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Would you like anything else today? A shelf-load of handgun "extras" no customer should leave your store without.

You'll never get rich in the gun industry by selling guns.

That's like saying that no car dealership will ever get rich selling cars -- and that's absolutely correct! Think back to the last time you purchased an automobile. There was a price sticker on the window, but you knew you weren't going to pay that price. You talked to the dealer, bargained with him a little, then drove off the lot with a vehicle that cost considerably less than the sticker price. In fact, it's not uncommon for an auto dealer to make less than $100 profit on a $10,000 car.

So how do car dealers stay in business? Well, once you had an agreement with the dealer for the price you wanted on the car, the profit making really started. "How 'bout our nice AM/FM cassette deck?" asked the dealer. "Since you're my best customer today, I can cut you a deal -- I'll have the guys in the shop install it for you for just $250 extra ..."

You think, Well, $250 isn't bad. I guess I could go for a nice stereo.

"... In fact," continued the dealer, "I'll give you the tape deck and a set of mag wheels for just $500, and that's a real deal. The mag wheels alone are usually $450, but I happen to know the manager has five dozen of them in the warehouse and wants to move them out by the end of the month."

Before you knew it, you had an air conditioner, a set of sport head rests, and an overhead light and instrument panel to go along with the other goodies -- all for the low, low price of just $1,500. What you didn't know, however, was that the whole package cost the dealership about $350 total, and while the salesman made you feel he was doing you a big favor by not charging you for installation, in reality the very car he sold you had been sitting on the lot for the past month waiting for a buyer -- their service department didn't have to lay a finger on it.

So, what can you learn from this car deal that will make your gun store more profitable? If you've been having trouble selling your firearms at any price above rock bottom, it may be time to take a close look at your handgun accessories -- are you stocking the items your customers want? When your customers walk out with a low-priced handgun or box of ammo, do they also leave with a high-profit holster, case, scope, or spare magazine?

Turning Extra Profits

When shopping for a high-ticket item, like a car or a new handgun, customers go to great lengths to make sure they get the lowest possible price. When the same customers shop for accessories, however, price is often overlooked for quality -- a shooter will pay top-dollar for a suede-lined leather holster as long as its the best holster for his gun.

Accessories can also be used as incentives; many gun dealers offer a package deal to get customers to purchase a handgun, or to get them to purchase a more expensive gun than they would otherwise, with promotions offering a case, holster, and spare magazine free (or at cost) with the purchase of a handgun.

With all of this profit potential, its important that a dealer pay close attention to the accessories in his stock. A dusty rack filled with a mish-mash of old cases, holsters, and sights can be a real profit drain, but a well-stocked accessories counter or aisle can be the biggest profit center in your store.

Now that you know the money-making potential of those "little extras," you keep in your store, you'll undoubtedly want to take some time to consider your "accessory sale strategy." The following is a listing of some of the top contenders in the accessories market. If you aren't stocking most or all of these items and product lines, you may be missing out on some serious sales.


One of the best-known names in the field of competition shooting is Ed Brown Products based in Perry, Mo., manufacturer of the Four-Star compensator assembly.

The Four-Star is one of the premier custom compensators you can offer your customers for their Colt 1911 pistols. These compensators are designed with four distinct baffle chambers to wipe the expansion gas from the bullet and reduce recoil. The complete assembly comes with a stainless steel barrel which is prefitted to a Colt Government Model in either .45 or 10mm. The compensators come in both stainless and blued steel.

Aro-Tek of Pacific, Wash., offers a custom compensator for one of the most popular guns on the market today, the Glock pistol. Ever since the introduction of the Glock many dealers have complained that the gun is so complete that they can't make any money selling aftermarket parts or services -- now that is no longer true.

Aro-Tek provides a Scheumann Hybrid Compensator for the Glock that reduces felt recoil by as much as 70 percent. Available for Glock in all calibers, this compensator is sure to be a big seller.


The latest in aftermarket grips comes from Winnetka, Calif.-based Radical Concepts. Its flashy, colorful Radical Concepts. Its flashy, colorful Radical Grips were designed to compliment the numerous other "designer" handgun accessories available today.

