Colt Rebuilds Commercial Business, Sets Bold Goals

The message coming out of Colt’s Manufacturing these days is laser focused on the future: Strong commercial sales growth, right-sizing product mix, refining distribution, enhancing dealer programs and creating a better customer experience.

Yes, the company has undergone financial challenges, filing Chapter 11 in June, but that’s not the focus of company executives.
“We’ll grow our commercial business north of 20 percent in 2016,” said Paul S. Spitale, who joined Colt earlier this year as senior vice president of commercial programs. “We’re excited about the future of our commercial business.”
Spitale says Colt has a lot of room for growth.

“Colt plays in only 12 percent of the available commercial market. That fact is not lost on us, or our investors. So, as we build a new company that comes out of bankruptcy, we have a great opportunity to drive a new business with new models and a new level of capital infrastructure. It’s going to be very strong.”

This is not a new message from Spitale; he’s been delivering it since earlier this year.

“As I said to everyone at the NRA Annual Meeting [in April], we’re going to grow this business two and half times in the next three to four years. We stand by that,” he said.

No easy task. However, the company has already made progress.

“When I joined the company, I had a number of priorities to rebuild our commercial business. One was to rationalize the product assortment and to make sure we were getting people what they were looking for. We did that early on. We went through a lot of work to make sure we had the right models, and secondarily, that they we’re priced at market pricing,” Spitale said.

Then the company addressed marketing.

“We eliminated some distribution; we also announced the Stocking Dealer Program to solidify and to ensure more customers got the right experience,” Spitale said.

There is also the company’s messaging.

“All our ads [publications, website] carry the message: ‘Built One At A Time, Proven Every Round.’ We want that to be consistent among all commercial touch points,” Spitale added.

Had To Change

To attract more sales, Colt devoted a lot of resources to its product mix and pricing.

“We spent almost $1 million in rightsizing our product assortment and price points. We took out some models we should probably never have produced. In the past, when a customer came in to to buy a Government Model, there wasn’t a very well thought-out MSRP. That product is now indexed everyday at $799. We went to our distributing partners and price protected them for the inventory they already had and announced new price points: $799 for a Government, $899 for a Defender and $499 for the Mustang. These are the right kind of wheelhouse price points our consumers were looking for,” Spitale said.

These and other changes were motivated by a visit Spitale made to 42 dealers in April.

“Only two of the dealers had Colts on their store floor. The problem we had was if someone called our customer service and asked where they could buy a Colt, we couldn’t point them to a dealer with confidence. If they did go to a dealer who didn’t have Colts, they’d often heard, ‘I can get you one if you want, but I can sell you one of these from Springfield Armory, Ruger or Smith & Wesson.’ That was incredibly damaging to our brand, basically, not having been in commercial spaces for 20 years, as much as we should have been. We had to change that,” he said.

In May, the company launched the Colt Stocking Dealer Program. To qualify, dealers must have a retail establishment with hours open to the public and display a minimum of four Colt handguns and one rifle, with the same number in back stock. The program also requires Colt distributors to sell only to authorized Colt Stocking Dealers after Aug. 1, 2015, and Colt distributors and Colt would stop sales to “Internet-only dealers” and dealers without retail stores.

“Our original premise was if we could get 1,200 dealers who really supported our brand and carried just a basic assortment of Colts at the right prices we would do quite well,” Spitale said.

By September, nearly 2,600 dealers had signed up to be Colt Stocking Dealers.

“Obviously, dealers want to have the brand. I think many of these dealers appreciate we put a lot more emphasis back on the customer experience,” Spitale said, while pointing out the importance of choosing not to sell to dealers who don’t have traditional storefronts.

“To think someone who really isn’t invested in retail, isn’t invested in Colt in terms of its training and making sure the customer experience is great — the fact they take a sale from a legitimate dealer, that’s terrible,” Spitale said.


Through advertising, Colt delivers the company’s new branding
and reduced MSRP on its top-selling handguns.

Steps To Help

Has the program helped dealers sell more Colts?

“Yes, because our name is out there. Our listing on the [Colt] website has helped. There have been several people call who say, ‘We saw your name on Colt’s website and we’re in your area,’” said Lee Keltner, who handles sales and gunsmithing at Wiley Guns in Willis Point, Texas.

“Colt is taking steps to help us. They’ve cut out someone who wasn’t inventorying their guns. It keeps that guy from undercutting you when he’s not truly participating in the business,” said Todd Vance, owner of Vance Outdoors Inc. in Columbus, Ohio.

“The biggest thing I picked up from the program is the pricing for Colt firearms from distribution is more consistent and a tick less than it was before. That [pricing] allows me to lower some of my prices to the consumer and still make a good percentage,” said Karl Durkheimer, owner of North West Armory in Portland, Ore. “I think they have a good start on the program, but I think there is a little bit more they can do.”

Spitale says Colt is already working on enhancements to the program. One already underway is the Falls Carry Days promotion, which runs through the end of this month.

“That consumer promotion won’t be executed outside of our stocking dealers, so, if someone is able to get our products through an unauthorized means, they will not be able to offer the promotion. That’s the first; there are other things we’re considering, which I can’t announce right know, but we’re looking to announce sometime in the spring,” he said.

Spitale says he has a message for Colt Stocking Dealers.

“Thanks for saying, ‘Yes’ to Colt and being a part of our Stocking Dealer Program. I can’t tell you how important this is because our commercial business is going to get stronger and stronger. We’re producing almost twice as many handguns as we were back in April, and we’re going to show new models at the SHOT Show. We’re excited about the future of our commercial business,” Spitale said.

For more information on Colt’s Stocking Dealer Program, visit Visit Colt at the 2016 SHOT Show: Booth 12529.


Welcome To The New Business Year

At Shooting Industry, we’re dedicated to presenting a heavy arsenal of business-boosting information to start business year 2016. This issue is the first of a two editions devoted to the New Business Year. There are plenty of tips for building business, insights on the New Year, hundreds of 2016 new products and more. In January, we’ll provide additional insights into 2016 and its challenges, along with updated information on SHOT Show 2016, the show’s exhibitor list and our pullout floor map, along with hundreds of additional 2016 new products.

If you’re attending SHOT Show 2015, stop by FMG Publications’ booth (16327). We’d like to shake your hand and learn from you what it will take to be successful in the New Business Year. We’ll also be giving away thousands of extra copies of the December and January issues of SI, our SHOT Show floor map, along with copies of our sister publications, American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine.


