Printer Friendly

Lethal force: 'fitting the rifle to the customer'.

When it comes to defensive firearms, every customer has a different idea about the "perfect gun." There is, however, one universal requirement: All customers expect the guns they buy from you to perform properly. Unfortunately, there are very few customers who can take a gun off the rack and realize its maximum potential, and this is especially true of long guns.

As any dealer knows, a long gun is often not the perfect defensive weapon, but customers who live in rural areas or who want maximum stopping power may opt for a rifle or shotgun over a handgun. You've got to be ready to customize those products on the spot if you want your clients back in your store next month. An ill-fitted gun means an ill-served customer.

This month, self-defense expert Massad Ayoob examines some quick and easy techniques and tools to give your long-gun customers personalized service with the "custom touch."

Last month, we examined the importance of fitting defensive firearms to the customers to whom you're selling them. Most gun dealers know the importance of fitting a gun properly for a target shooter or hunter, but this goes double for customers who perceive that their very survival may depend on how good a job you or your employees do in helping them select their equipment.

These days, many concerned citizens are shopping for long guns: rifles, shotguns, and pistol-caliber carbines. Let's say your buyer (or at least, the ultimate user of the gun you're trying to sell) is a person of small stature with proportionally short arm length - a small fellow, a woman, or a younger shooter. If you try to sell this customer a large, heavy .223 rifle, it won't work well for the intended purpose no matter how light the recoil is.

A good choice for this customer might be the Ruger Mini-14. While some fullsized men complain about it's stock being too short, this is an advantage when trying to sell a Mini-14 to a smaller customer. If a larger customer is interested in taking advantage of the same product, sell him (or her) a retrofit stock or a butt pad which will bring the rifle to the right length. All of this means more sales for you, more performance for your customers, and in either case the buyer has the bonus of knowing that you were the expert who custom-fitted that new rifle. All of the same is true, of course, for the Ruger Mini-Thirty, and with the harder-kicking 7.62x39 cartridge, a good fit is even more important.

Taming The Colt

For the customer who wants one gun to fit two people, Colt's CAR-15 collapsing stock is an accessory you'll want to keep on hand for purchasers of new or used AR-15 type rifles. Ask the buyer, "Will this gun be exclusively for your own use? Will you be sharing it with your lady, or perhaps your son or daughter? If so, I'd like to show you our CAR-15 stock accessory."

Here's the deal. If the telescoping Colt stock is open, it will fit a man of most any size reasonably well. Now, suppose there's someone about five feet tall (or even shorter) who might be shooting the same rifle. Just close the stock and it's a perfect fit.

In the closed or "telescoped in" position, the CAR-15 stock fits the very petite female or the less-than-full-grown child very well. The face is closer to the receiver, so you'll want to keep this in mind if the customer intends to mount an optical sight on the gun, or remind them of this when they bring the gun in later to mount a scope.

These days, however, a traditional rifle scope might not be the best product to use on that AR-15. Think about steering your customers toward an electronic "red dot" sight with a wide field of view, such as the Aimpoint 2000 or the Tasco ProPoint. Eye relief is not critical, the unit can be mounted so the red dot aligns with the shooter's eye whether the stock is open or closed, and will still be far enough away from to the face to prevent scope cut" on the eyebrow.

The Surplus Choice

Another good choice for a smaller shooter would be one of the AK-47 clones on the market. In most of its incarnations, this rifle was designed to be a third-world battle rifle and as such will probably have a stock length that is comfortable for a person of smaller build than the average American.

Also, consider placing more emphasis on the venerable .30 caliber M-1 carbine. Charles Askins noted that when he taught Vietnamese troops prior to the U.S. involvement there, he favored the .30 carbine because his small-statured students took to it like ducks to water.

Your big Yank GIs will admit, in their heart of hearts if not publicly, that they loved the handling qualities of the little carbine and almost never had a problem with it being too short. Their beef was that the gun was an ineffectual manstopper, which was really a problem with the ammunition, not the gun.

Today profitable .30 caliber hot loads" will serve your customers well. Jim Cirillo. whose famous NYPD Stakeout Squad used .30 carbines along with slugloaded shotguns. said the .30's stopping power was as good as that of any weapon in the Stakeout team's arsenal. Naturally. they used moderm expanding bullets in the 110-grain/1,800 fps category.

The Well-Sized Shotgun

For the defensive shotgun customer an autoloader will always work better in actual shootings than a pump gun. First time shooters are not acclimated to the trombone action. Remington and other manufacturers offer "youth model" guns with stocks featuring a shorter pull. These will be perfect fits for small-statured males and for average or smaller females. Apart from improving your sporting shotgun ,direct sales, a smaller design like this improves the handling qualities of the gun so dramatically that simply having them in stock will clinch some sales of husbands making a purchase for their wives.

Another step you can make toward increasing your home-defense shotgun sales is to increase your inventory of both pumps and autoloaders in 20 gauge. Even for men, the person of average skill can hit three man-sized targets with 20- gauge buckshot in the time it takes the same person to hit two similar targets with a 12 gauge. For small-statured people, it makes all the difference.

Here are two tools you can use to sell the 20-gauge concept to the customer who remembers being kicked to pieces when he or she fired Grandpa's 12 gauge back in their younger days.

First. have a copy of the book Stress-fire II - Advanced Combat Shotgun on hand. This is a quick point-of-purchase impulse sale, and there is a chapter devoted to the benefits of a 20 gauge for home protection over a 12 gauge.

Second. take a couple of targets out to the range. Use cardboard silhouettes - IPSC or NRA action - because they'll stand up better under repetited use. Blast one of them from about seven yards with a round of 12 gauge #4 backshot. Then, with a 20 gauge with a similar choke, zap the second target with a round of #3 buckshot. You (and your customer) will find that the 27 .23-caliber- pellets from the 12 gauge give about the same pattern at this realistic gunfight range as the 20 .25-caliber pellets from the 20. with similar "organ saturation." The controllable. easy-kicking 20 has about 60 percent of the kick of at 12. but a much greater relative percentage of its stopping power.

You'll find this is an effective convincer; one you'll use frequently. That's why you want durable cardboard targets instead of paper ones that will tear apart quickly after frequent demonstrative handling. A whole lot of your customers who are "thinking about buying" a 12 gauge will become "gotta have it now purchasers of a similarly price 20.

All of this is very informative and very helpful, of course. but most defense minded customers are interested in hand guns. Is there anything can do to customer fit the hand guns you sell? You bet. We'll take a closer look next month.

To order the book Stressfire II - Advanced Combat Shotgun contact the Police Bookshell at PO Box 122. Concord, NH. 03301. Dealer inquires are welcome and dealer price lists are available.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Publishers' Development Corporation
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Previous Article:Dealers on trial: the risks of sloppy record keeping.
Next Article:Summer ponderings on a reporter's lead time.

Related Articles
Selling the right gun for the job.
Introducing the new Marlin MR-7: America's favorite features, in one rifle.
Rifles versus muskets.
End of rifle's terror reign.
[1] DEAR GERRIE: Kill off this savagery.
Build-up for war denied.
Fake gun bid a real winner.
Outfit your customers for success at shooting schools. (Lethal Force).

Terms of use | Copyright © 2016 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters