December 2014 was very good to Cosner’s Gun and Knife shop, an independent retailer in Bedford, Indiana, a town of about 14,000 people located midway between Evansville and Indianapolis.
According to owner David Cosner, the store actually had sales above what had been a record-setting December 2013. He credits those surprising sales to two buying groups: Hoosier deer hunters; and, self-defense buyers, especially females.
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“Our long gun market really wasn’t the best through most of 2014,” Cosner explains. “But then in December, we started selling all kinds of the lower-priced bolt actions, like the Savage AXIS, especially in .243 Win. and .30-06.”
Cosner thinks that a proposal in the state legislature to allow high-powered centerfire rifles for deer hunting spurred these bolt gun purchases. Currently, Indiana deer hunters are limited by law to shotguns or firearms using the equivalent of centerfire handgun rounds.
Last December also saw a flurry of customers buying revolvers for self-defense, usually .38 caliber models with short barrels like the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard that Cosner’s offers for $539.
“The Bodyguard comes with a laser sight, which is a pretty good deal all by itself. Plus, a lot of the women who are looking for a self-defense handgun prefer the revolver because they are often a little easier to use than semi-autos.”
Cosner’s tries to have several hundred used firearms on hand, too, but Cosner notes it is getting harder to get good used guns.
“Used to be, when someone bought a new rifle or shotgun they’d trade in their old one. Now, when they want a new long gun, they just buy it and keep the old one, too. That’s good for our new guns sales—but it’s making it harder for us to keep a good inventory of second-hand firearms.”
Editor's Note: This brief originally appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.