Shooting Industry News (SI) reports that full-size, full-capacity handguns are all the rage these days. As is their wont, their piece on the topic is more cheerleading than reportage. But the results are in: “We found three dealers with very different experiences selling full-cap pistols—all of which are profitable.” Well, you’d kinda hope so. The question is: has there been a shift in consumer tastes? Who’s buying these ballistic bruisers and why? “Overwhelmingly the most popular here and all across the U.S. is the Glock 22—the first model out with the RTF changes,” gushes Randy Lish, weekend salesman at Barlow’s Custom Guns in West Valley Utah. [Note: no website for Randy’s mob] “The majority of our customer base is made up of law enforcement officers. Even most of our civilian customers come here because they know we’re a cop-oriented shop, and they want to carry what the pros rely on.” And . . . that’s it. Data crunchers need not apply. Next?
“We’ve had nothing but happy buyers,” Robert Kalil of Gun & Sport North in Salem, N.H. “And dealing with Smith & Wesson is a pleasure. They keep us well stocked and their interest in customer satisfaction is as intense as our own, Dude.” Hands up; I added the “Dude.” But someone forgot to add the stats. Third time lucky?
American Shooters Supply of Albany, N.Y. has four stores (two in The Empire State). GM Brian Oleson says his employer sells an average of 25 full-size Beretta Storm pistols per week. At one of his stores, anyway.
And there you have it. Which is nowhere, really. So I rang ’round some dealers to get the 411 on sales of them full-figured gals.
“We’re principally gunsmith shop,” Barlow’s Custom Guns’ gunsmith James Johnson told TTAG. “Retail’s not a majority of our business mix.” Still . . “There’s not been any real move towards full-size guns other than the usual seasonal trend . . . Customers go for smaller in summer—concealed carry when the weather gets hot or if they want something fun for plinking. They tend to move to something bigger in winter.”
Gun & Sport are on voice mail. American Shooters’ website lists a phone number that’s stuck on blow-you-ear-out-with-a-high-pitched-fax-screech mode. So I called North Shore Firearms. “I’m not seeing any trend towards full-size guns,” Proprietor Mike Sheppard Senior told TTAG. “We’re selling the same ratio of full-size to compact guns for the last couple of years.” That would be roughly three-to-one on sales of over 50 per week (“I can’t tell my competition everything”).
Completing my trifecta: “Jim” from a Bass Pro Shops store somewhere in the mid-west. So, Jimbo, are customers moving to bigger handguns? “I wouldn’t say that,” Jim says. Or doesn’t say. “Everything seems to be going smaller, towards conceal carry. We’re selling a lot of the Ruger LCR and LCP, the Taurus small .380, the Beretta Tomcat . . . ”
The list goes on. Anecdotally, I’m done. If any gunmaker would like to provide TTAG with stats confirming a blossoming interest in bigger handguns (over smaller ones), I’m all ears. Meanwhile, with states removing restrictions to conceal carry permits, I’m willing to bet that the trend is moving in the opposite direction, towards smaller guns.