Exclusive: Axeon Second Zero

An Accessory That Lives Up To Its Name

By Dave Workman

So, you’re out on the plains somewhere and spot this monster buck about 325 yards away, and your rifle is zeroed at 100 yards.
Do you start to crawl and sneak your way in his direction for a closer shot? Do you guesstimate bullet drop and hold over hoping for the best?

Neither of those things, provided you’ve got a clever little accessory mounted on the objective bell of your riflescope called the Second Zero from Axeon. Just flip this down over your objective, with a prescribed “second distance” eliminating the necessity of seat-of-the-pants calculation, hold on the buck as if he were a hundred yards away and press the trigger.

A separate model is designed primarily for mounting on the rail of a modern sporting rifle, and it flips up to cover the optical sight. The result is the same; the Second Zero provides an adjusted image. Just settle the crosshairs as you would if firing at a 100-yard target and fire.

The device shifts the image to adjust for bullet drop at the longer range. You don’t really have to do a thing other than shoot straight.

The Second Zero is described in manufacturer’s literature as “a prism driven optical device.” Flip the prism down over the scope and it automatically adjusts the image to allow for bullet drop at the longer range, and even account for the specific load being used.

Click Here To Download This Chart In A PDF

Axeon has developed a reference chart that shows which lens system you want for shooting a variety of calibers and bullet weights. If the scope is zeroed at 100 yards, the Second Zero will adjust the image to cause the bullet strike at 320, 360, 380 or 400 yards, depending upon the caliber and projectile. The chart lists several different calibers and bullet weights ranging from .223 Remington with 55/65-grain projectiles to the powerful .338 Lapua with 250- or 300-grain pills.

There are Second Zero systems for 40-44mm objective bells and 50mm objectives. The chart explains it all, and it is user friendly.

The second system for rail mounts is set up for .223/5.56mm rounds using 55- or 65-grain bullets, and .308/7.62mm with 125-, 150- or 165-grainers that adjusts for 320- or 500-yard shots when the scope is zeroed at 100 yards.

This patented device got a fair amount of attention earlier this year at the National Rifle Association convention in Atlanta, and I suspect it will get more as people try it out.

Axeon also builds riflescopes for hunting and tactical applications. At present, there are 15 different scope models available.

They also produce a dot sight and another device called the Absolute Zero, which features two precision lasers that makes it possible to zero your rifle in with three shots.
For more info: http://axeonoptics.com/

Make sure you get Exclusive Articles every week. Click here to sign up now.

Leupold & Stevens Optics

Leupold_450

Leupold & Stevens Inc. introduces the LTO-Tracker, its newest thermal detection and viewing tool. Fast 30hz frame rates and heat source detection out to 600 yards provide hunters exceptional viewing capability. The unit features a 20-degree field of view, 6X digital zoom, six thermal filters and 10 hours of continuous use from a single CR123 lithium battery. Its fast startup time and powerful sensor, effective from -4ºF to 140ºF, is also waterproof to IP67 standards.

Also joining the Leupold product line is the VX-3i LRP riflescope. The Long Range Precision (LRP) scope is ideal for target shooting or hunting. Featuring the Twilight Max Light Management System for optimal performance, choice of front focal plane or rear focal plane allows for shooter preference. Reticles and adjustments are matched in either MOA/MOA or mil/mil. Several reticle options are available, including the new Leupold CCH (Combat Competition Hunter) reticle. A removable throw lever allows for fast magnification adjustments — even when wearing gloves. Models are available in 4.5-14x50mm, 6.5-20x50mm and 8.5-25x50mm.

(800) 538-7653
www.shootingindustry.com/company/leupold-stevens-inc

Browning Pistol

Browning_1911_450

Browning introduces several new pistol models for 2017. The Black Label 1911-380 Medallion Pro will be available in Full Size and Compact versions. It features a matte black finish on the frame, blackened stainless steel finish with silver brush polished flats on the side of the slide and grips with checkered rosewood with gold Buckmark. A Buck Mark Field Target Suppressor-Ready .22 LR model features a heavy round 5.5-inch barrel in a matte blued finish — a thread protector is included. The Buck Mark Lite Flute UFX features a 5.5-inch steel barrel with alloy sleeve and fluting in a matte blued finish.

(800) 333-3288
www.shootingindustry.com/company/browning

Kimber Bel Air

kimber_450

Kimber has added models to the Micro 9 series. New models to the line include the CDP, CDP (LG), Raptor and Bel Air. Each Micro 9 includes a flush-fitting six-round magazine and an extended seven-round magazine is available as an accessory. Sights are steel and mounted in machined dovetails. The Micro 9 series features a barrel length of 3.15 inches and aluminum frames.

(888) 243-4522
www.shootingindustry.com/company/kimber

Personal Defense Showcase

Make sure your store stays at the top of your customers’ must-see list as they decide on their next (or first) personal-defense purchase: Consider adding these tried-and-true products to your inventory!

