Magnum Research Desert Eagle Mark X1X

The Desert Eagle Mark XIX L5 and L6 are lighter versions of earlier Desert Eagle handguns. The lighter weight makes a noticeable difference in the handling of the pistols although two hands are still recommended for most shooters. The L5 in .357 Magnum (pictured) weighs 2 lbs. 9 oz., making it New York state compliant. Its overall length is 9.75 inches. The L6 in .50 AE meanwhile weighs 3 lbs. 7 oz., about 12 oz. lighter than similar Desert Eagle models. It has an overall length of 10.75 inches.

(800) 772-6168

“You Look Familiar…”

… is almost as bad a pickup line as “Haven’t I seen you around here before?” Not that I would know. But I have to admit, those very lines came to mind when I picked up this Taurus Model 66 in .357 Magnum.

Four-inch barreled .357 Magnum revolvers may be considered sleeper models by many. After all, they’re old school has-been’s — carried by a long-ago generation of police officers. Compared to modern service pistols, they’re heavy, low-capacity, slow-loading monoliths best relegated to the history books and backcountry plinking, right?


Except … many revolver makers carry some variant of this gun. And while one particular gun company may seem to own the category of four-inch barreled .357’s, the Taurus 66 you see here clearly demonstrates this category is indeed alive and well.


Yep, lots of familiar features here. You’ll recognize stainless steel but Taurus puts a matte finish on this one. Also familiar: rubber grips. As for weight, heavy! The Model 66 tips the scale at 38 ounces (although it handles deftly). And there’s a familiar sight picture — the fixed front sight with an orange marker along with an adjustable rear sight.


Same good looks and, perhaps surprising to some, a very smooth trigger in both double action and single action modes.

The Taurus Model 66 holds seven rounds of .357 Magnum. Three pair, one spare. Other revolvers offer this feature, too, so it’s not exclusive to the 66. It’s just worth mentioning on a revolver bearing such strong resemblance to others out there. And, retailing for $590.74, the 66 is worth a closer look.


Stand by while I take this one out on a date to the range and then some civilian concealed carry. Don’t worry; there’ll be no more pickup lines. After all, I already know her sign. Taurus.

— Mark Kakkuri

Facebook Frustrations: “Like” It Or Leave It

By Taylor Smithfield

Let’s face it. Facebook is practically synonymous with the term “social networking.” With 1.1 billion unique monthly visitors (three-and-a-half times more than Twitter gets) the site should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. However, with Facebook’s increased efforts to censor certain content, your gun shop’s page may be more strictly scrutinized.

Facebook already prohibits paid advertising of firearms, but many dealers are discovering they also can’t post links on their Facebook to their e-commerce shops, even if the operation is legal. You may have encountered this policy in action already. If you post a link to an online store where firearms are sold, or if you link to a site that links to an online store where firearms are sold, it violates Facebook’s policies.

Hyatt Gun Shop (Charlotte, N.C.) discovered this when Facebook removed, much to their surprise, a post about an online sale on gun vaults and safes. They assumed the advertisement would be kosher since it was promoting gun safety. However, it linked to their e-commerce store. Likewise, Facebook shut down Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms’ (McKeesport, Pa.) entire Facebook page because they simply announced an AR-15 raffle. Facebook classified the post as an advertisement to “sell” weapons. The store claims to have lost 40 percent of their business at the time their page was removed.

If you ask Facebook’s team about posting content to link to your online gun store, their reply will be: “Ads may not promote firearms, ammunition, paintball guns, BB guns, fireworks, explosives, pepper spray, knives, Tasers or weapons of any kind, including those used for self-defense. Ads may not directly or indirectly link to landing pages where people can purchase any of these products.” They seem to use the term “ad” loosely to include advertising within “posts” to your Facebook page as well as actual paid advertisements. It’s easy to see how you might accidentally violate their terms of use without even realizing it.

These are unfortunate obstacles dealers don’t “sign up for” when they sign up for Facebook. Especially since the networking site isn’t restricting other segments of legitimate commerce the way they are the firearms industry. Depending on how Facebook interprets your content (and how thorough their vetting process) it may be very difficult to advertise your store. Even though their logo is giving a “thumbs up,” approval is not exactly the message they’re sending to gun dealers. So, what’s the best way to tackle threats to your social presence?


Stay In The Game

If you want to up your chances of staying in the game, there are a few approaches you can take. You could turn your page into a general discussion about guns or customer service-related topics. Using your page for product reviews is also an option (you can post photos of guns, but they can’t point at the viewer). Or perhaps you could post in-store gun sales or promotions without linking to an online store to purchase them. You’d at least have a solid reach in your local community this way. You can approach the policy regarding inadvertent linking to your online store by typing the following in your Facebook description: “Find us on Google: Jim’s Gun Shop in Tallahassee.”

However, if you find Facebook is too restrictive for you (or if you’ve been kicked off) you may be in luck. An emerging social networking site geared toward gun enthusiasts is offering an alternative to Facebook. Gun District currently has over 8,000 members, and this number is steadily growing by 15 percent every month, says Laura Evans, Gun District’s director of marketing. Free to sign-up and sponsored by Legally Armed America, the site provides several Facebook-esque features like profiles, groups, pages and advertisements.

“Gun District is a place where you can speak freely about your interests without being bullied,” Evans explains. Unlike Facebook, it’s “an unrestricted, uninhibited and unapologetic exchange of information and opinions regarding guns, the Second Amendment and the shooting sports lifestyle.”
Gun dealers can advertise on the social networking site as well. Yes, you can even link to your online store — using social networking as it’s intended! Plus, you won’t have to wonder if or when you’ll be blocked. Your audience is also guaranteed to appreciate your content.

“We’ve seen an uptick in the number of retailers who have joined Gun District and encourage them to continue to post their content regularly,” Evans says. “Additional opportunities for advertising will become available via weekly e-blasts and app sponsorships, and we’re constantly looking for new ways to help promote the shooting sports industry.”

The project is still in its infancy, but it may be an ideal time to establish your store’s presence on the pro-gun site because Facebook will most likely tighten its policies in the future. So whether you’ve learned to work around the obstacles Facebook presents or you’ve been blocked already, it’s beneficial to find other ways to do business and build your fan base. Gun District has the potential to become a thriving social network and an avenue for you to conduct business.

