT-3 Tactical Magnifier. The affordable Photon RT series of digital night-vision riflescopes consists of four models: Photon RT 4.5x42S, Photon RT 4.5x42, Photon RT 6x50S, and Photon RT 6x50. The RT improves upon the XT generation with an upgraded core and new, user-friendly features, making them ideal for hog and predator hunting at any hour. (SIGHTMARK.COM)
Sig Sauer Two new MSR battle sights have
been added to the Bravo line: the Bravo3 (SRP: $479.99) and Bravo5 (SRP: $599.99), with 3X and 5X magnification, respectively. These fixed-power optics offer a 40 percent wider field of view, are lightweight, and have an illuminated reticle calibrated to 5.56NATO and 300 BLK. The reticles are designed to also work in extremely bright conditions. Engineered to fit the Sig P238 or P938 pistols, the new LIMA38 laser sight (SRP: $155.99) features either a red or green laser pointer. The laser offers two modes—steady or pulse—and automatic shutoff to prevent battery drain. Runtime is one hour on steady mode and three hours on pulse mode. (SIGSAUER.COM)
Swarovski The BTX (SRP: $2,988) is a unique system combining the features and benefits of a spotting scope and a binocular. The BTX offers both eye viewing through all objective modules in the Swarovski ATX/STX series. It simply attaches to the objective. The BTX also features an adjustable forehead rest, which can be fully retracted for more comfort-
THE MEONIGHT 1.1 NIGHT-VISION DEVICE CAN BE USED AS A NIGHT-VISION MONOCULAR OR WITH A RIFLESCOPE TO ADAPT IT FOR NIGHTTIME USE. IT IS CAPABLE OF TARGET DETECTION TO 600 METERS.
OPTICS 2018 able viewing, and an aiming aid is integrated above the right eyepiece. (SWAROVSKIOPTIK.COM)
SHOT BUSINESS FEB./MAR. 2018
THE VICTORY SF BINOCULAR LASER RANGEFINDER SERIES IS AVAILABLE IN FOUR MODELS.
Valhalla This newcomer to the optics mar-
ket is introducing the affordable Q40 line of long-range precision riflescopes with two models: a 4–16x50mm (SRP: $699.99) and a 6–24x50mm (SRP: $749.99). Both scopes feature a one-piece 34mm tube, side-adjustable parallax, turrets with tactile and audibly precise 1 10 / mil clicks and zero stop, etched first-focal-plane illuminated reticles, flip-up lens covers, sunshade, and a magnification-ring throw lever. The Q40 series scopes use the new illuminated TWF reticle designed for long-range precision with 2/10 Mil Radian holdoffs and holdovers. (VALHALLAOPTICS.COM)
Viridian The new Gen 3 X5L-R red laser sight/ light (SRP: $249) and Gen 3 X5L green laser sight (SRP: $409) now feature a 500-lumen CREE LED light, multiple modes, and rechargeable batteries. The instant-on feature turns on the light automatically when the gun is drawn from the holster. The Gen 2 Reactor R5-R red laser (SRP: $1,490) and Gen 2 R5 green laser (SRP: $239) now have triple the battery life—more than three hours of laser use in constant mode and up to six hours in pulse mode. (VIRIDIANWEAPONTECH.COM)
Vortex The Strike Eagle 3–18x44mm (SRP:
$599.99) and 4–24x50mm (SRP: $699.99) long-range riflescopes are an affordable option for shooters getting into long-range shooting. Built on a one-piece 30mm tube, both scopes offer 120 MOA (3-18x50) and 85 MOA (4–24x50) of elevation travel. Features include parallax adjustment, zero stop turrets, and an glass-etched second-focal-plane reti-
cle with 11 illumination settings. (VORTEXOPTICS.COM)
Zeiss The premium Victory SF binocular laser rangefinder series is available in four models: 8x42mm, 10x42mm, 8x54mm, and 10x54mm (SRP: starts at $3,249.99). These binos are designed with enhanced ergonomics for comfortable operation over extended periods. Range capability is out to 2,500 yards. They can also connect to Zeiss’ B.I.S. II ballistic calculator via Bluetooth technology, so with one click the range, angle, equivalent horizontal distance, and holdover values can be quickly displayed. The new Victory Harpia spotting scopes feature two models with angled eyepieces: 22–65x85mm and 23–70x95mm (SRP: starts at $4,099.99). The Harpia design positions magnification and dual-speed focus controls into the objective body of the spotting scope. This unique set means magnification is not controlled by the eyepiece—as is
SWAROVSKI THE BTX IS A UNIQUE SYSTEM THAT COMBINES THE FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF A SPOTTING SCOPE AND A BINOCULAR. IT ALSO OFFERS BOTH-EYE VIEWING.