Perfect Giftwrapped Ammo

Dealers, Winchester Ammunition knows how to giftwrap a Christmas gift for your customers. Winchester Service Grade .45 ACP in a special wood box is a perfect gift — no additional giftwrapping needed.

Packed in a military-style collectible wood box are 200 rounds of .45 Auto 230-grain FMJ. The rounds are packaged in 50-round plain cardboard boxes, similar to those many of us remember opening on military handgun ranges or tearing into in far-off places. No high-tech images or logos needed. The boxes are perfect.

Make some calls and see if any of these special boxes are still available. Your customers will love them.



We received a lot of news releases just before this past Labor Day, many of them saluting American work ethic and ingenuity.
None of the releases reflect those qualities more than the one featuring Lew Danielson, Crimson Trace founder. In the picture frame is Lew’s original guiding principles and business plan for the company. It outlines the creation of quality products backed by world-class customer service. That was in 1994. By all measure, Lew has done what he set out to do, and more.
Salutes, Lew.
By Russ Thurman

Read More Industry Watch Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry December 2015 Issue Now!

2016 New Product Showcase

Ignite Early-Year Sales With These New-For-2016 Product!

With the introduction of hundreds of new products in a variety of categories, manufacturers have launched the New Business Year. Dealers, take a look at the must-have products in this Showcase and consider contacting your distributors, sales reps or the manufacturers directly to drive your early-2016 sales. If you’re attending the SHOT Show or other industry trade shows, we encourage you to stop by the company’s booth to see these products firsthand or visit their website.

Along with the 2016 SHOT Show preview (pg. 42), the Universe’s Greatest Buyer’s Guide (pg. 76) and the first half of this two-part Showcase, Shooting Industry is committed to help boost your 2016 sales. Next month, we’ll present the second half of this Showcase, along with additional New Business Year-focused articles.


(805) 227-2600

Weatherby introduces the New Mark V, which features the first significant refinements of this rifle from its introduction in 1958. The New Mark V stocks have been physically enhanced with a slimmer forearm and sharper lines and contours. The grip diameter has been reduced, a slight right-hand palm swell has been added and overall weight decreased. It features the new Weatherby LXX Trigger, which can be adjusted down to 2.5 lbs.

Weatherby also introduces the 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum cartridge. There will be three different options in loaded ammunition. Using Barnes and Swift bullets, the loads range form 3,531 fps to 3,395 fps at the muzzle. The 6.5-300 Weatherby Magnum will be chambered in the New Mark V family of rifles and in the Accumark, Accumark RC and Ultra Lightweight models.


(800) 891-3600

The Woodland Whisper II Plus, a bluetooth-style ear bud, is a discreet hearing enhancement and amplification device. Users can hear sounds up to 100 feet away. The Woodland Whisper II Plus not only aids hearing, it provides noise suppression from loud sounds as well. The device has an easy-to-use volume control and its battery is easy to access. The Woodland Whisper II Plus comes with two batteries, multiple ear tips, two ear hangers and a felt carry case.


(503) 526-1400

Leupold introduces the VX-3i, which optimizes performance by improved light management. It’s designed to deliver more than just light transmission and the Twilight Max light management system balances light across the visible spectrum, leading to brighter and crisper images. A dual spring precision adjustment system provides match-grade accuracy adjustments, while maintaining its in-the-field ruggedness and durability. The VX-3i is available in a variety of magnification ranges.

The updated Vendetta 2 bow-mounted laser rangefinder boasts a faster software package, an improved mounting system and the ability to use it on a crossbow. With Leupold’s latest generation of range-finding software, hunters can range a target from full draw and the built-in True Ballistic Range (TBR) calculator automatically compensates for the shot angle. It can be mounted in any position on the bow, making it a good choice for right- or left-handed hunters on any model of bow.


(775) 828-0555

Legacy Sports’ Howa Mini Action Rifle is now chambered in .222 Remington. Considered to be a varmint cartridge, the .222 Remington is accurate and flat-shooting with a low-ballistic coefficient. It also has low recoil. The cartridge, paired with the Howa barreled actions, is ideal for target shooting or varmint hunting. The Howa Mini Action Rifle’s chamber and bolt are approximately 12 percent shorter than regular short actions. This produces a shorter bolt throw for faster reloads and less weight for the overall gun. Without a scope, the rifle weighs just 5.7 lbs. The Howa Mini Action Rifle has a 20-inch drawn barrel, a three-position safety and an HACT two-stage trigger. It is also equipped with 10-round, synthetic, detachable magazines and uses a lightweight composition stock in OD Green, Black or camo-dipped Kryptek Highlander.

The Holdfast Reticle is on the Nikko Stirling Diamond riflescopes available from Legacy Sports. The reticle was developed to assist hunters make quick and accurate long-range shots. A wide variety of ammunition can be accurately used with this reticle including .270 150-grain, 7mm-08 140-grain, .308 150-grain, .30-06 165-grain and .338 210-grain.


(508) 795-3919

Kahr Firearms presents four firearms for 2016: the CW3833TU, CT3833TU, DE44TU and DE50TU.

The CW3833TU and the CT3833TU are part of the Value Series Product line and are chambered in .380 ACP. Both have a trigger-cocking DAO, lock breech and Browning-type recoil lug. They also have a drift-adjustable white bar-dot combat rear sight and a pinned in polymer front sight. Their black polymer frame stainless slide has a Cerekote Tungsten finish (dark graphite gray). The CW380TU features a 2.5-inch conventional rifled barrel with an overall length of 4.96 inches. It weighs 10.2 oz. without the magazine. The CT3833TU features a 3-inch conventional rifled barrel with an overall length of 5.52 inches. Without the magazine, it weighs 11.4 oz.

The DE44TU and DE50TU belong to the Mark XIX variant of the Desert Eagle. Both are gas-operated semi-autos with 6-inch barrels weighing 72 oz. They have a length of 10.75 inches and a width of 1.25 inches. They come in Cerekote Tungsten finish (dark graphite gray) with black appointments.


(970) 460-2000

Hexmag is introducing a new color to its magazine lineup: dark gray. The Hexmag Dark Gray magazine will be available in 30-, 15- and 10-round capacities (shown with optional Hexmag grip tape). Made of reinforced polymer and bearing the signature hexagonal pattern, Hexmag magazines feature a highly visible anti-tilt follower and a heat-treated 17-7 PH stainless steel spring.

Also from Hexmag, the Advanced Tactical Grip in FDE is a pistol grip for MSRs. It features X-Tech Tactical’s patented adjustable receiver mount allowing for three angles of precision adjustment at 17, 25 and 33 degrees. It’s compatible with Hexmag’s Grip Tape in Black or FDE.