Please share your own experiences with Facebook (and social networking in general) as a gun enthusiast or dealer and how you’ve successfully complied with policies while still promoting your brand. Think about joining a site like Gun District ( and check out some other social networking sites like and


Fast And Accurate Dispositions With Gun StoreMaster

Blue Book has added a new feature called “fast4473” to their Gun StoreMaster software in order to speed up the disposition process. The update makes it easier to complete ATF form 4473 on desktop and mobile devices and “greatly increases accuracy, reduces errors, and further ensures compliance with ATF mandates by double-checking entries and processes,” according to a Blue Book rep.

Compliant with ATF Rule 2008-3, retailers using fast4473 can still print the form for signing and filing; fast4473 is available now for dealers.


Goat Tuff Gives Preference To Dealers With Equalizer

Good news for dealers: Goat Tuff Products has decided to make the Equalizer Archery Release Aid available through its website and authorized dealers only.

“This year we felt the optimal way to get our Equalizer into the hands of the archer/bowhunter was to go dealer only and offer each authorized dealer a shop model that could be used to show customers the advantages of the Equalizer,” says Jerry Smith, Goat Tuff president. For $100, you’ll receive a Pro Shop exhibit model for your store.

Your customers will appreciate the Equalizer because it increases bow performance by 10 to 15 fps for each inch of increase up to 3 inches without increasing draw weight.

“The Equalizer was designed for short draw archers or those that have had to shoot lower draw weights due to age or injury but has become a favorite with all archers looking to increased performance,” Smith says.


Read More Outdoor Market Articles


Click To Read The Shooting Industry March 2016 Issue Now!

Beyond The Purse: Holster Fits For Women

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

When and where to carry are some of the questions women must ask themselves when they become firearm owners. The next question is how to carry a firearm. Many women opt for a purse holster as the easiest way to carry. Others, however, prefer on-the-body carry, and today’s female shooter has plenty of options.

Crossfire Elite has a line of holsters designed for women incorporating memory-type foam laminate technology and ballistic nylon fabric. The Pulse is a fully ambidextrous, low-profile holster and it can be worn in up to nine carry positions OWB or IWB. Crossfire’s “Spring-loaded Thumb Break” System keeps the firearm secure when carried OWB and the retention system can be removed for compression fit. The Pulse allows women to express their personal style as it comes in four pattern choices (Blush, Fusion, Spark and Tango) and four color choices (Black, Iris, Silverdust and Turquoise).

Crossfire’s Rebel holster is also a low-profile holster designed for pocket carry. It’s fully ambidextrous with a grippy-rubber exterior fabric and a fleece interior. The closed-bottom design keeps lint and other items out of the barrel. The Rebel comes in the same color choices as the Pulse.

The versatile Luxe holster is super sleek and can be used as a purse, pocket or IWB holster. The Luxe uses Crossfire’s “Speed Retainer” system, a closed bottom and a grip-rubber exterior. It comes in four pattern choices, and black.

Designed for purse or OWB carry, the Edge holster sports dual belt clips to keep the firearm stable and secure — while allowing it to be attached to a belt, waistband, purse or pocket. Features include the “Speed Retainer” system and a 3D holster design, which won’t collapse when the pistol is removed from the holster. Color and pattern options are the same as the Pulse.


The Pulse (above) and Rebel (below) Holsters from Crossfire were designed
by women and can be used for many types of carry.


A Sticky Holster is another versatile option for women. Made of sticky material, which adheres to other fabrics with a bit of pressure, the Sticky Holster can be used in many ways including pocket, purse, IWB, in an ankle rig and in Sticky Holster’s Guard-Her Belt. Another bonus of the Sticky Holster is, over time, use and body heat will mold the holster to the gun, giving women a custom fit. The highly adaptable Sticky Holster is also very affordable making it a popular option for many women.

Dene Adams LLC makes a line of feminine and practical corset holsters. They come in a variety of configurations ranging from the Hourglass, which features a tank top-like design to the ultra-small Petite Sun-Kissed corset, which is their smallest model. The Hourglass can accommodate a full-sized firearm, while the Petite is designed for subcompacts. The corset holsters are made of breathable mesh with lace accent and a dry-wicking lining, which draws moisture away from the body and keeps women cool. Dene Adams also sells a custom plastic triggerguard to work with the corset holsters for additional security and ease of draw. Women will appreciate the fact they can cinch the waste a bit while being easily concealed under loose-fitting clothing.

The Lotus Concealed Carry Harness with Holster from Deep Conceal can also be a good option for women. The Lotus is designed for carry underneath a shirt. It has 1-inch webbing, an adjustable front, back and sides, and a 3-inch elastic insert in the back for a comfortable, no-show fit. The holster is sewn on with a moisture-wicking material between the fabric layers. A pocket on the opposite side of the firearm holds a spare magazine. Designed to fit small- to medium-sized firearms, the Lotus is available in black or white.


The Original Concealment Leggings (OCL) from UnderTech Undercover
offer a sporty and fashionable way to conceal a firearm.

The Original Concealment Leggings (OCL) from UnderTech Undercover is growing into one of the most popular concealment options on the market for women. Leggings are such a popular athletic and fashion item (most women own several pairs) and if they’re made to conceal a firearm, they’d be a must-have for any female shooter. The OCLs are stylish, comfortable and made of the same material as most popular brands of leggings.

They have the capability of holding two firearms, as there is a holster in the back for a traditional “kidney” position and a holster in the front for appendix carry. The gun is secured by a patent-pending retention strap, which keeps the handgun firmly in place, yet easy to draw.

The best part about the OCLs is if a woman isn’t carrying two firearms, the spare pocket can be used to secure a cellphone. This feature is especially valuable to female athletes and hikers. The OCLs are available in black only, and are suitable for athletic wear or they can be dressed up for a night out. Sizes are XS to XXXL and they come in right-or left-hand draw.