typical of spotting scopes—but by the objective lens. Conquest V4 scopes are designed for long-range shooters. Models include a 1–4x24mm, 3–12x56mm, 4–16x44mm, and 6–24x50mm (SRP: $799.99–$1,1199.99). The scopes feature second-focal-plane illuminated reticles, and external turrets with Ballistic Stop. (ZEISS.COM)
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was just after midnight, near Corpus Christie, Texas, when our pickup truck rolled to a silent stop. Our guide/driver leaned out of his window to get a better look, and in a low voice said, “We got hogs. Up ahead on the left.” “How far away?” I asked.“at least 300 yards,” he answered. “We’ll walk from here.” It was a clear night, a few stars overhead, but we couldn’t see 30 yards with the
Pulsar’s APEX XD-50 Thermal Sight, featuring a built-in rangefinder, helped the author bag this feral hog.
naked eye, much less 300 yards. Our advantage for this night hunt? New thermal monoculars from Trijicon, plus Trijicon’s new REAP-IR Mini Thermal Scope mounted on my MSR. These thermal units allowed us to spot hogs and coyotes hundreds of yards away in the black Texas night. We got out of the truck as quietly as we could and put a short stalk on the half-dozen hogs. Once we got to within approximately 75 yards, we set up our shooting sticks, picked our targets, and opened fire. Twenty seconds later, I had two hogs on the ground. I’ve been hunting at night with thermal optics for more than five years now, and in that time I’ve seen a world of change in all things thermal. Today, hunters and tactical shooters have more thermal options than ever before. Prices have dropped steadily, and there’s more interest in and knowledge about thermal optics. What hasn’t changed? Night hunting with thermal optics for hogs, coyotes, and varmints is still a rush. Thermal products are a great way to expand hunting opportunities, especially as more states legalize night hunting for problem species such as hogs and coyotes. As our shooting sports become ever more high-tech, thermal may well be the next big thing to grow your customer base.
Natural Fit “Our customers want and need a full line of aiming solutions,” says Chuck Wahr, vice president of sales and marketing for Trijicon, when I ask why the optics maker began offering thermal units. “Actually, they have been suggesting we enter the thermal market for some time. In particular, our military and law enforcement customers have highlighted the desirability of the technology, and after we took a good look at it, we knew it was a natural fit for Trijicon and our customers.” “This is a very young industry—in its infancy, really, especially at the hunter-consumer level,” says Tom Frane, director of global sales at FLIR, arguably the largest player in the thermal game for many years. “Military and law enforcement have had thermal units for years, but the average person hasn’t been able to get their hands on these units—literally. That’s changing fast, and the independent retailer is in a great position to get into this market and do very well.” The market for thermal optics is on a definite upswing. Pulsar, of Mansfield, Texas, for example, debuted its first thermal units in 2012. Today, it has a full lineup of thermal monoculars and riflescopes. At the 2017 SHOT Show, Pulsar introduced its new Trail scopes and Helion monoculars, both
with customer-friendly price points, and they immediately sold out. “Our first orders of Trail and Helion units have gone out to our dealers, but we are already backordered for many thousands of additional thermal units,” says James Sellers, president of Pulsar. “We’ve seen demand for thermal increase significantly every year, and we’re expecting that only to continue.”
At the Core Actually, thermal optics are not true optics at all. The term “optic” is a common shorthand simply because the units look so much like traditional riflescopes and monoculars. In reality, they are digital cameras with sensors, or “cores,” that detect infrared or heat waves; an onboard signal processor then translates those waves into images for the shooter or spotter. Another key distinction: Thermal technology is not “night vision,” though the two are frequently lumped together, especially on the internet. True night-vision technology uses any ambient light available—usually from stars, the moon, or infrared lasers—to illuminate when it is dark outside. Night vision works well, as long as there is some sort of light source to draw from. Thermal’s advantage is that is relies on heat to find targets, heat that is transmitted even when the night skies are overcast or during weather events like rain. Depending on the thermal brand and model being used, a person can spot a human-sized object anywhere from 150 yards (with entry-level thermal) all the way out to 2,000 yards with top-of-the-line thermals. However, maximum spotting range and shooting range are different. While you may be able to see a white blob out to 2,000 yards with your thermal scope or monocular, you will likely have to get within several hundred yards to accurately identify the blob. With a thermal scope, you will
probably have to move within 300 yards or so for the shot. But getting closer usually isn’t a problem. After all, in most cases you’re hunting at night. Just keep in mind that though the quarry may not be able to see you, it can sure smell you. Most thermal units operate via a digital “menu.” A menu lets you select such things as palette colors (white for hot, for example, or red for hot), brightness, contrast, and magnification (if available). For riflescopes, reticle options are selected via the menu operation, which also has the adjustments necessary for zeroing in the unit.
Many of these thermal units have wifi capability, and can take photos and download them via wifi. They also can store and use ballistics data. Thermal scopes and monoculars are not exactly new, but the extremely high price points—often more than $10,000 for a single unit—and a general lack of marketing to civilians initially kept thermal units off retail shelves. But prices have dropped by many thousands of dollars per unit. At the same time, the word has gotten out to shooting sports consumers that thermal works, is becoming more affordable, and is, above all, a lot of fun to use.
Since thermal technology detects heat, units like this entrylevel FLIR Scout can be used to look for game by day.
Live fire with a FLIR RS Scope mounted on an MSR. Using MSRS to hunt hogs at night is gaining ground in many states.
