Streamlight Pistol-Grip Searchlight Models

Streamlight®, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance flashlights, significantly upgraded the lumen output of the Waypoint® Alkaline battery model and the Waypoint® Lithium Ion Rechargeable pistol-grip spotlights, while also enhancing both lights’ design. Handheld and powerful, the lights feature C4® LED technology to provide extremely bright lighting with an integrated long-range targeting beam.

The updated Waypoint Alkaline now features 550 lumens, 100,000 candela and a beam distance of 625 meters on the high setting. The Waypoint Rechargeable now delivers 1,000 lumens, 115,000 candela and a beam distance of 678 meters on high. The Waypoint Rechargable also has been redesigned to include a Medium setting, while the updated Waypoint Alkaline model adds a trigger style switch that allows for momentary light up capability without clicking the switch to lock the light on. Both lights feature an integrated stand for hands-free scene lighting. The Waypoint rechargeable model also will float if dropped in water.

“Both of these models are ideal for boating, camping and other outdoor pursuits, as well as for a wide variety of search and rescue and other first responder applications,” said Streamlight Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Michael Dineen. “They’re rugged and dependable, and extremely bright whether used as a handheld mobile searchlight, or as a hands-free, stationary light to illuminate a scene.”

The Waypoint Alkaline, when powered by four “C” alkaline batteries, delivers 10 hours of run time on high, 82 hours on both low and emergency signal mode, and unlimited run time when using its included 12-volt DC power cord. The Waypoint Rechargeable uses a Lithium Ion battery that is rechargeable up to 800 times. It offers 3 hours of run time on high, 6 hours on medium and 80 hours on low. Both lights feature a C4 LED that is impervious to shock, and use a deep-dish parabolic reflector to produce a long-range targeting beam while also optimizing peripheral illumination. The lights have cushioned handle grips to eliminate user hand fatigue, as well as a removable high-strength wrist lanyard.

Featuring a high-impact polycarbonate housing, the Waypoint Alkaline weighs 1.8 pounds, while the Waypoint Rechargeable weighs 1.52 pounds. Both measure 6.75 inches long by 7.14 inches high. The Waypoint Alkaline features an IPX4 rated design for water-resistant operation, while the Waypoint Rechargeable has an IPX8 rated design for waterproof operation to two meters. Both are impact resistance-tested to one meter and are available in black and yellow.

The MSRPs for the updated Waypoint Alkaline and Waypoint Rechargeable are $102.00 and $204.00, respectively. Both feature Streamlight’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.

The Industry’s Business Magazine

Must-Have Products For Varmint/Predator Customers

Varmint hunters are a different lot. When everyone else’s season is done for the year and most hunters are sitting around the fire telling tales, varmint hunters are still out in the cold — and the colder it gets, the better they like it.

John Chagnon is the division manager for PCS Outdoors, located in Oscoda, Mich. He said the market for varmint hunting supplies is increasing.
Read More

Invest In The Future With Airsoft/Airguns

As depicted in the 1983 Warner Bros. movie A Christmas Story, it has long been a dream of many young shooters to get their very own Daisy Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle. The Red Ryder may have paved the way, but the performance of today’s airguns has far surpassed the lever-action and pump-pellet guns just a few decades ago.
Read More

HAVA’s Family Days Are A Hit!

Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) announces the continued success of its Family Days, with two recent events held at the ACADEMI Training Center and Rockcastle Shooting Center. This success is due, in part, to the industry’s sustained commitment to the long-term recovery of disabled veterans and their families.
Read More

Are You Doing Enough To Educate Your
Customers On Safety?

Firearms safety begins at the point of acquiring or even holding a gun, and it always remains the most important part of gun ownership. The safety message is permanently etched in every dealer’s brain, so safety products typically make up the bulk of a store’s accessory sales, or ought to. Is safety becoming more of a focal point for consumers? One gunshop/range manager in Texas says it is, which is good news for all dealers.
Read More

New Product Of The Day: Clinger Holsters

The Stingray Holster, manufactured by Clinger Holsters, is compact with adjustable weapon tension. It completely encases the user’s firearm in sweat-proof Kydex. The holster features anodized hardware, which is also sweat proof. The Stingray’s belt tab is near the grip of the gun, which pushes it close to the body to eliminate “printing.” It’s available in right- and left-handed models. Like other Clinger Holster models, the Stingray is thin, lightweight and designed for deep concealment.

Looking For More?

Focus On “Making It Easy” For Your Customers

Conventional wisdom and the majority of business models say good customer service departments bend over backward for their customers. This certainly sounds right. It stands to reason exceeding a customer’s expectations means performing feats of extraordinary service — such as overnighting a shipment, including a coupon with a refund or giving away free products. While it’s certainly a worthy cause to impress your customers, it may not always yield the results you’re looking for.

This is exactly what the Corporate Executive Board (CEB) — which manages the performance of 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies — discovered when they surveyed customer service departments. Eighty-nine percent of department heads said their goal is to exceed their customers’ expectations. Surprisingly, 85 percent of the customers CEB asked, said their expectations were not exceeded in their last customer service interaction. Dazzling customers is a rep’s main goal, and yet this study reveals they don’t always achieve that end — something just doesn’t add up.

Perhaps there’s a difference between what you and your customers consider “exceeded expectations.” When CEB dug deeper, they learned customers place high importance on how you handle basic, everyday transactions and less how you “wow” them with extra perks. It makes sense when you think about it.

When a customer receives the wrong product, say a box of Remington High Terminal Performance ammo rather than their desired Golden Saber ammo, they simply want you to make it right. If the process is confusing or stressful in any way, a 15 percent off coupon on their next purchase is certainly a nice “apology,” but it won’t erase the bad experience.

In short, customers want you to make things easy for them; they care about it more than grand gestures. By putting processes in place to ensure smooth, efficient transactions upfront — instead of concocting elaborate ways to say “we’re sorry” — you’re more likely to attract repeat customers. This is because customers are most satisfied when you reduce their effort and remove obstacles to getting what they want.

However, when you can’t fully meet a customer’s needs at the time, there are still ways to reduce effort. CEB encourages companies to train their employees to rephrase things such as, “We don’t have a Ruger SR1911 in stock” to “We’ll have stock availability for your Ruger SR1911 in two weeks, and I can place an order for you right now.” This not only reframes “not so great news,” but it leaves an avenue for the customer to still place an order, with little effort on his or her part.


