Volume 24, Number 6 Oct/Nov 2016

Archive for the ‘What’s Selling Where’ category

By Peter M. Mathiesen

Green Top Sporting Goods, Richmond

This large independent recently bought out a Gander Mountain store. It keeps a firearms inventory well into the thousands, in addition to soft goods, ammo, and fishing tackle.

The store sent seven employees to SHOT, all charged with looking for more profit via new product. “It’s all about finding something totally new for a customer to experience,” said store manager Hunter Brooks. Some of the products that Green Top will carry in 2015 are thermal-imaging optics from IR Defender and a full line of accessories from Tac Shield.

“We always take new employees to the show . They have a blast, and we get a fresh pair of eyes on product. They almost always find something the rest of us didn’t know about,” said general manager Jimmy Hyman.

Spyder Arms LLC, Alexandria

This suburban Kentucky retailer sells mostly Class III firearms and gear; it sent two employees to Vegas.

Accessories were the primary focus ; a notable booth visit was to Dead Air Suppressors. The store also made several stops for firearms, including Ruger and American Spirit Arms. The team sourced bulk shotgun ammo and spent time with Sports South and Davidson’s.

New product was job one, and the retailer opened several new MSR accounts. Owner Aaron Baars was impressed with the Jesse James .30-caliber suppressors: “I love their look, though I’m not sure my customers will pay $4,000 to own one.”

Ten Ring Precision, San Antonio

This custom gunsmith and retailer of single-action pistols is one of largest U.S. Fire Arms Single Action Pistol dealers in the country. The shop’s owner makes the show a mini-vacation for the entire family.

“We do love going to Vegas, and it’s the only place where I can combine meetings with a diversity of companies and organizations like the American Pistol Guild,” said owner Alex Hamilton.

In addition to meeting with collector societies, the show is old home week. Meetings were attempted at Colt and Kimber, but long lines and tripping over attendees’ trailing carts made meeting this schedule difficult. “It seemed like there were more visitors and guests this year than I’ve ever seen,” Hamilton said.


By Peter M. Mathiesen

Delta Arsenal, Meriden

This dealer specializes in tactical and police weapons and offers extensive firearms training . Its facility includes 2,000 square feet of retail display.

The shop sent six employees to Vegas in 2014 but only one in 2015. This year was not a big buying show; instead, contacts were made and agreements closed during the weeks that followed. “Our main interest is to maintain relationships. This year seemed particularly full of visitors and guests that interrupted more than a few of my meetings. I even saw two of our customers at the show,” said owner Doug Odishoo.

Law enforcement supplies and indoor range gear received the greatest amount of time. Meanwhile, searching for consistent deliveries on .22 ammo was also a priority.

Enck’s Gun Barn, Newmanstown

This store carefully chooses inventory its bigbox competitors don’t carry. Enck’s brought four people to the show.

Handgun factory-direct manufacturers were the greatest priority. Stops included Ed Brown, STI International, and Cabot Guns to place new 1911 orders.

Even after attending two distributor shows for the season, SHOT is a can’t-miss event for this store. “We have to maintain our relationships in person, or we’re just an order number. The event also lets me tell our distributor that we don’t appreciate tactics like forcing our store to buy a .22 rifle to get a brick of ammo,” said owner Bob Enck.

Other stops included an afternoon at Action Targets in preparation for a potential move to a new facility that may include an indoor range.

Maryland Firearms and Training Academy, Beltsville

This “guntry club” will open in fall 2015 with a 50,000- square-foot range and a 7,000- square-foot sales floor. For its first trip to SHOT, they sent three staffers.

Handguns and MSRs were the priority, with stops at SIG, HK, and Benelli. Other key tasks included large ammo purchases with numerous trips to 1911 suppliers. Action Targets was also an important stop.

“We are a first-of-our-kind retailer and shooting range. It would be unthinkable for our company to miss SHOT. It’s the only place to see our options as we plan our opening,” said president David Ridgway.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Joe’s Guns, Bronson

This gun shop, located just southwest of Sioux City, specializes in MSRs and handguns while serving a predominately agricultural clientele. Of its staff, only the store owner, Joe Parks, attended the SHOT Show.