Thermal units themselves have also gotten smaller and more effective, increasing their appeal to the general consumer. They are more flexible, too, with most companies now making “clip-on” models that can be attached in front of a riflescope or used as a handheld monocular. As an indication of the potential growth of this market, Leupold debuted its new LTO (Leupold Thermal Optics) line at the 2017 SHOT Show. The LTO-Tracker is a small, handheld thermal monocular. Shortly afterward, Leupold also introduced the Quest. The Quest has additional features versus the LTO, including a precise temperature reading of the object being scanned (the temp is displayed on the screen), plus a built-in flashlight and a camera that can capture and store as many as 2,000 images. “We’ve seen tremendous growth in the thermal market and felt it was a natural fit for Leupold,” says trade marketing manager Shane Meisel. “A large percentage of our market is focused on hunting, and thermal handhelds like the Tracker and the Quest have so many hunting uses.” Leupold’s LTO and Quest can be
used to find and follow blood trails and scout for game animals. They also are handy for scanning an area before a hunter heads in. The latter should be a big selling point for deer hunters in particular. No more need for them to scare off a big buck on their way to the deer stand. They simply do a quick scan with the LTO or Quest (or other thermal units, for that matter) and see what may or may not be bedded down between them and their destination.
Into the Game Thermal manufacturers are focusing hard on what they see as their core users: predator, varmint, and wild hog hunters. Hogs and coyotes are increasingly seen as problem species in many states. So, hunting regulations now often allow year-round night hunting of these animals with no bag limits. Now retailers are getting into the game. Mike Blackwell owns and operates Big Boys Guns, Ammo and Range (bigboysgunsandammo.com) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Blackwell began offering thermal units in 2006, and admits the initial reaction to these products was tepid.
“The thermal that was available at the time was very expensive—I think it started at right around $6,000—and, frankly, it just didn’t work all that well,” he says. “The images were often pretty grainy. You had to use a USB cable to download any photos or video you took because they didn’t have wifi capability, and the tech could be hit or miss on those downloads.” Since then, Blackwell says, his customer base has become much more interested in thermal. He credits the increased interest to better thermal units, lower prices overall, solid entrylevel units—and feral hogs. As has happened in many states, Oklahoma has seen a population explosion in wild hogs and a big jump in agricultural damage as the hungry porkers root up crop fields and destroy pasture lands. So, Oklahoma lawmakers recently made night hunting for hogs legal for state landowners on private property (or a designee with written permission from the landowner). “Once they could hunt hogs after dark, my customers got very interested in thermal,” Blackwell says. “Right now, they are buying the entry-level units like the Leupold LTO-Tracker and the Sig Sauer ECHO1 Thermal Sight.” For $700, Blackwell’s customers can get into thermal with the LTOTracker. The Echo1 is a rifle-mounted sight with 1X to 2X magnification and a spotting range of approximately 1,000 yards and a targeting range of right around 300 yards. It sells for $1,749. Big Boys also stocks a number of other thermal monoculars and scopes from top manufacturers, and can and does order just about any other thermal units customers want. Profit margins? Not as high as with traditional optics, Blackwell says, but easily twice the margins he sees on firearms.
Seeing Is Believing So, the $64,000 question: How do you move thermal products in your
store? Seeing is believing—and education is a key to those first sales. “The products sell themselves,” says Trijicon’s Wahr. “Find a way to demonstrate the products. Many retailers use video to demonstrate the product in use, but nothing replaces having a unit on the shelf that customers can look through and compare to other options.” Blackwell agrees. His sales staff makes sure they hand over the thermal units so customers can scan the store area. Since thermal technology detects heat, the units work fine during the day, too, and people, lights, and other objects will jump out. Customers are usually pretty impressed with the visual example of what thermal can do, says Blackwell. Another “ooh-and-aah” experience for customers can be achieved by varying the color palettes of the thermal units (a feature in most scopes and monoculars). Start with white for hot, and then switch to black or (if available) red or even green. Consider showing the potential customer a YouTube video of a night hog or coyote hunt. The various thermal manufacturers have such videos on their websites and Facebook pages. All of which adds yet another reason for customers to like thermal. As Blackwell notes, “It’s the cool factor. It’s cool to have and use this technology. And cool certainly sells.” Of course, educating your customers means first training your sales staff. Help is available for this, too. “We’ve made a huge commitment to our retailers, to help educate them and their staffs about thermal in general and our products specifically,” said Pulsar’s Sellers. “We’ll come to their store and train staff.” Wahr adds, “Our sales staff is more than willing to help provide the right training and materials to make the sales process easier.” Retailers who “see the light” about these products stand to reap a nice benefit, especially through the recruitment of younger customers.
Thermal Manufac turers
Thermal imaging changes the way you see the world. Here, a red fox was detected and photographed with a FLIR Scout monocular.
Dual-purpose Trijicon reap-IR Clip-On.
ATN’s thermal products line includes binoculars and monoculars, but it is probably best known for the THOR riflescopes. With eight different variations, THOR units range in price from just under $2,000 to $5,999. (ATNCORP.COM/
FLIR The thermal leader for more than a decade, the FLIR product line includes the pocket-portable Scout monocular, long-range riflescopes, clip-on models, and units to attach to helmets and head rigs. SRPs run from $599 to $8,000.