Host A New Kind Of Fashion Show

When it comes to selling some of these holsters, their attributes aren’t obvious in the package. A great way to make a fun event out of featuring new products is to host a holster fashion show. You can enlist the help of employees and loyal customers to highlight new holsters and explain how they work in a fun, social atmosphere. You can also invite your customers to model their own favorite holsters. Many women like to see just how well a firearm is concealed in a holster and enjoy the “surprise reveal” you can create at a fashion show-type event.

Getting like-minded women together in a room will generate conversations about all kinds of firearm-related products, and will give you a chance to really hear what women shooters want. It also allows dealers to order samples of new products and test the waters on how well a new item will sell. You’ll get plenty of feedback on the kinds of products women are looking for — and won’t waste valuable shelf space on holsters that look like a good idea on paper, but don’t fit your clientele’s needs. Consider auctioning off some of the holsters to benefit a local charity and the event will surely be well attended.

Read More Arms And The Women Articles

Ruger AR-556

Ruger introduces a state-compliant model of the AR-556. This new model is legal for sale in the following, otherwise restricted locations: Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Similar to the standard AR-556, this model has a non-threaded barrel, fixed stock with 13.5-inch length of pull and a 10-round metal magazine. With a 16.1-inch barrel, the state-compliant model is 34.4 inches in length and weighs 7.10 lbs.


(203) 259-7843

Cold Weather Considerations In Defensive Firearms

By Massad Ayoob

At the clothing store down the street, winter weather changes the inventory dramatically. This doesn’t seem to happen in gun shops. Perhaps it should, at least to a degree. Cold weather can change needs and capabilities in defensive handguns, and may warrant some adjustment in home-defense firearms, too. Is your store taking this into account?

One reason for the home-defense customer to upgrade ammo, or maybe even gun, in cold weather is the reasonable assumption a life-threatening home invader may “come in from the cold” dressed for the cold — turning the invader from a thin-skinned creature to a thick-skinned one. Just as hunters use different bullets for thick-skinned game, the same applies when your customers are facing a cold-weather threat.

In northern climates, being outdoors means folks often have to dress in multiple layers. Hollowpoint self-defense bullets are designed to expand from the inside of the nose cavity outward, with the tensile pressure of something like flesh facilitating the expansion. When something inert plugs the cavity, the bullet may fail to expand and instead turn into a flat-nosed ball. This “something” may be wallboard, for example, or — multiple layers of heavy clothing. Let’s examine this caliber by caliber.


Why You Should Offer “Winter Ammo”

You should be able to sell “winter ammo” to the concealed-carry or home-defense customer who is set on either 9mm, .40 S&W or .45 ACP.
NYPD officers have been required to carry 9mm unless they’re grandfathered with .38s from before 1993 or so; Chicago seems to be running 9mm at the Academy but authorizes 9mm as well as .40 S&W, .45 ACP and grandfathered .38 Special for primary service handguns; and Las Vegas Metro gives officers their choice of 9mm, .40 or .45. These cities can all get quite cold in winter, but all three departments have had good luck with the 124-grain Speer Gold Dot +P 9mm round. Oklahoma gets awfully cold, too, and when the state’s troopers recently switched from .357 SIG to the SIG P320 9mm, the round they chose was the 135-grain Hornady Critical Duty, which tests very well through heavy clothing in the ballistics lab. Consider having such loads on hand as “winter carry” for your customers who prefer 9mm.

The late terminal ballistics expert Dr. Martin Fackler noted a .45 slug tears about a 60 percent wider wound channel than a 9mm. It’s all the more important if the bullet fails to expand. Remind your customers a .45 ACP makes a very good winter pistol. The Anchorage (Alaska) Police Department issues the .45-caliber GLOCK 21 as standard, and is very happy with the results. In icy New England, four out of six state police agencies issue .45s (HK for Maine, S&W M&P for New Hampshire and Massachusetts and SIG for Connecticut). Last I knew, troopers are issued .40s in Vermont and .357 SIGs in Rhode Island.

The .40 S&W is a compromise caliber in more ways than one. The customer who likes 9mm pistol size and capacity is identical on the former and just a little below the latter with the same make and model in .40, but with a bullet that’s larger in diameter than the 9mm. Alaska State Troopers have been very happy with the performance of the .40 S&W service pistol for a quarter century now.

A final point on ammunition: home-defense shotguns are often loaded with birdshot, and down the length of a hallway once the tiny pellets have spread out, their force will be greatly blunted by an intruder’s heavy clothing. Remind such customers a switch to buckshot is particularly valid in winter months.


Cold Weather Carry Factors

If the customer is likely to have heavy winter gloves on when they’re out and about and there’s a sudden need for a pistol, remind him or her the glove material “fattens the fingers.” This can keep a DAO trigger from fully returning for the next shot, and in the small 1911 triggerguard (especially with a long trigger) can exert dangerous premature pressure on the trigger in a high-stress gunpoint situation.

The large “winter triggerguards” of pistols like the GLOCK and the S&W M&P are one reason this sort of pistol has become so hugely popular among police. The same goes for the double-action first-shot pistol, where the trigger stays to the rear after the first round, and the gun is decocked via a thumb lever. Some handguns are more suitable for winter carry than others. If the glove is off, any prolonged exposure to serious cold can turn the trigger finger numb, meaning a trigger with more resistance than the “summer gun” might be a good thing.

It’s a simple fact heavy winter clothing can better conceal larger guns, and when one has heavy winter clothing and footwear on, the weight of a bigger gun seems to go almost unnoticed in the mix. A quick look at the “concealed carry” sections of the popular online gun forums will show when cold weather looms, a great many of your customers switch to larger-frame handguns. It wouldn’t hurt to remind your customers this is in play with “the other side,” too, and firearms parity is common sense, not just a scare tactic.

Richard Davis, who invented modern concealed body armor more than 40 years ago, tracked shootings involving his customers and noticed incidents where bad guys used larger-caliber pistols and Magnum revolvers seemed to peak in the cold weather months. He attributed this to the fact criminals, too, realized they could carry bigger guns unnoticed under winter garb.