(800) 325-9568

SABRE Red announces the Pepper Gel Dorm/Apartment Kit and the RAINN Key Case Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key Ring. The Pepper Gel Dorm/Apartment Kit is ideal for college students. The kit’s Door Stop Alarm emits a 120-dB signal to alert residents and others in case of an uninvited entry. At the same time, it prevents the door from opening with its non-skid pad. The kit’s Pepper Gel with Flip Top meanwhile offers police-grade protection on the go with 25 bursts at up to 12 feet away. The durable key case with finger grip helps the user to aim the pepper spray in the right direction.

The RAINN Key Case Pepper Spray with Quick Release Key Ring offers police-strength protection with 25 bursts at up to 10 feet away. The key case has a finger grip for an accurate aim plus a quick-release key ring for immediate access when keys are in the ignition or door lock. Ten percent of all proceeds go to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).


(623) 434-7070

Galco Gunleather introduces a version of the WalkAbout IWB holster for revolvers. Carrying an HKS-style speedloader or a moon clip addition to the revolver, the WalkAbout provides a grab-and-go solution to the challenge of packing a reload. With an open top, the WalkAbout allows a fast draw, while the reinforced mouth allows a smooth and easy return to the holster. It can be worn in either strong-side carry or appendix carry configurations. Constructed of premium Center Cut Steerhide, the WalkAbout fits belts up to 1.75 inches wide.


(866) 451-1726

The Apex Pant from 5.11 Tactical was designed in colloboration with end-users. It is made of Flex-Tac mechanical stretch canvas with a Teflon finish for use outdoors in a variety of terrains. The Apex Pant features the ability to carry six MSR-style magazines covertly, a CCW-ready comfort waistband with seven belt loops, an internal flex cuff pocket and hidden handcuff key pockets.


(860) 229-9994

The Stag 7-S and the Stag 7L-S are hunting rifles equipped with a 3x-9x powered scope. Manufactured by Stag Arms, the rifles are part of the company’s Stag 7 series specifically designed for hunting medium to large game. They have a 6.8 SPC SAAMI SPEC 2 chamber, a 20.77-inch heavy barrel with a 1/10-inch twist, and a target crown able to shoot 6.8 SPC ammunition. The Stag 7L-S is for left-handed shooters. The scope attached to the rifles is Nikon’s Active Target Special installed with Nikon’s one-piece scope mount.


(772) 776-5805

The .260 Remington 123-grain Sierra MatchKing is an accurate, medium-caliber load from Gorilla Ammunition. A flat-shooting and highly efficient cartridge, the .260 Remington has a flatter trajectory than the .308 Winchester making it ideal for long-range use. It has a muzzle velocity of 2,850 fps and muzzle energy of 1,135 ft/lb.


(763) 263-0166

Luth-AR introduces the MBA-3 Carbine and MBA-4 Carbine stocks. The MBA-3 adds up to 1 inch of height on the cheek rest and an additional 1 1/16 inches length of pull. It’s made of glass-filled nylon and weighs 18 oz. In addition, the MBA-3 has a flat bottom index setscrew to eliminate the rattle of a carbine collapsible buttstock and features three-axis movement for horizontal, vertical and lateral adjustments.

The MBA-4 is a stripped down buttstock that allows the shooter to easily add on the accessories they need, such as the cheek plate or butt plate assembly. Both the MBA-3 and MBA-4 are available in black, with FDE and pink coming soon.


(805) 529-7701

Working from blueprints provided by Dan Wesson Firearms, ActionSportGames introduces the Dan Wesson Model 715 Airgun Revolver. The .177 steel BB version replicates the look and function of the Dan Wesson 15. It comes in a stainless steel-style silver finish and can be loaded with six individual shells for realism. The barrel is pre-tapped to allow easy installation of the DW 715 rail mount, which is sold separately.

DW 715 Rail Mounts make it easy to customize the revolver with optics or lasers. CNC-machined from aluminum, the mounts are easy to install using the included screws. They fit all airgun and airsoft DW 715 models.


(303) 462-0662

Böker USA presents three knives by Lucas Burnley, Steve Kelly and Jens Ansø to the U.S. market.

The Böker Plus Kwaiken Tactical(top photo) by Lucas Burnley is a new version of Burnley’s Böker Plus Kwaiken. It features black coating on the blade, liners and hardware. It also has specially fabricated G-10 handle scales. The 3.5-inch VG-10 steel blade locks securely with the liner lock mechanism and the pocket clip allows easy carry. The knife has an overall length of 8.375 inches and weighs 4.2 oz.

The Böker Plus Scoundrel (middle photo) by Steve Kelly has a solid titanium grip that locks the 3.25-inch VG-10 blade securely. A Hinderer lock stop prevents the lock from over stretching. The knife has milled grooves and checkering on the scales and a harpoon-style blade shape. It has an overall length of 7.5 inches and weighs 4.7 oz.

The Böker Haddock Stag (bottom photo) by Jens Ansø is a titanium framelock with a modern pocketknife design. It has a contoured stag front scale mounted to a titanium liner. The titanium back scale and 3.375-inch N690 steel blade feature a fine satin finish. The knife also has a reversible pocket clip for easy carry. It has an overall length of 7.75 inches and weighs 3.9 oz.


(855) 843-1911

Cabot Guns introduces acoustical engineering to the S103 Commander 1911. Inspired by the “feeling” created by certain sounds, Cabot Guns introduces an auditory signature — now, racking the slide will sound like the high-speed shutter of a DSLR camera. Committed to the strict control of variables, Cabot Guns expects to soon offer additional acoustical engineering options to other models in its 1911 line.


All Leather Bench Bag


Weapon Rack

(231) 421-3810

The Benchmaster All Leather Bench Bag is made of 100 percent bison leather. The leather’s distinctive grain makes each bag unique. Double stitched to keep it from leaking, the bag has an easy-to-use spout which allows it to be easily filled or emptied. The bottom is made of water-resistant and anti-skid material to ensure stability.

The Benchmaster Weapon Rack is designed to hold 12 pistols safely and securely yet still allow rapid access. Lightweight and highly resilient with great shock absorption capabilities, the rack will accommodate pistols of any caliber with or without magazines. It is resistant to chemicals, rot, mold and mildew.


