Attracting Early Hunting Season Customers

Stock The Right Mix Of Products,
And Let Them Know You Have It

By Carolee Anita Boyles

The time leading up to hunting season can be a “Black Friday” of sorts for gun dealers. Hunters always want new stuff, and the last few weeks before the season starts can represent substantial income for prepared retailers.

Chuck Lock is vice president of Mack’s Prairie Wings in Stuttgart, Ark. One of the biggest changes he’s seen in early hunting season sales is hunters are upscaling the types of archery tackle they’re purchasing.

“The average ticket per bow sale is higher than what it’s been for the past several years,” he observed. “People don’t mind spending extra money to get the best. They’re buying Mathews and Obsession bows for deer hunting.”

Lock is also seeing increasing sales in crossbows. “It’s the same picture there,” he said. “The average ticket on a crossbow has gone up. The number one brand for us is TenPoint.”

On the other hand, according to Lock, muzzleloading is not as popular as it once was.

“At one time, black powder was a big deal for us,” he noted. “It’s really not anymore; that part of the business has gone pretty flat.”

When it comes to early waterfowl seasons, Lock has seen the quality of ammunition improve.

“Customers are purchasing higher- quality ammo,” he said. “Winchester Blind Side is a popular brand for us, as well as Hevi-Shot Hevi-Metal. Those are our top two sellers.”

Lock thinks hunters are spending more because they can — and because they value their recreational time.

“They don’t mind spending a little extra money when they know it will enhance their experience,” he said. “Nothing frustrates me more than to spend money and take time off to go somewhere, and then have a piece of equipment not work. My time is more valuable than that.” Customers are willing to spend more money to make sure they have equipment that works when they need it, he said.

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Thompson/Center Compass

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Skull Hooker Bone Bracket XXL

Strong Sellers

According to Lock, several product categories sell well at Mack’s Prairie Wings, including firearms.

“We sell a lot of Benelli, Beretta, Browning and Winchester,” he said. “Most of our firearms business is in shotgun sales. We also have a full-line gunsmith who makes custom rifles, which sell very well.”

The custom guns are sold as Spoon Custom Rifles, made by Matt Spoon. These are serious firearms, retailing for $2,400 and up.

“The caliber that’s really popular is 6.5 Creedmoor,” Lock observed. “In the custom round market here, it’s probably the number-one caliber. Most of the guns Matt builds shoot factory ammo very well.” Mack’s Prairie Wings carries 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition from Winchester and Hornady.

The accessories categories are big at Mack’s Prairie Wings, Lock said.

“The days of the $25 turkey decoy are over,” he said. “People don’t mind spending $80 to $100 on a good decoy because they want it to work. Sitka is a perfect example: People will spend the extra money because they know a piece of Sitka gear is going to protect them from the elements and enhance the experience they have on their hunt.”

Chest waders also are good sellers, Lock said. “And waterfowl decoys are a good category for us,” he said. “We sell as many $150 a dozen waterfowl decoys as we do $40 or $60 a dozen decoys because of the realism in the more expensive decoys. This is what people are after.”

Mack’s Prairie Wings sells a lot of GHG decoys, according to Lock. “We also sell a lot of Dakota decoys and a lot of Avian X decoys,” he added. “Those are our three top sellers.”

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Courtesy Of Howard Communications

A Different Story …

At Greenacres Sporting Goods in Jacksonville, Fla., the picture of early season hunting sales is quite different.

“The hunting industry has kind of taken a downturn for us,” said store manager Phillip Gazaleh. “This includes new rifle sales and the amount customers are willing to spend on a rifle. Our customers are going more toward package guns, which come with the scope and the gun together and are in the $400 to $500 range.”

In the past, Gazaleh said, customers were purchasing more expensive combinations, such as a Browning rifle with a Swarovski scope on it.
“Also, the biggest difference in our business over the past couple of years is more people are gearing toward guns such as the MSR platform and firearms like that,” he said. In other words, Gazaleh is seeing two separate trends: customers who purchase more conventional hunting rifles are going to less expensive rifle/optics combinations and other customers are tending to purchase MSRs.

Customers who are purchasing more traditional hunting rifles are buying Savage Axis and Ruger American rifles.

“The Remington 783 is another popular one,” Gazaleh noted. “The majority of customers are staying in this modest price range. A few customers do still come in and purchase rifles like the Browning X-Bolt.”

Greenacres Sporting Goods has a fairly good-sized archery department, and sales in the department generally are pretty good during the early part of hunting season according to Gazaleh.

“We get both hunters and 3D shooters, and we get some recurve shooters,” he said. “We actually stay pretty steady all year with our archery sales. People tend to come in every year or so and trade their bows in for the newest model.”

Archery sales tend to be technology driven, Gazaleh added. “It’s like computers,” he said. “Every year there’s something bigger and better.”
Gazaleh agreed with Lock: muzzleloader sales have dropped off.

“Muzzleloading is not as busy as it once was,” he said. “The season here in Florida is so short, so people don’t buy new guns every year. We see a little jump in sales every three or four years when people come in and buy new guns, but typically our muzzleloader customers just buy a little powder and some bullets, and that’s it.”

Waterfowl season makes little difference to sales at Greenacres, Gazaleh noted.

“We have a little spike in steel shot,” he said, “but we don’t do much in bird shooting.”

Hunting knives always are good sellers at Greenacres.

“Our customers particularly like Benchmade, Kershaw and Case,” Gazaleh said. “But the biggest sellers right now are snake boots. It’s always an early purchase before hunting season; we do a lot of snake proof and waterproof boots, we sell a lot of Lacrosse.”
Gazaleh has noticed the overall cost of hunting is impacting his business.

“The cost of hunting is going up,” he said. “There are fewer places to go, and the people who have places charge a lot. It’s hard to find a reasonable land to hunt.”

Communication With Customers

At Mack’s Prairie Wings, Lock communicates with customers about what he has in inventory in several ways.

“We do a mail-order catalog,” he said. “We also convey this message on our website and through social media.”

Gazaleh said traditional advertising works well for Greenacres.

“We use the newspaper, Facebook, our website, radio and TV,” he said. “What works best for us is actually the radio. Even the newspaper works well — not many people read the newspaper any more, but for some reason if we put an ad in the sports section we always do very well with it.”

Finding early hunting season customers isn’t difficult, however; it just takes having the right products in stock for your market and letting hunters know you have what they want.

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In-Demand Long Guns

New Products, Long-Range Shooting And
3-Gun Competition Boost Business

By Kevin Russelburg

America has a deep, rich history with long guns and that interest has continued (even increased) with the newest innovations hitting the market from today’s manufacturers. For your customers that are interested in training, they’ll hear instructors say the purpose of a handgun is to get to their rifle. And it’s obvious why rifles are preferred for hunting, sporting and defensive purposes. Those who learn and subscribe to this in practice will look to have long guns in their collections. So, these owners also tend to have dedicated purposes for each type of gun they own, which means an opportunity for additional sales for you.

As you know, there tends to be seasonality in firearm sales. The summer months are generally slower, and things pick up in the fall due to hunting season — resulting in purchases of bolt-action rifles and shotguns. Sales in modern sporting rifles (MSRs) and M4-type rifles are generally more consistent throughout the year, especially at today’s prices and availability.

Some market trends are clearly driven by the state and local laws. “Here in Illinois, rifle hunting is limited to coyote, so we don’t sell rifles for hunting,” said Pete Negro, managing partner of The Range At 355, a shooting range, training facility and retail store in Bolingbrook, Ill. “Most of our sales are for sporting rifles and we sell quite a few MSR-style rifles on a consistent basis. The ability to offer a wide selection of manufacturers and models is key.”

Often referred to as “tinker toys for adults” due to the amount of accessories and their relative ease of modifications, MSR-style rifles remain popular for many shooters. Attractive price points, a variety of customizable accessories and personal security concerns are some significant factors driving sales in MSRs at Range 355.

“The MSR platform is intriguing to many people due to its utility. A range of caliber options and seemingly endless options for accessories are two of the many attractive reasons why customers like them. With a quick change of a complete upper, a shooter can switch from 5.56mm to 300 AAC. The cost can be significantly less than the cost of a new rifle and offers a variety while at the range,” Negro said.

Because there are many different options available, providing a large selection to fit most customer tastes is important. “There are a number of caliber options available, so we try to stock a little bit of everything,” Negro added.

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Adept for pest or predator control, Navy Arms’ Winchester 1892
“Coyote Killer” is chambered in .44 Rem. Mag. to ensure there’s enough
stopping power to take down everything from coyotes to deer and hogs.

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“The Ruger Precision is a good product for shooters who want to make
long-range hits from a more modestly-priced platform. We carry a few
different models and calibers, but .308 is still the most popular,
and we sell out quickly when shipments come in.” — Pete Negro,
The Range At 355

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The Benelli ETHOS is now available in a 28-gauge configuration. While
developing this shotgun, Benelli worked with Fiocchi to produce the world’s
first 3-inch, 28-gauge load.

If One Is Good, Three Is Better

Increasing sales in long guns often means you should provide an array of upgrades available for purchase in addition to the rifle or shotgun itself. Traditional platforms, such as the Remington 700, have long been a favorite for hunters and competitive distance shooters. However, these two groups have very different needs. Hunters may need to purchase a scope, a sling, and possibly a cleaning kit.

Competition shooters — especially those in 3-Gun — are looking for sub-MOA performance, which requires the potential for quite a few modifications. Items such as bedded stocks or chassis options are more of a personal choice to the individual shooter, which provides an opportunity for dealers to deliver additional services to these customers. Although it’s not always possible to have an in-house gunsmith, working closely with one in your area can provide opportunities for everyone to increase sales and provide excellent customer service — a win-win.

