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Shooting Industry November 2010 - Page 37

By Carolee Anita Boyles A irsoft has developed a strong niche presence — which is helping drive the sales of airguns. Add to that a strong trend at the other end of the airgun market — more accurate, more powerful airguns that often are used for varmint hunting — and you have a market segment that is increasing in breadth and depth — and profits. Umarex USA’s Tactical Force Combat CO2 Airsoft double-action pistol has a dropout, 15-shot magazine. Visit www. Sparking Interest In Airguns Evans says there are several markets for airsoft. “Youth are using lower-end airsoft,” she said. “Many of these users aspire to play paintball, but they aren’t quite equipped to get out to a paintball field.” O f t e n , youth and young adult users aspire to heavier, replica-type airguns that look similar to real firearms. “These are required to have an orange tip, so they aren’t mistaken for firearms,” Evans said. “These users tend to have more organized play, along the lines of paintball. These are serious players who may spend thousands of dollars on their airsoft guns.” Jill Aitken, director of operations for Soft Air USA, says a The Airsoft Niche Is Stronger & Broader Than Ever Before. Do You Know How To Sell It? Recent selling trends indicate airsoft has displaced paintball as “fun” shooting. “Airsoft is cutting into the paintball market, although it doesn’t really affect the mainstream airgun market,” said John McCaslin, president of AirForce Airguns. Some of the new ways to play with airsoft have developed from a strictly practical point of view. “Airsoft isn’t as messy as paintball,” said Laura Evans, marketing coordinator for Crosman Corporation. “It’s also less expensive.” Who Are Your Customers? Max Runge, of Precision Sports, says the best way to sell high-end airguns like the AirForce Condor is to let your customers shoot them. “It’s phenomenal how easy it is to sell them,” he said. Visit airforceairguns.html. NOVEMBER 2010 37

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