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.

Women Continue To Benefit From Shotguns Designed Just For Them

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Clay busting, whether it be skeet, trap or sporting clays, has always enjoyed enormous popularity with women. It’s proven as a great non-threatening introduction to the shooting sports and has inspired many women to further engage in other firearm-related activities. Kim Rhode’s record-breaking sixth consecutive appearance in the Olympics and her status as the first female to medal in six consecutive games (and the first summer Olympian to accomplish this feat!) should inspire more women to try the shotgun sports. Capturing bronze in the women’s skeet shooting event at Rio 2016, Rhode’s status as an Olympic hero is assured.

As we’ve noted in this column before, women’s enthusiasm for the shotgun sports hasn’t gone unnoticed by firearms manufacturers and there are more shotguns for women to choose from than ever. Here’s a look at just a few of the great shotgun offerings women have to choose from:

CZ-USA’s shotgun designed for women is called the Lady Sterling. Created with special stock dimensions that allow most women to keep their heads up and eyes on target and an adjustable comb to help fine-tune the fit, this shotgun has a lot going for it. An increased pitch of around eight degrees makes it much more comfortable on the shoulder for women, as well. Built on CZ’s Upland Sterling receiver, the Lady Sterling is chambered in 12-gauge with 28-inch barrels, handling both 2.75- and 3-inch shells. The gun comes in Turkish walnut with an adjustable comb and laser stippling, extractors, F, IM, M, IC and C chokes, and has a manual tang safety.

Ithaca Gun Company entered the women’s market with the Model 37 Featherlight Ladies Stock pump-action. The gun features a unique drop of comb, drop of heel, cast pitch and toe out. Since this stock is designed for women shooters, the ergonomics make it comfortable for women. It’s only available in 20-gauge, and is well suited for pheasant hunting or clays. Other features include: a receiver machined from a single block of steel, solderless barrel system, a lengthened forcing cone to reduce recoil, classic game scene engraving and a fancy black walnut stock and forend. The 37 Featherweight weighs in at 6.8 lbs. and three Briley choke tubes round out the package.

The sheer versatility of the Mossberg Flex 500 makes it a good choice for women looking for an all-around shotgun. The Flex is a tool-less locking system, which allows the shooter to simply switch stocks, forends and recoil pads for a variety of shooting applications. The modularity of this shotgun design means a woman’s favorite turkey gun can quickly be turned into a home security weapon. Available in many 12- and 20-gauge configurations, there’s sure to be a Mossberg Flex shotgun to fit your female customers’ needs.

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Beretta’s A400 Xcel is a light-recoiling 12-gauge competition
shotgun with a number of women-friendly features.

Italian Beauties Boost Options

The Beretta A400 Xcel is a low-recoiling, clay-busting semi-auto designed for competition. It reliably feeds all types of shells from 2.75 to 3 inches, whether they’re light target loads for competition or heavier loads for the occasional upland bird hunt. A hydraulic shock absorber and Micro-Core buttpad reduce recoil by 70 percent ­— the Xcel is built to recoil parallel to the comb, so there’s less chance of the gun hitting a woman’s cheek. The Xcel comes in 12- and 20-gauge variants.

Beretta’s A400 semi-auto series also comes in a lighter-weight version of just 6 lbs., 10 oz. in 12-gauge called the A400 Lite. Despite its reduced weight, women will appreciate the fact it will not kick excessively because it’s a gas-operated semi-auto and has Beretta’s Kick-Off recoil reducer in the stock. Essentially a shock absorber, the Kick-Off compresses as the gun comes back under recoil, softening the blow to your shoulder. The gun comes in a choice of 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels, all chambered for 2.75- and 3-inch shells.

The A400 Lite brings shotguns into the high-tech world with Beretta’s GunPod 2, a sensor in the stock that records shots fired and miles walked. The Bluetooth device connects to social media and women can even send out GPS coordinates should they need assistance. Even though it’s not designed specifically for women, the A400 Lite has features they’ll want such as an adjustable stock and a set of spacers, which allow for adjustments for users to create a custom fit.

