Five Minutes With Jason Evans

The CEO of the Blaser Group shares his thoughts on the current challenges in the industry and what the future holds

Jason Evans, CEO of The Blaser Group
Jason Evans, CEO of The Blaser GroupBlaser Group

Before coming aboard as CEO of the Blaser Group (formerly known as Blaser USA), Jason Evans held a number of key positions in the shooting sports industry, notably director of sales and marketing at Hogue, vice president of sales and product development at Weatherby, vice president of commercial sales at Benelli USA, and district manager at Smith & Wesson. SHOT Business sat down with him recently to get his take on the state of the industry and Blaser’s plans for the future.

SHOT Business: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing the industry in the next five years?

Jason Evans: For the overall firearms industry, it’s the ability to accurately predict long-term market demand. On the hunting side, markets moderately trend up and down with changing product preferences driven by innovation. Quite different, though, is the politically bipolar tactical/self-defense market, where short-term-demand fluctuations lead to massive inefficiencies and challenges. The feast or famine cycles are not a healthy pattern for capital-intensive products.

SB: When you get up in the morning, what gets you excited about working in the industry?

JE: It’s been a consistent passion, lifestyle, and vocation for over 20 years. I’m one of the lucky ones who gets to work with product and people that I truly enjoy. With three younger kids showing interest in the shooting sports, I am excited for the opportunity to pass along the knowledge, skills, and experiences to the next generation.

SB: What makes Blaser so special—besides the price?

JE: Our level of mechanical precision and design proficiency. The amount of research and design that accompanies each piece of Blaser product is truly amazing. It is no accident that we have more factory modularity possibilities [47 million for the R8] than any other firearm. Blaser is the choice for consistent shot feel, reliability, and effectiveness for long-range varmints to life-threatening African game. Although not fully understood in the American market, the R8 is truly unique in operation and design. The rifle gives the hunter/shooter advantages in speed, size, safety, accuracy, and purpose. It is more expensive than most, but there is a reason that it dominates in many markets around the world. Once you hunt with an R8, it’s hard to go back to a conventional bolt-action.

Blaser Rifle
"The amount of research and design that accompanies each piece of Blaser product is truly amazing."Blaser Group

SB: How do you meet customer expectations?

JE: We need to always look from the consumer’s perspective and evaluate what can be done to enhance the experience with the brand: What can the Blaser Group do to help the consumer’s decision process and enjoyment of the product? In reality, no one ever settles for a Blaser product—we are always the aspirational choice. Our selected premium dealers are a major part of the process to understanding and exceeding consumer expectations.

SB: Where does Blaser see itself five years down the road?

JE: We have laid out an aggressive plan. The Blaser Group oversees five brands in the American market: Mauser, Sauer, J. Rigby, Minox, and the flagship Blaser. Our past efforts were successfully focused on building the Blaser brand in the premium big-game hunting and competitive shotgun markets. Over the next five years, we will build upon the established reputation and expect to see the results of our brand stratification and specialization in the American market.

We are embarking on five key programs. First, Blaser will grow with strategic model expansion through innovation. Our modular approach in both shotguns and rifles will continue to gain appreciation. Second, Sauer will provide precision German bolt-actions in a more traditional operation, and innovation in long-range and hunting configurations will lead the product mix. Third, Mauser will provide precision German rifles in economical hunting and long-range shooting configurations. Fourth, with its rich and storied history, J. Rigby will continue creating some of the finest rifles for its selective and appreciative owners. Fifth, Minox products will continue to provide innovation and world-class optical performance from our German production facility, at very competitive value.

SB: That’s an ambitious program. Anything else?

JE: Yes. In addition to our Blaser Group marketing efforts, our brands will continue to grow through product experience and personal recommendations. The product owners will understand and appreciate the quality, functionality, and design benefits across the product offerings. We also plan to launch the Blaser Precision Shooting School, an opportunity to improve their skills and learn about our innovative technology. (blaser-group.com)

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