(805) 430-8196

The Gun Conditioning Oil from Molecular Advantage (MOA) is an ideal protectant for guns. It is inert so it won’t react negatively when applied to any metal, plastic, synthetic, rubber or wood components. The MOA conditioning oil is designed to infiltrate deeply into the pores of the gun metal, push out debris and form an impenetrable lubricant layer to protect the surface.


(660) 827-6640

The .32 Auto is a light and compact semi-rimmed pistol cartridge used in small pocket pistols and a few revolvers. Manufacturers currently chambering guns in .32 Auto include Kel-Tec, North American Arms, Century Arms, Taurus, Beretta and Bersa. The .32 Auto is becoming popular today as a target cartridge because it’s chambered in bullseye pistols such as the Pardini.


MeoPro 6.5-20×50 HTR


MeoPro 8×56 HD

(800) 828-8928

Meopta has added the 6.5-20×50 and 6.5-20×50 HTR to the MeoPro riflescope line. Designed for long-range and precision shooting, these scopes feature a powerful magnification range and side turret parallax adjustment. The MeoPro 6.5-20×50 is ideal for hunting predator, varmint or big game at long distances, and its HTR variant for long-range hunting, tactical applications and target shooting. Both models come in four different reticle options to meet a variety of shooters’ needs: Z-Plex, BDC, McWhorter HV and Windmax 8.

Meopta extends its MeoPro HD binocular series with the MeoPro 8×56 HD. It features MeoBright multi-coated lenses for use in extreme low-light conditions and to deliver clarity and edge-to-edge sharpness. The lightweight magnesium chassis is built to withstand the rugged conditions of the field and, the sculpted, shockproof, rubber-armored exterior is comfortable to hold for extended periods of glassing.


(205) 655-8299

The R15 is a bolt-action rifle in grade-1 walnut wood stock or in fiberglass-reinforced, black synthetic stock. Manufactured by Merkel Arms, the R15 features a cold-forged and precision-machined receiver and a full-bodied bolt. Its 60-degree bolt throw easily glides in the receiver for fast follow-up shots. Both versions are available in standard and magnum calibers: .243 Win., 6.5x55mm, .270 Win., .308 Win., .30-06 Sprg., 9.3x62mm, .300 Win. Mag. and 7 Rem. Mag. The walnut R15 weighs 7 lbs., 4.4 oz. while the synthetic weighs 6 lbs., 9.8 oz.


(555) 657-6338

The 1911 Commander Heritage Pistol from Turnbull follows the lines and look of the classic 1911 pistol. It features a blued slide, Nitre-blued parts and a frame with Turnbull color case hardened finish. The 1911 Commander Heritage Pistol weighs 34.5 oz. unloaded, 42 oz. fully loaded. It has seven rounds in the magazine plus one in the chamber. It has a 4.25-inch barrel with an overall length of 8 inches. It joins the company’s family of 1911 pistols including the BBQ line and the Turnbull Commander Custom.


(800) 654-5992

SKB Corporation’s iSeries 3-Gun Competition Case (3i-5014-3G) is injection molded, watertight and can safely store up to three guns. This makes it ideal for 3-Gun shooters as they can travel with only one case instead of three. Made of polypropylene copolymer resin, the 3i-5014-3G is waterproof, dustproof and resistant to corrosion and impact damage. Its interior features a 2-lb. density closed cell foam with a multi-layer divider with 17 accessory cavities for shells, eye and ear protection, tools, charging handles, pistol mags and a belt. The 3i-5014-3G holds shotguns up to 48 inches long and scoped rifles up to 39 inches long with an adjustable cutout foam to accommodate shorter lengths.


(805) 239-1440

Hogue’s lightweight EX-F02 Fixed Blade is specifically designed for the outdoorsman. In black and hunter orange, it’s offered in clip-point and tanto style blades made of heat-treated A2 tool steel. The EX-F02 comes with a fitted, ambidextrous, polymer sheath that is MOLLE compatible. Its handle is made of a polymer/Overmolded rubber hybrid with a finger detent and a recess on the tail end. Other features of the EX-F02 include a large stick tang, a broad top edge and a serrated thumb ramp.


SCH503B Sure-Lock Folding Knife

(800) 251-0254
Schrade Knives debuts the SCH503B Sure-Lock Folding Knife, which features a Black AUS-8 high carbon, 3.64-inch stainless steel drop-point blade. It has ambidextrous thumb knobs and thumb ramp jimping, grey aluminum handle with black rubber inserts, a lanyard hole and pocket clip.

The SCHA12B M.A.G.I.C. Dual Action Manual & Assisted Opening Liner-Lock Folding Knife has a titanium-coated AUS-8 high carbon, 3.42-inch stainless steel drop-point blade with an overall length of 8.12 inches. It also features a reversible pocket clip, lanyard hole and titanium-coated aluminum handle with manual/assist switch and thumb jimping.


(800) 828-8809

An improved version of SureFire’s X300 Ultra WeaponLight for handguns and long guns is now available. The X300U-B produces an additional 100 lumens from its solid-state LED, generating a maximum output of 600 lumens, an increase of 20 percent over that produced by previous X300 models. It also features the T-slot mounting system found on laser-equipped X400 WeaponLights, so the X300U-B attaches to a wider range of firearms. The beam produced by the X300 Ultra has a wide reach for long-range use yet produces enough surround light to accommodate peripheral vision. Constructed of hard-anodized aerospace aluminum, including the T-slot mount itself, the WeaponLight’s O-ring and gasket are sealed to keep out moisture, dust and debris. Universal and Picatinny crossbar wedges are included for installation to rail-equipped handguns and pistols.


(631) 963-5000

The HookUpz Smartphone Telephoto Lens Adapter (IC-918) connects with smartphones up to 3.2 inches in width to the included 6X telephoto monocular. Users can easily take pictures or video through the monocular and text/email friends. A tripod is included to ensure clear photos and videos.


(618) 258-2000

Winchester Ammunition debuts USA Forged steel-cased pistol ammunition, built for price-sensitive shooters. It’s 100 percent American-made and is safe for use in all firearms — using the same bullets, primers and powder as all other Winchester products. It’s safe for use at all ranges, with no steel in the bullet.

The Super Clean pistol line is lead-free, featuring zinc core FMJ bullets with lead-free primers. Initial offerings are in 9mm with a 90-grain ZFMJ and .40 S&W with a 120-grain ZFMJ.

In rimfire, the Power-Core line has a lead-free .17 WSM cartridge, delivering 2,875 fps velocity. It has a 20-grain solid copper hollowpoint bullet. The M-22 Subsonic line is available in .22 LR and features a 45-grain blackened lead round nose and low muzzle flash. It’s suppressor-friendly and functions in semi-auto rifles.

