Industry Industry watch ust when you think you have a handle on what the economy is going to do, it changes. First, economists express optimism that we are in recovery, then the next day, there are dire forecasts about a prolonged, unstable market. For the industry, the most up-to-date indicator of consumer activity is the monthly NICS report from the FBI. The latest numbers are for March. The FBI conducted 1,300,100 background checks during the month, a drop of 3.35 percent from March 2009. The decrease, however, needs to be Russ Thurman Industry Eyes Questionable Economy E-mail the Editor email@example.com J “ put into perspective. The number of background checks in March 2009 was the fourth highest in the history of NICS, behind November and It’s best to be optimistic — work toward sales increases — but be cautious in your approach. December 2008 and December 2009. Plus, this March’s number is 25-percent higher than March of 2008. Thus, it’s too soon to ” sell off your inventory and close the doors. By the way, the NICS numbers go beyond a measuring device for gun purchases. (Yes, I know, they don’t reflect the actual number of guns sold.) When a customer fills out a Form 4473 at a gun shop, he becomes a “buyer” for all things gun and outdoor related. Thus, Form-Filling-Time is also Selling Time. Back to the economic forecast. Given the uncertainty, it’s best to be optimistic — work toward sales increases — but be cautious in your approach: The ever-safe Cautiously Optimistic posture. ATK Acquires BLACKHAWK! he major acquisitions continue, with ATK recruiting BLACKHAWK! into its Security and Sporting business group. The newly formed group, which includes also-acquired Eagle Industries, “creates a market force in tactical accessories,” in the words of ATK officials. Nicely said. It would have been appropriate, with the acquisition of BLACKHAWK!, to have said “major market force.” A relative newcomer to the industry, BLACKHAWK! has grown at an impressive rate, under the leadership of former Navy SEAL Mike Noell. He brought to his business model a focus and determi- T nation reflective of his military service training and experiences, plus he surrounded himself with top-notch folks with similar discipline. “From the very beginning, we have prospered by delivering on our promise to provide law enforcement, military and security professionals with the highest-quality products to help them effectively do their jobs in service to the nation,” Noell said. Noell’s demand for quality and his aggressive marketing caught the attention of the industry, most notably competitors. It, obviously, also caught the attention of powerhouse ATK. “BLACKHAWK! provides ATK with a leading tactical systems brand, an expanded portfolio of quality products, and additional design and development expertise for innovative tactical accessories,” said Mark DeYoung, ATK CEO. For more information, visit www.atk.com and www. blackhawk.com. HornadyTV.com On YouTube H ornady recently launched HornadyTV.com on YouTube. The exclusive channel contains a wide variety of product overviews and instructional videos, as well as TV commercials and vignettes showcasing the company’s extensive line of bullets, ammunition and reloading products. View at www.HornadyTV.com or through the Hornady Web site at www.hornady.com. 9 SI DIGITAL VIDEO 46 MAY 2010 SI Digital readers, click here or visit the “Web Blast” section of www.shootingindustry.com. Read SI DIGITAL www.shootingindustry.com Direct From The SHOT Show — Video reports by Shari LeGate.