Measure Your Customers’ Satisfaction Through Surveys

If you’re wondering how your customers perceive interactions with your employees, it would be helpful to implement a survey. This can be done at the point of sale by offering discount codes on their receipt in exchange for filling out an online feedback form. If this is something you already do, then maybe it’s time to switch up the wording on your survey.

CEB developed their own system for scoring customer satisfaction, called the Customer Effort Score (which outperforms popular industry models, CSAT and NPS). The genius behind this scoring method is it asks customers one simple question about each transaction: “How much effort did you personally have to put forth to handle your request?” The goal of the survey is to predict how likely a customer is to return for another purchase. This is an accurate way to gain insight about your customers’ actual level of satisfaction, so you’re not left wondering what works and what doesn’t.

In addition, both sides of the counter will benefit from a shift in focus. It’s less confusing for your employees when it comes to customer interactions if things are simple. Tell them to “make it easy” rather than instruct them to “exceed expectations,” which can yield varying results and waste valuable time and effort. If you ensure your team has a pulse on your customer’s most basic needs, they will more than likely thank you with their loyalty.

Editor’s Note: This is Taylor Smithfield’s fourth entry in a four-part series on enhancing customer and employee loyalty. If there’s more you’d like to hear on this topic — or have an idea for a future column — send an email to editor@shootingindustry.


Big Rock Provides Promotional Service

In addition to selling outdoor sporting goods, Big Rock Sports is now offering custom promotional merchandise imprinted with your store’s logo. The new service, called “Brandmap Custom Products,” let’s you choose from hundreds of items to customize, like koozies, insulated cups, T-shirts and hats.

“We want to provide our customers the resources that will help their retail businesses grow,” said Mitch Mitchell, Big Rock Sports marketing director. “What better way to grow their business than by letting hunters and anglers do their advertising? Personalized products featuring their logo are a proven, economical way to boost their store’s brand.”



LaserMax Rolls Out Retail Sales Program

LaserMax has partnered with Experticity, a leader in brand education, and their network,, to offer your employees training to drive LaserMax sales in your store. The goal of 3point5 is to create passionate associates who will foster better buying experiences for your customers. Upon completion of each program, associates will receive exclusive discounts on LaserMax products, incentivizing them in the process.

“The people who have the most brand and product knowledge have the greatest impact on buying conversations,” said John Reagh, senior VP of sales at Experticity. “We’re excited to help LaserMax increase sales by arming sales associates with the expertise needed to give customers better buying experiences.”

“With significant turnover at most retail counters, keeping staff trained and knowledgeable is more challenging than ever,” said Chris Tinkle, LaserMax chief sales officer. “We see 3point5 as the best vehicle to create retail sales experts that are confident in customer interactions.”



Colt Launches Fall Consumer Promotion

In October, Colt’s Manufacturing Co. announced a “Fall Carry Days” promotion for consumers. From October 1 through December 31, customers who purchase a Government Model or Defender pistol will receive a Colt Carry Kit. Valued at over $100, the kit consists of a Blade-Tech holster, an additional magazine and a Colt-branded hat.

“We wanted to offer something exciting to those customers who depend on a carry firearm,” said Paul Spitale, Colt’s senior VP of commercial business. “Whether carrying for duty or personal defense, the Colt Carry Kit affords a tremendous value to the customer.”

To be eligible for this promotion, customers must visit a Colt Stocking Dealer and purchase one of the following models: O1991, O1992, O1091, O1092, O7000D, O7002D, O7000E, O7000S, or O7000NDF. The Government Model Carry Kit features a Blade-Tech Total Eclipse 1911 Holster, while the Defender Carry Kit contains a Blade-Tech Klipt Ambi holster. This offer is limited to one per household.
By Taylor Smithfield

Read More Outdoor Marketplace Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry November 2015 Issue Now!

Invest In The Future With Airsoft/Airguns

Airsoft/Airgun Sales Bring In New
Shooters, Secure Future Business.

As depicted in the 1983 Warner Bros. movie A Christmas Story, it has long been a dream of many young shooters to get their very own Daisy Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle. The Red Ryder may have paved the way, but the performance of today’s airguns has far surpassed the lever-action and pump-pellet guns just a few decades ago.

Airguns offer a price point that’s hard to beat — especially for the performance, maintenance and cost of ammo. Anyone who’s picked up a modern air rifle or pistol understands how many advances in the technology have been made over the past couple of decades.

“The biggest advances in airgun technology over the last 30 years have mostly centered around quality and performance. They’re more powerful, and with proper maintenance they’ll last a long time,” said Randy Potter, general manager for GAT Guns in East Dundee, Ill. “With standard break-action, spring-loaded models starting at just over $100, it’s an affordable option for many young buyers to purchase and begin their lifetime of training and education. The RWS 34 is an excellent seller and at a price point of under $300, the combination of price and performance is hard to beat.”

By introducing young shooters to the sport through the sale of airguns, dealers often realize the benefits as the customer gains experience, interest and skill level. The true value in offering these products in their shops is their investment in the future. It’s important for your customers to establish a safe and strong interest in the sport at an early age, which will ultimately develop their relationship with your store over time.


Designed with field carry in mind, the Crosman Marauder with rifle
wood stock features an adjustable comb, two-stage adjustable match-grade
trigger system and a 10-round magazine. It’s available in .177, .22 and
.25. Crosman also offers hollowpoint, hunting pellets for airgun customers.


Top: SIG SAUER P250 .177
Bottom: Umarex HK 45 GBB

Multi-Purpose Airguns

Dealers who carry airguns and airsoft products are not only catering to younger shooters. They’re also selling products for a variety of other purposes as well, such as varmint control and backyard recreational shooting for older shooters.

“Approximately 50 percent of our airgun sales are being used for varmint control,” Potter reports. “Due to the stopping power and suppressed noise, airguns are effective tools for use in many residential areas. Because of this, customers benefit from the multiple locations where airguns can be used. Generally, there aren’t many restrictions for airguns as long as they’re operated safely — most of them can be fired in just about any backyard.”