New product was Parks’ focus during his time in Las Vegas; he made stops to visit representatives from Colt, Bushmaster, and DPMS. The product that caught his eye was the new rifle line from Mossberg. “I was really impressed with the new Mossberg bolt-action line. They look great and are priced right. And if they shoot well, my shop will sell a truckload of them,” he said.

Other priorities included stops at Jerry’s and Sports South to shore up pistol orders and track down additional .22 ammo inventory.

S&H Arms, Oklahoma City

This small shop specializes in custom- built Class III machine guns and suppressors, and its owner, Curtis Higgins, attends SHOT Show with his family. His two most important meetings were at Heckler & Koch and Ruger. “We love to go to Vegas,” said Higgins. “It’s a nice break in the action for me and my family, and I get to see what’s new in the industry. We don’t buy a lot at the show, but nonetheless I don’t really think we could afford to miss it.”

Other stops included FN and Timney Triggers. Higgins recalled that one of the most interesting products he saw was the .22 autofeed magazine for the 10/22 made by HC Mags. “This thing feeds perfectly and won’t jam. We’ll sell a lot of them,” he said.

Osage County Guns, Belle

Keeping more than 2,000 guns in inventory, this shop sent two employees to Vegas. This year’s show saw the Osage County staff at SIG’s Dealer Range Day shooting up a storm.

“It’s always fun to test out new product, but SIG’s day at the range was invaluable. We were able to try the company’s new optics and its revamped suppressor line. We were so impressed that we committed the store to a large order for both lines,” said operations manager John Dawson.

Some of the other product debuts that received this store’s attention include the Scorpion from CZ, the German revolver line from Korth, and new offerings from Robinson Armament and Lewis Machine and Tool.


By Pete B. Mathiesen

Oak Grove Guns, Eugene

This store, which typically stocks nearly 300 guns, sent two employees to attend the SHOT Show in Las Vegas to buy. “This was an important show. In order to expand our inventory, we spent time with all of our primary vendors,” said manager Nick Miller. One of the most interesting booths they visited was War Sports Manufacturing. This high-end MSR company showed the importance of investing in more custom-order accessories and higher-grade rifles.

The store also expanded its commitment to SIG and visited other vendors, including Benelli and Nanuk Waterproof cases.

Sprague’s Sports, Yuma

This mid-size independent has been in business for 58 years, and its owners have attended every SHOT Show since the first, held in St. Louis in 1979. Owner Richard Sprague said that 2015 might have been one of the best shows in some time, and considered the large-scale new offerings from Mossberg and SIG groundbreaking in regard to the quality of product and price points. “These two manufacturers are excellent examples of companies that ‘came to play,’ and we can all learn a lot from them,” he said.

Sprague expected handgun sales at his shop would outpace 2014’s. Regarding show access, he admired NSSF’s work to keep part-timers and nonprofessionals off the show floor. “We work in an industry where we build and secure personal relationships, and this makes it mandatory to attend. There’s no other place you can see it all. A retailer will lose money if he doesn’t attend SHOT,” he said.

Straightline Tactical, Anaheim

This retailer stocks an average of 500 firearms and goes to SHOT primarily to meet with its distributors. Stops included Davidson’s, RSR, and Sport South. “Being in California, we have to deal with numerous limitations. And of course, we are looking for more options with California-compliant product. This often requires special attention from manufacturers and distributors. Our service improves dramatically when we meet with distributors in person,” said owner Don Zappone.

Orders were placed with Glock, Ruger, Smith, and SIG. The Glock M22 machined top was of particular interest. Time was also spent hunting down .22 ammo suppliers.


Final Flight Outfitters, Union

This shop specializes in waterfowl and home-defense products, and stocks close to 1,000 guns.

Ammo supplies here are stretched to the limit. “Although we limit .22 ammo sales, we see change coming. The most significant improvement is coming from Federal. They’re committing to ship us the largest order we’ve received in a couple of years,” said gun manager Billy Hazelwood.