On the other end of the concealed-carry bell curve, there’s another insight: Remind the customer when reactive draw is slowed by having to get inside heavy coats, a second, smaller handgun in the coat pocket can be a lifesaver. For generations, cops in winter coats placed a smaller revolver in coat pockets for just this reason. The popular blogger Tamara Keel has written she does the same. Normally carrying a full-sized S&W M&P, she supplements it with S&W’s BODYGUARD .380 in an outer coat pocket when the snow starts to fall.

Finally, consider even in usually warm climates, winter still brings some icy nights. In Florida winters — which can get cold enough to kill citrus crops — the locals tend to dress in parkas and such, and this is true in other normally balmy climates. It’s a legitimate concern for all your defensive-minded customers, and a largely unexplored territory for additional gun shop sales.

Read More Personal Defense Articles


Click To Read More Shooting Industry February 2016 Issue Now!

Personal-Defense Options When Women Can’t Carry A Gun

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

When women visit a gun shop, a huge motivating factor is protecting loved ones — or themselves — from danger. In most cases, many would never consider setting foot in a gun store until they experience a situation where they feel helpless or threatened, and determine they never want to feel that way again. Firearms are a natural form of defense for many women, and a choice that works with their lifestyle. Other women find they aren’t ready for this defensive option, or their occupations make carrying a firearm impossible, so they explore non-lethal defense options. Today’s non-lethal defense options fit all budgets and give women many levels of protection.

ABQ GUNS in Albuquerque, N.M., is owned and managed by military veteran Belinda Gallegos. The female clientele at ABQ GUNS is a mix of women interested in personal defense and hunting, but the majority is looking for protection, according to Gallegos. They do a brisk business in non-lethal items like Tasers, batons and pepper spray — and one of their best sellers is a flashlight/stun gun combination unit.

“Women come in asking for a Taser, but when they realize it costs almost as much as a gun, the price makes them back off,” Gallegos said. “Then they go toward pepper spray or a stun gun.”


The ZAP Light For Her, from Personal Security Products, is a 1 million volt stun gun/flashlight.
The flashlight has 120 lumens and the unit can hold a charge for up to three months.

Gallegos, who also teaches at a local community college, said she has encountered many women who just aren’t comfortable using a firearm. She recounted an instance when another female teacher was being threatened by a student and came to her for help. After a long conversation, Gallegos realized the other teacher wasn’t in a gun mindset and helped her select a pepper spray. “If someone isn’t comfortable with a firearm,” she said, “then I’m not going to sell them one. Pepper spray is a tool you can use when you need something to give yourself time to get away and stop an attack.”

ABQ GUNS doesn’t offer its own non-lethal or firearm training classes, but partners with quality trainers in the area. Gallegos noted there are 29 gun stores in Albuquerque, and a key to her store’s success is using a mutual referral system of other gun stores and trainers to satisfy their customers’ needs.

“When I refer a customer to another store, they appreciate it and come back to me because I helped them get what they needed,” she said. “Customers are very appreciative of us.” This is evidenced by the fact ABQ GUNS has been named in the “Best of City Top Five” every year since they opened.


Gallegos says she offers a variety of Mace products so her store can
market effectively to the individual needs of each customer.

Versatile Products To Suit A Variety Of Lifestyles

Personal Security Products carries several different stun gun/flashlight options. The ZAP Light For Her is a 1 million-volt stun gun combined with an ultra bright LED flashlight. A rechargeable battery powers the unit, which also features a wrist strap and a little bling at its base.

Mace also offers flashlight/stun gun combinations, which sell well at ABQ. Most models offer 2.4 million volts of stopping power and ultra bright LED flashlights. They come in four different styles and include models to look like a typical flashlight. There’s also a pink version, which looks like a traditional stun gun marketed specifically to women.

Another popular item from Personal Security Products is their Expandable Baton. “The Expandable Baton is really great for dog walkers,” Gallegos said. “They’re available from 16- to 26-inch lengths. Strays are a threat around here and even the flick of the baton gets them to run from the sound. It gives some distance.” These batons are a very affordable option, she noted.

Pepper spray is also a popular non-lethal choice at ABQ, according to Gallegos. “Women typically go for the keychain models,” she said. “We sell mostly SABRE Red and Mace Pepper Spray.”

SABRE has a vast quantity of personal defense items ranging from alarms to pepper sprays to stun guns.

The company also has several kits to offer combinations of security products women need. One example is the Safety Chick Kit, which comes with a keychain pepper spray, personal safety alarm, door wedge alarm and date rape drug test coasters. All of these items are invaluable to women living alone or going off to college.

Mace offers a wide variety of personal defense items as well. Women who want spray they can easily tuck in a pocket will appreciate the Mini Keyguard and its up to six bursts of 10 percent pepper spray. A very discreet option from Mace is the Exquisite Purse pepper spray, which resembles a lipstick case. It delivers up to five sprays of 10 percent pepper spray and weighs just 17 grams. Mace also offers a College Combo Kit in hot pink. This kit features a stun gun, a Jogger pepper spray and a mini model pepper spray.


SABRE Red’s Safety Chick Kit provides several defensive options to
help keep women safe in a variety of scenarios.

Defense Tools For All Women

Whether you are a full-service operation with a range and training classrooms or a small mom and pop operation, giving your customers options to fit their personal-defense needs is the key to a successful business. A gun isn’t the right tool for every situation and many women are in professions or circumstances that are prohibitive of firearms. Offering an array of non-lethal defensive products provides women with a tool they can use immediately with a little in-store instruction, and gives them time to decide if they want to further explore guns for personal protection.

Show ’Em Who’s Boss

Fans of big purses and tote-style bags will be happy to learn about The Boss from Packin’ Neat. The Boss has the same great features as The Tactical holster and organizational insert, it just gives women more room to get organized and carry more stuff. The Boss measures 8 inches in height, has a width of 12 inches and a depth of 7 inches, but will adjust for a narrower purse. The removable holster allows women to draw from any position, and the fact The Boss can be used in any purse or bag, makes it a super versatile carry method.

Read More Arms & The Woman Articles


Click To Read More Shooting Industry February 2016 Issue Now!

Business Rush!

