Volume 25, Number 7 December 2017

Archive for the ‘What’s Selling Where’ category

By Peter B. Mathiesen

Gainesville Target Range, Gainesville
This retail store, with an outdoor gun range that can handle more than 80 shooters, caters to home-defense and tactical clientele. Handguns are hotter than last year; Smith M&P Shields, Glock MOS 34s, and SIG Legions are all pulling good numbers. The 9mm is the most popular caliber.

The store continues to offer a “build your own MSR” program. “It’s been very popular,” said president Steve Bottcher. “We love to promote two-gun and three-gun competitions. It really drives a nice price point for our MSR inventory.” Top-selling MSR platforms include Daniel Defense, ArmaLite, and Colt.

Bottcher reports that ammo stocks have been good “in general,” but .22 is still coming up short.

Hyatt Coin & Gun, Charlotte
With more than 12,000 square feet of retail space and more than 20 employees, this store keeps an average of 7,000 firearms in inventory. “Handgun sales are steady and climbing weekly. We look for much higher traffic as the summer moves into the election season,” said counter salesman Mike Montella. Smith Shields have a lock on the top spot, but Glock 42s and 43s are a close second. SIG P229s are also pulling brisk numbers.

MSR sales are stable and increasing weekly. Rock Rivers and Smith Sports hold the top two spots. Ruger 516s are in third place. Bolt-action rifle sales are slow, but Montella is seeing demand for Tikkas and Savage Model 11s. Ruger 10/22s are turning high numbers.

awn Gallery, Clarksville
This small, independent pawnshop stocks an average of 250 firearms, along with the occasional crossbow. The store is located off Interstate 40 just a half hour east of Fort Smith. “I still can’t sell any .22 Mag. rifles because ammo is so difficult to get,” said owner Rick Elam.

MSR sales are slowly picking up, and the store has been able to move a few Rock Rivers and M&P Sports.

Elam says lever-action long guns always sell year-round at this store, and Winchester and Marlin .30/30s attract the most attention.

Handgun inventories are the best they’ve been all year. Springfield XDSs, Smith Shields, and Ruger LC9s are all selling well.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Firearms Support and Storage, Whippany
Just 30 minutes from New York City, this 4,000-square-foot building is used as a store and office space. Keeping an additional 3,000 square feet of vault space, this retailer is the first federally- and state-approved public gun-storage facility in the country.

“Our summer traffic is historically the slowest time for our store. That said, we do expect to see an improvement as the election progresses,” said manager Ross Qsias. MSR sales are steady and slightly higher than last year’s. Smith M&P Sport IIs and Ruger 556s are posting the best numbers.

In the pistol category, XDs and Shields are doing well, and Beretta 92s have been fast movers.  Meanwhile, Smith 686s are topping the revolver sales chart.

Sportsman’s Gun Shop, East Earl
A general hunting and fishing retailer with 30 employees, the inventory here includes more than 2,000 new and used firearms.

June is the time for the store’s big sales event. “More than 17 manufacturer reps will set up hands-on consumer trials at our firing range,” says owner Joe Keffer. “We even get the local fire department to serve refreshments. The event has grown to several thousand attendees.”

Sales of Smith M&Ps have been very good lately, and the store is also seeing heavy traffic on classic J-Frames in .38. Ruger LC9s have maintained a steady demand all year, and the Kimber Micro 380s are in especially high demand.

Sales of MSRs have been steady at about two per day, dominated by M&P Sports and Daniel Defense. Sales of Ruger 10/22s and Savage .22 bolt-actions are brisk.

Mill Creek Rod & Gun, Orrington
This small, two-employee retailer keeps an average of 50 guns in stock as well as general outdoor gear. Smith 22A and Model 41 pistols are popular sellers, and a few Shields are also seeing orders. With several price points, SCCY 9mms are also doing well at this store.

Henry .22 Golden Boys and Savage 93R17s are selling well. “In summer, any-price-point new .22 or .17 HMR will move, but typically, used guns are our primary focus. We stock a dozen or so new guns, and concentrate on used shotguns and hunting rifles,” said owner Dave Barrett.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Superior Shooter’s Supply, Superior
Located just one block from Lake Superior, this long-standing Duluth-area shop specializes in firearms, safes, reloading supplies, and soft goods. The retailer says the handgun market at this store is changing. “We see a definite shift in higher turns of revolvers from the many women coming into the sport. A lot of people just don’t have the hand strength to rack a slide,” said owner Pat Kukull. Smith Shields share the top slot, along with Ruger LC9s and SP101s. Smith 686 J-Frames are right behind.

MSRs have picked up slightly to three per month. DPMS is now the go-to brand. Kukull also mentioned that gun safe sales have remained consistently high in the past few months. She was pleased to report that .22 ammo stocks are in relatively good shape.

