Volume 24, Number 7 December 2016

Archive for the ‘What’s Selling Where’ category

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.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Davenport Guns and Shooting Club, Davenport

With twelve 50-foot shooting lanes and 450 guns in stock, this Quad Cities gun shop pulls business from a wide, two-state area. Handgun sales are good. “Our range opened recently and already has improved traffic. In turn, that quickly results in a sale. When someone shoots a gun and likes it, they buy it,” said counter salesman Lionel Sanchez.

The Sig P238 leads the hot list. Glock 19s and Springfield XDs in 9mm follow. MSR sales are slower, with about five rifles sold a month. This retailer stocks ArmaLite exclusively. Spring saw a high demand for Remington Youth 870s, but early-summer shotgun sales are now down to a trickle. General ammo stocks are good, but .22 is in short supply.

R&R Gun Shop, Loyal

Located in rural central Wisconsin, this smalltown retailer keeps its firearms inventory below 60 units. It also stocks archery and fishing gear.

Handgun sales are a mix of Smith M&P Shields, Hi-Point CM-9s, and Glock 43s.

“Our clients are price-sensitive. Although we don’t sell many expensive guns, lower price-point firearms have kept a steady stream of customers coming through our doors during slower economic times,” said owner Bruce Denton.

Ruger 10/22s and varmint guns are responsible for the majority of recent sales, along with several Savage Model 93s in .17 HMR and Axis rifles in .223.

Shotgun sales are moving slowly, with just a few Mossberg 500s crossing the counter.

Trigger Time Outfitters, Big Rapids 

With fishing and archery taking up equal amounts of its retail space, this mid-Michigan shop keeps an average of 350 long guns and handguns on display. The retailer is turning Ruger Americans in .17 HMR as fast as they come in. Ruger 10/22s are also crossing the counter daily.

“I had no idea how popular the .17 HMR American was going to be. Our demand is off the charts,” said counter salesman Curt Campbell.

Kimber 1911s are attracting more attention than usual, and Colt 1911s are also making the register sing. Smith Shields are sitting comfortably in third.

Sales of MSRs are beginning to pick up after a slow stretch; Colt holds the top spot. Bolt-action rifles are picking up as well.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Outdoorsman of Santa Fe, Santa Fe

Catering to a traditional hunting clientele, this retailer has been in the Santa Fe area for more than 40 years. Handgun sales are steady. Glock 43s and 19s hold the highest selling positions, but Ruger LCPs and Taurus 140GSs are within striking distance.

“Taurus has really done a remarkable job of improving their quality control and design,” said owner Bill Roney.

Bolt-action gun sales are just starting to pick up, and Browning X-Bolts and Ruger Americans are now posting strong numbers. On another front, sales of modern sporting rifles (MSRs) are flat. Finally, Roney expressed frustration at the ongoing shortage of .22 ammo. “It infuriates me to no end that our industry just can’t ship .22 ammo in any consistent pattern. It is a drain on retailers and hurts our sport by limiting shooters who are entering shooting,” he said.

Goods for the Woods, Durango

Located on State Highway 160-550, this general hunting store carries archery, soft goods, firearms, and reloading supplies. Plenty of Ruger 10/22s are still ringing the register for prairie dog season, along with Marlin XTSs in .22. Rifle sales are definitely up, despite inconsistent .22 ammo shipments.

“I understand this is a problem for the industry, but how much longer will this continue? Rimfire sales are a vital part of our business,” said owner Jane Gustafsen.

MSRs are still moving across the counter; Bushmaster holds the high spot. Handgun sales remain strong for classic Springfield 1911s and XDMs in .40. Meanwhile, Sig P238s and Glock 19s continue to attract attention.

Red Rocks Sporting Goods, Miles City

Located in eastern Montana, this retailer is a large independent that stocks soft goods, firearms, and reloading supplies. Spring prairie dog season pushed up bolt-action sales. The Remington 700 Varmint, Cooper of Montana, and Kimber are posting impressive numbers. The most popular calibers have been .22-250, .223, and .243. “Our varmint business continues to inch up in numbers. We sell a lot of $1,500-plus combined packages in varmint calibers, even in the summer,” said counter salesman Shane Adams.


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.