Black Hills Ammunition

HoneyBadger Ammunition

Black Hills Adds All-New HoneyBadger™ Options to 2017 Lineup: New for 2017, we’ve added the all-new HoneyBadger™ 9mm 125-grain and .45 ACP 135-grain for the ultimate in self-defense, plus a HoneyBadger™ .44 Magnum 160-grain for hunting or defense against four-legged predators. The HoneyBadger™ 9mm and .45 ACP were designed to provide optimum performance in ballistic gelatin while avoiding over-penetration.
www.black-hills.com

North American Arms

NAA Pug

The NAA “Pug,” derived from the Latin Pugnus, meaning Fist, can be characterized as “much in little,” in the small and convenient size. Squat and sturdy like its namesake dog, the NAA Pug is chambered in .22 Magnum and sports a 1-inch heavy barrel. Count on this stocky companion to deliver a bite even worse than its bark.
www.northamericanarms.com

Deep Conceal

BobCat Holster

Deep Conceal introduces the BobCat. Specifically designed to fit a woman’s body, the BobCat shoulder concealment holsters comes with handgun and magazine holster pockets allowing the wearer to conceal virtually any medium to small handgun. Mix and match handgun holster pockets as desired. These handgun holster pockets are also made to be tilted forward to cant the firearm. Dealers, email us for retail discounts at steve@nulldeepconceal.com.

Trijicon

RMR® TYPE 2

The new Trijicon RMR® TYPE 2 ruggedized miniature reflex sight is the ultimate concealed carry red dot. Newly optimized for handgun and extreme usage platforms, it features upgraded electronics for increased durability in the toughest conditions. It’s the sight customers will want for fast, both-eyes-open target acquisition, accurate aiming and proven reliability on numerous platforms, including side-mounted pistol applications.
www.trijicon.com

Kel-Tec

The New KSG-25® Shotgun

The new KSG-25® shotgun holds 24+1 rounds of 2 3/4-inch shells or 40+1 rounds of 1-1/2-inch shells – more than 3 times the capacity of ordinary shotguns. It’s the longest Kel-Tec barrel and dual tube magazines yet. However, at only 38-inches in overall length, it’s still shorter than most 12-gauge shotguns. Innovative Kel-Tec downward shell ejection makes the KSG-25® truly ambidextrous.
keltecweapons.com

FMG Publications

American Hangunner Concealed Carry

Concealed carry is a state of mind. The 2017 American Handgunner Concealed Carry Special Edition provides contemporary insight to the growing trends and options in personal defense. This FMG Special Edition is loaded with over 15 articles, including the influence law enforcement has on citizens when choosing a handgun, concealing full size service pistols under light attire and packing the perfect range bag.
www.fmgpubs.com/cc17

Deep Conceal

Duo Holster

Deep Conceal, the industry innovator in soft shoulder concealment holsters introduces our new “Duo”. It combines the comfort of our proven shoulder holsters with the convenience and retention security of Kydex. The Duo attaches inside our existing handgun holster pockets. Available for the most popular handguns, this product is now available with more models coming weekly. Special orders upon request. Dealers, email us for retail discounts at steve@nulldeepconceal.com.
www.deepconceal.com

North American Arms

NAA Bug Out Box With Talo

The NAA Bug Out Box with Talo is an emergency kit with room for ammo, a flashlight, a knife, etc. ­— all of which can be easily kept in an owner’s car or home. It can be deployed in any disaster- readiness scenario. This small, five-shot mini-revolver chambered in .22 LR has a stylized stepped barrel, XS Sights, and a sheriff-style cylinder pin.
bit.ly/naabugoutgog

SRM Arms

SRM M1228

SRM takes detachable magazine, semi-auto shotgun capacity to the max with the M1228. Built on SRM’s 1216 semi-auto platform with detachable rotating magazine, the M1228 is modified to accept mini-shells only, giving a magazine capacity of 28 rounds! The M1228 has an MSRP of $1,799.95 and like the 1216 is 100 percent made in the USA.
www.srmarms.com

Aero Precision

Aero Precision + Grey Ghost Precision GLOCK® Slides

Aero Precision has teamed up with Grey Ghost Precision to launch a complete line of GLOCK® G17 and G19 slides. Enhance your stock pistol, or add it to an 80 percent build. These slides are manufactured from 17-4 billet stainless steel to have tighter tolerances than a factory slide, providing increased accuracy and reliability you can count on.
www.aeroprecisionusa.com

FMG Publications

American Hangunner Personal Defense Survive

The American Handgunner Personal Defense Survive Special Edition blends the best of Handgunner’s reliable insights with the tips, tools and tricks to equip readers with a set of survival skills should the need arise. The issue features alternative survival weapon solutions for no-gun zones, common misconceptions about explosives, a step-by-step guide to building a knife from scratch and much more.
www.fmgpubs.com/survive17

Read More Feature Articles

Click To Read More Shooting Industry September 2017 Issue Now!

Programs To Promote Concealed Carry

You’re likely aware of dozens of companies that have programs to foster growth of accessories for concealed carry. We wanted to highlight three options from companies looking to expand their footprint with brick-and-mortar dealers. What programs have been successful for you in expanding the concealed-carry segment of your business? Send an email to
comments@nullshootingindustry.com.

Blue Force Gear ULTRAcomp Pocket Holster POP Display

Blue Force Gear

Blue Force Gear has developed point-of-purchase displays for the ULTRAcomp Pocket Holster, which will be sent to any dealer who purchases 80 holsters for their store. This high-performance line is available in eight models to fit the following popular concealed-carry pistols: SIG 238, SIG 938, Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard, Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, S&W J-Frame, Kimber Micro, Ruger LCP/LCP II, GLOCK 42 and GLOCK 43.

“Pocket pistols are still top sellers, and accessory sales represent a reliable way for dealers to increase their average sales,” said Tom Kaleta, Blue Force Gear marketing director. “With the Blue Force Gear ULTRAcomp Pocket Holster, customers will have the advantage of both safety and comfort with the thinnest pocket holster available today. For dealers, this is a great opportunity to increase the value of a sale, provide a high-quality American-made product with a lifetime warranty and have a great-looking display rack to help do the selling for them.”

Visit www.blueforcegear.com

Allett

Allett has been manufacturing the “world’s thinnest wallets” for over 20 years. It’s an American-made original stressing function over form to lighten the load of your customers.

There are three main lines produced by Allett: Ultra Slim Wallets, Slim Wallets and RFID Slim Wallets — which will appeal to your customers who want to keep their private information secure. Each wallet in the company’s collection is designed to be ergonomic and efficient, keeping things slim and minimalistic.

Allett offers retailers an attractive point-of-purchase display for free ($50 value) with a minimum purchase of $425. The display comes in two variations: a tabletop display (pictured) or as a hanging display for slat walls.

Visit www.all-ett.com

CCW Breakaways

CCW Breakways has announced a new marketing and sales program for its patented, built-in holsters. The program makes it simple for brick-and-mortar dealers: with no inventory to stock, orders to take or fulfilling orders. Company officials shared all that would be required is for a dealer to display one of CCW Breakaways’ banners in-store, on a website or social media page or in a newsletter email blast. CCW Breakways’ e-commerce system would credit the store with the sales commission, and then handle the order and drop ship the product directly to the consumer.

“In our product line offering, we have 140 basic SKUs, plus accessories — and most FFLs cannot afford to stock our inventory,” said Jay French, president of CCW Breakways. “Our program allows them to participate in our sales and earn revenue, without stocking, without ordering and without the burden of fulfillment. We do it all!”

As part of the initiative, CCW Breakaways created a website just for Shooting Industry readers. In addition, the company is able to provide 8×10-inch rugged PVC displays (like the image above) and hyperlinked e-banners to interested retailers.

Visit www.ccwbreakaways.com/shootingindustry


B2B NEW PARTNERSHIPS

DISTRIBUTION

Tactical Solutions has added AcuSport as a distributor. AcuSport will stock the majority of the TacSol line, including the new X-Ring Takedown rifle featuring the Magpul Backpacker Stock.

Apex Tactical Specialties has welcomed Zanders Sporting Goods as its newest distributor.

Crow Shooting Supply is now a full-line distributor for Henry Repeating Arms. Crow is the first new Henry distributor in 15 years and carries more than 100 Henry models in stock.

SALES

Bentley-Scott Marketing has been selected to represent HSM Ammunition in the states of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

Bear & Son Cutlery has signed Tim Bailey & Associates Inc. to represent GATCO Sharpeners, Bear OPS, Bear Edge and Bear & Son Cutlery across the Midwest. Alliance Sports Group will handle sales for the East Coast, and Wild West Marketing will grow relationships and sales opportunities throughout the West Coast.

GPO, USA has hired Total Sales & Marketing to represent the company in 13 western states.

Honor Defense has announced new sales and marketing partnerships with Sportco Marketing in the Midwest and Outdoor Outfitters Group Inc. in the MINK states. Additionally, Honor Defense has partnered with Jones & Company for sales and marketing in the Southeast.

Styrka has tapped More & Molloy, Inc. to represent the company’s growing line of optics in 13 western states.

American Built Arms Company (A*B Arms) has partnered with Don Coffey Company for representation in Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Arizona, California, Nevada, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming.

RAND CLP has selected Homeland Marketing Group to promote the company’s full line of firearm cleaning products throughout the Southeast while Jim Ferry & Associates is charged with promotion throughout the western U.S.

Silent Legion has partnered with Odle Sales. In addition, Ahern Sales Group has been tapped for sales representation in the TALO states.

PR/MARKETING

Ballistic has selected Source Outdoor Group (SOG) for its media planning and public relations support. Additionally, Silent Legion has partnered with SOG to execute its strategic marketing and media outreach plans.

Dark Storm Industries LLC (DSI) has signed Laura Burgess Marketing (LBM) to build brand awareness as a source for compliant AR platform rifles in New York, California, Massachusetts and Connecticut, and for DSI’s standard rifles for consumers across free states.

