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Published on April 4th, 2016 | by FFL Unleashed0
Exploring SureFire’s 300 Percent Suppressor Sales Growth
In this interview with SureFire’s V.P. of Marketing and Commercial/Consumer Sales, Jeff Barger, he shares an insider’s look at the growing interest in suppressors, current sales trends, advice on how to close sales, and much more.
FFL Unleashed: It’s no secret that silencer/suppressor sales skyrocketed in the last couple of years. Besides more states making them legal to own and hunt with, to what do you credit the growing interest in noise suppressors for firearms?
Barger: Several items come to mind. As you mentioned, the increase to 42 states legalizing ownership and use has been a tremendous help and step in the right direction. Additionally, knowledge is a big factor. Previously, a significant issue was that people were uninformed and unaware suppressors can be owned legally. The industry as a whole has done a great job in educating the masses on this subject. Lastly, there is always political influence causing sales spikes within the firearms industry. With the current election cycle and laws changing for the worse with regard to NFA trusts, there has been an increase in people purchasing suppressors before laws change.
FFL Unleashed: Overall, what is it that sets SureFire noise suppressors apart from the competition? Why have you been selected for military contracts over the others?
Barger: In short, we are unmatched in our performance, reliability, and durability. Our SOCOM suppressors provide minimal first round flash, minimal POI shift, repeatable POI shift, a patented Fast-Attach® system, and excellent sound suppression. Additionally, every centerfire suppressor sold is test fired on our state of the art 100-yard range to ensure our customers receive the highest quality product possible.
FFL Unleashed: The SureFire SOCOM300-SPS is touted as the quietest 300 Blackout suppressor available. How much does it reduce the muzzle blast compared to competitive products? Please describe the technology that makes this possible.
Barger: With subsonic Hornady 208gr ammunition, we are getting approximately 120db with our 300SPS on a 9” barrel. This is possible due to enhancements in the gas flow dynamics of our specialized V-shaped baffle system to enable optimal performance.
FFL Unleashed: From whom do you see the greatest civilian interest in SureFire noise suppressors — recreational handguns, competitive rifle shooters, hunters, etc.? Why?
Barger: Currently, the majority of our suppressor sales are with the military. There has been an increase in purchasing by Law Enforcement, hunters, and home defense minded civilians. Knowledge has been spreading to an increased number of Law Enforcement agencies that suppressors offer not only an increase in officer safety by creating a tactical advantage, but also will save the department money over time by preventing payout for hearing loss caused to both officers and civilians. Hunters rarely wear hearing protection as hearing can be an important sense to utilize during a hunt. As such, a suppressor allows them to hear their surroundings as best as possible without damaging their ears when the time comes to take the shot. In the home defense market, individuals do not want to damage the hearing of themselves or their children and loved ones should an incident occur.
FFL Unleashed: For dealers introducing customers to the option of noise suppressors, it’s a discussion about adding an option that may cost as much as the firearm — or a good bit more! And then, there’s the arduous paperwork… Offer, if you would, advice on making this introduction and ultimately the sale. What supporting programs does SureFire have for its dealers?
Barger: Education is always the most important and difficult process for new customers. Although the cost of entry may be significant, once customers understand the serious benefits a suppressor provides, the difficulties are usually seen as well worthwhile. We provide educational materials to dealers upon request and point them to the NSSF website specifically designed for dealer education.
FFL Unleashed: For a gun owner who wants to learn more about noise suppression options and the process for becoming a licensed owner, what resources can you recommend?
Barger: The American Suppressor Association (ASA), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and of course the National Rifle Association (NRA) are all excellent resources for information on suppressor legality and acquisition.
FFL Unleashed: Do you foresee a day when owning and using noise suppressors is nearly as common as owning a gun?
Barger: Although the current political climate may appear discouraging, I think one day this indeed could become a reality. As mentioned before, there has been a tremendous influx in education largely in result of work by the ASA, NSSF, and NRA. In the last five years, we have seen a 300 percent compound growth in suppressor sales alone. These are all steps in the right direction and we hope to continue the forward momentum despite possible setbacks.