R. H. Kay Firearms, St. Paul
This retailer stocks his tightly inventoried 500-square-foot store in metro St. Paul to meet the needs of an extensive home-defense clientele. MSR inventories are moving, and traffic is brisk.

“My clients are acutely aware of current events. This election continues to remind my clients that they need to buy if they don’t already own in the MSR category. Overall, sales are very good,” said owner Rick Kay. Windham Weaponry and Olympic Arms command the top spots in this department. Handgun sales are strong, with Glock 19s in the highest spot. M&P Shields and CZ 1911s are right behind.

Target Masters, Columbia
A serious contender in this town for more than 21 years, this shop has a 25-yard 10-lane range. Big-box stores surround this retailer, including a Bass Pro Shop just a few miles away.

Handgun sales are strong at this location. “Our traffic is excellent—unfortunately due to an exceptionally high spike in gang violence. Our concealed-carry classes have a waiting list, and we’ve never seen that before,” said counter salesman Jim Hill.

Glock 42s and 43s top the list. Smith Shields and Springfield XDSs are moving briskly, and Ruger LC9s are also in high demand. Sales of MSRs have slowed significantly, to just one every two weeks. The largest turns are going to Smith M&P Sports.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Carson Armory, Mound House
Located northeast of Carson City, this medium-size shop with 5,000 square feet of display space keeps nearly 200 guns in stock. Sales of modern sporting rifles have stagnated. “We really haven’t seen an election spike, but we have a ways to go until November,” said owner Eileen Ferguson. Recent sales did include Smith M&P Sports and Diamondbacks.

Handgun sales, though, have been good in the past 10 months. Ruger LCRs, Smith M&P Shields, and Glock 42s have all sold well. Tactical shotgun sales are slow, with just a few turns a month, mainly Remington 870s and Maverick 88s. Although ammo inventories are good, .22 Mag. remains in short supply.

Jerry’s Outdoor Sports, Grand Junction
This mountain retailer fills 11,000 square feet with a selection of 1,200 guns, along with a large inventory of safes, holsters, and reloading equipment. Although early summer is a slower time for this store, late-spring handgun sales were up slightly from last year. Smith M&P Shields, SIG P938s, and Kimber Micro 380s have garnered most of the attention.

MSRs are still seeing turns, averaging one unit daily. “MSR sales have been slowing down; however, if Hillary gains steam, our industry will absolutely see the greatest rush on MSR sales in our history,” said owner Jerry Stehman.

Special-unit game tags are released in June, and Stehman said the store always sees an increase in muzzleloaders and big-game rifle turns when this happens.

Lolo Sporting Goods, Lewiston
Located in downtown Lewiston, this small storefront employs three full-time salespeople and maintains a large inventory of reloading supplies, handguns, long guns, and MSRs. Summer has brought a notable uptick in handgun traffic. “It’s not crazy yet, but handgun sales are definitely higher than they were last year. The good news is our inventory is pretty strong,” said counter salesman Mike Acree.

SIG P938s and Glock 42s and 43s are trading back and forth between first and second place. Smith M&P Shields are also posting strong numbers. Other notable turns include higher summer traffic on Ruger Blackhawk .44 Mags and Smith 699s.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Palmetto State Armory, Columbia
This large independent has five retail outlets as well as online distribution. It sent more than 16 employees to SHOT. When it comes to the gun buyer’s responsibilities, it’s all about the details. “The goal is to always find something new, but it’s just as important to sustain relationships with vendors you work with every day,” said buyer Jason Dickey.

One of the products that caught this buyer’s eye was SIG’s reintroduction of the P210. “This is a great example of a classic product that will be available to the U.S. market through SIG’s U.S. facility. We expect it to sell well this year,” he said.

Another important stop included significant time at the Vista Outdoor booth.

Clyde Armory, Athens
With two retail locations to supply, this retailer specializes in both home–protection and law-enforcement firearms. One location includes a 25,000-square-foot facility that is actually built as a stone-and-blockhouse armory with turrets and a moat. The company sent three out of 30 employees to Vegas.

“Covering ground with our best manufacturers is an absolute priority. We go to SHOT to learn and connect,” said owner/CEO Andrew Clyde. While at the show, this retailer received the Law Enforcement Retailer of the Year Award from both Colt and Daniel Defense.

A visit also was made to Magtech to view the new .300 Blackout ammo. Other stops included a relentless search for .22 Mag. ammo at Federal and Hornady.

The Shooter’s Club, Harahan
With plans to open the company’s third range facility this summer, attending Vegas was an imperative. As a result, this retailer sent three of its 10 employees to the show. Handgun orders were written at F&N, Glock, and Ruger.

