Volume 25, Number 2 February/March 2017

Archive for the ‘What’s Selling Where’ category

By Peter B. Mathiesen

Mitchell’s Country Store, Fort Smith
This small, rural general store sells groceries and sporting goods, and keeps an average of 60 guns in stock. Handgun sales remain consistent. Although Glock 19s and Smith Bodyguards post the best numbers, Ruger LC9s are close behind.

Sporting long-gun sales are starting out slow this season, said owner Roy Mitchell. A few Henry .22s and Remington 700 BDLs in .270 have crossed the counter.

Final Fight Outfitters, Union
Located just 20 miles from Reelfoot Lake, this shop, which specializes in waterfowl gear and home defense products, keeps close to 1,000 guns in stock. Ammo supplies at this store are the best they have been in two or three years. “Although it takes a little planning to keep .22 ammunition on the floor, our customers can actually shoot their .22s,” said manager Jason Smith.

MSRs are turning at two a day. Guns over the $1,000 price point from Sig and Colt are seeing the most frequent turns. Ruger Americans in .243 are the most in-demand bolt-action rifles for pre-deer season.

Shotgun sales are brisk, and the store is posting strong numbers of Benelli Super Black Eagle II Classics and Extremes. Other fast movers include Winchester SXP pumps.

TP Outdoors, Monroe
With two locations, this hardware/sporting goods retailer splits its inventory roughly 50-50 while still turning nearly 5,000 firearms a year. Coming off the biggest sale of the year, this retailer is set for serious winter volume. “In Louisiana, we open September with a tax-free weekend sale that allows us to move the highest number of handguns during the year,” said owner Bill Petrus.

Handgun leaders include the Glock 43, the Smith Model 642, and Ruger LC9s and LCRs. MSRs are price-sensitive. Despite the long waiting period, silencers from Silencerco are gaining popularity with hunters.

Sales of bolt-action rifles are picking up. Howa and Savage combo guns in .270 and 7mm-08 are doing the best. Shotguns are also faring well. Beretta A400s, Benelli Super Black Eagles IIs, and Stoeger 3500s lead the pack.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Blue Trail Range Gun Store, Wallingford
Founded in 1945, this family gun shop and range keeps 800 guns in stock. Preseason deer hunters are driving sales of lever actions from Marlin in .30/30 and .35 Remington. Remington 700s and 742s are also moving. However, owner Dave Lyman says he continues to struggle with ammo stocks, though he has seen some improvement with .22.

The compact handguns category is the clear winner at the handgun counter. Top sellers include Smith J-Frames and Ruger LCRs. A few shotguns are also turning, primarily Mossberg 500s along with a few CZ over/unders. Gamo air rifles are seeing increased demand, and several new models from Anschutz have crossed the counter as well.

Curt’s Gun Shop, Mifflinville
Keeping 250 guns in stock in a new and used mix, this north-central Pennsylvania store makes sure its customers are greeted by two black Labs. Taurus 738s and 11B2s are selling the best, but Smith Bodyguards and Shields also get serious attention.

“Shotgun sales have gotten really tricky in the last few years. I barely make ten dollars a gun,” said owner Curtis Moorhead.

Hunting rifles are moving, with Savage Axis in .243 pulling the best numbers. Other hot guns include used Marlin 336s in .30/30. Sales of MSRs remain flat, with one every two weeks. DPMS does best. As for ammo, Moorhead said, “Overall, stocks are adequate, but only because I spend almost every day sourcing inventory.”

Springhill Rod & Gun, Charleston
Stocking an average of 400 guns, this general sporting goods retailer has seven employees. Coming off of heavy promotional summer sales from Springfield Armory, handguns continue to move briskly. For October, Smith has moved to the lead; Shields and J-Frame revolvers are turning fast.

Deer season is ramping up demand at this store, though owner Dan Kessel notes he is selling an unusual combination of rifles. “With the coal industry in a terrible state, low-price-point and very-high-price-point rifles are attracting all the attention. Savage Axis and Mossberg Patriots are about dead-even at the low end, while Browning X-Bolts have staked the higher end, mostly in .243 and .308.”


