“You have to be patient. It’s word of mouth,” Ready advised. “You have to realize it’s going to take a few years to get there.”

In pre-COVID days, Hartman boosted his customer base by participating in online forums and websites catering to 1911 collectors and enthusiasts. He also uses his inventory to help customers work their way up to the pricier guns. He sees it as a process.

They might start with a GLOCK and then come across nicer options during research and comparisons. They start looking at 1911s. Maybe they’ll start with a Springfield Armory Range Officer and then move on to a Dan Wesson.

“From there, it’s not much of a jump to the $2,000 mark,” Hartman said. “Getting them over the $1,000 mark — that’s the mental hurdle.”
Competition shooters also offer a potential avenue.