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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

SIG AIR’S BREAK-BARREL BREAKTHROUGH

FIRING LINE

GOOD STUFF

Beretta’s A300 Outlander Sporting is a perfect fit for clay target shooters Pg. 18

High Speed Gear’s TACO magazine pouches perfectly blend function and fit Pg. 44

Pg. 32


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SHOT BUSINESS

4 7 

OCT./NOV. 2018 VOLUME 26 ISSUE 6

EDITOR’S NOTE How are your listening skills these days?

NEWS BRIEFS Federal’s Premium365 program helps its dealers; Hi-Point introduces a California-compliant carbine.

18

FYI The Vasque Fit Shop helps you get off on the right

16

foot.

FIRING LINE Beretta’s Outlander 300 Sporting is just the ticket for new shooters.

18

UNDERCOVER SHOPPER New York–compliant ARs aren’t easy to find.

20 BY HAND Selling reloading equipment isn’t just about economy. It’s also about performance. Here’s a guide to the best way to tool up for these customers. BY WAYNE VAN ZWOLL

24

SIG AIR TAKES FLIGHT Moving airgun technology into the 21st century required a collaborative effort between centerfire and airgun engineers. BY SLATON L. WHITE

32

THE RIGHT WAY When helping a woman pick a handgun for personal defense, in the long run it pays to be a consultant, not a salesman. BY RICHARD MANN

38

GOOD STUFF High Speed Gear’s magazine pouches are the cat’s meow.

44 46 50

WHAT’S SELLING WHERE

NEW PRODUCTS The Biolite SolarHome 620, Bishop 3G Rifle, and Pelican’s Vault V200.

50

FROM THE NSSF Everyone is talking about diversity, but how they define it can be very different.

COVER PHOTO BY TIM IRWIN

10

YOU SHOULD KNOW Mark your calendar! A schedule of events for 2019’s SHOT Week.

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NSSF UPDATE NSSF names a new President; report shows

12

concealed-carry market is growing. FROM THE COUNTER Griffin & Howe shares lessons learned from nearly a century of experience in firearms retail.

14

RETAILER TOOLBOX Applying the concept of “lean manufacturing” to the retail business.

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SHOT BUSINESS

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EDITOR’S NOTE

NSSF

The Voice of the Customer Selling personal defense handguns to women means placing a premium on listening skills

A

4

SLATON L. WHITE, Editor James A. Walsh, Art Director Margaret M. Nussey, Managing Editor David Maccar, Senior Editor David E. Petzal, Shooting Editor Judith Weber, Digital Content Producer CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Larry Ahlman, Barbara Baird, Scott Bestul, Philip Bourjaily, Christopher Cogley, Jock Elliott, Shannon Farlow, Tim Irwin, William F. Kendy, Richard Mann, Peter B. Mathiesen, Brian McCombie, Tom Mohrhauser, Robert Sadowski, Robert F. Staeger, Peter Suciu, Wayne Van Zwoll

couple of years ago, I found myself at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa, where I met range program manager Sheena Green. An accomplished shooter, Green told me, when I asked about selling handguns to women, “The number-one rule for selling to women is: Revolvers are great, but with all the other handguns out there, they shouldn’t always be the first option presented to a woman.”

Anthony Licata, Group Editorial Director

She still believes in that rule, as you’ll see in “The Right Way,” by contributing editor Richard Mann (page 38). When Mann and I were discussing an article on selling personal defense handguns to women, I suggested he talk with Green. They met at SHOT Show, where she expanded on her philosophy of selling to women. A large part of her message is about simply listening to your customer. As Mann says, “Be a consultant, not a salesman.” The article also contains one of the best selling tips I’ve ever seen, but I’m not going to reveal it here. You’ll have to read the article to mine this nugget. At the height of the ammo shortage a few years ago, we saw a renewed interest in handloading. Now, with ammo stocks at normal levels, does it make sense for you to carry reloading components? The short answer is yes, and in “By Hand” (page 24), Wayne Van Zwoll explains why. “These days, some might call the handloader an anachronism,”

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

he says. “Potent, reliable, and accurate factory loads for popular rifle and handgun cartridges abound. They sell briskly, too. Cost? You need few rounds to check zero on your 7mm Magnum. One Nosler Partition or Barnes TSX will kill that elk. You can use ‘highvolume’ ammo for pistol practice. Speer Gold Dot or Black Hills Honey Badger loads in your bedside 1911 share the fate of the Maytag repairman—on call but, to your good fortune, unused year after year. “And yet, handloading endures. That’s because ‘loading your own’ can improve accuracy and open the throttle for shooters who want to burn rubber. And only handloaders have access to wildcat cartridges.” What starts out as a moneysaving project often turns into a pursuit of excellence, which is good for them and good for you.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

Slaton L. White, Editor

Gregory D. Gatto, Executive Vice President ADVERTISING: 212-779-5316 Jeff Roberge, Publisher Katie Logan, Southern Sporting Goods Sales David Hawkey, Northeast Sporting Goods Sales Amanda Gastelum, Integrated Marketing Director BUSINESS OPERATIONS Tara Bisciello, Financial Director MANUFACTURING Kelly Kramer Weekley, Associate Group Director Melissa Beckham, Production Manager

SHOT Business (ISSN 1081-8618) is published 7 times a year in January, February/March, April/May, June/July, August/September, October/November and December by Bonnier Corporation, 2 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016-5695, and is the official publication of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, Flintlock Ridge Office Center, 11 Mile Hill Road, Newtown, CT 06470 (203-426-1320). Volume 26, issue 6, 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 064702359. 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 reprints@bonniercorp.com. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to SHOT Business, P.O. Box 6364 Harlan, IA 51593.


NSSF

WORKS FOR

“

ME

The NSSF is my go to source for OSHA regulations, demographics data and many other range and retail related resources.

�

Doug VanderWoude, Director of Range Program AcuSport Corporation Bellefontaine, Ohio

NSSF Members like Doug receive benefits such as:

Representation in Washington and State Capitals Compliance Support Industry Research SHOT Show Benefits

...and much more Go to NSSF.ORG or call 203-426-1320 ext. 209 for more information on membership categories and find out how NSSF can work for you.


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NEWS BRIEFS NEWS

PR O M OT I O N S

AWAR D S

O UT R E AC H

Bits & Pieces Uinta Trading Co. Steps Up Shopify, an e-commerce platform, recently announced that it will no longer allow businesses to sell certain firearms and parts. Firearms businesses looking for a new e-commerce partner might want to take a look at Uinta Trading Co., a veteran-owned company that is focused on maintaining a platform in which brands can sell any federally legal product without fear of being shut down by arbitrary rule changes. uinta.io/sdelling

The Bigger Toolbox CORRECTION Due to an editing error, the caption that accompanied this image in the August/ September issue (“So, You Want to Shoot Far?”) was incorrect. The caption should have read, “The Sauer Pantera chambers Hornady’s 6.5 PRC (Precision Rifle Cartridge), introduced this year.” Shot Business regrets the error.

This product is from sustainably managed forests and controlled sources.

T

here’s no question that brick-and-mortar retailers face unprecedented challenges these days. And independent dealers must at times feel like David when he faced Goliath armed with only a slingshot. That’s why Federal Premium launched the Premium365 program last year. It’s designed to give these important partners a bigger toolbox so they can remain competitive and profitable.

“With the need for a more focused approach to promoting and educating dealers, we needed a best-in-class program for our independent dealers,” says Bart Biedinger, senior manager of the Premium365 program for Federal Premium, Speer, and CCI ammunition. “The insights, relationships, and expertise from these dealers is our lifeline. Premium365 brings a new level of support to the dealers to help them succeed.” Biedinger admits that the rapid growth of Vista Outdoor (corporate parent of Federal Premium, Speer, and CCI) stretched its ability to fully support its retail partners. “As Vista Outdoor grew and our resources were spread thin, the dealers felt some of these changes as well. But now we are back to our roots as the leader in

ammunition, with room to grow and be best in class in all categories. We currently have nearly 500 dealers signed up in the program at various levels. The goal is to have 700 within the next two years.” The three main program highlights for 2018 were engaging a higher level of customer service for the independentdealer members with enhanced co-op, promotions, and in-store POP; training the retail associates through the BrandLive platform and offering exclusive buying opportunities; and a Welcome Kit that included in-store signage and gifts of appreciation such as coffee mugs, journals, and custom hats. “For 2019, we have plans to continue with a high level of support by focusing on training, promotions, and in-store branding,” says Biedinger. “We

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

SHOT BUSINESS

7


NEW S BRIEFS

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encourage dealers to reach out to us for ideas on how to advertise in their local markets. We have a great team here, and a great partner with SproutLoud to deliver best-in-class co-op programs. We also have a great social marketing team that will teach you how to engage in this digital age and ultimately drive more sales and traffic in your stores.” Biedinger stresses that one of the most important elements of this program is a dealer’s enhanced access to the company. “The Premium365 Team is here to assist with any dealer needs, and we are committed to returning calls and email the same day,” he says. The team is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Central Time). You can reach them via their website (premium365@ vistaoutdoor.com) or by telephone (866-223-9388). Biedinger also says that Premium365 members will receive a bi-monthly email newsletter designed to close any communication gaps. “We will also be offering incentives for our retail sales associates. This will help create brand ambassadors and sell more product.” There are four membership levels— Premium, Gold, Silver, and Range. Specific benefits depend upon which level of membership a dealer chooses. Benefits include 1.5 to 3 percent co-op funding, a Welcome to the Club kit, prominent Dealer Locator positioning, exclusive display and merchandise programs, and more. Federal will also donate $100 to $150 to its ongoing conservation program Premium365 member’s choice as an extra benefit aiding in habitat conservation or hunting/shooting heritage preservation. “This is a wealth of benefits custom-designed to help our independent-dealer partners compete more effectively,” he says. “The exact benefits will depend on the level of participation. Obviously, those dealers who opt for a higher level of membership will receive more benefits.” To give dealers a better look at the scope of the program, Biedinger broke down the benefits of three key components: The Welcome Kit,

