Winds Of Change
— Or Not?


Despite getting off to a fairly innocuous start, 2022 is following a pattern that defined the previous two years. Added uncertainty, rising prices and more disruptions to the supply chain look increasingly likely. As of this writing, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has entered its fourth week, and the full extent of this war won’t be realized for some time.

Prior to the biggest attack on a European state since World War II, there were signs of a modest slowdown in the U.S. firearms industry. NICS background checks in the first two months of the year closed under the corresponding months in 2021. (However, a 42% drop-off in Jan. 2022 from Jan. 2021 should be put into context: Jan. 2021 marked the start of President Biden’s tenure, and also had the Capitol riots.)

While Feb. 2022 recorded a slight dip in NSSF-adjusted checks (down 2.5% from Feb. 2021), the month closed with a significant bump — coinciding with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Jurgen Brauer, chief economist for Small Arms Analytics & Forecasting noted: “The estimated U.S. firearms unit sales for February 2022, although in line with the general seasonal pattern seen in the industry, were higher than might have been anticipated given the recent post-COVID-19 pandemic sales slowdown.

“However, it’s noticeable the number of daily NICS background checks conducted on February 24, 25, 26 and 28 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Monday) were unusually high, coinciding with the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

”Added uncertainty, rising prices and more disruptions to the supply chain look increasingly likely. “

Another sign of potential slowdown: The return of consumer rebates and promotions from manufacturers — something that hasn’t been very common over the past 24 months. FN America, Taurus, Heritage and Smith & Wesson each introduced promotions with incentives ranging from a free magazine (or three) to $25 or $50 mail-in rebates.


Global Demand To Grow?


Amidst global uncertainty, one thing is becoming clear: firearms, ammunition and other defensive accessories are now top of mind for private citizens and military units not just in the U.S., but around the globe. U.S.-based manufacturers are likely to see an uptick in demand — which could impact domestic supply availability.

To their credit, several manufacturers — detailed in this month’s lead Industry News story on p. 10 — have taken the initiative and donated ammunition, firearms and other essential accessories to assist Ukraine’s fight against Russian invaders.

”Admidst global uncertainty, one thing is becoming clear: firearms, ammunition and other defensive accessories are now top of mind.“

Mid-March, NSSF spoke with the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., to ascertain what material needs existed and how firearms industry manufacturers and distributors could assist. No surprise, the most pressing needs were ammunition, but also extra magazines and spare parts were requested. NSSF provided a fact sheet with information to facilitate exports at the following URL:

There are more questions than answers at this point, but Shooting Industry will continue tracking how events around the world are impacting business here in the U.S. For more up-to-date coverage, be sure to sign up for SI’s weekly Dealer Advantage email at

The NSSF’s Marketing and Leadership Summit promises to be a must-attend event
for industry executives and marketing professionals. SI Editor Jade Moldae will
moderate a panel on customer retention featuring the perspectives of two dealers.

Dealers To Talk Customer Retention In Panel At NSSF’s New Summit

Combining elements from two popular NSSF events — the Industry Summit and CMO Summit — NSSF will be staging the first Marketing and Leadership Summit, taking place near Austin, Texas, May 11–12. The two-day event is packed with expert speakers and panel discussions, one of which I will have the pleasure of moderating on customer retainment.

Two familiar voices to Shooting Industry readers, Jacquelyn Clark of Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center and Clay Ausley of Fuquay Gun will be joined by Staccato CMO Kristin Marlow for a panel discussion on how their companies have succeeded in securing repeat customers.

“We’re focusing on more targeted communication instead of such broad strokes with communication efforts.”

Jacquelyn Clark, Owner Bristlecone Shooting, Training & Retail Center

Clark offered a preview of how Bristlecone has refined its messaging to connect with customers and encourage repeat visits.

“We’re focusing on more targeted communication — emails to class participants with deals and next steps specific to the training they’ve taken, utilizing CityGro’s text marketing tool to engage with customers and more member-specific communication — instead of such broad strokes with communication efforts,” she said. “We should be able to create a higher level of engagement if our messaging is more on-point with each audience.”

Ausley shared the secret to customer retention is rooted in customer service.

“Customer service is our passion and customer service builds long-lasting relationships,” he said. “Poor customer service nearly guarantees no relationship at all and no referrals either.”

Other agenda items include a CEO panel moderated by NSSF President and CEO Joe Bartozzi, a look at firearms ownership and expansion in a growing American demographic by Phillip Smith of the National African American Gun Association, Rob Southwick’s findings on “who” is today’s firearm and accessories customer and more.



The National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW), the association representing shooting sports wholesalers, manufacturers and their trade partners, has taken a significant step toward product standardization across the industry with its launch of SCOPE PLX (Product Link Exchange).

SCOPE PLX is the first-ever standardized database of shooting sports products. With PLX, shooting sports manufacturers can enter detailed UPC data for each product, including images and brochures, to be shared with all participating distributors at once.

This new database will provide several benefits for the industry. PLX will create consistent naming conventions for all firearms, optics and ammunition. It will also improve the two-step distribution process by making the most accurate product information readily available to all NASGW members. From shipping and logistics to detailed information needed for compliance, PLX makes it easy for distributors to find the information they need to do business. It also puts manufacturers in control of their products, allowing them to be the single source of truth when it comes to product specifications.

“We’re excited to be at the forefront of this movement to standardize the shooting sports industry,” said Easton Kuboushek, NASGW director of data programs. “As a nonprofit association, we’re always looking to pioneer new technologies that advance the success of our industry, and PLX has the potential to be a game changer for all of our members.”

SCOPE PLX is a free benefit to all NASGW members as a part of their membership. PLX is one of a suite of data tools developed by the NASGW, including SCOPE DLX (Distributor Link Exchange) and SCOPE CLX (Customer Link Exchange).


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