Selling More Of The
Hottest-Selling Guns


When something becomes a best seller, it’s nature’s way of telling us to sell even more.

Half a decade ago, Phil Strader and the design team at SIG SAUER brought forth the P365. It was the size of .380s of old like the 1934 Beretta, but it was lighter, it held way more rounds of full-power 9mm and it was eminently shootable. Voila! A new category of defensive handgun was born. And an astoundingly successful one. They became known as micro-compacts.

Across the country, dealers were reporting the P365 had instantly become their hottest-selling firearm overall, not just their top-selling handgun. For a while, there were waiting lists.

The rest of the industry followed with alacrity. The original P365 had been a 10+1 gun; Springfield Armory upped the ante with its very similar Hellcat holding more, and the race was on. Ruger, S&W, Taurus and GLOCK were soon aboard the bandwagon, the latter with the slimline series of 10+1 G48 and G43X pistols, with Shield Arms magazines soon available, upping capacity to 15+1. 

SIG itself expanded the line to stay in the capacity race, and now we practically need a decoder ring to tell apart the P365, the P365 XL and P365 Macro with 17+1 capacity, and so on. For traditionalists who like the concept but can’t abide polymer, S&W introduced the hammer-fired CSX with an aluminum frame.

If they’re selling so well, why not build on their attributes to sell even more?

Explaining The Advantages

Let the customer who hasn’t bought one yet know these guns are easier to shoot than they might think, given their light weight and their potential 9mm+P power level. My primary occupation is teaching people how and when to use defensive firearms, and I’ve lost count of how many students — both male and female — have successfully gone through 500 rounds in my classes with this type of 9mm pistol with no discomfort and no fatigue.

When I got my first P365, I taught a class with it and in the demonstration run we call the Pace-Setter, it gave me a perfect 300 out of 300 score on the rather demanding 60-shot qualification course with which the class finishes.

Last year when I shot the state mandated LEOSA course, I found myself shooting next to the high sheriff of the county hosting the qualification. A great cop and a skilled shooter, the sheriff shot a perfect score with his full-size GLOCK service pistol and then followed it up with an identical perfect score with the little P365 he carries in an ankle holster for backup.

John Strayer, co-owner with his wife, Terri, of Pro-Arms Gun Shop in Live Oak, Fla., owns a vast collection of high-grade firearms and can carry whatever he wants. He is one of the few Five Gun Masters in the International Defensive Pistol Association and has lost count of how many state and regional shooting championships he has won. 

His daily carry? A Springfield Armory Hellcat Pro. Terri, a former Florida State and Florida-Georgia Regional Female Champion in IDPA, carries a P365. Shooters at this level don’t carry guns they can’t shoot their best with, and I can tell you from personal observation that John shoots perfect qualification scores on demand.

“But Why Should I Change From My …”

You’ll always have the customer who says, “I’m comfortable with what I carry now, why change?” Well, there are lots of reasons. Let’s look at some typical cases.

Customer 1: “My five- or six-shot revolver is all I need. If I need more than that, I’ll run away.”

Try to find a gentle way to explain the customer who has run out of ammo can’t outrun his opponent’s bullets. Richard Davis, the man who invented soft body armor, owned a pizza joint in Detroit and was set upon by three armed robbers. He emptied his six-shooter into them and hit all three, but they weren’t all down for the count. When he turned to run for cover, Richard was shot twice with a .25 Auto. It’s what inspired him to create something better than one’s own body to stop bullets. (Today, he carries guns with more rounds than that.)

You might also remind your revolver shooter that because time and motion studies are based on the concept motion takes time, the longer pull and longer reset of the revolver’s trigger make for a rate of fire of about four shots per second. A self-cocking Auto gives more like five shots per second, according to the long-validated research of master instructor John Farnam.

Customer 2: “Well, my current gun holds 10+1. Why should I carry something with more when this one is so easy to carry?”

Consider Ersie Joyner, the Berkeley, Calif. hero cop who survived multiple gunfights on the job and in retirement carried what was reported to be a GLOCK 43X with 10+1 rounds. Set upon at a convenience store gas station by a gang of thugs who said they were going to kill him, he opened fire in self-defense, killing one of his four attackers. … When he ran out of ammo, apparently with no spare magazine, the rest of the punks opened up on him and he miraculously survived a reported 22 gunshot wounds. Do you doubt that he would have appreciated a Shield magazine in his G43X, or a pistol of similar size that held up to 18 rounds?

Customer 3: “But I want something I can carry in my pocket!”

Guess what? The smallest of the P365/Hellcat genre are, in fact, pocket size. Have some Sticky brand or similar pocket holsters right there in the shop to show the customer.

Customer 4: “But us real men carry Government Model .45 Automatics, by God!”

Yeah, me too, since I was 12. I’m writing this at the time of year when I’m preparing for my favorite annual match, The Pin Shoot ( and accordingly carry the gun I’ll use there to get re-acclimated to it, the full-size all-steel 1911 .45 Auto. 

However, as I write this I’m also suffering from sciatica, and the micro-compact cocked and locked S&W CSX on my hip weighs about half as much as my big 1911s and is much more tolerable. It’s cocked and locked, the exact same format as the 1911 and holds 12+1 rounds of Winchester Ranger-T 127-grain +P+ 9mm, which will go about 1,200 feet per second from its short barrel. It’s about the same as that famous “man stopper,” the 125-grain .357 Magnum out of a 2″ barrel five- or six-shooter. I’m not under-armed with it, I don’t think.

And let’s not forget a whole lot of these micro-compact 9mms come from the factory ready for mounting a carry optic. There are shooters of all ages who swear the red dot optic sight has significantly improved their ability to shoot fast and straight. (They can be enhanced even more with such accessories as Wilson Combat’s P365 grip modules discussed at the following link:

Yes, the micro-compact 9mm pistols with small size, lighter weight and more service-power ammo on board have become best sellers that seem to sell themselves.

But by making the above points with customers, you can make them even better sellers!

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