There are times when I lay it all on the line for Shooting Sports Retailer Magazine. This is one of those times.
I’m here at the 2016 NRA Annual Meeting and Expo. If you haven’t been, imagine all the people on the planet between the ages of five and 95 stuffed into a mobile home. It’s about that crowded. I’m talking 2-3 hour adventures just to park and three straight days of seeing nothing but the back of someone’s head.
To top things off, finding the hottest products for retail sales involves spotting the crowd within the crowd. Which booths are bursting at the seams with interested shoppers and tire kickers? This year, one of those “overflowing booth” categories was tactical furniture and gun storage. Two different companies, with very different solutions, stood out in a category that’s exceptionally busy here.
I think both are excellent examples of products that make sense for local retailers. Why? They’re not gun specific, so unless your customers choose the Mk-19 Automatic Grenade Launcher for home defense, they’ll be compatible with what your customer already owns. As a result, you don’t have to invest in all sorts of variants of the same product. These two pieces of gear also range in price from $15 to $700.
Tactical Walls makes home décor that securely stores guns. I’m not talking about actual furniture, but things like wall shelves that fit into most any home décor scheme. The company makes a few simple concealment only items like a clock, lamp and tissue box, but I think the real bread and butter are the in-wall units like picture frames and mirrors and the shelving units. These in-wall units take advantage of the space between wall studs. The storage compartment there is hidden by a wall mirror or picture of your choice. The shelving units mount on the surface of a wall. The bottom drops down, revealing pistols, rifles, shotguns, or whatever else one wants to store in there.
The neat thing about the solution is that it not only provides concealment but security with near instance access. Tactical Walls uses either specialized magnets or RFID to unlock the devices, so they’re child and guest safe provided you don’t leave the “keys” lying around.
Tactical Walls has an active dealer program, and margins are solid for products that range from $50 to $700 or so. Most of the wall units and shelves seem to be in the $300 to $700 range.
On the other end of the spectrum is a gun organization invention, Vertical Gun Racks. These fall in the “why didn’t I think of that?” category. The two basic styles of racks for handguns and long guns are rubber coated so they won’t muck up guns and are shockingly simple. The shaped gun holders are designed to fit most any handgun or long gun. These nifty racks can be attached to most anything. Walls, the interiors of safes, vehicles, benches – wherever one needs to store a gun. List prices range from $14.95 to $19.95 try hanging a couple hear the cash register and store a couple of blue guns in them. Once people see it in action, they’ll almost always stop to look – and buy.