Selling 9mm 1911s For Self Defense

By Massad Ayoob

From online gun forums to gun magazines to the competitive shooting ranges of America, the 1911 pistol chambered for the 9mm Luger cartridge has burgeoned in popularity. There are several reasons why, some of them counterintuitive; the more you and your staff can explain those good reasons to the customers, the more of these guns you’re going to sell.

The “personal defense market” is the title of this column, after all, and it’s where most sales of 9mm 1911s actually seem to be generated. Let’s look at some of the reasons, which your staff can inspirationally share with customers.

Extraordinary Recoil Control: With a 1911 chambered in .45, a shooter with proper grip and stance will see the muzzle flip up, and then immediately come back to the target after the shot. But with the same pistol in 9mm, the shooter with the same solid fundamentals can watch the sight picture rocket back and forth as the slide cycles, barely leaving the point of aim. It’s a stark difference. You’ll often hear a .45 shooter with his first 1911 9mm exclaim, “Wow! It’s like shooting a .22!” It’s not exactly that soft, of course, but you get the idea.

More Ammo: Just like in all pistols, the smaller diameter of the 9mm cartridge compared to the .40 or the .45 allows more cartridges in the magazine. Capacity of a full-size 1911 with, say, Wilson EDM magazines is 8+1 in the traditional .45 ACP, but 10+1 in 9mm. The little 3-inch barrel of the Springfield EMP 9mm is recognized as a subcompact pistol, but holds nine rounds in its mag and a tenth in its firing chamber.

This fact should help sway your cus-tomers who are concerned about magazine capacity. Of course, this affords an opportunity of a potential add-on sale, too.


Michelle Pickett, manager of Harry Beckwith’s Gun Shop in Micanopy, Fla.,
finds it hard to keep 9mm 1911s like these in stock to keep up with demand.

Trigger Reach: 1911s sized especially for the 9mm cartridge, like the Springfield EMP or the SIG, have a shorter reach from backstrap to trigger. This is a huge benefit for people with shorter fingers, and it also allows the average size hand to get on the trigger at the distal joint, which improves leverage. Trigger reach is the most critical element of answering the question, “Does the gun fit the hand?” — it’s a major selling point in and of itself.

Ease of Slide Manipulation: With a less powerful recoil impulse to run the relatively heavy 1911 slide, manufacturers had to go with a much lighter recoil spring. A bonus from this is once the hammer is cocked to relieve mainspring pressure, the slide is much easier for the shooter to cycle. How many semi-auto pistol sales have you lost when the elderly/arthritic/injured customer found he or she couldn’t rack the slide?

The 9mm 1911 generally solves this problem — leaving the customer with a gun they can buy knowing they can operate it properly. This solution also aids in establishing credibility between you and your customers.

These are just some of the reasons behind the burgeoning popularity of 9mm 1911s. The more of these features you share with the right customers, the more of these pistols you’ll sell.


Ruger SR1911


Kimber Pro Carry II


SIG SAUER 1911 Traditional Match Elite Stainless

How 9mm 1911s Came About

Designed by John Browning, the 1911 pistol was built around the .45 cartridge. It achieved moderate success with the .38 Super cartridge of 1929, and wasn’t chambered for 9mm until the Colt Commander model circa 1949. This move by Colt was intended for the U.S. military’s earliest proposal to switch to 9mm for ammo compatibility with other allied nations. It didn’t happen until 1985, however, when Beretta got the contract — and the 9mm Colt was an orphan from the start. A handful was sold to people who “wanted something different” or were particularly recoil sensitive.

To most American handgunners of the mid-20th century, a 9mm was something you’d buy if you wanted high cartridge capacity (like the Browning Hi-Power of 1935) or a double-action first shot (such as the S&W Model 39, built for the same trials as the 9mm Colt Commander and offered to the public about five years later). Demand for 9mm 1911s was so weak Colt often went long periods of time between manufacturing them.

The rise of competition shooting in the ’80s and ’90s — Steel Challenge, PPC and IDPA — led to an increase in demand for 1911s chambered in 9mm. However, this development led to “trouble in paradise” because the 1911 platform was designed around the .45 ACP cartridge. As you know, the 9mm Luger cartridge is distinctly shorter, which caused feeding problems and took a long time for gunsmiths to solve.

Innovators like Al Greco of Al’s Custom and Dave Williams of Springfield Armory largely solved the reliability problem with 9mm 1911s. With the Springfield EMP in particular, Williams scaled down the 1911 proportionally to the 9mm cartridge — creating a very reliable production 9mm 1911. In the custom gun-manufacturing world, Nighthawk’s Shawn Armstrong teamed up with legendary pistolsmith Bob Marvel to redesign the chamber, feed ramp and ejector — creating the most reliable full-size production 1911 in 9mm.

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Click To Read More Shooting Industry October 2016 Issue Now!

A Dealer Who “Gets It” When It Comes To Women And Youth

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Eleven eyes focused intently on Firearm Instructor Mike Davis as he demonstrated how to load a 20-gauge shotgun. After a thorough safety lesson and demonstration on clay busting, Davis asked if there were any questions. A hand belonging to a 14-year-old Boy Scout shot up, “Can I go first?” A few shots and busted clays later — he was hooked. The Scout leaned over to his friend and said, “This is so cool. I want a shotgun. I’m going to ask my dad.” And it’s as easy as that: A whole new group of firearm enthusiasts is born.

These events took place on a hot summer day in Colorado courtesy of the Salida Gunshop (also known as American Hunting & Firearms Service), which donated ammunition and guns to a day at the range for 11 Boy Scouts and their parents.

In all, a total of 20 people were instructed on how to shoot a .22-caliber rifle, and 12- and 20-gauge shotguns. Davis, a Salida gunshop instructor and former owner, donated his time to the Boy Scout troop — saying their operation has always put a big emphasis on kids and first-time shooters.

Marc Steinke, who currently co-owns the Salida Gunshop with Josiah Nierman, has been in the firearms business for 30 years — including a stint as an NRA field rep for Texas, Colorado and Alaska. “My main focus is youth and ladies because they’re the future of the shooting sports,” Steinke said. “If we don’t teach and train them [about firearms] now, we’ll lose them later. You have to create ways to be accepted in the public eye and show shooting is a safe sport.”