Cost of ownership is another significant advantage for customers making the decision to purchase an airgun, Potter said. “Airguns have always been a cheaper alternative to rimfire for example, but now they’re a lot cheaper due to the cost and availability of ammunition.”

GAT Guns carries approximately 100 different models between new and used airguns. These are mostly made up of products manufactured in the USA, China and Japan.

“Even with the wide range of models and calibers we have for sale, airguns only account for approximately 2 to 5 percent of our gross sales. GAT Guns stocks airguns from Beeman, Crosman, RWS, GAMO, Stoeger and others. We offer the new line from Crosman: the Discovery, Marauder and Nitro Piston rifles,” Potter added.

Airgun rifles tend to dominate airgun sales, but there are a few pistols to choose from. Most airgun sales are mechanical piston guns, and a smaller percentage of pneumatic or CO2 models. The most popular caliber is still .177, but .22 and .25 are growing in popularity.

“Combined, sales of airguns in .22 and .25 calibers account for about the same amount of sales as those in .177,” Potter said. “We’re starting to see a gain in popularity for higher-end models and larger calibers such as .30, .38 and .45. We continue to get requests as customers become more aware of the options available to them.

Potter said most customers leave his store with everything they need to get started with the sport: usually including a couple tins of pellets, cleaning pellets, chamber oil, as well as scopes and mounts for the models that don’t already come with them.


Laser Ammo’s Open Range, a shooting range program that can be
customized by your store, is an add-on to the Smokeless Range
Judgemental Simulator. It pairs well with airsoft guns to
promote safe training.


Gamo USA recently debuted a C-15 Bone Collector Edition blowback pistol,
which has a Weaver-style rail for mounting accessories and an 8×2 dual
magazine for pellets and BBs.


GAT Guns in East Dundee, Ill., has a dedicated airgun department and
offers one of the largest selections in the Midwest.

Investing In The Future

Dealers with traditional ranges are also providing training and alternatives to younger shooters as well. RKA Gun Gallery, located in Plano, Ill., installed an interactive target training system, sold by Cybergun. It contains various programs to time shots and present various target configurations and has been very popular with customers.

“This has been a huge hit with the kids,” said Scott Peters, RKA owner. “This training system allows for proper instruction on safety and handling, but the interactive features make it fun. It’s also an effective sales tool since parents know they can bring their children with them to the range and keep them entertained while the adults shop for their purchase or receive training.”

Airsoft products are another excellent way to introduce young and new shooters to the sport. Some prospective shooters may be intimidated by the sound or recoil of traditional firearms, but are willing to handle an airsoft gun or an airgun. This exposure increases their confidence until they’re ready to handle a larger-caliber gun. True-to-life sizes, blowback action and CO2 cartridges provide a very realistic form of recoil that helps make the transition toward conventional handguns and rifles.

Airsoft is not only an effective means of introduction to shooting sports, but it’s also very affordable. Price ranges for specific models vary depending on action types.

“Spring-loaded models can be sold for under $10. Couple this with 40 to 50 percent margins on speed loaders, pellets, BBs and CO2 and the possibilities start to become clear,” Peters added. The entertainment value and the lessons learned while practicing with airsoft are well worth the time and money spent.

Peters sees offering airsoft/airguns as an investment in the future of his business.

“We don’t necessarily offer this product category as a moneymaker. Although we do get decent margins on the items we sell, we do it for convenience for the parents and to get younger shooters interested in the sport,” Peters informed. “Oftentimes, we’ll offer the range for free while parents are shopping or using the range. The impact is minimal as a direct contribution to sales revenue, but is proving to be an important tool to attract new shooters and capturing additional future business.”
By Kevin Russelburg

Read More Feature Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry November 2015 Issue Now!

New Women’s Shotgun Line Spurs Sales

Ladies who take up the shooting sports become very skilled at making do with what they’ve been given. They may buy guns sized for men or drop down to youth sizes, but are still successful at their sport despite these sometimes-limited equipment choices. Leading manufacturers have made a huge effort in the past few years to design more equipment and accessories for women, but these products remain a small segment of the market. Things are changing quickly, however, and one company has committed to a full-line of shotguns for women designed with input by other lady shooters.

Syren USA, a spin-off company of Italian gunmakers Caesar Guerini, is devoted exclusively to marketing shotguns to women. Currently, the line consists of the Magnus, Tempio, ELOS Venti and XLR5 in field and sporting models. The Tempio and ELOS Venti also come in a light model. One of the things women will immediately notice about Syren shotguns is they got it right, and they’re aesthetically pleasing guns. Rather than the “go-to pink,” floral engravings on the receiver and stock display Syren’s feminine side.


With models for both sporting and field uses, Syren USA’s shotgun
collection provides women the opportunity to use a shotgun fit for them.

The Syren shotguns aren’t about looks, however, they’re about intelligent design made to fit the majority of women. “The Syrens fit 85 to 95 percent of women out of the box,” said Shaun Burkowski, Syren director of marketing. “Our ProStaff team and other women shooters gave input on the shotguns’ design, so it’s the culmination of years of development.”

When asked why Guerini felt it was important to establish a women’s shotgun line, Burkowski replied, “The options available to women shooters in the market were perceived by many as disingenuous and there were no viable options specifically for women right out of the box. As a joint effort between Caesar Guerini and FABARM, we decided to create an entirely new brand of shotguns and accessories called ‘Syren’ — which would be specifically tailored to the needs of our lady consumers.”

With this joint venture, Syren offers a variety of options at numerous price points. Burkowski noted the growth and upward trend of the women’s shooting market prompted these product offerings. The result is an attractive gun with light feminine touches and innovative design.


Syren USA ProStaff shooters, like professional clay target
shooter Tanya Faulds, gave input on the design and function
for Syren’s shotgun line.

Smart Design Features Make Instant Impact

Syren Vice President Anne Mauro has promoted the Syren shotguns at events across the U.S. “Women are extremely pleased with the guns,” she said. “They get rave reviews all around the country. Women are always saying, ‘Why did it take so long’ and ‘Thank you!’”

