Dealers Seek Out Potential Top-Sellers.
Attendees at SHOT Show 2015 faced challenges with crowded aisles and busy booths as they worked their way through more than 1,600 exhibitors to look for the year’s new products and always-popular bestsellers. In exclusive interviews with Shooting Industry, retailers discussed their favorite products and pointed out trends they saw at this year’s show.
John “Westy” Westerfield, store manager at Yeager’s Sporting Goods in Bellingham, Wash., said the most interesting new item he saw was a prototype of a new polymer 1911 from American Tactical Imports.
“It’s a very intriguing design,” he said. “It will be a unique pistol, and probably will be the hottest thing since Glock — allowing the shooter to have up to nine pistols on one frame.”
Colt also has some interesting new firearms for dealers to offer their customers, Westerfield said.
“Colt has retooled their factory and are producing firearms that are as good or better than anything they’ve ever done, and they’re able to lower their prices on some items,” he said. “Mostly it’s the entire 1911 line; they’re old models that have been around for a long time but these pistols are immaculate.”
Westerfield also liked the new Taurus Curve, a pistol that’s curved to fit the human body.
“Taurus has curved the grip so the pistol fits in the pocket or against the body better,” he said.
The Taurus booth also caught Pat Johnston’s attention. Johnston, one of the owners of Broken Arrow Gun Shop in Broken Arrow, Okla., particularly liked one of Taurus’s new revolvers.
“It’s convertible hammer to hammerless,” he said. “Another new gun they have is a .380 semi-automatic pistol that will be easier for ladies and for folks who don’t have a lot of hand strength.”
Joe Keffer, owner and president of Sportsman’s Shop in New Holland, Pa., saw several firearms he liked.
“The Browning .380 on a 1911 frame is nicely done and is a quality piece that fits the hand well. As a semi-compact, I think that will do well. The new Ruger LC9s Pro and the striker-fired LC9s will sell well also. Glock introduced their line of optic-ready pistols, which is similar to the Smith & Wesson C.O.R.E. line that came out last year. The C.O.R.E. line sold well, so the Glocks should attract attention also.”
New for 2015, Galco expanded its Concealed Carry Lite line of holsters.
The IWB WalkAbout is now available in black.
In addition, Glock released a 6-inch 10mm pistol, which caught the attention of Miles Hall, president of H&H Shooting Sports Complex in Oklahoma City.
“I think the 10mm is going to get another shot in the marketplace,” Hall said. “Because this is a 6-inch gun, it’s big for Glock, but it’s a neat little gun.”
Kimber got the attention of Mike Walsh, one of the owners of Walsh Gun & Tackle in Caseville, Mich.
“Their guns are high-end, but they’re very nice,” he said. “My customers will particularly like the .380s.”
Johnston said Kimber also had three new handguns in .380 ACP that he liked.
“They were all in .380 and they all look like they’re going to be strong sellers for carry guns,” he said.
Dealers converge on the Smith & Wesson booth to examine the company’s extensive
line of semiautos and revolvers. S&W debuted several new products at the show.
The long-gun market has experienced a notable shift since the beginning of 2014 — as the demand for ARs has shifted, supply has increased.
“One thing I noticed is ARs are a lot easier to get now, and they’re cheaper than they used to be,” said Mike Rankin at Richy’s Gun & Pawn in Checotah, Okla. “As far as demand for ARs goes, and I don’t see anything coming along to take its place. It’s all driven by what the government does; if the government starts talking gun bans, people will buy what they talk about banning.”
Benelli entered the over/under shotgun market this year, piquing the interest of dealers at the show.
“Benelli has introduced an over and under shotgun — the 828U — that is adjustable 40 separate ways,” Hall said. “Benelli told us they’re going to start emphasizing to their premium level dealers to ‘fit’ each gun to each individual. They’re going to teach us how to do that fitting, which is a big deal.”
After seeing the 828U, Keffer left the Benelli booth with a positive impression.
“I thought the Benelli 828U over/under was very impressive,” he said.
Walsh stopped by Franklin Armory while at the show, as well.
“They make .450 Bushmaster uppers and guns,” he said.
Dealers predict Browning’s new 1911-380 will appeal to concealed-carry customers.
Targets And Range Systems
Joe Orlick, VP of the Desert Sportsman Rifle & Pistol Club in Las Vegas, attended the SHOT Show to look for steel targets for his club.
“We have a rule at our club that the targets have to be more than 30 inches above the ground,” he said. “Some of the targets that are on stands look very interesting for us.” Companies that manufacture steel targets include Action Target, Do All Outdoors, MGM Targets and Taylor Targets.
From Blackstone Shooting Sports in Charlotte, N.C., General Manager Guy Santiago liked the technology involved in the Bullseye Camera Systems.
“It’s a target acquisition system that allows you to video your shots,” he said. “It’s neat, priced right for the consumer and very convenient. One thing I like about it is the applications Bullseye has developed, which allows shooters to track their performance.”
Action Target also got the attention of Dan Marcon, Jr., owner of Marc-On Shooting School in Eau Claire, Wis.
“We’re going to open a range this summer, and we’re planning to use their range equipment,” he said.
Retail Technology And Services
When he opens his range this summer, Marcon will be adding a state-of-the-art point-of-sale system.
“We may go with Sellmark,” he said. “The other company we’re looking at is AcuSport Retail Technology Group.” Both, he explained, have much to offer for dealers.
Janel Benish, one of the owners of Village Gunsmith in Kendall, Wis., liked the plastic ammunition containers from Tac-Pac.
“We manufacture ammunition here, and Tac-Pac containers are reusable, recyclable plastic packages that are more cost-effective than hard plastic packages,” she said. “They’re water-resistant, they come in several different sizes and you can get labels to seal them.”
Marcon found HT Holsters of interest: He wanted something other than the brands found in the big-box stores. He found HT Holsters has a variety of products his customers won’t be able to find in the mass merchants.
“They make concealment holsters,” he said. “One of the ones I found is a high-quality duty rig.”
Hall said safes are becoming less steel boxes and more pieces of household furniture.
“One of the pushes a few years back was biometric locks,” Hall said. “Now Sargent & Greenleaf has perfected a new type of lock well enough that both Browning and Liberty are now putting it in their safes.”
Going along with safes, Walsh liked the safe lifter from ULTRA LIFT.
“Using it, a 100-pound woman can lift a 1,000-pound safe up and down steps,” he said.
For Luis Almaguer, chief training officer of the Florida Gun Center in Hialeah, Fla., one of the most interesting new products was Glock’s MOS modular optics system.
“Glock’s dedicating certain models to be optics-ready,” he said. “Think of it as an EOTech small enough to put on a pistol. Now the accessories manufacturers are going to have to catch up, and make holsters and other accessories to fit them. Some other companies are starting to do the same thing, so I think this is going to be a trend.”
Walsh favored the knives in the Benchmade booth.
“I liked all of their stuff,” he said. “It’s all nice quality.”
Benish also like what she saw at Handi-Racker.
“The Handi-Racker is a little device that you use with your pistol to help you charge it,” she said. “People who have strength problems or hand problems or disability problems can use it.”
BY Carolee Anita Boyles
For more information visit:
American Tactical Imports
Do All Outdoors
Sargent and Greenleaf
Smith & Wesson
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