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Add-on profit $: selling eye and ear protection can boost your profits.

Running a gun shop means selling guns, right?

Yes, but a good gun shop sells more than just firearms. There's targets, ammunition, scopes, reloading components, and dozens of other little extras that lure consumers into the store on a day-by-day basis. These add-on items often make the difference between making a profit on a sale and just breaking even.

In this age of product liability, one of the most important add-ons to suggest to your customers is protective gear. If a new gun buyer winds up with a hot brass casing in their eye the first time on the range, you may well be getting a letter from their lawyer. If you neglect to recommend proper ear protection, the sale may come back to haunt you 10 or 15 years down the line when your customer develops loss of hearing from firing the gun you sold them.

Protective gear has changed a lot in the last few years. Gone are the days when a pair of glasses made a shooter look like something out of a B-grade Flash Gordon movie and ear muffs made conversation impossible. The tinted shooting glasses of today are stylish and comfortable enough to be worn as sunglasses off the range, and ear protectors not only make conversation possible, some models can also enhance minute sounds while filtering out harmful noise levels.

Don't fall into the trap of assuming that everyone who buys a gun knows enough to wear eye and ear protection while shooting. Even "old timers" can benefit from a lession on the newest in protective gear. The biggest benefit, however, will come when each gun sale you make includes an extra $50 worth of eye and ear protective products.

Here's a round-up of the state-of-the-art protective gear you can offer customers when they come into your store or shooting range.

Eye Protection


The 8600 Series AO Safety eye protection manufactured by Cabot Safety Corporation features contemporary aviator styling and a large wraparound design. The F8600 model, shown with the yellow lenses, comes with molded-in sideshields; the grey-lens model F8690 features optional clip-on sideshields. Both models have adjustable temples for a custom fit. The impact-resistant polycarbonate lenses are available in mirror, clear, brown, gray, or yellow.


Oakley has developed a breakthrough in sunglasses with its new space-age looking M-Frames (Mumbos). Its Polaric Ellipsoid Lens Geometry, which creates minimum distortion at all angles of vision, combined with a pure Plutonite lens material, creates glasses with extraordinary resolution. The Mumbo lens actually exceeds ANSI standard Z 87.1 for optical clarity and impact resistance. Mumbos also block 100 percent of all harmful UV and blue light.

The frame is made from Oakley's exclusive light-weight Virgin Serilium, allowing for greater protection by positioning the lens closer to the face. The Mumbo's interchangeable lenses come in three different colors--grey, iridium, and iridium with heater lens--and 11 frame colors.


Carl Zeiss sports glasses sit higher on the face for an extra large, uninterrupted field of vision. Two distinctive styles lend a sophisticated European look for men and women. The lenses come in four fashionable colors designed for specific light conditions. Shown are the grey, which provides a cooling effect on sunny days, and the vermillion, for extreme light conditions or when shooting orange targets. Also available are yellow for low light conditions, and green, which cools bright light on sunny days.

Randolph Engineering

Randolph Engineering has introduced the Randolph Ranger shooting glasses, which feature high-quality, shatter-proof, interchangeable lenses. They are available in clear and five colors, suitable for varying ambient light conditions. The Randolph Ranger comes with both clear and yellow lenses and a leatherette case that will hold the frames and three pair of lenses. The plano polycarbonate Ranger lenses are shatter-proof, offering a high degree of eye protection to the recreational shooter. Prescription lenses can be made for them by most eyecare professionals. Ranger frames are available in 23 carat gold or matte black chrome.


Tasco has a complete line of glasses suited to skeet, trap, and target shooters as well as hunters. All the glasses feature high-impact CR-39, polycarbonate or acrylic lenses. The ProClass 1200 model, shown here, is an example of a true impact resistant shooting glass. Lens colors available with this model are amber, yellow, vermillion, smoke and clear. Green and polarized lenses are available for other Tasco styles, which also come with a soft, black pouch or crushproof case.

Bausch & Lomb Sports Optics

Bushnell offers its Sportview shooting glasses in seven lens colors. Shown here are clear, yellow, and gray. Each of the glasses have flexible cable temple bars, gold-tone frames, and movable nose pads for a custom fit. Also available through Bushnell are Sportview sunglasses, offered in nine colors, and Sportview fishing glasses, with either blue-gray or brown polarized lenses. The fishing glasses feature side lenses and come with a neck cord.


