Questions for the Judge

You’ve seen the Taurus Judge series of revolvers — the .410 shotshell or .45 Long Colt firing 5-rounders. I’m pleased to report I’ve got one in the stable and it’s about to undergo my usual battery of highly structured torture testing, namely: loading it up right out of the box, firing a bunch of rounds from a grab bag of spare ammo, and handing it to my shooting buddies who eye just about everything with a “prove it” kind of attitude. It’ll probably get dropped (accidentally, of course), left dirty, and basically treated like a rental car. Throughout this real-life testing, I’ll have some questions for the Judge:

1. Should I load up with just .410 shot shells?

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Five rounds of .410 is a very effective load for self defense — as long as you’re very aware of the limitations, following the gun safety rules, etc.

2. Should I load up with just .45 LC?

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Five rounds of .45 LC (AKA .45 Colt) is also a great load for self defense. With these you’re punching clean holes in a target. But aiming and knowing your target of course is still critical.

I could sneak in another question here, such as: What about loading up with a combination of .410 and .45 LC? And then, which do I want to fire first? And what order for the rest?

3. Is there enough stock to hang on to when firing?

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These “Ribber” stocks (or grips, if you’re so inclined) are excellent on other Taurus guns. I expect the same performance here despite only getting two fingers around them.

4. Does the sight offer enough for properly aiming?

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Face it, this is a close range gun for what will likely be a last-second, last-ditch attempt to defend a life. Will the red fiber optic dot on the front sight be enough?

5. Is it just too big for concealed carry?

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Any gun can be concealed, if you work hard enough. But I want to know if this is a viable option for all-day on-body carry.

By the way, here are the Judge’s specifications:

  • Model: 4510PLYFS
  • Finish: Blue
  • Status: Available
  • Caliber: 45 Colt/410-ga (2.5″ chamber)
  • Grips: Ribber
  • UPC: 7-25327-61069-4
  • Capacity: 5
  • Weight: 27.0 oz.
  • Barrel Length: 2″
  • Height: 4.6″
  • Frame: Small
  • Width: 1.5″
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Front Sight: Fixed w/fiber optic (red)
  • Length: 7.65″
  • Safety: Taurus Security System,Transfer Bar
  • Trigger Type: Smooth
  • Order #: 2-441021PFS
  • MSRP: $514.17

Finally, how would you answer these questions? You be the Judge.

— Mark Kakkuri

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Barrel Blok Your Gun

You can train with a blue gun or a red gun but it won’t be your gun. But when you do non-shooting training drills with your gun — a real gun — you’re constantly checking to make sure it is safe. Unloaded. Wait a minute; making sure again. Unloaded, right? Yes.

A handful of tools have entered the marketplace to help shooters know, for sure, if a gun is unloaded and therefore safe. The one you see here — Barrel Blok — ensures a gun is unloaded but also prevents a round from being chambered. Moreover, you can set up your gun’s magazine to function in your Barrel Blok’d gun so you can do magazine training as well. It’s a simple concept: block the barrel and demonstrate that it is so but still allow the gun to function as if it is a loaded gun. Here’s how it looks and works:

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Barrel Blok comes in caliber-specific models. This one’s a 9mm and I’ve got it inserted in an Honor Guard Honor Defense pistol. Just put it in as far as you can and let the slide snap shut on it. Barrel blocked. And the protrusion out the muzzle lets you know the gun is unable to be fired and unable to chamber a round.

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Here’s the gun, fully in battery (but not really), with the protrusion telling the story. By the way, you trim the protrusion to whatever length makes sense for your training — holster clearance, etc.

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Barrel Blok comes with MagBlok dummy rounds for your gun’s magazine. Insert these with the open end up, put the magazine in your gun, and — with the Barrel Blok installed — you can train using drills which include racking the slide and squeezing the trigger. The rounds do not feed — they can’t go anywhere, anyway — but they do allow the slide to function. Do not load any real cartridges before, during, or after installing a MagBlok. Make sure the magazine is free of all live/real rounds before doing any of this.

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Here’s a view of the Barrel Blok with a MagBlok in place. This gun is perfectly safe, able to be used safely in training, and anyone who sees it will know it.

