Educate Customers And Sell The Need.
Firearms safety begins at the point of acquiring or even holding a gun, and it always remains the most important part of gun ownership. The safety message is permanently etched in every dealer’s brain, so safety products typically make up the bulk of a store’s accessory sales, or ought to. Is safety becoming more of a focal point for consumers? One gunshop/range manager in Texas says it is, which is good news for all dealers.
“People want to be more responsible in firearms ownership today. They’re interested in knowing how to secure their guns, or what they should be concerned with when they go out to the range. And they’re willing to spend more money on the better products,” said Travis James, manager of The Arms Room in Dickinson, Texas.
James says pistol safes, along with eye and ear protection, are practically mandatory purchases for first-time gun buyers at The Arms Room. Their weekly firearms safety classes are quite popular, as well.
“We’ve seen our class on the fundamentals of safety grow tremendously over the last several months. We open it to all ages and spend about an hour on basic gun safety. We start at the lowest level and work our way up teaching people what they need to know,” James said.
“I don’t care how experienced or how good you think you are, you can learn something from our basic class. We talk about safe storage, what to do with your kids, how to establish a plan for home protection, or how to get to your gun if an intruder is kicking down your door. Any dealer can offer a basic gun safety class in their store to help get people in this mindset,” James added.
New for 2015, the Liberty Safe National Classic series is Liberty’s
first solid steel plate-door safe — it has a 3/8-inch solid steel
plate door and 10-gauge steel body for added security. A 4-in-1 Flex
interior creates configurations to fit a variety of your customers’
Talk About Safety
The Arms Room, in the greater Houston area, is built around its state-of-the art, NSSF 5-Star gun range. It branched out from the smaller retail store founded by James’ late father Bill James, who was affectionately known as “Pops.” The Arms Room emphasizes the importance of safety with customers and its employees.
“I think the most important thing is talking about safety, so we really push safety education,” James said. “You have to have an educated sales staff, and it all trickles down. If you give a customer incentive to buy a safety product, then it’s easy to sell it. We ask customers if they have kids at home, if they have a plan for securing the firearm, how often they plan on shooting. We talk about the basics in safety products, but we also tell them if they really want to get serious about it, here’s something better.”
The staff at The Arms Room realizes selling safety products often hinges around establishing their need.
“We put a better electronic earmuff into someone’s hands and talk about its benefits. We do this for each safety item. We ask them why they might need a small pistol vault, and discuss the advantages of a biometric versus a keyed opening. Not only are you making a better-informed customer, but you’re also making a customer for life. And they’re going to go out and tell more friends,” James noted.
The Arms Room is also a family-oriented establishment. As many as 150 to 200 folks a day patronize the range alone, and safety “is constantly harped on,” according to James. Having a lot of contact with customers on the range side allows the staff to do additional promoting and selling of safety products, of course. Sometimes, the customers do the selling for them.
“We have husbands and wives coming into our store and onto the range. We, as men, tend to feel we know everything we need to know, but women tend to bring perspective. Women immediately want to know how to keep a gun safe and protect the kids. Men may think it’s good enough just to put a gun up high. We don’t always think it through as well as women do,” James observed.
The Arms Room also makes good use of product demos, and is in the process of rolling out a line of free seminars to add to its current lineup of classes.
(Top Left) IntelCase Co., distributors of Negrini luxury gun cases, offers
2018R Custom Shop 1911 handgun cases in a variety of finishes. The cases
are air travel-approved and secured with dual steel combination locks.
(Bottom Right) Plano’s Hunter Guide Series of waterproof cases will remain
waterproof to depths of 1 meter for 30 minutes.
Wiley X introduces a line of Remington-branded eyewear and hearing
protection. The eyewear meets ANSI Z87.1 High Mass and High Velocity
impact safety standards. The Walker’s Game Ear Ultimate Digital Quad
Connect features Bluetooth sync compatibility with mobile devices
and an NRR of 27 dB.
“Because of our gun range, the eye protection we sell the most are inexpensive glasses we buy directly from Pyramex, a big industrial manufacturer of safety products,” James said.
The important thing is shooters understand the importance of eye protection, regardless of the brand name or expense.
“When I grew up shooting, eye protection wasn’t a big deal. Nowadays, it’s not unusual for us to sell a $150 pair of Oakley or Wiley X sunglasses to someone who wants to get into shooting. Some first-time buyers don’t mind spending this kind of money upfront,” James added.
