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Shooting Industry August 2012 Digital Edition - Page 38

EVERY DAY IS A SALE DAY By Greg Staunton Want Your Long-Gun Profits To Jump? Listen To Carl Ingrao. L ong guns, especially traditional rifles, continue their historical, perennial steady-seller status in 2012, ranking closely behind handguns in popularity. However, long guns rank as the top choice by recreational and target shooters, who prefer to take traditional rifles to the range slightly more than they do handguns. Hunters, despite being outpaced by target and recreational shooters, are still an important segment of the market, with strong indications that hunting is increasing, boosting firearm and related sales. The modern sporting rifle, while not the blazing-hot seller it was in 2009, is still in high demand. The shotgun market has gained welcome traction, as consumers — recreational shooters and hunters — look beyond the personal defense aspects of shotguns. Dealers who are dialed into their area’s niches in long-gun shooting preferences are posting the most profits. Some areas are competition- and shooting range-heavy, while others are traditionally strong bastions of hunting. According to NSSF’s 2011 Firearms Retailer Survey, as many as a third of firearm purchases from first-time buyers were long guns, with the vast majority of those bought from a local dealer. One seasoned dealer who has honed his long-gun sales to a fine edge — and he has high local consumer demand for modern sporting rifles — is Carl Ingrao, who has owned Four Seasons Firearms in Woburn, Mass., for 16 years. Dealers who are dialed into their area’s niches in long-gun shooting preferences are posting the most profits. “My business keeps focusing more and more over time to what people keep asking for. Probably 90 to 95 percent of the guns I sell go for recreational or target or competition shooting. In our area, there are a lot of organized or NRA-sanctioned meets — 3-gun, long-range shooting, etc.,” Ingrao said. The “fun factor” of shooting is driving a new wave of consumer purchases in many areas of the country. As reported in “U.S. Firearms Industry Today,” in SI’s July issue, American consumers have discovered, or rediscovered, the fun aspects of shooting. “The American citizenship has got it — gun ownership is OK! Gun ownership has gone mainstream. It’s OK to go out and shoot a gun just to have fun. It’s the fun factor of firearms that has been restored to the culture,” reports Russ Thurman, SI publisher. Based on a recent study, “Understanding Activities That Compete With Hunting and Target Shooting,” NSSF urges shooters to “keep it fun and social” when inviting friends shooting. Ingrao says he “absolutely” sees the fun factor as a rising tide for his long-gun and overall business. “I just got an email from one of my lady customers who took a colleague from work to the range. She had a tremendous amount of satisfaction in seeing him excited about shooting. Now, he’s ready to become a gun owner,” Ingrao said. New firearm consumers who have a positive first experience shooting with a friend are more likely, themselves, to send others to your store. And customers sold on the thrill of shooting are usually anxious to upgrade their firearms, including long guns, at the earliest opportunity. “We are seeing greater numbers of long-gun customers who are new to shooting. Younger customers will buy a Ruger 10/22. After they shoot that for a while, a lot of them will progress up to the 5.56 (.223). First-time buyers are attracted to the AR rifles “Probably 90 to 95 percent of the guns I sell go for recreational or target or competition shooting,” says Carl Ingrao, owner of Four Seasons Firearms. Selling The Fun Factor 38 AUGUST 2012 Subscribe to SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com

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