Radical Grips are wrap-around combat-style sport grips that feature a pebbled texture which, in addition to providing more non-slip surface on rubber grips than plain checkering, presents a clean, high-tech look. Gold medallions bearing the palm tree and setting sun Radical logo complete the look for these grips, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Radical grips, available for all M1911-style auto pistols, are precision molded of advanced rubber in radical colors like hot pink, solar yellow, gnarly green, cool blue, classic black, and smoke grey.

In addition to being a distributor for several well-known grip companies such as Pachmayr, Jay Scott, and Sile, Ajax Custom Grips, Inc., based in Dallas, Texas, manufactures its own lines of genuine stag, ivory, ivory polymer, wood, and plastic grips.

These grips are hand-crafted in America from the finest raw materials available. The ivory grips, which can be custom built, are made from only documented African ivory; the stag grips are from Indian samghar and chita stag. The white Pearlite grips, which are striking against a stainless or blued finish, look remarkably like actual Mother-of-Pearl. A selection of exotic wood grips are offered in super walnut, cherrywood, and black silverwood.

Available for most handguns, all Ajax grips are guaranteed to fit the firearms listed in the catalog. However, some single actions may need custom fitting.

Hogue Grips, one of the most well-known companies in the firearms industry, offers grips in fancy hardwood, soft rubber, and nylon.

The company is best known for its the patented Monogrip one-piece revolver stock -- a style of grips that mount from the bottom, eliminating the short-comings of traditional two-piece grips. The single-piece grip slides on revolver frames from the bottom, requiring no modifications of the firearm. A special stirrup device clips over the existing stockpin or bottom strap of the frame, which solidly secures the grip to frame. Monogrips compensate for varying frame tolerances, assuring a secure, comfortable grip.

Hogue Grips, based in Atascadero, Calif., is a family-run business with a reputation for providing some of the finest handstocks available today. Any one of its grips will turn an ordinary gun into a unique custom firearm.


Lyman's newest target sight, the 20 MJT 7/8" diameter globe front sight, is machined from one solid piece of steel designed for use with dovetail slot mounting in the barrel or with Lyman 25A dovetail base. Height is .700" from bottom of dovetail to center of aperture on 20 MJT and .750" on 20 LJT. This sight comes with seven Anschutz size steel apertures which are locked into place with knurled bezel.

Lyman 57s and 66s are favorites of shooters who alternate between metallic sights and a scope. Its features include audible-click micrometer adjustments for elevation and windage, quick-release slide, coin-slotted stayset knobs and low interchangeable aperture discs for any shooting condition.

Lyman makes several other sights including other target front sights, universal receiver sights, and shotgun sights, which are equipped with oversized ivory-like beads, are easy to see under any light conditions.

Wilson's Combat, located in Berryville, Ark., is well-known for its high-tech competition guns. Wilson's also manufactures sights available for most Colts and 1911-style combat handguns.

The Model 16 Deluxe High Visibility Combat Sight is Wilson's top-of-the-line combat fixed sight. These sights work equally well for competition or a duty gun. Manufactured from chrome moly steel, it offers the same sight picture as a lo-mount Bo-mar rear sight. An improved ramp front sight with a narrow tenon enables this sight to fit pre-1988 Colts and GI 1911s. The 61N has a wider tenon to fit post-1988 Colts; and the 61D includes the same features plus has the famous three-dot sight picture, ideal for low-light shooting conditions.

The front sight has the narrow tenon for pre-1988 Colts and 1911-style guns.

Meprolight Tritium Illuminated Sights are low-profile sights manufactured by Hesco, Inc., of LaGrange, Ga. These sights, from the world leader in self-illuminated sights, are superior quality and have the longest warranty of any sight company. With 10 new models available, your customers are sure to find the item they need to complete their handgun accessory list.

Other Extras

Sure, any old duffle bag will carry your customers' equipment to the range, but only the revolutionary Solo firearms case produced by Nielsen Custom Cases of Las Vegas, Nevada is designed specifically with the shooter in mind. Hearing and eye protection are easily accessible from the outside, which means no interference with pistol or ammo storage inside. The waterproof, lightweight case holds everything from 2-inch revolvers to 6-inch Desert Eagles, 200+ rounds of lockable ammunition, and cleaning equipment. Unlike duffle-type bags where customers can fumble blindly through accessories before finding what they need, the Solo opens flat with each accessory in its place, enabling it to be functional as a complete shooter's kit at the line of fire. The Solo comes with two locks in soft leather or six colors of ballistic nylon.