Women looking for a turkey gun will appreciate features on the Beretta A300 Outlander Camo Turkey. While also not designed specifically for women, this model sports a Realtree Xtra finish, a shorter, 24-inch barrel, a stock that can be shortened up to an inch (with only a screwdriver needed) and stock shims to alter the gun’s dimensions to better suit a female owner.

The barrel has fiber-optic front and rear sights and the receiver accepts a scope mount for an optical sight, such as a scope or red-dot. It has studs to accommodate sling swivels, making it easier to carry though the woods. All in all, this 12-gauge’s features make it an ideal turkey gun for women.

The Rizzini V3 Youth and Female Competition model, distributed by Fierce Arms in Gunnison, Utah, has a stock with a shorter overall length and a raised Monte Carlo comb to meet the needs for lady shotgunners. The gun’s design helps limit recoil and improve the fit for small-statured women. The V3 comes in 12- and 20-gauge, and barrel lengths of 28 and 30 inches to accommodate different shooting styles.

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Strike A Balance

Blaser USA out of San Antonio, Texas, distributes the German-made Blaser F3 Ladies shotgun. Designed with women in mind, Blaser took extra pains to dampen recoil with the Speedbump recoil system from Speedbump StockWorks. This system also allows for an adjustable length of pull from 13.5 to 14.625 inches. Another feature on the F3 Ladies Gun is a four-way adjustable comb that can be set up as an extractor or ejector, with the extractor variant allowing for easier opening and closing of the action.

The F3 Ladies shotgun balance can also be adjusted through a weight system in the stock and forend called the Blaser Balancer. This allows the shotgun to be modified to any woman’s style. The shotgun features Blaser’s IBS anti-doubling system to prevent fan firing and Blaser’s EBS ejecting system. The system activates when the gun is fired and cocks the ejecting spring when the gun is opened, keeping resistance to a minimum. Also standard on the F3 are Briley Extended Spectrum Choke Tubes and key. The 12-gauge weighs in at a nicely balanced 8.75 lbs.

Whether your customers are gearing up for the fall hunting season or busting clays, there are many shotgun options available to women. Fall is perfect for a women’s shotgun clinic and get women thinking about gearing up for shotgun shooting sports. Have plenty of branded vests, hats and clothing to coordinate with the shotguns you sell. Women are fiercely brand loyal and will be proud to sport accessories touting their favorite shotgun’s name.

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The Storage Solution

Secure Sales From First-Time Buyers

By Carolee Anita Boyles

One key aspect of gun safety is secure storage. Whether a gun owner is storing his or her firearm in a residence, business or in a vehicle, there is a wide range of options available. Brian Bourgoin is the hunting and gun department manager at Outdoor Emporium in Seattle. He’s seen an increase in customer interest in safe gun storage at his store.

“Our customers are looking at a variety of security solutions ranging from full-size gun safes in the home to small bedside storage for emergency access — and also for when they have to securely lock their gun in their vehicle,” he said.

While laws governing concealed carry in a vehicle require the handgun to be under the owner’s control, Bourgoin pointed out “there are many places where concealed carry is prohibited.” This, he said, means a firearms owner would need to leave their gun locked out of sight in the vehicle — which creates its own set of problems.

“People realize the average vehicle’s glove box provides little in the way of security. It’s often difficult to put one of the lockable gun boxes under the seat due to automotive electronics that limits the space available. I think this is an area where the industry could develop better customer options for in-vehicle storage,” he added.

Customers are buying a lot of home security solutions as well, according to Bourgoin.

“The brands of safes we sell are American Security, Sports Afield, Cannon, Rhino Ironworks and Bighorn, Heritage, Winchester and Stack-On,” he said. “On the small side of things, we also sell GunVault and Liberty Quick Vault lines. When it comes to travel, if you’re just going to the range or traveling on commercial airlines, we carry a range of nylon soft padded and hard-sided aluminum or plastic travel cases.”

Bourgoin said Outdoor Emporium relies on more than just sales floor exposure to sell gun safes.

