There wasn’t a bumper crop of new defense guns introduced at SHOT Show this year, for sure, but some will definitely sell in the personal-defense market. Some major makers, notably Springfield Armory and Smith & Wesson, confined themselves to variations on existing themes this year: good new stuff, but no game-changers. Let’s look at some products that generated a considerable amount of attention from dealers at the show.
Beretta USA lit a fire under their bread-and-butter Model 92 series in a couple of ways. First, they collaborated with Wilson Custom on a signature Model 92G (decocker only) Brigadier Tactical with the features customers have long been calling for. If the Internet is any barometer, this gun has sparked renewed interest in the big 9mm as a service and home-defense pistol. The other big news is a new generation of the Model 92/M9 with smaller grip-frame, built for the on again/off again talk of a new service handgun for our military.
Glock was expected to introduce their long-awaited single-stack concealed-carry 9mm to compete against the S&W SHIELD and the Springfield Armory XD-S, but it was not to be; word from the SHOT Show floor was the debut is scheduled for the NRA Annual Meeting & Exhibits later this month in Nashville. If there is any new gun for 2015 causing droves of public interest it will be this one, probably designated the G43. Glock’s optics-ready long-slides and 6-inch barrel G40 10mm introduced at SHOT 2015 will, however, appeal to competitive shooters and outdoorsmen respectively.
Colt’s new offerings are mostly slight variations of their classic 1911 pistol, but some of the collectors who frequent your store will be interested in the new run of 1908 Pocket Model .380s. True to the original specs of this famous classic, they’re built off-site from the Colt factory, but still to a high-quality standard. Not a bestseller for the general public, certainly, but it has caused much discussion among Colt aficionados.
The Turkish Canik TP9 showed me it worked in early testing. With a sub-$400 retail, it ran fine and was accurate. I’d say it’s a cross between a Walther P99 and a Glock — this is going to sell well for your entry-level market. Stock Canik’s double-/single-action TP9, not the SA version; on the latter, if the user hits the decock lever, the gun can’t fire until the slide has been racked to chamber another round.
A gun’s “theme” and price can sell itself, like the shorter Lightweight Commander-Style
SR1911, but so can an important new feature — like the titanium feed ramp seen on the
new-this-year Ruger (below).
Upgraded Features Create Sales
Ruger’s new-for-2015 offerings I’ve seen ordered thus far are the Match Champion GP100 .357 revolver — upgraded with adjustable sights — and Lightweight Commander-Style 1911 .45. It’s the first 1911 I’ve seen come from its maker with a titanium ramp inset to keep wide-mouth hollowpoints from chewing up the ramp area of the aluminum frame. Show this feature to the customer who wants a lightweight 1911 — coupled with the good price point, it’s likely to equal a sale.
Taurus announced its Curve pistol prior to SHOT but it wasn’t on shelves yet. The curved shape designed to fit hip or pocket for right-handed shooters is a major selling point. Heavy print and Internet coverage has already created huge interest for the Curve; I predict this may be Taurus’ biggest seller since the Judge came out 10 years ago.
Korth’s firearms have a reputation analogous with a Rolls-Royce: high prestige, fantastic workmanship, but a price out of reach for the common man. That’s changed this year with their new Sky Marshal revolver. Chambered in 9mm, with appropriately short cylinder and frame, its MSRP is right at $1,000. The Sky Marshal will eject rimless 9mm rounds without a moon clip. I predict some customers will like the “tacticool factor” of its integral accessory attachment rail on the right side.
Remington is reintroducing the R51; this time, they promise, it will work. After last year’s recall debacle, many will be reluctant to buy but there’s a reason marketers say, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” — which has created interest in this pistol. Mechanically-inclined folks (like so many shooters) have an irresistible “I’ve got to find out for myself” attitude. So, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if — assuming Remington has the design right — the R51 comes back and sells.
CMMG Mk47 Mutant
New Long Guns
CMMG has a new “hybrid” rifle your customers will be asking about. They named it, appropriately, the Mk47 Mutant. Think: AK-47 magazines and AR-15 controls. Chambered for 7.62x39mm, its bolt design is reminiscent of the AR-10 7.62 NATO, the classic gas-impingement concept of the AR-15, and of course, AR accessory modularity. It falls in the class of guns not yet proven in the field, but capturing the imagination of enthusiast buyers — it absolutely has sales potential!
Kalashnikov USA is scheduled to open in 2015, we’re told. Your customers will be interested, so it’s a development worth keeping tabs on. It’s good to remember for the Kalashnikov-style rifle made in America, we’ve long had the excellent Arsenal Inc. brand out of Nevada. I have to say that Arsenal Inc.’s .223 is the smoothest AK-47 clone I’ve ever shot.
Mossberg introduced the Blaze-47 Rimfire, a .22 LR resembling an AK-47. Given the popularity of .22 rimfire “understudy guns” in MSR format, this new Mossberg seems to have real sales potential.
A lot of new SKUs came out this year, a welcoming sign for the industry. The firearms listed above are merely the ones I think could be the game-changers that send customers into your store saying, “I want to buy one of these!”
By Massad Ayoob
Click Here To View The Shooting Industry April 2015 Issue Now!