Winchester has expanded it’s Varmint X line, now offering a 3-inch 12-gauge load with 1.5 oz. plated BBs. This new load features Shot-Lok technology for ultra-tight patterns and deep penetration at 1,300 fps. Winchester has also expanded its Deer Season XP line with three new calibers: .30-30 Win., 7mm-08 Rem. and 300 Blackout.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary, Winchester is offering commemorative items with unique foil-embossed cartons, with .270 Winchester available in the first quarter and 12-gauge, 3-inch #2 Waterfowl in the second quarter 2016.


(763) 479-4091

Viridian introduces the Weapon-Mounted Long Range Illuminator Series. The V300 Model boasts a 370-yard range and features a motorized Power Zoom focus lens; the V200 Model has a 300-yard range and provides the user with a seven-position manual focus lens and the V100 Model will reach out to 200 yards and has a fixed-focus lens. The three styles are available in four LED colors (Green, Red, White or IR Infrared) for 12 models total.


(425) 771-6230

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools is launching its 30th anniversary with commemorative fixed-blade and folding offerings: the Tech Bowie (top knife) and Trident (bottom knife). The Tech Bowie features a 6.4-inch blade with a Kraton rubber handle. It’s made with AUS-8 steel. The Trident will be SOG’s folding version of its commemorative knife. It features SOG’s patented SOG Assisted Technology for a quick and smooth opening, a 3.75-inch AUS-8 steel blade and a seatbelt cutter built into the handle. Both knives feature tiger stripe camouflage, a homage to the pattern used by the MACV-SOG group.


(402) 705-6000

The Predator Quest Cottontail Deluxe and the Jack Rabbit Deluxe calls — designed by predator-hunter Les Johnson — are ideal for calling in coyotes, foxes, bobcats, wolves and mountain lions. The calls imitate the high-pitched whimpers and screams of a cottontail rabbit and the gravelly, course screams of a jackrabbit, respectively.


(678) 943-8035

Honor Defense introduces a family of striker-fired, concealed-carry pistols which can handle +P loads: the Sub-Compact 9mm, the Sub-Compact 9mm with manual safety and Sub-Compact 9mm with FIST frame. The pistols have a wide-face trigger with a 7-lb. pull and a short reset for a quicker second shot and better control. They have an ambidextrous slide and magazine catch and can also be fitted with an ambidextrous manual safety lever. Honor Defense pistols feature a modular system with a stainless steel chassis, a custom texture design to provide better grip and replaceable back straps to allow customization.


(855) 339-5437

The 12-ga. to 40mm SKYNET and SKYNET+ drone defense ammunition are part of a one-of-a-kind drone defense product lineup from Advanced Ballistic Concepts. Both will be available to military, law enforcement as well as civilians for use as ballistic countermeasures against threats delivered by civilian drones. The SKYNET and SKYNET+ ammunition have up to a 5-ft diameter net.


(909) 445-8168

The 3×30 AR-X PRO from Barska is a prism scope system for L.E. and military applications. It features a newly designed Cross-Dot Reticle, which can be switched between red, green or blue. The brightness of the reticle can also be adjusted to better match the current lighting environment. The 3×30 AR-X PRO is housed in thick protective rubber armor, which prevents any damage from shock or impact. External adjustable windage/elevation turrets make it easy for the user to make quick corrections to scope settings.


The WX Valor (bottom photo) from Wiley X features a Realtree Xtra camouflage frame. This frame is paired with Wiley X’s versatile Smoke Grey lenses, providing shooters and hunters with clear vision over a wide field of view and for wear under a range of sky and light conditions. Its lightweight half-frame design fits comfortably on small to large head sizes.

The WX Rebel Active Series (top photo) model will be available with a Realtree Xtra camaouflage frame, paired with Wiley X’s polarized Smoke Green lenses. As a member of Wiley X’s popular Active Series line, the WX Rebel is designed for active outdoorsmen and women. The lightweight, comfortable frame is ideal for medium to large head sizes and features soft rubber nose and temple grips to ensure a snug fit during strenuous activities and hot, sweaty conditions.




Performance Center M&P Ported

(413) 781-8300

Smith & Wesson introduces a machine-engraved SW1911. Chambered in .45 ACP, it showcases decorative machine engraving on the left and right side of the stainless steel slide and frame. The intricate line work extends across the pistol’s 5-inch barrel. It features a glass bead finish and rosewood-colored grips. The SW1911 weighs 39.8 oz. unloaded, with an overall length of 8.7 inches.

The Performance Center M&P SHIELD is now available with factory ported barrel and slide for its 9mm and .40 S&W models. Engineered on a high-strength polymer frame measuring 0.95 inches, the Performance Center M&P SHIELD is standard with a 3.1-inch factory-ported barrel and has been updated with fiber optic sights and an enhanced trigger.

Two versions of the M&P pistol will now be sold with an additional threaded barrel. The 9mm variants, which include the Performance Center M&P Ported and the Performance Center M&P C.O.R.E., allow owners to attach a suppressor without the need for tools. The additional threaded barrel that comes with both pistols adds $175 of retail value and a thread pattern of 0.5-inch-28-2A.


(800) 256-8685
The CCI Copper-22 has a California-legal bullet, which is constructed from a unique mix of copper particles and polymer compressed into a 21-grain hollowpoint bullet. Combined with CCI’s priming and propellant, Copper-22 loads achieve a muzzle velocity of 1,850 fps and provide accuracy.




(979) 820-3267
The Versacarry Versacarrier is a patented device for carrying a spare magazine. It installs like a standard round, between the last cartridge and the magazine’s feed lips for secure, lightweight carry. When needed, the user can draw the magazine and the carrier will compress to pass through the magazine’s feed lips. It works for IWB or OWB carry.

The Protector Series is an OWB holster handcrafted in the U.S. from premium English Bridle leather. The holster comes semi-shaped to expedite break-in and conforms to the user’s waistline. Its design keeps the pistol’s rear sight from irritating the wearer’s side. This holster is available in right-hand configurations only.


(816) 241-8500

Midland’s E+READYSeries is a complete line of radios to help the public prepare for just about any emergency. The series includes: the Emergency Crank Radio ER210, Emergency Crank Radio ER310, Midland Weather Alert Radio EH55VP and the Emergency Two-Way Radio EX37VP. All are portable and rechargeable communication options in case of an emergency.

