By Melissa Porter
In response to current trends, Radians added a new color to the Lowset Range Combo Kit for 2018.
Each year brings the promise of a fresh batch of new products for dealers and consumers alike. For you, as a brick-and-mortar dealer, the early part of the year represents a prime time to evaluate and (smartly) expand inventory options for your customers. End users relish this time of year, as they can get their hands on the newest rifle from Springfield Armory, CCW rig from N82 Tactical and latest red dot from Vortex. In the last few years, women have benefitted from new products made specifically for them — which has led to a new approach in product development, rather than just following the “shrink it and pink it” model. At this year’s SHOT Show, a number of products were on display to further enhance options for women.
New for 2018, Weatherby added the popular Camilla series to the Mark V line of bolt-action rifles. Previously only available in the Vanguard line, the new Mark V Camilla Deluxe features a narrow radius pistol grip, short grip-to-trigger reach, AA-grade Claro walnut stock with a slim forearm, six-lug Mark V action, a 24-inch barrel and weighs in at 6.5 lbs. Combined with its 13-inch length of pull and thoughtful buttstock angle, this rifle adeptly fits a woman’s form.
In an interview with SI Editor Jade Moldae, Weatherby President and CEO Adam Weatherby shared the way forward is for companies to continue innovating women-specific products.
“When [the Camilla] first came out, we had people at consumer shows shoulder the rifle and tell us, ‘Wow, I feel like this is made for me, and I’ve never felt like that before with a rifle.’ And what this does is it gives women confidence because they’re buying products that were actually designed for them — which will continue to fuel the already growing women’s segment,” he said.
Another company excelling in this model is Syren USA, a division of Caesar Guerini and Fabarm. The Syren L4S Sporting is a new addition for this year, which features a stock designed to better align with a woman’s body. This 12-gauge competition shotgun has very low recoil and features a smaller pistol grip to make the stock ideal for a variety of hand sizes. With several other models and variants available, Syren offers a comprehensive line to fit shooters of all sizes.
“Ladies in the industry, both new and seasoned shooters, are thrilled to have multiple choices with the Syren line that fit most women right out of the box. There really is something for everyone with over 70 different options,” said Lynne Green, Syren brand manager. “All gun shops have full-size guns available, but our dealers can set themselves apart by appealing to women shooters and bring them into their shops to find the right gun.”
While not new for 2018, the LWRCI IC-DIADEM is the result of a project 18 months in the making — an MSR-style rifle designed by women, for women. The 5.56-caliber rifle was developed with direct input from The Well Armed Woman shooting chapter members and other women influencers from across the country. Per the company’s website, this project received an “overwhelming” response from the women involved in this collaborative effort to “keep the basic look and feel of the standard [LWRCI] line with a few key ergonomic alterations to enhance the shooting experience for woman shooters.” This resulted in a lighter, slimmer design with an enhanced buttpad and molded ergonomic grip — but with all the other standard features found in a LWRCI rifle.
The Syren L4S Sporting will appeal to your high-end female customers.
Accessory manufacturers have also taken the input of consumers to develop women-specific accessories.
Gun Tote’n Mamas recently debuted the Organized Rolling Range Bag. Its patent-pending design uses a modular removable system, allowing users to convert it from range to travel use. The development of this product was derived from feedback from one of Gun Tote’n Mamas’ dealers, according to company CEO Claudia Chisholm.
“We make it a priority to listen to dealer feedback in addition to consumers. H&H Shooting Sports in Oklahoma City got my attention on this due to the necessity and scarcity of a woman-centric option,” Chisholm stated. “The design concept merged perfectly for men and women. We’re deeply committed to the empowerment of women and to creating products that simplify their lives.”
5.11’s new Women’s Cascadia Windbreaker Jacket is DWR treated, making it water resistant. Both hand pockets offer internal pass-through zippers, enabling users to quickly access a concealed carry firearm. The jacket serves as a capable travel item, as it can be easily packed into the left chest pocket, complete with zipper closure. Products like the Women’s Cascadia Windbreaker Jacket are part of 5.11’s concerted efforts to reach this growing demographic.
“Over the last few years, 5.11 has put a tremendous effort behind growing our women’s tactical business,” said Willem Driessen, 5.11 VP of global marketing. “5.11 recognizes the importance of providing purpose-built products that function as well on the range as in daily life for the women’s consumer segment. The women’s sport shooting market offers great growth opportunities, and we’re committed to keep delivering great product to this audience.”
Weatherby Mark V Camilla Deluxe
Aqua has emerged as a popular color option for women customers. This shift has benefitted retailers, as well. Josh DoByns, shooting sports buyer at Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine, said last year in SI aqua “stands out a little better on the rack” for in-store inventory. Manufacturers have taken note, with several new product introductions this year.
Radians showcased a Lowset Range Combo kit in aqua during SHOT Show. The kit includes a Lowset, compact-folding earmuff (NRR 21) and an aqua/charcoal shooting glass impact rated (+) per the ANSI Z87.1 standard. This new product introduction was a response to current color trends in the marketplace, providing a convenient safety solution for female shooters.
“Women want safety products that fit their size, are comfortable to wear and offer maximum protection. They also want style and convenience. While pink is a popular color, aqua is on the rise,” said Wes Miller, Radians director of sales for sporting goods.
Turquoise has been added as a color for SABRE Red’s Short Stun Gun with LED flashlight. The powerful stun gun has a 0.704 uC (microCoulombs) charge and 120-lumen LED flashlight. With a durable and accessible design, the stun gun includes a wrist strap and belt holster.
As you no doubt have read before in Shooting Industry, savvy dealers will capitalize on stocking products to appeal to women customers and effectively market to them. These products represent a small handful of the many that will help make customers in this growing demographic feel welcome in your store — and hopefully encourage repeat visits. Remember, word-of-mouth marketing travels quickly!