Dealer Locator, and BrandLive. “The Welcome Kit includes a welcome letter, co-op benefits, training resources, social media best practices, a national consumer promotions calender, and our conservation program. With the Dealer Locator benefit, Premium365 members get predominant listings on the new Dealer Locator on FederalPremium.com. The site has a box consumers can check that shows only Premium365 Dealers and calls out ‘Premium365 Independent Dealers have a broader selection of our products.’ NonPremium365 dealers/members do not get this benefit. The BrandLive training benefit was created because we know that training is the key to creating great brand ambassadors. It gives associates confidence in us and the product. Selling on this platform is 100 percent customizable and trackable, and gives us another avenue to reach many dealers at one time.” Creating a special program of this magnitude shows the company’s determination to recognize the importance of independent dealers to its overall success. As Biedinger says, “Our best dealers not only deserve our attention, but the service to back that up.” The company intends to back up its independent dealers all the way to the top. Premium365 is a major initiative spearheaded by Vista Outdoor ammunition president Jason Vanderbrink. “We know there needs to be a more focused approach to promoting and educating our end-use consumers through our key partners and influencers,” he says. “Those key partners and influencers are our independent dealers throughout the country. Their key insights, relationships, and expertise are the lifeblood for the industry in launching and promoting new technologies, innovation, and market change. This program was developed to not only demonstrate our support of the value that they provide to our company, but to show the market that you are the tip of the spear and the place where our consumers can go to find the latest in ammunition technology, service, and expertise.” (federalpremium.com)


Hi-Point Introduces California-Friendly Carbine

S

port shooters in California face numerous restrictions in what they can legally own. To add to their misery, state regulations are often a moving target, making it tough for shooters and manufacturers alike to comply. Recently, the state legislature made pistol-grip carbines illegal in the Golden State. Hi-Point, however, has scored a bull’s eye through its new California-compliant carbine and retro-fit kit. This version of the popular Hi-Point Carbine is now available for shooters in the state without the threaded barrel and with other key modifications that meet California’s new state

Hi-Point is now offering Californiacompliant versions of its popular carbines.

requirements. This includes a factory-installed “Californiacompliant Paddle,” a flat panel that attaches to the pistol grip that eliminates the full pistol function and feel. “The new grip paddle makes our pistol-caliber carbines legal to own in California,” says Charles Brown, president of MKS Supply, the exclusive marketer of Hi-Point Firearms.

Owners of existing Hi-Point carbines can also retro-fit their firearms to comply with the California law, a key issue as existing carbines are not grandfathered in. To stay legal in California, Hi-Point carbine owners can purchase the compliance paddle and either attach it themselves or take it to a gunsmith. “Hi-Points have been described as an American

workingman’s (or woman’s) gun, and these are designed to be affordable yet robust, reliable, and accurate,” he says. The carbines are available in 9mm, .40 S&W, .45ACP, and 10mm. SRP: $365 to $454, depending on caliber. California-compliant models have SRPs about $50 higher than standard models. (mkssupply.com) —Peter Suciu

M&P® 380 SHIELD™ EZ™ PISTOL LOCKDOWN® PROMO KIT USC# 0254657 | MF # 12493 •Kit includes (1) black M&P®380 Shield™ EZ™ pistol with white 3-dot sights (S&W Part # 11663) & (1) black Lockdown® Keyed Large Handgun Vault with cable lock (Lockdown Part # 1082263) •Includes (2) mags

M&P® 9 SHIELD® M2.0

USC# 0254077 | MF # 11806 | CAL. 9MM | CAP. 8/7 | OAL 6.1” •Black slide •Black grip frame •Width: 0.95” •Thumb safety •White 3-Dot sight •Includes (1) ush mag & (1) extended grip mag


FROM TH E NSSF

by tisma juett , nssf manager inclusion & outreach

What Does It All Mean? Definitions of diversity can vary

W

hen we try to define “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “outreach,” why is it we each come up with a different definition? Shouldn’t these things be and mean the same for everyone? How can we hope to understand one another if we can’t agree on what it is we’re trying to understand?

NSSF recently formed an Inclusion & Outreach Working Group tasked with defining inclusion, outreach, and diversity. Not surprisingly, when our group of industry veterans first gathered, we discovered that we had different definitions of these words but also ideas we had in common. What follows are some the definitions individual members of our group decided on during our meetings. Give them a read, and then take some time to define these terms as they relate to you, your family, your business, your friends, your neighbors, the new customer who comes in to do business with you, or the stranger you meet at the mall. DIVERSITY

Diversity is having variety. In shooting, diversity is bringing everyone to the range. Men, women, and kids of all colors, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and disabilities need to be at the range. We achieve this by inviting friends to the range. We also need to ensure that the range experience for new shooters is safe and relaxing (e.g., don’t have someone’s first range experience be at a loud, busy indoor range or hand them a firearm that is too powerful).—Trevor Baucom, Ruger Shooting Team Member In addition to demographics like LGBTQ, race, and

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SHOT BUSINESS

nicity, gender, etc.—Gabby Franco, Olympian Shooter and Firearms Instructor OUTREACH

gender, diversity also includes diversity in thought and work experience. We can benefit from a rich set of perspectives from both inside and outside the firearms industry. Regarding diversity in thought, we need people not only with institutional knowledge, but also fresh perspectives from younger and newer people who are entrepreneurs and who can look at our challenges with a fresh set of eyes.—Chris Cheng, “Top Shot” Champion Diversity is a variety. In relation to people, it is an assortment of people with different ethnic backgrounds, beliefs, opinions, etc. Being diverse means you are able to understand others’ feelings, thoughts, and points of view.— Alyssa Holdorff, The Heritage Guild, Manager of

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

Marketing and Events INCLUSION

To foster a relationship with individuals of differing races, religions, gender, and socioeconomic status.—Amanda Stroud, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Creating a space or situation where all differences are welcomed and celebrated— there’s a seat for everyone at the table. Differences are looked at as strengths and assets.—Jessica Delos Reyes, USA Shooting, Assistant Director of Communications “Come and play,” says a well-known board game. As players in the shooting sports, we all have the same opportunity to win, to express ourselves, and to have fun regardless of our skin color, our eth-

Reaching out to those that otherwise probably won’t come to us to look for the resource!—Alix Pedraza, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Outreach is the effort to lengthen the reach of a message, to gain as much exposure across the largest footprint possible. In a sense, reaching out to as many people as possible with your communications.—Alyssa Holdorff, The Heritage Guild, Manager of Marketing and Events Outreach is taking meaningful action to communicate with and include diverse groups to a defined activity or way of life. This requires a commitment to learning “how” to listen, understand commonalities, and effectively integrate the various groups otherwise segregated and excluded.—Matt Allbritton, Daniel Defense, Inc., Director of E-Commerce & Marketing We would like to know your thoughts on diversity, inclusion, and outreach. Please reach out to me at tjuett@nssf.org with some of your definitions. As we come together to understand our varying viewpoints, we come closer to understanding one another.


by melissa schilling , nssf director , exhibitions & conferences

YOU SHOULD KNOW

SHOT Show 2019—Mark Your Calendar

A

s this issue hits your mailbox, we are just a week or so away from opening registration for the 2019 SHOT Show (registration is expected to open during the first week in October). Once that happens, you will be making decisions about events, seminars, and conferences you’ll be attending during 2019’s SHOT Week, so the following calendar of events should help with your planning.

SUN. JAN. 20 5TH ANNUAL NSSF/HAVA GOLF CLASSIC

Returning to Bear’s Best Las Vegas golf course is our 5th Annual NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic. HAVA—Honored American Veterans Afield—is a firearms-industry-run organization that works to heal and reintegrate disabled veterans returning to civilian life through participation in hunting and the shooting sports. Singles can participate for $200; foursomes are $600. Go to shotshow.org/havagolf-classic to register. MON. JAN. 21 INDUSTRY DAY AT THE RANGE

Hundreds of media members and buyers get a sneak peek and hands-on sampling of firearms, ammo, gear, and vehicles making their debut at the 2019 SHOT Show. This event is invitation-only, so if you’ve earned an invite, don’t pass up your chance to attend.

MON. JAN. 21-TUES. JAN. 22 SUPPLIER SHOWCASE

reserve their seats for $265. Premium Retailers can reserve one seat at no charge when they register, and additional seats for $265. Non-NSSF members can attend for $525. EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT SEMINAR

This event, now in its third year, is designed to present the latest trends in management, human resources, staffing, and work culture to top-level executives and rising upper-level managers. The registration fee for NSSF members is $285, while non-members can attend for $385.

shotshowrangeday.com

EVENING WELCOME RECEPTIONS

SHOT UNIVERSITY AN NSSF LIVE EVENT!

Three evening gatherings kick off the show in style, with groups reconnecting with old friends and networking with new ones over hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. •NSSF Members’ Reception—5:00 to 6:00 p.m., Venetian Fourth Floor •PAC Reception—5:00 to 6:00 p.m., Mercato Della Pescheria •Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Reception—6:00 to 7:30 p.m., location to be announced

SHOT Show University gets a face-lift and a new name in 2019. This all-day educational event for retailers and range owners has four new learning tracks—Indoor Range, Ecommerce, ATF/NFA, and Retail & Customers—plus three special mini sessions that tackle some of today’s most challenging topics for firearms sellers. Standard NSSF Retail and Range members can

Also in its third year, Supplier Showcase takes place over two days. Created to encourage networking between our industry’s manufacturers and the many third-party vendors they rely on, this event has seen tremendous attendance in the past two years, and now includes its own New Product display center. All manufacturing exhibitors, R&D specialists, engineers, and purchasing agents attending the show should make time Monday or Tuesday and go to the Palazzo Ballroom in the fifth floor Venetian Meeting Rooms and see the latest in technology, services, and materials critical to today’s manufacturing processes. shotshow.org/ supplier-showcase

MON. JAN. 21-THUR. JAN. 24 LAW ENFORCEMENT EDUCATION PROGRAM (LEEP)

Every year, hundreds of law enforcement, military personnel, and security professionals flock to our LEEP program to learn about cutting-edge techniques, tactics, and technology that help them do their jobs and keep the world safe. A one-time registration fee of just $25 for qualified attendees gains you access to any and all sessions taking place from the day before the show opens through Thursday. Upon completion, participants receive a Certificate of Attendance to document their training. shotshow.org/leep

TUES. JAN. 22 THE 2019 SHOT SHOW OPENS! TUES. JAN. 22 STATE OF THE INDUSTRY

Entertainment returns to the State of the Industry event with a repeat performance by Mike Rowe! The night kicks off with a smorgasbord of gourmet hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, before NSSF CEO Steve Sanetti and Chairman of the Board Bob Scott address the challenges and opportunities our industry faces and the successes we’ve had over the past year. Tickets are just $100—reserve early, as seating is limited. TUES. JAN. 22-THUR. JAN. 24 RETAILER SEMINARS

Every year, NSSF strives to bring the best information and training to our retailers. This year, you’ll see a variety of 90-minute seminars over the first three days of the show. Take a break from the floor and get the scoop on topics like urban engagement, working with grants, retail design, and more, all designed to improve your bottom line and expand your customer base. WED. JAN. 23 EXPORT USML TO CCL TRANSITION TRAINING—NEW!