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Little Joe’s Pawn & Gun East, Kansas City
Keeping about 200 guns in stock, this family-­run pawn and gun shop specializes in used rifles and handguns. Glocks and Smith Shields are on top of the new gun list, while used Smith K- and J-Frame revolvers have seen very high demand. “I have no idea where this used gun run has come from, but we can’t keep a used Smith in stock. They have produced a huge profit margin this year,” said manager Sean Boyd.

Traditional hunting rifles are keeping the register warm as well. With deer season ahead, customers have migrated to Remington 700 BDLs in .270 and Mossberg Patriots in .308. Shotgun sales are holding steady. The Mossberg 500 and Remington 870 Express top the leader board.

Midwest Gun Exchange, Mishawaka
With 8,500 square feet of display space and more than 8,000 guns in inventory, this Great Lake’s shop maintains home defense and hunting inventories. SCCY Industries’ CPX-1 and CPX-2 models came on strong during the summer. At the same time, Glock 43s also sold well.

“Personal carry is still in the lead when it comes to handguns. We feel demand for light and high-capacity handguns will continue to strengthen through 2016,” said general manager Brad Rupert.

Demand also is on the rise for Remington’s 870 Deer Express and Mossberg 500s. The store expects to move a good number of Benelli Vincis during waterfowl season.

Sales of MSRs are still strong, averaging around one per day. Curiously, low- and high-end price points are getting the most traffic; sales of mid-range MSRs are flat.

R H Kay Firearms, St. Paul
With a primary focus on home defense, this metro St. Paul retailer stocks an average of 300 firearms into a tightly inventoried 500-square-foot store. Glock 19s and Taurus Model 709s top the high-demand list at the handgun counter, along with several Sig P98s. “This year we found that handling transfers can really be worth our while. We often get a new customer and always send them home with an armload of accessories,” said owner Rick Kay.

Remington 870 Express and Mossberg 500 Tactical shotguns have made strong turns, and the store sells one MSR per week.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Barnwood Arms, Ripon
Sitting between Stockton and Modesto in central Northern California, this home defense and hunting store has seven indoor shooting lanes.

Glock Model 43s are experiencing high demand; other fast movers include Sig 238s and Smith K-Frame revolvers. “We expect a good number of hunting guns to turn in the next 60 days. However, it’s really the consistent handgun sales that have kept the register warm these past few months,” said owner Paul Mangelos.

Sales of modern sporting rifles average two per week, with a mix of Smith M&P Sports and DPMS Oracles. Deer rifles are starting to move—Tikka T3s, Kimber Montanas, and Ruger Americans are doing well.

Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, Grand Junction
With 11,000 square feet of retail space, this store’s firearm selection consists of 1,200 guns, with more to come. MSRs are still turning at four a week. Smith M&P Sports and the locally made Viking Armament lead the pack. “These Viking Armament rifles are made here in Grand Junction, and even in this thousand-dollar-plus price point, we can’t keep them in stock,” said owner Jerry Stehman.

Handgun sales are strong. Customers seem most interested in Kimber and Sig 1911s as well as Shields and Sig 238s and 938s.

Sprague’s Sports, Yuma
Founded in 1966, this large Arizona independent is situated just 15 minutes from the Mexican border. It specializes in law enforcement, military, and hunting gear. With dove season just starting to slow, all eyes at this store are on who will win the “Big Breast Dove Contest.”

“We’ve held this contest for 27 years with a new promotional T-shirt every season. More than $2,000 in prizes are given away. Typically, the first and second place winners are often separated by a single gram,” said manager Chad Converse. The promotion continues to drive heavy sales of Benelli Montefeltro and Cordoba shotguns.

Bolt-action rifle sales are good, especially Tikka T3s and Browning X-Bolts in .300 WSM and .270. Other strong sellers include Summit Carbon rifles from Christensen Arms with prices that approach $3,000. Handgun sales remain brisk; Glock 43s and Ruger LC9s post the best numbers.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Gainesville Target Range, Gainesville
This outdoor range can handle more than 80 shooters on three ranges and stocks more than 100 firearms. Glock holds the sales high ground, with good turns for Models 43, 42, and 34. Traffic has also increased on custom 1911s and Springfield XDMs.