Tweed Media International will handle Leica Sports Optics’ PR across North America.

PolyCase has named CMG Marketing & Events and the Murray Road Agency as its agencies of record. CMG will be responsible for PR, media buying and event planning, while Murray Road will cover creative services and social media.

FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT:

www.abarms.com
www.acusport.com
www.aherngroupllc.com
www.alliancesportsgroup.com
www.apextactical.com
www.ballisticapp.com
www.bearandsoncutlery.com
www.cmgmarketingandevents.com
www.crowshootingsupply.com
www.dark-storm.com
www.doncoffey.com
www.gpo-usa.com
www.gzanders.com
www.henryusa.com
www.honordefense.com
www.lauraburgess.com
www.moremolloy.com
www.murrayroadagency.com
www.odlesales.com
www.outdooroutfittersgroup.com
www.polycaseammo.com
www.randclp.com
www.silentlegion.com
www.sourceoutdoorgroup.com
www.sportcomarketinginc.com
www.styrkastrong.com
www.tacticalsol.com
www.thehuntingshack.com
www.tim-bailey.com
www.totalsales.com
www.tweed-media.com
www.wildwest-marketing.com
www.us.leica-camera.com

Read More B2B Resources

Click To Read More Shooting Industry September 2017 Issue Now!

Find Your Self-Defense Mainstays

By Carolee Anita Boyles

Self-defense products continue to be hot sellers. Whether customers are purchasing handguns, shotguns, MSRs or non-lethal tools for self-protection, the category continues to sell well and bring in customers — even in today’s softened market.

Chuck Cunningham is the sales manager for Annie’s Guns in Fremont, Calif. He shared handguns and shotguns continue to be the backbone of his self-defense sales.

“If a customer is buying a 12-gauge shotgun, it’s generally something like an 18- or 20-inch barrel from Mossberg or Remington — usually a Mossberg 500 or 590, or a Remington 870 Tactical,” he relayed.

In handguns, most sales are in 9mm. When it comes to brand, customers are typically looking for something to fit their hands.

“If it’s from Smith & Wesson it’s usually the SD9 VE,” he noted. “If it’s a GLOCK, it’s usually a GLOCK 17 or 19, from SIG SAUER the SP2022, from Beretta the 92FS and from Springfield Armory the XD series in 9mm.”

In a positive trend, Cunningham still sees a lot of first-time shooters.

“When we qualify someone as a first-time shooter, one of the things we do is get them into a safety class,” he said. “After they take the class, they progress to a hands-on firing class. We start them out on a .22 LR and then progress them when they feel comfortable. After they’ve done that, when they purchase a gun they usually stick with a 9mm.”

Cunningham shared neighborhood violence continues to drive sales in his locale.

“The story I hear a lot is the neighbor down the street got burglarized,” he said. “And it’s not just once; it’s maybe two or three times in someone’s neighborhood.”

Recently, a local news story with video from a homeowner’s internal security system showed burglars tying up the homeowner frightened a lot of people, Cunningham said.

“That was right in this neighborhood. Now a lot of people are deciding, ‘It’s time,’” he added.

Mossberg 590 Shockwave

Smith & Wesson 509

Non-Lethal Alternatives

Besides hosting classes for customers who purchase handguns, Cunningham also offers classes in non-lethal methods of self-defense. He has an instructor in the store who is qualified on Sabre products and who teaches a class once a month on non-lethal options such as pepper sprays and gels, stun guns and other products.

“There are a lot of those customers out there,” Cunningham affirmed. “The people who still aren’t sure about having a gun, or they’re frightened of guns. They want something, but they’re not sure they can take a life. There hasn’t been much of a rise or a decline; it’s been pretty steady.” (Cunningham shared around 10 percent of these customers eventually go on to purchase firearms.)

The most popular product in non-lethal options, according to Cunningham, is pepper gel with blue marking dye.

“As we explain it in class, they spray the person who’s trying to attack them, get away and then call 911,” he said. “When the officer arrives and asks who did this, the person can tell the officer, ‘Look for the guy who looks like Papa Smurf.’”

Although he sells several pepper gels, Cunningham claimed Sabre pepper gel with blue dye is his number-one seller.
“Once they see that blue dye, it’s what they purchase,” he said.

Training is a key part of Paul Davidson’s business plan. Female firearms instructors,
like Jacyln Scott (pictured here), help foster a welcoming environment for first-time
gun owners.

Find The Right Fit

At Davidson’s Guns in Henderson, Nev., Owner Paul Davidson has seen a lot more self-defense sales in general over the last couple years — as well as an increase in smaller, more concealable guns.

“There’s also been an increased interest in CCW classes. We’ve had a lot of women coming in to purchase their first concealed carry firearms, both for home and personal carry,” he shared.

News stories about break-ins and other crimes are helping to drive the desire of customers to purchase self-defense firearms, Davidson noted. The store offers a wide variety of self-defense classes, including CCW classes, personal protection both inside and outside the home and basic firearms handling for beginners.