The Syren is special because the physical differences between men and women were accounted for from the very beginning. One of the most popular Syren models, the XLR5 12-gauge, has many smart design features, which makes it perfect for lady shooters. The Syren’s stock is shorter and specifically designed for a female’s anatomy. A woman’s longer neck and higher cheekbones are addressed with a Monte Carlo-styled stock. The cast and pitch are built to accommodate the female torso and the reduced radius on the grip fits a woman’s hand better. The trigger is also adjustable on the sporting guns so women can get the best fit possible. The gas-operated XLR5 weighs around 7.5 pounds, comes with a 28- or 30-inch barrel and has a length of pull of 13.75 inches. The result is a balanced gun with very manageable recoil.

Many women are told they can’t handle a 12-gauge, Mauro noted, but in the many field tests she’s witnessed, the Syren puts this old adage to shame. She said Syren shotguns are comfortable to shoot and, “if a woman’s comfortable, she’ll continue in the shooting sports.” Mauro is also involved with the University of Maryland’s Shooting Sports team and she’s noticed a big boom in women shooting, especially in the youth market.

“It has always been a struggle to find guns to fit women,” Mauro noted. “The Syren is proving very popular and we even have a few Olympic hopefuls shooting the guns.”

“Miracle Stock” Sells

Bruce Kinkner, president/CEO of Southwest Shooter’s Supply, in Phoenix, said the Syren Shotguns are selling well to women and the 12-gauge XLR5 is the most popular model. “The secret to this shotgun is they’ve designed a stock able to fit everyone,” he said. “It’s just perfect: I call it the ‘miracle stock.’ It’s the key to the entire line.”

Its popularity isn’t just limited to women, Kinkner noted. “We found several male customers who liked the Syren’s stock dimensions and Caesar Guernini found it too, so they came out with a compact model for men based on the Syren stock.”

Recoil can still be a concern for some women, Kinkner added, so in those cases he recommends the Kinetik Recoil Reducer as an add-on sale for the 12-gauge. “The Kinetik is good for women who are recoil sensitive. It adds about 11 ounces of weight, but no one seems to be bothered by it,” he said.

New products like Syren shotguns have increased interest and brought women to Southwest Shooter’s Supply, according to Kinkner. He noted the Syren shotgun is reasonably priced and his customers don’t have an issue with the price point.

The fact Syren USA exists is exciting for lady shooters. It shows women are being taken seriously in the shooting sports community and manufacturers are responding to their needs. If your clientele includes serious lady shotgunners, all of them will want to get their hands on a Syren shotgun. Make one of the Syren shotguns a highlighted product on your website, latest ad or newsletter, and you’ll more than likely get some curious women in the store who want to know more about a gun with a “miracle stock.” This would also be a great promo item for holiday sales — most lady shotgunners would put a Syren at the top of their holiday gift list.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Read More Arms And The Woman Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry November 2015 Issue Now!

Are You Doing Enough To Educate Your Customers On Safety?

Educate Customers And Sell The Need.

Firearms safety begins at the point of acquiring or even holding a gun, and it always remains the most important part of gun ownership. The safety message is permanently etched in every dealer’s brain, so safety products typically make up the bulk of a store’s accessory sales, or ought to. Is safety becoming more of a focal point for consumers? One gunshop/range manager in Texas says it is, which is good news for all dealers.

“People want to be more responsible in firearms ownership today. They’re interested in knowing how to secure their guns, or what they should be concerned with when they go out to the range. And they’re willing to spend more money on the better products,” said Travis James, manager of The Arms Room in Dickinson, Texas.

James says pistol safes, along with eye and ear protection, are practically mandatory purchases for first-time gun buyers at The Arms Room. Their weekly firearms safety classes are quite popular, as well.

“We’ve seen our class on the fundamentals of safety grow tremendously over the last several months. We open it to all ages and spend about an hour on basic gun safety. We start at the lowest level and work our way up teaching people what they need to know,” James said.

“I don’t care how experienced or how good you think you are, you can learn something from our basic class. We talk about safe storage, what to do with your kids, how to establish a plan for home protection, or how to get to your gun if an intruder is kicking down your door. Any dealer can offer a basic gun safety class in their store to help get people in this mindset,” James added.


New for 2015, the Liberty Safe National Classic series is Liberty’s
first solid steel plate-door safe — it has a 3/8-inch solid steel
plate door and 10-gauge steel body for added security. A 4-in-1 Flex
interior creates configurations to fit a variety of your customers’
safety/security needs.

Talk About Safety

The Arms Room, in the greater Houston area, is built around its state-of-the art, NSSF 5-Star gun range. It branched out from the smaller retail store founded by James’ late father Bill James, who was affectionately known as “Pops.” The Arms Room emphasizes the importance of safety with customers and its employees.

“I think the most important thing is talking about safety, so we really push safety education,” James said. “You have to have an educated sales staff, and it all trickles down. If you give a customer incentive to buy a safety product, then it’s easy to sell it. We ask customers if they have kids at home, if they have a plan for securing the firearm, how often they plan on shooting. We talk about the basics in safety products, but we also tell them if they really want to get serious about it, here’s something better.”

The staff at The Arms Room realizes selling safety products often hinges around establishing their need.

“We put a better electronic earmuff into someone’s hands and talk about its benefits. We do this for each safety item. We ask them why they might need a small pistol vault, and discuss the advantages of a biometric versus a keyed opening. Not only are you making a better-informed customer, but you’re also making a customer for life. And they’re going to go out and tell more friends,” James noted.

The Arms Room is also a family-oriented establishment. As many as 150 to 200 folks a day patronize the range alone, and safety “is constantly harped on,” according to James. Having a lot of contact with customers on the range side allows the staff to do additional promoting and selling of safety products, of course. Sometimes, the customers do the selling for them.

“We have husbands and wives coming into our store and onto the range. We, as men, tend to feel we know everything we need to know, but women tend to bring perspective. Women immediately want to know how to keep a gun safe and protect the kids. Men may think it’s good enough just to put a gun up high. We don’t always think it through as well as women do,” James observed.

The Arms Room also makes good use of product demos, and is in the process of rolling out a line of free seminars to add to its current lineup of classes.