His belief explains why Davis and Steinke were happy to donate time and materials to a Boy Scouts troop from California that doesn’t have the same exposure to the shooting sports those in Colorado enjoy. “I thought it was an important thing to do because a lot of kids don’t have the opportunities to shoot like we have here, or they don’t have the money,” Steinke emphasized. “I strongly encourage other dealers to follow our example. They can fork out a few bucks on ammo and donate their time, and it will come full circle. If they don’t, it will cost them in the long run.”


If you partner with a local Boy Scouts troop to provide instruction and
guns/ammo, you’ll rein- force a positive image of the industry to the
“next wave” of customers — and even to parents.
Courtesy of Boy Scouts of America

“It’s Great For Families.”

An interesting dynamic of that Boy Scout day at the range was the parents were equally enthusiastic about shooting — including the ladies in the group. Everyone was game to try a new skill and take the time to improve their shooting, especially when it came to busting clays.
“Some of the parents who come to an event like this have never experienced shooting, so they try it,” Steinke remarked. “Parents see their kids smiling, learning a new skill and being outside — and then they try it. It’s great for families. Kids will come back and say it’s the most exciting thing they’ve done in their life.”

The items Salida Gunshop stocks on its shelves also demonstrate the staff’s commitment to new shooters. “We have a whole rack of youth guns; they’re huge sellers,” Steinke said.

In the rifle department, a best seller is the Mossberg Patriot rifle, according to Steinke. “It’s all made in the USA, comes in all calibers and all sizes, including youth and ladies. The 7mm-08 is just awesome for big game.”

The reliable Remington 870 is a favorite shotgun amongst Steinke’s customers. “The youth and ladies models chambered in .410- and 20-gauge are hard to beat,” he added. Finally, a popular handgun with women and youth is the GLOCK 43 9mm. “It’s a great youth and ladies gun because it’s sized to fit them,” he said, adding that GLOCKs are so reliable, they make great guns for beginning shooters.

Salida Gunshop’s women customers are big fans of firearms with color. “Ladies like to have something designated for them,” Steinke noted. Top-selling CCW accessories include purse holsters from Gun Tote’n Mamas because of their quality and design. Sticky Holsters are also popular since they work with just about every item of clothing without a belt and can easily go in a pocket.

When it comes to firearm purchases, Steinke strongly discourages men from buying guns for women, “I tell them, ‘You don’t try her shoes on for her, so you can’t try her gun on — bring her in!’” It’s important not to rely on special orders for women’s (and youth’s) guns. When women come into the store, they can try several different guns (as they would shoes) and find the right fit.
“You have to have guns in stock for women so they can try them and find the right one,” Steinke stressed.

A Sound Investment

Supporting youth and women’s shooting has proved to be a good strategy for Steinke. His store caters to an active shooting community and they’re lucky to have a public range close by for shooting events. Steinke was instrumental is obtaining NRA grants to fund the public range, corralling approximately $100,000 to support the public range on county land. Salida Gunshop is also expanding — an indoor gun range is in the works for instructional training, shooting skills classes and gunsmithing.

If you’re interested in promoting youth and ladies shooting, reach out to Boy Scout troops, 4-H Clubs and other youth groups. Let them know you’re promoting the shooting sports as a safe and fun pastime. Many groups are looking for unique activities that build useful skills and get kids outside. Make it a safe and entertaining event where kids experience success and get to hit fun and engaging targets. The parents in attendance will see the joy it brings to the kids and want to get in on the action.

Even more importantly, if a family hasn’t had any experience with the shooting sports, it will show shooting in a positive light and it will benefit your business in the future. As Steinke said, all firearms dealers can, at a minimum, occasionally donate their time, ammunition and firearms to encourage new shooters. It’s an investment in the future that will more than double over time.

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Click To Read More Shooting Industry October 2016 Issue Now!

What’s Trending In Handguns?

Dealers Share Their Insights On Top Sellers,
Best Services For Repeat Customers

By Mark Kakkuri

This year, a few handgun manufacturers rolled out some noteworthy goods: Kimber revealed its first revolver, the K6s. Ruger brought forth the Ruger American Pistol, a new polymer duty pistol. And Nighthawk Custom started carrying high-end Korth revolvers. Yes, that’s a broad spectrum of product offerings in the handgun market. So clearly these manufacturers think there’s a market for them — or at least they’re hoping there will be.

Since we’re still seeing record gun sales and plenty of interest in self-defense, law enforcement and sporting handguns, Shooting Industry decided to check in with a couple of dealers to see what’s hot in the handgun market and why. David Freeman and David Loeffler head up Texas Gun Pros in North Richland Hills, Texas, and Loeffler’s Guns in Grants, New N.M., respectively.

SI: How are you dealing with the increased demand for handguns?

Freeman: “We deal with multiple distributors and we monitor their inventories daily to see what’s available in the most popular handguns for our store. In fact, we keep standing orders for Taurus PT111s, Smith & Wesson M&P Shields, SCCYs and a few other models that sell as soon as they hit the door.”

Loeffler: “There’s a small increase in sales in my area. Definitely an increase in interest in personal carry and home-defense firearms, and sales are fairly steady. The last seven years have shown a slight increase in interest, but the economy for this area has been hard hit by the increase in regulation of coal mining and in the energy industry. There have been many who have lost jobs and disposable income has dropped precipitously.”

SI: How has a change in demand affected what you offer to customers?

Freeman: “Early in the year there were shortages for GLOCK 42, GLOCK 43 and GLOCK 19 pistols. Almost all of this year, until recently, Taurus PT111s, S&W Shields and Springfield XD-S models have been in high demand because of the popularity of civilian concealed carry. The same goes for the Springfield EMP and their smaller 1911s.” Freeman also relayed he provides extended customer service to great effect: “We have the ability to special order almost anything. So we spend our inventory dollars mostly on what we know people are looking for.”


Springfield Armory XD(M) OSP

Loeffler: “We maintain a selection of new and used guns in the lower-to-middle price range with some higher-end firearms mixed in as well. My wholesalers do a good job of keeping a selection of types on hand but selection of a particular make and model can be iffy.”

SI: What trends are you seeing in sales of handguns? And how would you rank
the sales of, say, polymer semi-autos compared to 1911s and revolvers?

Loeffler: “There’s a demand for lighter weight polymer frame guns for personal carry, but for shooting pleasure the 1911 is popular, yet a slow seller.” He says revolvers are about a third of his sales for personal defense — and about 2:1 prefer double action over single action. “The single action is still popular in rural New Mexico in both .22 LR and larger calibers for hunting and just plain fun.”