Barrel Blok retails for $12.99 and comes with three MagBloks — in 9mm, .40, .45 ACP, and .357. Ready to start training with your gun?

— Mark Kakkuri

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Selling Ruger’s New Handguns

By Massad Ayoob

Ruger’s new crop of defensive handguns — and one sporting pistol — fills several niches for customers. How can retailers take advantage of these new offerings to boost sales? Let’s take a look.

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LCP II

The introduction of the Ruger LCP (Lightweight Compact Pistol) micro-size .380 in 2008 was “a happening” in the firearms industry. It was so popular it caused a sudden — and long lasting — drought of .380 ammunition. By the beginning of 2016, Ruger had sold more than 1.5 million LCPs.

The double-action-only LCP with its long, heavy trigger pull in a tiny, super-light gun wasn’t the easiest pistol to control with good accuracy in rapid fire. Thus, the LCP II has an ever-so-slightly wider frame to better distribute recoil to the web of the hand — and its single-action trigger has a much shorter, easier trigger pull. Pull weight is similar to that of a standard GLOCK. Because this is a pocket pistol, Ruger is including a fabric pocket holster in the box with every LCP II. Larger sights also improve the second generation LCP’s “shootability.” It will be somewhat more expensive than the original LCP (which is expected to remain in the Ruger line) for a couple of reasons. One is to simply keep a lower price point option. The other is some customers perceive a hammer-fired pocket pistol with a long, heavy, double-action trigger pull a safety advantage. If I were a dealer, I’d expect substantial LCP II sales this year.

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Ruger American Compact

Polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols continue to dominate the self-defense market. Ruger’s own SR9 compact has proven to be a reliable, economical entry in this field. The Ruger American Pistol Compact model, with 12+1 cartridge capacity, is designed to compete with the subcompact GLOCK 26, S&W M&P Compact, etc. Closest in size to the M&P, it’s heavier — 28.75 oz. vs. 24.7 oz. It will especially appeal to your customers that are serious shooters and practice/train regularly with their concealed carry pistols. The American series was built to the standards of the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System in terms of rugged reliability, even though it was never submitted for testing in this venue.

The standard model comes with an ergonomic, ambidextrous thumb safety, which is absent on the optional Pro model. The trigger configuration and pull are both somewhat GLOCK-like. In testing this, I occasionally found the flesh of the trigger finger binding between its bladed trigger safety and the trigger finger itself (preventing a shot) but it wasn’t a widespread problem.

The manual safety is a selling point for two reasons. First, many conservative handgunners aren’t comfortable with a “point and shoot” format in a short, easy trigger pull, particularly those who carry in the appendix position. Second, some who prefer to carry without a safety may find the thumb riding the safety lever will help keep the muzzle down. In testing, they stayed on target with minimal muzzle rise during the fastest strings of rapid fire — thanks in part to their slightly greater weight.

Let me share an example of Ruger’s commitment to the end user. At a Ruger fall seminar — where these products were introduced — attendees learned beta testers had carried early versions of the American Compact. While carrying, they noted the magazine release button springs were too light and the ambi-button could be accidentally depressed by a seat belt, releasing the magazine. In response, Ruger engineers beefed up the mag release springs considerably.

However, while at the seminar, attendees found the new springs too strong as they slowed down reloads. Ruger Director of Product Management Mark Gurney assured they would be “on top of it.” Sure enough, a month later I was teaching at The Range of Richfield in Wisconsin when they hosted a Ruger Day, and all the new production American Compacts on display had been adjusted “just right.” Ruger listened and nailed it.

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New Revolvers

Ruger’s two new defense revolvers depart from the concept of their hugely popular LCR (Lightweight Compact Revolver) line now available in .22 LR, .22 Magnum, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .327 Magnum and 9mm Luger. These new entries are big, double-action chunks of stainless steel — proving the spirit of Elmer Keith hasn’t entirely departed from America’s gun culture. By the time you read this, Ruger will have announced the GP100 five-shot .44 Special and snub-nose Redhawk eight-shot .357 Magnum.