NASGW Expo Launches New Business Year

By Jade Molde

Nearly 2,000 industry professionals attended the 42nd National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) Expo & Annual Meeting, held in New Orleans, Oct. 27–30 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. With the amount of business conducted and orders filled, the NASGW Expo provides the spark to launch the New Business Year each year. Attendees from 46 states and 12 countries were at the event, which featured 69 new exhibitors. In total, the 2015 NASGW Expo had 276 exhibitors in nearly 55,000 square feet of exhibit space.

In his first Expo as NASGW President, Kenyon Gleason said show attendees had many positive things to say after attending the event.

“We had many people tell us this was the best show they had been to, as the show provided numerous opportunities for them to share their products with buyers,” he said.

Although 2015’s early troubles in the marketplace are in the “rearview,” Gleason admitted the industry is still recovering.

“In talking with our members, I sensed a real strong positive vibe, as they pointed out the opportunities they had to sell their products and see what other manufacturers were doing,” he noted. “But I don’t think we’re completely out of the hole we were in — we have it in the rearview, so we’re close.”

According to Gleason, many companies in the industry have embraced and championed the two-step distribution model.

“There are certain manufacturers that use distributors only, so they believe strongly in it. I read Ruger CEO Mike Fifer’s comments (transcript of Ruger’s Q3 2015 earnings call Nov. 5, 2015), where he highlighted that using two-step distribution allows his company to focus on designing and manufacturing products. Folks like Fifer remain completely committed to the model. At NASGW, we need to continue to do our job and let the industry know about the values of two-step distribution.”

In letting the industry know about the values of two-step distribution, Gleason added NASGW is going to communicate its message to the industry in 2016.

“Our goal is to tell people more often and in a more compelling way who we are and what we do, and why two-step distribution is relevant. Some manufacturers are consumer-direct, use sales groups, big-box stores, etc., to spread out their supply channel. Our members look at how to solve a lot a problems for everyone in one fell swoop by getting access to the retail community, sales channel, credit and more — which our folks are experts at.”


Helping to kick-start the 2016 New Business Year, the 42nd NASGW Expo & Annual
Meeting had nearly 2,000 attendees and more than 270 exhibitors.

Value Of Two-Step Distribution

Over 450 members met at the Annual Awards Dinner & Reception to kickoff the 42nd NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting. Top manufacturers were recognized for their commitment to the two-step distribution model, and NASGW presented checks to several industry organizations. To commence the Awards Reception, NASGW Chairman Pete Brownell addressed attendees on how the Expo provides a platform for collaboration and new partnerships.

“The NASGW Expo is the place to start forging new relationships, connect with old friends and understand one another’s struggles. This is the place where we — the NASGW — leverage our collective bargaining and brainpower to create meaningful, long-lasting value for all of us,” he said.

Even though there’s uncertainty in the marketplace, Brownell noted the value of the two-step distribution model is constant.

“2015 has been a year of fluctuation and uncertainty in our industry. We all are experiencing a great deal of change, which isn’t always a bad thing,” he added. “With an uncertain marketplace, there is one thing that remains constant — the value of two-step distribution. Now more than ever, it’s important for us to be consultants, inventory control specialists and business coaches to our customers.”

Brownell also emphasized the importance of relationships in growing the industry during difficult periods.

“It’s no secret: Times have been tough for this industry. It’s the relationships we have with the competitor across the table that will carry us forward. For us to prevail, we must all stick together,” he added.


The Expo provides attendees with an abundance of face-to-face networking opportunities.
NASGW President Kenyon Gleason says one of the association’s primary goals in 2016 is to
let the industry know what NASGW does for its members and “why two-step distribution is relevant.”


Industry Companies Recognized

NASGW’s Leadership Awards are presented to top optics, accessory, ammunition and firearms manufacturers and importers who best demonstrate a commitment to the two-step distribution model, and who provide outstanding value and service to customers. Wholesaler members rate the performance of manufacturers on four criteria: distribution policy; marketing, sales and promotion; logistics and operations and NASGW and industry support.

In Optics, the 2015 Manufacturer of the Year was awarded to Leupold & Stevens. “It is an honor to be recognized by our distribution and specialty retail partners, and one we deeply appreciate. They help us reach our core hunting and shooting customer throughout the country each and every day,” said Bruce Pettet, Leupold & Stevens president and CEO.

Birchwood Casey was recognized as the 2015 Accessories Manufacturer of the Year.

The 2015 Ammunition Manufacturer of the Year Award went to Hornady Manufacturing Co.

IWI US was selected as the 2015 Importer of the Year. “I want to thank all of the employees back at IWI US and IWI Israel, who worked hard every day this year, making this award possible. I’m proud of our team and I’m so happy that they get to be recognized for all they do,” said Michael Kassnar, IWI VP of sales and marketing.

Ruger was recognized as both the 2015 Firearms Manufacturer of the Year and Innovator of the Year. “On behalf of the over 2,000 Ruger employees, I want to thank NASGW for this recognition and both of these awards,” said Chris Killoy, Ruger president and COO. “Ruger remains committed to the two-step distribution process and continues to strive to bring exciting new products to wholesalers, retailers and consumers.”

The NASGW Chairman’s Award was presented to Wayne LaPierre. “Wayne’s influence in the shooting sports industry is undeniable. He has been an incredible leader, and I am honored to present [this award],” Brownell said. LaPierre was also the featured speaker at the Awards reception, where he informed attendees on how the NRA is continuing its fight against the anti-gun/anti-industry movement in Washington and state governments.

In addition, Jack Baumler, principal of W.L. Baumler Company and NASGW director, was presented NASGW’s Lifetime Achievement award for his service to NASGW and the industry.


(Top) NASGW made several charitable donations, totaling $120,000, to four industry
organizations — including $25,000 to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. (Bottom)
Ruger was recognized as the 2015 Firearms Manufacturer of the Year and Innovator of the Year.


Charitable Donations

In conjunction with the annual awards, several charitable donations were made by NASGW to industry organizations — totaling $120,000. NASGW donated $25,000 to both NSSF and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and $20,000 o the Youth Shooting Sports Alliance (YSSA). Additionally, NASGW donated $50,000 to the NRA-ILA (Institute for Legislative Action).