“We participate in a variety of community awareness programs to promote gun safety such as Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Free Safe Gun Storage Giveaway Events,” he said. “Here, the public can come and learn about safe gun storage and get a free lockbox or trigger lock. We’re also a member of the King County LOK-IT-UP Program that promotes the safe storage of firearms by saving customers 10–15 percent off select storage devices or lockboxes. When you combine that with the fact there’s no sales tax on guns safes in Washington State, there are a lot of incentives for customers to secure their firearms.”

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Fort Knox Vaults

Who Are Today’s Safe Customers?

In Oklahoma City, Miles and Jayne Hall owned H&H Shooting Sports for over 30 years. In that time, Miles observed a recent change in safe buyers.
“They’re younger, and they’re very conscious about securing their items,” he said. “And it’s not just guns they wanted to secure. The guns are obvious, but then they talked about putting their coin collection, stamp collection, jewelry and special photos in the safe as well.”

Miles said these buyers want more than just a steel box to store guns and other items in.

“They want the amenities,” he noted. “They’re looking for something that’s well built, and is almost like a piece of furniture. They also don’t argue about the cost. These customers do a lot of research, and they want something pretty and durable.”

Jayne pointed out another trend the Halls noticed in their store: “Customers would buy the small safes and put their important papers in them, and then put them in the bottom of the big safe. That’s double protection for the things they really need to take care of. It’s like their own safety deposit box but they don’t have to go to the bank to get to it.”

Jayne identified Liberty and Browning as the store’s most popular brands. “H&H also carries Winchester and Fort Knox,” she added.

Miles pointed out several reasons for the shift in who’s buying safes. “The biggest reason is the audience has dropped in age. These customers find out information differently than the older audience does.

It’s obvious to them what’s good product and what’s not good product. It’s amazing to me that young people are so adamant about protecting their stuff,” he said.

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Stack-On QAS-1514-B

The Halls also observed a lot of sales in small safes for bedside or other quick access locations.

“It’s often a customer’s first purchase,” Miles said. “A customer may come in for one of those, and then when he’s done his homework decides he wants a bigger one.” These customers are also interested in biometric safes, including finger swipe models.

“We’d sell more of the finger swipe safes than we do anything else in small, quick-access safes,” Miles said. “If you think about it, the customers who are buying these safes are from the same audience that uses finger swipes to activate their iPhones.”

Getting the word out about what is currently available at your store, Miles said, is all about education and communication.

“What worked best for us was television, newspaper and radio,” he observed. “We found our ads that push a sale don’t do nearly as well as an ad that educates the buyer with a good price. We explain all the benefits and then say ‘It’s normally $2,995 but we’re running a special for $2,500.’ It’s a better pitch for us. These customers aren’t as much bargain hunters as they are quality hunters.”

Miles also disseminated infor-mation on Facebook and on the store’s website.

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Americase AT-AR-15

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Liberty HDX-250

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AMSEC HAS410

A “Safe” Delivery

Mike Cowan, owner of Cowan’s Guns & Ammo in Basin, Wyo., said his biggest storage sellers right now are home safes.

“In our area, we’re dealing a lot with people breaking into houses for drugs, or for money, jewelry and guns,” he said. “It’s getting to the point now people are buying safes just to put their prescription medications in them. In fact, one of our local pharmacies was broken into a year or so ago, and what saved them was all their narcotics were locked into a gun safe.”

All of this is creating a new market for gun dealers who carry safes. When a customer purchases a safe, Cowan said, he makes sure it gets delivered to the person’s home.

“What I have in my store is demonstration models, so the person can come in and select what they want,” he said. “We usually do a custom order, because most customers want to change things just a little bit. Then the safe comes in on a delivery truck. The delivery truck drops it at the person’s house and sets it on the porch with a pallet jack. Then it takes three or four of us to actually move it into the house and put it where the person wants it.”
H&H also provides a delivery service for safes, which has grown into a considerable success for the store in winning business.