Emergency Crank Radios ER210 and ER310 will give updates on incoming severe weather with their digital AM/FM and weather-band radio equipped with NOAA Weather Alert Radio capabilities. Efficient and compact, the radios have a built-in flashlight with SOS and strobe functions. These two models can also run using an ergonomic hand crank.

The Weather Alert Radio EH55VP features weather alert radio capabilities with the highest sound quality available. The EH55VP has S.A.M.E. technology, the ability to program and receive alerts and warnings specific to a particular location.
The E+READY Emergency Two-Way Radios (EX37VP) deliver crystal clear transmission, reception and sound quality. They have eVox hands-free operation and come with a mini-emergency case complete with flashlight and whistle.


Navy Arms Lightning


Navy Arms Parker-Hale Whitworth

(304) 274-0004

The Navy Arms Lightning features a stock made from hand-selected, Grade 1 American Walnut, checkered at the wrist and forend. The receiver and furniture are bone-charcoal color case-hardened in the U.S. and accented with Nitre-blued screws and a high-polish blued full octagonal barrel. The Navy Arms Lightning has a unique coil-spring extraction system that ensures fast, high ejection of spent cartridges. Sights are semi-buckhorn rear and gold-bead dovetail front sight. It’s available in both 20- and 24-inch models and in .45 Colt and .357.

The Navy Arms Parker-Hale Whitworth features an American walnut stock, which has the round “Parker-Hale” stock cartouche and is checkered at the wrist and forend. Bone charcoal color-case hardened hammers, locks and barrel bands are all hand-finished in the U.S. It also has a precision hammer-forged .451 hexagonal-bored barrel to ensure consistent accuracy at long range.


(631) 841-6300

The DeSantis Slim-Tuck (Style 137) is a minimal, ambidextrous IWB holster fashioned from Kydex. It uses the DeSantis’ tuckable 360 clip which allows the wearer unlimited mounting options. The Slim-Tuck is precision-molded from sturdy Kydex sheets with hardware that can be easily reversed from right to left. It is available for many concealable handguns.



The C.C.S. (Covert Carry Sling) is the newest member of the Badlands Black Tactical lineup of packs. At just under 1,000 cubic inches of total storage, the C.C.S. is equipped to hold everything from a laptop to shooting range supplies. The reversible sling strap design, coupled with the Badlands AirTrack Suspension, ensures a comfortable carry. Featuring Schoeller aramid fabric, the C.C.S. is extremely lightweight and durable. It is available in Gunmetal Gray and Serengeti Brown.


(800) 535-4213

The MAGNA T5 is a magnesium 1911 from Ultimate Arms. A government model, the Magna T5 weighs 20–25 oz. and has a G-10 grip with a built-in mag well. It also comes in a match-grade model with no accessory rail.


(781) 541-6900

ThermaCELL introduces the Max Life Repellant Mat, which provides 12 hours of protection from mosquitoes, black flies and no-see-ums. The Max Life Mat works with the entire collection of ThermaCELL products, including repellers, torches and lanterns. It’s heated with a butane cartridge, which vaporizes the repellent for effective, fast coverage. The Mat will create a 15-ft. by 15-ft. zone of protection.


(605) 347-4544

CORBON introduces the MPR-Multi Purpose Rifle Ammunition for personal use at home or the shooting range and in the field. The bullets in the new MPR feature a guilding metal jacket with a specially formulated lead core and a green acetal resin tip. The tip along with its boat tail reduces drag and improves ballistic coefficient. This in turn creates more reliable feeding in magazine-fed firearms. The new CORBON MPR ammo also provides rapid explosive expansion without excessive penetration, making it ideal for self-defense and for humane kills on varmints and deer-sized game.



Sneaky Pete Holsters has expanded its product choices by creating a new material: camouflage. The Camouflage Nylon Holster is made from the same high-quality ballistic nylon as other Sneaky Pete models. It’s available in a wide variety of size options.


(503) 783-5333

The LG-350 and the LG-350G are Crimson Trace’s newest Lasergrips. They have a unique two-surface design created to fit S&W’s J-Frame Round-Butt revolvers. Both feature Crimson Trace’s new Shock-Stop System technology with softer rubber panels on the front and rear segments to increase the shooter’s in-the-hand comfort, enhance control and reduce felt recoil. The Lasergrips’ middle section is more rigid to enhance stability and the interior has specially designed recoil chambers that run up the inner spine of the grip. The LG-350 features a red laser while the LG-350G has a green laser diode. Both can be installed easily and quickly with just a screwdriver. No special holster is needed to activate the laser sights.


(413) 568-7001

Savage Arms introduces the Model 42 Takedown (bottom photo), a shotgun/rifle combo firearm that breaks down with a simple push of a button. This combo gun fires rimfire rounds from the top barrel and .410 bore shotgun shells from the bottom. It’s available in .22 LR over .410 or .22 WMR over .410. The barrel is matte black to prevent glare and the synthetic stock is waterproof. It also comes with an Uncle Mike’s Go Bag, which has MOLLE loops, a robust carry strap and several pockets for ammo and gear.

In magnum rimfire, the A17 .17 HMR Target Models (top photo) are available in a Sporter Thumbhole and Sporter option. Each features gray wood-laminate stocks, heavy target barrels and a delayed-blowback action to ensure safe, reliable cycling.

Savage has also added new stainless barrel and hardwood stock options to the Axis II line, with the Axis II XP Stainless and Hardwood models. It features the AccuTrigger system and a boresighted Weaver Kaspa 3-9x40mm riflescope. Both models are available in .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., .308 Win., .25-06 Rem., .270 Win. and .30-06 Sprg.

The 16/116 Lightweight Hunter is for hunters in the deep country; it tips the scales at 5.65 or 5.8 lbs., depending on the caliber. It also features a rugged synthetic stock and 20-inch stainless steel barrel. The 16 Lightweight Hunter is available in .223 Rem., .243 Win., 7mm-08 Rem. and .308 Rem., while the 116 Lightweight Hunter is available in .270 Win.


(972) 8 648-8001

Maglula offers four more shades of the UpLULA 9mm-.45 universal pistol magazine loader. Made of polymer, the UpLULA is a military-quality loader that works with both single- and double-stack magazines. No adjustments, inserts or spacers are needed. Purple is the newest offering, along with DarkGreen, OrangeBrown and Lemon. With these bright colors, the UpLULA will stand out in range bags and are available at the same price point as the black UpLULA loader. Maglula Ltd. Israel manufactures the UpLULA.