Freeman: “For the past two years, the single-stack nines have had the highest demand. Right behind these are the smaller nines with more capacity. When those guns are short in supply, we offer easier-to-get alternatives we know will work for a customer’s intended use. For example, a CZ-P07 is an excellent carry gun, as is the SAR-B6. We can get these.”

SI: Are you seeing increased interest from handgun hunters or target shooters? And if so, what’s the reason behind it?

Freeman: “Because we teach [Texas] License to Carry courses, the bulk of our business is for defensive handguns. This is followed closely by MSRs. Currently, we’re not getting a lot of hunters, but we’re expanding and expect that to change.”


Taurus Millennium G2 PT111

Loeffler: “The change in handguns for hunting here in New Mexico is not actually for hunting with a handgun, but for personal defense from both two- and four-legged predators when archery hunting. And target shooters provide steady sales; I’m expecting an upturn when the county range comes online in a year or so.”

SI: How about the concealed carry/personal defense market?

Loeffler: “There are inquiries daily about concealed carry/personal defense. I have two local instructors I recommend for basic handling and concealed carry instruction. Overall there’s been a huge increase in interest and the classes we’re offering are full.”

Freeman: “Most of our business is from the concealed-carry and/or home-defense market, primarily because we’re a training facility first — with gun sales as an added element. But I have to say: Our revenues last year were 70 percent from gun sales, 30 percent from training. The smaller guns sell well — but we don’t push .380s at all. We’ll sell one, but only if the customer fully understands what they’re getting. We simply don’t feel they’re the right solution for personal defense until we’ve helped the customer explore other options.”

SI: What are customers coming back to your store most for — training, gunsmithing, gear, more guns?

Freeman: “Customers usually come to us first for training, then come back for firearms and additional training. Because we approach every sale as instructors, rather than salesmen, we get a lot of repeat business. People like being educated more than they like being sold.”

Loeffler: “The gunsmithing side of the business is steady, and there’s a small increase in reloading inquiries. With the availability of ammunition online, I’m not seeing more than a 1 or 2 percent increase in ammunition sales here.”


Remington RM380

SI: What are you offering in incentives to get customers in the door and how are you getting them to buy add-on products?

Freeman: “We send out email flyers weekly, and on special occasions we’ll let people know when we have desirable or hard-to-get firearms. We also offer a 5 percent discount forever on in-stock firearms for people who have attended one of our classes. Add-on products are just a natural part of the educational process. We don’t tell people they need something without educating them about why they need it (or why they should want it).”

Freeman also points out first-time handgun buyers will have immediate gear or accessory needs, right out of the gate. “They need a holster or purse, and if they’re going to wear it, a good gun belt. Almost everyone these days wants an UpLULA magazine loader once they’ve tried one. They need ammo, both range and personal-defense, and they need cleaning supplies. We offer a free gun cleaning class each month, not just to our existing customers, but to anyone who wants it (subject to seating limitations), and we help those that attend buy the right kind of cleaning supplies so they don’t overspend.”

Loeffler: “Our customers prefer a broad availability of accessories and gear. Mostly just having ammunition, holsters, paper, DuraSeal and steel targets, magazines, magazine loaders and magazine carriers available gets them sold. That, along with free advice, helps handgun sales.”


courtesy of Heckler & Koch

“It’s Just Getting Crazy Out There.”

Freeman says the most surprising thing about the handgun market so far this year is, “we continue to see people come in who have previously been afraid of guns or maybe anti-gun and something has turned a switch in them to make them feel not only that they need a gun at this point in their lives but also that they need to know how to safely own and operate it.”

The impetus behind a new customer’s decision to buy can be a myriad of reasons. “We hear very interesting stories,” he says. “Some who live in gated, high-end communities tell us of break-ins, robberies and such that happened to them or a friend or family member. Others are concerned about the possibility of terrorist sleeper cells in the U.S. Some are concerned that ‘it’s just getting crazy out there.’”


American Handgunner Celebrates 40 Years Of Groundbreaking Content

Forty years ago, the U.S. was in the midst of celebrating its Bicentennial, Steve Jobs cofounded the Apple Computer Company in a garage and a magazine devoted to all things handguns made its debut as the first of its kind on the newsstands. Since 1976, American Handgunner has set the standard when it comes to delighting readers with eye-popping images, engaging reviews and a cast of knowledgeable, yet talented writers.

With the launch of the September/October 2016 issue earlier this year, American Handgunner celebrated 40 years on the newsstands. Ruger’s American Pistol was on the cover, and other highlights from the issue include “The Impossible Python,” how the .50 GI is alive and well and a “Close Look” at sights/optics and accessories.

In his Insider column, Publisher and Editor Roy Huntington saluted Handgunner’s readers for sharing in the publication’s success, writing, “That first issue, Sept/Oct 1976, rewrote the book on gun magazines and has spawned copycats galore over the years. We’re still number one in the quality of our readers and the affection of the industry. You guys are handgunners and love to shoot, reload, compete, collect, train, defend and you all cherish your families, your friends and your country. So do we.”

To stay up to date on what your customers are reading about in American Handgunner visit

Salutes to the entire American Handgunner team for achieving this milestone!

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Click To Read More Shooting Industry October 2016 Issue Now!

Hot Knives!

Latest Trends Show Cutlery Industry Is Still On Fire

By Pat Covert

The BLADE Show, held every June in Atlanta, is the cutlery world’s best barometer of industry health — and this year’s event was no exception. Attendees last year saw a huge increase in both youth-driven companies and younger consumers alike. In 2016, this trend continued at an accelerated pace, and in an encouraging sign, there was a noticeable uptick in participation from the international community. Follow along as we give you a tour of some of the hot new offerings!

Tactical And EDC Standouts

Columbia River Knife & Tool (CRKT) won the BLADE Show’s Most Innovative Imported Knife award for their Ken Onion Field Strip Homefront folder. Serious looking with a hint of retro cool, the Homefront (8.3 inches overall with a flipper opener) can be taken apart in less than a minute — making cleaning mud and grit a snap. Truly innovative, the Homefront will be a home run among your customers. MSRP is $150.

Böker Plus Knives’ biggest seller in 2015 was the Urban Trapper series of everyday carry (EDC) folders. These modern Brad Zinker designs are nothing short of slick. Soon, there will be a more compact version, the Urban Trapper Mini, with four different frames: Titanium, Cocobolo Wood, Carbon Fiber and G10. The blade length on the Minis will be 2.75 inches, making them ideal for small, everyday carry. The first issue is the Titanium model, with a suggested retail of $99.95.