“We have all the right equipment, and the right delivery truck,” Miles said. “The truck has no markings on it because when you’re delivering a safe to someone you want it to be like you’re delivering a piece of furniture. When I owned H&H, the department I got the most compliments on was my delivery crew.”

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Personal Defense Sales Today

Be A “One-Stop” Shop For Your
Customers’ Defensive Needs

By Tim Barker

It’s just before noon when James Beach walks into Central Florida’s East Orange Shooting Sports. With the look of a man who’s been here before, he heads for a display of compact handguns. Beach wants a closer look at a Walther PPS, his current leading contender for a new concealed-carry piece.

Like most customers who make their way into the shop, located in a suburb of Orlando, Fla., Beach has already spent some time online researching his next purchase. “It’s good to come in and be an educated consumer,” he said.

For the next 20 minutes or so, he chats with the shop’s owner, John Ritz, over a variety of options and possible alternatives to the Walther. Ritz pulls several guns — Rugers, Kahrs, Smith & Wessons — from the display case, offering Beach a chance to see how each feels in his hands. They discuss Beach’s plans for the gun.

And so it is the customer finds himself holding a Smith & Wesson revolver.

He’s not ready to buy yet, but as he heads for the door he admits the exchange with Ritz has opened his mind to new possibilities. “I don’t even look at the revolvers normally. But now it’s posed another option for me,” Beach said. “I’m going to go home and do some more research.”

This was, in many ways, the ideal encounter for Ritz, who bought the store in 2006. During the past 10 years, he’s pushed a transformation of the business, aiming to be the kind of place where customers find a welcoming atmosphere, low-pressure sales and solid advice on self-defense products.
“The goal is to make the industry seem less threatening — more inviting to people,” he said. “Even the restrooms are set up to be restaurant-grade. Everyone should feel comfortable.”

Like other stores with a heavy emphasis on handguns and accessories, East Orange is a logical stop for shoppers considering personal defense purchases.
The key to those sales, Ritz believes, is an approach that’s tailored to each customer. Collectors and more experienced shooters like Beach need less handholding. But newer shooters, particularly those looking for their first self-defense purchase, need realistic, and honest, advice.

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N82 Tactical Pro Tandem Series IWB Holster

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Sig Sauer ROMEO4

The Starting Point

East Orange has a simple approach for those customers making an initial foray into self-defense firearms. First question: What have you shot before? “Most people have had some kind of experience, even if it’s just a BB gun,” Ritz noted.

Second question: What’s it going to be used for? Will it be carried, kept at home or in the car? Concealed-carry customers are a significant market in Florida. And part of the store’s job is helping people understand what the law means. It’s not unusual, for example, for a customer to think a permit is required to even own a gun, Ritz said.

While the store offers concealed-carry classes several times a month, it’s not something they push on new gun owners. They’d prefer to see novice shooters gain some comfort with their guns before trying to carry them.

“Training with concealed firearms should be a few steps down the road,” said Michael Munro, the store’s manager.

Once the sales associate knows a little more about the customer, they’ll start exploring gun options that best fit the person’s needs and desires. Some people insist on a frame-mounted safety, others refuse to consider revolvers.

“Normally if I pull out three or four guns, their eyes will be drawn to something,” Ritz said. “We shop for cars by how they look, so that’s okay.”
At least as a starting point.

From there, they’ll discuss the pros and cons of various guns, with the aim of selecting the one that’s right for each customer. And with many first-time shoppers expecting to buy only one gun, they often end up with a midsize option: “The GLOCK 19 is the best seller in this store,” Ritz said.

The experience is similar across town at Oak Ridge Gun Range, located south of Downtown Orlando and about 10 miles east of the region’s popular tourist corridor.

Owner John Harvey said it’s common for customers to come in with at least some idea of what they want. Often it’s because of a review they read in one of the gun magazines.

The store tends to push novice self-defense shoppers toward revolvers, for the simplicity: “It doesn’t jam. And if you haven’t touched the gun in five years, you squeeze the trigger and it goes off,” Harvey observed.

But not everyone is open to the advice, however.

