Products That Captured Retailers’ Attention.
Dealers at SHOT Show 2014 faced busy aisles and crowded booths, which created some challenges as they worked their way through 1,600 exhibitors in search of the year’s new products and other best sellers. In exclusive interviews with Shooting Industry, retailers named their top product selections. They also pointed out a couple of trends apparent at this year’s show.
Annette Allen and her husband own Bluebonnet Firearms in Liberty Hill, Texas. One trend Allen noted was a reduction in the prices of modern sporting rifles.
“We bought some three or four months ago at $700 to $800,” she said. “Now some of the companies we purchased from are selling them retail for $599, so we took a hit. I think the big bubble of ARs is over.”
Bob Wallace and Pat Johnston own Broken Arrow Gun Shop in Broken Arrow, Okla. Wallace said he saw a lot of confidence at the show.
“We saw optimism about the industry and where it’s going, and about the political and economic outlook,” he said. “That was a real breath of fresh air for me.”
Remington’s new handgun, the R51, attracted a considerable amount of attention from dealers.
Based on the classic Model 51, this semiauto will appeal to concealed-carry customers.
Allen said she and her husband found two new firearms to carry in their store.
“Remington is coming out with a new handgun called the R51,” she said. “It’s light and thin and it will fit in my purse without tearing holes in the corners. For me personally, I think it’s going to be my new carry weapon. And it’s under $400, so it’s going to be big for us.”
Wallace said even though it’s not new, he continues to recommend the Chiappa Rhino, a revolver that comes in a variety of calibers including .357, .40 S&W, 9mm, 9x19mm and 9x21mm.
“I also like the Triple Threat from Chiappa, which is a triple barrel shotgun,” he said. “We’re going to order some, and also the Little Badger from Chiappa. Glock also came out with their new G42 and G41, and we bought some of both.”
The new Glocks were popular with many retailers. Del Applegarth, who works at Roseburg Gun Shop in Roseburg, Ore., liked them, as did Joey Taylor, one of the owners of Taylor Arms in Wynne, Ark.
“I always thought Glock needed to come out with a small pistol, especially a .380,” he said. “Glocks are always good sellers for us.”
Taylor also liked some of the Browning slug guns.
“They have a BPS in 20-gauge,” he said. “We don’t have a rifle season in our county, and we sell more 20-gauge than we do any other slug gun.”
Johnston liked the new Kimber .380 Micro series of pistols.
“We sell a lot of concealed carry guns, and the Kimber one is going to be really popular,” he said. “Kimber is adding production, so their guns should be easier to get than they have been.”
Brent Cayton, owner of Sportsman’s Emporium in Morgantown, W.Va., said he was pleased to be able to order Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield.
“They’re not new, but I’ve been trying to order them for a while and haven’t been able to get them,” he said.
Janel Benish, one of the owners of the Village Gunsmith in Kendall, Wis., stopped in at SIG SAUER’s booth.
“The new Black Pearl P238 SIG is beautiful,” she said. “I also like the new carry revolver from Ruger, the LCRx.”
Jose Ramirez is president and CEO of Florida Gun Center in Hialeah, Fla. He predicted the Glock G42 will be a good seller for him.
“It’s a good gun for carrying concealed, and Glocks are very good weapons,” he said.
Retailers continuing to face challenges in getting ammunition let manufacturers know how they felt about the shortages.
“It’s very hard to buy certain kinds of ammunition,” Allen said. “There were gun store owners yelling at some of the big ammo manufacturers in their booths. A couple of times I thought we were about to see a fistfight.”
Pat and Roger Burris own King Shooters Supply in King of Prussia, Pa. Roger Burris said reloading components are still hard to come by.
“Powder is the biggest problem,” he said. “Ammunition is still hard to get. Everyone we talked to said, ‘No, we don’t have any.’ Many ammunition companies have stopped dealing directly with retailers and want you to go through distributors.”
Rene Deveault owns X-Reload in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. He said he didn’t see much new this year because the reloading side of the industry has been so overwhelmed by the demand for the past couple of years.
“We ordered some of the new Cadex Urban Strike and Field Strike powders,” he said.
Miles Hall, president of H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla., said he knew there was some new ammunition on display at the show, but that ammo is largely still unavailable.
“Ammunition? That’s the stuff that you put in the gun, right? I remember when we had some of that,” he said. “It makes no difference what’s new if you can’t get it.”
Annette Allen of Bluebonnet Firearms said the item she found at SHOT Show that delighted her the most was the Hold Up display system to help organize inventory.
“It’s really inexpensive,” she said. “Each 8-foot section of racks is only $4. This system will make any gun shop look like a state-of-the-art gun store.”
Pat Burris also was looking for what she termed “business support items.” She liked Rack ’Em Racks from Horizon Manufacturing.
“They have racks that hold long guns on a slat wall or peg wall,” she said. “We have their system already, but they have some new racks that made us say, ‘We need some of those!’”
Allen said her husband found items to expand their store beyond firearms.
“He found knife sharpeners from Smith Consumer Products,” she said. “We bought a whole display.”
Johnston and Wallace are adding suppressors to their inventory.
“The brand we really liked was SilencerCo,” Johnston said. “They have a good line that seems to be really high quality, so we’re definitely going to stock some of them.”
Drew Burham, owner of Firearms Specialties Plus, said he went to SHOT Show this year for gunsmithing tools.
“Brush Research Manufacturing makes flexible reamers,” he said. “They have an abrasive compound embedded in them, which is a remarkable idea. I also liked the borescopes from Gradient Lens Corp.”
Burham said he spent quite a bit of time in the Trulock booth.
“They have a system where you can bore the inside of a shotgun barrel and thread it so you can use choke tubes in it,” he said.
Benish liked some of the new targets at ResetTargets.com.
“I particularly like the Flip Shot Target that’s like two triangles stuck together,” she said. “You flip it and you always have the next target. It rolls across the ground, and you get the metallic ping as part of the reaction. It looks sturdy and has a good price point.”
Benish was pleased by what she saw in Sticky Holsters’ booth.
“They’re coming out with a new Kydex insert that will provide a little more form and shape to their soft-sided holsters,” she said. “They’re going to start with models for the .380.”
At Shady Lady Shooting, Benish liked the smaller cases designed for small rifles such as the Keystone Crickett and Savage Rascal.
“A lot of manufacturers make rifle cases, but there aren’t a lot of options for that size rifle,” she said. “This case is nice because it’s an add-on purchase for increased sales, and Shady Lady’s quality and fabrics are very good.”
By Carolee Anita Boyles
SHOT Show Highlights
The FMG Video production team was busy at SHOT Show, thanks to a number of new products from a variety of manufacturers. Dealers looking for more than a product description should visit FMG’s official YouTube page — which features exclusive product reviews from notable manufacturers such as ArmaLite, Galco Gunleather, Fiocchi USA, McMillan Rifle, MTM Case-Gard, Stealth Cam and more. These videos highlight key selling points and provide firsthand knowledge directly from engineers and marketing managers, to inform both dealers and consumers.
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