The Hogue Knives folks were all smiles after winning the 2016 Freedom’s Guardian Award from Knife Rights, the cutlery industry’s equivalent of the NRA. The company’s new X5 series of folders were on display and featured an arched profile, anodized aluminum frame, CPM 154 stainless steel and a slick button lock blade release. Available in a choice of blade styles, the X5’s MSRP ranges from $209.95 to $259.95.

Spyderco’s Pattada, the newest folder in their Ethnic Series, carries on the banner in spades. Long and sleek, the 8.76-inch (open) Pattada has its roots in Sardinian ethnic knives called “resolzas.” Designed by Spyderco owner and founder Sal Glesser, this resolza is modernized with clean lines, G10 handle scales and a top-shelf Böhler-Uddeholm N690Co stainless steel spear point blade. MSRP is $289.95.

The American-Made Knife Of The Year award went to Spartan Blades’ SHF (Spartan Harsey Folder), a handsome blend of sculpted Titanium and S35VN stainless steel. The SHF won’t be available until later in 2016, but the Metis model folder has already hit the shelves. This is a gentleman’s EDC: 6.75 inches in overall length with a sweet upswept S35VN blade and full Titanium frame with integral lock. Every bit as tough as it is stylish, the Metis has an MSRP of $340.

The Zero Tolerance 0456 was released just before the BLADE Show and has already proven to be a hit among end users. Designed by custom knifemaker Dmitry Sinkevich, this 7.7-inch (deployed) 3-D machined, two-tone Titanium frame folder is a bulldog in stylish attire. The blade has a flipper opener with a CTS-204P stainless steel hybrid of clip point and reverse tanto styles. The blade pivot, frame spacers and pocket clip are done up in a striking anodized blue. MSRP is $300.

Designed by SWAT officer Lee Smith, the ESEE Tertiary push knife is based off the company’s wildly popular Izula model. The Izula-style blade is a 2.5-inch clip point of 1095 high carbon steel (an ESEE standard) with a black powder coat. Overall length is 5 inches. Optional handle scales are Izula black G10 units and the knife comes with a black molded plastic sheath with removable clip plate. MSRP is $162 with scales, $130 without.

The Steel Will Gekko folder has been one of their most popular models, so much so that customers begged for a smaller version for a light EDC. Steel Will obliged with the new Gekko Mini Series — sporting handle options in Burgundy Micarta, Green Canvas Micarta and Black G10. Fully extended, the new Minis will check in at 7.87 inches, with 3.5 of that in the blade. MSRP for the Minis is $199.95.


CRKT took home the BLADE Show’s Most Innovative Imported Knife award for
their Ken Onion-designed Homefront folder with Field Strip technology.
It can be disassembled in less than a minute for cleaning.


Silver Stag Deep Valley Elk Stick

Hunting/Survival Edges

Hunting and survival-type knives continue to be an in-demand trend among knifemakers, and several new introductions caught the eye of BLADE Show attendees.

Benchmade’s new Crooked River AXIS Lock, part of their HUNT Series of fixed-blades and folders, may be the best-looking hunting folder ever produced. Seriously. The 5.3-inch handle is a sweet combination of grey anodized bolsters with Dymondwood scales, further accented with an orange pivot collar and back spacer. A 4-inch stonewashed clip point of CPM-S30V stainless steel does the cutting chores. MSRP is $210.

Designed by popular outdoorsman Brian Griffin, Schrade’s new SCHF42 Frontier fixed-blade is as hot as a cap pistol. At 9.95 inches overall with a 5.12-inch 1095 high carbon steel drop-point blade, the SCH42 can handle a myriad of field chores. Buyers have a choice of black or brown Grivory handle scales. MSRP is a very affordable $75.56, which also includes a leather sheath.

Habilis Bushtools, a favorite of the bushcraft set, continues to grow its line of survival and camp knives. The new Companion model, a compact 6.35-inch fixed-blade with an upswept 3-inch clip-point blade, attracted interest. The full-tang design features 1095 high carbon steel and a comfortable bag handle of orange/black layered G10 composite. The Companion is priced at an affordable MSRP of $99, perfect for the younger crowd.

Battle Horse Knives’ new Bushman, a super-sized version of their popular Bushcrafter model, is a beast. At 10.75 inches overall — 5.25 inches in the blade — the Bushman is made for heavy-duty camp chores. This handful of a fixer features easy-to-sharpen O1 tool steel and Micarta handles. Battle Horse offers three blade grinds: Scandi, Saber and Full Bevel. Its MSRP is $250, which includes a beefy leather sheath.

Smith & Sons Knife Company is a family business, founded in 2011. The Ultralite is a 7-inch overall fixer with a 3.7-inch deep-bellied drop-point blade designed for skinning game and light camp chores. The compact Ultralite features D2 blade steel, Micarta handle scales and a horizontal leather sheath. MSRP is $215.

TOPS Knives has moved onto the production phase of the new B.O.B. Fieldcraft folder after two years of prototyping and testing. This folding version of their popular B.O.B fixed-blade has virtually the same lines and, according to Marketing Director Craig Powell, the blade can be used for batoning — a testament of its strength. Overall length is 9.75 inches and the 1095 high carbon steel modified Scandi blade is 4.38 inches. MSRP for the B.O.B. Fieldcraft folder is $250.

Gerber 06 Auto


Bear & Son B-400-LD


Jim Bruhns president of Hogue Knives, proudly displays the 2016 Freedom’s Guardian
Award trophy from Knife Rights — the cutlery industry’s equivalent of the NRA.

Save The Date

BLADE Show 2017 will once again be held at the Cobb Galleria in Atlanta, running June 2–4. Visit for more information.


SB Tactical Ramps Up OEM Efforts

Continuing the company’s aggressive rebranding campaign and product portfolio effort, SB Tactical has announced new OEM partnerships with IWI US, KRISS USA and CAA USA.

“The evolution of our brand and products showcases our commitment to growth and innovation. This is an exciting time for SB Tactical; we look forward to forging strategic relationships with new partners and fans of the PDW Pistol community,” said Amy Pevear, SB Tactical VP of marketing.

IWI’s UZI Pro and Galil Ace firearms will be equipped with SB Tactical’s UZI PSB (Pistol Stabilizing Brace) and Galil PSB, while KRISS USA’s Vector SDP pistols feature Vector PSB braces in both black and FDE. CAA is now shipping the Non-NFA RONI featuring a SB Tactical PSB.
SB Tactical also has existing partnerships with SIG SAUER, Century Arms, LWRCI, Zenith Firearms and Maxim Defense.

