Volume 25, Number 6 October/November 2017

Archive for the ‘What’s Selling Where’ category

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.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

ull City Guns, Alton
Located on Highway 24 in northcentral Kansas, this large independent keeps more than 3,500 firearms in stock with floor space of nearly 10,000 square feet. Handgun sales still rule at this retailer, which has moved high numbers of Kimber 1911s, Smith 686s, Ruger LC9s, and several FNS-9 compacts.

A few sporting clay guns are also selling, and waterfowl guns-—Benelli Super Black Eagle II and Beretta 400 Extremes—are moving, too. “Winter used to be all handguns. However, a late goose season has helped move shotguns now,” said owner Brice Ballard.

MSR sales remain brisk, and some recent weekends have seen 10 rifles a day go out the door. Top sellers remain Smith Sport 15s and DPMS Oracles.

Top Gun Shooting Sports, Arnold
Located in South St. Louis County, this store keeps more than 700 guns in inventory while operating a National Shooting Sports Foundation–certified five-star range. Handguns are moving exceptionally well at this location, with an even mix of Glock 43s, Ruger LC9s, and Smith Shields all turning numbers daily. “We have made a serious investment in our state-of-the-art range. That combined with having 120 handguns on hand to try at the range closes several sales every day,” said guns manager Rowdy Enderle.

MSRs are in high demand, turning an average of four to six per day, which presents the challenge of keeping enough in inventory. DPMS Oracles and Smith Sports are pulling the best numbers.

Western Trail Sports, Scottsbluff
With more than 1,000 firearms in stock, this large western Nebraska independent also inventories a full line of general sporting goods for both fishing and camping. MSRs are turning about three per week. Most sales are CMMG and Rock River.

Handgun sales are strong; H&K VP9s and Smith Shields and M&Ps are all selling well. “We’ve seen a real surge with senior citizens looking to conceal carry. They seem to already own a handgun but find them too large,” said owner Bruce Rollins.

In shotguns, the store is moving a few Stoeger M3500s and Condors. Some bolt-actions are still selling, mostly Model 70s and Vanguards.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Good Guy’s Guns, Medford
Sitting just across the California border, this 2,000-square-foot store specializes in home defense while keeping an average of 400 firearms in stock. Handgun sales are steady, with Smith Shields, Ruger LC9s, and Taurus PT111s getting equal attention at the counter. “Our sales to women have steadily increased, and there is no doubt that having a female salesperson will make a difference,” said counter salesperson Laura Gillian.

Sales of modern sporting rifles have been very brisk. Smith Sports and Ruger 15s have sold the best.

Oly’s Gun Shop, Mount Vernon
This small family-run shop keeps more than 100 used firearms in stock. Incoming new guns are mainly custom orders for its customers. Handguns continue to be the lion’s share of this dealer’s turns. SIG P238s and Ruger LC9s and LCRs are seeing the most action.

Although uppers and lowers from Rock River dominate this retailer’s MSR inventory,  DPMS and Ruger 556s are the most active sellers for complete gun assemblies.

“MSRs continue to grow with our mostly hunting clientele. Almost every one of my customers is building an MSR,” said owner Brian Olson.

Bolt-action rifle orders are up, too. Weatherby Vanguards and Remington 700 varmint grades in .243 and .223 (along with a few .30/06s) are popular choices. Ammunition inventories are generally good, except for .22 Mag., which continues to be in short supply.

Sprague’s Sports, Yuma
Specializing in law-enforcement and military sales, this large southern Arizona independent has seen its MSR sales rise sharply in the last 60 days. The store is selling five per day, mostly models from Daniel Defense, Ruger, and FN. “The traffic in MSRs is strong, and we don’t see demand falling until the end of the election,” said manager Chad Converse.

Handgun sales have been heavily slanted toward Glock, mainly 43s and 42s. Even 19s have been difficult to keep in stock. On the ammo side, .22 Mag. ammo has been hard to find and is preventing the sales of guns in that caliber. “Customers get really uncomfortable when we tell them there is no way to predict when we’ll have a steady supply,” said Converse.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

McClelland Guns, Dallas
Family owned since 1972, this 8,000-square-foot retailer averages 1,000 guns in inventory and employs five gunsmiths. Handguns are selling well; hot sellers include Springfield 1911s, Para Pro Customs in .45, and Ruger LCR .38s. Smith & Wesson 642s also are moving well.