(703) 288-3500

FNH USA announces the FN Military Collector Series, a product line that features commercial variants of FN’s most iconic and historic military designs. The FN 15 Military Collector M4 is chambered in 5.56 NATO and has a 16-inch barrel with a 1:7-inch right-hand twist. It features a Knights Armament M4 Carbine Rail Adapter System (RAS) with rail adapter covers on the forearm. The collapsible, six-position buttstock provides an adjustable length of pull of 11 to 14.25 inches. The FN 15 Military Collector M4 weighs 6.64 lbs. and comes with an aluminum 30-round magazine.


(877) 945-6837

Huntworth has added a men’s mid-weight pullover to hold heat for the early 2016 hunting season. The #9074 Men’s 1/2 Zip Performance Fleece Pullover is a 230-gram, four-way stretch performance fleece that provides flexibility and durability for active hunters. The interior uses ceramic print technology to keep cold out via the “HUNTWORTH” print pattern laminated inside of the pullover. It features a zippered left arm shoulder pocket, which will accommodate a large cell phone like the iPhone 6 Plus. It’s available in M, L, XL, XXL and XXXL.


(336) 237-1943

N82 Tactical has expanded its Mag Carrier line to include single-stack models for .22- up to .45 ACP-caliber handguns. The SS (Single Stack) Series carries magazines for a variety of handguns, including the GLOCK 42 and 43, Ruger LC9 and LCP, Springfield Armory XD-S in 9mm and .45 ACP, Taurus TCP and all 9mm and .45 ACP single-stack 1911s.


Clever Girl




OC3 fixed-blade

(503) 685-5015

Designed by Pat Cascio, the OC3 fixed-blade knife has a blade length of 6.072 inches with a plain edge, finished with a black powder coat. The handle is polished resin infused fiber. With an overall length of 10.938 inches, the OC3 weighs 8.3 oz. The Clever Girl features a 4.6-inch blade, with an overall length of 10.125 inches. Designed by Austin McGlaun, the Clever Girl has a G-10 handle and weighs 6.3 oz. The Pangolin by Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical has an overall length of 6.75 inches and weighs 3.4 oz. The plain-edge blade measures 2.975 inches and has a black powder coat finish. All three models come with a glass-reinforced nylon sheath.


(281) 777-0316

The BR4 Trident from Battle Rifle Company is designed for MARSEC (Maritime Security) operations and shipboard use. It’s available with an 11.5- or 16-inch barrel in a 1:7-inch twist, which also includes a 416S Stainless Steel Hi-Temp Cerakote finish that’s Cyrogenically-treated. The Hi-Temp Cerakote finish is also included on the upper and lower receivers, buffer tube, forearm quad rail and the front sight base. All components are coated with Nano Technology to ensure a watertight seal to prevent rust and corrosion due to wet environmental conditions.


(877) 247-4867

Airforce Airguns introduces the Model 94 Shooting Kit, which comes with a 4×32 scope and BKL rings. The Model 94 is a single-shot, synthetic stock break barrel air rifle available in .177, .22 or .25 and weighs 7.5 lbs. Depending on pellet weight, it delivers a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps. It features a fiber optic front sight, an adjustable rear sight and adjustable trigger.


(231) 229-4247

The Bohning Company has released a new vane specially designed for use with crossbows. The Bolt Vane measures 3.5 inches in length, 0.5 inches in height and weighs 11.5 grains. It’s made with a new, highly durable and rigid material meant to withstand the abuse when shot out of high-speed crossbows over long distances.


(888) 223-3006

Sierra Bullets introduces the 7mm 183-grain HPBT (#1983) to its MatchKing line of ammunition. A sleek 27-caliber elongated ogive and a final meplat-reducing operation give the 7mm 183-grain HPBT an increased ballistic coefficient for optimal wind resistance and velocity retention. This bullet is available in boxes of 100 and 500.


(434) 296-8600

Ashbury Precision Ordnance (APO) Mfg. has added the Super Magnum .408 and .375 CheyTac calibers to its line of Asymmetric Warrior (ASW) precision tactical rifles. The ASW rifles are based on the SABER VX, Ashbury’s octagonal geometry precision-manufactured bolt-action receivers. APO’s custom shop offers two specialized variants of the ASW in the new Super Magnum chamberings: the “K” and “ULR” models. The K model is a 24-inch barreled version designed for shooting at high density-altitudes. The ULR version (Ultra Long Range .375CT only) has a heavier barrel with a more rigid contour and faster twist rate.


Boone Messenger Bag


Jackson Carry-On Travel Pack

(800) 553-1098

The new Heritage Pack Collection from Browning Bags and Travel Gear includes the Boone Messenger Bag, Taos Commuter Day Pack, Jackson Carry-On Travel Pack and the Sundance Travel Kit. Designed for the traveling outdoorsman, the bags in the collection all have waxed Baumshell fabric, aluminum hardware and genuine leather trim.

The 1,200-cu in. Boone Messenger Bag and the 1,600-cu in. Taos Commuter Day Pack weigh 1.7 lbs. and 2.25 lbs., respectively. Both have a padded laptop and tablet sleeve and a travel-ready organizer. The latter is designed to easily attach Goal Zero solar panels to keep important electronics charged.

The 2,400-cu in. Jackson Carry-On Travel Pack weighs 2.5 lbs. and is large enough to carry a change of clothes for a quick trip. It comes with the Goal Zero ready pack which has a stow-away shoulder strap so it can also be used as a checked bag when flying. To quickly get through security at the airport, the pack can be unzipped and folded completely open to reveal the TSA approved laptop ready sleeve. This feature keeps the laptop in the bag as it passes through security.

The 110-cu in. Sundance Travel Kit is the right size for carrying important valuables or toiletry items when traveling.



Ravenwood International introduced an AR/22 Stock Kit for both standard and takedown models of the Ruger 10/22. The AR/22 Stock Kit puts an MSR spin on the traditional styling of the Ruger 10/22 and includes an aluminum forend, recoil pistol grip and six-position adjustable buttstock.


(607) 753-3331

Redding Reloading Equipment has created the Turret Stacker, a unique storage system for spare turret heads used on the T-7 turret reloading press. It allows reloaders to store multiple turret heads — two or three, depending on height — complete with dies adjusted and in place along with their corresponding bushings. The Turret Stacker features an anodized aluminum base in Redding Green, along with a blued steel, stacking spindle. The base is supplied with non-skid feet, which can be removed to reveal holes at each corner to give the user the option of mounting the unit to the bench with screws.


