Dealers Search Out Best Sellers
Retailers Name The Products That
Will Ring Up Sales.
Firearm dealers faced a major challenge at SHOT Show 2013 — primarily working their way through 1,600 exhibitors to discover all the 2013 new offerings and tried-and-true best sellers.
In exclusive interviews with Shooting Industry, retailers noted two big trends at this year’s show: the continuing popularity of modern sporting rifles and similar platforms, and the increasing difficulty getting guns and ammunition customers demand.
Miles Hall, owner of H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City, Okla., said there were so many new products at the show that retailers were nearly overwhelmed.
“We’re trying to decipher what we want and what our suppliers can deliver. And of course, if we decide we want something, when can we get it? We’re not getting a lot of really solid answers from some manufacturers and I understand why, but still it’s frustrating for those of us who are dealers,” Hall said.
Don Miller, of Buckeye Sporting Goods in Fremont, Ohio, said his business has turned heavily toward the modern sporting rifles market; however, he’s having a difficult time getting inventory.
“The market is so far behind right now. The fear of not knowing what’s going to happen has driven the market crazy. The guns I need are 8 to 12 months out. I’ve had manufacturers cancel orders and suggest I go through a distributor,” Miller said.
The challenges, however, didn’t prevent dealers from uncovering products they believe will sell well in 2013.
Carl Stuart, of Impact Guns in Ogden, Utah, liked what he saw at the Ruger booth.
“Their new 10-22 takedown rifle is good. It’s a new design on a standard product; every kid growing up needs a 10-22,” Stuart said.
The new Ruger 10/22 Takedown Autoloading Rifle has a black synthetic stock, 16.62-inch satin black barrel and comes with a backpack-style carrying case.
Hall was also drawn to Ruger’s new products.
“I like every last one of them. Ruger is asking shooters, ‘What do you want and how do you want it?’ and that’s feeding what they manufacture. It’s awesome for us, because Ruger is our number-one gun line, followed very closely by Smith & Wesson,” Hall said. Visit www.ruger.com and www.smith-wesson.com.
Dan Hendrix, owner of Dan’s Discount Guns & Ammo in Oakdale, Calif., researched new home-defense shotguns.
“I like a couple of the smaller breakout guns,” he said. “Adaptive Tactical has the Sidewinder, and UTAS has the UTS-15. That seems to be the newest category I’m seeing more of this year.”
The Adaptive Tactical Sidewinder Venom combines the company’s five-round box magazine with a Maverick 88 shotgun. Visit www.adaptivetactical.com.
The UTS-15 tactical 12-gauge pump-action shotgun features two, seven-round alternately feeding or selective magazine tubes. Visit www.utasturk.com.
Hendrix also liked what he saw at Kimber.
“Their 1911 CDP II is nice,” he said. “I also like Barrett’s .416 semiauto rifle.”
New for 2013, Kimber’s Master Carry .45 ACP features Tactical Wedge night sights, round heel frame and Crimson Trace Master Series Lasergrips. Visit www.kimberamerica.com.
Barrett’s Model 82A1 chambered in .416 Barrett features a muzzle brake, dual barrel springs and long-mainspring design. Visit www.barrett.net.
At NEMO Arms, Hendrix was drawn to the Omen bolt-action.
“NEMO has made the first .300 Win. Mag. AR,” he said.
The Omen has a billet upper and lower receiver in anodized SF Tiger Stripe, 22-inch .300 Win. Mag. match-grade barrel and Geissele SSA-E Tiger. Visit www.nemoarms.com.
While Hendrix examined a lot of firearms, the one he liked best was the Blaser R8 rifle, with a straight-pull bolt-action design.
“You can work the bolt with one finger. You don’t have to take your eye away from the scope at all. That action seems to be really good for accuracy,” Hendrix said.
Miller admired the modern sporting rifles from Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT), but said they’re almost impossible to get.
“LMT is very highly regarded in the AR field, but their guns are probably 18 months out,” he said. “I also like Rock River. They’re giving me the most hope right now; they’re saying 90 days to 6 months.”
Jeff Rawson, with Demrow Enterprises in Sandy, Utah, said he was looking for left-handed firearms.
“We market to that segment. I really like the Cabot Guns left-handed 1911 (The South Paw). Cabot is making its left-handed 1911 from the bottom up so it’s a true left-handed model.”
Melisa Bryant, with Mammoth Arms in Grangeville, Idaho, said she was looking forward to working with Rock River Arms.
“We’ve been involved in gunsmithing for a long time, but we only started selling firearms about four months ago,” Bryant said, “We are looking at small- to middle-sized companies that we can purchase from, such as Rock River. It’s nice to be able to deal directly with them.”
Tim Tyler, with Southern Utah Shooting Sports Park in Hurricane, Utah, invested a lot of time examining the handguns at the Springfield Armory booth.
“I really like Springfield’s XD(M) series,” he said. “They also have the XD-S, which has been out for the past year in .45, and now they’re introducing an XD-S in 9mm.”