“The generous support of the NASGW will help to enhance CSF’s mission of working with Congress, governors and state legislators to protect and advance hunting, angling, recreational shooting and tripping across the country. We appreciate this on-going partnership,” said Phil Hoon, CSF corporate relations director.

Save The Date

This year, Gleason says NASGW is making a focused effort on working with its retail partners to benefit the industry.

“There’s a lot of potential for our organization, as we’re working on becoming more open to all components of the channel. There are a lot of opportunities of us to tap in to — such as collaborating with our members to grow the wholesaler contribution of the channel and find ways to benefit their bottom line,” he said.

The 43rd NASGW Expo & Annual Meeting will be held October 25–28 at the Kansas City Convention Center in Kansas City, Mo.
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Make An Impression Through Email Marketing

Thank goodness we’ve evolved from the days of AOL Mail and its friendly “You’ve got mail!” notification every time a new message hits our inbox. Otherwise, we’d be distracted every 10 minutes — or 125 times a day — which is the number of emails the average person receives in a 24-hour period. With so many messages flooding our accounts, it’s easy to overlook them for days or weeks, begging the question: Just how effective is email when it comes to communication?

You may have heard claims saying email newsletters have become irrelevant thanks to social media, but digital mailboxes have been making a steady comeback. After experimenting with the endless ways to turn Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram into online marketplaces (which have obviously proven to be very effective), the pendulum is swinging back in email’s direction for certain content.

Businesses and bloggers are relying more heavily on email once again to share information because it’s both more focused and personal than social media. You think 125 emails is a lot to wade through? Try getting your customer’s attention on their Facebook or Twitter feed, which is an endless barrage of notifications and posts. Yes, you’re maximizing your exposure in a sense, but you’re also up against a lot of contenders. While maintaining a social presence is essential, it’s smart to email out certain types of content, making it feel more exclusive, or at the very least increase your chances of getting noticed!


Let’s look at several dealers who send regular newsletters and the types of content they curate. Four Seasons Firearms (Woburn, Mass.) emails weekly advertisements featuring new firearms shipments or products that have recently dropped in price or will soon be out of stock (“Only three left!”). H&H Shooting Sports (Oklahoma City) employs a similar strategy (“This is BIG! 50% Off Clearance Items!”) to entice subscribers to their store. Ace Sporting Goods (Washington, Pa.) advertises exciting giveaways (“Chance to win a new S&W M&P9 Compact pistol, a $530.00 value!”) that require in-store entry, increasing the chances of making a sale.

P2K Range (El Cajon, Calif.) occasionally announces special events like their Guns & Grins comedy night and their Rods & Guns antique car show via email. If they capture email addresses at these events, they can easily re-invite attendees to the next occasion. The Range at Lake Norman (Cornelius, N.C.) shares their calendar with subscribers, including workshops (“Cleaning Your Firearm” and NSSF’s First Shots Program) and other special event nights (“Tactical Night” and “Action Competitive Shooting Night”).

Encourage Feedback, But Avoid Overwhelming Your Audience

It’s helpful to gather a few tips from manufacturer email newsletters, as well. Federal Premium Ammunition’s goal is to both encourage feedback and inform. The headline “We’re Listening” sits bold atop a small paragraph encouraging subscribers to post comments or questions to their social media (along with a link). Below this are brief “teasers” such as customer product reviews, links to online firearms training videos, and information about their youth programs. Mossy Oak sends an email to alert subscribers when they’ve added a new video to their series “Mossy Oak Pro-Staff” which features employees sharing tips (topics about antelope hunting, sea duck hunting, etc.)

While newsletters are only as good as their content, it’s equally important to establish a solid subscriber database. CIO Magazine reveals two main reasons why people hit the “unsubscribe” button. The top reason is the person never signed up for the newsletter (because they were added to the list without their consent) or they accidentally signed up. It’s important to make sure the customer is aware of what they are subscribing to because the last thing you want to do is alienate them and jeopardize future business.

The second reason for cancelled subscriptions, according to CIO, is when customers feel they receive too many emails from one business. If your communications become annoying or overwhelming, customers will eventually opt out; newsletters should feel like an enjoyable treat rather than a chore to read.

If you’re struggling with how to start your own email marketing campaign, some great resources can be found at MailChimp, VerticalResponse and ActiveCampaign. These sites take the guesswork out of the design and delivery methods, so you can focus on creating great content.

Rapid Gun Systems’ New Electronic Form 4473

Rapid Gun Systems has updated their POS software, adding the ability to fill out and submit an electronic version of Form 4473 (the Firearm Transaction Record). The new feature makes it easier to capture gun buyer’s required information, while delivering it in a legible format.

The updated software also speeds up the process at checkout since certain key information (serial number, buyer information, type of firearm) can be inputted one time and then instantly populated in other fields. This ensures consistency between the customer’s retailers acquisition and disposition (A&D) book, Form 4473 and your customer database.

With additional features like integrated holding periods, private party transfers, gun shows and overnight logging for gunsmithing work, you’ll also stay up-to-date and compliant with ATF regulations while creating a positive buying experience.



BREAKTHROUGH Products With Every Agency Arms Purchase

BREAKTHROUGH CLEAN, in partnership with Agency Arms, is offering customers BREAKTHROUGH firearms cleaning products with every Agency firearm sold, creating “a complete package that’s ready to go.”

“This last year, Agency Arms has established a precedent to be the most innovative and advanced firearms brand in the industry,” says Michael Parks, CEO of Agency Arms. This prompted the company to change its own practices by implementing BREAKTHROUGH’s solvents and cleaning products to its manufacturing and production process, as well.



Davidson’s Carries SIG SAUER Legion Series

Davidson’s Inc. is now offering the SIG SAUER Legion Series to its customers, including the P229 DA/SA and P226 DA/SA (both 9mm), which are highly customized versions of their base models.

Based on customer feedback, new features include a reduced elite beavertail, custom G-10 grips, low profile decock and slide levers, front cocking serrations and an X5 undercut. The P226 and P229 are now upgraded with aggressive front strap checkering, a checked under triggerguard, “SIG” Gray PVD finish and enhanced polished action with SRT. Grayguns Intermediate Adjustable Trigger, new SIG XRAY3 Hi Vis Night Sights and three anti-friction mags are included.