Leupold’s LTOTracker is built for hunters.
Leupold Leupold’s thermal products lineup includes the LTOTracker and Quest, both small enough to hold in your hand. SRPs run $649.99 to $909.99. (LEUPOLD.COM)
Pulsar thermal brands include the Helion and Quantum monoculars, the new Trail riflescopes, and Apex riflescopes with built-in rangefinders. Pulsar also makes thermal clip-ons that allow a shooter to use his day scope at night. SRPs range from from $2,089 to $5,499.
Sig Sauer Sig Sauer’s thermal products line includes the Echo1 monocular. SRP: $2,399.99. (SIGSAUER.COM) Trijicon
A new entrant into the thermal game, Trijicon rolled out a full line of riflescopes, clip-on optics, and monoculars in 2017, with price points ranging from $6,000 to $10,000. The REAP-IR Mini Thermal Scope is a real gem for the night hog and predator hunter.
FEBRUARY + MARCH 2018
Knowing the in t r i ca ci e s o f t h e t a x code can he lp t ak e a b ig b it e o u t of a bu si ne ss lo ss + By Mark E. Battersby Illustrations by adofo valle
FEBRUARY + MARCH 2018
NAVIGATING A BUSINESS LOSS
Losses come in many shapes and forms. There are loses that result from natural disasters, losses caused by dishonest employees and customers, and financial losses from bad business decisions or a poor economy, to name only three. Although insurance, such as so-called business continuation ion losses suffered by a business, the tax laws contain a special rule for disasinsurance, provides protection from some ter losses in an area subsequently determined by the President of the losses, it is our tax laws that can really help United States to warrant federal assistance. For those losses, the shooting reduce the bite of losses. Surprisingly, sports business owner or manager has the option of deducting the loss on the many shooting sports businesses may actutax return for the year in which the loss occurred or choosing to deduct the loss ally profit from their losses. That’s right, on the tax return for the preceding tax year: In plain English, the business has taking full advantage of and correctly the option of deciding whether the loss using tax laws that apply to the losses of a firearms business can mean business survival and, in many cases, profits. Navigating the often confusing welter of IRS rules and regulations can be a daunting challenge, though. Here are some guidelines to help you plot your course.
CA SU A LT Y LOS SE S
Today, cyber fraud, theft, and embezzlement appear to be taking a backseat to storm- and wildfire-generated casualty losses. Casualty losses are the damages or complete destruction of property caused by fire, theft, vandalism, floods, earthquakes, terrorism, or some other sudden, unexpected, or unusual event. In order to be tax-deductible, there must be some external force involved. What’s more, a casualty-loss deduction can be claimed only to the extent that the loss is not covered by insurance or otherwise reimbursed. In other words, if the loss is fully covered, no tax deduction is available. The IRS uses a very conservative yardstick to measure the amount of damage to property. A shooting sports business must use the lesser of the property’s adjusted tax basis immediately before the loss or the property’s decline in fair market value as a result of the casualty.
DI SAS T ER B U SI NE SS LOS SE S
Generally, casualty losses must be deducted in the year in which the loss event occurred. However, to help cush-
would be most beneficial used to offset the current year’s tax bill or better used to reduce the previous year’s tax bill, thereby generating a refund of previously paid taxes. In order to accomplish this, the business simply files an amended tax return for the preceding year, figuring the loss and the change in taxes exactly as if the loss occurred in that preceding year. Although this choice must be made by the due date (not including extensions) for the tax return of the year in which the loss actually occurred, the resulting refund can go a long way to helping the damaged business.
P R OO F O F LO SS
After each disaster, the IRS reminds taxpayers of the need for records to support loss claims. In order to claim a casualty-loss deduction, a gun shop owner or manager must be prepared to prove not only that business property was lost in a casualty, but the amount of the loss. This requires a knowledge of, and documentation to support, a number of factors, including that the dealer or firearms business owned the property, the pre-disaster value of the asset, the reduction in value caused by the disaster, and the lack or insufficiency of reimbursement to cover the loss. In addition, the owner must prove the amount of the book value, the “basis” in the property. Adjusted basis for property is generally equal to the cost of acquiring it, plus the cost of any improvements and minus any depreciation deductions or earlier casualty losses. Obviously, the best way to document a loss, especially disaster losses, is to file an insurance claim. However, even insurance companies require documentation. To
help when records have been lost or destroyed, the IRS has an excellent tool, “Disaster Assistance Self-StudyRecord Reconstruction” (irs.gov/businesses/smallbusinesses-self-employed/disaster-assistance-self-studyrecord-reconstruction).
GAI N I NG FR O M A LO S S
As mentioned earlier, some businesses may actually profit from casualty losses. If, for instance, the amount of the insurance reimbursement received is more than the book value or adjusted basis of the destroyed or damaged property, there may actually be a gain. However, the fact a gain exists does not necessarily mean that it will be taxable right away. Most businesses are able to defer the gain to a later year (or perhaps indefinitely) simply by acquiring “qualified replacement property.” In calculating that gain, any expenses incurred in obtaining the reimbursement, such as the expenses of hiring an independent insurance adjuster, are subtracted. Then, if the same amount as the rest of the insurance money received was spent either repairing or restoring the property or in purchasing replacement property, any tax on the gain may be postponed. The replacement must occur within two years of the tax year when the gain was realized.