The .44 Special has an interesting story, and further demonstrates how Ruger listens to its end users. Several Ruger fans wrote to outgoing CEO Mike Fifer of their wishes to see a 3-inch barrel .44 Special iteration of the GP100. On the strength of these letters, Fifer gave the go-ahead to the engineers. With an unfluted cylinder and heavy 3-inch barrel, the new GP balances well and shoots softly for a big-bore. Dealers, you should have ammo like Speer Gold Dot or Hornady Critical Defense available; it far exceeds the early 246-grain lead bullet loads that gave the .44 Special its reputation for stopping power beginning in 1908.

The short-barreled Redhawk with rounded butt takes eight rounds of .357 Magnum. It wasn’t unpleasant with Magnum loads, and was a delight to shoot with .38 Special Critical Defense ammo. For those who favor a home-defense revolver, the short barrel (less leverage for a home intruder to grab in a disarming attempt) and the one-third increase in firepower over a standard six-shooter will be strong selling points. And as you know, there are still customers out there who simply prefer revolvers.

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An Update For Target Shooters

In .22 target/sport pistols, the Ruger has always been a “best buy” famed for ruggedness and reliability, but complicated in takedown and reassembly in particular. Enter the Ruger Mark IV series, the biggest design revamp since Bill Ruger introduced the original in 1949. A simple press of a button at the back of the frame breaks the pistol open, allowing separation of “upper” from “lower” and easy-peasy taking apart and putting back together. It’s available in two 5.5-inch Target models and a 6.88-inch Hunter. Don’t be surprised if you see an influx of older model Ruger .22s traded in for this new style.

Overall, Ruger has made great strides in recent years — particularly in the home-defense gun market. I look for the LCP II to be a particularly strong seller.

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What Your Customers Are Reading

Ruger’s new-for-2017 handguns have received expansive coverage in recent issues of American Handgunner and GUNS Magazine — giving your customers plenty of reasons to stop by your store and handle one personally.

In the March/April 2017 issue of Handgunner, John Taffin evaluates a Ruger trio in his Taffin Tests column: the Ruger American Compact, LCP II and Mark IV .22 Hunter. Taffin sums up these new entries succinctly: “With so many firearms manufacturers, competition serves to provide newer models regularly. It’s obvious Ruger isn’t sitting back on its laurels, but actually listening to shooters.”

GUNS Magazine’s March issue profiles the Mark IV Hunter and GP100 in .44 Special. In his bimonthly Rimfires column, Holt Bodinson relays how Ruger addressed a need by updating this popular .22-caliber pistol. Bodinson also recounts a conversation he had with his local retailer, who said he used to charge customers to put their dissembled Ruger pistols back together — but now offers the service for free because so many have failed to put older models back together properly. The Mark IV’s one-button takedown system will help alleviate that problem, Bodinson tells readers. In “Big-Bore Breakout” Massad Ayoob touts the virtues of the GP100 in .44 Special.

In the upcoming May issue of GUNS Magazine, the Ruger LCP II and American Compact take center stage as the cover guns of the issue.

Visit www.americanhandgunner.com, www.gunsmagazine.com

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Trends In Long Guns

Plenty Of Opportunities With Rifles,
Shotguns & Accessories

By Kevin Russelburg

In many gun stores across the country, long-gun sales are not as strong as handgun sales based on volume. However, long guns are still very much a popular item and an essential tool for most defensive firearm owners and shooting sport enthusiasts. To that end, dealers these days are still selling a significant amount of MSR-style rifles.

Entry-level models such as the DPMS Oracle and S&W M&P 5.56mm remain a popular seller for retailers. This is helped, in part, by the MSR’s modular platform and the fact they’re available at a welcoming price for consumers. Once a customer purchases an MSR, he or she can accessorize it for a custom look and feel.

Another selling point for MSRs is as the hoarding of ammunition has subsided and bricks of .22 LR are available again, customers can enjoy the economic advantage of plinking with one of their most favored rounds. The quick and simple changeover of uppers can make many MSRs capable of shooting .22 LR — providing an attractive option for those who spend a fair amount of time at the range.

In a potentially softened market in 2017, niche category MSRs — such as high-end offerings from companies like Daniel Defense, Black Rain Ordnance and LWRCI — are primed to sell well.