The Legion Series will soon feature a line of gun cases, knives and rifles as well. Legion products are available for members only with the use of “codes” that gains access to special promotions and products. With a Legion purchase, customers will receive a “registration” card as well as a custom-fitted pistol case and challenge coin.
By Taylor Smithfield

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2016 SHOT Show Extra

The Entire Spectrum Of The Industry On Display

The 2016 edition of the SHOT Show is set to open on Tuesday, January 19, at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. With more than 1,600 companies represented, including a number of new exhibitors, the industry’s mega show promises to be another unforgettable experience.

“For more than 30 years, the SHOT Show has been the largest and most comprehensive trade show resource for retailers,” said Steve Sanetti, president and CEO of NSSF. “For example, the New Product Center has more than 350 exhibiting companies and over 400 new products on display — giving retail buyers the chance to see the hottest new products at the SHOT Show. It’s your best resource to explore potential inventory and assess what’s best for your customers.”

Sanetti said the show has made it easy for attendees to take information on new products back to their stores.

“We provide complimentary scanners that allow you to mark which products are of most interest to you, and as you depart, we provide a special printout of information on the product, its company and its booth location on the floor,” he said.
Once again, most exhibitors will be in the same booths they’ve been in for the past three years. Attendees know where to go for the companies they want to see, which makes navigating the show easier.

“There have been a few moves,” said Chris Dolnack, NSSF senior VP and CMO. “For the most part, however, the floor is laid out how it has been for the past couple of years, so you can pretty much count on seeing folks where they were last year.”

The one significant change is the plan to move non-profit booths from Level 3 outside the Press Room to G Hall, and add between 50 and 100 potential exhibitors from the wait list to small booths just outside the Press Room. That area will be called “SHOT Show NEXT,” because exhibitors here will be the next ones to be moved to the main show floor when space becomes available there.

NSSF has also added a few additional features to the show floor.

“We’re expanding Radio Row,” Dolnack said. “Up on Level 3, we have a row of conservative talk radio hosts, including Lars Larson, Dana Loesch, Mike Gallagher and NRA news. It’s a great opportunity for exhibitors to go on national conservative talk radio and discuss the show, new products and trends they see. They reach hundreds of thousands of people.”

The Sands continues to improve the services offered to exhibitors and attendees.

“The Sands Expo got a new general manager last year, and she has brought a number of new ideas from her past experience,” Dolnack said. “The Sands has introduced a service where exhibitors can place lunch orders or food orders and they’ll deliver it right to the booth. So whether you want to have some snacks delivered for an important meeting, or you want to have lunch brought in for the booth staff, it will be available.”


Long-Term Partnerships To Benefit Show Attendees

In order to provide cost control and other protections for both exhibitors and attendees, NSSF has signed long-term contracts with its show partners.

“We’ve had such a successful run since our first show at the Sands in 2010 that we did some extensions on our contracts with ConvExx, our marketing agency CSG Creative and Freeman — and we’re on the cusp of doing one with the Sands as well,” Dolnack said. “In exchange for extending the contracts, vendors are willing to provide us with certain discounts and benefits we can pass through to our customers. This gives us cost certainty and helps us control costs. This past year we sent a spreadsheet to every SHOT Show exhibitor, which laid out the 2015 actual costs in terms of what the contracted fees were for everything from booth space to vacuuming. Then we gave them the contracted prices for 2016 and 2017 to help them with their budgeting.”

This allows exhibitors to plan budgets with actual numbers, instead of guessing.

“We’re trying to be a better partner and help people plan,” Dolnack added. “I think it also shows some transparency and demonstrates we’re not trying to shake every nickel out of every person who walks through the door. Our goal is to sustain the model we have now: Providing a quality event that has relevancy to the industry and provides 80 percent of the association’s revenue, which allows us to do all the things we do to promote, protect and preserve the industry.”
In fact, NSSF has been so pleased with CSG Creative they have extended the relationship to serve as the official marketing agency of the SHOT Show through 2019.

“For the last four years, CSG Creative has played a key role in the growth of the SHOT Show,” Dolnack noted. “Those efforts have resulted not only in record attendance year after year, but also in a higher quality show that delivers a tangible return on investment to exhibitors, buyers, media, public relations and advertising professionals and others relevant to the firearms trade. CSG’s knowledge of what makes trade shows tick, combined with the talent of our in-house sales and marketing team, makes this three-year extension of our partnership with them a value-added proposition for everyone who invests their time and money in attending the SHOT Show.”


Connect With The Media

Besides the opportunities available to interact with the press in the Press Room, NSSF has created an event to showcase new products for the media.

“We’re going to have a press breakfast at the New Products Center on Wednesday,” Dolnack said. “This is a new media breakfast that will be by invitation only. We’ll focus on trade first, and then new product editors from key consumer books. Nissan is sponsoring the breakfast, and it will be a more intimate affair. We plan to get the key people there and have it be something memorable.”


Industry Day At The Range

Once again, Industry Day at the Range will combine Media Day and Buyer Day and take place Monday, January 18, the day before SHOT Show opens. With over 170 manufacturers exhibiting — and an anticipated more than 500,000 rounds sent downrange — Industry Day is the premier shooting event in the industry, giving outdoor media and buyers the opportunity to shoot and test new products for the upcoming year. This year’s exhibiting companies include firearms, ATV and truck demos, knife throwing, archery and more.

The day will be split into two sessions. The first, beginning at 8:30 a.m., will be open to up to 1,000 media guests who are welcome to stay the entire day. The afternoon session, running from 12:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., is open to invited buyers, dealers, distributors and retailers.

Recognizing the importance of this event, NSSF recently renewed its title sponsorship of Industry Day at the Range through 2019.

“We could not be more pleased that NSSF has decided to continue their title sponsorship of this event,” said Cathy Williams, co-owner of Industry Day at the Range. “Thanks to NSSF, Industry Day has grown into the premier event in the shooting and hunting industry. We’re proud and excited to have them on board as our long-term title sponsor as we continue to expand this fantastic event.”

