Since the surprising results of last year’s presidential elections were announced, many manufacturers, distributors and retailers have anticipated, and are now beginning to see in fact, a general softening of sales in the shooting sports industry. While the foreseeable future looks very bright in terms of the industry’s ability to conduct commerce in a relatively unthreatened environment, the buying/selling climate is no longer driven by that greatest of market movers – the threat of adverse public policy: “assault” weapons bans, magazine capacity restrictions, additional restrictions on the availability and use of lead ammunition, general obstacles to purchasing anything (additional background checks, waiting periods, etc.), a possible review/reversal of favorable 2A decisions, etc. The political future of the firearms industry is as cloud-free as it has ever been. Indeed, there seem to be opportunities for gun owners’ interests to actually be advanced. Legislation has already been introduced which would allow national reciprocity for concealed carry rights, the removal of suppressors from the NFA list to name two. [Note: this more moderate climate is specific to the federal landscape. I recognize very well that certain states/communities will continue with their own regional, misguided and unsuccessful efforts to make effective contributions to public safety. Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, anyone?
One outcome from this softened demand is that the retail customer should expect to see some attractive near-term buying opportunities as some in the distribution chain make frantic efforts to correct their failed gamble of stocking up in anticipation of the worst (President Clinton). Orders are being cancelled, inventories slashed and prices will be discounted in an attempt to bring balance to the marketplace. Unfortunately, no one should expect any such bargains to be had for NAA products. We continue to operate with a modest backlog and expect incoming orders to remain strong. Why us?
Research shows us that much of the boom of the past several years was caused by the entry of brand new shooters – people purchasing firearms for the first time. Certainly there were old shooters who continued to make additions to their arsenal (who owns just one gun?), but much of the surge in demand came from newcomers to the market who, for a variety of reasons, finally reached the tipping point and made the transition to becoming new gun owners. As it has for the past “several” years, the category of concealed carry/personal protection led the way.
Nothing in the new post-election environment has made anyone feel that it’s getting safer out there. Concealed carry classes continue to swell as law-abiding, responsible but fearful adults have decided that it’s better to be armed than not and, guided by the advice from some that “bigger is better” and anything less that 9mm or 38ACP is entirely inadequate, have gone on to purchase a wide range of steel/polymer and leather products with which to face an uncertain world. And then a funny thing happens; they realize that comfort and ease of carry count for more than just a little and what they’ve recently purchased, from a 1911 to a full-frame-sized revolver to even a mid-size fill-in-the-blank (Glock, S&W, Ruger, Sig., etc. etc.) isn’t as easy to carry/conceal as they at first thought it would be, and they begin to downsize to something more comfortable and easy to carry. And that’s where we come in.
Make no mistake about it, from the standpoint of personal protection, you would be well advised to carry the largest caliber platform with the greatest ammunition capacity that you will carry. Ballistic science and the incapacitating effects of gunshot trauma in humans &/or animals is very quantifiable and predictable. That said, it’s similarly unarguable that the NAA 22 mini-revolver in my pocket is an infinitely more effective personal protection weapon than the 50AE Desert Eagle – or any other platform – in your nightstand, glovebox or wherever. You can’t shoot what you don’t have. And my customers tend to carry my guns.
Idiots who make ignorant, macho-sounding comments like “you’ll just piss someone off with that little thing” show themselves to be just that – idiots. A reasonably placed 22 caliber bullet fired at a self-defense range will drop someone dead like a sack of bricks. And in a great number of circumstances, simply brandishing a weapon will change an assailant’s behavior. I don’t care what the caliber, I don’t want to be shot by any gun. I would love an opportunity to show some of the aforementioned naysayers just how much I can piss them off; make my day, azzholes.
So, why does our future remain bright? Because of these recently new but now slightly more experienced shooters who are just beginning to recognize and appreciate the value of “Convenient, Reliable, Effective”. We’re not embarrassed to acknowledge that we’re nobody’s idea of a first gun and so many of these new shooter haven’t found us – yet – but, trust me, they will. After all, who owns just one gun?