Revised export control reforms are expanding opportunities for the industry. This new seminar will cover how the new rules work and how these new regulations will affect your business.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

SHOT BUSINESS

11


UPD ATE

BY AUTHOR HERE

Joseph Bartozzi Takes on President’s Role at NSSF

I

n August, NSSF’s Board of Governors announced that O.F. Mossberg & Son’s Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Joseph Bartozzi, would be the organization’s next President. Bartozzi assumed his new duties on September 10. Current President and CEO Steve Sanetti will stay on in his CEO capacity through his retirement at the end of 2019, at which point Bartozzi will take over those additional duties.

Bartozzi spent the majority of his career with Mossberg, joining the company in July 1986. His time with Mossberg included a wide variety of positions, including Quality Engineer, Quality Manager, Product Service Manager, Director of Technical Services, Director of Manufacturing Operations, and Corporate Attorney. Bartozzi currently serves as Board Member and Chairman of the Governance Committee of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports; Committee Member for the American Society of Testing and Materials; and Technical

Advisor to the Association of Firearm and Tool Mark Examiners. In 2015, Bartozzi was admitted to the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. A member of the Connecticut and Maine State Bar Associations, he holds three professional certifications from the American Society for Quality, and he is a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. “The Board of Governors agreed that Joe’s unique set of experiences and skills will provide NSSF and the firearms industry with the strong leadership needed to ensure we can continue our mission of promoting, pro-

tecting, and preserving hunting and the shooting sports for generations to come,” says Robert Scott, Vice Chairman of American Outdoor Brands and NSSF’s Board of Governors Chairman. “I have known Joe Bartozzi for more than 20 years, on both a personal and professional level, and I believe he is an exemplary choice for this important position,” says Sanetti. “I know that he will work extremely hard to further our mission for the benefit of our industry and its customers, and I am very much looking forward to working

Joseph Bartozzi, formerly with O.F. Mossberg, is NSSF’s new President.

together with Joe during this transitional period in the coming year.” “I’ve had a tremendous career thus far at Mossberg, one for which I’m most thankful,” says Bartozzi. “As difficult as it is to leave that fine organization after 30 years, it is an honor to now take on a leadership position that will work to successfully conquer the challenges and seize the opportunities before us for the benefit of all our industry members.”

NSSF REPORT SHOWS CONTINUING GROWTH FOR CONCEALED-CARRY MARKET The most recent data from the Crime Prevention Research Center shows that approximately 17.3 million Americans now hold a concealed-carry license. That’s an increase of nearly 890,000 over the previous year. Of course, this increase comes as no surprise to those of us in the firearms industry, as it has been widely known that small, semi-automatic pistols

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and concealable revolvers have been hot items at gun counters across the country for years. What was not known, however, were the behaviors, perceptions, and attitudes of these consumers that hold a concealed-carry license. That’s now changed. NSSF, along with research partner InfoManiacs and groups such as the United States Concealed Carry

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

Association (USCCA) and A Girl and A Gun Women’s Shooting League, developed and administered a consumer survey to better

understand this important segment. More than 4,500 concealed-carry holders participated in this study, and their responses were combined to create NSSF’s Concealed Carry Market report. The report is filled with insights such as duration of gun ownership, type and number of firearms owned, frequency of carry, reasons for obtaining a permit to

carry, other items carried for self-defense, type of ammunition used, dollar amounts spent on firearms and accessories, and much more. Top-line information on the report is discussed in a brief webinar (nssf.org/research/ consumer-studies/), while the full report is available for free to NSSF members by logging on to the member portal at nssf.org.


by author here

APPEALS COURTS BOAST VICTORIES FOR CCW, ‘HI-CAP’ MAGAZINES A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in August ruled in a 2-1 decision that the Second Amendment guarantees citizens the right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense. The judges found the state of Hawaii had infringed on the rights of plaintiff George Young when it twice denied him a permit that state authorities require to openly carry a gun in public. Also, in August, the 5th Circuit U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals very narrowly (8-7) declined to rehear a decision by a three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit that reversed a lower-court holding the federal ban on the interstate sale of handguns does not violate the Second Amendment. The dissenting judges filed several opinions expressing concerns about how the circuit courts are applying the holding in Heller, and that they are “treating the Second Amendment as a second-class right.” Some observers of another recent 9th Circuit 2-1 panel ruling, one upholding a lower-court injunction blocking the enforcement of a ban on socalled “high-capacity” magazines while a lawsuit against the ban can be heard, are noting that this decision will make it more likely that the U.S. Supreme Court may take up a Second Amendment case. It has not done so since Heller in 2010. The preliminary injunction was delivered by the U.S. District Court in July, just before the ban was to go into effect. The proposed ban would outlaw the possession of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. The judge who issued the injunction said the state law banning the magazines gave law-abiding gun owners “an untenable choice: become an outlaw or dispossess one’s self of lawfully acquired property.”

UPDATE

NSSF Launches Dedicated Target Shooting, Hunting Websites

T

his summer, in its ongoing efforts to better connect our industry members with consumers, NSSF launched two new, enduser dedicated websites. LetsGoShooting.org was created to be a go-to resource for all things target shooting and firearms safety. Those new to firearms and the shooting sports, especially those who haven’t yet taken their first shots or purchased their first firearm, will find information about the various target sports, firearms retailer listings and maps showing area ranges, shooting and safety tips, and information on finding instruction. More-experienced shooters will also find the site to be an invaluable tool, with a library of videos and articles, links to organizations for dozens of competitive shooting sports, and featured news about all things target shooting. LetsGoHunting.org is about all things hunting. From firearms,

ammunition, and gear recommendations to how-to articles on topics ranging from getting through Western tag draw systems, rabbit hunting with beagles, and using ground blinds for deer and turkey pursuits—not to mention a bevy of mouthwatering wild-game recipes—this comprehensive resource offers a wealth of information for hunters of all experience levels. “Both sites are great resources for anyone interested in learning more about the shooting sports and hunting,” says Laura Springer, NSSF Director of Web Strategy and Development.

Hunting Works for Ohio Success

N

SSF in late August announced of hunting, such as chambers of that the Hunting Works commerce, convention and visitors For America footprint has grown bureaus, and trade associations, once again, with a new chapter who then work together to edulaunched in Columbus, Ohio. cate the public and elected officials Hunting Works For Ohio on the importance of hunting to (HuntingWorksforOH.com) state and local economies. HUNTING joins 17 other states in the “Hunting in Ohio is a WORKS award-winning program, powerful economic engine which brings a coalition of that supports jobs as well as partners together to advocate for conservation,” says Chris hunting and the shooting sports. Dolnack, Senior Vice President and Hunting Works For America has Chief Marketing Officer for NSSF. consistently brought diverse stake“Hunters spend $850 million a year holders to the table when it comes in Ohio—about $320 million on to outdoors issues in all 17 states in trip-related expenses and $274 milwhich it has launched to date. The lion on equipment.” state organizations are frequently The program now represents made up of groups that people do more than 2,000 businesses, organot always consider when thinking nizations, and associations.

© 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.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

SHOT BUSINESS

13


FROM TH E COUNT ER

griffin & howe , andover , new jersey

by peter b . mathiesen

A Century of Experience

F

rom the Counter is the NSSF timely industry perspectives from firearms retailers across the country. Our goal is to identify and highlight innovative market strategies that can help all retailers compete more successfully. Lessons learned will be drawn from an array of regions with diverse market economies. This month, we’ll focus on a manufacturer/retailer in northern New Jersey, less than an hour from Manhattan. Inspired by Teddy Roosevelt’s poor rifle stock featured in the famed book African Game Trails, cabinetmaker Seymour Griffin set out to change the image of the American sporting rifle and shotgun in 1910. His innovation and attention to detail led to a flagship hunting and shooting retail store on the streets of Manhattan. Now, with nearly a century of experience, Griffin & Howe’s knowledge and experience back an expansive operation, including a shooting school and gunsmithing and outfitter services in Andover, New Jersey, with a 3,000square-foot retail center boasting more than 800 firearms in stock. The inventory comprises a mix of classic bolt-action rifles and break-open shotguns, including the company’s proprietary brand, Griffin & Howe Firearms. And there’s an array of used long guns and new handguns. Griffin & Howe employs

more than 20 full-time employees, along with an additional 13 part-time staffers. Our interview was conducted with president and CEO Steven Polanish.

“We’ve found it’s the only way to focus attention on what the client truly needs.” SHOOTING OUTSIDE THE COMFORT ZONE

One of this facility’s training specialties is making the shooter uncomfortable. “How often do you sit down at a bench out in the elements and take an animal? We train hunters to shoot at uncomfortable angles, to find rests, and to practice taking shots with narrow views in miserable conditions,” Polanish says.

REFINING AT THE FIRING LINE

This company’s retail strategy has been refined over its several homes and many years in business. Retail, service, manufacturing, and range testing have been combined into one facility, known as Hudson Farms. The 4,000acre shooting farm uses numerous custom ranges for clays and rifles, including a 900-yard rifle range. “It’s amazing. When you can fire a rifle on a range, you can sell a rifle at that range,” says Polanish. All segments of range training are personally supervised. According to Polanish, the company has moved away from large-scale group classes and field instruction to personalized, individual instruction.

FEEDING THE RETAIL STORE FROM THE RANGE

Thoughtfully calculated and excitingly alluring, the retail environment at Griffin & Howe is never rushed. “Of course we see the classic, artistic side of rifle and shotgun manufacturing. It’s what we do. However, the performance side is an absolute in our retail store. We expect rifles to set up at a halfinch MOA. We make sure they can perform to those standards with easily available factory ammo,” says Polanish, adding that client success on the range directly translates to a desire to own a highquality shooting rifle. That doesn’t stop at long guns.

The store carries a mix of classic bolt-action rifles and break-open shotguns.