When a new customer comes in, Davidson has instructed his staff to start by finding out as much about the customer as they can.

“We try to find out what they’re looking for in a firearm,” he said. “Is it for self defense at home, or self defense they’ll be carrying personally? We encourage them to take classes and find out what gun fits for them. For example if you’re at home, it’s much easier to have a larger-framed firearm with a higher-capacity magazine than it is if you’re going to be keeping your gun in your purse or a holster on your body.”

SABRE Red Pepper Gel

Shotguns are especially suited to have at home, according to Davidson.

“If someone hears a shotgun racking, it’s going to make them think twice,” he said. “They may not hear you pulling a handgun out of a holster or racking a slide. A shotgun makes a very distinctive, very loud noise. The one we recommend depends on the situation in which the customer wants to able to protect themselves.”

Likely the case at your store, Davidson’s customers buy a mix of brands and models.

“We’ve been selling a lot of concealable guns for people to be able to carry,” he said. “We sell a lot of Smith & Wesson Shield and Bodyguard, GLOCK 42 and 43 and Ruger LC9. The most popular are the Bodyguard and the GLOCK, because they’re small and compact and are at a great price point. They’re both very reliable, very easily concealed firearms and have good prices on them.” One reason for the great prices right now, Davidson shared, is manufacturers are trying to move inventory and are offering a lot of sales and promotions.
In shotguns, customers are looking for the Mossberg 500, the Mossberg Shockwave and the Remington Tac-14.

“The Shockwave has a 14-inch barrel and a bird’s head grip on it, so it’s a lot smaller shotgun,” Davidson said. “The Mossberg 500 they’re looking for is the one with either a pistol grip or a shoulder stock, but with an 18-inch barrel rather than a longer hunting or sport barrel. The Remington Tac-14 is basically Remington’s version of the Shockwave.”

Federal Premium Ammunition Personal Defense HST Micro

Comp-Tac Flatline Holster

Like much of the industry, Davidson is looking forward to the passage of the Hearing Protection Act.

“When you’re training — especially a new person — one of the things that happens is the first time they fire the gun, the loud noise startles them. With the suppressor on the gun, it still has noise, but it reduces the initial shock,” he noted. Davidson asserted this will help new shooters build confidence as they practice and begin developing their shooting skills.

Like Cunningham’s store, Davidson still has customers who ask for non-lethal products for self defense.

“If a customer isn’t ready for a firearm, there are several non-lethal options we recommend,” he said. “TASER makes a couple different models that use the same type of technology most police officers carry. They shoot barbs about 15 feet, which keeps the person at a distance; they’re not close enough to you to where you’re having to use something like a stun gun to actually reach out and touch them to incapacitate them. The Taser will disable anyone who is trying to attack you.”

He said TASER products use NMI, neuromuscular incapacitation technology, which temporarily overrides an attacker’s central nervous system, limiting muscular control for 30 seconds. Pepper spray also ranks high on Davidson’s list.

In today’s current sales environment, it’s important to offer both firearms and other non-lethal alternatives to boost self-defense sales — and cater to an increasingly diverse group of nontraditional shooters.

What concealed-carry firearms and non-lethal products have stood out to your customers? Let us know at comments@nullshootingindustry.com or post your thoughts on SI’s website.

Read More Feature Articles

Click To Read More Shooting Industry September 2017 Issue Now!

From Fast And Frenzied To Slow And Steady

How Are Long Guns Faring In New Environment?

By Tim Barker

In a story that likely rings true for most of the industry, John Stephenson, general manager of Metro Shooting Supplies in Bridgeton, Mo., recalls the turmoil faced by stores and their customers over the previous eight years. The worst of it came in the weeks following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

As talk in Washington, D.C., focused on the potential renewal of an assault weapons ban, sales of MSR-style rifles went off the charts. At the time, the suburban St. Louis store had some 1,000 MSRs in stock. Three weeks later, they were all gone.

“And then you couldn’t replace them,” Stephenson recalled.

It’s a different story today: “I wouldn’t call MSR sales stagnant,” he said. “But I wouldn’t call them hot either.”

The experience is similar at Arms-R-Us in Spring Creek, Nev., where co-owner Robert Buckley said there’s been a noticeable shift in the business. And that’s made it far easier to find inventory for his store.

“It’s changed dramatically in five months,” Buckley shared. “Before the election, I couldn’t get online and order an MSR. But now I can go through my wholesalers and get just about anything.”

Perhaps the best way to describe the evolution of the long-gun market over the course of just a few months is this: shoppers now have time to think before they buy. Both stores have watched this play out. Customers no longer have the looming threat of gun bans and magazine restrictions forcing them to make quick decisions.

Long-Guns-Lead

“Customers aren’t making any rash purchases,” said Stephenson of Metro Shooting. “They’re buying guns they’ve always wanted to own.”

And while some stores have reported slower business in the wake of last year’s unexpected presidential election results, Stephenson said Metro’s sales have remained brisk, with the store ahead of where it was a year ago. Sales at the store (which has nearly 9,000 square feet of retail space — and a sister store in nearby Belleville, Ill.) are still dominated by the handgun market.