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Click To Read More Shooting Industry October 2016 Issue Now!

Women Continue To Benefit From Shotguns Designed Just For Them

By Lisa Parsons-Wraith

Clay busting, whether it be skeet, trap or sporting clays, has always enjoyed enormous popularity with women. It’s proven as a great non-threatening introduction to the shooting sports and has inspired many women to further engage in other firearm-related activities. Kim Rhode’s record-breaking sixth consecutive appearance in the Olympics and her status as the first female to medal in six consecutive games (and the first summer Olympian to accomplish this feat!) should inspire more women to try the shotgun sports. Capturing bronze in the women’s skeet shooting event at Rio 2016, Rhode’s status as an Olympic hero is assured.

As we’ve noted in this column before, women’s enthusiasm for the shotgun sports hasn’t gone unnoticed by firearms manufacturers and there are more shotguns for women to choose from than ever. Here’s a look at just a few of the great shotgun offerings women have to choose from:

CZ-USA’s shotgun designed for women is called the Lady Sterling. Created with special stock dimensions that allow most women to keep their heads up and eyes on target and an adjustable comb to help fine-tune the fit, this shotgun has a lot going for it. An increased pitch of around eight degrees makes it much more comfortable on the shoulder for women, as well. Built on CZ’s Upland Sterling receiver, the Lady Sterling is chambered in 12-gauge with 28-inch barrels, handling both 2.75- and 3-inch shells. The gun comes in Turkish walnut with an adjustable comb and laser stippling, extractors, F, IM, M, IC and C chokes, and has a manual tang safety.

Ithaca Gun Company entered the women’s market with the Model 37 Featherlight Ladies Stock pump-action. The gun features a unique drop of comb, drop of heel, cast pitch and toe out. Since this stock is designed for women shooters, the ergonomics make it comfortable for women. It’s only available in 20-gauge, and is well suited for pheasant hunting or clays. Other features include: a receiver machined from a single block of steel, solderless barrel system, a lengthened forcing cone to reduce recoil, classic game scene engraving and a fancy black walnut stock and forend. The 37 Featherweight weighs in at 6.8 lbs. and three Briley choke tubes round out the package.

The sheer versatility of the Mossberg Flex 500 makes it a good choice for women looking for an all-around shotgun. The Flex is a tool-less locking system, which allows the shooter to simply switch stocks, forends and recoil pads for a variety of shooting applications. The modularity of this shotgun design means a woman’s favorite turkey gun can quickly be turned into a home security weapon. Available in many 12- and 20-gauge configurations, there’s sure to be a Mossberg Flex shotgun to fit your female customers’ needs.


Beretta’s A400 Xcel is a light-recoiling 12-gauge competition
shotgun with a number of women-friendly features.

Italian Beauties Boost Options

The Beretta A400 Xcel is a low-recoiling, clay-busting semi-auto designed for competition. It reliably feeds all types of shells from 2.75 to 3 inches, whether they’re light target loads for competition or heavier loads for the occasional upland bird hunt. A hydraulic shock absorber and Micro-Core buttpad reduce recoil by 70 percent ­— the Xcel is built to recoil parallel to the comb, so there’s less chance of the gun hitting a woman’s cheek. The Xcel comes in 12- and 20-gauge variants.

Beretta’s A400 semi-auto series also comes in a lighter-weight version of just 6 lbs., 10 oz. in 12-gauge called the A400 Lite. Despite its reduced weight, women will appreciate the fact it will not kick excessively because it’s a gas-operated semi-auto and has Beretta’s Kick-Off recoil reducer in the stock. Essentially a shock absorber, the Kick-Off compresses as the gun comes back under recoil, softening the blow to your shoulder. The gun comes in a choice of 26-, 28- or 30-inch barrels, all chambered for 2.75- and 3-inch shells.

The A400 Lite brings shotguns into the high-tech world with Beretta’s GunPod 2, a sensor in the stock that records shots fired and miles walked. The Bluetooth device connects to social media and women can even send out GPS coordinates should they need assistance. Even though it’s not designed specifically for women, the A400 Lite has features they’ll want such as an adjustable stock and a set of spacers, which allow for adjustments for users to create a custom fit.

Women looking for a turkey gun will appreciate features on the Beretta A300 Outlander Camo Turkey. While also not designed specifically for women, this model sports a Realtree Xtra finish, a shorter, 24-inch barrel, a stock that can be shortened up to an inch (with only a screwdriver needed) and stock shims to alter the gun’s dimensions to better suit a female owner.

The barrel has fiber-optic front and rear sights and the receiver accepts a scope mount for an optical sight, such as a scope or red-dot. It has studs to accommodate sling swivels, making it easier to carry though the woods. All in all, this 12-gauge’s features make it an ideal turkey gun for women.

The Rizzini V3 Youth and Female Competition model, distributed by Fierce Arms in Gunnison, Utah, has a stock with a shorter overall length and a raised Monte Carlo comb to meet the needs for lady shotgunners. The gun’s design helps limit recoil and improve the fit for small-statured women. The V3 comes in 12- and 20-gauge, and barrel lengths of 28 and 30 inches to accommodate different shooting styles.


Strike A Balance

Blaser USA out of San Antonio, Texas, distributes the German-made Blaser F3 Ladies shotgun. Designed with women in mind, Blaser took extra pains to dampen recoil with the Speedbump recoil system from Speedbump StockWorks. This system also allows for an adjustable length of pull from 13.5 to 14.625 inches. Another feature on the F3 Ladies Gun is a four-way adjustable comb that can be set up as an extractor or ejector, with the extractor variant allowing for easier opening and closing of the action.

The F3 Ladies shotgun balance can also be adjusted through a weight system in the stock and forend called the Blaser Balancer. This allows the shotgun to be modified to any woman’s style. The shotgun features Blaser’s IBS anti-doubling system to prevent fan firing and Blaser’s EBS ejecting system. The system activates when the gun is fired and cocks the ejecting spring when the gun is opened, keeping resistance to a minimum. Also standard on the F3 are Briley Extended Spectrum Choke Tubes and key. The 12-gauge weighs in at a nicely balanced 8.75 lbs.