A large order was placed to trial Ruger’s new PolyCase ARX ammunition. “It takes careful coordination from our staff to do everything we need to get done at SHOT. It’s fun, but we have to be on our game,” said assistant manager Devvin Burgess. With a new range under construction that will offer the ability to shoot full-auto tactical equipment, this retailer looked to Action Target to supply the entire facility.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

The Sportsman’s Shop, East Earl
Located in eastern Pennsylvania between Lancaster and Philadelphia, this retailer expanded into a new 25,000-square-foot facility in 2015 that includes education training rooms and an indoor range. The show was attended by two people. Training and developing relationships with vendors that supply indoor range equipment were high priorities.

“We split class training responsibilities between us, while all booths were attended by both my wife and me,” said general manager Anthony Keffer. Ladies shooting products across the board were also a high-demand segment. Even after attending three distributor shows for the season, Keffer said, SHOT is a can’t-miss event for this store.

Pullman Arms, Worcester
This dealer, which specializes in tactical and police firearms, offers extensive firearms training. The retailer is located in east-central Massachusetts and has 1,300 square feet of floor space and more than 800 firearms in stock. Four of its eight employees went to Vegas.

Finding a way to add a shooting range was this store’s major 2016 goal. “While we have impressive product turns, we know that an indoor shooting range would improve them. However, our store’s small footprint just makes that impossible, so we spent much of our time looking at portable ranges,” said co-owner Alicia Merritt.

One of the companies visited was Shooting Range Industries, which offers modular, self–contained, state-of-the-art shooting trailers that can be set up in a retailer’s parking lot.

Gun & Sport North, Salem
This small independent shop is located in southern New Hampshire. It sports 1,500 square feet of retail floor space with an average inventory of 300 firearms. The store sent one employee to Vegas. This retailer uses a top 10 strategy to work the show floor. “I go to SHOT knowing what my top 10 SKUs are. I make an effort to talk to those specific vendors and to identify the accessories that will best fit those SKUs first,” said owner Tony Forgetta.

Forgetta mentioned that in addition to attending SHOT University, he spent several hours in the ATF and NICS classes.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Top Shot Academy, Hoffman Estates
With two employees, this established shooting and training company was at SHOT Show to purchase new product for a range they are planning to open in the city of Chicago. Reloading, target, and handgun manufacturers were the priority for this team, but one must-stop-by booth was the H&K to view the VP9 in .40 caliber.  Other stops included Dillon Press, Next Level Training, Century Arms, and Action Targets.

“You can only imagine the pitfalls facing a small company like ours opening a retail shooting and training facility in Chicago. The combination of information, such as that we received at the NSSF’s SHOT University and other retail seminars, will allow our company to grow successfully and soundly,” said owner Chip Eberhart.

he Lead Shed, Jackson
This 8,500-square-foot range and retail store will be opening this summer, so attending SHOT was a must. Looking for information and range equipment absorbed most of this storeowner’s time, though he found time to attend SHOT University. “I have no idea where else I could have gotten all the information on both product and purchasing in one place. The classes gave me confidence that there are systems in place for my company to have a strong business model,” said owner Kenneth Brindle.

Writing orders at Action Target and MGM Targets was a large part of the trip.

“These range manufacturers had resources that made my trip worth every penny I spent,” said Brindle.

T&L Tactical, Manitowoc
This small, family-run northeastern Wisconsin shop stocks a large number of accessories as well as 100 guns in 400 square feet. It sent two employees to the SHOT Show. The staff attended SHOT with the goal of finding inventory for women shooters.

“There was an amazing amount of new product for women at this year’s show. I would also say that it kept us so busy that we didn’t make it to many of the major firearms manufacturers,” said co–owner Laurie Fettig.

Some of the booths that received attention included Gun Tote’n Momas, Sticky Holsters, and Concealed Carrie.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Big J’s Outdoor Sports, Orting
Sitting just outside Tacoma, this 13,000-square-foot general outdoor sporting goods store sent four staff members to SHOT Show. Soft goods and training at SHOT University were the priorities for two of the staff members. “The training is so informative. As an office manager, I learned more than I could ever have imagined,” said office manager/buyer Sandy Birkeland.

Ladies shooting accessories topped the list, with purchases at Can Can Concealment and Flashbang Holsters. Other added lines included Wiley-X eyewear. Stops at SIG, Smith, and Daniel Defense were added to the four full days spent at the show.

Birkeland said her pedometer recorded 12.5 miles in a single day.

Timberdale Firearms Company, Bayfield
This small, rural independent is located in southwest Colorado, just outside of Durango. It stocks fewer than 200 guns. Handguns were the priority at the show for this retailer. The owner completed most of his new-product viewing within the first two days. “I try to cover a lot of ground early in the show. Once the crowd swells, communicating with vendors in the larger booths is a real challenge,” said owner Jim Tencza.