“Our ear protection sales depend on the person. Again, in sheer volume our number-one sellers are the simple foam plugs for folks on our range. Dollar-wise, our number one seller is the Howard Leight Impact Sport muff, a very good, inexpensive, electronic earmuff. It’s easy to jump up from a $20 set of earmuffs to a $65 electronic set. We also carry some $300 Pro Ears muffs, and we do move some of those,” James said.
In handgun safes, GunVault is really popular with The Arms Room’s customers. James says they also carry the Secure Vault line, and recently started stocking Browning’s new Pistol Vault line of handgun safes.
Finding the right mix in safes can be an adventure. The Arms Room only carries the Browning line of large safes currently. The dealer incentives were hard to pass up, James said.
“It surprises me how well our gun cases do. When I first got into the gun business, people seemed to buy the cheapest case out there, but not now. If you can show them the advantages of a more expensive case, a lot of times they’ll go for it. Boyt and Browning are our top-selling brands. We prefer to sell a better product rather than having to compete with everyone else around town on the cheaper cases,” James said.
Hard gun cases do so well for The Arms Room, they recently built a table with a hot wire to custom-cut the inner foam for customers as a value-added service.
Browning’s PV500 features a 10-gauge steel body and recessed
plate-hinged lid, electronic four-button touch pad electronic
lock, internal LED lights and foam interior.
The Pelican P1075 Pistol & Accessory HardBack Case is designed to fit
pistols, revolvers and magazines. It features customizable Pick N Pluck
Foam and is watertight and dustproof.
Utilize NSSF Safety Programs
Not only do the reports commissioned by the NSSF provide a selling edge to firearms dealers, but a variety of programs, including First Shots classes for first-time shooters, also are available to dealers. The Arms Room offers a free First Shots class to its customers.
Especially important to the entire firearms industry is NSSF’s Project ChildSafe, which has both educated consumers through a variety of tools and distributed 36 million free safety kits via law enforcement agencies in every state and U.S. territory since 2003. “Own It? Respect It. Secure It.” is the NSSF message reverberating throughout the firearms industry.
Project ChildSafe Inc. has now become the Project ChildSafe Foundation.
“The name change symbolizes the growth the 501(c)(3) organization has experienced, and better reflects its mission to support Project ChidSafe’s safety messaging and free gun lock program,” according to an NSSF statement.
Attendees registering for SHOT Show 2016 can also now donate to the foundation during registration.
New Safety Products For 2015
A lot of manufacturers took 2013–2014 as a re-evaluate and center-back-up year, James pointed out. This slowed down the flow of new products a bit. Here’s a look at some of the newer safety offerings on the market:
Through a recent partnership with Remington Outdoor Company, Wiley X Inc. is now offering a line of Remington-branded safety products. New models include Remington Platinum Grade Eye Protection — which meets ANSI Z87.1 and EN 166 safety ratings — and hearing protection systems.
Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs have an NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) of 31 for use while shooting, traveling, swimming or listening to loud music. They are moldable (via boiling water) to fit anyone’s ears.
Pro Ears muffs feature Dynamic Level Sound Compression technology (DLSC) — which allows the wearer to hear every sound — even during high-volume noise spikes. All noises over the 70 dB threshold are instantly compressed by 50 percent, while conversational and other sounds are amplified.
Howard Leight Impact Sport Tactical earmuffs feature all the design elements of Impact Sport, including a noise-reduction rating of 22 dB, battery life of 350 hours and Air Flow Control technology. The Tactical version features a contemporary, low-profile earcup design, padded headband, carrying case and replacement comfort cushions.
Bedazzled ear and eye protection from Pack’n Heat include a 23 dB-rated earmuff decorated with genuine Czech crystal, and eye protection with matching crystal decoration. A wide variety of colors are available, with patterns including cheetah, zebra, camo and ombre.
IntelCase Co., distributors of Negrini of Italy luxury gun cases, announces Negrini’s new 1911 Custom Shop case series. Like the standard 2018R model, the 1911 model has thermoformed double-wall construction and dual-steel combination locks. All Negrini cases feature hand-upholstered interiors and are made of fine Italian leather.
Pelican’s P1075 Pistol & Accessory HardBack Case is designed to carry pistols, revolvers and magazines. The case is watertight to 3.3 feet for 30 minutes, with lockable hasps and a shoulder strap.
Plano’s classic 1312 Field Box now has added utility with the addition of the Model 1312600 1312 Field Box Holster. A ballistic Nylon wrap transforms the 1312 Field Box into a fully dressed tactical field bag. The Field Box attaches quickly and securely to the Field Box Holster using built-in webbing loops at each end. It includes an adjustable padded shoulder strap with heavy-duty quick-connect hardware.
By Greg Stanton