Compared MSRs/M4s, the AR-10 has faced some challenges. In talking with other dealers, I’ve found they’ll often suggest bolt-action rifles for customers that are looking to get into a .308 round for big-game hunting or for longer-distance shooting.

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Benelli Super Black Eagle 3

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Springfield Armory SAINT

The “Other” Black Gun

With the MSR market flooded with just about every variant imaginable, a segment of the market has turned to AK-style rifles.

“Following the over-saturation of MSR-style rifles, it got to the point where many gun owners would have their gun safes full of those rifles and they wanted to add something new to their collections. The AK platform has experienced many improvements over the past few years and is economical and as effective as the MSR,” said David Fillers, CEO DDI Arms.

Despite the popularity of AK-style rifles around the world, they haven’t always been viewed favorably here in the U.S. This image was “earned” mainly through the conflicts in which our military was involved and our GIs were almost always facing off against the AK.

“The perception of AK rifles started to change with a new generation of veterans,” Fillers added. “After coming back home, many of them wanted to have their own AK because they could see with their own eyes how little maintenance is needed to keep these rifles going.”

Another big push toward the popularity of AK-style rifles could be attributed to the growing “preppers” movement. For many, the AK’s legendary dependability is enough to make this platform their ideal survival rifle.

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Savage Arms MSR15 Recon

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Henry Repeating Arms H018-410R

Hunting For “Game” Changers

When it comes to home-defense, pump-action shotguns like the Mossberg Persuader 12-gauge with pistol grip and the Remington 870, tactical lines are stable and reliable sellers for dealers. However, customers interested in trap or skeet consider more traditionally-configured shotguns.

All gun shops strive to grab their customers’ attention and bullpup shotguns have proven to be an eye-catcher at the gun counter. Whether it’s the Kel-Tec KSG or the UTAS UTS-15, they stand out to customers because of their configuration and tactical capabilities.

“Although they don’t necessarily appeal to the hunting community, the interest in bullpups is growing and the market is expanding with newer versions and people becoming interested in their usefulness as a tactical- or home-defense option,” said Jim Wisner of Firearm Training and Shooting Supplies in East Peoria, Ill.

Dealers located in areas with a customer base heavily involved in the hunting community benefit greatly by catering to all seasons.

“During hunting season in our area, we only have shotgun and muzzleloader zones for deer hunting. Muzzleloader hunters tend to be very passionate about their craft, but because of potential changes to hunting regulations, hunters need to be aware of restrictions on caliber and allowable cartridge types. In certain markets, rifles above .35 caliber tend to dominate,” Wisner added.

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Howa 1500 Hogue KUIU Verde

Reach Out And Touch Something

For long-range shooting, bolt-action rifles remain the tool of choice, and the Remington 700 platform is still very popular. For your customers looking to get started in distance shooting or a good-quality hunting rifle, the Tikka T3x has also emerged as a strong product.

“We get quite a few people coming into the shop wanting to get into distance shooting. We recommend starting out with a good solid foundation such as the Remington 700 and learning the fundamentals to decide if it’s really something they’re interested in,” Wisner said.

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The Locking Rifle Display from Horizon Mfg. Enterprises Inc.
Rack’Em Racks showcases eight rifles and can be mounted to a
slat wall/peg board, flat wall or grid wall.

A Shift Toward Accessories

Any firearms dealer knows the margins on accessories far outweigh those on firearms alone. But with the availability of everything via the internet, it can be difficult to capture this higher-margin business. A common trend among long-gun accessories is customers will come to the store to replace items they bought online.

“Customers want value, but they also want products that work as advertised,” Wisner said. “They’ll buy accessories online, then discover they’re not what they thought or they don’t meet their needs. We offer better quality products because we know what works and what doesn’t.”

Storefront dealers still have an advantage in attracting customers, even with the growth of online retailers.

“One of the biggest benefits of buying from a brick-and-mortar store is customers can get advice and actually try the product before buying. This is especially true for higher ticket items like scopes,” Wisner added.

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Heizer Defense

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On the heels of its recent debut, Heizer introduces four additional colors to the PKO45 semi-auto pistol: champagne, copperhead, ghost grey and tactical black. The PKO45’s USA Aerospace stainless steel frame and barrel accommodates five-round flush fit and seven-round extended magazines. It features a fixed barrel and weighs about 25 oz. (Model shown in copperhead.