Smith and Glock had this retailer busy during the first morning; Taurus was the focus much of the afternoon. Tencza mentioned that meeting with distributors is always a priority while in Vegas. “We are a very small shop, and I actually got to meet my Davidson sales guy. It may not sound like a big deal, but it can make a big difference.” Other distributor meetings included RSR and Sports South.

Phelan Gun Range, Phelan
After having attended SHOT for the first time, this central California gun range and retail store will open its doors in late 2016 with eight lanes and more 1,500 square feet of retail and classroom space. Buying range equipment and firearms was this group’s collective goal. “I really have no idea where else we could have gone to receive the range information along with the purchase power that SHOT gives us,” said buyer Tim Davis.

Action Target was a key stop. “We really found much of what we needed there, and their experience has guided us through the range-construction process,” said Davis.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

ooge’s, Hazlehurst
Located in southeast Georgia, this rural general sporting goods, gas station, and meat supply store stocks 250 used and new guns. Winter is all handguns for this retailer, with turns dedicated to Glock 43s, Ruger LCPs, and Taurus 686 revolvers. “Winter is handgun time until March, when we’ll start to sell a few turkey guns,” said partner Ray Googe.

With .22 ammo stocks in better shape than they’ve been for the last two years, Ruger 10/22s and Browning Mark II pistols are turning at a higher pace than usual.

Final Flight Outfitters, Union City
Resting on the eastern edge of the Mississippi flyway, this western Tennessee retail store has more than 25,000 square feet of retail floor space and averages sales of more than 1 million pounds of steel shotgun shells annually.

Waterfowl season is winding down, but shotguns are still attracting plenty of attention. Beretta 400 Extremes and Browning A5s are still turning daily. “Our shotgun sales are year-round,” said gun department manager Billy Hazelwood.

Handguns continue to move steadily, with SIG 938s and Smith Shields in the top spots.

When asked about ammo stocks, Hazelwood said, “The guys at Vista Outdoor have really stepped up to the plate and filled our needs.”

Sales of MSRs are turning at about four a day. SIG 516s and M&P Sports hold the top spots. Sales of varmint bolt-action guns are steady as well.

Nagel’s Gun Shop, San Antonio
This shop had its beginnings in Robert Nagel’s garage back in the 1940s. It has since grown to one of the larger independent gun shops in the state of Texas.

Handguns are especially hot this winter, with steady turns of Glock Gen 4s, Smith Shields, and Springfield XD Mod 2s.

“Handgun sales may be the best we have seen for this time of the year. Texas recently enacted an open carry law. That, combined with the current political climate, has kept our counter hot,” said counter salesman Gilbert Trevino.

MSR sales are still brisk, with up to four a day crossing the counter. Smith Sport IIs lead the pack. Other quick movers include home-defense pumps shotguns from Mossberg and Remington.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

&K Gun Sales, Corfu
Using the old town post office, this 2,400-square-foot storefront keeps an average of 700 guns in stock. This retailer services all of the firearms it sells.

Sales of MSRs are inching up slowly as manufacturers adapt to new, complex state laws regarding this platform.

Pistol sales are steady, and though inventories of Glock 43s are challenging, owner Ken Wahl reports that most other models have been easily available. Anything 1911 continues to stay in demand, but at the same time consumer interest in LCRs and LCPs is falling.

Bolt-action varmint guns are slowly crossing the counter. Here, Weatherby Vanguards and Savage package XP Trophies mostly in .223 are selling quite well, according to Wahl.

Bob’s Unpainted Furniture and Gun Exchange, Darien
In business for more than 50 years, the retailer specializes in handguns, reloading supplies, and unfinished Amish furniture. It has 500 firearms in stock. Concealed-carry handguns have been hot lately; Smith Shields and Glock 43s are all seeing fast turns. Demand for high-grade 1911s has never been better.

Ammo stocks are not ideal, but improving. “We can get most of what we need, but not what we want,” said counter salesman Hunter Tassitano.

Long rifles are starting to move, with a few Remington 700s and Savage BMags in .17 HMR.

Griffin & Howe, Bernardsville
Keeping 900 firearms on display in its New Jersey store, this retailer specializes in high-end shotguns and rifles. Its custom facility produces Griffin & Howe–branded rifles and shotguns.

Skeet and clay guns are hot right now, with B. Rizzinis and Blaser F3s making daily turns. Other notable sellers include Beretta Silver Pigeon 686s and Perazzis.

“While shotgunning plays a strong role in our retail mix, long-range rifle shooting is our primary growth at the retail level. We opened a 1,200-yard shooting range just one hour from Manhattan,” said president Guy Bignell. Hunting rifles are starting to move, and the store is seeing turns of Dakota Arms, Ruger Precisions, and Blasers.