(660) 248-2293

CMMG presents the Mk47 KRINK muzzle device. New Mk47 models (AKS8 AR Pistol, AKS8 SBR and AKS13 rifle) come equipped with a KRINK muzzle device, which serves as a booster, flash suppressor, blast reducer and slightly reduces recoil.

The Mk47 AKS8 SBR has an 8-inch barrel, with a 9-inch RKM KeyMod Handguard, a Magpul CTR buttstock and Magpul MOE pistol grip. The Mk47 AKS13 has a 13-inch barrel with the KRINK muzzle device pinned and welded permanently to the end of the barrel to meet the 16-inch requirement for Title 1 firearms. It features a 15-inch RKM KeyMod handguard, Magpul CTR buttstock and MOE pistol grip.
By Jazz Jimenez & Jade Moldé

Read More Feature Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry December 2015 Issue Now!

Versatile Concealed- Carry Options For Women

Women’s CCW accessories have come a long way in the past few years. Recognizing the rise in women interested in self-defense, manufacturers have responded by offering more concealment products designed by women, for women. The options have evolved to incorporate more than just firearms — they now take into account a woman’s need for technology. There are many exciting CCW options, so let’s take a look at a few promising products.

Galco has always been a strong supporter of women in the shooting sports. Technology lovers will want the iDefense carry system, which is designed to protect a tablet as well as conceal a handgun. The iDefense safely secures a medium- or large-framed firearm and spare ammo with an elasticized nylon holster hidden within a lockable zipped compartment. A sturdy backing plate anchors the tablet, and it’s fully adjustable for tablet angle. The iDefense accommodates tablets up to 10 inches long, 7.5 inches wide and 3/8 inches thick. The iDefense measures 10x8x2.5 inches.


Galco Gunleather offers a variety of concealed-carry options,
including the iDefense (left) and CarrySafe Gen 2. These products
can be marketed for women, as well as men.

Another versatile product from Galco is the CarrySafe Gen 2. This holster, designed to turn any type of bag into a CCW holster, has an elasticized nylon holster — which attaches securely with Velcro to a stiff leather backing plate. An adjustable metal clip on the backing plate allows for customized ride height of the holster to accommodate different bags and draws. A reinforced thumb break retention strap secures the gun. This system is designed to work with all types of handguns. The included CarrySafe Accessory Carrier can be quickly and easily adjusted to fit a spare magazine, speed loader, speed strip, flashlight, pepper spray, and many other accessories. The CarrySafe is available for right hand draw in black.

Warm Up And Cool Down Options

Outerwear can be a part of women’s concealed carry plan as well. The SeV Annie Jacket from SCOTTeVEST sports 35 pockets, including a Rapid Access Pocket for a firearm and more. The jacket is designed to be both practical and fashionable without giving away its many features. A water-repellant black soft shell fabric allows for quiet movement and also conceals features like sleeve dagger pockets — for knives, flashlights or even pepper spray. Other features include a clear cellphone pocket, a tablet pocket and an RFID-blocking pocket to protect wallets and a passport.

Rivers West also offers CCW outerwear with the Women’s Full Metal Jacket. Designed specifically for fit and flatter women, two interior zipper pockets allow for crossdraw — while two exterior pockets are designed for strong-side draw. The Full Metal Jacket comes with one left- and one right-handed holster for a full-size handgun and even an extra magazine. A built-in shoulder harness helps distribute the weight of the gun and prevents snagging. A macro fleece exterior and waterproof/breathable membrane add to the wearer’s comfort. The Full Metal Jacket is available in black, olive or burgundy.

Warm weather CCW clothing options are also readily available to women.

UnderTech Undercover has tank tops and concealment shorts for women. These are compression-style garments worn under clothing and are made of fabrics designed to cool. The tank top features holsters on both sides of the body, making it ambidextrous and able to carry extra items like handcuffs or a spare magazine. A retention strap holds the firearm in place. The tank top comes in black, white or nude. The shorts can be worn under almost anything. It features two pockets for firearms and comes in black or white. Both garments are machine washable.

The Packin’ Tee from Ridge Outdoors offers women another concealment T-shirt possibility. The Packin’ Tee is universal for use and accommodates both small and large handguns. The Packin’ Tee uses a heavy-duty industrial strength hook and loop fastening system for side attachment pads. The heavy duty hook and loop attachment pads on both sides offer the ability to use one side for the gun holster and the other side for accessories such as a wallet/cell phone pouch or magazine pouch. Made of 100 percent preshrunk cotton, and sporting an extended length, the Packin’ Tee is available in white only.

A final T-shirt offering comes from 5.11 Tactical called appropriately, the Sleeveless Holster Shirt. Designed specifically for women, the Sleeveless Holster Shirt distributes weight evenly across the shoulders and an outer mesh layer prevents printing. The holster components are two integrated pockets accessed through the front of the shirt that give a woman the choice of draw. An inner neoprene layer cushions the firearm, while a terry cloth layer wicks away moisture. This shirt is available in black or white and made from a comfortable, formfitting polyester/spandex blend.


Lethal Lace is a one size fits all holster, available in a variety
of colors and can be worn on the ankle, leg, waist or chest.

Lethal Lace

A unique CCW choice for women is the Lethal Lace holster. It’s a 7-inch wide by 96-inch long piece of heavy-duty elasticized lace — sporting two pockets measuring 4.5 inches and 3.5 inches wide. These two pockets are further divided into two equal pockets for a total of four pockets. One removable neoprene insert is provided for extra comfort and cushioning. The multiple pockets are designed to conceal just about anything from a firearm or a knife, to pepper spray or a cell phone.

The Lethal Lace holster is highly versatile and can be wrapped around the body for carry on the ankle, leg, waist or chest. Strong suspender grips secure the holster in place and can be positioned in different ways for additional support and safety. Available in pink, teal, nude or black lace, this holster is one size fits all. It’s one of those products that takes some explanation and demonstration, but will result in satisfied women customers.

Stock To Your Customers’ Needs

The qualities of some of these products are difficult to see at first glance simply because they’re designed for concealment. A great way to introduce these products to women customers is to hold a special ladies night where women can model and try the products so they know exactly how they work and understand their many features. Tailor the items you stock to your customers’ needs and introduce them to a few items they didn’t know they needed yet. It will make for a fun, social night and will prompt sales.
By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Read More Arms & The Woman Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry December 2015 Issue Now!

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

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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

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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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Click To Read The Shooting Industry November 2015 Issue Now!

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

Read More Personal Defense Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry November 2015 Issue Now!

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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