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

“Optics have become an important part of our retail marketing. High-quality glass will massively improve performance, while giving the client confidence. It sets a standard that really can’t be achieved in any other way. None of our customers ever downgrade to a lower quality scope—ever,” he says. HIGH EXPECTATIONS FOR EMPLOYEES ARE REWARDED

While clients’ expectations are high, employees are expected to do more than just meet them. Most of Griffin & Howe’s employees have been with them for more than 15 years. For some, that tenure is more than 30 years. There is no place for the cranky counterperson or instructor. Every employee knows the client’s sheer enjoyment and ultimate satisfaction are paramount. Still, Polanish says, they’ll always be on the hunt for new talent. New Jersey has some of the highest housing prices and taxes in the country. When it comes to the cost of living, the company is committed to competitive wages and excellent benefits. “It’s a must for our employees. We treat them like family. We make sure they receive full medical and a strong 401K. It’s what you do for the people you appreciate,” Polanish says.


by josh fiorini

RETAILER TO OLBOX

Lean Retailing There’s a better way to manage inventory

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oday’s manufacturing processes are of two types: technology-driven or processdriven. Process-driven changes occur when a new way of thinking leads to a new way of doing. That’s where the concept of “lean manufacturing” arose—a term now so common that most professionals have at least heard it—along with other associated concepts such as Six Sigma and that method’s Black Belt Certification program. The idea of “lean manufacturing” has two goals: eliminate waste and/ or variation, and create production driven by demand. But this is “Retailer’s Toolbox,” not “Manufacturer’s Toolbox,” so what does all this talk about “lean processes” mean for your FFL? Two words: “inventory” and “ordering.”

JUST IN TIME

A key benefit of implementing lean concepts is reducing inventories, and that’s a struggle all retailers have in common. From this arose “Just in time” ( JIT) inventory, a lean concept deriving from manufacturing engineers’ observation of supermarkets. Customers in a grocery store generally purchase only what they need and no more, being confident of future supply, and they make those purchases according to their real-time demands. Supermarkets respond in kind, ordering goods to restock shelves that have reached a certain point of depletion. But they cannot hold fresh inventory for very long, so ordering is disciplined and based on some combination of long-honed intuition and predictive datadriven algorithms. Starting to see how this idea of lean can benefit your FFL store? Then let’s get specific about how to make it work at your FFL. STOP SCHEDULED ORDERING

Are you in the habit of sitting down every Friday to place orders or reviewing your inventory on Sundays? This might seem efficient, but you should not let your

time drive your orders. Instead of ordering at set, regular intervals, utilize the data you have (more on that in a moment) to alert you when to order, and order only what is necessary. MIRROR INVENTORIES

Most retailers in the firearms industry purchase inventory through distributors, most of which have computerized inventory systems their retailer customers can see in real-time; some can even view the distributor’s order pipeline and/or directly mirror distribution inventory in real-time on ecommerce portals. In addition, today nearly every retailer has some kind of point-of-sale (POS) system that electronically logs transactions. These tools make a JIT system for the retailer

easier than ever to integrate. Consider this: While you of course need product on your sales floor, most customers looking to purchase a specific-model firearm actually don’t expect to get it that day. This is especially true with states and jurisdictions that have waiting periods to purchase. So, instead of taking an inventory risk and stocking for too many purchase possibilities, arm your staff with tablets and let them simply show your customers the inventory at the distributor. They can then order on the spot. DATA IS BIG

Just as with manufacturing, robust retailer POS systems exist that can automate ordering based on preset criteria. If your store is using software without that func-

tionality, very likely the sales data is exportable into some format that will allow you to study the data. Utilizing this data in a lean way allows you to stop guessing at what your customers might want in the upcoming season, because now you’re letting them tell you what they want in the only way that doesn’t lie: with actual purchases. With that information, you can then design an ordering system that will “pull” appropriate inventory from the distributor. In this manner, you will quickly find your on-hand inventories being reduced and sales increasing. (Note: With this data-driven ordering, you will rely on software for this kind of inventory management or perform some of the analysis manually, and you will need to set low-stock thresholds that automatically trigger orders. You will also need to monitor turn time by SKU to tell you how much to order when those low-inventory thresholds are triggered.) Behind the retailer, manufacturers have a genuine desire to create demandbased systems that leave them properly scaled and without excess of inventory.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

SHOT BUSINESS

15


FYI

BY ROBERT F . STAEGER

If the Shoe FitsÉ Vasque Fit Shop helps retailers get off on the right foot

S

top thinking of footwear as apparel, advises Joe Peters, marketing manager for Vasque. The boot manufacturer suggests you consider it gear instead. “It’s incredibly important to be able to take care of your feet while you’re out on the trail,” Peters says. “There’s nothing that will ruin your experience faster than boots that aren’t fit to your foot correctly.” Therefore, decisions about which boots to wear are as consequential for your customer’s activities as which ammo to use, or whether they’ve zeroed in their scope.

That’s where Vasque Fit Shop comes in. It not only is a way to help your customers get the best-fitting boot for their feet, but it helps your operation differentiate itself from the competition. Vasque introduced Fit Shop at the beginning of last year, to help spotlight the fact that the brand uses 8 to 11 different lasts in manufacturing its footwear. “That is a very cool thing to talk about, but if the consumer doesn’t know what the last is, we lose the value proposition there,” says Peters. (Incidentally, a last is a mechanical form shaped like a foot; shoemakers use them to help shape a boot. The variety of lasts Vasque uses means its boots fit a wider range of feet.) The difficulty of communicating the fit benefits of the various lasts “started a broader conversation around general education,” says Peters. The result was Fit Shop, a crash course in podiatry aimed at helping retailers work with

Precisely fitting a customer to a good boot in your store gives you leverage over online outfits.

their customers to find not only the boot that best meets their needs, but the one that offers the best support and comfort. Fit Shop isn’t intended to sell Vasque boots specifically—the education and fitting techniques (including what Peters calls “the Lost Art of the Brannock device”) carries over for any boot or shoe. But with Vasque’s wider variety of sizes and lasts, Peters is confident of moving plenty of

product. And the Fit Shop has already seen a change, evidenced by certified stores selling more wide sizes than they had previously. “Ultimately, your foot dictates so much of your body health,” says Peters. “If you have a pair of ill-fitting shoes on, it basically just moves up your body. You expect the blisters, of course, but what a lot of people don’t realize is the number of nerve endings in

your feet and how those feed up into your kneecaps and then wrap around your hips— and then we’re talking the main frame of your body.” So far, there are about a hundred certified Fit Shop retailers in the country. To join them, contact your Vasque sales rep, and they’ll set up an in-store training session. Aside from fit issues, the session covers basic podiatry, including information about the bones in your feet, why and how your feet sweat, and so on. “We try to keep it short because we know that time has so much value, and when the staff is not on the floor, they’re not generating revenue,” he says. “Fit Shop is a really great opportunity to help our brick-and-mortar retailers to differentiate themselves and compete against some of the online retailers,” says Peters. “It’s a service and a value that you can provide in the store that you can’t get online.” (vasque.com)

CALL ME THE BREEZE One of Vasque’s best-selling boots is the Breeze III, which includes a Vibram Megagrip outsole, and is available with or without Gore-Tex. Peters calls it the most comfortable out-of-the-box boot Vasque

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OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

makes, pointing to a media trip last year in Point Reyes, California. He led 15 editors on a 25-mile hike, all wearing brand-new Breeze IIIs. ”They asked, ‘What’s the break-in period on these boots?’” Peters

recalls, “and I said they’d be broken in by the time we hit the trailhead—which was about 90 yards away. Sure enough, their feet were very comfortable the entire time, and no one got blisters.”


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FIRIN G LINE

BY PHIL BOURJAILY

Good Fit Beretta’s A300 Outlander Sporting is an excellent choice for new shooters

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hroughout its decade-long run as Beretta’s flagship semi-auto in the early 2000s, the A391 was the overwhelming choice of sporting clays shooters who preferred a gas gun to an over/under. Now reborn as the A300 Outlander Sporting, the 391 is back, made in the USA, and ready to dominate the entry-level target gun category.

Beretta introduced the A300 Outlander field gun in 2013. Since its debut, the Outlander has become the gun I steer new shooters toward if they’re looking for a versatile first hunting gun. It’s no longer next-gen technology, but that’s okay, because it’s still affordable and reliable. In addition, it cycles everything, kicks softly, and isn’t finicky about cleaning. In short, it’s the ideal semi-automatic gun for new shooters. It’s also a gun they’ll always have use for, even if they go on to buy many more. With the A300 Outlander Sporting, Beretta offers a gun with all the A300 field model’s selling points, plus added features for the growing number of new shooters who are more interested in clays than in feathers. Look at the numbers: Hunting license sales are down, but participation in clay target sports is up, both among new adult shooters and with the fast-growing Scholastic Clay Target Program for school-age youths. The A300 Outlander Sporting fills an important niche as an affordable first target gun you can recommend with confidence and sell with the reasonable certainty that it won’t come back to your shop with problems. Although intended for sporting clays, it can serve as a crossover gun for trap and skeet.

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SHOT BUSINESS

The extended chokes of the gun are easier to change during a match.

The Sporting model comes in 12-gauge only, with a 30-inch barrel, which is by far the most popular semi-auto configuration for a target gun. Its walnut stock is slightly bulkier than the field model, but overall the gun remains relatively light at 7 pounds 5 ounces. The rib on the matte-finished barrel is filematted to reduce glare, and it has a front and middle bead. The gun uses the older Mobilchoke system and comes with three extended tubes in IC, Modified, and Full. Inside, the gun differs slightly from the old 391. One change for the better lies with the gas piston, which has a round flange at its base in place of the four feet of the 391’s piston, which were subject to breakage with hard use. This new piston is easier

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

to clean than the old style as well. The receiver dimensions are different, too, as this gun won’t accept a T&S shell catcher used for trap shooting, though it will take many other accessories made for the 391, such as extended bolt handles, bolt-release buttons, and magazine-cap recoil reducers. The A300 has a weight-forward balance befitting a target gun, but because it’s relatively light, it’s still a gun with which new and smaller shooters can be comfortable. When I shot skeet and 5 Stand with it at the range, it felt very similar to how my old 391 felt out of the box. The gas system softened recoil, and the gun cycled everything I fed it, including slow 7∕8-ounce reloads and some old subsonic 11∕8-ounce, 900 fps Federal Metro Target loads, which won’t work in

many semi-autos. The trigger pull measured a little under 6 pounds, which doesn’t bother me, though some might find it heavy. The gun has a 3-inch chamber, and with its lowluster wood and metal, and even a swivel stud on the magazine cap (it would need a stud added to the stock), it could definitely do crossover duty as a hunting gun. It comes with plastic stock shims that allow the owner to alter stock dimensions, an important feature in a target gun. There’s not much competition in the A300’s price range when it comes to target guns. It’s a great gun at a good price, and it comes at the right time to help you meet the changing needs of your shotgunning customers. SRP: $900.(beretta.com)


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UNDERCOVER SHOPPER

Empire State ARs Trying to find a New York–compliant AR is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack

N

ew York is often called “No” York by residents of the Empire State, owing to the improbable number of things that are illegal there compared to elsewhere in the Union. This goes double for gun laws, with that state having some of the strictest in the nation. The passage of the SAFE Act prohibits rifles with a pistol grip, adjustable stock, threaded barrel, or muzzle device. The act also bans magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. With those limitations, what options would I be offered in an AR-platform rifle for home defense that can also pull duty as a fur taker?