MSRs are still moving briskly at five to six a week; Colt and SIG get the majority of turns. Bolt-action rifles are slowing down with the end of deer season, though some Savage Axis .270s are still moving.

Semi-auto shotguns are slowing, but the store had one of its best seasons on record, moving high numbers of Beretta A400s and Browning A-5s. Handgun sales are impressive. Ruger LC9s and Smith Shields and Bodyguards attract the most attention. Glocks also sell well.

Paducah Shooters Supply, Paducah

This 11,000-square-foot facility includes an indoor archery range and outdoor rifle and pistol ranges. The past two months have seen banner sales of semi-auto shotguns. Benelli Super Black Eagles IIs and Browning A5s turned in especially high numbers. MSRs continue to move in consistent numbers, with an even mix of Smith M&Ps and models from Daniel Defense.

“It’s a pleasure for me to say that we actually have enough rimfire ammo for the first time in two years,” said gun manager Chance Callahan. At the handgun counter, Smith Bodyguards continue to lead revolver sales. Glock 42s and Ruger LC9s are selling well.

Sharp Shooters, Lubbock

Stocking more than 3,000 firearms, this West Texas shop specializes in hunting rifles, handguns, and home-defense products. It is one of the largest independents in the state.

Deer season closed with strong turns on Savage Model 10s and Tikka T3s, primarily in .308 and .270. Sales of MSRs have slowed to one a week, with Daniel Defense delivering the most consistent numbers.

Ammo has improved substantially for this store in the last month. “We recently received several large shipments of .22 ammo,” said counterman Chris Bennett. Handguns are hot, and SIG 238s and Glock 19s hold the top spots. Smith Shields are also selling in big numbers.


Blue Trail Range Gun Store, Wallingford

This store has range events for the entire family; there’s even a picnic area. Winter seasonal shooting has small-bore accessories flying off the shelf, including gloves and shooting mats for young shooters. “Our Youth Position Shooting Programs drive traffic through the winter. Whether it’s a starter gun or case, this is an active time of year,” said manager Mark Sloan.

Air rifles are always in demand this time of year, with several Anschutz models crossing the counter. Handguns are doing just fine. Top sellers include Glock 42s and 17s. Ruger LCRs are also posting strong numbers. A few shotguns are also turning, mostly Mossberg 500s and a few CZ over/unders. Ammo stocks are better than they’ve been, and rimfire is improving.

Juniata Trading Post, Everett

This full-line sporting goods store stocks fishing tackle, clothing, and accessories in addition to 500 firearms and reloading supplies. Pistol demand is steady, with strong first-of-the-year turns. “Handguns, day in and day out, have proven to be the income generator for winter sales,” said manager Lin Karns.

Handgun demand is high and steady: Ruger LCRs and LCPs pull impressive numbers, and there’s heavy traffic in Smith M&Ps and Glock 42s. Kimber 1911s continue to post strong numbers as well.

Sales of MSRs are down to one a week: Top sellers include DPMS and Stag. Ammo inventories are slightly better than average, and rimfire is arriving nearly every week. Most winter reloading gear is in stock for the first time in two seasons.

Renaissance Firearms, Rochester

This 500-square-foot storefront is packed with more than 500 guns. Sporting shotguns are starting to slow, with a couple of Caesar Guerinis and a few Stoeger semi-autos seeing turns. Tactical shotguns from SIG and Benelli are selling better than expected.

MSR sales are good, and this store still sees an average of two to three crossing the counter each week, led by Colt and SIG. With the exception of rimfire, ammo availability is good.

Pistols outpace everything else: Special orders for Beretta models 85 and 84 are topping the chart. Kimber Solos are hot, as are Ruger LC9s. “We love to have Special Handgun Months, when we can get a special model for a good price. It can really draw a lot of traffic,” said sales associate Bruce Henderson.


Boone’s Fine Guns, Isle

This northern Minnesota store has an indoor range and keeps more than 2,500 guns in stock. It also sells fishing tackle and soft goods.

The handgun inventory has steadily improved over the past three months. Sales have improved as well. Glock 42s, Ruger SR9s, and Smith M&Ps all pull strong numbers.