“Without a doubt, Industry Day at the Range is an invaluable component of SHOT Show and it’s one of our best opportunities to promote Project ChildSafe and other important campaigns to the media members and purchasers who are key to keeping these projects in the public eye and promoting the safety lessons that are so important to each and every one of us,” Dolnack said.


HAVA Invitational Golf Classic

NSSF and the Honored American Veterans Afield (HAVA) are joining forces to host the second annual golf tournament. HAVA is an industry-run organization that helps the healing and re-integration of disabled combat veterans back into normal life through participation in hunting and the shooting sports. The HAVA board of directors is comprised of industry executives committed to directing funds raised from such events to immediate work for these returning heroes and their families. All the proceeds from this event will benefit HAVA outreach programs.

Participation in the HAVA Invitational Golf Classic is $200 per golfer. Companies registering for a foursome receive one free registration, meaning foursomes can be registered for $600. Sponsorship opportunities are also available.

Each participating golfer receives one round of golf at Bear’s Best Las Vegas, a backpack full of golf and outdoor gifts, use of a golf cart, breakfast and lunch, round-trip ground transportation from the Sands to Bear’s Best, the opportunity to win high-end raffle items and the chance for prizes for winning teams.


Against All Odds Award

The SHOT Show was honored with Gold 100 recognition and a Grand Award at the Trade Show Executive Gold 100 Awards and Summit in Santa Barbara, Calif., last September. The awards signify the SHOT Show is among the Top 100 Trade Shows in the world and, for the Grand Award, that SHOT Show overcame great obstacles to achieve extraordinary success at its 2014 show, making it a candidate in the Against All Odds category.

The show faced such steep odds because NSSF had ended its relationship with a longtime show management company following the 2013 show. That led to the necessity of developing a new show management team along with new contracts for its convention center facility, partner hotels, general service contractor and other vendors — it was no small task for the largest trade show of its kind in the world.

With about half a year to produce a huge trade show from scratch, NSSF and its new show management company, ConvExx, new marketing firm CSG, and longtime partner Freeman not only accomplished the mission but produced one of the most successful SHOT Shows in history.

“We’re honored to receive these awards,” Dolnack said. “I can’t imagine a better example of a trade show team rising to the occasion to overcome multiple challenges to put on a successful event than that shown by the SHOT Show team leading up to the 2014 show.”


Make The Most Of The Show

Although there are plenty of other shows during the year, none of them takes the place of the SHOT Show. It kicks off the year and showcases everything that’s available within the trade. It’s a networking show, an educational show, and a media show that spreads the word across the industry.

“If you don’t attend the 2016 SHOT Show, you’ll miss out on the opportunity to network with other people in our industry, get the benefit of their experiences, and plan for the year ahead,” Sanetti said. “The SHOT Show is the one place you can see the entire spectrum of the industry, from companies that have been around for more than a century to those that are new and bring their perspectives. As it always is, it’s a must-attend show.”
By Carolee Anita Boyles

SHOT Show Auction Salutes “Western Heritage”

The 2016 SHOT Show Auction features a “Western Heritage” tribute to recognize the artistry of legendary names in the sporting firearms industry, such as Colt, Turnbull, Winchester and others. These items are being exclusively auctioned on; the auction began mid-December and will close on the final afternoon of the SHOT Show, Friday, Jan. 22. The Hunting Heritage Trust administers the auction for NSSF, with all proceeds benefitting the foundation and its programs.



The “Western Heritage” tribute Colt features hand engraving
and a companion hand-tooled holster and belt.

Colt Single Action Army

The Colt Single Action Army played an indelible part in the history of the American West. Among those who have owned the Single Action Army, include Wyatt Earp, Pat Garrett, Theodore Roosevelt, “Buffalo Bill” Cody, among others. The 4.75-inch barreled .45 Long Colt is hand engraved at Baron Engraving. Baron’s engraving mirrors the design on the companion holster and incorporates the “Western Heritage Colt 01” badge. The grips are handcrafted elk antler, selected by the artisans at Eagle Grips to complement this special Colt.

The companion hand-tooled holster and belt by Matt Whitaker at John Bianchi’s Frontier Gunleather is as impressive as the Colt itself. Whitaker’s scroll pattern is based on classic L.D. Nimschke designs.


Turnbull Manufacturing Restored Parker Side-By-Side

Turnbull-Restored Parker

This handsome Parker side-by-side combines the history of a Parker Brothers shotgun from 1879 with the renowned artisanship and “history recreation” of Turnbull Manufacturing. Turnbull has taken this historic Parker “Lifter Gun” and brought it back to the condition in which it would have left Parker’s Hamden, Conn., factory in 1879. When Doug Turnbull contacted classic arms dealer John Puglisi in search of the perfect shotgun for this project, Puglisi donated this rock solid “Lifter Gun.”

Complementing the Parker is an exquisite hand-tooled shotgun slip by Karla Van Horn. The slip features quality hand tooling and an original design generated by Van Horn from design elements tracing back many decades. Tying shotgun and slip together is the solid silver Concho in the Western Heritage design.



Making its return in 2016, this iconic Model 1866
up for auction is chambered in .44-40.

Winchester Model 1866

One of the biggest headlines to come out of the SHOT Show will be the return of the Winchester Model 1866, and one of the most talked about Model 66s will be this richly engraved “Western Heritage” edition in .44-40. The rifle features intricate hand engraving from forearm to butt plate by Baron Engraving. The serial number “WIN662016” celebrates the return of this classic lever-action in 2016. The “Western Heritage” theme is highlighted with the engraving of the authentic Texas Ranger Badge “RIFLE01” on the receiver.


Bowie Knife

Phil Evans Hand-Forged Bowie

Phil Evans is a highly respected custom knifemaker and member of the American Bladesmith Society. Phil has created a magnificent 15.5-inch overall length Bowie Knife for the auction. The massive forged 5160 blade is over 10 inches long and 0.375 inches thick at the spine, forged “S” type guard, iron hardware and a premium stag handle. Sheath is custom designed by Andy Humble and incorporates an authentic five-peso badge with the “Western Heritage” logo and “BOWIE 01” serial number.

Visit to bid on these items
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