STORE A

LOCAL EMPORIUM My first stop was at a mom-and-pop shop that probably makes more money selling bait than it does guns. Nonetheless, it had an impressive selection of both long guns and handguns. One of the gun clerks was working with a group of customers upon my

arrival; the other was on the phone, though he made eye contact to acknowledge my presence. I was quickly greeted and asked what I was looking for. Once they knew I was interested in an AR, they gave me the rundown on the SAFE Act and the creation of the “featureless” AR that resulted. I inquired

about available calibers and was informed that I would need to build my own rifle if I wanted an exotic caliber, like the new .224 Valkyrie, for predator hunting. Because of the small size of the market, not many manufacturers are building New York–compliant ARs, and just a couple of .308 models are available.

The store only carried ARs manufactured by Windham Weaponry, out of Maine. We ended up selecting a model with Magpul furniture, which would allow me to adjust length of pull for the heavy winter clothing necessitated for late-season coyote hunts. The salesman also discussed the need for five-round magazines if I planned on hunting with the rifle, as that is the maximum capacity permitted by the state. STORE B

THE COP SHOP This store definitely doesn’t keep the lights on to cater to the general public, a feeling I got immediately after being greeted by the 20-something behind the counter with, “Are you a civilian?” After I stated I was, his attitude seemed dismissive, with little interest in helping me. He was quick to point out that an AR isn’t the best choice for home defense in the area, a valid point given that houses in the locale were so close together that you can often hear your neighbor’s television. The store had only a single New York–compliant AR in stock, though it had shelves

20

SHOT BUSINESS

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

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How’d They Do? Customer Service STORE

A STORE

B

STORE

C STORE

D

Product Knowledge

Product Availability

��� The salesman took the time to explain New York–specific regulations.

��� The clerk knew of only two manufacturers of N.Y.compliant ARs.

�� Unfortunately, they had only a couple of models of ARs on hand from just one manufacturer.

� Once the clerk learned I wasn’t an active member of the law enforcement community, he quickly lost interest.

� The clerk didn’t know about predator hunting or local hunting regulations.

� It had only one N.Y.compliant AR in stock.

����� The store was well staffed with personable, well-informed associates.

���� The salesmen all had extensive knowledge of the AR marketplace.

��� It had the largest selection of all the stores I visited.

��� The owner was the only one present; he could’ve used some additional help.

���� The owner had a solid working knowledge of ARs and N.Y. laws.

�� Only two ARs were available, but there was an entry-level and a topshelf option.

SCORING SYSTEM:

of LEO models, which are off-limits for a regular Joe like me. STORE C

WELL STOCKED This store had the best selection of ARs, which isn’t surprising, as it was the largest store I visited. It had models from Ruger and Windham, outfitted with a variety of furniture. The store was well staffed, and I was greeted as soon as I walked through the door. The clerk who spoke to me was personable and knowl-

22

SHOT BUSINESS

Outstanding: �����

Very Good: ����

edgeable, with a solid understanding of guns and hunting. Once again, it was decided that the best AR for my needs was a Windham with the aforementioned adjustable Magpul furniture. The staff provided plenty of information about swapping uppers for caliber changes in the future, though they urged sending plenty of .223 downrange before choosing another barrel. They also showed me a number of different optics that might work well for

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

STORE

Average: ���

night hunting as well as personal defense. STORE D

THE SHOOTING GALLERY This shop was the smallest, in terms of both size and selection. It seemed that the owner was the sole attendant. The store also featured a shooting range, so it would have made sense to have more staff present, especially with the number of customers/members of the shooting club milling about. The owner did seem to

Winner:

C

The clerk was familiar with all of the New York– compliant models on the market, as well as predator hunting and regulations. Their selection of guns was extensive and well rounded. I would come here for my firearm purchases.

T&T Gunnery 3778 Merrick Rd. Seaford, NY 11783 516-221-7380 tandtgunnery.net

Fair: ��

Poor: �

be knowledgeable about all the guns he stocked, but you could tell he didn’t hunt often, if at all. There were only a few models of long guns on display, including an entry-level Black Rain Ordinance model and a higher-dollar machined version. The owner took the time to go over both firearms and explained the differences between the highand low-buck versions. That said, I got the impression that this was a gun club that happened to sell the occasional firearm.


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Selling reloading equipment isn’t just about economy. It’s about performance

PHOTOS BY THE AUTHOR

By Wayne van Zwoll


BY HAND

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

These days, some might call the handloader an anachronism. Potent, reliable, and accurate factory loads for popular rifle and handgun cartridges abound. They sell briskly, too. Cost? You need few rounds to check zero on your 7mm Magnum. One Nosler Partition or Barnes TSX will kill that elk. You can use “high-volume” ammo for pistol practice. Speer Gold Dot or Black Hills Honey Badger loads in your bedside 1911 share the fate of the Maytag repairman— on call but, to your good fortune, unused year after year. And yet, handloading endures. That’s because “loading your own” can improve accuracy and open the throttle for shooters who want to burn rubber. And only handloaders have access to wildcat cartridges.

Powders, hand primers, and presses allow the accuracyobsessed to fine-tune their loads to achieve the desired level.

TOOLING UP “BUT TOOLING UP to handload costs a lot, doesn’t it?” That’s a common first question, and you’ll hear it a lot. Be prepared to answer it in a way that encourages the customer to take that leap. First, for those who shoot a lot, let them know handloading offers significant long-term savings. Second, tell them there is also the sense of satisfaction that many aficionados get with a do-it-yourself project. Decades ago, I penciled out the savings. Press, dies, scale—they all added up. Little stuff, like a lube pad, I could manage. Mostly it was the press. Would it pay for itself ? Eventually I sent Herter’s the $15. Thousands of cartridges later, I still use that long-handled C press. My first scale, a Lyman 5-10, still weighs charges accurately. Yes, handloading saves money. The more you shoot, the more you save. At the same time, the satisfaction that comes from building useful, original, often superior loads at your bench can be just as important to the customer as the cost savings. Both reasons help explain the steady climb in demand for loading tools and cartridge components. After a year of so-so firearms sales, many shops are buoying their bottom line by selling to handloaders.


PAGE

27

Some of the more exotic (and expensive) cartridges, such as .375, might not be carried by your competition. Keep in mind that Safari-bound hunters will pay handsomely for top components.

“But there are so many choices. Single-stage, turret, and progressive presses—arbor presses, too. Electronic and beam scales. Case tumblers and trimmers, powder measures and tricklers. Plus calipers, ball micrometers, and, to gauge concentricity and run-out, dial indicators. How much of this must I buy?” That’s not just a novice handloader’s question. It’s what gun-shop owners ask as well. Your first rifle probably didn’t cost very much. It surely whetted your appetite for more. So it is with loading equipment. My Herter’s press now shares the bench with fresh iron from Forster, Hornady, Lyman, Redding, and RCBS. New tools reduce variation in finished loads, And they can make the process faster and easier. Some shooters turn out ammo on entry-level tooling for decades. Others come to see shooting as an excuse to handload, every discharge a fresh case for the loading block. Loading benches bristling with sophisticated hardware have the same appeal to that guy as a well-equipped garage has to a car buff. To sell handloading from a gun counter, you’ll want to feature a range of tools, with an emphasis on value. Dies? You can’t stock them all, but all can be ordered. Give customers lightning turn-around on die requests, dis-

counts on costly tooling, and a rich assortment of cartridge components, and you’ll keep them prowling your aisles. Just as candy at grocery checkouts lures shoppers who didn’t come to buy candy, so do small items on prominent display trigger last-minute gun shop sales. Examples include loading blocks, neck turners, flash-hole deburring tools, primer pocket cleaners, ammo boxes—the list is nearly endless. Add to that case lube and other supplies that are routinely used up. Because components sell year-round, they merit premium shelf space. As on car lots, frequent rearranging tells visitors new product is coming in, and what they saw last week is gone. Shortages—real and perceived— make customers out of tire-kickers. Witness the recent run on rimfire ammo, and the ear-


BY HAND

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

This level of accuracy is possible with handloads— if you mind the details and Help your customers make the best use of their Components.


PAGE

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Even early cartridges benefit from handloading. The author shot this group with a circa-1919 99 Savage.

lier stampede for primers. Fresh trends also fuel demand. Hunters may wring several seasons from a box of cartridges, but 3-Gun and long-range shooters feed their rifles weekly. Maintain stocks of quick-turnover items. Books are often absent or poorly displayed in gun shops. Although some titles are simply dust beds, loading manuals sell—especially if you carry tools and components. Savvy handloaders use several data sources, adding new manuals to cross-reference and because they cover new cartridges and components. Without looking hard, I count 30 loading manuals within steps of my desk. Besides data, many contain cartridge histories and dimensions, test-barrel lengths, rifling twists, and other useful, interesting facts. A selection of current loading manuals and related publications sends customers a vital message: In this shop, you’ll learn about handloading. To sell more than entry-level products, you’ll also have to prove yourself something of a guru, answering questions and offering know-how hard to access online.

BRASS, PRIMERS, POWDER ALTHOUGH MOST SHOOTERS recycle fired brass in handloads, new brass makes sense for forming cases or chasing one-hole accuracy. Starline is known for excellent brass. Ammunition firms offer it, too. Hornady lists cases for more than 100 rifle and handgun cartridges. Nearly all popular rifle and handgun rounds accept either large rifle primers or large or small pistol primers. Notable exceptions include the .223, but new cartridges with benchrest pedigrees also take small rifle primers. And growing ranks of super-size cases require magnum rifle spark. You’ll want to stock all types. Magnum primers, by the way, yield a longer flame, not necessarily one that is hotter. In rifles, I favor them for slow powders in charges of 65 grains and up.