HA N DLE WI T H C A R E
Losses come in many forms—even from excessive tax deductions. If a firearms dealer or business has too many tax deductions and too little income, a net operating loss (NOL) results. Many businesses have used losses incurred during the economic downturn (or casualties) to reduce income from prior tax years, providing a refund of previously paid taxes. The NOL carryback period is usually two years preceding the loss year and then forward to the 20 years following the loss year. A three-year carryback period exists for so-called eligible losses, including the portion of a NOL relating to casualty and theft losses. There are also losses that can be controlled. Quite simply, a loss is allowed for the abandonment of an asset. If a depreciable business asset or incomeproducing asset loses its usefulness and is subsequently abandoned, the loss is equal to its adjusted basis. Best of all, this type of loss applies to the abandonment of a business. Far more common are those occasions when business property is taken, often as a result of a natural disas-
ter. The government may also legally take property by the simple act of what’s known as “condemnation.” The loss of any business property by actions outside the control of the firearms retailer is usually labeled as “involuntary conversion.” These actions are unusual in that they frequently result in a taxable gain. Fortunately, the rules governing involuntary conversions permit the property to be replaced with property of a “like kind,” eliminating the need to report and pay taxes on that gain. Owners of unincorporated businesses who are forced to sell or liquidate their businesses at a loss are allowed to deduct those losses against their ordinary income. Owners of incorporated firearms businesses who sell or liquidate their operation at a loss are required to deduct those losses against their capital gains. If their capital losses exceed their capital gains, they are allowed to divide the loss into increments of up to $3,000 per year and deduct that amount against their ordinary income. At that rate, depending on the amount of the capital loss, it may be many years before the entire loss is deducted.
TO O M UCH LO S S
A number of unfortunate business owners, particularly those whose businesses operate as a pass-through entity, have discovered that there can be such a thing as too much loss. Under the tax rules, a partner or S corporation shareholder cannot take a loss in excess of the amount invested in the firearms business. For S corporations, a shareholder’s “basis” includes equity investments and direct loans. That basis is increased by profits and reduced by losses and distributions. Once the basis is reduced to zero, additional losses are suspended. Answers to questions about the complex and, often confusing, casualty loss tax rules can be found in the IRS Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts (irs. gov/pub/irs-pdf/p547.pdf ). Unfortunately, recoveries via tax law are not always smooth. They often require professional assistance or, at the very least, an understanding of how the tax rules work. As always, consultation with a tax professional is the best way to go.
Taking full advantage of tax laws that apply to losses can mean business survival and in some cases profits. FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018
BY RICHARD MANN
BY RICHARD MANN
Each VX-6 HD riflescope comes with an elevation turret dial graduated in ¼ MOA increments.
A Big Deal Leupold creates a new “gold” standard
hen I was 15 I never had much money. A paper route helped me save for a year to buy my first deer rifle. Then, the gold standard of riflescopes was a Leupold 3–9x40. Grandpa said, “Save up and buy one.” I lusted for one more than I did for Janie Robertson, the cute girl in science class. Ultimately I gave in and bought a cheap scope instead. My hunger never subsided, and because of the new Leupold VX-6 HD 3–18x50mm, it’s stronger than ever.
Leupold has a wider variety of riflescopes than Whole Foods has organic produce, with prices ranging from affordable to near astronomical. The VX-6 HD line is priced in the middle and built around a six-times optical zoom system. This means the maximum magnification is six times the minimum. My rule of thumb is at least 1X magnification for every 100 feet I intend to shoot. With a 3–9X riflescope, this means out to 300 yards the target will never appear more than 100 feet away. As brilliant as this might sound, it’s nothing novel, and it’s actually the reason the 3–9X riflescope has been the standard for so long. The VX-6 HD 3–18x50 doubles this concept; out to 300 yards it will visually pull targets to 50 feet, and at 600 yards it will do what a 3–9X riflescope does at 300, while still offering the same 3X mag-
nification for close-in shots. That’s a big deal, but the bigger deal is everything else wrapped up in the package. The CDZ-ZL2 dial system simplifies precise shooting at long range. Each VX-6 HD riflescope comes with an elevation turret dial graduated in ¼ MOA increments. It’s lockable at zero and affords two rotations, or 40 MOA of elevation correction. That will take a 6.5 Creedmoor to 1,000 yards. But each scope also comes with a free custom elevation dial. Send your ballistics to Leupold with the coupon that comes in the box, and they’ll create a dial perfectly tuned to your load. To hit at any distance where dials are needed you must keep your reticle level; at 1,000 yards, a 1-degree cant can mean a miss. Built into the illuminated FireDot reticle is a leveling indicator. If
