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Shooting Industry July 2012 Digital Edition - Page 50
CLEAN SWEEP From Bore Brushes To Ultra-Modern Solutions, Gun Cleaning Rates High In Sales By Greg Staunton Consumers consistently rank Hoppe’s as a preferred gun-cleaning brand. Visit www.shootingindustry.com/hoppes. W hether a dealer is wrapping up the sale of a first firearm to a shooting newcomer, or working with a seasoned owner of multiple firearms, gun-cleaning kits and supplies are at or near the top of the “I need that” list. Key industry surveys confirm that gun-cleaning products are either the first- or second-mostpurchased accessories for firearm owners. The NSSF’s 2011 “Report on Handguns” found that guncleaning supplies are the second most frequently purchased addon or accessory products after holsters. Southwick Associates’ “Hunting and Shooting Participation and Market Trends” report, covering January and February 2012, lists gun-cleaning supplies as tops in the “Shooting Accessory” category. Even with Internet firearm transfer sales, cleaning supplies rate a high second to ammunition in the category of add-on sales, which was reported in the February 2012 issue in a survey conducted for Shooting Industry. Today’s marketplace includes a wide range of gun-cleaning and preventive maintenance products based on newer technologies. And for all those zombiehunting customers, Otis has a zombie gun-cleaning kit. As Otis describes it, “It’s not just you on the line, it’s all of humanity.” The zombie trend remains “undead.” Kurt Stancl, director of operations at Bear Arms in Scottsdale, Ariz., says his G96 Synthetic CLP Gun Oil is approved for use by the U.S. Army, and is listed as a USDA BioPreferred Green Product. Visit www.shootingindustry.com/g96. Keep It Simple, Be The Expert customers’ buying habits track with the industry’s findings. “The first thing they do is pick up a firearm, and then we ask if they need a holster [for handgun purchases], and after that, cleaning supplies,” Stancl said. Most shoppers look to Stancl and his staff for recommendations, although some request specific cleaning products. “It’s age-specific. Our older clientele tend to come in and look specifically for Hoppe’s. The vast majority look for a general cleaning agent, something that will cover everything. The kits we sell the most are Kleen-Bore from Safariland. They are reasonably priced, all-in-one kits. We also have people looking specifically for Hoppe’s BoreSnake,” Stancl said. Does Stancl see demand for more efficient, step-saving cleaning solutions? “Speed is rarely a factor. No one really says, ‘Hey, is there anything that cleans quicker?’ They want to know what cleans better,” Stancl said. “The focus tends to be more toward a universal cleaning solution. Our customers rarely want something that is specific to powder or lead or copper fouling. If someone has an extreme buildup of lead or an old gun, they’ll buy (Kleen-Bore) Lead Away patches. We do highly recommend those because they work quite well.” Other gun-cleaning brands offered at Bear Arms include Eezox, Blue Wonder and Birchwood Casey. Are there any selling tips or aids — other than old-fashioned, experience-based knowledge — that give Bear Arms or any dealer an edge in cleaning-kit sales? “We don’t use point-of-purchase materials. We find we don’t need them. People will come in and either ask for a specific product, or ask for a recommendation. We give them our personal experiences that we’ve had with the products,” Stancl said. Naturally, every dealer’s cleaning-product emphasis will vary somewhat, according to the local environment. “We don’t have to worry about rust from dampness in Arizona, so any type of basic cleaning agent that will clean and lubricate the gun will work just fine,” Stancl said. “We don’t use a whole 50 JULY 2012 Read SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com