3-Gun competitions are experiencing a growth in popularity in Negro’s area, which brings a unique opportunity to foster a relationship with these passionate customers. “The growing interest in 3-Gun competitions is a driving force in sales of MSRs and tactical shotguns in our area. Long-gun manufacturers have recognized the need for options, which allows for gun owners to customize their firearms to their liking. They’ve responded by getting creative and growing the market through innovative products.”

In shotguns, consumers generally fall in a couple main categories. There are those who are looking for a utility pump shotgun for hunting or defense, and the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500 are excellent products for this set of consumers. Beyond that, the next categories include bird hunters, or those involved in skeet, trap or sporting clays. These shooters tend to have a fairly good idea of what they’re looking for which could be a semi-auto or an over/under that fits their specific needs.

“In our store, most of our shotgun sales are of the tactical variety — with 3-Gun competition types selling the best. In fact, we’re going to start setting up competitions at the range. One of the things that sets us apart from other ranges in the area is if you can buy it here, you can shoot it here,” Negro added.

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Meopta’s MeoRed compact reflex sight is well suited for tactical use,
along with 3-Gun competitions, target shooting and hunting close-range
game, such as hogs. It’s made from aircraft-grade aluminum alloy and is
fully waterproof and shockproof.

The Long-Range Rush

Advances in optics technology, coupled with the economics of reduced costs, are allowing people to get into the long-range/sniper shooting market.

“We have a section of the store set up just for optics,” Negro noted. “There are so many considerations when buying a scope, so we help our customers. Eye relief is one of the most important for people to understand. Each person is unique, and just because a particular brand has an excellent product and reputation, it may not be the best choice for everyone. We feel strongly before a customer spends as much money, or even more, on a scope than they did on their rifle, they should be able try it out and make sure it fits.”

Long guns are growing in popularity, in part, due to manufacturers offering a variety of new, exciting designs and accessories at lower price points. “The Ruger Precision is a good product for shooters who want to make long-range hits from a more modestly-priced platform. We carry a few different models and calibers, but .308 is still the most popular, and we sell out quickly when shipments come in. We stock a variety of caliber options, which also drives sales,” Negro added.

At Range 355, Negro said education plays a key part in long-gun sales — especially for those interested in long-range shooting.

“We make every effort to ask the customer very specific questions in order to educate them and help them understand what may be the best option to fit their needs,” he said. “Calibers such as 6.5 Creedmoor, .243, and .338 Lapua are part of the reason for the increased popularity in bolt-action rifles and very desirable options for the long-distance crowd.”

longgun4

Capitalize on the continued popularity of the AK-47 platform by offering
magazines, cleaning kits and other accessories for your customers.

longgun6

BLACKHAWK! debuted a line of suppressors at this year’s NRA Annual Meeting,
with calibers ranging from .22 LR to .338 Lapua Magnum.

Look For More Opportunities

Providing additional services beyond the sale is an excellent way to increase sales revenues. “We have a reloading section set up in the store to introduce customers to the equipment and supplies needed,” Negro said. “We offer everything a shooter needs to get started and we keep the section stocked with supplies to make it as convenient as possible. As far as I know, there aren’t any other operations in our area offering this service. This especially appeals to the sporting shooters who use our range, but also precision shooters who are looking for quality supplies and convenience.”

Dealers, you can improve year-round long-gun sales by engaging with your customers regularly and making sure you have a good inventory of new and popular items. Readily available add-ons and other accessories such as optics, magazines and ammunition will appeal to your customers and keep them coming back.

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The Roar Of The Mighty .380

By Russ Thurman

U.S. firearm production has increased significantly in recent years. Yes, there have been ups and downs, but mostly there has been growth, much of it impressive.

What firearm caliber has seen the most growth? Within handguns, there is an unlikely champion: the .380 ACP. While other calibers, most notably the 9mm, have posted impressive numbers, none are as remarkable as this middle-of-the-pack cartridge.

Since 2007, there has been a 531 percent increase in handguns chambered in the .380. The dramatic growth started with the introduction of the Ruger LCP in 2008. Ruger didn’t develop the .380 cartridge, but it took the caliber to new heights and drove increased market value.

Introduced at the 2008 SHOT Show, the Ruger .380 Light Compact Pistol rose above the traditional show “buzz,” reaching roar status. Distributors, dealers and competitors rushed to the Ruger booth.

By the end of the second day of the show, rumors surged through the show that Ruger was backordered tens of thousands of LCPs. More dealers, distributors and competitors converged on the Ruger booth.

Beyond being a palm-sized pistol with the Ruger name on it, the LCP had real innovative features and, just as important, an MSRP of $330. This placed Ruger on solid footing in a segment of the market the company had ignored, and at a price-point that made the gun affordable.

According to the ATF’s 2008 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report, Ruger manufactured 83,161 firearms in the “TO .380” category. Since Ruger had not previously made a .380, these were LCPs.

In one swift move, Ruger bypassed all other U.S.

manufacturers in the .380 category. If Ruger had produced no other pistols in 2008, they still would have been ranked as the sixth-largest U.S. pistol manufacturer and the 15th U.S. firearms manufacturer in the nation.

Beyond Ruger, the LCP’s roar was heard throughout the industry. Not surprisingly, manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and SIG SAUER ramped up their .380 production. Other companies introduced models in the caliber. The result? There was a 101.4 percent increase in 2008 U.S. firearm production over 2007 in the “TO .380” category, the largest increase of any caliber in the industry for the year.

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The GLOCK 42, in .380 ACP, is the smallest GLOCK ever introduced.
In 2014, the company was the top maker of .380 pistols in the U.S.

Capturing The Moment

The growth of the .380 continues. From 2008 through 2014 (latest ATF data available), Ruger made 1,394,180 pistols in .380; these include the LCP and the LC380 introduced in 2013. Smith & Wesson has dramatically increased its .380 offerings with the Bodyguard line. Colt increased its production of .380s and there are numerous newcomers to the caliber, including Taurus and Kimber.

And GLOCK.

GLOCK didn’t jump on the .380 fast train, waiting until 2013 to introduce the G42. That year, at its U.S. facility in Georgia, GLOCK made 15,011 G42s, a modest number in the .380 category. However, in 2014, the company manufactured 227,090 G42s to become the top producer of .380 pistols in the U.S. for the year.

GLOCK wisely produced a .380 that is distinctly GLOCK, capturing sales of GLOCK devotees. The company also listened to consumers, noting the G42 was the result of “years of requests across all market groups for a super-concealable .380 GLOCK pistol.”

“This slim-line subcompact pistol is able to withstand the rigors of any situation. It’s safe, simple and fast. The G42 is a GLOCK in every sense,” said Josh Dorsey, GLOCK VP, in announcing the pistol.

So, what’s next for the .380 ACP? For a caliber that was, and sometimes still, maligned, there appears to be a lot of consumers willing to purchase a palm-size firearm chambered in .380. Success, however, lies in capturing the moment. That’s what Ruger did with the LCP. And now GLOCK with the G42.
When the ATF releases its data of firearms built in 2015, one of the first categories we’ll check is the mighty .380.

By The Numbers

For a look at the latest available production data, see “U.S. Firearms Industry Today” in the July issue. Online readers, visit www.shootingindustry.com/digital-version.

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3 45’s and a DoubleTap

Today’s desire: A non-1911 .45 ACP carry gun. Love 9’s. Love the 1911. Just looking for something a bit different.

Lots of guns fit my criteria. Three examples include this Springfield Armory XD-S (MSRP $549), this Kahr P45 (MSRP $829), and this Glock 30 Gen4 (MSRP $602.55). Three .45’s with the one mission but three very different ways of getting there.

Before I launch into this, which one would you pick? And why? Keep those thoughts in your head and read on…

In this introductory comparo, I’m going to try to provide you with some insight not easily found by merely reading each gun manufacturer’s website. I’m going to describe fit, finish, feel, and other subjective things. I’ll mention some of the objective data such as a capacity and weight, of course. And mostly in pictures, below. Ready?

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Springfield’s XD-S 45 sports very square, aggressively textured stocks. As you can see, my pinky just barely catches on. But the short stock hides very easily. This is a tight, strong gun. Every part feels durable and sure.

 

kahr

Plenty to hold on to with the Kahr P45. Thin and comfortable, but more difficult to hide unless you cant the gun forward a bit in-holster. The operative words for the Kahr’s trigger are l-o-n-g and s-m-o-o-t-h.

glock

Glock’s 30 Gen4 sports a very thick stock but the mag offers a perfect pinky rest. Thick and chunky are the watchwords here. The 30 has always been known for its accuracy, too. If you know what a Glock feels like, then the 30 feels exactly the same. Just a bit thicker.

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From left to right: Springfield’s 5-round magazine, Kahr’s 6-round magazine, and Glock’s 10-round magazine. Make your “pro” and “con” chart now…

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Love the Springfield’s red fiber optic front sight (very easy to see), tactile loaded chamber indicator, and grip safety… Longer barrel (4.0″) and shorter frame might be the ideal carry design…

kahrstrength

Love the Kahr’s thin-ness, light weight, and night sights… Most natural point-ability of the three…

glockstrength

Love the Glock’s textured stocks, larger magazine release, and higher capacity… No break-in required. It’ll fire. Every time.

threestack

Next stop: The range. Shooting DoubleTap Defense and Tactical loads. Carrying concealed. Soliciting opinions from opinionated buddies. And then reporting back to you…

What else do you want to know about these guns that you can’t find out on their respective websites?

— Mark Kakkuri

Remember: Text me a question or comment to let me know your thoughts or questions on this article. If, with your comments, you include just your first name and your city and state, I’ll likely use your comment/question in a later roundup article. And no, I won’t publish your phone number! Ready? You can text me right now at 248-328-2538.

U.S. Firearms Industry Today 2016

Industry Maintains Encouraging Growth During
Pivotal Election Year

By Jade Molde & Russ Thurman

Entering the second half of 2016, the U.S. firearms industry is well positioned to finish the year in a promising position. While not reaching the unprecedented heights of 2013, demand for firearms in the U.S. is strong — especially as consumers remain concerned about being responsible for their personal safety.