(888) 965-0972
www.shootingindustry.com/company/heizer-defense

Gunvault Arvault

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GunVault launches the ARVault, a compact safe for MSR-style rifles. The ARVault is made with 16-gauge steel, has dimensions of 14 x 11x 4 inches and weighs 10 lbs. It comes standard with GunVault’s No-Eyes quick-access keypad or an upgraded biometric lock. The ARVault is the only GunVault model with a Dual Lock System — one lock on opposite corners for added anti-pry protection. It can be mounted on the wall and is able to fit most MSR-style rifles.

(800) 222-1055
www.shootingindustry.com/company/gunvault-inc

Focus On Accessories To Drive Sales

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Change is in the air and gun dealers are going to need to reconsider their business model and the forces driving gun sales. For the past eight years firearms sales have been brisk because people were afraid changes in legislation would deprive them of the firearm they wanted, or indeed, the ability to own a firearm. With a Republican president in the White House, consumers are beginning to breathe a little easier and the sense of urgency to purchase a firearm has diminished a bit. Luckily, where women are concerned, accessories remain a hot commodity as they’re tailored specifically to a woman’s needs and lifestyle.

Concealed Carrie is one of the companies that continues to come up with innovative and attractive products for women. The company’s latest offering, the Ostrich Print Leather Tablet Case is an excellent conceal and carry option for tech-savvy women. A double zippered compartment is filled with pockets and dividers to carry essentials and a smooth, padded, leather removable tablet case with hook and loop attachment easel easily props to two positions. Another double zippered concealed carry compartment includes a removable and adjustable universal holster for secured and easy ambidextrous access. The exterior of the Tablet Case features a removable and adjustable shoulder strap, a retractable handle and an additional document pocket.

All Concealed Carrie handbags come with a Concealed Carrie keychain and fashion tassel. The Tablet Case works best with compact or sub-compact handguns and will also securely hold stun guns, pepper spray and other non-lethal forms of self-defense.

A nice add-on to any Concealed Carrie purse is the company’s recently introduced matching wallet. These wallets coordinate with the purse holsters and feature expandable aged hardware for currency, a coin purse with snap and an RFID-protected credit card and identification sleeve. The compact design of the wallet makes it easy to tuck into a purse holster and doesn’t add a lot of weight.

Concealed Carrie also offers an attractive display to dealers for free with a qualifying purchase. The freestanding display showcases Concealed Carrie products and comes complete with three shelves, brackets and hooks. A mirror, lifestyle graphics and a brochure sleeve are also included, and the display can be customized to fit your specific needs.

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Concealed Carrie makes it easy for dealers to highlight
accessories with this convenient display.

Many Options For Concealment

Another accessory dealers will want to focus on are holsters. “Holster options is a good area for manufacturers in that most women in my area don’t wear belts making traditional holsters a no-go,” commented Barry Laws, CEO of Openrange Inc., in Crestwood, Ky. “Products like Can Can beltless holsters and purse inserts would be where I’d put my money.”

Can Can Concealment offers a wide range of corset-style and garter holsters for beltless on-the-body carry. Women will appreciate this style of holster as it promises to slim the waistline while concealing a firearm. The Corset Big Shebang is designed to conceal two firearms over 6.5 inches, while the Micro accommodates two firearms under 4.5 inches, and a magazine.

Both feature front metal stays designed to trim the stomach. A ribbon accented magazine pocket holds an extra magazine. The tank incorporated into the holster is designed to fit under the bust so it will accommodate any bra. This holster will allows for both right- and left-hand draw and reholstering tabs make it easy to open the holster for no-look reholstering.

Women and men will want to purchase the gender-neutral Sport Belt holster. This version does not have the built in tank top, but does have all the other great features mentioned above, plus an oversized wallet pocket, a cell-phone pocket and two standard mag. pockets.

Dene Adams is another company designing accessories with female shooters in mind. The company offers a variety of products such as corset holsters and purse holsters women will want to conceal their firearms. Dene Adams’ latest offering, a thigh holster incorporated into leggings or shorts is called the Body Shaping Thigh Holster — it will be a huge hit with women as it fits easily into the current fashion. Made of a moderate support Lycra, these high-waist leggings will also smooth the tummy.