“Semi-autos are sexy,” Harvey said. “And a lot of times, customers will still want a semi-auto.”

So they seek out GLOCKs, Springfields, Smith & Wessons and SIGs, he added.

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Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield

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SureFire XC1 & PIG Full Dexterity Tactical-Alpha Glove

Expand The Sale With Accessories

While the gun may be the thing that draws most customers into stores, it’s really just the beginning in terms of sales opportunities. Once the gun has been selected, talk at East Orange generally turns to holsters. Associates will pull various models off the wall so the customer can get a feel for different options.

Galco is the top seller, with a wide range of styles, though IWB is the most popular, according to Munro. “They’ve got a good product offering that will fit most of what anybody is looking for,” the store manager said.

East Orange offers a range of knives, including a strong selection by Benchmade, but they’re generally sold more as tools. Ritz prefers not to push knives as a personal-defense option.

While he isn’t a fan of lasers for self-defense, Ritz is an avid proponent of weapon-mounted lights. “It’s nice to be able to see and make sure it’s something you want to have your gun pointed at,” he said.

And there are, of course, customers looking for something less lethal than a gun — either as an extra defensive alternative, or because they don’t like the idea of shooting someone.

East Orange sees modest sales of Tasers — in part, because they cost as much as some guns. But they also offer stun guns and pepper spray, an inexpensive defense alternative at $10–$15 a can. They come with the added benefit of being allowed in places where guns might be forbidden.

The urge to have a non-lethal option is something to which Ritz can relate: He keeps a can of pepper spray in his own car. “Being in the industry, the last thing I ever want to do is pull my firearm,” he said. “If I can avoid doing that in my life, I’d really like to.”

Oak Ridge also offers a range of options in the non-lethal department; one of the popular sellers is bear mace. “It’s nasty, hideous stuff,” Harvey said. “I know people who’ve accidentally hit themselves with it. They just curl up on the floor and moan.”

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After walking a customer through a SIG 938 purchase, East Orange Shooting Sports
Associate Michael Bonnick presents some additional concealed-carry holster options.
Are you taking advantage of add-on accessory sales like this?

Promote A “Judgment-Free Zone”

Both stores offer range facilities — a major draw, for a few reasons, including the ability to offer customers an opportunity to try out different types of guns before making a purchase.

East Orange also sees its range as a way to offer instruction and advice. And it’s something of a community-building tool that helps create a comfortable atmosphere for new shooters who may worry how their guns will fit into their lives.

“It’s a judgment-free zone,” Ritz said. “It gives them a reason to come back. So they’re more likely to be repeat customers — and to become dedicated enthusiasts.”

At Oak Ridge, Harvey looks to the range to generate extra sales beyond the gun. That’s why each gun purchase comes with a month’s worth of free instruction and range time. The average buyer, he said, will return four times after making a firearm purchase.

“This means ammo sales, holsters, cleaning supplies, gun oil etc.,” said Harvey, who has been in the business for three decades.

Both stores offer classes; with Oak Ridge putting a heavy emphasis on concealed-carry instruction. Classes are offered several times a week. They have five NRA-certified range instructors, two of which are women. It’s a strong draw, according to Harvey, for women who are interested in buying guns for self-defense purposes.

In addition to concealed-carry classes, East Orange offers two different types of short courses aimed at newer shooters. The first is a one-hour introductory course, for one to three people. It costs $40–$50 per person, and includes range time and ammo. They also offer a short class that covers basic fieldstripping and maintenance. The cost is $25, which includes a cleaning kit.

For both shops, the goal is to offer a sort of one-stop shop for customers interested in personal defense. Guns are clearly the top draw. But, according to Harvey, “Some people don’t want a gun. We give them a whole range of alternatives.”

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Late Season Strategy

Make The Most Of Late
Hunting Season Sales

By Carolee Anita Boyles

With hunting season winding down, many sporting goods stores start thinking about turkey season and spring fishing. Savvy dealers know, however, the end of hunting season can be almost as productive as the early season.

The key? Understanding how the latter part of hunting season is different from the pre-season, and stocking the products late season hunters need.