The single-stack XD-S 9mm has a 3.3-inch barrel, grip safety and standard seven-round capacity. Visit www.springfield-armory.com.
Mike Rankin, with Richy’s Gun & Pawn in Checotah, Okla., liked some of the new USSG shotguns.
“We ordered several different models of them,” he said.
USSG imports Baikal and SAR shotguns for EAA. Visit www.eaacorp.com.
New players who have entered the ammunition and reloading market attracted Hendrix’s attention. He said Berry’s Manufacturing’s bullets “really look good.”
“There are several small companies who are making great ammunition. Lapua and Norma both have fantastic stuff,” Hendrix said.
Lapua has introduced a new generation of match bullets called the Scenar(L), a successor to the Scenar target bullets. The first Scenar(L) offering is in 6mm 105-grain. Visit www.lapua.com.
Norma increased its presence in the U.S. market last year with the launch of Norma USA. The full line of Norma products can be viewed at www.norma-usa.com.
Lonnie Mundy, with Storm Weapons LLC in Charlotte, N.C., said Hornady stood out in his mind for ammunition.
“I like the new SST (Super Shock Tip) bullets they’re manufacturing in all calibers now,” he said.
For 2013, Hornady introductions include a .30 caliber .308 125-grain SST bullet.
Todd Vance, owner of Vance Outdoors and Buckeye Outdoors in Ohio, was also interested in Hornady’s new offerings, including an addition to the Critical Duty line.
“They have a new Critical Duty .45 ACP that’s a nice load,” Vance said. Visit www.hornady.com.
Vance also gave the offerings at Winchester Ammunition’s booth a thorough review.
“Winchester has the .17 Winchester Super Magnum. It’s their new rimfire .17 that’s a souped-up .17 HMR. That’s a great addition to their rimfire line. Savage and Ruger are going to make guns for it,” Vance said.
John Lewis, buyer for Herb Bauer Sporting Goods in Fresno, Calif., also likes the new Winchester load.
“It’s going to be a great varmint round. It has a higher velocity than the standard .17 Hornady Magnum Rimfire,” Lewis said.
Bryant echoed what many dealers said at the show: Ammunition is hard for a small buyer to purchase.
“Most ammunition companies want us to go through distributors, and there aren’t many in the Pacific Northwest,” she said. “One of the things I’ve been looking for at the show is an ammunition manufacturer we can purchase directly from.”
Ray Yourgalite, owner of Circle Y Firearms in Sonora, Texas, said he was looking for .223 ammo from any manufacturer.
“I’m having a lot of trouble getting it,” Yourgalite said. “I’ve given up, because I’m tired of asking the same question over and over again and getting no for an answer.”
Lewis said he continues to be impressed with the Trijicon line of sights.
“I’ve always liked Trijicon, and their SRS is a quick-acquisition sight for that great AR-type platform,” Lewis said.
For 2013, Trijicon HD Night Sights are now available for the Ruger SR9, and Beretta’s Px4, 90-TWO and 92/96Al pistols. Also for 2013, Trijicon introduces the ACOG 3×30 with a .300 AAC Blackout reticle. Visit www.trijicon.com.
Lewis found other products for the AR platform as well, including one from V-Line Industries.
“It’s a quick-secure unit for the AR or for a personal-defense shotgun,” he said. “It’s for quick deployment when you’re in the house and you need easy access to your firearm. I think it’s one of the smarter products out there.”
V-Line’s Quick Access Keyless Long Gun Safe measures 42x12x3 1/2 inches and has a five-button mechanical lock. Visit www.vlineind.com.
Hendrix also checked out new products at The Mako Group booth.
“The Mako Group has a new stock for the M4; it’s a recoil-reducing stock for the AR,” Hendrix said.
The Mako Group Recoil-reducing M4/AR-15 Stock has five sling-attachment and two QR-attachment points, and a storage compartment. Visit www.themakogroup.com.
Marna Tracy, owner of Tampa Tactical Supply in Tampa, Fla., was at SHOT Show to fully stock her store, which was scheduled to open on Feb. 1.
“I’m looking for holsters, ammunition and other small things people want,” she said. “I’ve specifically targeted Bulldog cases and holsters because they’re very affordable.”
Bulldog Cases & Vaults is now offering a Zombie Series of cases in its Molded Pistol Cases and Tactical Series lines. Visit www.bulldogcases.com.
Hall said he expanded his safe offerings because his safe sales grew significantly in the few weeks prior to SHOT.
“We’ve been a Liberty Safe dealer for years, as well as American Security and Browning,” he said. “Now we’re adding Fort Knox to our lineup.”
Fort Knox’s newest safe is the Maverick, featuring certified 1,200F/45-minute fire protection, reinforced 1 1/8-inch thick door and 11-gauge body construction.
By Carolee Anita Boyles
>> Click Here << To Read The Shooting Industry April 2013 Issue