Small Handguns, Big With Carry Customers
Justin Perkins — Oceana Pawn, Gun, Bait & Tackle, Virginia Beach, Va.
“Any kind of smaller pocket gun—snub-nose revolvers, semi autos like the Smith & Wesson Shield—are really blowing out the doors,” says Justin Perkins, manager of Oceana Pawn, Gun, Bait & Tackle, which sells new and used firearms. “I get in a new Springfield XD-S compact .45. It’s sold before I can get it out of the box.”
Concealed carry is driving the demand for sure. New self-defense and tactical shoguns are moving fast, too. Customers are buying up any of the shorter-barrel, higher capacity shotguns, especially Mossberg models.
In the used market, it’s “bigger is better.” The most popular used items are big, large framed revolvers, like the S&W Model 57 and Model 29.
New .17-Cal. Winchester Big in Fresno
John Lewis — Herb Bauer Sporting Goods, Fresno, Calif.
“The hottest selling products right now are the new Savage B.Mag .17 Winchester Super Magnum Rifle and the 20-grain Winchester .17 WSM ammunition,” says department manager John Lewis.
The .17 WSM was introduced earlier this year by Winchester Ammunition, a new rimfire cartridge travelling over 3,000 fps. Recently, Savage unveiled the .17 B.Mag, a bolt-action using a center-feed rotary magazine and sporting a 22-inch barrel.
Handgun sales are brisk, too, especially for 1911 models and various striker-fired semi-automatics. “Our local Sheriff is issuing concealed weapon permits and keeping the demand high for any type of concealable handguns,” Lewis notes.
Self-defense ammunition is hot, and Bauer’s moves a good deal of it made by Dynamic Research Technologies and Liberty Ammunition. Speer Gold Dot, Winchester PDX and Federal Hydra-Shok are selling well, too.
AR Accessories Lead the Way
John Woods — Great Southern Gun and Knife Shows, (Ala., La., Miss)
John Woods has worked a table at the Great Southern Gun and Knife Show in Jackson, Miss., for the last decade, helping out an FFL friend. At the most recent show in August, says Woods, “Used handguns were probably selling as well as anything, with 9mm and 1911 .45’s being the top sellers. People were looking for basic models, but some were willing to spend more for a good one like a Glock. Those are running in the $600 range.”
Over the last couple years, Woods says AR-style rifles doubled and the tripled in prices at the shows. But that boom seems to be over. ARs were very available at the last two shows, but not really selling. “Either people have all the ARs they need or money is still short,” Woods notes.
The brisker business is in accessories: lower-priced red dot sights, and lights that attach to rifles or shotguns are especially popular. Ammunition is more available than it has been the last couple of years, but prices are still high. .223 Remington centerfire, for example, is now selling for $349 for 500 rounds and goes fast. A couple years ago, he adds, that kind of money would get you 1,000 rounds of .223 at this same show!
Miles Hall — H&H Shooting Sports Complex, Oklahoma City, Okla.
Gun safes are the top selling item at H&H Shooting Sports, notes owner Miles Hall, with every safe that comes in the backdoor rather quickly moving out the front doors. Gun safe sales took off immediately following the Newtown, Conn., tragedy and haven’t slacked since.
“People want to make sure their firearms don’t get into the wrong hands,” says Hall. “Of course, they want their valuables kept safe and sound, too.”
The AR rifle boom has wound down at H&H. Now, the big customer demand is for AR accessories. If you can attach it to an AR rail, H&H is selling it in volume, with lights, backup iron sights and vertical foregrips leading the way. There’s also been a huge influx of women and younger, more tech-savvy customers.
“Twenty- and 30-somethings are using QR codes in here all the darn time!” Hall says.
Lower Prices on ARs
Joe Wanenmacher – Tulsa Arms Show, Tulsa, Okla.
The AR-style rifle boom isn’t over in Oklahoma, says Joe Wanenmacher, Tulsa Arms Show owner, but production apparently has caught up with demand, and prices on new and used AR’s have dropped—about $400 per rifle, across the board.
Many first-time gun buyers are still coming through the doors, and self-defense is on their minds; concealed carry handguns and home defense shotguns are their top items.
“We’re seeing a pretty good market for used hunting guns, both shotguns and rifles,” he adds. “Remington models go first, though other brands are doing well.”
Editor's note, this report originally appeared in the Oct. 7, 2013 edition of Gun Digest the Magazine.