With plenty of shooters actively using its ranges, this retailer committed to entering the ammo business. “In 2013, we started making our own ammo for our clients. It started out as more of a service for 9mm and .45 shooters. Of late, we keep expanding the ammo room, and the product is now a significant part of our retail business. But, we still can’t get .22 ammo. It’s just not practical to add it to our manufacturing,” said buyer Charlie Thomas.

Brisk-selling MSRs include the M&P Sport, Daniel Defense, and LWRC. Although shotgun sales have been slow, Mossberg 500 tacticals are picking up the pace.

Pawn Gallery, Clarksville
This small pawnshop is located off Interstate 40. Stocking an average of 250 firearms, there are at least two employees in the store at any given time. Locking up stocking programs with Ruger LC9s, Glock 43s, and Sig P228s has resulted in hot summer sellers. “Our ammo stocks are better. We have several bricks of .22 in stock,” said counter salesperson Kelly Allem.

Due to increased ammo inventory, Ruger 10/22s have been steady sales climbers. With fall coming, Remington 700 Varmint Grades are seeing turns. Other climbing SKUs include the Remington 870 Express and Savage Axis rifles in .270.

River City Firearms, Louisville
This dealer stocks an average of 400 handguns and rifles. Although sales of MSRs have slowed to four units per week, this retailer expects a winter surge. “We expect big traffic numbers. I’m buying heavy and getting great prices for this platform. I think we’ll turn an easy four to five units a day by December,” said owner Derrick Myers. Top MSR brands include Mossberg and M&P Sports.

Handguns sales have been strong, with Glock 43s in the top slot. The Taurus PT111 is another fast mover. At one point, the store turned nearly 100 units in one week. Ruger LCPs have also been ringing the register. With the exception of .22, ammo stocks are good.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Fernwood Firearms, Hankins
Specializing in MSRs, handguns, and Army surplus, this 1,500-square-foot shop is next to the Pennsylvania state line. With current New York State firearm laws still wrapped up in the courts, this retailer canvasses other markets to keep sales healthy. “We do a big business selling to law enforcement. Pennsylvania residents can purchase non–New York State compliant handguns, but our in-state handguns are slower than last year,” said owner John Kielbasa. In general sales, Glock 43s and Walther CCPs in 9mm are the top sellers.

Ruger 10/22s and Henry lever-actions are turning, albeit slower than they did last year due to low .22 ammo inventories.

As for surplus, Fernwood has a 2004 all-wheel-drive 5-ton M935 military truck with only 900 miles. “Customers love these big trucks. When they come in to look at it, they often buy a gun,” he said.

Jackman Hardware, Jackman
Stocking 190 used and new firearms, this store, located just 3 miles from the Canada border, specializes in hunting firearms and hardware.

Handgun sales are consistent, with a few Taurus Judges crossing the counter. Ruger LC9s, Smith K-Frames in .357, and Ruger Alaskans in .454 Casull are in demand. Rimfire .22 handguns have been a mainstay, but problems obtaining .22 ammo hurts sales. “It’s driving me nuts that I can’t get .22 ammo after nearly three years. In fact, it’s worse now than it was last year,” said owner Mark Giroux.

Rabbit guns are always hot, with a mix of H&R 20- and 12-gauge single-actions, Savage Model 10s in .223, and Ruger 10/22s. The Savage Axis in .308, and Remington 700 BDLs in .270 and .30/06 are turning. MSR sales are slow, with Ruger and Bush-master turning about two a month.

Gun Toter’s Supply, Archibald
Just north of Scranton, this retailer has more than 500 guns in stock and is expanding custom-order firearms. Les Baer 1911s are hot, followed by Beretta 92FSs and Glock 43s. “We continue to stock popular firearms, but we’re moving to premium and custom firearms,” said owner Mike Frezzolini.

In addition to stocking large inventories of Tikka rifles and sporting Beretta shotguns, used handguns and rifles are a growing profit center.