Shotguns are winding down, with a few Beretta A300s and 400s crossing the counter.

MSRs are selling daily, mostly DPMS Bull 20s and Bushmaster XM-15s. There are also a large number of custom-shop hog guns on order. “Our custom rifles sales continue to increase in scale. We see it as a great way to interact with our customers, creating a strong bond. You build them a gun they love, and they come back,” said owner Ron Rutledge.

Pawn Gallery, Clarksville
This small, independent pawnshop is located 40 miles east of Fort Smith off of Interstate 40. It stocks an average of 250 firearms and has two employees.

The Glock 43 and the Sig 220 are the two strongest sellers at the store. Springfield XDMs in 9mm are in the third spot.

Demand for MSRs is steady, but didn’t increase during 2015. “We really haven’t seen an uptick in rifle sales and it surprises us. That said, we are expecting demand to rise in the next 60 days,” said counter salesperson Kelly Elam.

Savage Model 10 Predators and Remington 700 varmints are doing well as cold temperatures settle in. Ammo stocks are good; however, specialty .22 Mag is still hard to keep on the shelf.

River City Firearms, Louisville
This dealer stocks an average of 300 handguns and keeps up to three employees busy. Handgun sales are at record highs. “We have seen steady increases in demand for MSRs and handguns since the Paris terrorist event,” said owner Derrick Myers.

Although S&W Bodyguards and Shields have sold well, the December price drop on Ruger LCPs sent turns through the roof. Other brisk sellers include M&P models and Taurus PT22s.

MSR demand is up nearly 200 percent from late November, with multiple turns daily. Top brands include M&P Sports and Ruger 556s. There is also high traffic on ATI mil-specs from Davidson’s.

Ammo stocks are better than they’ve been across the board.


By Peter B. Mathiesen

Island Firearms, Pittsburgh
With only 800 square feet of floor space, this retailer also uses the ceiling to display more than 500 firearms in the store. At the handgun counter, activity is notably higher than at this time last year. Glock 9mm and .40s hold the high ground; Sig .357s and S&W 686s are right behind.

Ammo stocks just may be the best in two years. “We finally have .22 Magnum ammo in volume, and overall .22 rifle sales were great during Christmas,” said owner Wayne Lyken.

MSRs are turning at a rate of about one a week, mostly Smith Sports. Shotguns are turning consistently, with tactical Mossberg 500s, Remington 870s, and a few Savage youth models crossing the counter.

L&H Woods and Water, Wall
This small-town dealer is south of Asbury Park and stocks more than 400 guns in 5,000 square feet.

Waterfowl guns are still moving, including Benelli Super Black Eagles and a few Browning A5s. Sales of MSRs have increased to four a week. Smith M&Ps are the top sellers, but Adams Arms and Rebel Arms are right behind. “We are starting to see demand increase for MSRs, and hopefully with distributor inventories in good shape this election time, we will have some pricing stability,” said general manager Tim Carey.

Handguns sales are steadily inching up. The Sig 220 10mm gets the most attention. Other high-demand handguns include nearly every Smith & Wesson revolver in stock.

Enck’s Gun Barn, Newmanstown
This store averages 400 firearms in stock. Handgun sales are strong, with high inventories of product. Ruger LC9s and Glock 43s and 26s pulled excellent numbers before and after the holidays. Cowboy Action revolvers are in good inventory, with Ruger Vaqueros topping the list.

Ruger 10/22s had one of the strongest holiday seasons on record. “It’s nice to see demand climbing, and for the first time in years, I have almost no shortages,” said owner Bob Enck. “Right now I can get just about anything my customers are looking for.”

Sales of MSRs are up, turning about three a week. DPMS and Smith M&P Sports see the most attention. High-end Lancer Rifles also are selling.