The latest in 1911-A1 and CZ-75 clone scope mounts come from Oakdale, Calif.-based Alfaro, where Noel Alfaro has developed the Phase 1 and Phase 2 scope mounts, with optimal shock resistance and resilience, made of Delrin, a space-age polymer. Alfaro's mounts have been described by one gun writer as "bulletproof." After inspecting a pistol that had been fed approximately 50,000 rounds of .38 Super loads, the writer reported the Phase 2 mount looked like new. The Alfaro mounts are currently marketed as the ideal mounts for the Chip McCormick modular frames and the BoMar compatible slide cockers.

Laser sights are widely used by police departments throughout the U.S., and that means your customers want them too. Laser Devices, Inc. of Monterey, Calif., the originator of the laser sight, offers sights to fit dozens of handguns, shotguns, rifles, and bows. Laser Devices have an accurate output at 5mW and a beam divergence rated at less than 1" at 100 meters/100 yards. Most recently, recognizing the need for a Duty Grade laser sight, Laser Devices Inc. has designed an under-the-barrel laser sight which installs without wires, tapping or gunsmithing, in about five minutes. The Duty laser is constructed of 6061T aircraft aluminum, weighs 4.75 oz., and is available in black or stainless anodized.

While police and sporting customers carry and shoot revolvers, there will always be a need to sell speedloaders -- five- and six-round ammo carriers which allow a revolver to be loaded quickly. Safariland offers a line of speedloaders and pouches which are the most reliable and durable on the market. Whether customers are looking for a speedloader which is small enough to be concealed, or large enough to be handled with ease in competition, Safariland has the merchandise to make the sale. All Safariland speedloaders can be carried easily in either the 340 series belt pouch holders, or the more concealable 370 series "split" holders, which are molded to the shape of the speed loaders and carry cartridges split on either side of the belt.

Every gun owner needs a case which is sturdy enough to throw in the trunk of a car without worry about damage to the weapon, and which is able to be locked securely for airline travel. To serve these shooters, Impact Case Company offers a full line of transport-quality gun cases. ICC manufactures 12 gun cases ranging in size from single handgun to one which accommodates four large rifles with hunting scopes. All ICC cases are made of Marine Grade .063 aluminum with stainless steel hinges, latches, and locking rod system. The handles are high density polymer, and the boxes are lined with thick urethane foam and sealed against dust and moisture. With a small padlock, these cases are suitable for transporting handguns in airline luggage.

When a customer shops in your store, they want convenience as well as selection, so don't let them head for the range with a grocery bag full of spare ammo, shooting glasses, ear muffs, and gun rags. Instead, offer your customers a high quality shooting vest, such as the Condor from Woolrich. The Condor has large cargo pockets to hold lots of extra ammo, magazines, and everything else necessary on the range. The shoulders have functional epaulets to keep shooters' hands free, and the chest pockets feature a D-ring on one side and a swivel snap on the other to keep other accessories handy. The vest is lined with soft mesh to allow air flow for shooters comfort in indoor and outdoor ranges. Available in olive drab and khaki, even if you don't stock a full line of clothing, this quality shooting vest will be one of your best-selling accessories.

While customers who shoot revolvers can hand load their guns, customers who purchase automatic pistols are almost always interested in high-capacity shooting, and that means they are a prime market for extra magazines.

As a general rule, most after market magazines do not perform nearly as well as those created by the manufacturer, but one of the most notable exceptions is the Shooting Star 1911 magazine from Chip McCormick Corporation. These magazines are known for their flawless performance, and the name is recognized by competition shooters worldwide. Although the eight-round 1911 magazine is constructed entirely of stainless steel, the price is well below that of similar items on the market. The Shooting Star magazines are available with a plastic base pad and in 10mm and .38 Super. Blued steel is also available in all models.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Farrell, Scott
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Feb 1, 1993
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