By Peter B. Mathiesen

Bob’s Gun & Tackle, Hastings
With an average inventory of 2,000 firearms, 35 employees, and more than 15,000 square feet of space, this independent is one of the busiest stores in the upper Midwest. The store is coming off one of its largest sales events of the year. The focus was on Ruger; sales toppers were LC9s, LCRs, and 1911s.

“Our midsummer sales event has been a great traffic-builder that carries us into August. Our distributor helped us secure .22 ammo, and we turned hundreds of 10/22s and SR 22s,” said partner Larry Hayes. Other strong handgun movers include Smith Shields and Glock 43s.

Sales of MSRs are steady, and the Smith M&P Sport is the top dog. Savage .17 Super Mags have attracted early-season attention, but Mossberg also has done well, seeing strong turns for Mossberg 500s and Mossberg Youth slug guns for Michigan’s youth deer season.

Good Guys Gun and Pawn, Omaha
This pawnshop with three full-time employees carries nearly 250 firearms in stock. Glock 19s and Springfield XDs in 9mm are top sellers; several Smith Shields are also turning each week.

In summer, .22 sales are a large draw, and this retailer has managed to keep .22 and .22 Mag. in stock. “We’ve been able to keep .22 ammo available for our customers all summer. Because we’re one of the few local retailers that has any inventory, we’re seeing a lot more traffic,” said counter salesman Sam Starr. As a result, this store has moved large numbers of Ruger 10/22s this summer.

Although sales of MSRs have slowed to just two a month, higher-grade Remington 700s in .30/06 have seen increased demand.

RH Kay Firearms, St. Paul

This retailer has a tightly inventoried mix of handguns, military surplus, and MSRs in 500 square feet. Smith Shields lead the pack, with high numbers of Taurus 111G2s and a few 1911B-9s. “Our handgun sales have been steady this year. With such a consistent pattern, it’s been easier to plan inventories,” said owner Rick Kay.

Although sales of MSRs have been slow, several orders have been placed with Windham Weaponry and Olympic Arms. Other recent special orders include UTAS pump shotguns. Lower-price-point surplus .22 rifles have been hot this summer.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Oak Grove Guns, Eugene
This store stocks more than 300 firearms. The handgun counter has been dominated by strong turns of Glock 43s and Smith Shields. Ruger LC9s and LCPs have also received notable attention.

Sales of MSRs are steady; the retailer is turning at least four per week at two price points. “We are moving strong numbers of LWRCs on the high end, around $1,600 per rifle,” said owner Dave Miller. “But we are also selling the DPMS Oracle on the low end, at $600, without a single sale in between.”

With the approach of big-game season, sales of bolt-action rifles are expected to pick up. Miller said the mix should include Savage 111s, Ruger Americans, and the new Mossberg Patriot rifles in .270 and .308. He noted the .308 is popular because customers can secure military surplus ammo, allowing them to shoot out of season at a lower cost.

Straightline Tactical, Anaheim
With an average of 500 guns in inventory, this store is facing “good news, bad news.” On one hand, it’s a terrific year for handgun sales, especially Glock Gen 3s and Smith Shields; on the other, MSR sales are stuck in a price-point rut.

“It’s been eight months since we sold an MSR that retailed for more than $1,000,” said owner Don Zappone. “But, when it comes to price-point MSRs, we have sold truckloads. The overall MSR leader is the Smith M&P Sport.”

Rimfire ammo remains a challenge to obtain. Zappone and his staff attend regional gun shows to buy ammo and re-sell it in the store.

Welcher’s Gun Shop, Tacoma
This busy retailer stocks close to 500 hunting rifles, MSRs, and handguns. Though hunting season is just around the corner, handguns are still commanding attention. “Our lack of access to consistent .22 ammo supplies is killing our numbers on .22 rifles and handguns, and that’s a summer staple in this store,” said counter salesman Rich Welcher.

Ruger LC9s lead the pack, but Springfield XDMs and Smith Shields are also posting good numbers. The store receives limited shipments of Glock 43s, which are typically sold within 48 hours.