you cant the rifle, the glowing red FireDot blinks. The illuminated reticle also deactivates after five minutes of inactivity or if the rifle is canted more than 30 degrees right or left. This means when the rifle is on its side, the battery is being conserved. VX-6 HD riflescopes are built around a 30mm tube, employ second generation Argon/Krypton waterproofing, and the external lenses have a Guard-Ion coating to shed water. Combined with the Twilight Max Light Management system, looking through a VX-6 HD riflescope is like seeing for the first time. Images are crisp edge-to-edge, colors are vibrant even in low light, and the contrast is pristine. And, though not a highly technical accessory, the reversible throw lever for magnification adjustment is a nice finishing touch. All of this is why I request-
ed one of these to test on a custom rifle chambered for my wildcat cartridge, a 6.5 Creedmoor necked to .257 caliber. Topped off with a custom dial, tuned to a 110grain Hornady InterBond bullet at 3,100 fps, with that rifle I’m first-shot deadly to distances that can strain the optical and adjusting limits of many riflescopes. Not all that long ago a riflescope like this would have weighed as much as a fifth of liquor and cost as much as a bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild 1870. Given its magnification range, 50mm objective lens, free Alumina lens covers, and other bells and whistles, at only 20 ounces the VX-6 HD 3–18X 50mm riflescope qualifies for the “light” adjective better than most low-calorie beers. It’s also as affordable as the 3–9X Leupold of my youth. (leupold.com)
I N N O VA T I O N
A M E R I C A ’ S A M E R I C A ’ S
M A S T E R M A S T E R
H U N T E R S G U N M A K E R
W H AT ’ S S E L L I N G W H E R E
Gun Tactical WA Anacortes AKMat-Su Shop, Anacortes LLC, Wasilla Thirty miles south of the Canadian border, this Washington firearms store specializes in police contract, military-personnel supply, and home defense. In addition to a large showroom, this retailer keeps an active web presence, listing more than 12,000 firearms. At the handgun counter, Colt 1911s in 9mm and HK VP9s are holding the top slots. Sales of Smith Shields are just starting to wane. “While we’ve enjoyed an excellent selling history with this gun, once Smith put these on sale, our numbers have fallen off the charts,” said owner Herb York. Sales of modern sporting rifles are strong.
Thirty miles north of Anchorage, this twoman storefront rests in the shadow of the Talkeetna Mountains. Veteran-owned, this store specializes in handguns and custom-built MSRs. Winter handgun sales are up, especailly Glock Gen 3s, Smith Shields, and SCCY in 9mm. Demand for the MSR platform has not wavered for this retailer. The shop turns an average of three premium MSR-platform buildouts each week. “Our custom rifles are what we like to see our customers buy. If they want a $500 MSR, we send them down the road to Sportsman’s Warehouse,” said owner Peter Minaj.
Masters, Shooter’s MO Target WI Superior Columbia Supply, Superior A serious contender in town for more than 21 years, this shop has a 25-yard, 10-lane range. Big-box stores surround this retailer, including a Bass Pro Shops just a few miles a way. Handgun sales are strong at this location. “Our traffic is excellent. Sadly, this is due to an exceptionally high spike in gang violence and opioid addiction. Our concealedcarry classes have had a waiting list for the past year,” said counter salesman Tim Quick. Glock 42s and 43s top the list. Smith Shields and Springfield XDSs are moving briskly. Ruger LC9s are also in high demand. MSR sales have slowed significantly, to just two a month.
Located one block from Lake Superior just across the Wisconsin state line, this longstanding Duluth-area shop specializes in firearms, safes, reloading supplies, and soft goods. Handgun sales have been strong. Top sellers include Ruger LCP2s, Glock Gen 5s, and M&P 2.0s. MSRs are turning at about one per week, with Sports and Ruger 556s attracting the majority of the attention. Sales of varmint boltaction guns are steady and improving daily, with good numbers of XPR Winchesters and Ruger Americans crossing the counter. “It’s nice to see bolt guns in high demand. And .243 has the upper
Sports, MT Shedhorn Ennis
This retailer, 70 miles outside the entrance to Yellowstone Park, keeps 12 employees busy stocking more than 600 guns. Handguns continue to dominate late-winter season sales, and good numbers of Smith J Frame revolvers in .38 and .44 Mag. are keeping the registers hot. Glock Gen 5s are also in high demand. “From February to May, we sell a lot of handguns. In fact, they account for nearly 65 percent of our sales,” said owner Rob Gallentine. Bolt-action gun sales have cooled slightly, but they are turning for wolf hunters. Tikkas in 6.5 Creedmoor are moving well, as are Kimber Montanas.
hand this year, with 6.5 Creedmoor coming in strong,” said counter salesperson Chris Warren.
Inc., ND Outdoorsman Fargo
Established in 1980, this store keeps an average inventory of about 650 units. The shop sells a mix of general homedefense products, rifles, and handguns. Demand for MSRs is historically low. “We’re selling one to two a week, but it has been steady for a long time,” said manager Mike Muhonen. Sales are split between APF and Rock River. Varmint guns are starting to do well. Browning X-Bolts and Savage Model 11s hold the top slots, most notably in 6.5 Creedmoor.