Varmint and plinking season is in full swing. As a result, .204 Ruger 77s and CZ bolt-actions are moving well. “Our MSR sales have slowed to two a month. We have monitored this trend, and our customers have become much more price-point-driven. That said, we still sell a custom gun every five weeks or so that will get close to the $2,000 mark,” said manager Daniel Boland. At this shop, top MSR sellers include Colt and DPMS.

Superior Shooters Supply, Superior

This long-standing Duluth-area shop specializes in firearms, safes, reloading supplies, and soft goods. Rimfire ammo is still in short supply at this store, and it’s forcing rationing. “We really try to sell .22 ammo to families that have purchased a .22 during the Christmas season. Though the situation is better than it was, it still has a long way to go,” said counter salesman Tim Hammerson.

MSRs are turning at about one per week. DPMS owns the top spot. Though Hammerson says he sees no increase in handgun sales, he also notes that sales have been steady. Ruger LC9, Smith Bodyguards, and Smith Shields all sell very well. Weatherby SA08 shotguns have been one of the year’s best performers.

Outdoorsman Inc., Fargo

This store keeps an average of three employees busy selling a variety of general home-defense products, rifles, and handguns. Demand for MSRs remains exceptionally high for this retailer. “We’re selling one a day, and that’s been steady for a long time,” said counter salesman Tony Bourn. Sales are just about equally split between Colt, APF Armory, FN, and Rock River.

Sales of handguns are brisk. Springfield XDSs and 1911s from Colt and SIG hold the high slots. Glock 42s are also doing well.

Ammo stock remains good and improving deliveries of .22 are coming close to meeting demand. Shotguns are still moving. Here, the store is seeing turns of Remington 870 Expresses and a few Benelli Super Black Eagles.


The Fort, Big Timber

This busy independent inventories a long list of shooting accessories. It also sells fishing tackle, beer, and gas. Modern sporting rifles are turning at about one a day. DPMS, SIG, and Ruger are the high-traffic brands.

“Although our stock of .22 ammo is still challenging, it has improved enough that Smith MSR .22s and Ruger 10/22s are starting to move in the numbers we saw a few years ago,” said salesman Matt Nichols.

For varmint season, Savage Axis rifles in .223 are the hottest bolt-actions. Winchester Model 70s in .243 and .308 are also experiencing quick turns. Concealed-carry handguns are selling well too. SIG 238s and Smith 638s sell the best, but a large number of Ruger LCRs and LC9s are crossing the counter, as are Springfield XDSs.

Mountain View Sporting, Anchorage

This gun counter inside a general-use sporting goods store stocks 200 guns and keeps four employees busy in firearms alone. Even though all big-game seasons have wrapped up, bolt-action rifle sales continue to escalate. “Big-game bolt-actions sell year-round, and this winter is no exception,” said manager Dan Jordan. Ruger Americans top the list, followed by Remington 700s. The top caliber is easily .300 Win.

MSR sales are steady. Top models here are the Ruger 556 and Smith M&Ps. Striker-fired Ruger LC9s, Ruger LCRs, Smith Bodyguards, and SIG 328s dominate the action at the handgun counter. While the Lower 48 is seeing an improvement in .22 ammo, this store’s rimfire supply is at an historic low.

Lolo Sporting Goods, Lewiston

This small storefront employs three full-timers while carrying a large inventory of reloading supplies, handguns, long guns, and MSRs. Ruger is tops at this store—especially LC9s and LCRs. Right behind are Springfield XDs and XDMs.

“We ordered carefully last year to improve our ammo inventory, and it has started to pay off with happy plinking winter customers and improved sales on .22 rifles,” said salesman Michael Reisenauer. Long gun sales have been brisk. Ruger Americans in .22 and Ruger 10-22s are doing well. The store is also selling plenty of Henry lever-actions. A few late-season Winchester Model 70 Featherweights in .243 are also crossing the counter. MSR sales have slowed, but Windhams turn at around one every three weeks.