Whether your customers are gearing up for the fall hunting season or busting clays, there are many shotgun options available to women. Fall is perfect for a women’s shotgun clinic and get women thinking about gearing up for shotgun shooting sports. Have plenty of branded vests, hats and clothing to coordinate with the shotguns you sell. Women are fiercely brand loyal and will be proud to sport accessories touting their favorite shotgun’s name.

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The Storage Solution

Secure Sales From First-Time Buyers

By Carolee Anita Boyles

One key aspect of gun safety is secure storage. Whether a gun owner is storing his or her firearm in a residence, business or in a vehicle, there is a wide range of options available. Brian Bourgoin is the hunting and gun department manager at Outdoor Emporium in Seattle. He’s seen an increase in customer interest in safe gun storage at his store.

“Our customers are looking at a variety of security solutions ranging from full-size gun safes in the home to small bedside storage for emergency access — and also for when they have to securely lock their gun in their vehicle,” he said.

While laws governing concealed carry in a vehicle require the handgun to be under the owner’s control, Bourgoin pointed out “there are many places where concealed carry is prohibited.” This, he said, means a firearms owner would need to leave their gun locked out of sight in the vehicle — which creates its own set of problems.

“People realize the average vehicle’s glove box provides little in the way of security. It’s often difficult to put one of the lockable gun boxes under the seat due to automotive electronics that limits the space available. I think this is an area where the industry could develop better customer options for in-vehicle storage,” he added.

Customers are buying a lot of home security solutions as well, according to Bourgoin.

“The brands of safes we sell are American Security, Sports Afield, Cannon, Rhino Ironworks and Bighorn, Heritage, Winchester and Stack-On,” he said. “On the small side of things, we also sell GunVault and Liberty Quick Vault lines. When it comes to travel, if you’re just going to the range or traveling on commercial airlines, we carry a range of nylon soft padded and hard-sided aluminum or plastic travel cases.”

Bourgoin said Outdoor Emporium relies on more than just sales floor exposure to sell gun safes.

“We participate in a variety of community awareness programs to promote gun safety such as Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Free Safe Gun Storage Giveaway Events,” he said. “Here, the public can come and learn about safe gun storage and get a free lockbox or trigger lock. We’re also a member of the King County LOK-IT-UP Program that promotes the safe storage of firearms by saving customers 10–15 percent off select storage devices or lockboxes. When you combine that with the fact there’s no sales tax on guns safes in Washington State, there are a lot of incentives for customers to secure their firearms.”


Fort Knox Vaults

Who Are Today’s Safe Customers?

In Oklahoma City, Miles and Jayne Hall owned H&H Shooting Sports for over 30 years. In that time, Miles observed a recent change in safe buyers.
“They’re younger, and they’re very conscious about securing their items,” he said. “And it’s not just guns they wanted to secure. The guns are obvious, but then they talked about putting their coin collection, stamp collection, jewelry and special photos in the safe as well.”

Miles said these buyers want more than just a steel box to store guns and other items in.

“They want the amenities,” he noted. “They’re looking for something that’s well built, and is almost like a piece of furniture. They also don’t argue about the cost. These customers do a lot of research, and they want something pretty and durable.”

Jayne pointed out another trend the Halls noticed in their store: “Customers would buy the small safes and put their important papers in them, and then put them in the bottom of the big safe. That’s double protection for the things they really need to take care of. It’s like their own safety deposit box but they don’t have to go to the bank to get to it.”

Jayne identified Liberty and Browning as the store’s most popular brands. “H&H also carries Winchester and Fort Knox,” she added.

Miles pointed out several reasons for the shift in who’s buying safes. “The biggest reason is the audience has dropped in age. These customers find out information differently than the older audience does.

It’s obvious to them what’s good product and what’s not good product. It’s amazing to me that young people are so adamant about protecting their stuff,” he said.


Stack-On QAS-1514-B

The Halls also observed a lot of sales in small safes for bedside or other quick access locations.

“It’s often a customer’s first purchase,” Miles said. “A customer may come in for one of those, and then when he’s done his homework decides he wants a bigger one.” These customers are also interested in biometric safes, including finger swipe models.

“We’d sell more of the finger swipe safes than we do anything else in small, quick-access safes,” Miles said. “If you think about it, the customers who are buying these safes are from the same audience that uses finger swipes to activate their iPhones.”

Getting the word out about what is currently available at your store, Miles said, is all about education and communication.

“What worked best for us was television, newspaper and radio,” he observed. “We found our ads that push a sale don’t do nearly as well as an ad that educates the buyer with a good price. We explain all the benefits and then say ‘It’s normally $2,995 but we’re running a special for $2,500.’ It’s a better pitch for us. These customers aren’t as much bargain hunters as they are quality hunters.”

Miles also disseminated infor-mation on Facebook and on the store’s website.


Americase AT-AR-15


Liberty HDX-250



A “Safe” Delivery

Mike Cowan, owner of Cowan’s Guns & Ammo in Basin, Wyo., said his biggest storage sellers right now are home safes.

“In our area, we’re dealing a lot with people breaking into houses for drugs, or for money, jewelry and guns,” he said. “It’s getting to the point now people are buying safes just to put their prescription medications in them. In fact, one of our local pharmacies was broken into a year or so ago, and what saved them was all their narcotics were locked into a gun safe.”

All of this is creating a new market for gun dealers who carry safes. When a customer purchases a safe, Cowan said, he makes sure it gets delivered to the person’s home.

“What I have in my store is demonstration models, so the person can come in and select what they want,” he said. “We usually do a custom order, because most customers want to change things just a little bit. Then the safe comes in on a delivery truck. The delivery truck drops it at the person’s house and sets it on the porch with a pallet jack. Then it takes three or four of us to actually move it into the house and put it where the person wants it.”
H&H also provides a delivery service for safes, which has grown into a considerable success for the store in winning business.

“We have all the right equipment, and the right delivery truck,” Miles said. “The truck has no markings on it because when you’re delivering a safe to someone you want it to be like you’re delivering a piece of furniture. When I owned H&H, the department I got the most compliments on was my delivery crew.”

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Personal Defense Sales Today

Be A “One-Stop” Shop For Your
Customers’ Defensive Needs

By Tim Barker

It’s just before noon when James Beach walks into Central Florida’s East Orange Shooting Sports. With the look of a man who’s been here before, he heads for a display of compact handguns. Beach wants a closer look at a Walther PPS, his current leading contender for a new concealed-carry piece.

Like most customers who make their way into the shop, located in a suburb of Orlando, Fla., Beach has already spent some time online researching his next purchase. “It’s good to come in and be an educated consumer,” he said.