BY PETER B . MATHIESEN
PA Dunkelberger’s, Strasburg
With two locations sporting a total of 35,000 square feet of display space, this large independent services a wide area, from Scranton to Allentown. The retailer stocks an average of 1,500 firearms at each location. Traditionally, February and March are high handgun sales months. Glock 43s and Gen 4s are on the climb. Smith M&Ps and Shields are also fast movers. Bolt-action guns are slow, with just a handful of small-caliber rifles in .22 and .243 (Savage Model 11s and Ruger Americans), going out the door. As for MSRs, M&P Sports and Ruger 556s lead the sales chart— one to two units a week are crossing the counter.
Philadelphia MS Gun & Pawn, Philadelphia
This central-eastern Mississippi shop specializes in handguns. It keeps more than 300 firearms in stock to serve a rural clientele. The past month has seen an increase in Ruger LCPs and several EC9s. Other strong handgun sellers include Smith 642 .38 revolvers. Turkey season is just around the corner. In anticipation, Remington 870 Expresses, Browning A5s, and Benelli Super Black Eagle IIIs are turning in good numbers. “I’m amazed at how the new Benelli has sold so well this year. We have a lot of customers trading in all sorts of guns to get their hands on a Super Black Eagle III,” said counter salesperson John Bozeman.
Guns, Rock NY Seneca Stream
Located on New York Route 14, this small-town shop stocks an average of 400 guns. It inventories a wide variety of hunting and home-defense firearms. Midwinter sales are slow but steady at this location. The highest consistent turns are at the handgun counter. Walther CCPs, Smith Shields, and Ruger Mark 4s hold the lion’s share of attention. “For the last six months, Glocks haven’t been turning for us. For many of our customers, price has been the driving factor,” said counter salesman Keith Slaughter. Traditional rifle sales are seasonally down. The most consistent sales have been used rifles. This retailer said that any used gun in
the $200 range sells within a few days. New York–compliant MSRs are turning at about two per month. Ammo stocks are excellent.
Guns, VA Town Collinsville
Located in mid-south Virginia, this small, rural, 1,600-square-foot store packs nearly 2,500 guns in inventory. Winter is handgun time here, and this retailer is seeing strong numbers of anything concealed-carry. Glock 43s, Smith Shields, Ruger LC9s, and EC9s are trading evenly at this counter. “I really see the new model Ruger EC9 getting more traction as the year moves ahead. Truth be told, it’s all about showing our customers new product,” said manager Cary Minion.
Gun Pawn Gallery, SC Doc’s Exchange, Florence AR Clarksville Located on Route 52 in the centraleastern part of the state, this shop inventories an average of 700 firearms, with a mix of hunting and defense guns. Handguns have been especially hot lately, with heavy sales attributed to the new Ruger EC9. Other strong sellers include Taurus PT11s and Glock 43s. At the rifle counter, MSRs are turning close to two a week. Sports and Ruger 556s are attracting the most attention. “I know that in most parts of the country MSR sales are slow. But here in South Carolina, they’re picking up,” said counter salesperson Harper Whitehead. Bolt-action .22s are also moving very well.
This small, independent pawnshop, located off of Interstate 40 just a half hour east of Fort Smith, stocks an average of 250 firearms. “Late winter is handgun season. And that won’t change until turkey season,” said counter salesperson Kelly Elam. MSR sales have been slow. The store moves about three M&P Sports a month. A few Rock Rivers are also going out the door. Leveraction long guns in .22 are on the move. The top slots are held by Henry and Marlin. Handgun inventories are strong. Ruger LC9s are garnering the most attention, as are a large number of Hi-Point 9mm and .45 pistols.
NEW PR ODU CTS
FROM PAGE 50 )
Storm Sight Shooting Targets from Rite In The Rain are printed on weather-resistant paper.
et and a polymer tip that team up to offer flat trajectories, long-range accuracy, and explosive terminal performance. SRP: $17.95, box of 50. (cci-ammunition.com)
Nikon ➤ The Tactical Spur red-dot
mounts on handguns, has a 3 MOA red-dot reticle, and weighs .9 ounce. The Black X1000 riflescope series is now the FX1000 line with a firstfocal-plane configuration and MRAD reticle option. Models include 4–16x50mm and 6–24x50mm. The P Tactical line includes a 1.5–4x20mm, 2–7x32mm, 3–9x40mm, 4–12x40mm. The M Tactical line includes 1–4x24mm, 3–12x42mm, 4–16x42mm. (nikonsportoptics.com)
Rite In The Rain ➤ Storm Sight Shooting
Nikon’s Tactical Spur red-dot mounts on handguns. It sports a 3 MOA red-dot reticle.