(Top Left) IntelCase Co., distributors of Negrini luxury gun cases, offers
2018R Custom Shop 1911 handgun cases in a variety of finishes. The cases
are air travel-approved and secured with dual steel combination locks.
(Bottom Right) Plano’s Hunter Guide Series of waterproof cases will remain
waterproof to depths of 1 meter for 30 minutes.


Wiley X introduces a line of Remington-branded eyewear and hearing
protection. The eyewear meets ANSI Z87.1 High Mass and High Velocity
impact safety standards. The Walker’s Game Ear Ultimate Digital Quad
Connect features Bluetooth sync compatibility with mobile devices
and an NRR of 27 dB.

What’s Selling?

“Because of our gun range, the eye protection we sell the most are inexpensive glasses we buy directly from Pyramex, a big industrial manufacturer of safety products,” James said.

The important thing is shooters understand the importance of eye protection, regardless of the brand name or expense.
“When I grew up shooting, eye protection wasn’t a big deal. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for us to sell a $150 pair of Oakley or Wiley X sunglasses to someone who wants to get into shooting. Some first-time buyers don’t mind spending this kind of money upfront,” James added.

“Our ear protection sales depend on the person. Again, in sheer volume our number-one sellers are the simple foam plugs for folks on our range. Dollar-wise, our number one seller is the Howard Leight Impact Sport muff, a very good, inexpensive, electronic earmuff. It’s easy to jump up from a $20 set of earmuffs to a $65 electronic set. We also carry some $300 Pro Ears muffs, and we do move some of those,” James said.

In handgun safes, GunVault is really popular with The Arms Room’s customers. James says they also carry the Secure Vault line, and recently started stocking Browning’s new Pistol Vault line of handgun safes.

Finding the right mix in safes can be an adventure. The Arms Room only carries the Browning line of large safes currently. The dealer incentives were hard to pass up, James said.

“It surprises me how well our gun cases do. When I first got into the gun business, people seemed to buy the cheapest case out there, but not now. If you can show them the advantages of a more expensive case, a lot of times they’ll go for it. Boyt and Browning are our top-selling brands. We prefer to sell a better product rather than having to compete with everyone else around town on the cheaper cases,” James said.

Hard gun cases do so well for The Arms Room, they recently built a table with a hot wire to custom-cut the inner foam for customers as a value-added service.


Browning’s PV500 features a 10-gauge steel body and recessed
plate-hinged lid, electronic four-button touch pad electronic
lock, internal LED lights and foam interior.


The Pelican P1075 Pistol & Accessory HardBack Case is designed to fit
pistols, revolvers and magazines. It features customizable Pick N Pluck
Foam and is watertight and dustproof.

Utilize NSSF Safety Programs

Not only do the reports commissioned by the NSSF provide a selling edge to firearms dealers, but a variety of programs, including First Shots classes for first-time shooters, also are available to dealers. The Arms Room offers a free First Shots class to its customers.

Especially important to the entire firearms industry is NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, which has both educated consumers through a variety of tools and distributed 36 million free safety kits via law enforcement agencies in every state and U.S. territory since 2003. “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” is the NSSF message reverberating throughout the firearms industry.

Project ChildSafe Inc. has now become the Project ChildSafe Foundation.

“The name change symbolizes the growth the 501(c)(3) organization has experienced, and better reflects its mission to support Project ChidSafe’s safety messaging and free gun lock program,” according to an NSSF statement.

Attendees registering for SHOT Show 2016 can also now donate to the foundation during registration.

New Safety Products For 2015

A lot of manufacturers took 2013–2014 as a re-evaluate and center-back-up year, James pointed out. This slowed down the flow of new products a bit. Here’s a look at some of the newer safety offerings on the market:

Through a recent partnership with Remington Outdoor Company, Wiley X Inc. is now offering a line of Remington-branded safety products. New models include Remington Platinum Grade Eye Protection — which meets ANSI Z87.1 and EN 166 safety ratings — and hearing protection systems.

Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs have an NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 31 for use while shooting, traveling, swimming or listening to loud music. They are moldable (via boiling water) to fit anyone’s ears.

Pro Ears muffs feature Dynamic Level Sound Compression technology (DLSC) — which allows the wearer to hear every sound — even during high-volume noise spikes. All noises over the 70 dB threshold are instantly compressed by 50 percent, while conversational and other sounds are amplified.

Howard Leight Impact Sport Tactical earmuffs feature all the design elements of Impact Sport, including a noise-reduction rating of 22 dB, battery life of 350 hours and Air Flow Control technology. The Tactical version features a contemporary, low-profile earcup design, padded headband, carrying case and replacement comfort cushions.

Bedazzled ear and eye protection from Pack’n Heat include a 23 dB-rated earmuff decorated with genuine Czech crystal, and eye protection with matching crystal decoration. A wide variety of colors are available, with patterns including cheetah, zebra, camo and ombre.

IntelCase Co., distributors of Negrini of Italy luxury gun cases, announces Negrini’s new 1911 Custom Shop case series. Like the standard 2018R model, the 1911 model has thermoformed double-wall construction and dual-steel combination locks. All Negrini cases feature hand-upholstered interiors and are made of fine Italian leather.

Pelican’s P1075 Pistol & Accessory HardBack Case is designed to carry pistols, revolvers and magazines. The case is watertight to 3.3 feet for 30 minutes, with lockable hasps and a shoulder strap.

Plano’s classic 1312 Field Box now has added utility with the addition of the Model 1312600 1312 Field Box Holster. A ballistic Nylon wrap transforms the 1312 Field Box into a fully dressed tactical field bag. The Field Box attaches quickly and securely to the Field Box Holster using built-in webbing loops at each end. It includes an adjustable padded shoulder strap with heavy-duty quick-connect hardware.
By Greg Stanton

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A Defense-Only Gun Shop Bets Big

Back in July, I found myself teaching at the Thunderbird Firearms Academy in Wichita, Kan., at the same time the facility was celebrating its grand opening. Thunderbird was the brick-and-mortar reality of a gun dealer couple’s seven-year dream, and it cost $7.5 million to make it come true.

“My wife Jenny and I have been working for seven years on this project. It was always our dream,” said Ryan Pennock, the Academy’s owner. “I used to be on the hunting side, producing a cable TV show — it was satisfying work, because I was a lifelong shooter and hunter. But still, I missed direct contact with shooters and I wanted to help people in person.”