Sales are also being driven by the intensified anti-gun/anti-industry rhetoric from leftwing politicians, with November’s general election near. In an era when other segments of the U.S. economy have grown sluggish or are increasingly reliant on outsourcing labor and resources to places outside the United States, the U.S. firearms industry, even through cyclical ups and downs, has maintained enviable growth.

In April, NSSF released the findings from the 2016 “Firearms and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report,” which revealed the U.S. firearms industry’s total economic impact increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $49.3 billion in 2015 — an impressive 158 percent increase. In that same period, the industry also added around 120,000 full-time jobs (an increase of 73%) that pay an average annual wage of $50,180. Combining business and excise taxes, the U.S. firearms and ammunition industry generates more than $6.8 billion in taxes, a sizable footprint. In short: A healthy industry is an influential one.

Expansion To Gun-Friendly States

In a continued trend, several manufacturers have announced or opened relocated operations in gun-friendly states in 2016. In January, Remington Outdoor Co. and SIG SAUER announced they would expand manufacturing ammunition facilities in central Arkansas. These two expansions will add over 130 jobs to the region. New Hampshire-based SIG SAUER maintained Arkansas officials’ “aggressive” negotiations and financial incentives influenced their decision to open an ammunition manufacturing facility in the Natural State.

First announced in Jan. 2014, Beretta USA Corp. opened its new 156,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing and engineering center in Gallatin, Tenn., in April. This facility will support all of the company’s U.S. manufacturing, creating over 200 jobs in North Central Tennessee. The company’s corporate offices and executive support functions will remain in its Accokeek, Md., facility.

Many have labeled the South the “New Gun Valley,” and these recent expansions have further substantiated this claim.

Financial Insights

In May, NICS conducted 928,532 (NSSF-adjusted) background checks, a 1.1 percent increase over May 2015. In an encouraging sign, 2016 year-to-date (Jan.–May) totals are higher compared to the corresponding dates in 2015, increasing from 5,427,494 to 6,206,763 — a 14.3 percent increase.

Ruger’s latest earnings report (Q1 2016) reveals the company posted $173.1 million in net sales, a 26.35 percent increase over the corresponding quarter in 2015. This substantial increase is attributed to several factors, including the rise in overall demand, new product introductions and Ruger’s increased production capability and availability of products in demand, according to the report. After a period of declining sales, Ruger experienced a welcome recovery in 2015 that has strengthened into 2016.

“In 2015, demand returned to more normal seasonality. But nonetheless, 2015 was a recovery year in the cycle until very late in the year when we observed a significant spike in demand. This spike in demand was strongly correlated to the tragic terrorist activities in Paris and San Bernardino. Demand for firearms for self-defense and concealed carry increased dramatically, and that demand continued through the first quarter of 2016,” said Mike Fifer, Ruger CEO, during Ruger’s annual shareholders meeting in May.

New products, including the Ruger American Pistol, Precision Rifle, AR-556 MSR and LC9s pistol, represented $50.3 million (29%) of firearm sales in the first quarter of 2016.

According to Fifer, Q1 2016 earnings delivered Ruger’s “second highest revenue we’ve ever enjoyed and the third highest earnings.”

In March, Smith & Wesson reported its 2016 third quarter sales, which ended Jan. 31, increased 61.5 percent over the same quarter in 2015. Net sales totaled $210.8 million; firearms division net sales were $194.7 million, a 56.4 percent increase. Accessories division sales were $16.1 million, compared to $6.1 million for the comparable quarter last year (a period in which S&W acquired Battenfeld Technologies, and therefore reported only six weeks of accessories division sales).

“The combined strength of our firearms and accessories businesses delivered an exceptional performance, driven by healthy consumer demand across our growing portfolio of firearm and outdoor lifestyle offerings. During the third quarter, the adjusted NICS data reported a significant increase in growth versus the prior year, especially in handguns. In addition, our product sell-through at distribution was much stronger than we had anticipated,” said James Debney, S&W Holding Corp. president and CEO.

S&W officials report the strong pull-through of the company’s products “exceeded expectations,” which resulted in less-than-planned Q4 internal inventories. To increase production rates in Q4, S&W plans to leverage its “flexible manufacturing model” and increase outsourcing efforts — which will help keep up with demand of products such as the M&P15 SPORT II and M&P SHIELD. The company estimates its fourth quarter of fiscal year 2016 revenue will be between $210 million and $215 million.

U.S. Firearm Production

In 2014, U.S. firearm production reflected the year’s significant drop in sales and the struggle within the industry to define the “new normal.” The number of firearms built in 2014 dropped to slightly below 2012 levels. This was in dramatic contrast to 2013, when, for the first time, U.S. manufacturers produced more than 10 million firearms in a single year (10,349,650).

According to the ATF’s “2014 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export Report” — the latest data available — U.S. manufacturers made 8,692,461 firearms in 2014, a drop of 16 percent from 2014.

During 2014, U.S. firearm production declined in all categories, except revolvers. Hardest hit was shotguns, which dropped 22 percent from 2013.
The 4,377,501 handguns built in 2014 was a drop of 15 percent from 2013 when production increased 24 percent. Pistols production in 2014 decreased 18 percent (4,441,726 to 3,633,454) from 2013. Revolver production in 2014 increased 3 percent (725,282 to 744,047) from 2013.

Rifle production in 2014 also decreased 15 percent (3,979,570 to 3,379,549), this after a 26 percent increase in 2013 and a 37 percent jump in 2012.
In shotguns, the 22 percent decline in 2014 production (1,203,072 to 935,411) was in dramatic contrast to a 27 percent increase in the category in 2013. The 2013 jump was the largest increase in shotgun production since 1994.

Despite the drop in overall U.S. firearm production, three U.S manufacturers each produced more than 1 million firearms for the third year in a row: Ruger, Remington and Smith & Wesson.

For the seventh year in a row, Ruger was the top U.S. firearms manufacturer. In 2014, the company made 1,714,097 firearms, a 21 percent decrease from the 2,180,780 firearms the company produced in 2013. Ruger’s handgun production dropped 28 percent, with a significant decrease in pistols (-35%).

Remington was the second largest firearms manufacturer in 2014, moving ahead of Smith & Wesson who dropped to third in overall production. During 2014, Remington was the top U.S. producer of rifles (929,823) and shotguns (457,359).

Smith & Wesson’s overall firearm production dropped 11 percent, but the company posted the highest number of handguns made in the U.S. S&W made 1,183,422 handguns in 2014, a 2 percent increase over its 2013 production.

2014 U.S. Production

The top U.S. firearms manufacturers in 2014 and their percentages of change from 2013 were:

• Ruger: 1,714,097 (-21%)
• Remington Arms: 1,409,129 (+0.55%)
• Smith & Wesson: 1,342,698 (-11%)

The top handgun manufacturers were:
• Smith & Wesson: 1,183,422 (+2%)
• Ruger: 1,003,459 (-28%)
• SIG SAUER: 433,905 (-21%)

The top pistol manufacturers were:
• Smith & Wesson: 914,700 (-2%)
• Ruger: 722,029 (-35%)
• SIG SAUER: 433,905 (-21%)

The top revolver manufacturers were:
• Ruger: 281,430 (-5%)
• Smith & Wesson: 268,722 (+19%)
• Heritage Mfg.: 85,464 (-5%)

The top rifle producers were:
• Remington Arms: 929,823 (+6%)
• Ruger: 706,192 (-8%)
• Savage Arms: 305,826 (-17%)

The top three shotgun companies were:
• Remington Arms: 413,535 (-10%)
• Mossberg/Maverick Arms: 371,367 (-29%)
• Savage Arms: 72,346 (-53%)

U.S. Exports, Imports

In foreign trade, U.S. exports increased 13 percent in 2014, this after a 36 percent jump in 2013 (370,373 to 420,148)

Ruger was the top U.S. firearms exporter in 2014, with a 29 percent increase over 2013, a year the company’s exports grew by 35 percent.
Savage Arms continued as the second largest U.S. exporter with a 4 percent increase from 2013. During 2013, Savage significantly increased its exports, with a jump of 662 percent over 2012.

• Ruger: 77,859 (+29%)
• Pistols: 10,937
• Revolvers: 8,028
• Rifles: 58,836
• Shotguns: 58
• Savage: 63,745 (+4%)
• Rifles: 59,663
• Shotguns: 4,082
• Maverick Arms: 63,520 (-39%)
• Rifles: 13,311
• Shotguns: 50,209

During 2015, U.S. imports reached 3,521,911 firearms, an 8 percent increase from 2014.

Austria was the top importer in 2015, with a 16 percent increase from the previous year. During 2015, Brazil, a perennial top importer, returned to the list of the three highest importers of firearms.

The top importers in 2015 and their percentages of change from 2014 were:

Austria: 925,573 (+17%)
• Handguns: 923,951
• Rifles: 906
• Shotguns: 716

Brazil: 596,100 (+8%)
• Handguns: 482,480
• Rifles: 78,58
• Shotguns: 35,035

Croatia: 338,535 (-23%)
• Handguns: 338,535

Jazz Jimenez, Shooting Industry’s associate editor, contributed significantly to the production of this report.