Still, MSRs and home-defense shotguns are popular; bolt-action rifles aren’t much of a draw in this urban market. Still, they have seen sales of some of the higher-end rifles, including the Ruger Precision Rifle, MasterPiece Arms and the Savage 10 BA.

In the shotgun market, it’s the home-defense models attracting the most attention. Top sellers include the Remington 870, Mossberg 500 and 930 JM Pro Series.

“The most popular are the standard configuration, police models,” Stephenson observed. This includes the Mossberg 500 Persuader, with the pistol grip option — even if customers aren’t actually installing the pistol grip. “People like to have the option,” he said.

In the MSR segment, the most sought after rifles are those around the budget-friendly $700 range. Top sellers include the Smith & Wesson M&P Sport 15, Ruger AR-556 and Springfield Armory’s new Saint. In the higher-end range, standouts include the Smith & Wesson M&P 15T and rifles by Daniel Defense.

long3

Winchester SXP FDE

long2

Nosler Match Grade

Hunting, High-End Drivers

At Arms-R-Us in Nevada, rifle sales (there’s a pretty even split between MSRs and bolt-actions) are often driven by local hunting seasons. In the spring, this means a heavy emphasis on controlling pests — like ground squirrels that wreak havoc on local farms, ruining crops and digging holes, which injure cattle.

“I have people who will go out and shoot 20,000 to 40,000 squirrels every spring,” Buckley said. “They need guns and ammo; it drives rimfire sales this time of year.”

And while .22 has long been popular with those hunters, a scarcity of the cartridge has pushed many of those hunters to .17 HMR.

When the focus shifts to coyotes, hunters generally opt for .223 and .243. For deer, they choose 7mm and .30-06. Then, for the elk and other large game, it’s .300 Win. Mag.

But even without the hunting, the region’s wide open spaces are increasingly encouraging recreational shooters to consider some of the larger long-range calibers for target shooting, Buckley noted.

The store has something of an unusual dynamic, it’s located smack in the middle of gold mining country. The men and women who work in the mines make a considerable amount of money. And they tend to spend it fast.

“The amount of money in this county is pretty high as far as wage earners. Impulse buys are pretty strong,” Buckley shared.

As such, he tries to maintain a broad range of offerings in his inventory, though he has a heavy tactical emphasis. His MSRs generally run in the $600 to $1,800 range, providing options for the budget-minded buyer as well as the mineworker looking for something special.

“The family guy who’s broke a day after payday is the guy who’s buying the cheap AR,” he said. “The guy who doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck is spending $1,000 to $1,500.”

At the higher end of the scale, he’s had good luck selling rifles by LWRCI, Daniel Defense and Barrett. Popular mid-range brands include Smith & Wesson and Del-Ton. And at the lower end, he sells Diamondbacks for around $600.
“It’s a nice little gun that gets you out the door and you have an MSR,” he said.

Most of his stocking decisions, he said, are based on the prices he can get for customers, provided the gun is something he’s comfortable selling.

“I know I have to keep lower-end items in the store or I’m going out of business,” he said. “I look at what’s on sale first. I want to offer something that’s quality at a good price. I could buy cheaper MSRs, but I don’t want to sell them.”

long6

John Stephenson (top) and Robert Buckley have found success in offering both
entry-level and high-priced long guns to customers. A welcoming, customer-friendly
environment provides an additional storefront benefit.

long5

long4

Ruger Precision Rifle

extra_daniel

Christensen Arms Mesa/Daniel Defense DDM4V7

Cause-Worthy Ventures

Both stores tout the importance of strong customer service, particularly in an environment that could become increasingly competitive without fear-driven buying. Arms-R-Us offers CCW classes aimed at women, aimed at women and also supports local youth clubs.

And back in Missouri, Metro Shooting offers an occasional “Ladies’ Night” with discounts for women. They’ve also sponsored a youth shooting team and offer free range time for kids under the age of 12.

They’re also making a push to be more involved in social media, particularly Facebook, Stephenson said.
“Now we have a guy who keeps his eye on it full time, we’re seeing the use of it step up,” he said.

Read More Feature Articles

SI0817_400

Click To Read More Shooting Industry August 2017 Issue Now!

Switch On Profits!

Flashlight Options Have Never Been Brighter

By Pat Covert

Savvy firearms retailers know accessories sales are a big key to lighting up the bottom line, and flashlights are an excellent category for doing so. One reason flashlights are so lucrative is every firearm owner can use one, whether they’re into hunting and sports shooting, or if they need one for law enforcement or basic self-defense.

This category spans the user universe; and the profit margins, as with many accessories, are excellent. In addition to flashlights you also have subcategories such as gun-mounted lights, headlamps, lanterns and bike lights from which to generate even more profits. Are you getting your share?

