Whether a dealer is wrapping up the sale of a first firearm to a shooting newcomer, or working with a seasoned owner of multiple firearms, gun-cleaning kits and supplies are at or near the top of the "I need that" list. Key industry surveys confirm that gun-cleaning products are either the first- or second-mostpurchased accessories for firearm owners.
The NSSF's 2011 "Report on Handguns" found that guncleaning supplies are the second most frequently purchased addon or accessory products after holsters. Southwick Associates' "Hunting and Shooting Participation and Market Trends" report, covering January and February 2012, lists gun-cleaning supplies as tops in the "Shooting Accessory" category. Even with Internet firearm transfer sales, cleaning supplies rate a high second to ammunition in the category of add-on sales, which was reported in the February 2012 issue in a survey conducted for Shooting Industry.
Today's marketplace includes a wide range of gun-cleaning and preventive maintenance products based on newer technologies. And for all those zombie-hunting customers, Otis has a zombie gun-cleaning kit. As Otis describes it, "It's not just you on the line, it's all of humanity." The zombie trend remains "undead."
Keep It Simple, Be 1m Ixraer
Kurt Stand, director of operations at Bear Arms in Scottsdale, Ariz., says his customers' buying habits track with the industry's findings.
"The first thing they do is pick up a firearm, and then we ask if they need a holster [for handgun purchases], and after that, cleaning supplies," Stancl said.
Most shoppers look to Stancl and his staff for recommendations, although some request specific cleaning products.
"It's age-specific. Our older clientele tend to come in and look specifically for Hoppe's. The vast majority look for a general cleaning agent, something that will cover everything. The kits we sell the most are Kleen-Bore from Safariland. They are reasonably priced, all-in-one kits. We also have people looking specifically for Hoppe's BoreSnake," Stancl said.
Does Stancl see demand for more efficient, step-saving cleaning solutions?
"Speed is rarely a factor. No one really says, 'Hey, is there anything that cleans quicker?' They want to know what cleans better," Stancl said. "The focus tends to be more toward a universal cleaning solution. Our customers rarely want something that is specific to powder or lead or copper fouling. If someone has an...