In 2010, this dream started out as a 1,000-square-foot retail gun shop in downtown Wichita.

“We made a pretty good go of it,” Pennock said. “That year was not a good time to open a business. Banks were leery of startups, but we found a local credit union willing to take a shot.”


Thunderbird’s 5,000-square-foot storefront provides an open
layout to cater to the store’s defensive-minded customers.

The first gun shop quickly became successful. “It always comes back to taking care of your customers,” Pennock observed. He envisioned a big gun shop, focused entirely on the personal-defense market, coupled with progressive, ongoing training in a state-of-the-art indoor range right there on the premises. This would allow for year-round shooting and training, so the harsh seasons wouldn’t hinder business.

“Total cost was right at $7.5 million. I’m majority stakeholder by quite a ways; we have a total of 13 investors making up 30 percent,” Pennock said.

How about Thunderbird’s staff? “We have 21 full-time, no-part timers,” Ryan reported. “We may bring in seasonal help at some point in the future. We’ve initially focused on full-time staff because we couldn’t give the training I wanted to part-timers — and they’re not as vested in the business as full-time employees. We’ve cross-trained some of the staff, but the true training staff is made up of four dedicated instructors.”

Daniel Shaw came on board as director of range and training operations. If the name sounds familiar, you’ve probably heard his popular radio podcast, “Gunfighter Cast.” Shaw is an ex-Marine, and a veteran of heavy combat in the recent conflict. In fact, all of Thunderbird’s training staff is former combat military.


With an emphasis on training, Thunderbird offers classes
for beginner as well as advanced shooters.

Thunderbird’s Commitment To Training

The Thunderbird complex encompasses 27,000 square feet within its walls — 5,000 square feet is devoted to retail display space and 3,000 square feet comprises the administrative office area. The rest of the space is devoted to training. In addition, there’s a small, private range that can be easily reconfigured for assorted live-fire scenarios. There are pistol, rifle and shotgun ranges: 24 lanes, up to 25 yards, capable of absorbing up to .50-caliber. The classrooms are set up with the latest audio-visual capabilities. Outside the building, there are 87 newly paved parking spots. The Thunderbird training team also has satellite outdoor ranges available, not far away from the facility.

Committing to an extensive training facility like this requires substantial, ample homework beforehand. Pennock said, “Our studies included demographics and NSSF research. The population of the Wichita metro area is roughly 600,000. Our experience since 2010 has been that we pull more regional customers. We’re currently drawing clientele from a 50-mile radius, giving us about 800,000 customers to draw from on a daily basis.”

Thunderbird has access to even more customers, as the company’s team trained over 4,000 students last year — prior to construction of the new facility. “We take our curriculum on the road a few times a year,” Pennock added.


With 24 shooting lanes, Thunderbird is the largest indoor range in Kansas.

The Defensive Side

The reason why Thunderbird is a “destination shop” and not just a local emporium is its specialty: Everything about the store is defense-oriented. According to Pennock, “We don’t have hunting guns; we focus purely on the defensive side.”

Thunderbird has entire walls filled with the sort of black (along with FDE and occasionally pink) rifles that would raise Nancy Pelosi’s blood pressure, and more walls of shotguns. The aisles of vertical handgun displays reveal full lines of high-quality double-action autos and an array of 1911s in all sizes and calibers — ranging from sub-$1,000 models to high-end “boutique” pistols. The revolver display has only double actions: mostly concealment style, but with a .500 Magnum thrown in more or less for the fun of it.

“Our best-selling handgun brand is GLOCK, and the new single-stack 9mm G43 is really hot. GLOCK pistols are our best-selling firearms overall,” Pennock added. “On the rifle side, PWS and Daniel Defense are our strongest brands. The MSR market is semi-flat nationwide right now, but our sales are fair. Defensive shotguns are steady sellers — we’ve ended up as the largest Benelli dealer in our region, on the tactical as opposed to the hunting side. The shotgun market is consistent for us, because it’s still the number one or two choice for home-defense in our part of the country.”

A glance at the company’s website,, will give a better look at how the store is set up. So far, the personal-defense focus seems to have been successful for the Pennocks and their investors. While $7.5 million is a big bet, to be sure, the throngs of customers I saw at Thunderbird indicate the bet has great promise of paying off.
By Massad Ayoob

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Strength In Handguns

Dealers Identify And Respond To Trends Shaping Handgun Sales.

Dealers are accustomed to making adjustments when it comes to shifts in the marketplace. Seasonality of items and stocking new models entering the market have long been common considerations, but how are dealers reacting to overall trends taking place in the handgun marketplace?

Informed dealers and instructors alike agree the “perfect gun” is solely dependent on the customer. Ultimately, your handgun customers must be comfortable with the gun they choose, including its action, recoil and frame size. Narrowing down the selection for each individual starts with the intended purpose of the gun. For example, a customer looking for a target handgun would yield different results than a concealed-carry customer. The ability to respond to these varying purposes requires maintaining a wide selection — so it’s important for dealers to offer a variety of models, frame sizes and calibers to fit those individual needs.


Ruger Redhawk

The Usual Suspects

In talking with other dealers, it’s interesting to note no particular manufacturer or handgun model is currently dominating sales, but small- and medium-sized, polymer frame semiautomatics still hold the top spots for handgun sales — especially for the concealed carry market.

“The GLOCK 17, 19, Smith & Wesson SHIELD and the Springfield XD series of pistols still sell very well and we try to keep as many of them in stock as we can,” said Barry Soskin, owner of Lombard Gun Shop and Article II Range in Lombard, Ill. “It’s difficult to say how much impact the GLOCK 43 will have on sales, because they’re still very difficult to get right now.”

Tim Holladay is the owner of Doc’s Guns and Ammo, a firearms and accessory store in Eureka, Mo., and he noted 9mm handguns outsell handguns of other calibers for a variety of reasons.

“Handguns in 9mm continue to be the best-selling caliber because of things such as magazine capacity, the cartridge is readily available and reasonably priced. The manageability of the recoil is also a very big consideration for many shooters when buying a 9mm handgun,” Holladay said.