Flashlights and related accessories have been a fast-paced category for the past few years thanks to rapid gains in innovation and technology. As a consequence, the onus has been placed on the firearms retailer to keep up with these changes in order to give their customer the latest, greatest products. We thought it would be interesting to talk to four insiders — two from the manufacturing side plus two storefront firearms retailers — on the frontline of flashlights sales to get their comments on what’s selling in this lucrative market.

flashlight1

Packing A One-Two Punch

Representatives from two major manufacturers provided their observations on what they see as the hottest trends today.

“As always the market is pushing to provide brighter, smaller and lighter products,” stated Andrew Wright, SureFire public relations manager. “That said, there is also a significant spike in interest of rechargeable products.”

Wright forecasts a similar shift in gun lights, “The same trend of products getting brighter, smaller and lighter is true for weapon lights as well, with a definite emphasis on size and weight being important — especially in the concealed-carry market.”

When asked about Surefire’s hottest sellers, Wright informed, “Our Fury line of lights is definitely one of the most popular product lines we have. They’re robust, extremely bright and relatively compact for the output and beam pattern. As far as weapon lights go, our X300 Ultra series of lights is by far the best selling. Its 600-lumen output combined with a compact and lightweight package makes it an awesome product for handguns and long-guns alike.”

Braent Hong, Fenix Lighting sales manager, provided his take on flashlight trends and hot sellers. According to Hong, “Fenix will gradually develop and perfect the product line layout of the FD series focusing flashlight, and study remaining runtime and intelligent output selection technique in depth. A number of new ‘intelligent’ flashlights will gradually be launched.”

As for hot tickets in the Fenix line? Hong relayed Fenix does well with the PD35TAC, TK16, TK15UE, TK20R and TK32 models.

“These lights are very popular for tactical usage, law enforcement, as well as hunting thanks to their functionality and performance,” Hong shared. “As for the production of gun lights, Fenix will focus on shotgun lights to meet the demands of the hunting markets.”

flashlight2

Pelican 3310R

flashlight3

Kel-Tec CL-42

On The Frontlines

You can’t get any closer to the flashlight consumer than the point of sale, so it’s beneficial for business owners to garner some insight from the retail side. Jeff Chastain is in charge of marketing and buying for Simmons Sporting Goods, a very successful, all encompassing outdoors retailer in Bessemer, Ala.

“We’re seeing a trend in flashlights with higher lumens in a much smaller, compact size,” Chastain said, mirroring the same comments as the manufacturers above. “The newer LED lights offer a longer burn time and less pull down on power sources.”

As for weapon lights, Chastain concluded, “Our customers are going for multiple choices in light beams — from high intensity to strobe versions. Combination models with built-in lasers, like the Streamlight TLR-2, are popular.”
Hoover Tactical Firearms, as the name implies, is a retailer focused on tactical and self-defense located in Hoover, Ala. Hoover Tactical incorporates a firearms training classroom and indoor shooting range inside their large complex. Not only do they sell a wide range of handguns and long guns, but accessories like flashlights and weapon lights as well.

Weapon lights are currently in demand at Hoover Tactical, according to General Manager Kerry Bradley.

“Right now the up-and-coming trends for us continue to be weapons lights. Next would be small compact lights that can be placed in the pocket — the brighter the better. I can remember when I thought my 75 lumens light was the bee’s knees. Now you’d have to strike a match to see it burn,” he said.

As for specific brands and models, Bradley noted, “Overall we sell a lot of Streamlight, Fenix, NEBO and SureFire. The Streamlight TLR-1 is what I call the gold standard for us. It delivers up to 800 lumens, is very durable, fits a lot of weapons and has a huge selection of holsters available. They’re almost indestructible and have been that way for years. Also the inexpensive Fenix lights are a good seller for us.”

flashlight6

Colt AmRam-800 Judge

flashlight7

SureFire Combatlight MaxVision

flashlight8

Streamlight Strion DS HL HPL

Glowing Profits

As a retailer, you’re likely aware profit margins in flashlights, weapon lights and related accessories are more forgiving than those in the highly competitive firearms end of your business. By keeping up with hot trends and stocking these products you’re creating an excellent opportunity for secondary sales. Since this is a fast-paced category, it’s important to have an informed sales staff who can make wise recommendations to your customer in order to close the sale.

You should also display your flashlights prominently. Some retailers place their flashlights near the checkout counter for a “grab-and-go” secondary sale. In addition, there are extra profits to be made beyond flashlight and weapon light sales with other enlightening accessories such as bike lights, headlamps and lanterns for field use — all of which have benefitted from the innovations in LED lighting as well. The profits are there for the taking … all you need to do is hit the switch!

Read More Feature Articles

SI0817_400

Click To Read More Shooting Industry August 2017 Issue Now!

5 Tips

For Integrated Marketing On A Budget

By Mark Kakkuri

The firearms industry may be in a bit of slowdown following last year’s presidential election and the ripple effects of pro-gun legislation across the nation. And you’re wondering whether your marketing efforts should follow a similar slower pace. Contrary to popular belief, this might actually be the time to pick up the pace of your marketing — but with some clever, low-budget tactics and an integrated approach. Here are five effective integrated marketing tips to keep your products and services in front of your customers, while watching the budget.

