Special Prices For “Special Customers?”


GLOCK’s Bob Radecki, pictured here at an event held at Gunsite Academy,
explained what factors go into naming Blue Label dealers.

In any retail business, it’s not uncommon for regular customers who repeatedly buy from you to get a break on retail price. It’s also commonplace for retail businesses to show their appreciation for those people who put their lives on the line for the safety of the community, or indeed for the safety of the entire nation, to receive a discount as a “thank you.”

Some manufacturers support your decision to do so. Let us examine a classic example of this policy: GLOCK’s Blue Label program.

The history of the company shows us GLOCK originally developed its pistol line for military contracts, and then quickly recognized the potential for law enforcement markets and, particularly in the U.S., the vast market of law-abiding armed citizens. From the beginning, the company recognized it wasn’t just governmental agencies that purchased their products.

Circa 1986, GLOCK began offering discounts for individual “protectors” who needed guns that weren’t bought and issued by their institutional employers. The result was their now-famous GLOCK Blue Label program for retail gun dealers.

GLOCK’s National Sales Manager Bob Radecki explained to Shooting Industry, “Our Blue Label Dealer program goes back virtually to the company’s beginnings in the U.S. We determine if there is a need in the applicant dealer’s area. For example, if the area is underserved by current dealers or distributors due to population density or distance. What we call ‘sub-distributors’ are retail shops that sell Blue Label pistols to eligible buyers. Sub-D criteria includes participation in the GLOCK Stocking Dealer Program at the 20-gun level and the needs of our customers.”

These sub-distributors — called “sub-Ds” in GLOCK-speak — get their Blue Label guns from specified GLOCK Law Enforcement distributors, and not Commercial distributors.

Which Customers Get What Discount?

GLOCK wants these discounts going to individuals who risk their lives to serve their communities. Military personnel. Also, police. Firefighters. Paramedics and emergency medical technicians … basically the armed services and society’s designated first responders to life-threatening emergencies are eligible to purchase two GLOCK pistols per calendar year.

The prospective purchaser must show the Blue Label dealer their ID to receive the discount. The Blue Label dealer must record this, and make and keep a photocopy of the ID. An honorably discharged military veteran or retiree can show a DD214. Since it’s against the law for anyone to photocopy the ID of federal law enforcement or currently serving military personnel, GLOCK created a military-LE verification form for the dealer to sign, certifying they have in fact seen the purchaser’s ID and confirmed the purchaser is eligible for the program.

Amounts of discount vary. As a rule, says Radecki, “It would be around $100, give or take. For example, a Gen5 GLOCK 17 pistol that would sell for $539 retail would go for about $425 Blue Label.”

Supporting armed services personnel and first responders is always good business, especially in the gun world where political persuasions so often run more to red than blue.

The Private Citizen Connection

What of your customers who aren’t past or present public safety personnel or military? GLOCK makes allowances for them, too. They can qualify for Blue Label by joining GSSF, the GLOCK Sport Shooting Foundation (www.gssf.pro). If someone is a new, current or renewing GSSF member, they are eligible to purchase one GLOCK pistol at discounted pricing per calendar year.

A bit of history is in order here. Founded in 1991, GSSF offers categories for each type of GLOCK pistol and for “Amateur Civilian,” “Master,” “Guardian” (the ones who would be eligible for the regular Blue Label program), “GLOCK Girls,” “Senior” and “Junior.” Each of the dozens of GSSF matches all over the country draws hundreds of entries on the weekends they are held.

Sales Tip: Go to the gssf.pro website and see if there are any GLOCK matches anywhere near your business location. This means you have a pool of folks within striking distance of your shop who are shooters. While they can buy GLOCKs from any gun dealer, they’ll obviously have a preference for the Blue Label dealer who can save them a C-note or so every year. If you have a range, GSSF Indoor League matches are an additional way to bring GSSF members into your shop/range.

Related Sales Tip: As one who frequently competes in GLOCK matches, I can tell you I often see a sales table set up at these events by local dealers. They sell a lot of ammo, better ear and eye protection, etc., at those matches. Magazines, too — though at some GSSF matches GLOCK will also have a limited number of magazines, and of course GLOCK-logo wear for sale.

Retailer Advantages

Supporting Armed Services personnel and first responders is always good business, especially in the gun world where political persuasions so often run more to red than blue. For military families, police families, etc., this loyalty to supporters runs particularly strong.

Police themselves like to joke the only thing cheaper than a cop is two cops, but the fact is, more than ever in today’s strongly anti-police climate, peace officers and their families tend to be loyal to businesses that openly support them. While it’s true many (if not most) police aren’t “gun guys and gals,” a significant percentage of them are gun people and they buy a lot of guns and related gear. 

Reader surveys of our sister magazines, GUNS and American Handgunner, show a percentage of law officers that is disproportionally high compared to the general public.

Moreover, the Blue Label dealers are thin on the ground. There are only about 1,100 of them in the whole country. The draw of a $100 discount reaches across town and even county lines, bringing people into your shop who might otherwise have never crossed your doorway. Every dealer in the country sells the nation’s most popular pistol; Blue Label dealers are the only ones in their area who can sell them for a hundred bucks less.

It’s a principle of retailing that once a major discount brings a new customer into your shop, it’s likely there will be ancillary sales. Holsters and such, and of course, ammo. And other guns besides GLOCKs.

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