Fort Chaffee Outfitters, Fort Smith

Keeping close to 400 guns in stock, this retailer maintains a brisk business by utilizing a wide variety of home-defense and hunting inventory to serve its clientele. MSRs are turning at less than one a week, predominantly DPMSs. Home-protection pump shotguns are selling well and are expected to continue to move through the winter. Remington 870 Expresses and a few of the Versamax have sold prior to turkey season.

Handguns are holding steady. Smith Bodyguards and Ruger LC9s are selling the best. In this shop, 1911s are in high demand, and Kimbers and Nighthawks are attracting the most attention.

“Our 1911 business grows a little bigger every few months. Almost all of our customers desire a custom-made pistol and are willing to wait for it,” said salesman Bob Goad.  Although ammo stocks are improving, the .22 inventory is inconsistent.

Chuck’s Firearms, Atlanta

Located in the heart of metro Atlanta, this retailer features collectibles, vintage military weapons, and higher-grade long guns.

Shotguns are what’s selling here. Beretta 687s, along with 28- and 20-gauge Caesar Guerini over/unders for quail, have moved well. In addition, a few Merkel side-by-sides have been sold. “Quail season is still a huge mover of fine guns for us,” said owner Jack Lesher.

Sales of rifles have been slow. MSRs—Colt and SIG—are going out the door at an average of two per month. Handguns move consistently, notably Ed Brown 1911s and SIG MK 25s. Handgun ammo stocks are good, though .22 is in short supply.

Kirkpatrick’s Guns and Ammo, Laredo

With up to 500 guns in stock, this store offers a mix of personal-defense and hunting guns. MSRs are moving at one a week, with Colts and Smith M&Ps seeing the most turns. Sales of .22-caliber MSRs are flat, and didn’t sell even during the holiday season.

“December and January used to be our sales peak for .22 rifles, but since our rimfire ammo stocks are so low, demand has dried up,” said counterperson Maria Gonzales.

Bolt-action rifles are still receiving attention, generally with Savage Model 110s in .270. Handgun sales remain steady. Glocks and Berettas, mostly in 9mm, as well as Kimber 1911s, are receiving the most turns.


Renaissance Firearms, Gonic

Just 15 miles from the coast, this New Hampshire merchant packs 500 firearms into fewer than 1,000 square feet. As hunting season ends, winter is one of the best times for handguns. “This is when we can sell an extra SKU to a regular customer-—usually a new Glock G41 or a used concealed-carry,” said salesman Stewart Rainey.

In addition to plenty of Glocks, several Springfield XDXs are crossing the counter. The most popular calibers are 9mm and .45.

Mossberg 500s and Stoeger pumps are the primary shotguns moving, along with a few from UTAS. Benelli Vincis are also selling.

Rock River Arms and Bushmaster lead the MSR lists, selling an average of four per month. Tikka bolt-actions in .243 are moving well for varmint season. Ammo stocks are generally good; however, .22 is still in short supply.

Gray’s Gun Shop, Lisbon

This shop’s specialties include handguns and used hunting rifles. Handgun sales are stronger than ever: Glock G41s top the chart, followed by Ruger LC9s.

“Our used rack is showing greater profit,” said owner Scott Gray. “When we can turn a Marlin .30/30 or an Ithaca Model 37 at a good price, a customer just can’t say no.”

Sales of hunting rifles are cooling. Savage Model 111s in .270 and .30/06 have pulled ahead. MSRs are slowing down to about one per month, with most of the inventory leaning toward Bushmasters. With the exception of .22 and .22 Mag., ammo stocks are above average.

Island Firearms, Pittsburgh

Located on an island in the Ohio River basin with only 800 square feet, this retailer uses the ceiling to display and hang more than 500 firearms. At the handgun counter, activity is high, and Glock 9mms and .40s hold the high ground, with SIG .357s in third. Owner Wayne Lyken reported that distributors have caught up with almost all handgun backorders.

Ammo stock is finally building up. “I can’t order .22 ammo, but with a case here and there, we have a strong inventory of .22 Long and .22 Mag. for the first time in two years,” said Lyken.

MSRs are moving at a rate of about one a week. Shotguns are strong, with tactical Mossberg 500s and Savage youth models performing the best.