Lehman's "T & S" trap and skeet model shooting glasses are especially designed to place the interchangeable lenses high and away from the face to eliminate perspiration and smearing. The narrow distance between lenses allow more area for vision on fast-moving targets. Frames come in three sizes and are finished in gold and silver. High minus prescription can be made with high index plastic for lighter, thinner lenses.

Lehman's Metal Shooters offer many options. They are available in eight sizes -- children to adult -- in a variety of lenses and colors, in either skull or wrap-around temples. All lenses are treated with scratch resistant coating on both sides. Prescription glasses are also available.

The Hy-Wyd competitor frame is an adjustable, interchangeable lens system designed for all outdoor sports including handgun and rifle shooting.

Lehman also offers a True Sportsman model designed for sports with fixed targets such as handgun silhouette or benchrest rifle. The prescription feature is also available on this model.

North Specialty Products

The one-piece wraparound design with optical front lens provides a 200-degree field of vision on North Specialty Products All Arounds. They are more impact-resistant than conventional heat-treated eyewear with glass lenses, and are ideal for a variety of uses, including shooting, bicycling, skiing, and racquet sports. They are available in clear and five colors.


These high performance, high fashion tinted and clear sporting glasses were made famous by the title villian in the 1984 movie The Terminator. They do apart from their Hollywood fame, provide excellent protection for the shooter.

Gargoyles filter out harmful UV radiation and offer no visual distortion. Available in clear, bronze, lunar gray, and a wide variety of mirror colors, these are the same glasses used by the U.S. military.

Ear Protection


Safariland's Model D-221 universal hearing protector features three wearing styles: over the head, behind the head, or under the chin. Its urethane-filled ear seals offer good medium and high frequency sound reduction. The deluxe hearing protector, Model D-224 is especially effective on open firing ranges or for long periods of wear. It has an excellent medium and high frequency sound reduction.

Safariland's top-of-the-line hearing protection is its custom Model D-325, which offers the best rating for low-frequency sound attenuation. Noise reduction rating is to 22 decibels. The extra padding, tight seals and adjustable frame make this pair a comfortable fit.


Cabot Safety's E-A-R Model 1000 offers high visibility with a snug, comfortable fit and are easy to take on and off. This model is now offered in burgundy, bright green, or fushcia, making the muffs more visible, contemporary, and fun to wear.

The Model 820 offers the same detail design and performance standards including all-plastic construction, soft, foam-filled cushions, and effective attenuation for most environments. The headband may be positioned for use behind the head or under the chin. The E-A-R Ultra 9000, Cabot's deluxe model, is a noise-activated earmuff which requires no batteries, electronics or moving parts. It actually "reacts" to protect against high-level noise, while allowing normal communications to be heard unmuffled and with greater clarity, which is especially beneficial for shooters and range instructors who spend a lot of time at the range.

Silver Creek

Silver Creek Industries's most recent introduction is the Action Ear Sport ear protectors. Available in black and tan, these muffs enable a hunter to hear his game at distances as great as 100 yards, even before sighting in on it. Sporting clay enthusiasts -- both shooters and throwers -- are also able to give and receive commands without removing these ear protectors.

North Specialty

North Specialty Products offers several options on hearing protection. First is the Gun Muffler Ear Muffs, available in two lightweight versions: foam-filled or liquid-filled cushions. The sturdy construction reduces noise and provides superior protection for shooting, hobbies, or work.

The Sonic II hearing protector's unique diaphragm flexes to absorb and reduce the energy content of high-level impulse noises while allowing normal conversational tones to be heard. This company also offers multi-purpose rubber ear plugs with a triple flange design, providing excellent noise reduction and an effective seal in the ear canal to protect against water intrusion. They are reusable and easy to clean.


The ultimate in compact hearing protectors, the E.A.R. Sportmaster is custom-made for serious shooters. The Sportsmaster electronic hearing protector actually fits inside the ear and eliminates sounds over 90 decibels while magnifying non-harmful sounds.

Because of their inside-the-ear fit, the Sportsmaster must be individually fitted. It's low profile makes it perfect for sport shooting.