Other features include an accessory compartment, a built-in triggerguard and fast, breakaway retention tabs to hold a firearm securely in place. Currently, the thigh holster is offered in right-hand draw and will accommodate micro, compact, single-stack firearms.

Dealers who find it challenging to stock the style of purse holsters their female customers want should try selling the Purse Defender from CrossBreed Holsters. The Purse Defender is designed to go inside your customer’s favorite purse or handbag, allowing them to still carry the designer bag they love and be protected. The Velcro brand fastener-lined Kydex panel fits securely in a purse or other bag, and keeps the gun and purse stabilized and prevents it from spilling over or causing the purse to tip.

The Purse Defender system comes complete with an L-shaped panel, and a CrossBreed Modular Holster. It’s available in left- or right-hand draw, and for a wide variety of small to medium sized handguns. The Purse Defender measures 9 inches wide and 6 inches high, with the base of the assembly being 3 inches wide.

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Concealed Carrie’s stylish Ostrich Print Leather Tablet Case accommodates
accessories, protects your customer’s tablet and conceals a compact or
subcompact handgun.

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The Body Shaping Thigh Holster legging from Dene Adams gives women
a concealment option that fits in well with today’s fashion.

The Value Of In-Store Demos

Many of the concealed carry accessories designed for women host hidden features and unique designs best explained in person. Product demonstrations allow potential customers to get their hands on the product and learn more about its benefits. One of the best ways to promote these particular accessories is to host an event (think Tupperware and Pampered Chef) where guests can try the products themselves and discuss the merits with you and your staff. Many customers may not otherwise realize their need for a product until its value is presented.

If you translate this demonstration-style sales approach to your own female-friendly products you are sure to sell more. A social aspect also gets women talking about products and what works for them, and gives you good ideas about what women want to see on your shelves. For those who may not have the time or space to host an event, do some research online (demo videos for almost every pro-duct abound) and have videos highlighting the products you want to promote playing on-site to do the work for you.

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Building Trust & Relationships

NASGW Expo Lays Foundation
For Early-Year Business

By Jade Moldae

The 2016 NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting, held Oct. 25–28 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo., presented a productive forum for nearly 2,000 attendees to evaluate new-for-2017 products, programs and other initiatives to grow their businesses. Celebrating 43 years, the 2016 NASGW Expo featured 288 exhibitors; 52 of them were new.

Held just a couple weeks prior to Election Day, attendees and exhibitors were faced with the prospect of juggling two very different business plans — contingent on the results of the election. Manufacturers, distributors and sales rep groups have undoubtedly approached 2017 differently in the wake of Trump’s surprise victory.

As the industry adjusts to a “normalized” market, NASGW officials report the association will continue to serve as a resource for its members in managing inventories and the flow of products in the distribution channel.

“With the results of the election, and a Donald Trump victory, I fully expect the sales environment to level out a bit and we likely won’t see the big peak we expected had Hillary Clinton won the presidency,” said Kenyon Gleason, president of NASGW in an interview with SI. “As such, the NASGW will continue to evaluate market trends and identify areas where we can add value to members given this unexpected new and different political climate. We’re going to avoid tunnel vision.”

NASGW’s wholesale members represent a key component of the shooting, hunting and outdoor industry. According to a recent survey conducted by NASGW, total industry sales through the association’s wholesale members totaled an estimated $6 billion in 2015 — an 89 percent increase since 2009. Given last year’s strong NICS numbers, NASGW officials anticipate 2016 will see a further increase once the final numbers are determined.
Additionally, NASGW members’ assets include 4 million square feet of warehouse space across 60-plus locations, holding $1 billion in inventory — benefitting all partners of the distribution channel.

“You don’t have to be an industry expert to see how our wholesale members make it easy for dealers to get access to the products they need quickly,” Gleason added.

However, there’s more to delivering results than just numbers, Gleason said.

“Being successful in business is more than just logistics and statistics. It’s about relationships, the kind you can forge at NASGW.”

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The 2016 NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting had nearly 2,000 attendees —
bringing shooting sports buyers and sellers together.

Promoting “Wholesale Trust”

Over 500 members met at the Annual Awards Dinner & Reception, which officially launched the 43rd Expo. During the dinner, top manufacturers were honored for their commitment to the two-step distribution model and attendees received important updates about the association’s latest initiatives.

“We made several changes at NASGW in 2016. The most noticeable of course is the new logo and tagline, ‘Wholesale Trust,’” Gleason said. “In addition, we’re reinventing the association to provide more value to our members and to strengthen our position in the industry. We even retooled our mission statement to help us define our role in the distribution channel: ‘Bringing Shooting Sports Buyers and Sellers Together.’ Now, when people across the industry see our name or logo, they know who we are and the important role we play.”

NASGW made other refinements in 2016, such as streamlining its communication channels to deliver up-to-date information to members.

“We strengthened our communication strategies to provide our members crucial information more frequently. Because members repeatedly told us how important the NASGW Expo is to their bottom line, we developed a stand-alone website for the Annual Expo — giving this event the attention and focus it deserves. Plus, we launched a new association website for general needs.”

Each year the NASGW Expo presents an opportunity for members to build on the foundation of “Wholesale Trust,” according to Gleason.
“Wholesale Trust speaks to the importance of relationships throughout the two-step distribution channel and the level of trust required each step of the way,” he observed.

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Each year at the Expo, NASGW presents charitable donations to important
industry causes. As part of this endeavor, the association donated
$20,000 to the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance.

2016 Leadership Award Winners

For more than a decade, NASGW has recognized the top optics, accessory, ammunition and firearm manufacturers who best demonstrate a commitment to the two-step distribution process and provide value and service to customers through its Leadership Awards. In addition, the association also recognizes its Importer and Innovator of the Year.

Wholesaler members cast their votes based on four core components: the manufacturer’s distribution policy; marketing, promotion and sales representation and training programs; logistics and operations and its support of NASGW and the industry.

The 2016 Leadership Award recipients were:

Optics Manufacturer of the Year: Leupold & Stevens

Accessories Manufacturer of the Year: Birchwood Casey & Magpul (Tie)

Ammo Manufacturer of the Year: Hornady Manufacturing Co.

Firearms Manufacturer of the Year: Ruger

Importer of the Year: Aguila Ammunition

Innovator of the Year: Ruger

In a first for the Leadership Awards, Birchwood Casey and Magpul received the same amount of votes and shared the Accessories Manufacturer of the Year Award. For the second consecutive year, Ruger took home both the Firearms Manufacturer of the Year and Innovator of the Year awards. Magpul and Aguila Ammunition were first-time Leadership Award recipients.

Outgoing NASGW Chairman, Pete Brownell, commended Ruger’s CEO Mike Fifer with the NASGW Chairman’s Award. “Mike has had a huge impact in our industry. He’s a true leader and I was proud to present the 2016 NASGW Chairman’s Award to him,” Brownell said.

Also during the Awards Dinner, NSSF presented the NSSF Medal of Freedom to Smith & Wesson and Hornady Manufacturing Co. for each company’s support of the #GUNVOTE voter registration campaign. S&W and Hornady made donations of $500,000 and $250,000 respectively to help launch the successful effort in 2016.

In conjunction with the annual awards, NASGW donated $20,000 to the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance (YSSA). “We’re nothing in this industry if we don’t support the future and encourage new young shooters,” Gleason noted.

Because of the importance of the election season, NASGW made contributions of $100,000 to the NRA-ILA and $25,000 to NSSF’s #GUNVOTE campaign and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation earlier in 2016.

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Each year at the Expo, NASGW presents charitable donations to important
industry causes. As part of this endeavor, the association donated
$20,000 to the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance.

Save The Date

The 44th NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting will be held Oct. 17–20 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio this year. Gleason reports the association is anticipating a robust turnout from members.

“Early feedback and exhibit sales for 2017’s Expo in San Antonio have been exceptionally positive. The show is already close to selling out,” he said.

For more information on the NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting, visit www.nasgwexpo.org.

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Fresh Approach To Tell NASGW’s Story

NASGW had a transformative year in 2016. In the span of a few months, the association launched a rebranding campaign and redesigned its website while also creating one specifically for the Expo. Furthermore, NASGW premiered a “Wholesale Trust” video at the 2016 Expo, which highlights the importance of the two-step distribution model. The video can be viewed here: www.nasgw.org/news/wholesale-trust-video.

Also in 2016, NASGW partnered with Orchid Advisors to develop the NASGW/Orchid Advisors State Firearms Portal. These improvements were part NASGW’s efforts to “tell its story” for the industry.

To help in that endeavor, SI invited NASGW President Kenyon Gleason to provide an update on the association’s important movements and also to explain the benefits of being a member. “NASGW: On The Move” appeared in the December 2016 issue.

“We have a bigger, more important story to tell. We maybe haven’t always been so good about doing the telling, but it’s changing — just like the organization is — as we prepare for the future and the changing dynamics of the shooting sports industry,” Gleason said.

To read the rest of Gleason’s commentary, visit www.shootingindustry.com/nasgw-on-the-move.

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Click Here To Read The Shooting Industry February 2017 Issue Now!

3 Skinny Holsters for 1 Chunky Gun

I love three-inch barreled 1911’s and single-stack 9’s. Even though they can be a handful to hang on to and shoot, they’re skinny and super easy to conceal. Usually though, carrying a skinny gun means giving up on some ammo capacity — most of these kinds of guns have around six, seven, or eight rounds on board. Some days I just want more capacity. And that usually means carrying a larger gun or a thicker subcompact gun such as a Glock 26 Gen4, a 10+1 9mm. Compared to today’s single-stacks, the G26 slide measures 1.18 in. in width as it carries double-stack magazines. So it is one chunky gun. Thankfully, chunky guns like this can be carried concealed with skinny holsters. Here are three to consider…

VersaCarry, $24.99

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A simple yet well-engineered design, the VersaCarry holster is really more of a plastic carrier than a holster. The gun barrel slides over the VersaCarry post (snugly) and the attached plastic carrier turns into a belt clip. A rounded plastic shield provides a trigger guard on one side. Slide the gun onto the post and then insert the unit into your waistband. To draw, just draw. The gun comes out; the carrier stays in place. VersaCarry adds 1/8” of additional girth to whatever gun you’re carrying.

ZeroCarry 2.0, $24.95

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Another take on the plastic carrier design, ZeroCarry 2.0 provides a post for a gun barrel, a trigger guard and an adjustable-height belt clip attachment. Slide the gun barrel onto the post (it’ll be relatively loose) and insert the unit inside your waistband. Both sides of the trigger are covered and the gun can sit higher or lower, depending on your preferences. To draw, just draw. Since ZeroCarry 2.0’s dimensions allow it to stay within the gun’s width, it adds no additional girth whatsoever. Retention depends on belt tension so draw your belt as tight as you comfortably can. An optional retention strap is included.

Falco Breathable Belly Band, $30.95

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Although it isn’t a holster per se, I’m including a belly band here because it is a skinny means of concealed carry. Falco’s Breathable Belly Band is not only comfortable, but at the points where it goes around the gun, it adds only 1mm of girth on each side. Wrap this band low around your waist and dress around it, the gun inside the “holster” pocket stays put. For added retention, stretch the tabbed loop around the back of the slide. To draw, just pull the retention loop off and draw. As a bonus, this bellyband includes two sewn-in magazine pockets and an extra storage pocket for whatever else you need to carry.

Carry a chunky gun? In the comments below, let us know which gun and how you carry it.

— Mark Kakkuri

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FNS-9 COMPACT FDE

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An extension of the FNS series of striker-fired pistols, FN America has launched the FNS-9 COMPACT FDE. The FNS-9 Compact FDE will feature a flat dark earth (FDE) polymer frame and durable, scratch-resistant PVD slide coating that has been color matched to ensure consistency. It will also retain the line’s ergonomic grip angle and diamond texture grip pattern standard on FNS and FNX models. Two magazine options are available: pinky extender for better grip and a full-size grip sleeve for range training and backup use.

(703) 288-3500
www.shootingindustry.com/company/fn-america

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