For the next 20 minutes or so, he chats with the shop’s owner, John Ritz, over a variety of options and possible alternatives to the Walther. Ritz pulls several guns — Rugers, Kahrs, Smith & Wessons — from the display case, offering Beach a chance to see how each feels in his hands. They discuss Beach’s plans for the gun.

And so it is the customer finds himself holding a Smith & Wesson revolver.

He’s not ready to buy yet, but as he heads for the door he admits the exchange with Ritz has opened his mind to new possibilities. “I don’t even look at the revolvers normally. But now it’s posed another option for me,” Beach said. “I’m going to go home and do some more research.”

This was, in many ways, the ideal encounter for Ritz, who bought the store in 2006. During the past 10 years, he’s pushed a transformation of the business, aiming to be the kind of place where customers find a welcoming atmosphere, low-pressure sales and solid advice on self-defense products.
“The goal is to make the industry seem less threatening — more inviting to people,” he said. “Even the restrooms are set up to be restaurant-grade. Everyone should feel comfortable.”

Like other stores with a heavy emphasis on handguns and accessories, East Orange is a logical stop for shoppers considering personal defense purchases.
The key to those sales, Ritz believes, is an approach that’s tailored to each customer. Collectors and more experienced shooters like Beach need less handholding. But newer shooters, particularly those looking for their first self-defense purchase, need realistic, and honest, advice.


N82 Tactical Pro Tandem Series IWB Holster


Sig Sauer ROMEO4

The Starting Point

East Orange has a simple approach for those customers making an initial foray into self-defense firearms. First question: What have you shot before? “Most people have had some kind of experience, even if it’s just a BB gun,” Ritz noted.

Second question: What’s it going to be used for? Will it be carried, kept at home or in the car? Concealed-carry customers are a significant market in Florida. And part of the store’s job is helping people understand what the law means. It’s not unusual, for example, for a customer to think a permit is required to even own a gun, Ritz said.

While the store offers concealed-carry classes several times a month, it’s not something they push on new gun owners. They’d prefer to see novice shooters gain some comfort with their guns before trying to carry them.

“Training with concealed firearms should be a few steps down the road,” said Michael Munro, the store’s manager.

Once the sales associate knows a little more about the customer, they’ll start exploring gun options that best fit the person’s needs and desires. Some people insist on a frame-mounted safety, others refuse to consider revolvers.

“Normally if I pull out three or four guns, their eyes will be drawn to something,” Ritz said. “We shop for cars by how they look, so that’s okay.”
At least as a starting point.

From there, they’ll discuss the pros and cons of various guns, with the aim of selecting the one that’s right for each customer. And with many first-time shoppers expecting to buy only one gun, they often end up with a midsize option: “The GLOCK 19 is the best seller in this store,” Ritz said.

The experience is similar across town at Oak Ridge Gun Range, located south of Downtown Orlando and about 10 miles east of the region’s popular tourist corridor.

Owner John Harvey said it’s common for customers to come in with at least some idea of what they want. Often it’s because of a review they read in one of the gun magazines.

The store tends to push novice self-defense shoppers toward revolvers, for the simplicity: “It doesn’t jam. And if you haven’t touched the gun in five years, you squeeze the trigger and it goes off,” Harvey observed.

But not everyone is open to the advice, however.

“Semi-autos are sexy,” Harvey said. “And a lot of times, customers will still want a semi-auto.”

So they seek out GLOCKs, Springfields, Smith & Wessons and SIGs, he added.


Smith & Wesson M&P45 Shield


SureFire XC1 & PIG Full Dexterity Tactical-Alpha Glove

Expand The Sale With Accessories

While the gun may be the thing that draws most customers into stores, it’s really just the beginning in terms of sales opportunities. Once the gun has been selected, talk at East Orange generally turns to holsters. Associates will pull various models off the wall so the customer can get a feel for different options.

Galco is the top seller, with a wide range of styles, though IWB is the most popular, according to Munro. “They’ve got a good product offering that will fit most of what anybody is looking for,” the store manager said.

East Orange offers a range of knives, including a strong selection by Benchmade, but they’re generally sold more as tools. Ritz prefers not to push knives as a personal-defense option.

While he isn’t a fan of lasers for self-defense, Ritz is an avid proponent of weapon-mounted lights. “It’s nice to be able to see and make sure it’s something you want to have your gun pointed at,” he said.

And there are, of course, customers looking for something less lethal than a gun — either as an extra defensive alternative, or because they don’t like the idea of shooting someone.

East Orange sees modest sales of Tasers — in part, because they cost as much as some guns. But they also offer stun guns and pepper spray, an inexpensive defense alternative at $10–$15 a can. They come with the added benefit of being allowed in places where guns might be forbidden.

The urge to have a non-lethal option is something to which Ritz can relate: He keeps a can of pepper spray in his own car. “Being in the industry, the last thing I ever want to do is pull my firearm,” he said. “If I can avoid doing that in my life, I’d really like to.”

Oak Ridge also offers a range of options in the non-lethal department; one of the popular sellers is bear mace. “It’s nasty, hideous stuff,” Harvey said. “I know people who’ve accidentally hit themselves with it. They just curl up on the floor and moan.”


After walking a customer through a SIG 938 purchase, East Orange Shooting Sports
Associate Michael Bonnick presents some additional concealed-carry holster options.
Are you taking advantage of add-on accessory sales like this?

Promote A “Judgment-Free Zone”

Both stores offer range facilities — a major draw, for a few reasons, including the ability to offer customers an opportunity to try out different types of guns before making a purchase.

East Orange also sees its range as a way to offer instruction and advice. And it’s something of a community-building tool that helps create a comfortable atmosphere for new shooters who may worry how their guns will fit into their lives.

“It’s a judgment-free zone,” Ritz said. “It gives them a reason to come back. So they’re more likely to be repeat customers — and to become dedicated enthusiasts.”

At Oak Ridge, Harvey looks to the range to generate extra sales beyond the gun. That’s why each gun purchase comes with a month’s worth of free instruction and range time. The average buyer, he said, will return four times after making a firearm purchase.

“This means ammo sales, holsters, cleaning supplies, gun oil etc.,” said Harvey, who has been in the business for three decades.

Both stores offer classes; with Oak Ridge putting a heavy emphasis on concealed-carry instruction. Classes are offered several times a week. They have five NRA-certified range instructors, two of which are women. It’s a strong draw, according to Harvey, for women who are interested in buying guns for self-defense purposes.