1. Social Media

Your customers are very likely on some form of social media — and probably checking it all day long via their mobile devices. Will they see or hear anything from you? In just a few minutes you can launch a company Facebook page and ask all your friends to follow it. Then, post videos, photos and information about your business: A video of an employee fulfilling an order, inventory arriving at your store or an informal tour of your company. It’s okay to use the video camera on your mobile phone to do this but keep it short, simple and professional.

For an even simpler solution, check out Instagram. Start a company Instagram account, and, if you have a product-intensive business, post photos of your products on a daily basis or, better, people using your products. Ask for current customers to submit photos or run a photo contest. Remember: Your social media platforms should point to your company website and your company website should offer content from your social media platforms.

2. Email Marketing

You’ve probably received your fair share of annoying emails — somebody trying to sell you something you don’t want or need. But, I’m guessing every now and then you get an email with a subject line that captures your attention and gets you to open it and read it. You should be sending out marketing emails that, for your current and yet-to-be customers, fall in to the latter category. Lots of resources exist for how to start an email marketing program but basically it boils down to this: capture customer and potential customer emails, use a good email marketing tool such as Constant Contact or MailChimp, and know your customers and communicate with them in a way that truly serves them.

To get email addresses, ask for them on your website, in your social media feeds and in your store. In exchange, offer truly useful content such as coupons or expert advice. Offer anyone you email the opportunity to easily unsubscribe or renew. In other words, never spam anyone and follow proper email marketing etiquette. Finally, communicate regularly but purposefully, carefully and patiently.

Editor’s Note: Outdoor Marketplace regularly covers additional ways to blend technology and commerce — see the July 2016 issue (“Beyond The Bricks: Embracing ‘Click And Mortar’”) for more.

tips1

3. Store Event

If you run a traditional brick-and-mortar store, the key is to get people to the store and in the door — and then keep their interest while they’re there. As you run your digital marketing campaign (Tips 1 and 2 above), don’t forget the more traditional means of reaching out. Got a local “celebrity” who has something to do with your industry? Invite them to the store to do a “meet and greet” with customers for an hour or two. Or, invite a representative from your local police department to hold a Q&A at your store on safety or some aspect of shooting. No doubt you are an expert on your own products and services; as such, offer a free training event to teach customers about your product or service and how to use it. If you offer products made by another manufacturer, contact the manufacturer to see if they’ll send a representative to your store to present or educate. Or, offer a storewide special on just that manufacturer’s products.

4. PSA/Press Release

You don’t have to be a public relations pro to get editorial coverage in your local newspaper. In fact, newspapers are often looking for local events to cover. If, for example, you’re holding a public training event in your store (Tip 3), send a public service announcement or press release to the managing editor of your local newspaper. Give them the facts of the event and invite them to attend. The editor may do anything from running a brief announcement in the print and online versions of the newspaper to sending a reporter to cover the event. Be prepared to show the reporter around, offer comments and quotes, and pose for pictures. If a story publishes, let it be known on your website, social media feeds and email marketing (Tip 1 and 2).

5. Customer Service

Sometimes the best marketing is the individual service you provide to your customers, day in and day out. You know the rule: Treat someone professionally and kindly and word-of-mouth can bring in new customers. To facilitate more of these kinds of referrals, ask your current customers to comment on your company’s Facebook or Instagram page (from Tip 1) or get their permission to quote them in an email (from Tip 2). In other words, use their testimonial to help convince others your business is worth their time and effort.


tips2

MarkIV 2245 Lite

OM Extra!

Ruger Mark IV Safety Recall

In June, Ruger announced it was recalling all Mark IV pistols (including 22/45 models) manufactured prior to June 1, 2017. Ruger recently discovered the pistols have the potential to discharge unintentionally if the safety is not utilized correctly.

In a statement, the company said: “Although only a small percentage of pistols appear to be affected and we are not aware of any injuries, Ruger is firmly committed to safety and would like to retrofit all potentially affected pistols with an updated safety mechanism.”

To simplify this recall process for retailers and consumers, Ruger created a website portal where customers can input their Mark IV’s serial number to determine whether or not it needs to be retrofitted and to sign up for the recall: www.ruger.com/markIVRecall. This webpage also provides additional information, such as four short videos that provide an overview of the recall, how a customer can check his or her pistol, what the retrofit process entails and how to ship the pistol to Ruger.

Ruger will retrofit Mark IV pistols with new parts on a first-come, first-served basis. Once ready, the company will send a prepaid USPS box with a shipping label and detailed packaging/shipping information to the customer — who would need to mail the grip frame assembly only. Ruger stated it will “make every effort” to return each pistol within one week after it arrives and a free magazine as a “thank you” for customers’ patience and cooperation.
Ruger’s handling of this recall exemplifies standout customer service.

Visit www.ruger.com/markIVRecall

Read More Feature Articles

SI0817_400

Click To Read More Shooting Industry August 2017 Issue Now!

~