Richard Sprague is president of Sprague’s Sports, located in Yuma, Ariz. Late season for his store occurs during the coldest part of the year, when winter has really kicked in and the weather is as cold as it ever gets in Arizona. Hunters in his area are going after a mix of species all season.

“We have doves and we have archery antelope and elk, and those all kind of happen at the same time,” he noted. “Then we go into quail and duck. After that, rifle season for deer opens up — and then we’re into late season rifle elk.”

Sprague said the early part of the season for him is filled with sales of items for dove shooting.

“In late August and early September, we get real busy with dove season opening,” he said. During this part of the season he also has a lot of sales in bowhunting.

“As we get farther into the season, my product mix shifts away from archery and shot shells and becomes more rifle focused,” Sprague added. “Customers also look at a lot of optics, especially for setting up rifles for long-range shooting.”

According to Sprague, customers continue purchasing guns even late in the hunting season: “Some of them wait until the last minute. A lot of customers also wait until the last minute to get their kids set up and get them ready to go hunting, too.”

Sprague observed his late season customers buy a wide variety of brands and calibers.

“They buy across the spectrum,” he noted. “They buy the Savage Axis II, the Ruger American and the Savage Trophy Hunter combo packages with the different scopes they’ve been putting on them the past couple years. Ruger also is doing a Vortex package, which has been pretty popular.”

The Browning X-Bolt also has been a strong seller for Sprague’s Sports, as well as the Tikka T3. “And now we’re seeing sales of the Tikka T3x,” he added.
Popular calibers also cover the waterfront at Sprague’s Sports.

“Our customers buy .243 and 7mm-08, .30-06 and .270,” Sprague said. “The short mags are popular for us, and then the Win. Mags. We do a lot of .30 Magnums here in the West, because people can see and shoot so far. They like a stable bullet with distance.”

Those same shooters like riflescopes with custom elevation capability.

“They like a scope with a custom elevation dial so they can range it,” Sprague said. “They can dial to the yardage and hold right on the target.”

Popular optics at Sprague’s Sports include offerings from Burris, Leupold, Vortex, Swarovski and Zeiss.

“We do a lot of scopes that either have multiple aiming points on the vertical crosshair or have a custom elevation dial,” Sprague said. “This category has just exploded because people are demanding it. Even for people who aren’t aspiring to shoot over X number of yards, they just want to be better in the field with their equipment. So if there’s an opportunity and the equipment is available, they buy it.”

These buyers aren’t just new or young shooters; they include most of the old-timers who come into Sprague’s Sports.

“There still are a few guys who don’t want to learn how things work,” Sprague said. “They just don’t want to think about it, and they’ll stay traditional. But they’re the minority now, instead of the majority. Most people are embracing new technologies and the opportunities they bring.”

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Garmin Oregon 750t

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Sitka Timberline Jacket

Camp & Field Accessories

Besides guns and optics, Sprague said, his customers are purchasing a number of accessories during the latter part of the season.

“They’re buying clothing to make themselves more comfortable in the field, and they’re getting better quality gear, such as backpacks, to accommodate all the stuff they’re taking to the field,” he said. “The stuff they’re taking to the field may include an extra tripod, higher power binoculars, better rangefinders and optics with built-in rangefinders.”

Customers are also buying better gear for their hunting camps.

“They’re buying things from Yeti, as well as from other manufacturers,” Sprague said. “For camp, Yeti products are crazy popular.”

Lighting solutions are a big deal to Sprague’s customers too.

“Lighting options are continuing to expand and grow,” he observed. “There are lots of great flashlights that burn brighter and give you more options on different modes of lighting to have better battery life. They’re all LEDs and are from Streamlight and SureFire. Browning also makes some pretty good options, and there are some other, lesser-known brands as well. NEBO has some good options.”

GPS technology continues to progress, as the sales of GPS-based products grows.

“GPS products by Garmin in particular continue to evolve, with more mapping and other features for a reasonable price,” Sprague said. “Two-way radios from Midland and Motorola also continue to improve. They have longer range and are clearer, with reasonable price points.”