NSSF-ADJUSTED: NICS BACKGROUND CHECKS JAN. 2013 — MAY 2016
YEAR JAN. FEB MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE
2013 1,790,154 1,634,309 1,501,730 1,185,231 974,457 872,025
2014 970,510 1,264,010 1,224,705 988,726 877,655 805,571
2015 1,052,441 1,280,825 1,187,823 987,698 918,707 886,825
2016 1,362,847 1,487,871 1,297,275 1,130,238 928,532 N/A

YEAR JULY AUG. SEPT. OCT. NOV. DEC. TOTALS
2013 855,259 1,016,559 1,034,701 1,113,818 1,308,100 ­1,520,529 14,796,872
2014 816,588 989,337 1,024,272 1,174,797 1,329,688 1,624,524 13,090,383
2015 946,528 1,031,959 1,071,945 1,211,478 1,432,451 2,235,560 14,244,240
2016 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 6,206,763

NSSF removes NICS purpose codes used by several states for CCW application checks and other purposes. The removal of this data provides a more accurate report of background checks conducted for the purchase of firearms. Visit www.nssf.org/research.

firearms_2

Total U.S. Firearms Production By Type 1995-2014

Year Handguns Rifles Shotguns Total
1995 1,722,930 1,440,699 1,176,958 4,340,587
1996 1,484,477 1,424,319 926,732 3,835,528
1997 1,406,505 1,281,162 918,759 3,606,426
1998 1,284,755 1,345,899 1,036,520 3,667,174
1999 1,331,230 1,569,685 1,106,995 4,007,910
2000 1,281,861 1,583,042 898,442 3,763,345
2001 946,979 1,284,554 679,813 2,911,346
2002 1,088,584 1,515,286 741,325 3,345,195
2003 1,121,024 1,430,324 726,078 3,277,426
2004 1,022,610 1,325,138 731,769 3,079,517
2005 1,077,630 1,431,372 709,313 3,218,315
2006 1,403,329 1,496,505 714,618 3,614,452
2007 1,610,998 1,610,923 645,231 3,867,152
2008 1,819,024 1,746,139 630,710 4,195,873
2009 2,415,453 2,248,851 752,699 5,417,003
2010 2,817,377 1,830,556 743,378 5,391,311
2011 3,170,990 2,318,088 862,401 6,351,479
2012 4,155,240 3,168,206 946,010 8,872,456
2013 5,167,008 3,979,570 1,203,072 10,349,650
2014 4,377,501 3,379,549 935,411 8,692,461
Total 40,705,505 37,409,867 17,086,234 95,201,606

Top 25 U.S. Manufacturers 2014

MANUFACTURER PISTOLS REVOLVERS RIFLES SHOTGUNS TOTAL
Ruger 722,029 281,430 706,192 4,446 1,714,097
Remington Arms Co. 65,771 929,823 413,535 1,409,129
Smith & Wesson Corp. 914,700 268,722 159,087 189 1,342,698
SIG SAUER Inc. 433,905 43,141 477,046
O.F. Mossberg/Maverick Arms 72,952 371,367 444,319
Savage Arms Inc. 305,826 72,346 378,172
Henry RAC Holding Corp. 300,312 300,312
GLOCK Inc. 232,324 232,324
WM C Anderson Inc. 176,231 176,231
Colt’s Mfg. 91,595 2,217 59,603 153,415
Beemiller Inc. (Hi-Point) 90,100 51,300 141,400
Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc. 78,741 18,925 39,225 136,891
Kimber Mfg. 124,298 5,591 129,889
Beretta USA Corp. 88,980 4,625 20,457 114,062
Springfield Inc. 64,189 48,514 112,703
Heritage Mfg. Inc. 85,464 85,464
Taurus International Mfg. 84,249 84,249
SCCY Industries 69,049 69,049
Saeilo Inc. 59,346 7,041 66,387
Arms Technology Inc. 64,131 1,697 65,828
North American Arms Inc. 625 57,514 58,139
PARA USA 57,539 57,539
Keystone Sporting Arms 781 56,387 57,168
FN America 44,147 12,248 56,395
Diamondback Firearms 42,901 9,892 52,793

Handgun Production By U.S. Manufacturers 2014

MANUFACTURER PISTOLS REVOLVERS TOTAL
Ruger 722,029 281,430 1,003,459
SIG SAUER Inc. 433,905 433,905
GLOCK Inc. 232,324 232,324
Kimber Mfg. 124,298 124,298
Colt’s Mfg. 91,595 2,217 93,812
Beemiller (Hi-Point) 88,890 88,890
Heritage Mfg. Inc. 85,464 85,464
Taurus International Mfg. 78,471 78,471
SCCY Industries 69,049 69,049
Beemiller (Hi-Point) 93,200 93,200
Remington Arms Co. 65,771 65,771
Springfield Inc. 64,189 64,189
Arms Technology Inc. 64,131 64,131
Saeilo Inc. 59,346 59,346
North American Arms 625 57,514 58,139
PARA USA 57,539 57,539
Cobra Ent. Of Utah 51,783 275 52,058
Jimenez Arms Inc. 46,651 46,651
Charco 2000 Inc. 46,146 46,146
FN Mfg. 44,147 44,147
Diamondback Firearms 42,901 42,901
Haskell Mfg. 23,600 23,600
Phoenix Arms 22,600 22,600
Bond Arms 20,036 20,036
Iberia Firearms 19,000 19,000
Hi Tech Plastics Inc. 12,500 12,500
CZ-USA 9,254 350 9,604
Heckler & Koch 8,501 8,501
Magnum Research 5,094 1,043 6,137
Azimuth Technology 6,114 6,114
FMK Firearms Inc. 5,646 5,646
Wilsons Gun Shop 4,734 4,734
VLH Inc. 4,048 4,048
STI International Inc. 3,728 3,728
Nighthawk Custom 3,519 3,519
Les Baer Custom Inc. 2,953 2,953
Ed Brown Products Inc. 2,949 2,949
Century Arms Inc. 2,643 2,643
Engineering & Cycle Co. 2,583 2,583
Caspian Arms Ltd. 2,185 2,185
Tanury Industries Inc. 2,081 2,081
Extar 1,910 1,910
Coonan Inc. 1,863 1,863
Leinad 1,772 1,772
Rock River Arms Inc. 1,119 1,119
Kriss USA Inc. 1,021 1,021
Tactical Solutions Inc. 949 949
Boberg Arms Corp. 919 919
Primary Weapons Systems 916 916
Keystone Sporting Arms 781 781
LWRC International 634 634
North American Arms Inc. 625 625
Velocity 559 559
Excel Industries Inc. 503 503
Foster Industries Inc. 502 502
Freedom Arms Inc. 23 446 469
Strayer Voigt Inc. 464 464
Axis Machine 402 402
V Custom Inc. 312 312
Black Rain Ordnance Inc. 304 304
Guncrafter Industries 294 294
TDJ Inc. 279 279
Penn United Technologies 182 182
Excel Mfg. Inc. 174 174
Turnbull Mfg. Co. 127 127
DJ Getz Firearms Co. 112 112
Precision Small Arms Inc. 75 75
Olympic Arms Inc. 54 54
Meggitt Training Systems 34 34
Ringe, Louis J. 23 23
Reeder, Gary Nelson 12 12
Advanced Armament Corp. 3 3
White, Melton Ray 1 1
Total 3,633,454 744,047 4,377,501

Pistol Production By U.S. Manufacturers 2014

MANUFACTURER TO .22 TO .25 TO .32 TO .380 TO 9MM TO .50 TOTAL
Smith & Wesson Corp. 31,160 177,262 409,932 296,346 914,700
Ruger 198,778 159,298 253,440 110,513 722,029
SIG SAUER 3,218 7,464 93,811 183,035 146,377 433,905
GLOCK Inc. 227,090 3,737 1,497 232,324
Kimber Mfg. 578 11,301 30,055 82,364 124,298
Colt’s Mfg. 17 70 1 21,429 6,378 63,700 91,595
Beemiller Inc. 22,700 67,400 90,100
Beretta USA Corp. 16,714 1,205 7,247 60,913 2,901 88,980
Taurus International Mfg. 21,897 1,479 60,873 84,249
Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc. 32,333 4,810 10,175 31,153 78,471
SCCY Industries 69,049 69,049
Remington Arms Co. 9 65,762 65,771
Springfield Inc. 11,500 52,689 64,189
Arms Technology Inc. 63,977 154 64,131
Saeilo, Inc. 17,914 24,941 16,491 59,346
Para 2,450 55,089 57,539
Cobra Enterprises of Utah Inc. 6,184 149 2,189 27,879 14,833 549 51,783
Jimenez Arms Inc. 7,666 1,246 717 20,049 16,973 46,651
FN America 20,033 24,114 44,147
Diamondback Firearms 12,531 30,356 14 42,901
Haskell Mfg. Inc. 23,600 23,600
Phoenix Arms 18,676 3,924 22,600
Bond Arms Inc. 661 28 2,774 322 16,251 20,036
Iberia Firearms Inc. 19,000 19,000
EPP Team Inc. 14,387 14,387
Hi Tech Plastics Inc. 12,500 12,500
CZ-USA Inc. 1,914 7,340 9,254
Heckler & Koch Inc. 8,501 8,501
Azimuth Technology 1,713 4,401 6,114
FMK Firearms Inc. 5,646 5,646
Magnum Research Inc. 47 375 4,672 5,094
VLH Inc. 1,378 2,670 4,048
STI International Inc. 1,527 2,201 3,728
Nighthawk Custom 534 2,985 3,519
Les Baer Custom Inc. 169 2,784 2,953
Ed Brown Products Inc. 303 2,646 2,949
Century Arms Inc. 2,643 2,643
Engineering & Cycle Co. Inc. 542 1,450 591 2,583
Caspian Arms Ltd. 2,185 2,185
American Tactical Imports 2,160 2,160
Extar 1,910 1,910
Tanury Industries Inc. 1,528 81 285 1,894
Coonan Inc. 1,863 1,863
Radical Firearms LLC 1344 499 1,843
Leinad Inc. 1344 300 1,472 1,772
Rock River Arms Inc. 986 112 21 1,119
Kriss USA Inc. 339 682 1,021
Tactical Solutions Inc. 949 949
Boberg Arms Corp. 949 522 397 919
Primary Weapons Systems Inc. 784 132 919
Keystone Sporting Arms 781 781
LWRC International 604 30 634
North American Arms Inc. 21 294 310 625
Velocity 446 113 559
Total 424,822 19,097 10,494 873,168 1,270,419 1,035,454 3,633,454

Total includes all U.S. manufacturers.