Smokeless powder starts life as “nitrocellulose,” vegetable fiber soaked in nitric and sulfuric acids. Finished and dried, it emerges as yellow grains. Graphite, applied to limit friction, imparts a slate color. A center hole in extruded (“stick”) powders controls burn rates and pressure curves. Powders whose surfaces shrink during the burn are “degressive.” Grains whose inside surfaces increase while the outside shrinks, for no net loss or gain until the end, are called “neutral.” Large powder grains with multiple holes (typically seven or 19) burn “progressively,” their surface areas increasing until final incineration. In 1933, Western Cartridge Company developed Ball powder. A trademarked name, Ball applies only to Winchester (Western) powders. Some Ball and other spherical powders are size blends or include crushed grains that control burn. Additives throttling gas release make degressive propellants suitable for magnum loads. “Spherical powders are double-base,” DuPont engineer Larry Werner once told me. “They have more energy than singlebase, and are less hygroscopic [they absorb less water]. But many leave more residue.” Burn rate rankings for powders can change with shifts in case size, bore diameter, charge weight, and bullet. For all, only about a third of the released energy moves the bullet. About the same is lost as heat. Nearly 40 percent leaves the muzzle as useless exhaust, and less than one percent becomes recoil. Hodgdon markets most canister powders sold stateside. During the late 1940s, Bruce E. Hodgdon cashed in his life insurance to buy 50,000 pounds of WWII surplus propellant, which he stored in a derelict rail car in a rented cow pasture. He would eventually peddle 4 million pounds of surplus powder, at prices as low as 20 cents a pound. Bruce’s son J.B. remembers, “My brother Bob and I cranked a double-mesh drum by hand to screen that powder. We built shipping boxes from orange crates. On our way to school, we drove tons of 4895 to REA and Merriam Frisco terminals in a 1940 Ford.” The business prospered. In 1966, the family formed Hodgdon Powder Company in Overland Park, Kansas. The firm does not manufacture powders, but it works with powder plants to develop them. It owns the IMR powder business, and since 2005 has distributed Winchester propellants. The Vihtavuori brand from Finland is also in the


BY HAND

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POWDER QUESTIONS

As a handloading guru, you must be able to field questions such as, “Where did smokeless powder come from?” In 1846, Italian Ascanio Subrero discovered nitroglycerine. In 1863, Sweden’s Emmanuel Nobel and his son, Alfred, put it in cans. It was still frisky, and the Nobels’ German factory blew up. By 1887, Alfred had developed a double-base powder (nitrocellulose and nitroglycerin). This propellant, and work by Hiram Maxim, gave the British War Office the spaghetti-like Cordite. The 1890s brought new powders. Smokeless shotgun loads were marked in “drams equivalent”; they performed like blackpowder shells loaded with the labeled number of drams. The 8mm Lebel, adopted by France in 1886, was the first smokeless military round. The .30/40 Krag followed. French immigrant Eleuthere Irenee DuPont founded a company in 1802 to make powder for the U.S. During WWI, 25,000 people worked for E.I. DuPont de Nemours at the Brandywine River mill in Delaware, producing 80 percent of the gunpowder used by Allied forces. DuPont MR (military rifle) powders gave way to the IMR improved series in the 1920s, when four-digit numbers replaced the two digits on DuPont labels. Early IMRs, starting with 4198, had fast burn rates. “There’s no protocol for naming powder,” says Hodgdon’s Ron Reiber. “Bruce Hodgdon found 38 grains of WC 852 drove 50-grain bullets at 3,800 fps from his .22/250. So he renamed the powder H380.” Extruded powders are slightly more consistent across temperature ranges than spherical powders, Hodgdon says. “Copper fouling eraser powders limit copper fouling. Our Extreme line does this, and our Trailboss line mimics blackpowder loads in cases like the .45 Colt, without risk of double-charging.”

company’s stable, which now includes more than 80 powders. Just outside Miles City, Montana, up-prairie from Hodgdon, you’ll find Western Powders. This company got traction with its own Ramshot double-base propellants, then added Accurate powders to its line. Accurate Magpro excels in big rifle hulls behind heavy bullets. Extruded 3100 mimics H4831 in magnum cases. Like their IMR counterparts, Accurate 4350 and 4064 are champs in the .30/06 and short rimless .30s, those WSSMs, SAUMs, and RCMs. Faster powders for the .308 and kin include Accurate 2495 and 2015. Accurate 2200 meters easily into .17- and .20-caliber necks, and hurls light bullets fast from the .223. Like Accurate’s versatile 2700, 2520, 2460, and 2230, AA2200 is double-base and spherical. Western has just published the company’s first Handloading Guide, by Rob Behr. It’s a dandy.

BULLETS FOR THE LONG POKE FOR HUNTERS WATCHING deer trails or slugging it out with a Cape buffalo, bullet shape matters less than does terminal behavior. But shooting far is all the rage now. Many handloaders buy for the long shot. Some select bullets on the basis of ballistic coefficient alone. Widely used but often poorly understood, ballistic coefficient is a number that describes the drag on a bullet or its trajectory. Required: a “standard” bullet for comparison. The G1 standard resembles a 19th-century artillery missile, with a flat base and steep, .2-caliber ogive. The later G7 better matches current target and hunting bullets, with a tapered heel and a .10-caliber ogive. For any given bullet, G1 and G7 values differ significantly. BC can be determined by clocking bullet speed at several points, or calculating flight time between them. Doppler radar is a recent assist. The higher its BC, the better a bullet fights drag. Many engineers I’ve talked to don’t recommend long-range match bullets for big game. That’s because, as one told me, “small-cavity hollowpoints don’t expand reliably.” Still, such bullets have their fans afield. Decades ago, as dawn came pink to Arizona, I watched a Coues deer descend a hill a quarter-mile away. Prone, I steadied the rifle and loosed a Sierra target bullet. The whitetail died instantly. Proof that match bullets are sure killers? No. My 168-grain BTHP left at nearly 3,300 fps. The Coues buck weighed 100 pounds. The bullet delivered a ton of energy and carried much of that out the far side. To kill tougher beasts, bullets must expand to carve lethal channels through the vitals. Most game bullets are designed to upset down to speeds of 1,600 fps. Although modern loads keep velocities above this threshold past 500 yards, by 800 many drop below it. At 1,000 yards, few bullets clock 1,600 fps. Demand for bullets with high BCs has brought us Hornady’s ELD Match and ELD-X, Nosler’s AccuBond Long Range, Berger’s VLD and Elite Hunter, and now TLR Edge bullets. Though most game still falls within 200 yards of the rifle, the money is in down-range flight, in case a hunter needs that reach. For rifle enthusiasts and handgunners, it’s smart for a shop owner to stock plenty of affordable softpoints in popular diameters. Move those boxes around periodically, as you would powder canisters, to keep shelves looking fresh. A thick layer of dust on these components is not going to help move them off the shelf. Consider salting that display with deep-penetrating .375s. Recently, frustrated by “out of stock” dead-ends, a friend heading to Africa bought several boxes of .375 Nosler Partitions as soon as she found some. Expensive? Yes. But so is a safari. When shopping, most handloaders assess value, not just price. And they buy now only if you’re selling what they want now.


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SIG Air M o v i n g

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a i r g u n

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t e c h n o l o g y

i n t o

t h e


Takes Flight

2 1 s t

c e n t u r y

B y

S l a t o n

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SIG Air Takes Flight

Advanced Sport Pellet (ASP) brings to mind a small, specialized operation devoted to performance, not unlike the local “speed” shops in many towns back in the muscle car era that helped the owners of Barracudas, Camaros, and GTOs go faster. Until recently, that was the name of the airgun division of SIG Sauer. No more. When SIG committed itself to be a major player in this arena, and mapped out a strategic plan to get there, the manufacturer realized the division’s name didn’t reflect that commitment. So, it rebranded ASP as SIG Air. 34

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The original name, however, lives on as SIG Air’s breakthrough rifle, the ASP20. According to Joe Huston, SIG Air’s general manager, the idea behind the development of the ASP20 was to design a magnum-power break-barrel air rifle that would be consistently accurate and more pleasurable to shoot than other break-barrel air rifles currently on the market. “Break-barrel technology hasn’t really changed in 30 years,” he says. “Any advancements have been like putting lipstick on a pig.” Huston and his team didn’t want to put a bandage on what they felt was outdated technology. So, they started from scratch, in what he says was “a true collaborative effort between SIG’s airgun engineers and its firearms engineers.” That effort yielded three major innovations, all of which are incorporated into the new rifle. First, the GlideLite cocking mechanism requires

The M17 ASP, a .177caliber pellet pistol, has the same look and feel as the U.S. Armyissued P320 M17. It features a 20-round belt magazine.

only 33 pounds of peak force, the lightest in its class. “This is a major achievement, as many such rifles require around 50 pounds of peak force,” he says. “In addition, the cocking shoe provides a low-friction bearing surface for smooth rotation of the cocking arm and decreased contact pressure.” Second, the proprietary breech lock ensures the barrel locks up to the breech in the same spot every time, and stays in place. “The pivot hole is drilled simultaneously through the receiver and the

The author shooting the ASP20 break-barrel air rifle at the SIG Sauer Academy. The patented adjustable trigger is precise and crisp, which definitely enhances the rifle’s overall accuracy.


The new Whiskey3 ASP 4–12x44 scope, designed by the SIG Sauer ElectroOptics Division especially for the ASP20, is an attractive accessory sale.

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SIG Air Takes Flight

SIG Air products are built on the same lines that produce the company’s centerfire products, in order to ensure a high level of build quality and performance.

The GlideLite cocking mechanism of the ASP20 has been designed to greatly reduce the amount of effort it takes to cock the rifle.