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Hornady Precision Hunter

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Dealers report Tikka’s new T3x line (Compact Tactical Rifle
model pictured above) has been a strong seller among hunters.

What About The Youth?

At Black Bird in Medford, Ore., late season customers are mostly youth hunters.

“The only late rifle seasons are draw hunts for youth hunters,” said Sporting Goods Manager Tom Gascon. “These hunts don’t apply to the entire state; it’s just certain units. Youth who participate in these hunts must be aged 12 to 17, and they must have an adult with them.” Quite a few of these young hunters are girls, he added.

These late season hunts are long enough for customers to buy some serious gear while participating in them, according to Gascon. “They’re 20 days on average,” he noted. “There are youth elk hunts and youth deer hunts.”

As you might expect, the weather tends to be colder during these late season youth hunts — which presents new sales opportunities.

“These hunters are buying cold weather gear,” Gascon said. “During the early season, breathable clothing is what sells really well. But during the late season is when the heavyweight gear sells. Sitka Gear is really nice.”

The calibers these hunters purchase depends on the size of the child and the amount of recoil they can comfortably shoot.

“They’re buying .243, 7mm-08, .308, .30-06 and some of the Mags,” Gascon said. “One model that’s been selling really well for us is the Ruger American. It’s a well-built rifle; it’s accurate and shoots well — and is well priced.”

Besides guns, youth hunters are buying pack frames and dehydrated food.

“Dehydrated food is always a good seller for us,” Gascon said. “We carry Mountain House and it sells very well.”

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Practice AR Handling With a .22

AR-15 rifles, by their nature, offer continuity across the platform. Train on one brand of AR-15 and you can pick virtually any other and, for the most part, everything will be the same. If you like to shoot an AR a lot and want to train a lot, while not burning through all your precious .223 ammo, consider an AR-15 chambered in .22LR. This CMMG MK4 T 22LR retails for $899.95 and functions exactly like it’s .223 big brother. And if buying one for the training value isn’t really your thing, this gun is an absolute hoot to shoot and a great way to introduce youngsters to the AR platform with a lesser round.

This CMMG sports a Nikon P-Rimfire scope and mount, which I’m going to ignore for now because there are too many other fun things to mention just about the gun. So I’ll get back to you with a fuller review including the scope, okay?

Here are the specs from the CMMG website:

Caliber: 22 long rifle

Barrel: 16, 1:16 twist, M4 profile, 4140 CM, SBN

Muzzle: A2 comp., threaded 1/2-28

Hand Guard: CMMG RKM11 KeyMod hand guard

Furniture: A2 pistol grip, M4 butt stock with 6-pos mil-spec receiver extension

Receiver: Forged 7075-T6 AL M4 type upper, AR15 type lower

Trigger: Single stage mil-spec style trigger

Weight: 6.3 lbs (unloaded)

Length: 32 (stock collapsed)

Since I’m fresh off completing a Gunsite 123 Carbine class, I’m appreciating the CMMG’s overall feel. I ran through most of the basic handling functions taught in the class and found a virtual match in this .22LR version. Some differences include the charging handle which, on this model, has a much shorter travel. The mags look and feel the same when inserted but obviously the feeding mechanism bears a different design.

Some other notes…

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Looks just like an AR, ya? Feels like one, too. Fit and finish are outstanding, to say the least. This is a serious gun but outrageously fun, too.

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Mag release right there. Check.

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Bolt release. Right where it should be. Safety, too.

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Charging handle. Just have to get used to about half the travel as a typical AR. Forward assist is there, too. Never needed it.

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And, on the business end, a flash suppressor.

In a brief range session, I ran through a few magazines of .22LR and found it difficult to … wipe the grin off my face. You know an AR-15 chambered in .223 is easy to shoot; chambered in .22LR it is even easier. And more fun, too!

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Precision plinking made possible by this great Nikon scope… But you’ll have to wait for a later review for more info.

— Mark Kakkuri (text: 248-328-2538)

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