In addition to concealed-carry classes, East Orange offers two different types of short courses aimed at newer shooters. The first is a one-hour introductory course, for one to three people. It costs $40–$50 per person, and includes range time and ammo. They also offer a short class that covers basic fieldstripping and maintenance. The cost is $25, which includes a cleaning kit.

For both shops, the goal is to offer a sort of one-stop shop for customers interested in personal defense. Guns are clearly the top draw. But, according to Harvey, “Some people don’t want a gun. We give them a whole range of alternatives.”

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Click To Read More Shooting Industry September 2016 Issue Now!

Late Season Strategy

Make The Most Of Late
Hunting Season Sales

By Carolee Anita Boyles

With hunting season winding down, many sporting goods stores start thinking about turkey season and spring fishing. Savvy dealers know, however, the end of hunting season can be almost as productive as the early season.

The key? Understanding how the latter part of hunting season is different from the pre-season, and stocking the products late season hunters need.

Richard Sprague is president of Sprague’s Sports, located in Yuma, Ariz. Late season for his store occurs during the coldest part of the year, when winter has really kicked in and the weather is as cold as it ever gets in Arizona. Hunters in his area are going after a mix of species all season.

“We have doves and we have archery antelope and elk, and those all kind of happen at the same time,” he noted. “Then we go into quail and duck. After that, rifle season for deer opens up — and then we’re into late season rifle elk.”

Sprague said the early part of the season for him is filled with sales of items for dove shooting.

“In late August and early September, we get real busy with dove season opening,” he said. During this part of the season he also has a lot of sales in bowhunting.

“As we get farther into the season, my product mix shifts away from archery and shot shells and becomes more rifle focused,” Sprague added. “Customers also look at a lot of optics, especially for setting up rifles for long-range shooting.”

According to Sprague, customers continue purchasing guns even late in the hunting season: “Some of them wait until the last minute. A lot of customers also wait until the last minute to get their kids set up and get them ready to go hunting, too.”

Sprague observed his late season customers buy a wide variety of brands and calibers.

“They buy across the spectrum,” he noted. “They buy the Savage Axis II, the Ruger American and the Savage Trophy Hunter combo packages with the different scopes they’ve been putting on them the past couple years. Ruger also is doing a Vortex package, which has been pretty popular.”

The Browning X-Bolt also has been a strong seller for Sprague’s Sports, as well as the Tikka T3. “And now we’re seeing sales of the Tikka T3x,” he added.
Popular calibers also cover the waterfront at Sprague’s Sports.

“Our customers buy .243 and 7mm-08, .30-06 and .270,” Sprague said. “The short mags are popular for us, and then the Win. Mags. We do a lot of .30 Magnums here in the West, because people can see and shoot so far. They like a stable bullet with distance.”

Those same shooters like riflescopes with custom elevation capability.

“They like a scope with a custom elevation dial so they can range it,” Sprague said. “They can dial to the yardage and hold right on the target.”

Popular optics at Sprague’s Sports include offerings from Burris, Leupold, Vortex, Swarovski and Zeiss.

“We do a lot of scopes that either have multiple aiming points on the vertical crosshair or have a custom elevation dial,” Sprague said. “This category has just exploded because people are demanding it. Even for people who aren’t aspiring to shoot over X number of yards, they just want to be better in the field with their equipment. So if there’s an opportunity and the equipment is available, they buy it.”

These buyers aren’t just new or young shooters; they include most of the old-timers who come into Sprague’s Sports.

“There still are a few guys who don’t want to learn how things work,” Sprague said. “They just don’t want to think about it, and they’ll stay traditional. But they’re the minority now, instead of the majority. Most people are embracing new technologies and the opportunities they bring.”


Garmin Oregon 750t


Sitka Timberline Jacket

Camp & Field Accessories

Besides guns and optics, Sprague said, his customers are purchasing a number of accessories during the latter part of the season.

“They’re buying clothing to make themselves more comfortable in the field, and they’re getting better quality gear, such as backpacks, to accommodate all the stuff they’re taking to the field,” he said. “The stuff they’re taking to the field may include an extra tripod, higher power binoculars, better rangefinders and optics with built-in rangefinders.”

Customers are also buying better gear for their hunting camps.

“They’re buying things from Yeti, as well as from other manufacturers,” Sprague said. “For camp, Yeti products are crazy popular.”

Lighting solutions are a big deal to Sprague’s customers too.

“Lighting options are continuing to expand and grow,” he observed. “There are lots of great flashlights that burn brighter and give you more options on different modes of lighting to have better battery life. They’re all LEDs and are from Streamlight and SureFire. Browning also makes some pretty good options, and there are some other, lesser-known brands as well. NEBO has some good options.”

GPS technology continues to progress, as the sales of GPS-based products grows.

“GPS products by Garmin in particular continue to evolve, with more mapping and other features for a reasonable price,” Sprague said. “Two-way radios from Midland and Motorola also continue to improve. They have longer range and are clearer, with reasonable price points.”


Hornady Precision Hunter


Dealers report Tikka’s new T3x line (Compact Tactical Rifle
model pictured above) has been a strong seller among hunters.

What About The Youth?

At Black Bird in Medford, Ore., late season customers are mostly youth hunters.

“The only late rifle seasons are draw hunts for youth hunters,” said Sporting Goods Manager Tom Gascon. “These hunts don’t apply to the entire state; it’s just certain units. Youth who participate in these hunts must be aged 12 to 17, and they must have an adult with them.” Quite a few of these young hunters are girls, he added.

These late season hunts are long enough for customers to buy some serious gear while participating in them, according to Gascon. “They’re 20 days on average,” he noted. “There are youth elk hunts and youth deer hunts.”

As you might expect, the weather tends to be colder during these late season youth hunts — which presents new sales opportunities.

“These hunters are buying cold weather gear,” Gascon said. “During the early season, breathable clothing is what sells really well. But during the late season is when the heavyweight gear sells. Sitka Gear is really nice.”

The calibers these hunters purchase depends on the size of the child and the amount of recoil they can comfortably shoot.

“They’re buying .243, 7mm-08, .308, .30-06 and some of the Mags,” Gascon said. “One model that’s been selling really well for us is the Ruger American. It’s a well-built rifle; it’s accurate and shoots well — and is well priced.”

Besides guns, youth hunters are buying pack frames and dehydrated food.

“Dehydrated food is always a good seller for us,” Gascon said. “We carry Mountain House and it sells very well.”

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