Revolver Production By U.S. Manufacturers 2014

MANUFACTURER TO .22 TO .32 TO .38 TO .357 TO .44 TO .50 TOTAL
Ruger 50,704 4,233 106,896 71,638 23,863 24,096 281,430
Smith & Wesson Corp. 5,365 41 40,302 174,302 14,198 34,514 268,722
Heritage Mfg. Inc. 84,957 289 218 85,464
North American Arms 57,514 57,514
Charco 2000 2,090 836 3,038 37,162 3,020 46,146
Colt’s Mfg. Co. 63 2 690 206 86 1,170 2,217
Magnum Research Inc. 133 143 767 1,043
Freedom Arms Inc. 43 14 65 107 217 446
Axis Machine 402 402
CZ-USA Inc. 350 350
Cobra Enterprises of Utah 275 275
Reeder, Gary Nelson 3 9 12
Wild West Guns 5 5
Excell Enterprises Inc. 2 2 4
Farro’s Lead Farm 1 1 2
Nitor Corp. 2 2
Ballistic Arms LLC 2 2
Total 200,739 5,260 151,635 283,990 41,640 60,783 744,047

Total includes all U.S. manufacturers.

Long-Gun Production By U.S. Manufacturers 2014

MANUFACTURER RIFLES SHOTGUNS TOTAL
Remington 929,823 413,535 1,343,358
Ruger 706,192 4,446 710,638
O.F. Mossberg/Maverick Arms 72,952 371,367 444,319
Savage Arms Inc. 305,826 72,346 378,172
Henry RAC Holding Corp. 300,312 300,312
WM C Anderson Inc. 176,231 176,231
Smith & Wesson Corp. 159,087 189 159,276
Colt’s Mfg. 59,603 59,603
Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc. 18,925 39,225 58,150
Keystone Sporting Arms 56,387 56,387
Beemiller Inc 51,300 51,300
Springfield Inc. 48,514 48,514
SIG SAUER Inc. 43,141 43,141
Century Arms Inc. 33,730 33,730
Windham Weaponry Inc. 27,188 27,188
Beretta USA Corp. 4,625 20,457 25,082
Coating Technology Inc. 18,489 1,827 20,316
Browning 18,489 1,825 20,314
Rock River Arms Inc. 18,569 18,569
Stag Arms 18,307 18,307
IWI US Inc. 17,771 17,771
Daniel Defense Inc. 15,682 15,682
John W Heaton Inc. 13,528 13,528
American Tactical Imports 13,155 2 13,157
FN America 12,248 12,248
Del-Ton Inc. 10,264 10,264
Diamondback Firearms 9,892 9,892
IO Inc. 9,404 9,404
Good Time Outdoors Inc. 7,975 7,975
LWRC International 7,261 7,261
Bravo Co. Mfg. Inc. 7,075 7,075
Saeilo Inc. 7,041 7,041
Adams Arms 6,761 6,761
Mega Arms 6,592 6,592
Kimber Mfg. Inc. 5,591 5,591
Magnum Research Inc. 5,284 5,284
Palmetto State Armory 5,059 5,059
Armalite Inc. 4,627 4,627
Chazkat 4,439 4,439
Olympic Arms Inc. 4,293 4,293
Investment Development 3,924 3,924
Weatherby Inc. 3,563 3,563
BCI Defense LLC 3,484 3,484
Barrett Firearms Mfg. Inc. 3,351 3,351
Just Right Carbines 3,347 3,347
Advanced Armament Corp. 3,231 3,231
Cooper Firearms Of Montana 3,092 3,092
FMK Firearms Inc. 2,729 2,729
CMMG Inc. 2,606 2,606
Patriot Ordnance Factory 2,509 2,509
Lewis Machine & Tool Co. 2,320 2,320
NRL & Associates Inc. 2,269 2,269
Wilsons Gun Shop Inc. 1,981 226 2,207
Heckler & Koch Inc. 2,082 2,082
AR1510 LLC 2,026 2,026
Troy Industries Inc. 1,997 1,997
Primary Weapons Systems 1,936 1,936
Knights Mfg. Co. 1,733 1,733
Tactical Solutions Inc. 1,724 1,724
Arms Technology Inc. 1,697 1,697
Ithaca Gun Co. 1,495 1,495
V Custom Inc. 1,471 1,471
Kriss USA Inc. 1,456 1,456
Steyr Arms Inc. 1,366 1,366
TDJ Inc. 1,344 1,344
TNW Firearms Inc. 1,161 1,161
Engineering & Cycle Co. Inc. 985 985
Quarter Circle 10 936 936
DS Arms Inc. 872 872
HS Precision Inc. 860 860
Les Baer Custom Inc. 831 831
Connecticut Shotgun Mfg. Co. 607 607
Destructive Devices Industries LLC 548 548
DoubleStar Corp. 382 382
LRB of Long Island Inc. 370 370
Adcor Industries Inc. 346 346
Total 3,379,549 935,411 4,314,960

Total includes all U.S. manufacturers.

Exports: Pistols 2014

MANUFACTURER EXPORTS
GLOCK Inc. 31,934
SIG SAUER Inc. 31,275
KRISS USA Inc. 22,301
Smith & Wesson Corp. 14,277
Ruger 10,937
Beretta USA Corp. 5,185
STI International 2,493
Kimber Mfg. Inc. 2,273
Taurus International 1,600
JD Machine Tech 711
Magnum Research Inc. 707
Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc 431
Les Baer Custom Inc. 404
Strayer Voigt Inc. 272
Saeilo Inc. 186
Meggitt Training Systems Inc. 180
DS Arms Inc. 180
Head Down Products 171
Nighthawk Custom 162
JKB Daira Inc. 123
Ed Brown Products 99
Colt’s Mfg. Co. 97
FMK Firearms 91
Boberg Arms Corp. 36
Wilsons Gun Shop 32
ZDF Import/Export 32
TDJ Inc. 22
Amchar Wholesale Inc. 17
FN America 11
Primary Weapons Systems Inc. 11
Lippard, Karl 10
High Standard Firearms 9
M+M Inc. 9
Akai Custon Guns 8
North American Arms Inc. 5
Steam Machines 5
Linsey, Mi Yong & James 4
Republic Forge 4
The Armory LLC 2
Patriot Ordnance Factory 2
Rock River Arms 2
Tactiotcal Superiority Inc. 2
Good Time Outdoors Inc. 1
North American Training & Log. 1
Wilson, Cody 1
Total Exports 126,315

Exports: Revolvers 2014

MANUFACTURER EXPORTS
Smith & Wesson 16,966
Ruger 8,028
North American Arms 399
Magnum Research 93
Colt’s Mfg. 32
M+M Inc. 1
Ballistic Arms 4
Ohio Ordnance Works 1
Bixler, Christopher A 1
Total Exports 25,521

Exports Shotguns 2014

MANUFACTURER EXPORTS
Maverick Arms Inc. 50,209
Beretta USA Corp. 4,829
Savage Arms Inc. 4,082
Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc. 816
Adaptive Tactical 251
Ruger 58
Ithaca Gun Co. 49
DS Arms Inc. 48
Wilsons Gun Shop Inc. 10
Nighthawk Custom 8
Meggitt Training Systems Inc. 8
aser International Inc. 3
Nemo Arms Inc. 2
Lippard, Karl 1
Browning 1
Vertu Corp. 1
Total Exports 60,377

Exports: Rifles 2014

MANUFACTURER EXPORTS
Savage Arms Inc. 59,663
Ruger 58,836
Henry RAC Holding Corp. 20,526
Maverick Arms Inc. 13,311
FN America 11,987
Creed Monarch Inc. 10,339
Colt’s Mfg. Co. 6,456
JD Machine Tech Inc. 6,009
SIG SAUER Inc. 4,625
Smith & Wesson Corp. 3,833
Kel-Tec CNC Industries Inc. 1,656
Daniel Defense Inc. 689
Just Right Carbines 1,079
Barrett Firearms Mfg. Inc. 949
Armalite Inc. 893
Weatherby Inc 734
ZDF Import/Export 670
Kimber Mfg. 557
Daniel Defense Inc. 450
Beretta USA Corp. 426
Stag Arms 422
Saeilo Inc. 358
TNW Firearms 331
Magnum Research Inc. 286
Windham Weaponry 260
Head Down Products 256
PNEU Dart Inc. 230
Montana Rifle Co. 202
Kriss USA Inc. 195
TDJ Inc. 193
Primary Weapons Systems Inc. 183
Lewis Machine & Tool Co. 178
Chazkat 175
Meggitt Training Systems Inc. 162
Kelbly’s Rifle Range Inc. 161
Nosler Inc. 150
Desert Tech 114
Knight, Charles Reed Jr. 99
McMillan Firearms Mfg. 81
HS Precicsion Inc. 71
STI International Inc. 71
Bordson, Martin J. 68
DS Arms Inc. 58
WM C Anderson Inc. 53
Gunwerks 52
Thureon Defense 41
High Standard Firearms 39
JPS Mfg. 39
Knights Manufacturing Co. 37
JKB Daira Inc. 27
Patriot Ordnance Factory Inc. 23
Kstarky Enterprises 22
Lindsey, Mi Yong & James 20
Child, Leland Verl 16
Surgeon Rifles 16
EDM Arms Inc. 15
AR1510 LLC 15
Remington Arms Co. 13
Graham, Jack Donaldson III 12
Rock River Arms Inc. 12
Appalachian Arms Inc. 10
Beech Armament 10
Glover, Daniel Carter 10
Tack Drivers 10
Tracking Point Inc. 10
Cheytac USA 9
Total Exports 207,934

Total includes all U.S. manufacturers.