➤ CCI remains the undisputed leader in rimfire ammunition, and it has two new loads for 2018. The Mini-Mag 40-grain Segmented Hollow Point features a bullet engineered to split into three equal-size parts on impact, creating three distinct wound channels that quickly take down small game and varmints. SRP: $9.95, box of 50. If devastating varmints or drilling targets at long range with a rimfire makes you grin, CCI’s new VNT .17 HMR load features a Speer bullet that should turn that grin into a mile-wide smile. It has an extremely thin jack-
Targets are printed on weather-resistant paper that can be used even in nasty weather conditions. A double-sided print design offers the shooter a choice of common marksmanship exercises, and the high-contrast orange-on-white reticle helps to identify shots at greater distance. The targets use unique reticle designs borrowed from the military and competitive design logic to score and improve shooting. Common paper dimensions help builders and reloaders keep a paper binder on ammunition and firearm performance. SRP: $11.95 per pack. (riteintherain.com)
Anschutz ➤ The Model 9015 One 3
Position is a high-end target air rifle built expressly for air rifle 3-position disciplines. The modular design allows a shooter to create a custom
The Treehouse pack from Mystery Ranch is designed for treestand hunters.
fit, allowing for precise shooting at a very high level. SRP: $4,295. The Model 9015 One Basic 3 Position offers the shooter a solid 3-position rifle with the well-known Anschutz cheekpiece and buttplate adjustment. This model includes the newly developed One hand stop, which improves the shooter’s grip. In addition, the One aluminum rail allows the shooter to mount a variety of forend riser blocks. With the extensive Anschutz accessory program, the air rifle can be expanded and adapted to the shooter’s requirements. SRP: $3,250. (anschuetz-sport. com)
Irish Setter ➤ The cable-closure system of the BOA Ravine Boot provides on-off convenience. It is also quickly adjusted, even while wearing gloves, and never comes untied. The lightweight boot features EnerG technology underfoot. It provides comfort and sustained support through an energy-returning core sandwiched between layers of EVA and TPU within a dualdensity midsole. The AntiTorsion Chassis offers underfoot support on rocky ground. A rubber outsole with multi-tiered lugs provides traction on uneven terrain. The self-cleaning lugs shed debris with every step. A contoured last mirrors foot shape, and lace-to-toe eyelets help customize the fit. The uppers provide a quickdry lining to wick away foot moisture, UltraDry waterproofing, and a memory foam collar. A CuShin Comfort tongue provides shin comfort.
ScentBan helps eliminate boot odors. Armatec technology adds durability and abrasion resistance. Offered in 7-inch and 9-inch heights, with noninsulated and 400-gram options. Sizes: 8–14 , half sizes, 8.5–11.5, in medium and wide. SRP: starts at $199.99. (irishsetterboots.com)
compression straps securely fit tripods and bow hangers. Other features include a 500D Cordura fabric exterior and YKK zippers, top haul loop for hanging from a tree by a hook, front stretchwoven stash pocket for gloves, jacket, or other quick items, and side pockets. SRP: $250. (mysteryranch.com)
Mystery Ranch ➤ The Treehouse pack is a
hanging gear-quiver explicitly designed for treestand hunters. The pack features quiet interior fabrication and two fiberglass rods that allow the face panel to open to 45 degrees, securing its contents from falling out while providing easy access to gear while on a stand. Multiple interior sleeves and pockets have been incorporated for organizing calls, rangefinders, and other essentials. Front compression straps provide a secure attachment for a bow or lightweight treestand, and side water bottle pockets and
➤ Inspired by WWII U.S. Air
Force pilot watches, the A-3T Navigator’s vintage dial is painstakingly authentic. Set in a sand-blasted, matte finish, 42mm solid titanium case that offers unmatched durability and comfort, the watch features Swiss-made quartz movement, a hardened sapphire crystal, durable screw-down crown and case back, high-performance bands, and a rugged U.S.patented Unibody design. SRP: $300, nylon band; $350, leather band. (bertucci watches.com)
The Model 9015 One 3 Position is a high-end target rifle from Anschutz.
NEW PR ODU CTS
Goal Zero The Goal Zero Yeti 400 Portable Power Station allows you to camp in comfort or power through an unexpected outage without the noise and fumes of a traditional backup generator. It can be charged by connecting a compatible solar panel or by plugging it into a regular wall outlet or even a vehicle’s 12-volt adapter. The design of the charger also allows it to be securely chained in place. SRP: $449.95. (goalzero.com)
(Continued on page 48)
Â© 2018 , L 3 EO T EC H
HE’S NOT HERE TO FIX YOUR FLAT.
PEDERSEN BLOCK DESIGN Dissapates recoil energy for reduced felt recoil
LOW BORE AXIS Significantly less muzzle rise for faster follow-up shots and reduced felt recoil OPTIMIZED GRIP ANGLE Reduces felt recoil and points more naturally
TWO SEMI-FLUSH 7+1 ROUND MAGAZINES For concealability and backup firepower
THE ENHANCED R5I SUBCOMPACT
The perfection of a truly groundbreaking design. Point instinctively. Recover instantly. Re-engineered from the ground up and rigorously tested to deliver maximum reliability, the all-new R51 gets you on target faster and more intuitively than any other subcompact on the market. Add to that its dramatically reduced felt recoil and muzzle flip, and it’s exactly what you need to perform at your best when things are at their worst. #LiveReady
PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA BY AMERICAN WORKERS ©2017 REMINGTON ARMS COMPANY, LLC.
SHOT Business Feb/March 2018