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Mossberg's 410 home defender: a well-targeted shotgun.

A Well-Targeted Shotgun

What are the three reasons customers buy guns? To hunt, to target shoot, and to defend themselves. Of the three, the trickiest to sell is a self-defense customer. Hunters know when and where they want to hunt, plinkers and competitors know how much fun target shooting is, but no one wants to use a gun to shoot another person. Convincing a customer to buy a gun they may never use can be difficult at best.

Fortunately, that task has been made a little easier by the folk at Mossberg with their new HS 410. This pump-action, .410 shotgun is designed with the home-defense customer in mind. It won't interest trap shooters or customers who want to carry a gun for self defense, but it will help you make more sales to consumers who are concerned about rising crime rates

Why a Shotgun?

Is there such a thing as the "ultimate gun for home defense?" Sure there is! It must be the .45 automatic. No, wait, maybe it's a high-capacity 9mm. Or a pistol-gripped 12 gauge. Or ...

Okay, maybe there is no single do-all gun for home security, but the HS 410 is a good attempt at addressing the needs of home defense customers, especially those who have little experience with guns -- the buyers who are always hardest for dealers to reach.

To begin with, the HS 410 has a shortened stock with a thick recoil pad. This makes it much more comfortable for smaller-framed female shooters. The grip has also been moved closer to the trigger to accommodate smaller hands. These features will appeal to the growing number of women who are becoming concerned with their own security.

The gun also comes with a spreader choke to give a wider field of fire at the short distances which are most likely to be encountered in a home-defense situation -- from five feet to twenty feet. The HS 410 also has a recoil compensator to further reduce the felt recoil, thus making it even more appealing to first-time shooter who may be shy about buying a gun with a lot of kick.

Two feathers of the HS 410 which Mossberg emphasizes are the pump action and the laser sight. Both the sound of the pump and the appearance of the laser make the gun very "high profile" and are likely to frighten an intruder away from the home.

Some dealers may be more comfortable selling a 12-gauge or a 20-gauge as a home defense gun but, according to Mossberg, a .410 is much less likely to go through two layers of wallboard than a heavier shotgun, yet still offers more stopping power at close range than a .44 Magnum. This is very important to the customer who must worry about children in other rooms or tenants in next-door apartments.

The Whole Program

The most impressive part of the HS 410 is not the gun itself, but the sales package that comes with it. Along with the shotgun comes a home security video, a large, colorful hang tag which describes all of the guns features and benefits, a cable lock, and a firearms safety booklet.

The 11-minute video tape is a bit basic for experienced gun owners, but first-time buyers will find it quite informative. The video offers a brief explanation of the reason behind keeping a gun for defense and some of the other options which customers may be examining to guard their homes, such as security systems, locks, outdoor lighting, and watch dogs.

The video then goes on to elaborate on the many features of the gun. The narrator shows viewers how to use the gun and how to safely store the gun. There is also a demonstration of the HS 410 against a 357 revolver with both used on a gallon jug of water (showing the relative stopping power) and on a standard interior wall (showing the low penetration of the shotgun). The video also urges gun owners to read their product manuals and take their gun to the range for some practice time and instruction.

There a few things missing from Mossberg's brief production, such as the disadvantages of owning and possibly using a gun for self defense and the advantages a handgun offers over a shotgun, but considering that the tape is produced by Mossberg, that's hardly a surprise. Of course, all of this will be strictly academic by the time the customer gets the gun home to watch the video. This tape is really designed to be used by the dealers as a point-of-purchase sales aid to answer some of the questions new customers may have.

Of course, a dealer who relies on the sales tools to make sales is going to be far less successful than a dealer who uses these tools to augment his or her own knowledge and sales ability. Dealers must use Mossberg's video and literature as a starting point, then elaborate from there.

Point and Shoot

Okay, let's start with seems to be the major point of controversy with this gun: the laser sight. In passing this gun around the office, the first response from everyone who handles it is. "Are they kidding? A laser on a shotgun?" Of course, their second response is to pick it up and play with it, and anything which gets a gun into a customer's hands makes a sale easier for the dealer.

Not having much experience with laser sights,I wasn't quite sure how they would perform in actual usage. After taking the gun out to the range, I can't imagine anything more suited for laser sights than a shotgun. Unlike a pistol, which is capable to pinpoint accuracy at a great distance, a shotgun's damage zone spreads outward from a central point -- in this case, from the laser beam. At the end of the shotgun's effective range, about 20 yards, the laser sight becomes just about invisible, especially in bright light of any kind.

The action on this gun is quick and reliable and the safety is easy to reach whether shooting right or left handed. Unlike after-market lasers, the one in the forearm is easy to operate -- customers don't have to keep their finger on a separate button. The HS 410's coil is extremely light after getting through the compensator and the pad; I can't imagine anyone over the age of 12 being unable to handle this gun.

The only disadvantage in this gun's make up is that fact that it really is only a combat weapon. The barrels are not interchangeable with any of the other Mossberg .410 barrels, so customers who buy this gun can't decide six months down the road that they would like to try trap shooting or hunting with it.

There is one advantage to this gun that Mossberg neglects to point out in any of their sales literature. While they stress safe gun storage by including a cable lock with the gun, they don't mention that it is much easier for a curious child to accidently discharge a handgun than it is for them to manipulate a shotgun. This is just another advantage the HS 410 offers parents who are also concerned about home safety.

So, is the HS 410 the ultimate home safety gun -- a gun which is so good that home owners who wield it may send criminals fleeing into the night just at its appearance? Of course not. However, it is a gun which is very well suited for its purpose and may give a home owner faced with danger just the extra confidence necessary to protect themselves.

It is also a gun which comes with an admirable amount of dealer support which will make your sales easier and your gun store more accessible to new shooters.

Finally, if anyone would find fault with Mossberg for marketing a "self-defense-only" firearm, remember that the Second Amendment gives us the right to defend ourselves and that it is supposed to be the anti-gunners who are against guns which have "no sporting purpose."
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:Farrell, Scott
Publication:Shooting Industry
Article Type:Column
Date:Mar 1, 1992
Previous Article:Explaining the deadly force decision: "self defense in a nutshell." (part 10) (Lethal Force) (Column)
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