FIREARM IMPORTS

IMPORTS — HANDGUNS BY COUNTRY 2014 & 2015

COUNTRY 2014 2015
Argentina 43,310 42,304
Australia 29
Austria 794,469 923,951
Belgium 18,371 18,662
Brazil 208,102 482,480
Bulgaria 333 6,230
Burma 19
Canada 132 15
Chile 4
Croatia 441,337 338,535
Czech Republic 47,482 71,691
France 163 350
Germany 291,925 236,512
Hungary 1,098 1,665
Israel 13,270 15,765
Italy 154,926 94,752
Norway 28
Pakistan 250 575
Philippines 71,021 79,457
Poland 11,322 9,188
Romania 5,800 9,460
Serbia 10,180 18,066
Slovakia 417 1,075
Slovenia 1,058
South Korea 62
Spain 10,385 177
Sweden 9
Switzerland 1,894 3,914
Turkey/td>

15,242 58,870
United Arab Emirates 47
U.K. 83 58
Total 2,141,630 2,414,890

Import data is provided by the Foreign Trade Division of the U.S. Census Bureau.

IMPORTS — RIFLES BY COUNTRY 2014 & 2015

COUNTRY SEMIAUTO SEMIAUTO BOLT BOLT NESOI* NESOI* RIMFIRE RIMFIRE TOTAL TOTAL
2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015
Austria 859 449 1,051 6 243 1 190 450 2,343 906
Belgium 24,432 26,133 9,371 28,356 263 1 1 7 34,067 54,497
Brazil 50 56,361 78,585 56,411 78,585
Bulgaria 12,900 5,100 12,900 5,100
Canada 187 581 83 258,610 276,038 258,797 276,702
China 3,897 152 4,049
Czech Rep. 7,783 9,141 22 138 17,599 18,832 25,404 28,111
Finland 40,153 50,459 9 2 40,162 50,461
France 38 446 11 34 49 480
Germany 8,652 1,736 4,033 1,189 1,253 598 23,574 12,228 37,512 15,751
Israel 6 1 2 27,764 4,300 27,771 4,302
Italy 916 9,966 3,709 975 8,554 12,147 12,170 2,022 25,349 25,110
Japan 60,205 57,459 14,951 15,527 14,501 14,026 89,657 87,012
Mexico 800 800
Norway 19 15 2 36
Philippines 7,435 5,603 7,435 5,603
Poland 1,454 527 1,454 527
Portugal 1,250 1,971 48 146 1,298 2,117
Romania 12,539 17,870 1,500 14,039 17,870
Russia 28,653 4,380 215 24 28,868 4,404
Serbia 11,920 15,250 200 2,170 12,120 17,357
South Africa 4 4
Spain 250 369 16 8,709 21,991 83 29 9,411 22,036
Sweden 52 758 61 758 113
Switzerland 107 2,647 16 262 2,647 385
Taiwan 1 27 1 27
Turkey 15 339 15 339
U.K. 886 1,489 3,829 2,257 300 681 5,015 4,427
Total 107,158 83,194 128,050 152,531 128,697 136,323 334,463 330,178 698,368 702,226

*NESOI: “Not Elsewhere Specified Or Included” — Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Bureau of Census

IMPORTS — SHOTGUNS & COMBINATION GUNS BY COUNTRY 2014 & 2015

COUNTRY SEMIAUTO OVER/UNDER NESOI* TOTAL COMBINATION
2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015 2014 2015
Austria 17 16 33 1 716
Belgium 1,176 403 5 303 194 7 1,375 713
Brazil 90 17,888 17,019 20,174 13,628 38,152 30,647 11,963 4,388
Canada 191 191 1
China 2,091 7,023 11,879 7,023 13,970
Czech Rep. 34 109 34 109 16
Denmark
Finland 22
France 5 5 3 17 8 22 1 1
Germany 1 676 613 475 219 1,151 833 32 703
Ireland
Italy 132,693 115,331 29,737 43,241 1,293 1,197 163,723 159,769 49 447
Japan 28 117 635 508 269 653 904
Netherlands 2 2
Pakistan 335 335
Philippines 6,496 6,400 6,496 6,400
Portugal 1,783 1,810 400 900 2,183 2,710
Russia 21,775 5,150 2 53 21,830 5,150
South Africa
Spain 1,421 538 49 17 302 135 1,772 690 7
Sweden 228 2 228 2
Switzerland 1 1
Turkey 106,449 83,989 50,571 71,604 18,382 19,900 175,402 175,493 14
U.K. 41 209 443 367 484 576 1 2
Total 265,415 209,313 99,508 134,546 55,625 54,657 420,548 398,516 12,085 12,085

*NESOI: “Not Elsewhere Specified Or Included” — Foreign Trade Division, U.S. Bureau of Census

Maximize Handgun Accessory Sales

Use Face Time With Customers To Create
Additional Opportunities

By Mark Kakkuri

Ask any gun store regulars what constitutes their every day carry (EDC). Or, ask them to do a “pocket dump.” You’ll quickly confirm what you probably suspect about those who carry a gun or shoot on a regular basis — namely, accessories abound.

EDC for many shooters includes a spare magazine or a reload of some kind, a tactical flashlight, and of course a folding knife. Maybe even a tactical pen. And this is in addition to a set of keys and a cellphone! As a dealer, the key idea is this: Gun sales, and especially for handguns in particular, bring a prime opportunity for sales of accessories.

Brian Tatti, a sales associate at Michigan Shooting Centers, Inc. in Lake Orion, Mich., adds cleaning kits and ammunition to the list of popular handgun accessories. “Ammo is huge — very popular with all the technology it has available today.” And if a customer is buying a gun for concealed carry, they’ll of course need ammo for practice and ammo for self-defense.

Besides ammunition and cleaning kits, probably the easiest accessory to sell with a handgun is a holster. In all likelihood, the customer purchasing the handgun intends to use it for self-defense — perhaps even for concealed carry. But even if the customer plans to just use the gun as a “house gun” or a “truck gun,” they’ll still need a holster. Always encourage the proper use of a holster in accordance with gun safety rules and explain how a holster benefits not just concealed carry on a person but also use inside a house or vehicle. Holster fits abound as do holster styles and materials. Most affix to a person’s belt — they’ll need a real gun belt, yes — in just a few seconds and provide a secure and stable platform.

Customers will often show up in gun stores looking for the latest and greatest offering from this or that manufacturer. In the past, holster manufacturers wouldn’t have advanced knowledge about a new gun and had to catch up with the gun manufacturers. And so customers often left a gun store with a gun but without a holster — because it didn’t yet exist. Nowadays, some gun manufacturers are coordinating the launch of a new gun with select holster manufacturers already in the know and ready to ship and sell holsters for the new gun.

Ruger’s recent launch of the Ruger American Pistol must have included a pre-coordinated effort for some holster manufacturers. DeSantis and Blade-Tech, for example, had holster models — the Speed Scabbard and Classic Eclipse, respectively — ready almost immediately. What better way to serve a customer buying Ruger’s new American than by pointing them to holsters available right now?

handguns5

Viridian V100 Long-Range LED Illuminator

handguns2

NAA 22 Grip Laser

Tactical Lights

Recently, I attended a Gunsite Academy class to learn how to shoot a carbine. The class included some instruction on how to transition to pistol and of course the two instructors wore their holstered pistols to each class. When you’re at a Gunsite class, you watch and listen and learn. All the students locked onto each instructor’s words and, during downtimes, asked a zillion questions. Someone asked an instructor what he carries every day. “Well,” he started, “I have my pistol, a spare magazine, a fixed-blade knife, a folding knife and a tactical light.” We students could have come up with this list ourselves but it just held more weight in that moment and really sank in. All of those items are good accessories to keep in mind as dealers but maybe most significant was the mention of the tactical light.

“And not just any light,” the instructor lectured us. “Buy the best one you can find. It might cost a bit more but remember, ‘You’ll buy cheap, twice.’ So spend the money and get a good one.”

As a dealer, your takeaway is to bring this important consideration to your customer when they’re buying a handgun. You can tell them a Gunsite Academy instructor always keeps a reliable, bright light on his person because, truly, he might need it. And so might your customer.

Beyond the instructor’s nuts and bolts reminder, make use of tactical light manufacturer marketing efforts to drive home the point about personal lights. Viridian, for example, has launched its “Never Go Naked” campaign to point out the clear link between needing to clearly see a target when using a gun. While the campaign aims to make sure rail-equipped rifles carry a light affixed to them, the point also applies to handguns. Have your customer consider gun safety rule No. 4: Knowing your target includes, of course, seeing your target. So if there’s a chance you can’t see your target, light it up first. The light may also serve as a deterrent!

Viridian’s V100 is one of several “long-range illuminators” offered by the company. These lights are made from high-grade aluminum, feature crenelated bezels, and cast brilliant white, red, or green lights (via CREE LEDs) from the press of a tail-mounted switch. While they can be mounted to a rifle, they can also be carried in a pocket and used independently or, of course, with a handgun in a low-light situation. The V100 is an “entry level” illuminator — smaller than the others and therefore perfect for on-person carry.

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Brian Tatti, Michigan Shooting Centers, Inc.

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In a modern trend among manufacturers, Ruger worked with holster
makers prior to the release of the Ruger American Pistol to give
customers options for carrying their new handgun.

Constant Listening

Tatti reiterated the key to increasing sales of handgun accessories is to listen to the customer. “I have tried a lot of the products out there so I have an understanding and can teach my customers about the products,” he said. “But I try to talk to my customers and not talk down to them.”

This kind of salesperson-customer interaction goes on all the time but reaches a key point during the point-of-sale. “Since we keep ammunition and cleaning supplies in stock, I can make an additional sale of those items during face-to-face interaction. But I also have a lot of phone conversations with my clients, and also a lot of emailing goes on,” he said. This constant conversation, constant listening, says Tatti, is key to the sales process. “If you listen to your clients, they’ll usually tell you what to stock,” he added.