Although trends in the current market tend to favor new shooters, and semiautomatics, there’s still a considerable amount of activity with revolver and 1911 styles as well. “These models continue to have steady sales, but not really a growth area especially when it comes to new shooters,” Holladay added.


Davidson’s SCCY Blue

An Offer They Can’t Refuse

Manufacturer incentives are helping dealers drive sales as well. Traditional cash rebates don’t have nearly as much of an impact as free accessories. Additional magazines, cases, holsters, etc., are very attractive bonuses for purchases, especially for new shooters.

“Manufacturer incentives definitely help make the sale, especially when it comes to new shooters making their first purchase,” said Holladay.

In addition to manufacturer incentives, shop owners are also providing their own deals to drive new sales. For those dealers with gun ranges, rental programs help by exposing customers to a variety of options to try out before purchasing. The cost is relatively low to the dealer and the customer can find the make and model that’s right for them.

Package deals — such as range bags, hearing and eye protection — along with instruction and range time are useful to attract first-time buyers and casual shooters. It’s not uncommon for someone who purchases their first firearm to come back in just a few days, or weeks to make another purchase. This is why offering service beyond the sale is extremely important to these buyers.

As an incentive to new shooters and new customers in general, many dealers are offering basic pistol instruction as an additional service that can be included or discounted with the sale.

“We always provide a one-hour lesson for free, and a range pass with any purchase,” Soskin said. The range pass provides access to Lombard Gun Shop and Article II Range’s 32-lane indoor pistol and high-power range — offering one of the largest varieties of modern and unique selections of firearms in the area. Customers will also find two full-time gunsmiths on site.


Doc’s Guns & Ammo carries a wide range of small- and medium-frame semiautomatic
handguns to support the increased number of women shooters. Tim Holladay shows
some of the features and benefits of a polymer semiauto to a customer.

It’s Ladies Night

One obvious shift in the marketplace you’ve likely noticed in your store is the growing number of women trying out and purchasing handguns. This trend appears to be consistent across all regions and is a significant shift toward women becoming interested in the shooting sports. The reason for their interest varies as much as the types of handguns they’re buying, but one thing is certain — women are educated on what they want before making a purchase.

Manufacturers have responded to this growing trend by offering several models in pink and purple versions. While these do attract a certain percentage of the market, most women are not as interested in the cuteness factor as much as they are comfort and feel.

“Ten years ago I would walk onto the floor and see a bunch of men standing around talking. Today I see pink and purple. Men are there with their wives, but I also see women coming in alone, or as part of a group of women. They educate themselves via the Internet. They come in knowing what they’re looking for,” Soskin added.

While some women are purchasing handguns for personal protection, others are getting involved out of curiosity, or participating as part of a group activity with other women. Some ranges are even offering “ladies only” classes as well as a “ladies night” where they can shoot and socialize with other women interested in the sport.

“One night a week, we offer a ladies night program where women shoot for free, and the response has been tremendous. We also offer women-only shooting competitions and the interest in that area is growing,” Soskin said.

The women purchasing primarily for self-defense tend to gravitate toward small-frame revolvers because of their concealable size, and they feel more comfortable with their ease of use. Small- and medium-frame semiautomatics tend to be preferred by women purchasing for sporting, recreation and in-home protection.


Dealers report manufacturer rebates have increased handgun sales in their stores.
Springfield’s current “Gear Up & Go!” promotion is giving customers $135 worth of
free gear with the purchase of any handgun.

Rimfire Woes

Not all current trends in the industry are positive. Over the last couple years, the lack of .22 LR ammunition has been the biggest negative impact on the industry.

“I’ve owned and operated Article II since 1977 and I’ve never seen a shortage of ammo like we’ve experienced over the past two years,” Soskin said. “I don’t have enough .22’s to sell to the general public. I use everything I have for classes and range rentals.”

According to Soskin, this prolonged shortage will take away an important “rite of passage” for many younger shooters.

“Ultimately, in my opinion, this will hurt the industry. Younger shooters who traditionally train on the lower recoil, inexpensive ammo won’t enter the market until they’re older and can handle larger centerfire options. Walking into a store and buying a .22 LR target pistol off the shelf for training was once a rite of passage. Now they sit due to the lack of affordable, readily available, good quality .22 LR ammunition,” he said.


Walther’s CCP (Concealed Carry Pistol) in 9mm features SOFTCOIL gas-delayed blowback
technology to enhance shootability for this concealable semiauto. For defense in
populated urban areas, CORBON expanded its Urban Response series to include a
9mm +P 100-grain round, which has a new gilding metal jacket filled with a soft
lead core that forms into a patented “V” shape.


Casting A Wider Net

Dealers are turning to social media as a means to reach new and existing customers. Facebook and Twitter are proving to be effective, inexpensive tools for staying in touch with their customer base. These types of communication outlets allow dealers to instantly update their community with the newest and sometimes hard-to-get inventory.

“I update our Facebook page two or three times a day. When I receive a GLOCK 43 and post it to our Facebook page, it’s gone within an hour,” Holladay said. “It has been a great resource for updating customers about our inventory, announcing any specials we are offering, and attracting new customers with very little expense.”

Other social media tools, such as Groupon, have been effective campaigns for attracting new customers from a much broader base. “It raises range awareness and allows us to reach people outside of our immediate area,” Soskin stated. “I can run an ad at a very low cost and bring in groups for classes, which in turn, drives sales.”

Kevin Russelburg is the owner/operator of Datum Arms, a firearms sales and training business located in Bolingbrook, Ill. Kevin is a U.S.M.C. Veteran, Concealed Carry and NRA-Certified Instructor and also deals in NFA Class III (SOT) transactions.

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Knife Report: In Demand Blades And More

Future Looks Bright With Influx Of Youth In Cutlery Market.

If the level of consumer interest in the 2015 BLADE Show is any indicator on the future of the cutlery industry, then there’s plenty of evidence to suggest a very healthy knife market for manufacturers and dealers. For years, cutlery professionals have worried about bringing young knifemakers into the fold — but now there’s no reason to worry. New knife companies, young custom knifemakers and a hungry new generation of knife customers were everywhere at this year’s BLADE Show. Established manufacturers have responded to this influx of new customers by adjusting their offerings to meet their interests with a variety of new offerings. In addition, the accessory end of the cutlery market continues to grow at an increasing rate. This year’s BLADE showcased a number of new offerings that will pique the interest of your knife customers.


