Volume 25, Number 1 January 2017

Archive for the ‘What’s Selling Where’ category

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.


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.