June 2017 – A “Slight” Delay

Those of you who read last month’s Soapbox were probably expecting to read an update on our progress with the Ranger II in this one.  The progress we were expecting and the news we were hoping to report has once again been deferred to next month.  I share your disappointment and ask that you not lose hope in our ability to deliver this long-awaited product reintroduction; I will state unequivocally that we are one month closer to our shared goal.

Like virtually everyone else in our industry, we have seen a softening of demand for our products (which has had no impact on our product development budget/efforts).  Fortunately, the decline in the rate of incoming orders for NAA has been fractional to what others are reporting for a variety of reasons, many of which I outlined in the March ’17 Soapbox, and we continue to enjoy a modest backlog.  It’s not only possible but likely that some in our industry will not survive as we transition to a new “normal”.  While it’s unfortunate for some, this change in our industry and landscape simply reflects the ordinary passage of time and lies at the heart of capitalism – survival of the fittest/most competitive.

While a lot of uncertainty exists in the firearms industry, and notwithstanding my aversion to sticking my neck out and making promises I can’t keep, I give you my assurance that NAA will be one of the industry’s survivors AND that when we’re ready to unveil the Ranger II, you will feel that it was well worth the wait.  That’s my story …

Enjoy your summer.

May 2017 – Back From “15 Acres of Guns & Gear”

We’ve recently returned from the NRA Show in Atlanta where we had the opportunity to show our stuff and visit with friends, old and new.  This is the only “retail” show we attend (as compared to SHOT, a “trade” show) and the feedback we get is both important and valued.  Fortunately, most of it is positive but there’s enough otherwise to remind us that there’s always more we can do (even if some of it seems somewhat “unreasonable” – Why don’t you chamber the Pug in .45ACP?).

Anyway, would you believe me if I told you the nobody asked about the break-top/Ranger II?  Didn’t think so.  I apologize for appearing rude with tardy posts of this Soapbox.  I appreciate your patience and hope to be able to discuss our efforts/progress on this front in more depth next month.

March 2017 – We’re Waiting For You

Since the surprising results of last year’s presidential elections were announced, many manufacturers, distributors and retailers have anticipated, and are now beginning to see in fact, a general softening of sales in the shooting sports industry.  While the foreseeable future looks very bright in terms of the industry’s ability to conduct commerce in a relatively unthreatened environment, the buying/selling climate is no longer driven by that greatest of market movers – the threat of adverse public policy: “assault” weapons bans, magazine capacity restrictions, additional restrictions on the availability and use of lead ammunition, general obstacles to purchasing anything (additional background checks, waiting periods, etc.), a possible review/reversal of favorable 2A decisions, etc.  The political future of the firearms industry is as cloud-free as it has ever been.  Indeed, there seem to be opportunities for gun owners’ interests to actually be advanced.  Legislation has already been introduced which would allow national reciprocity for concealed carry rights, the removal of suppressors from the NFA list to name two. [Note: this more moderate climate is specific to the federal landscape.  I recognize very well that certain states/communities will continue with their own regional, misguided and unsuccessful efforts to make effective contributions to public safety.  Massachusetts, New Jersey, California, anyone?

One outcome from this softened demand is that the retail customer should expect to see some attractive near-term buying opportunities as some in the distribution chain make frantic efforts to correct their failed gamble of stocking up in anticipation of the worst (President Clinton).  Orders are being cancelled, inventories slashed and prices will be discounted in an attempt to bring balance to the marketplace.  Unfortunately, no one should expect any such bargains to be had for NAA products.  We continue to operate with a modest backlog and expect incoming orders to remain strong.  Why us?

Research shows us that much of the boom of the past several years was caused by the entry of brand new shooters – people purchasing firearms for the first time.  Certainly there were old shooters who continued to make additions to their arsenal (who owns just one gun?), but much of the surge in demand came from newcomers to the market who, for a variety of reasons, finally reached the tipping point and made the transition to becoming new gun owners.  As it has for the past “several” years, the category of concealed carry/personal protection led the way.

Nothing in the new post-election environment has made anyone feel that it’s getting safer out there.  Concealed carry classes continue to swell as law-abiding, responsible but fearful adults have decided that it’s better to be armed than not and, guided by the advice from some that “bigger is better” and anything less that 9mm or 38ACP is entirely inadequate, have gone on to purchase a wide range of steel/polymer and leather products with which to face an uncertain world.  And then a funny thing happens; they realize that comfort and ease of carry count for more than just a little and what they’ve recently purchased, from a 1911 to a full-frame-sized revolver to even a mid-size fill-in-the-blank (Glock, S&W, Ruger, Sig., etc. etc.) isn’t as easy to carry/conceal as they at first thought it would be, and they begin to downsize to something more comfortable and easy to carry.  And that’s where we come in.

