When You Buy A New Gun, You Need a Gun-Cleaning Kit

Pair Gun-Care Accessories With Firearm Sales

With the wave of first-time gun owners, your store can introduce them to
gun-care staples like the Hoppe’s BoreSnake and BoreSnake Oil CLP.

Every customer who purchases a gun has the potential to purchase gun-care and cleaning supplies and equipment. As the song says, they “go together like a horse and carriage.” Retailers who pay attention to the firearms their customers are purchasing and using — and who assist with maintenance and care issues — can add significant dollars to their bottom lines by stocking and selling quality gun-care products.

In Houston, Javier Garcia owns HTX Tactical. His shop does a lot of customization of firearms, so customers tend to be more experienced shooters rather than first-time purchasers.

“Many times what we hear from our customers is, ‘my gun is jamming,’ or ‘it’s mis-feeding,’” Garcia said. “Then we look at it and the firearm is dry. If you have a dry firearm you haven’t cleaned or lubricated, you’re going to run into those issues.”

(This leads to discussions on the care and cleaning of firearms, which in turn leads to the sale of gun-care products.)

The biggest gun-care seller in the shop, according to Garcia, is Clenzoil.

“It’s what we really push,” he noted. “When I got into the industry, they kind of sponsored me from the beginning, and they gave me some product.”

He really likes Clenzoil because it works and doesn’t smell awful, he added.

“It’s a two-in-one,” he said. “You can clean your firearm and lubricate it at the same time. They have a Texas-edition sign for us we’ve put in our store; it’s not your basic green and black Clenzoil sign.”

HTX Tactical also carries cleaning supplies from Hoppe’s and Birchwood Casey. Though they’ve been around for awhile, both are more recent additions to the store’s lineup.

When it comes to equipment, Garcia likes the Bore Boss from Real Avid. This bore-cleaning tool features a “pull” action, rather than a “push” — and is quite different from the Hoppe’s BoreSnake. The cable has an integrated brush and braided mop and wraps around the unique Flex-Case Handle.

Qualifying Questions

Marna Miller Tracey, owner of Tampa Tactical Supply in Riverview, Fla., noted one trend she’s seeing in gun-care products is an increase in products that don’t stink (as in, smell!). Customers also are more aware of potential side effects of products they use.

“People ask what they can use on different finishes,” she said. “For instance, Kimber has some sensitive finishes and it’s important not to use the wrong cleaner on them.” (Kimber generally recommends Shooter’s Choice products for the care of its firearms.)

Dan Tracey, Marna’s husband, works with her at Tampa Tactical Supply. He said when a customer who has just purchased a gun inquires about cleaning supplies, he’ll start by asking a couple of qualifying questions.

“First, I ask if it’s the only gun they have, and then if they have multiple calibers,” he informed. “If they have other guns, I try to steer them toward a cleaning kit with those calibers. We have a universal one that comes in a nice box. The regular one is about $15, and the one with all the calibers is about $20. So, for $5 more, they can have one capable of cleaning all their guns instead of having to buy one for each caliber.”

Popular Add-Ons

The brand Dan usually recommends is Gunmaster, manufactured by DAC Technologies.

“They’re not very expensive, and they’re great little kits,” he stated. “They fly off our shelves. They’re the most popular thing we sell overall. It does so much in one package; it covers all the bases.”

Gunmaster manufactures a number of combination cleaning kits, as well as universal kits in both wooden boxes and soft-sided cases; its Deluxe Universal kit comes in an aluminum case. The company also offers bulk steel cable locks.

Every customer who purchases a gun has the potential to purchase gun-care and cleaning supplies and equipment.

Besides Gunmaster, Tampa Tactical Supply carries cleaning kits made by Clenzoil — which have been consistent strong sellers.

“Clenzoil has an endcap display with a lot of things in it, including their multi-caliber pistol and rifle kits,” Dan said. “We only have one of the rifle kits in stock right now; they’re very popular. But I think the most popular product we sell is the little one-ounce bottles of Clenzoil with the needles on them. And then their wipes … they come in a small round bottle. People really like them.”

Clenzoil makes selling their products very easy, Marna added.

“I have some of the little needle oilers right by the checkout stand,” she said. “Clenzoil doesn’t smell bad, and it works.”

Tampa Tactical Supply also carries products from Hoppe’s. Two products are very much in demand: the BoreSnake from Hoppe’s and the Cobra Bore from Clenzoil. (The Cobra Bore is Clenzoil’s version of the BoreSnake; it comes in 11 sizes/calibers.)

New Opportunities

The current climate in the country, as we all await the eventual outcome of COVID-19, is affecting what people buy, Marna observed.

“Politics drives gun sales,” she said. “It also drives people to clean their guns more, because when people who have never bought a gun before come in and buy one, they don’t know how to take care of it.”

The COVID-19 crisis is proving a boon for Tampa Tactical Supply, Marna conveyed, but the influx of customers who are coming in are not her usual buyers. Nor is the uptick in her sales owed to customers who are afraid the government is going to take semi-auto firearms away.

Marna and Dan Tracey of Tampa Tactical Supply have found success
with Clenzoil’s product line — using an endcap display to showcase
product for customers. In light of COVID-19 bringing in new groups of
customers, they’ve stepped up their marketing of gun-care products.

“These are people who have never bought guns before and who feel the need to defend their homes,” she shared. “They also want to know how to clean the guns they’re buying. It gives me an opportunity to tell them to check out this or that product, or tell them if they buy a kit it will work with all their guns.”

With all the new customers coming in, Marna has been stepping up her marketing of gun-care products.

“I have a new sign all drawn up, and I just need to find time to have a sign company make it for me,” she said. “It will say, ‘When you buy a new gun, you need …’ and it will have a list of all the things the customer should consider purchasing. Of course, a cleaning kit will be on it, along with ‘eyes and ears’ and a range bag.”

One big trend Dan sees coming in the near term is education.

The versatile Otis Long Term Gun Storage Kit is suitable for keeping
firearms in peak condition for extended storage — like in between
hunting seasons, while on deployment or for preserving
collectible firearms.

“With all the new gun owners, there’s a need for a lot of classes,” he observed. “I don’t mean just on the use of firearms; people are asking how to take apart their guns and clean them.”

Dan shared customers come in and say, “I know you showed me when I bought this, but I want to make sure I’m doing it right.”

“A class on firearms maintenance would be a helpful class for many retailers to have,” he added. “A lot of new gun owners want that kind of training. A lot of people ask a lot of questions about gun cleaning in general. I think classes on maintenance are something people are going to be looking for.”

Has your marketing changed in the wake of COVID-19? Have you been successful in generating repeat visits from new customers? Let the SI team know. comments@shootingindustry.com

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