Tatti also spends a lot of time online researching new and different products — on manufacturer websites but also different handgun forums. But he also spends time on the phone with different vendors and manufacturers and product reps. And of course he interacts with his colleagues at the Michigan Shooting Centers store. “It helps all the people I work with are really into guns; they are always telling me about different products they have found.”

Tatti notes profit margins on handgun accessories have shrunk over the years — “You’re lucky if you get 30 percent” — mostly due to customers buying from online sites. But the advantage for the clients of Michigan Shooting Centers (and other brick-and-mortar operations around the nation) is the personal attention they can receive from knowledgeable and kind sales staff. So, the key to successful sales in handgun accessories, according to Tatti? Customer service. “It’s everything,” he continues. “Our entire staff takes pride in our customer service.”

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Swiss Army Selects BLACKHAWK! SERPA Holster

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The Swiss Army has opted to outfit its forces with the BLACKHAWK! SERPA tactical holster. BLACKHAWK! has received the initial order of SERPA holsters in various configurations. These different models will allow the use of the same holster system in varying job roles, regardless of a soldier’s mission.

The SERPA, respected for its durability and simple operation, also serves as the holster platform for the U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Army, Army Military Police, the German Army and other law enforcement and military agencies, both domestic and international.

Visit www.blackhawk.com

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New Facility Focuses On Multi-Layered Approach

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Personal protection plans can never be “one size fits all.” Each woman needs to establish her own protection goals and the lengths she’s willing to go to in terms of lethal force to protect her home, her family and herself. Every woman needs a variety of defensive tools at her disposal to achieve these goals, ranging from weapon retention and grappling skills to pepper spray and firearms. Dealers across the country are working hard to provide women with firearm training and personal defense products, and, in the process, changing their business model to create a personal-defense facility for multiple disciplines.

Premier Shooting & Training Center (PSTC) in West Chester, Ohio, is the vision of General Manager and Co-Owner Jim Lentz. A former Marine M.P., Lentz is a martial arts instructor, as well as firearm instructor with numerous certifications. “Our primary objective is to teach people how to defend themselves,” Lentz stated. To that end, he recently opened a 30,000-square-foot shooting and training facility, which sports a 20-lane shooting range, 4,000-square-foot retail area, a martial arts dojo, VIP lounge, café, classrooms and meeting rooms.

Incorporating a martial arts dojo into a shooting facility is a fresh take on personal defense. “My goal is to give people options,” Lentz noted. Some people aren’t comfortable with firearms, but still want to defend themselves, so they sign up for a martial arts self-defense class, he said. “Once people understand how to really defend themselves, they see the parallels of both options,” he noted.

Premier Shooting & Training offers women-only classes as well as co-ed classes. The women-only classes are significant, because “it’s important for women to feel a sense of comfort, and women-only classes help alleviate intimidation” Lentz said. Classes include Women’s Self-Defense where women are taught how to defend, attack and escape an assailant among other defensive techniques.

PSTC also offers martial arts for the whole family, with kid’s karate classes, martial arts like JKDU/MMA for the Street, Kenpo, and Muay Thai conditioning. Their Shootfighting class combines disciplines, teaching students a fighting system that involves boxing, kickboxing and karate on the martial arts end of the spectrum. Weapons’ training includes learning the art of the firearm, cane and knife, weapon retention and fundamentals of marksmanship. This class also incorporates Hojutsu, an integrated fighting system that blends the use of firearms with martial arts.

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ASP Key Defender

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Sticky Holster SM-1 Small

Pinpoint A Training Niche

Though the training facility only opened in February 2016, Lentz has noticed a trend among women. “The typical track record we’re seeing now is women come in for the CCW class and then see what else we have to offer,” he said. “Women are much more willing to accept they need additional training. They start with handgun foundations, then take women’s self-defense, then buy a handgun and range membership.”

Premier Shooting & Training offers a holster certification course; it allows patrons to draw from an approved holster so they can conduct live fire training in the shooting lanes. As a result, Lentz said he and his staff are currently on a fact-finding mission to create a niche holster market in their pro shop — including a variety of holsters women can use with ease. So far, some of the holsters he has found include Raven Concealment Systems’ IWB holster, Blade-Tech’s OWB holsters and the Sticky pocket holster for .380s. “We try to have a broad spectrum of holsters based on design and price,” Lentz said.

Awareness, prevention and defense are the foundations of training at PSTC, and Lentz said he is a firm believer in a multi-layered approach to defense. For women who aren’t comfortable with a firearm or who can’t carry one for some reason, Lentz recommends pepper spray batons like the Key Defender or Palm Defender from ASP. This product is excellent for women because it gives a distance weapon with the pepper spray, while the baton is a close-up defensive option.

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Sig Sauer P938

The Future Of Self-Defense?

The “try before you buy” philosophy is also a huge part of the firearm side at PSTC. Firearms training classes include the opportunity for students to try out and shoot various firearms. Lentz said women have responded well to S&W M&Ps and GLOCK 19s as guns they can learn to shoot and then decide if they want to move on to something else. “The SIG P938 seems to be a nice model,” he noted, adding it’s easy to shoot for women with small hands and the slide is easy to manipulate.

The response for Premier Shooting & Training Center has been very positive, according to Lentz. “People seem to get they can pick and choose from a variety of self-defense options to fit their needs and comfort level,” he noted. Martial arts gives people a defensive foundation, and from there they can explore other personal-defense choices ranging from lethal to non-lethal. This combination of training may well be the model for the self-defense facility of the future.

Hidden Heat

Women looking for a bellyband-style holster will want to check out Hidden Heat holsters from Miss Concealed. Available in a variety of configurations, these holsters can accommodate both small- and large-framed firearms. The firearm is held securely in place by retention straps and an adjustable Velcro closure allows for a custom fit. A patent pending support system incorporated into the elastic provides optimal support to the firearm. All models include extra pockets for magazines and cell phones. Available in black in standard models, and black and natural in lace models, Hidden Heat bellybands are a discreet and comfortable on-the-body carry option. All of the Hidden Heat holsters allow for either right- or left-hand draw.

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What’s Next For Ammo?

Manufacturers Take Aim At
Addressing Market Volatility

By Kevin Russelburg

If you’ve been in business long enough, you already know your store’s bottom line benefits greatly from ammunition sales. In order to capitalize on them effectively, it’s important to have a plentiful stock of good quality range and personal-defense ammunition on hand to meet the need of your customers. However, the volatility of the ammunition market over the past couple years has challenged a dealer’s ability to provide these products to their customer base. There’s good news, though, for the dealer community: ammunition manufacturers are positioning themselves to meet current and future demand with the anticipated increase in the number of people becoming involved in the shooting sports.

As you well know, there will be spikes in demand that cannot be avoided or planned for — but be encouraged there are ammunition manufacturers looking toward the future to effectively manage their product lines and minimize the peaks and valleys for retailers. Evaluating current trends and avoiding mistakes from previous years, both dealers and high-quality ammunition brands will benefit in satisfying customers and growing the shooting sports.

Election Year Effects

Black Hills Ammunition Inc. has been in operation since 1981 in Rapid City, S.D. Owners Jeff and Kristi Hoffman are focused on delivering the highest quality ammunition with excellent customer service and selling directly to dealers. Their dealer pricing includes freight with a minimum order of one case.

“The ammunition business is heavily influenced by politics, especially during election cycles. People become scared, or uncertain and stock up to avoid the possibility of not having plentiful supplies on the shelf at their local gun store,” said Jeff Hoffman.

Buying surges create a rollercoaster-type environment for ammunition manufacturers and are very difficult to manage, according to Hoffman. “People rush out and buy up everything that’s available creating a void that is very difficult to fill until things settle down,” he added.

Likewise, a stable environment can be just as difficult to manage. When the market is full and there aren’t any current threats for increased gun control, the market stands still and companies sitting on large amounts of inventory can find themselves in financial distress — which has been felt in other product categories in recent years, as we’ve seen with MSRs.

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Ruger ARX .380 Auto

Personal-Defense Shift

One noticeable trend in firearm sales is the obvious shift to personal security and safety. “Consumers aren’t really concerned they won’t be able to purchase a particular make and model of hunting rifle,” Hoffman observed. “People are more concerned about purchasing guns to protect themselves and their loved ones. The selection of firearms for this intended purpose is driving demand for specific handgun and semi-automatic rifle calibers.”

Hoffman attributes this shift to people realizing they need to be responsible for their own safety.

“There’s a large, growing segment of people who don’t feel the government is capable of fully protecting the population, and are breaking away from that sense of dependency. People who no longer feel a sense of security are buying guns for safety.” While purchasing firearms, these people are also seeking out training and discover the need for range and personal-defense ammunition, as well as other accessories.

Women shooters are contributing to this segment as well, which is one of the fastest growing segments of the firearms industry. This is driving an increase in some specific calibers, such as .380 ACP and .38 Special.

The demand for 9mm in the market remains strong. Military supplies are now caught up and remain steady, which is creating some surpluses in the commercial market. This is reflected by the current price and availability of calibers such as 9mm and 5.56mm. Traditional hunting calibers continue to remain stable, but do not constitute a majority of sales in the current ammunition market.

Commercial ammunition sales were down a bit in 2015 primarily due to consumers being content with the quantities they have on hand.

There will always be a need in the market for high-quality, economical ammunition for training and plinking, and that particular segment continues to stay strong. However, premium accuracy for long-range, sniper competition and reliability for personal protection comes at an increased cost.

Calibers that are growing in interest include 10mm and 300 AAC. Long- range competitive shooters are showing a strong interest in 6.5 Creedmoor and .260 Remington.

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Ruger ARX .380 Auto

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Daniel Defense FIRST CHOICe 300BLK

The Return Of Rimfire?

