Safety: It’s Never Optional

Education Plus Quality Products Makes For A Double Win!

The hot topics of the industry invariably center around what’s selling, what’s new, what’s trending and which products will create the next large wave of consumer spending — all important questions to think about.

However, regardless of economic or political factors that drive the industry’s business, one category of products — safety — should be the first promoted and sold.

Products that enhance the safe operation and storage of firearms, and protect the gun owner (eye and ear protection), are extremely important. In addition, they help counter the “white noise” of anti-gun groups. Dealers who focus their customers’ attention on safety send a positive message of responsible gun ownership.

More consumers are buying firearms for the first time, many of them for home or personal defense. According to NSSF’s “Report on First-Time Gun Buyers,” nearly 44 percent of first-time firearm purchasers bought from local dealers, with 58 percent of these citing home- and personal-defense as the primary reason for purchase. This provides independent retailers a prime opportunity to sell safety products and the safety philosophy.

For new gun buyers, as well as a dealer’s seasoned customers, products that protect the shooter and prevent unauthorized access to firearms should always be “must-have bestsellers.”

In addition to safety products, there’s the safety message — an important message dealers can help promote. NSSF is driving this message through its Project ChildSafe and “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” initiatives.


Howard Leight, Compact Sport Camo

Safety Education Options

Educating first-time gun owners about safety, whether through enrollment in a safety course or a concealed-carry class, or pointing out the need for keeping those firearms secured but readily accessible for emergencies, is a natural step in customer service.

If your store has a range, consider offering extra range time, targets, ammo or training videos as first-time customer incentives. As dealers know, safety begins with feeling comfortable with a firearm, and that means offering trigger time to your customers. To help with training, the NRA offers gun safety and other courses, along with a list of certified trainers throughout the country.

In addition, consider hosting an NSSF’s First Shots event at your range or at a facility in your area. It’s a great introduction to the basics for new shooters, with a significant emphasis on safety. Plus, statistics indicate more than 40 percent of those attending a First Shots event return to the host range for additional training and to purchase products.

Trusted Relationship

The NSSF’s report on first-time gun buyers found that they spend an average of $515 for their first firearm, but nearly as much ($504) for accessories. Over 50 percent of those accessories were safety-related products.

In addition, women — in strong, growing numbers — are arming themselves. Hopefully, your shop is a welcoming place for them. Women may seem a bit intimidated the first time they pick up a handgun, rifle or shotgun, but they are very serious about home- and personal-defense, according to their responses to a variety of surveys. Women who have families are also serious about protecting their children from firearm accidents.

According to the NSSF report, women freely seek out information on firearms from trusted family members, but only slightly more than they do from knowledgeable gun shop personnel.

When a dealer has an established, trusted relationship with one family member, especially a husband or a dad, it’s far easier to gain the trust of other family members. Safety should be a family topic, and family members will rest easier at night and remain loyal customers if they know they can rely on their local dealer for sound safety advice and products.


The Romer 3 from Wiley X is a wraparound-style sunglass, using
Wiley’s Slot technology to allow for easy lens removal and replacement.

Protecting The Shooter

Firearm safety often focuses on securing firearms, but protecting the shooter is key to long-term enjoyment of shooting. The purchase of a firearm should automatically include the purchase of eye and ear protection. In NSSF’s report on first-time gun buyers, over 60 percent of them purchased these products. If you’re selling to a seasoned gun owner, it’s likely they need to upgrade their safety gear. Dealers have many safety products that protect the shooter.
Caldwell’s E-Max Behind-the-Head hearing protection features a low-profile ear cup for shotgun and action shooters. Its high-tech circuitry amplifies voices while shutting out sounds over 85 decibels.

Champion offers a wide range of eye and ear protection. In eye protection, the company’s Bella Ballistica Women’s Shooting Glasses offer protection and plenty of style. The company also offers shooting glasses with interchangeable lenses and its Over-Specs Ballistic Shooting Glasses are offered in clear and amber lens models.

Howard Leight’s Impact Sport muff also amplifies voices while shutting out gun reports. An auxiliary jack connects to smart phones and MP3 players. The muff is now available in Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity. Howard Leight also offers a variety of eye protection.

Revision, which specializes in military-grade eyewear, also offers eye protection for shooters. The Sawfly Shooters Kit includes three high-contrast lenses: clear, smoke and vermillion.