The Peltor Tatical 7 is a first choice electronic hearing protector among shooting professionals, such as range masters, police officers, and competitors. The unit consists of a set of high attenuating hearing protectors with a compression limiting amplifier built into the unit. The omni-directional microphone is mounted in a soft foam screen on each ear cup for stereo sound acquisition.

Peltor also manufactures a wide range of low-profile, high-performance ear muffs, such as the President and Shotgunner.

Silencio/Safety Direct

Shooters have come to recognize the Silencio Model RBW-71 Original as the "ol' standard" among hearing protectors. Available in polybag and clamshell packs, these ear protectors can be ordered with your store's custom logo.

Silencio also offers the RSX-87 Range-safe Stereo ear muffs with dual microphones to enhance minute sounds while eliminating harmful levels of noise. The new RSX-88 is available in a woodland camouflage finish and operates with two nine-volt batteries.

The company also markets hearing and eye protection combined in their new Eyes & Ears combo pack, which includes a pair of polycarbonate Wrapps, a set of soft vinyl ear plugs, and an ear plug carrying box, all at an affordable price.

For more information about the companies mentioned in this article and their products, please circle the following numbers on the Reader Service card or write to Shooting Industry magazine on a sheet of your business letterhead.
Bausch & Lomb Sports Optics 401
Cabot 402
E.A.R./Insta-Mold 403
Gargoyles 404
Lehman 405
North Specialty Products 406
Oakley 407
Peltor 408
Randolph Engineering 409
Safariland 410
Silencio 411
Silver Creek 412
Tasco 413
Zeiss 414

Shooting Gloves: The Forgotten Safety Equipment

Your customer is headed out to the shooting range. They've got their Gargoyle wrap-around eye protectors, they've got their Wolf Ears hearing protectors (so they can hear the range officer's commands), and, of course, they've got their gun.

Hmmm, what have they forgotten?

There is one piece of safety equipment that customer is without: shooting gloves.

For some reason, both shooters and dealers view gloves as a safety item only used by wimps and rich snobs. Most ranges require glasses and muffs, but let shooters go bare handed with no thought to the liability risk of a shooter showering his fingers with burning powder, or picking a red-hot casing out of the breech.

Gloves are just as important as any other safety item. A burn on the hand can be as debilitating as an eye injury and can open the dealer up to a negligence lawsuit just as easily.

Fortunately, several companies offer high-quality, affordable, and attractive leather shooting gloves. Bob Allen features two models for the serious shooter, one with an insulated foam lining and one unlined. Both have thin leather palms and fingers for maximum control.

Hatch also features several shooting gloves in their catalog. The Dura Thin model is perfect for all types of shooting, made of thin sheepskin with an elastic closure at the wrist. For competition shooters, Hatch's various rappelling/assault entry gloves offer better knuckle protection while still giving the shooter enough feeling to control the gun.

Shooting gloves represent both greater protection for the gun owner, and increased profit for the dealer. If your customer hesitates at the prospect of purchasing a pair of shooting gloves with their new gun, here's a few tips that may help you make the sale.

* On the pistol range, gloves will not only protect hands from painful scorches caused by debris ejected from a revolver's cylinder gap or the breech of a pistol, but can also save a shooter's hands from the dreaded problem of hot brass flying in from the next lane.

* How many trap, skeet, or sporting clays shooters do you know who have a scar on their palm from getting their hand just a little too close to a hot barrel? It's easy enough to do, especially with a pump shotgun, and a glove can prevent a burn which comes from just momentary contact.

* No matter what kind of gun your customer is shooting, if it has blued steel parts, it is vulnerable to rust. Shooting gloves help keep corrosive skin oils and salts away from metal parts and cut down on cleaning time and effort.

* Police customers may want more than just a glove to protect their hand from a gun-related injuries. Hatch offers several models for law enforcement use, including a blade- and needle-resistant glove with Kevlar, and a liquid-proof glove which will save officers from the risk of infection when conducting searches.

Like any safety gear, making sure customers purchase gloves before they go to shoot can earn you a little profit today, and save you a lot of legal trouble tomorrow. Don't neglect that one little extra sale!
COPYRIGHT 1992 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Smith, Ann
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Previous Article:Safety in hunting and the hunting store.
Next Article:Giving customers the custom touch.

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