Make no mistake about it, from the standpoint of personal protection, you would be well advised to carry the largest caliber platform with the greatest ammunition capacity that you will carry.  Ballistic science and the incapacitating effects of gunshot trauma in humans &/or animals is very quantifiable and predictable.  That said, it’s similarly unarguable that the NAA 22 mini-revolver in my pocket is an infinitely more effective personal protection weapon than the 50AE Desert Eagle – or any other platform – in your nightstand, glovebox or wherever.  You can’t shoot what you don’t have.  And my customers tend to carry my guns.

Idiots who make ignorant, macho-sounding comments like “you’ll just piss someone off with that little thing” show themselves to be just that – idiots.  A reasonably placed 22 caliber bullet fired at a self-defense range will drop someone dead like a sack of bricks.  And in a great number of circumstances, simply brandishing a weapon will change an assailant’s behavior.  I don’t care what the caliber, I don’t want to be shot by any gun.  I would love an opportunity to show some of the aforementioned naysayers just how much I can piss them off; make my day, azzholes.

So, why does our future remain bright?  Because of these recently new but now slightly more experienced shooters who are just beginning to recognize and appreciate the value of “Convenient, Reliable, Effective”.  We’re not embarrassed to acknowledge that we’re nobody’s idea of a first gun and so many of these new shooter haven’t found us – yet – but, trust me, they will.  After all, who owns just one gun?

February 2017 – Welcome, Everyone.

Last month during the 2017 SHOT Show we had the pleasure of attending the annual National Shooting Sports Foundation State of the Industry Dinner.  This event is an evening where leaders of the industry discuss the business and political outlook of our industry.  The keynote of the evening is the SHOT Show State of the Industry Address given by Steve Sanetti, President and CEO of the NSSF (video shared below).  While the address focused on the recent victory for gun rights in November, a call to be vigilant in the future against gun grabbers at all levels of government, and highlighting the successes of the NSSF through its various community, regulatory, and politically oriented initiatives; one thing stood out to me the most: a message of unity, inclusion, and that rights transcends party politics.

“We hope that the parade of newcomers to the lawful and responsible enjoyment of hunting and the shooting sports will continue as it has for the past eight years,” Sanetti said during the address. “We welcome the widest possible inclusion of all American citizens of all races, nationalities, and orientations regardless of whether they live in the city, suburbs, or countryside to come and join our ranks. And we hope that all of you will help encourage and welcome these newcomers, for they too are faces of America’s future.”

Mr. Sanetti’s words stand at the beginning of a very deep philosophical truth.  Rights exist to protect the minority from the majority.  A natural right must protect so little as the smallest minority (a single person), otherwise it is no right at all.  The Second Amendment (along with all our other rights) belongs to all law-abiding citizens of this country.  There is a broad and diverse country out there and we, even as a group of seemingly divided citizens, can find at least one commonality: we ALL have the unalienable right to defend ourselves and others as we see fit both inside our homes and out.  This right doesn’t belong to one group, race, gender, religion, ethnicity, or orientation.

North American Arms has worked hard to provide products that meet the needs of the broadest and most diverse customer base in the world: convenient, reliable, and effective firearms for recreation and personal protection.  For use on trap lines, hiking trails, while jogging, running errands, personal protection, everyday carry, and law enforcement; our product meets the needs of anyone.

NAA welcomes and encourages the incoming members to the lawful and responsible enjoyment of hunting and the shooting sports from all walks of life.  We especially welcome those whose need for the Second Amendment is more urgent than our own.  We encourage you to reach out to our factory with any questions you may have about your needs regarding our product or even further involvement in the activities of the industry.  We look forward to an amazing 2017.  Thank you for all your support and business.

Kenny Barlow
Sales & Marketing Manager
North American Arms

January 2017 – Late…again.

Sorry for the late entry.  Another failed resolution … already.

The future for NAA, and most of the firearms industry/community – both manufacturers as well as consumers – looks very different than the one we’ve been anticipating for the last year+. The operating environment that we can now look forward to is considerably more agreeable than the one we’d been preparing for. The threat of adverse legislation, at least on a federal basis, has been removed. No repeal of the Lawful Arms in Commerce Act. No other of a litany of ineffective and ill-intended laws, restrictions, regulations. No immediate prospect of a Supreme Court review of the 2nd Amendment, for example. Instead, we saw just today the introduction of legislation intended to enable national reciprocity for concealed carry, efforts to remove suppressors from the NFA list, expansion of hunting areas and hunters’ rights, limits to the assault on lead, etc. etc. The future would appear to be bright at the expense of the frenzied, fear-driven consumption at the retail level.

I continue to feel bullish about the future of NAA. While I recognize that we’re not the most innovative company, we still may have a trick or two up our sleeve. Regardless, I know that we make our product better every year and we will continue to invest in resources, processes and procedures, the effect of which is to make cost-effective improvements in quality.

I hope those of you able to attend SHOT in Las Vegas later this month will stop by and say “hello” (BOOTH #15124).  I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Happy New Year.