Wiley X, a leader in changeable protective eyewear, has added the Romer 3 to its offerings. Like others in the series, the Romer 3 allows for different lenses for different environments. They meet the updated MIL-PRF-32432 (GL) MCEP Standard for ballistic eye protection. Wiley X glasses are also prescription-ready.

Walker’s Game Ear recently introduced a pink muff/glasses combo, which includes the company’s Women’s Passive Folding Muffs, protective sport glasses and foam plugs. They are designed for women and young shooters. Walker’s also offers its Duck Commander line of electronic muffs.


Part of the new Hunter Series of Pro-Steel Safes, the Browning HR37
features a 11-gauge steel body construction, the Force Deflector Locking
System, Pry-Stop End Bolts and the premium DPX door storage system.

Securing Firearms

A gunlock is the minimum level of securing a firearm in the home, and the NSSF report indicates nearly 59 percent of first-time gun buyers purchased one, with an additional 15 percent planning to. These locks come in addition to those automatically provided with new firearms.

For additional security, safes are becoming increasingly indispensable to the new and seasoned gun owner. More than 44 percent of first-time gun buyers purchased a safe, with 19 percent planning to buy one, according to NSSF.

Liberty safes — especially the American-made Revere models — are some of the most reliable with the best value on the market. Liberty has a wide dealer network, as well. Liberty also offers two handgun vaults, the HD Micro Inprint and HD Multi Inprint. They both feature quick access using the company’s biometric finger-swipe technology.

Browning, Dakota Safes and American Security Products (AMSEC) all have good budget gun safes. Browning boasts upgraded security features on its Pro Steel safes. The top manufacturers also can provide tips to show your customers how to install gun safes in ways that make them less accessible to burglars.
Cannon Safe manufactures some of the most sought-after safes on the market. The company, which offers a zero cost lifetime replacement policy, provides consumers — and dealers — a free “Seven Tips For Purchasing A Safe.” It’s available in a digital format at

Small handgun safes are a growing necessity for securing concealed-carry or defensive handguns at home, in vehicles and elsewhere. For rapid access to firearms, dealers have a wide range of smaller safes and lockboxes to offer consumers.

The Titan Handgun Vault is one of the newer handgun safes on the market. It provides an extra level of security from tampering and is portable. Its mounting brackets provide easy placement in the home, vehicle and office.

Hornady entered the security market this year, offering three portable lock boxes. Its high-tech offering is the RAPiD Safe, which features Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) instant access. When the product’s RFID bracelet, card or fob is placed over the safe’s “reader,” the safe springs open. The safe can also be opened with a personally programmed code or conventional key. With every RAPiD Safe purchase through Dec. 31, Hornady is giving consumers a free soft-side pistol case.

In addition to securing firearms, there’s safety at the range, in the field and in camp. Chamber-View offers an innovative product that enhances firearm safety. The company’s Empty Chamber Indicator (ECI) is a bright orange silicone barrier designed to fit into the gun’s open action. It provides instant verification that the firearm is unloaded — and safe.


The First Product

Safety, for dealers — actually the entire industry — should be the first product sold. Protecting gun owners and securing firearms is smart business and it is crucial to the future of the industry.


NSSF: Reinforce Safety Message

In June, the NSSF unveiled its initiative to amplify the industry’s long-standing commitment to firearm safety: “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.”

The program is designed to raise the public’s consciousness on the issue of firearm safety and responsibility, and encourage firearms owners to continually practice proper handling, ownership and storage of firearms.

Through Project ChildSafe, the NSSF distributes safety education messages and free firearm safety kits. The kits include a cable-style gun-locking device and a brochure (also available in Spanish) that discusses safe handling and storage. Since 2003, the project has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to distribute more than 36 million safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and five U.S. territories.

To advance the program, NSSF is calling on the industry and others to help promote the “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” message.

“Our voices are stronger together, and we’re reinforcing an important message throughout the nation: Store your firearms responsibly,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president and CEO. “If you’re a firearm manufacturer, distributor, retailer, range owner, state commissioner or a member of the shooting sports industry and want to get involved in the ‘Own It? Respect It. Secure It.’ initiative, please visit us at to get more information, download materials and help spread our genuine safety message.”
By Greg Stauton


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