Sporting rifle sales are increasing daily. Here, Browning X-Bolts in .30/06 and Tikka .300 WSMs are turning numbers. In MSRs, Smith and Rock River are seeing slow, but steady, turns.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Lawson’s Clothing, Shoes and Firearms, Loreto

Located in central Tennessee, this large independent has more than 16,000 square feet of floor space filled with a mix of soft goods, fishing supplies, and 1,600 firearms.

Sales of .22 long guns have improved significantly. Ruger 10/22s are leading the pack, and Ruger Americans and Marlin lever actions are posting higher numbers as well. Although rimfire ammo is in short supply, deliveries are becoming a bit more consistent.

MSR sales are relatively steady, selling at an average of three to four per week. Here, Del-Ton leads the sales charge. “We keep MSRs moving by adding optic-ready packages and keeping the price competitive,” said counter salesman Jeff Tougette.

Fountain Firearms, Houston

With an average of 1,500 guns in stock, this metro store holds a wide variety of traditional firearms and home-defense guns. Glocks and Springfield XDMs in 9mm and .40 are outpacing Sig 1911s. The Taurus Model 66 in .357 has made some nice turns recently.

Due to improved .22 ammo inventories, Ruger 10/22s and 22/45 target pistols are selling daily. “We have the best inventory on rimfire ammo that we’ve seen in the last two years. We actually have bricks for sale with no limit, and it has really turned on .22 rifle and pistol sales,” said counter salesman Charles VanGoey.

MSR sales are continuing to post strong numbers. The two top sellers— Stag and M&P Sports—are turning at roughly two a week.

Sapp’s Pawn, Gun & Archery, Gainesville

Known for its 1950s Coke machine that still offers customers a cold soda for only 10 cents, this 3,000-square-foot shop stocks firearms, archery, and tools, along with a few collectibles. In business for more than 50 years, this store still depends on handguns to maintain a stable cash flow.

“Florida has weathered some difficult financial times in the last few years, but in 2015, traffic has really improved,” said owner Butch Ford.

Handguns are in high demand, with the Smith SW9VE and Model 85 Taurus maintaining the top positions . Springfield XDMs are also receiving attention. Ruger 10/22s are turning steadily, though delivery of rimfire ammo supplies at this store has gotten worse.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Beikirch’s Guns, East Rochester

Founded as a hardware store in 1933, this large independent today has one New York and two Pennsylvania locations that move thousands of firearms annually. Handgun sales are steady, and the new model Glock 43 and the Sig 1911 are at the front of the pack. Other hot sellers include Smith M&Ps and Bodyguards.

Although summer sales typically mean all things .22, that’s not the case this season at this retailer. “We really had hoped the .22 ammo shortage would be over by now, but it’s obviously not,” said owner Alan Rice.

Mossberg 500 sales are picking up, and a few Browning over/under clay guns are crossing the counter. Although it’s hardly deer season, Savage Model 10/110 and 11/111 packages in .270 have been particularly hot. Meanwhile, sales of MSRs are holding steady.

Grice Gun Shop, Clearfield

This family-run shop has been in business for more than 40 years and maintains an inventory of more than 10,000 guns. With the store’s spring anniversary sale winding down, handguns have emerged as the top sellers for the early summer. Ruger LCPs and Smith M&Ps in .40 top the list. Smith Bodyguard .380s and price-point .22 revolvers from Heritage Manufacturing are on the move.

“We are not looking forward to a summer without good stocks of rimfire ammunition. If we didn’t include a brick with every .22 rifle or handgun sold, I’m not sure how many units we would sell at all,” said manager Dave Francisco.

Jackman Hardware, Jackman

Stocking 250 new and used firearms, this small-town store on Main Street, just 3 miles from the Canadian border, specializes in hunting firearms and hardware. Owner Mark Giroux says handgun sales are consistent, with several .357 Smith K-Frames crossing the counter along with a few special-order Colt 1911s. There is higher demand than usual for short-barreled large-caliber revolvers, like the Ruger Alaskans in .454 Casull, for bear protection.

Rabbit guns are always hot at this store. Crossing the counter has been a mix of Ruger 10/22s, H&R 20- and 12-gauge single-actions, and Savage Model 10s in .223, as well as a few Bushmaster MSRs.