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barrel,” he says. “By completing this as a single operation rather than a multi-stage operation, we ensure that the two parts fit perfectly. These developments eliminate barrel droop, meaning your shots will hit where you aim, every time.” Third, the rifle features a patented trigger. “SIG is known for making precise, crisp, two-stage triggers, so we had one of our best trigger engineers make us a very special trigger for the ASP20,” he says. “The MatchLite trigger was designed with safety, performance, and ease of use in mind. It is adjustable for both pull weight and length of second-stage pull, and provides a smooth pull and clean break throughout its wide adjustment range.” The trigger-weightadjustment assembly allows for eight distinct settings, in approximately 2-ounce increments. Just as important, the design will not allow the user to make adjustments that go beyond a safe operating mode. Dani Navickas, SIG Air’s product manager, notes another reason for the enhanced accuracy of the ASP20: Its barrels are rifled on the same precision machines used to make the barrels for SIG’s firearms. “And that’s not all. The rifling has been designed to minimize unnecessary distortion of the pellets and create a highly effective seal on the pellet skirt. And that helps the rifle deliver excellent accuracy.” Another key point is the built-in durability of the

ASP20. SIG Sauer subjected the rifle to the kind of testing normally reserved for military contracts. All in all, it’s the product of a company dedicated to quality and durability. “No one is testing its airguns as rigorously as we are,” Navickas says. The ASP20 is available in .177 caliber and .22 caliber, with wood-stock and synthetic-stock versions. Unscoped wood-stocked ASP20s will retail for $489.99. Synthetic-stocked versions will retail for $399.99. The new Whiskey3 ASP 4–12x44 scope, designed by the SIG Sauer Electro-Optics Division especially for the ASP20, is an attractive accessory sale for retailers. Let your customers know it can withstand the dual recoil impulse of magnum-power break-barrel air rifles. “You should also inform customers that rifle-andscope packages will include the SBT (SIG Ballistic Turret), which allows for the correct pellet-drop compensation and pinpoint accuracy,” says Navickas. “Furthermore, SBT turrets, mounted at SIG, that come with the kitted guns will be set with the ballistics of the most common pellet weight for the caliber.” Wood-stocked rifles with the scope retail for $649.99; synthetic-stocked rifles with the scope will retail for $559.99. “The scope alone retails for $359.99,” Navickas says, “so the combo is a great deal.” “The innovations incorporated into the ASP20 will remove the stigma that

The proprietary breech lock ensures that the barrel locks up to the breech in the same spot every time.

magnum-power breakbarrel air rifles are too hard to cock, suffer from heavy recoil, experience barrel droop, and have sub-par triggers,” Huston says. “It’s a true game-changer.” Another major product coming this year from SIG Air is the M17 ASP, a .177-caliber pellet pistol. “It has the same look and feel as the U.S. Army–issued P320 M17,” Navickas says. “It utilizes a 20-round belt magazine that contains a 12-gram CO2 cartridge, and the metal slide with blowback functionality makes it a lot of fun to shoot.” SRP: $139.99. Lastly, SIG Air will also release the Super Target, a single-stroke pneumatic target pellet pistol modeled after the P210 Target pistol. SRP: $399.99. I had an opportunity to shoot both the ASP20 and M17 last summer at the SIG Sauer Academy. Huston is correct that the new breakbarrel rifle requires far less effort to cock. The trigger is precise and crisp, which definitely enhances the rifle’s overall accuracy. The M17 was a hoot to shoot. It does have the heft and feel of the real thing, and, like the rifle, is accurate. As we cased the rifle, Huston said, “Our aim is to bring airgun technology into the 21st century.” From what I saw, the company has made an impressive start. (sigsauer.com)

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38

The Right Way When helping a woman select a handgun for personal defense, be a consultant, not a salesman

By Richard Mann


OCT./NOV. 2018

39


40 The Revolver Myth

Unlike many other consumer retail stores on the planet (clothing outlets particularly come to mind), firearms stores do not have separate sections for the sexes. There’s a reason for this: guns are gender neutral. Yet a problem exists: too many retailers that sell defensive handguns think there’s such a thing as a “lady’s gun.” there is not.

Sheena Green is the range program manager at Crossroads Shooting Sports in Johnston, Iowa. She teaches men and women how to shoot. I met with Green at the 2018 SHOT Show and was impressed with her knowledge of and pragmatic approach to better arming women. One of her pet peeves is the inclination of retailers to immediately direct a woman to a revolver. According to Green, the notion that a revolver is the best handgun for a woman is a myth. “While the simple mechanics and maintenance of revolvers are an attractive selling point for a first-time

Considerations of fit, manipulation, control, and carry comfort are all part of selecting the proper defensive handgun.

gun owner, the reality of a heavy, double-action trigger pull is an eye-opener for most ladies when firing the gun for the first time,” she says. I agree. I’m not saying a woman should never carry a revolver. I’m saying a revolver should not be the default answer. “If you take your career in firearms sales seriously, you have an ethical obligation to know the products in your store and understand when a

Popular options for defensive handguns for women include (clockwise from top left): SIG Sauer P320, Glock G43, Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0, and Glock G42. Another important consideration is the type of holster the woman will use.


OCT./NOV. 2018

THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE, TOP: BY THE AUTHOR

The notion that a woman cannot comfortably and effectively fire a full-size .45 is ludicrous. The question is, can she carry and conceal it comfortably?

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THIS PAGE AND OPPOSITE: BY THE AUTHOR

It might surprise you to learn that when women are given an a la carte option, their handgun choices are not typically the same as those a man would select for them.


OCT./NOV. 2018

revolver is a better fit,” Green says. “Just because a woman has trouble racking a slide does not mean she needs a revolver. Sometimes teaching different techniques for gun manipulation and having a little patience are all that is needed to make a woman feel confident in what she is doing.” On- and Off-Body Carry If you’re going to carry a handgun for personal protection, you must be able to conceal it. Green suggests there are three recognized guidelines for what constitutes a safe carry holster. First, it should safely secure the firearm, with the trigger guard area completely covered. Second, it should promote comfortable concealment. Third, it should provide easy access for handgun presentation. Security of the firearm is a given. A holster that might allow a handgun to fall out during active or even normal movement is ill advised. As for covering the trigger guard, I’m not so sold on that requirement. In my opinion, as a former LEO, many self-inflicted gunshot wounds occur because a finger was left on the trigger when a handgun was placed into a holster with a fully covered trigger guard. The other side of the argument, of course, is that a finger will find its way to the trigger too early during the draw stroke. The solution, as it is with many things— including the operation of chainsaws and automobiles—is training. Comfortable concealment might be the most important aspect, because guns that can-

not be carried comfortably will be left at home. Comfortable waist carry for women—and men—depends largely on body shape, and the outfit of the day. According to Green, high-waisted pants make hip carry nearly impossible; they’re generally better suited to appendix carry. Yoga pants or skirts often call for a belly-band, bra, thigh, or even a shoulder holster. Here, things can get a bit tricky. “Women tend to feel more comfortable talking about the challenges of on-body carry with other women, but salesmen shouldn’t be afraid to try to understand the challenges women face,” Green says. While the most tacticalminded among us will insist that handguns be carried on your person, it’s common for women to carry off-body. The downside to handbag carry is that in order to have your gun with you, you must also have your handbag with you. A stolen handbag might leave you defenseless while at the same time arming the miscreant with your own handgun. Handgun Fit Maybe the most misunderstood aspect of women and handguns is fit. While men and women are physically different, when it comes to handgun fit, they’re different in the same way. Both men and women have small, medium, and large hands. And both men and women have varying levels of strength. It’s not about a woman’s gun or a man’s gun—it’s about a gun that fits the individual. Green suggests firearms salesmen become familiar with which guns will fit certain hand sizes, regardless of

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Sheena Green (left) at work, helping a customer at Crossroads Shooting Sports improve and refine her technique at one of the operation’s indoor ranges.

the body to which the hands are attached. In a project with the Des Moines Well Armed Woman Chapter, she asked the more experienced shooters to trace their dominant shooting hand and list which guns worked well for them. The hand tracings were compiled in a binder that can be flipped through and matched to Green’s store customers in order to find hand-match suggestions. Pretty brilliant, eh? Be a Consultant, Not a Salesman Given her experience, Green has found several firearms that do seem to work well

with the hand sizes and strength levels common to most women. Some of the most popular at her range are the Smith & Wesson Shields and M&P 2.0s, Glock 19s/43s/42s, Sig 320s/938s/238s, HK VP9s, and Walther PPQs. However, don’t turn to these as a default solution. At best, they’re a good place to start. As a firearms consultant— and that’s exactly what you are—it’s your job to consider all these things. Fit the handgun to the person, not their sex. If you do that, you’ll keep people safer, sell more handguns, create a loyal customer base, and make more money. What a concept!


GOOD STUFF

BY ROBERT SADOWSKI

Function and Fit High Speed Gear knows how to build a better mousetrap

H

igh Speed Gear is known for its TACOs. These are not corn tortillas wrapped around a filling and doused with hot sauce. TACOs are magazine pouches made of either canvas or polymer and a clever weaving of bungee cord. The bungee cord can be adjusted to allow just the right amount of tension to secure the magazine, as well as accommodate magazines of differing sizes. A TACO can handle magazines for an AR15, as well as mags for an AR10, AK-47, M1A, and others.

High Speed Gear (HSGI) started as a small custom shop in 1999, modifying gear for Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. From there, the company grew into what it is today, coming to prominence with chest rigs, TACOs, and battle belts. HSGI also acquired Comp-Tac holsters, an excellent complement to its existing line. All HSGI products, by the way, are still manufactured in North Carolina. The most popular products are easily the base versions of the TACO—TACO, Pistol TACO, Double Decker TACO—as well as a series of belts—COBRA Rigger Belts, Sure-Grip Belts, and Slim-Grip Padded Belts. The manufacturer also sees a lot of service members, Marines especially, using its Adjustable Shoulder Pads, which employ the same padding as the battle belts. In a word, HSGI gear is comfortable. I wore the Slim-Grip Padded Belt loaded with AR15 magazines and SIG P320 magazines during a day-long writer event. Compared to other duty belts and rigs I’ve worn in competition, the Slim-Grip Padded Belt was a pleasure to wear; the inside of the belt features a neoprene layer that sticks to clothing and doesn’t shift. To my way of thinking, it is a perfect combination of function and fit. It’s all about building a

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better mousetrap. HSGI’s end users come from all walks of life and span numerous agencies, departments, militaries, and special forces units the world over. Many come to HSGI for unit gear, but even more operators want individual kits. HSGI has been seen in use by the Bradenton Police Department (Florida), Orange County Sheriff ’s Office (Florida), NYPD, LAPD, the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Border Patrol, FBI, Marine Raiders, Army Rangers, German SWAT and counter-terror units, Republic of Korea marines, Portuguese special forces, French special forces, and Estonian special forces. That’s the short list; there are many more. Because of its popularity among the tactical community, TACOs and Sure-Grip belts have even made their way into both movies and TV series such as Deadpool 2, Captain America: Civil War, The Last Ship, and The Strain. In addition, HSGI products have appeared in several tactically oriented video games, such as The Division. (highspeedgear.com)

The inside of the SlimGrip Padded Belt features a neoprene layer that sticks to clothing and doesn’t shift.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018


W H AT ’ S S E L L I N G W H E R E

Guy’s Guns, OR Good Medford

Just across from the California state border, this 2,000-square-foot store specializes in home defense and keeps an average of 400 firearms in stock. Handgun sales are steady, with Taurus G2s, Ruger Security 9s, and Glock 43s receiving equal attention. “Our handgun sales have remained consistent well after the election. However, this is not so true with modern sporting rifles. In our store, the market is hyper-price-sensitive,” said owner Dan Thornton. That said, MSRs are still moving at two to three per week, with most turns going to Smith Sports and Ruger 556s. In the bolt-action rifle arena,

Tikka T3s and Remington 700s are pulling the best numbers.