New 2015 offerings from Steel Will Knives include the Chieftain 1610/1620 and
Darkangel 900 (below). With blade lengths of 7.48 and 5.83 inches respectively,
each fixed-blade knife will appeal to tactical customers.


Notable Newcomers

Battle Horse Knives made a splash at BLADE this year thanks to a huge booth loaded with an array of knives. This energetic young company specializes in fixed blades for the outdoorsman and bushcrafter. One of our favorites is the Large Workhorse, an 8.5-inch overall camp knife at a reasonable MSRP of $170.

Habilis Bushtools is another emerging young company with a focus on the hot bushcraft segment of the market. Their Nessmuk fixed blade (9.5 inches overall) features a large blade with a Scandi grind, perfect for a multitude of camp chores. MSRP is $179.

Steel Will Knives has charged onto the cutlery scene the last few years and their new Censor 1300 series line of compact fixed blades will certainly add fuel to the company’s momentum. These knives feature pistol grip-style handles available in three blade styles. MSRP is a highly affordable $59.99, complete with an injection-molded adjustable sheath.

Ferrum Forge Knife Works, located in San Diego, offers high-end folders in limited runs. These are not for the faint of budget, but if you have an upscale clientele these are just the ticket. Ferrum does do a lot of business with dealers, reaching out to them via social media to promote their limited-run models — which are often sold out before they’ve finished production. Jason Brous made custom knives for several years before he shifted to mid-tech production knives under the name of Brous Blades to keep up with the demand. His Silent Hero folder is a rock-solid small folder with a nice entry-level MSRP of $199.

Combative Edge’s X9 folder is a mini bull shark in the hand. This upscale, aggressive titanium frame-lock folder features upscale S30V blade steel and clocks in at an MSRP of $350.

Vehement Knives’ Matt Martin crafts extremely well made edged tools. The Paragon spear-point fixed blade — coming in at 9.8 inches overall — is a rare blend of sleek and tough. The $275 price tag is a great way to introduce your customers to handmade quality without the sticker shock.


Gerber introduced the new Gator Premium series of hunting knives earlier
this year, with fixed-blade and folding models.


Capable as an everyday carry knife, CRKT’s Ken Onion-designed Hootenanny
features an IKBS ball bearing system to deploy the blade smoothly.

New Styles Forged

Because of Spyderco’s second-generation Manix 2’s success, the company elected to add three new models to the line. Our pick is the new G-10-handled version, which kicks the desirability factor into high gear. MSRP is $157.95.

Benchmade has a reputation for making some of the best upscale factory folders in the industry and their new model 761 Ti-Monolock carries on the company’s repute. Titanium and M390 Super Steel make this frame-lock as close to custom quality as it gets. Its MSRP is $390.

Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT), in collaboration with custom knifemaker Lucas Burnley, has released a pair of runt folders called Squids. Only 4.49 inches fully open, the Squids can be had in a satin or black stone-wash finish, and at an MSRP of only $29.99 they’re bound to be a hit with young buyers on a budget.

Zero Tolerance, a division of KAI USA which also includes Kershaw and Shun (kitchen) knives, has new knife making waves with the new 0900 Les George designed folding titanium bowie. This little palm full of power rocks a titanium frame-lock and stonewashed S35VN clip-point blade. MSRP is $240.

Taylor Brands’ Schrade won the youth-driven BLADE Show 2015 People’s Choice Award for their highly affordable, hard-working SCHF36 Frontier Drop Point fixed-blade. The SCHF 36 comes outfitted with a pouch on the sheath, which includes a ferro rod and sharpening stone — all at an MSRP of only $43.74.

Böker USA has added two upscale additions to their popular Kwaiken line of Lucas Burnley flipper folder designs. These deluxe versions feature titanium and carbon fiber handles with MSRP prices of $215 and $229 respectively.

TOPS Knives’ popular Baja 3.0 fixed-blade now has a big brother: the Baja 4.5. This versatile drop-point style fixer features TOPS’ Black River Wash blade finish with grooved green Micarta handle scales. MSRP is $200.

Lansky is known for their mega line of sharpeners, but the past few years their knife collaborations with custom knife rock star Mikkel Willumsen have been turning heads. Their latest is the Responder X9. This folding knife is loaded with style at a very affordable MSRP of $53.99.

KRUDO Knives continues to be a leader in self-defense knives. One of Louis Krudo’s latest is the KRONA folder, a beautifully designed everyday carry knife with a pistol grip handle and drop-point blade accessed via a flipper. MSRP is $145.

Glen Klecker, owner of Klecker Knives, is one of the true innovators in the cutlery industry. Case in point: Klecker’s new Abiqua Hunter drop-point fixed blade looks and feels outstanding in its own right, but press and slide the thumb jimping on the back of the blade and a gut hook is released for precision skinning. MSRP is $129.


The Böker Plus Urban Trapper is now available in three versions. This gentleman’s
knife is available with (from left) cocobolo wood, carbon fiber or G-10 scales.

Accessory Add-Ons

Handgun customers familiar with the quality of VZ Grips will interested in knowing the company has added knife scales to their line. They’re starting with two popular Zero Tolerance models, the Ken Onion 0300 and Rick Hinderer 0560 series of knives. These G-10 scales come in a nice variety of eye pleasing designs and can be matched to your customers’ favorite handgun.

Tuff-Writer has made a name for itself as a premier source for tough tactical pens. We like their Frontline Series pens, available in machined aluminum or upscale titanium at an MSRP of $95 and $210 respectively.

Work Sharp has expanded to include manual sharpeners in their lineup. New to the scene are the Guided Field Sharpener and a bench top Guided Sharpening System. These systems are easy to use and versatile as well. MSRP is $34.95 for the field unit, $59.95 for the bench top.


Built for skinning, the Appalachian from Emerson has a 3.7-inch blade,
which comes in either a black or stone-washed finish.

Blades 2016 Milestone

In 2016, BLADE Show will celebrate its 35th year, showcasing thousands of products from nearly 800 exhibitors at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, June 3–5. For more information, visit
Pat Covert

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