In what will be good news for retailers, .22 rimfire products are starting to experience a recovery. Aguila Ammunition has responded to this by expanding their manufacturing equipment to meet the demand in specialty ammunition.

“Beyond the traditional .22 LR, the demand for specialty .22 products is expanding,” said John Domolky, director of sales for Texas Armament & Technology, the exclusive importer of Aguila Ammunition. “The demand for higher quality and higher velocity rimfire ammunition is increasing significantly.”

The record demand that peaked a few years ago prompted consumers to begin hoarding ammunition, but the decreased availability of .22 rimfire ammunition today is most likely due to another reason. Before the years of widespread shortage and hoarding, shooters traditionally used rimfire rifles and handguns for plinking outdoors or to introduce young shooters to the sport. Over the past five years, however, the development and introduction of high-capacity magazines and conversion kits for platforms such as MSR-style rifles has increased the overall usage of rimfire ammunition beyond the occasional backyard shooter.

“It’s a different shooter using .22 rimfire today than five years ago. Today, there are more shooters using rimfire than ever before and shooting more volume than ever before. People are not just buying bricks of .22s, they’re shooting bricks of .22s,” Domolky said.

In addition to their rimfire offering, Aguila also manufactures a full line of FMJ centerfire cartridges for range and personal-defense use. The company reports it is in the process of expanding a hollowpoint product line as well.

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Hornady Lock-N-Load AP

9mm Continues Upward Trend

The improvement in modern projectile effectiveness has decreased the difference between calibers. This is represented by the fact the FBI has decided to go back to the 9mm cartridge from the current .40 S&W — which has had a far-reaching effect among consumers and handguns of both calibers. As these guns work their way into the “trade in” and surplus market, prices of .40 S&W handguns will come down to such a level that makes them attractive to customers, which will in turn drive demand for available .40 S&W ammunition.

As such, 9mm is clearly the caliber of choice for most shooters today. Many factors are contributing to this, such as a higher volume of new shooters entering the market and settling on 9mm as their caliber of choice.

“Just as the release of the GLOCK 42 drove demand for .380 ACP ammunition a few years ago, the GLOCK 43 is doing the same for 9mm. There are also a large volume of high-quality concealable handguns such as Springfield XD-S, S&W M&P SHIELD, Walther PPS that are also contributing to current demand,” Domolky added.

How has your store handled the volatility of the ammunition market? Have you had similar experiences with a shift in demand for 9mm and .40 S&W? Send an email to editor@nullshootingindustry.com and share your thoughts with us.

Reloading At Home

Those who have been reloading their own cartridges at home have also felt the effects of market volatility. Many reloading enthusiasts have a sufficient quantity of brass casings available and ready for the reloading process. The availability of primers and specifically powder at the local level is an opportunity for dealers to offer a significant service to their customers.
Dealers with shooting ranges can also offer an additional service by reselling their used range brass to reloading hobbyists. This keeps good quality brass casing in the local market, rather than selling to metal scrapyards that simply offer straight scrap value for these metals. Adding this service to your local customer base will keep a steady stream of materials in the community at a lower price — which customers value highly.

Additionally, dealers such as Datum Arms in Bolingbrook, Ill., have a constant supply of once-fired range brass sorted, cleaned and ready to ship or pick up at all times.

“We collect all of our brass from local indoor ranges, so we have sufficient quantities of the most common pistol and rifle calibers available in quantities of 250, 500 and 1,000,” said Kent Carrol, a partner at Datum Arms. “We supply the local dealer community with any needs they have for reloadable brass to pass along to their customers. We also sell direct to individual reloaders on a local and national basis.”

Some dealers have recognized a unique opportunity to enhance their reloading sections. They set up displays with working reloading operations to showcase some of the latest equipment offerings and also to provide an opportunity to educate existing and potential future reloaders on the equipment, processes and best practices.

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Make The Most Of Fall Hunting Sales

As The Season Nears, Is Your Store Ready

By Carolee Anita Boyles

Today’s market may lean strongly toward tactical and self-defense sales, but fall hunting products still represent a significant portion of sales to retailers who cater to the hunting market. The regional differences in hunting regulations and the species hunters pursue means retailers in different areas may sell widely different products, so understanding your local market is the key to significant hunting season sales.

Richard Catts owns Delaware Firearms in Rehoboth Beach, Del. He said Delaware hunters must use shotguns for everything they hunt, including deer.

“There’s no rifle hunting in Delaware, so we’re a shotgun state,” he said. “For deer, hunters mostly use 20-gauge. For waterfowl they use 20-gauge or 12-gauge, but they primarily prefer 12.” The most popular shotgun with waterfowl hunters, Catts said, is the Beretta A400; deer hunters tend to like the Savage 220.

“Over the years, everybody used the H&R slug gun for deer,” he said. “When Remington bought H&R, they discontinued it. So now hunters have switched to the Savage, which is a 20-gauge bolt-action shotgun.”

Catts said hunters prefer 3½-inch shells for waterfowl.

“Hunters use slugs for deer, and I sell a lot of heavier loads for snow geese and ducks,” he said. “For deer, hunters like Remington AccuTip. For waterfowl, they like the HEVI-Shot brand or Black Cloud from Federal. Waterfowl hunters prefer the heavier loads, like #2 and BB shot.”

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Wildgame Innovations V8B20

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EOTech 512 XBOW Sight

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B&P Heavy Pheasant

Legislation Impacts Buying Habits

At South County Guns in Cedar Lake, Ind., Greg Maurer said his deer hunters use either shotguns or rifles in pistol calibers. He predicts, however, a change on the horizon based off current legislative efforts.

“At present, we don’t have a full open rifle season for deer,” he said. “For hunting, you can only use bows, shotguns or rifles in pistol calibers such as .44 or .357; which means no .30-30, .270 or .308. However, the state legislature is working on allowing hunters to use some rifle cartridges to hunt — which is wonderful. We don’t sell many bolt-action rifles, because nobody has a real use for one unless he’s an avid sport shooter.”

A change to allow rifle calibers would be good, according to Maurer, to increase opportunities for hunters and encourage new hunters to participate.

“There are so few public lands here to hunt, and if you can only hunt them with a bow, it really narrows down who’s going to get into hunting,” he said. “So I’m tentatively excited about the coming changes because they’re going to be good for rifle sales.”

At this point, Maurer said, the hunting firearms his customers purchase the most are 12-gauge rifled-barreled shotguns with cantilevered scope mounts.

“The models they’re purchasing are primarily Remington 870s and Mossberg 500s,” he said. “In pistol-caliber rifles, we sell a good number of Henrys in .357, .44 Mag and .44 Special.”

When it comes to optics, Maurer noted customers are purchasing a significant number of scopes for crossbows.

“They’re buying the smaller 3X or 4X fixed optics,” he said. “You don’t need a tremendously expensive optic for them, which is nice for those customers.”

For shotguns, Maurer said, the store sells a lot of holographic and red-dot sights.

“Your shot is a little shorter with a shotgun, so you don’t need to reach out quite as far with your optics,” he said. “So guys are finding those optics are a good option for them.” Maurer said many of the red-dot sights he sells are Aimpoint or Sightmark; he also sells a good many EOTech holographic sights.

Since South County Guns carries mainly firearms and ammunition, Maurer said the store doesn’t sell much in the way of camo, pop-up blinds or tree stands.

“However, we do special order those things for customers,” he added.

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Richard Catts, Delaware Firearms

Stick With The “Tried And True”

In Healy, Kan., Jamie Woods is the manager at Sharp’s Shooting Supply. He hasn’t seen any really significant changes in what his customers have purchased in the past few years.

“There have been some advances in technology, but the general concept hasn’t changed,” he said. “The one thing I’m seeing is youngsters who are coming up and are very eager, versus the older guys who have been hunting for years and are slowing down. I see a lot more excitement in the younger generation than in the older one.”

At his store, Woods has not noted any particular increase in women who are hunting. This isn’t because women aren’t hunting; it’s because a significant number have been hunting all along, he observed.

“Out here on the plains, deer hunting and pheasant hunting are our two major seasons. I always saw a lot of women hunting when I was growing up; out here they’ve always hunted. But I would say more younger women are getting involved,” he added.

Woods thinks the rise in younger people and women in hunting can be attributed to the media.

“The media is making everyone feel like they’re more equal,” he said. “Gun makers are taking advantage of this and producing guns that are more suitable to women.”

When it comes to pheasant hunting, hunters are staying with the “tried and true,” Woods said.

“Everyone wants to hunt pheasants with either a 12- or 20-gauge,” he said.

Changes in Kansas law have expanded the rifle calibers hunters can use for deer, Woods said.

“The legislature here has changed the law so all centerfire rifles are legal for hunting deer,” he said. “This has allowed women to step down from some of those larger calibers that kick so hard and shoot a .223 or a .243, versus a .270 or a .30-06.”

Woods added customers are purchasing those smaller calibers for hunting.

“Again, gun makers are taking advantage of this trend and are producing more hunting-geared rifles versus target rifles in those calibers,” he said.

A couple of years ago, Woods said, Muddy Girl camo became very popular and female customers asked for a lot of it.
“When a woman would come in, it was the first thing she would ask,” he said. “She wanted to know what I had in Muddy Girl.”

In general, camo sales are manufacturer-driven at Woods’ store.

“When Mossy Oak or one of the other big camo companies comes out with a new pattern, it becomes the current
hot-ticket item,” he observed. “Hunters follow what’s advertised and what’s the cool new thing that’s out. Once something is advertised, people come asking for it; as long as I stay on top of the newest thing, my customers are happy.”

When it comes to getting the word out about what he has in stock, Woods identified social media as his best tool.

“We use Facebook quite a bit, and we have our own website as well,” he said. “We also do an e-mail blast and a text message blast. People have to come into the shop to sign up to be on those lists, and once a month we send out an email or a text message and share what we have on sale at the time.”

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