CO

Rocky Mountain Shooter’s Supply, Fort Collins Keeping more than 50 safes and 600 firearms in stock, this retailer has seven indoor shooting lanes, along with a 1,000yard outdoor range 30 miles away. A full-time gunsmith is on staff. Handguns remain hot. Smith Shields, Smith 642s, and Glock 19Xs are all moving well. MSR sales are slowing but still post seven to nine units per month. Springfield Saints are taking the lion’s share of sales. “Our customers are distance shooters, and our low-end MSRs have just not gotten any attention,” said buyer Tony Duda.

Gun & Tackle, & Feather, Iowa MI Bob’s IA Fin Hastings City

One of the largest independents in the state of Michigan, Bob’s sports 15,000 square feet of floor space. It also has a staff of around 30 employees and more than 2,000 firearms in stock. Long guns are seasonally hot, especially in handgun calibers for deer rifles. “We are in our fourth year of adding pistol calibers to our deer season. We’ve seen buying for leveraction and single-shot rifles at an all-time high,” said buyer-manager Jim Jaeger. Henry and Marlin leveractions in .44 Mag. lead the pack, followed by several CVA single-shot formats. Jaeger adds that Ruger Americans in .450 Bushmaster are in especially high demand.

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This general hunting and fishing shop keeps 300 guns in stock. Three employees work the hunting department. For this store, 2018 is the first year in which long guns in handgun calibers will be allowed for deer season. “This new regulation has just set fire to any long gun in .44 Mag., .450 Bushmaster, .45/70, and even .357 Mag. It has been a nice sales incentive for hunters to experiment with new calibers,” said manager Clint Hartsock. Marlin .45/70s, Ruger Americans in .450 Bushmaster, and Thompson Contenders in .44 Mag. are all sitting pretty. While handgun sales are slightly down from the summer, they have

Smallest ID World’s Pawn, Fruitland Selling a mix of saddles, jewelry, and musical instruments, this pawnshop manages more than 400 guns in stock and boasts to be “the friendliest pawn shop in Idaho.” Handguns continue to move quickly. Glock 19s and Ruger Security 9s top the list, followed by Taurus 62Cs. “Handguns just continue to feed this store. I can’t imagine our retail business without them. They simply always sell,” said manager Tom Schofield. Sales of MSRs have cooled to about two a month, with Smith Sports getting the majority of counter traffic. Shotguns are picking up, with Remington 870 Expresses and Mossberg 835s splitting the sales.

been improving, with a newfound high demand for Sig P365s and Smith Shields. MSR sales are flat at three a month.

Gun Shooting MOTop Sports, Arnold Located in south St. Louis County, this store keeps more than 800 guns in stock and operates as a certified NSSF Five-Star Range. Handguns are on a steady uptick. Sig P365s, as well as Glock Gen5s and Glock 19Xs, are all moving briskly. Sales of MSRs, though, are flat, turning an average of only one per week, primarily models from Daniel Defense. “Our custom rifles are doing well. Everything else is stagnant,” said general manager Cody Blissett.


BY PETER B . MATHIESEN

Blue Trail Range CT Gun Store, Wallingford

In existence since 1945, this family gun shop and range keeps 800 guns in stock. With more than 120 covered outdoor shooting stations, this store hosts range events for young and old. The handgun counter continues to see steady improvement from one of the slower summers in the store’s history. October has picked up dramatically. “Sales of handguns are now brisk. I directly attribute the slower August–September traffic to a pro-gun president. That said, our range has been busy. We have seen a notable number of new shooters,” said manager Mark Slone. Leading the handgun sales list is the Ruger Security 9. Smith M&P

FLScott Outdoors, Jay

This rural North Florida panhandle retailer, one of the largest independents in the South, stocks more than 5,000 firearms. Dependent on special pricing, MSR sales have slowed to two a week. MSR sales leaders include Daniel Defense and Smith M&P Sports. Deer season is just starting. A few Savage Axis combos are crossing the counter, as well as Browning X-Bolts and Tikkas, primarily in 7mm-08. Handgun sales are hot for all things small and concealable. Strong numbers of Kimber Micro 9s, Smith Shields, and Ruger Security 9s are crossing the counter. In recent weeks, demand has been extreme for Sig P365s. “We are receiving about a dozen calls a

380 EZs are selling well. And, Slone says, “Glocks are always in demand, though they have fallen off slightly.”

Bullseye Shooting RI Supplies, Woonsocket

This small-town retailer specializes in ammo, handloading, and handguns. Summer sales were slower than in past years; however, fall is picking up nicely. Rifle sales are heating up. Ruger Americans with combo-added scopes top the list. “Our long-gun sales always jump when we can combine a clean, simple scope. This package is usually mounted with an entry-level Bushnell or a Sun 3x9,” said owner Paul Conley.

day for the 365,” said manager Jim Brown. This retailer also displays value-priced MSR ammo to keep sales traffic coming to the store.

River City KY Firearms, Louisville

This metro Louisville dealer stocks an average of 400 long guns and handguns and has three employees. Handgun sales continue to post strong numbers. In the small concealed-carry arena, Smith Shields, Ruger Security 9s, and Taurus Slims are all doing well. MSRs are still selling here at three units a week. “It’s very pricesensitive but steady,” said owner Derrick Meyer. He says ArmaLite Eagle 15s and Smith Sports are seeing the most turns.

Gun-ANJ Casco’s Rama, Jersey City Located across the Hudson River in the shadow of lower Manhattan, this retailer has been in business for nearly 50 years, selling handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Handgun sales are improving after a summer slump. Sig P320s, Glock 19s, and Smith Shields are now posting strong numbers. There is high demand for the Sig P365, but this store has only seen a few this year. As for MSRs, Stags and M&P Sports are selling moderately well. “Our sales of MSRs have slowed down a little bit, but shotguns are starting to pick up, especially Mossbergs for home defense,” said owner Lisa Casco.

Sport LTD, TX Gun Odessa

This West Texas firearms retailer specializes in a mix of high-end custom rifles, home security, and reloading components. The store inventories more than 3,000 new and used guns, with an average staff of six employees. Sales numbers are steady. Top sellers include Kimber Ultras, Smith Shields, Sig P365s, and Glock 43s. “Our handgun sales have been super consistent. It’s nice to see new product that has our buyers looking for more guns to shoot,” said manager Kimberly Roberts. “Our MSR sales are down but still moving. Our clients have become super price-sensitive,” she said.

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

SHOT BUSINESS

47


THE M2.0 COMPACT PISTOL ™

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NEW PRO DUCTS

(Continued from page 50)

ammunition.com)

Bishop Ammunition Utilizing an 18-inch medium-contour stainless-steel barrel mated to a forged, precisionfitted upper and lower receiver, the Bishop 3G Rifle Competition is all about performance and reliability. Features include 1:8 right-hand twist (rifling is optimized for 50-grain to 77-grain bullets); a gasoperated, direct-impingement system; a nine-port muzzle brake; a full-length integral Picatinny top rail; an Elftman match trigger that is adjustable from 2½ to 4¾ pounds; a titanium low-profile, adjustable gas block; and an oversize tactical charging handle. The chamber will accept .223

Pelican

The Pelican Vault V200 is a heavy-duty pistol case.

ammo and 5.56x45mm NATO ammo, and the gun ships with one 30-round magazine. Compliant magazines for California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are also available, as are compliant models for those states. SRP: $1,899. (bishop

➤ Pelican has long been known for building gun cases designed to withstand hard use, and the new Pelican Vault V200 medium pistol case is another example of the company’s dedication to quality and durability. Constructed of a crushproof, heavy-duty polymer, the case also features stainless-steel hasps for reinforced security with the addition heavy-duty handles, push-button latches that deliver positive closure and smooth opening while preventing unintentional disengagement, and holes for two padlocks. SRP: $57.95.

(pelican.com)

Firearms Business Insurance Wholesalers & Distributors Retail Sales Manufacturers & Importers Ammunition & Bullet Manufacturers Indoor & Outdoor Ranges Gunsmiths Firearms Instructors

31 Parker Road • Elizabeth, New Jersey 07208

800.526.2199 • info@jcinsco.com • www.guninsurance.com


NEW PR ODU CTS

BioLite

The SolarHome 620 brings modern lighting, energy, and entertainment to transform any structure into an off-grid home. The easy-to-install solar panel captures daily sun to charge up a central control box that powers three hanging lights, a USB charge-out, and an MP3/FM radio system. The system would be a welcome addition to any

50

â?š

SHOT BUSINESS

â?š

OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

deer camp, either in a permanent structure or a large wall tent. It also does double-duty at home in case of a power outage caused by severe weather. The system comes packed in a kit the size of a shoebox and includes a 6-watt solar panel that connects to a control box, three overhead lights (one with motion sensor), and 18 feet of daisychainable cables for multi-room lighting. SRP: $149. (bioliteenergy.com) (Continued on page 49)


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BUSHMASTER ACR SERIES

TH E M O ST ADAP TAB LE MSR OF A L L TI ME N OW CHANGES CA LI B E R S I N N O TI M E. THE CALIBER-ADAPTABLE BUSHMASTER ACR. It set a new standard for modular adaptability when it was first devised. And today, the Bushmaster ACR series adds the ability to change calibers to the world’s most versatile MSR platform. Tool-less, rapid takedown allows you to instantly change stocks, handguards, barrels, and calibers in the field. It’s FREEDOM to adapt to anything. FOR THE FREE.

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NSSF SHOT Business -- October/November, 2018  

NSSF SHOT Business -- October/November, 2018

NSSF SHOT Business -- October/November, 2018  

NSSF SHOT Business -- October/November, 2018