Author Topic: An interesting Read from The Suarez Group on reflections from SHOT  (Read 2702 times)

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the following is from an email from  I subscribe to the feed.  Gabe Suarez talks about the future of firearms in America from his contact with CEO's at SHOT show.

well worth your time to read.

"So I just got back to HQ. I was at SHOT with the XO and GM since Monday. We usually don't go to the media shoot as I do not care for organized ranges unless I am running them so we did not go to that event. But the rest....

The state of the industry seems to be one of "getting ready for a big fight". SHOT attendees can be categorized into three groups. You have the "Gun Show Crowd" that gets in via some sort of skullduggery stretching of the truth. They are not really in the business of buying anything and either run some mom-and-pop shops or are in some volunteer church security gig and thus get in for the purpose of oogle things and clogging the aisles. Next you have the "Badass Crowd". They are there to show everyone how bad they are by wearing shirts two sizes too small and showing off their hard looks and cool-killer handling of guns on other people's exhibits. Finally, you have the business people. They tend to wear suits and expensive watches and move from one back room deal to another. It is in this last group that we move in, and it is in this last group that the real info flows.

On Monday there was palpable stress. We usually schedule most of our meeting then so we can allocate one day to follow up and one day to look for up and coming stuff. The feeling Monday was that there would be a big fight coming this year. The big guys were not worried about EOs (executive orders) they knew the limits of those having consulted with their attorneys beforehand. Perhaps someone should have shared that with that guy in Tennessee before he made that video, but back to the points.

The EOs did nothing and many guys were surprised that there was not some sort of import restriction on ammo or guns. The real fight will be in the legislature, but before anyone lights their victory cigar, the movers and shakers are not lighting anything. Let me restate that...the CEOs of companies that make the Suarez Group look like a lemonade stand are NOT CELEBRATING, they are doing as follows:

They have pared down their offerings to the easiest to makes/easiest to sell. SIG for example has pared down their rifle offerings in 2013 to the following: 516, 716, 556R, and M400. Period. We have some other stuff on order and will get it, but don't expect to see anything else. They really do not know if SHOT 2014 will have ANY military rifles. And that is from the guys that have access to info and people that few do.

Expect in the next few weeks....WEEKS NOT MONTHS...production to catch up on most rifles..and magazines. But do not expect prices to drop. Prices are not only set at the manufacturer level, but at the distributor and dealer levels. The closer one is to the manufacturer, the fewer people step on the price, which is why we have been able to offer SIGs at half the gun show prices. But eventually market forces change those things.

I saw M4s everywhere. Every other booth almsot. SI will by the requirements of market forces have to take a stronger look at the M4. Likes and dislikes do not have a place in this market. By the same token, AKs were rare. We saw them at Wolf, Arsenal, IO and Century, but nothing at all new and interesting. In fact, the ONLY new thing we saw was the VEPR 12, but it is heavy and long and with only magazines made by the "salvation army crowd" it will not prevail in a quality-seeking market. We did stop by Fabrika Broni...the Poles trying to sell their expensive old rifles last year. Few were taking a second look this year and the men in the booth looked bored. Sorry...but I predicted this mid last year.

The notable rifles of the show - The Tavor (God willing they will get here before the left manages to make anything happen), the Beretta ARX - this one was uber impressive and could make the SCAR system look antiquated by comparison. The Czech rifles...I forget the designation, but they are slated only for Mil-Pol uses. The SIG SMG...the MPX. Very nice. They have no plans to any pistols of any long barreled stuff, but there will be SBRs. As with most NFA things...not for those on a budget.

Optics - I spent some time looking at the Browe optics. Hmmmmm. Most everything else was the same as what we saw last year. Nothing new.

There were a few interesting products, but they all share hard challenges bringing them to market and I will not give the impression I approve or disapprove of them. I have seen in the past that my comments seem to affect things like the Fed's expressions affect the DOW, so I shall remain quiet until I see more.

As usual...lots of nylon, lots of flashlights, lots of clever-camo. Same pistols as last year. Only notable one was the S&W MP with the red dots. Incidentally, the only red dots that cowitnessed with this were the Delta Points and RMR. TSD will probably reposition to offer more guns and more red dots as well since we made some very good agreements at SHOT. I still like the RMR, but Leupold tells me they have been doing some testing, and well....more later.

Missing conspicuosly - militia type stuff...loud gun people...1776 stuff...take back America stuff...Ted Nugent (at least I didn't see him), "I'ma sturt killin peeple" type guys. Security was far more present than I recall last year. Not oppressive, but more present if you are used to looking for such things.

My suggestions based on what I saw. If you want something, get it now. I see many FFLs getting out of the business in the coming year. There was talk of "coming crackdowns", etc. Me, I believe it. That means fewer places to buy guns and more money to get them.

What to get? You cannot go wrong with a high end M4. I have said that an M4 is more reliable than the AK crowd says it is, just as a good AK is more accurate than the M4 crowd gives it credit for. Market forces demand I take a harder look at the M4. When we arrive at our conclusions, it will likely give the traditional M4-mafia-world a testicular rupture, but we will wait for that happy moment.

My own purchases in the past month have included four top tier M4s from Noveske, Knights, Daniel defense, and SIG. I already have plenty of 7.62x39s including two 556Rs. As well, M4 and AK-47 magazines will be like gold. I did set aside a handful of billet lowers for some special projects. I would not bother much with 5.45 as a GOTO any longer nor as an investment, but others may disagree. Whatever.

I committed deeply to M4 platform rifles, M4 receivers, M4 magazines and other rifles that accept them such as Tavors, and FS2000 (although they will be in limited numbers).

I spoke with several ammo makers and they are committed to taking over the 7.62x39 market in ammo. This could be the best thing that happens to this caliber by the way. Steyr had the AUG (I call it "AWG" like "dawg" and don't care if someone doesn't like it), but they had nobody there that wanted to touch it, nor knew anything about it. It was almsot as if they were apologetic for it being there in the first a pedophile cousin that must sit at the Christmas table but nobody really wants him there.

I also saw many "tactical" focused companies begin to dabble in the sporting field...meaning they anticipate that "the tactical" will probably not be a viable market soon. When you see a multi-million dollar tactical company beging to focus on non-tactical, it is clear what they are seeing down the road.

Bottom lines - this sh*t ain't over by a long shot and the forces of darkness have a great deal of capital...both financial and political. And my view...if the force of good were that organized and that powerful, how on earth did they allow him to get re-elected? After three days of in depth meetings and 16 hour days, I am not very optimistic about the future of the black rifle in America, but I could be totally wrong.

Gabe Suarez

God - Family - Tribe
That Is Where Loyalty Lies
And Those Are The Only Things
I will Fight, Kill, or Die For"

Offline backwoods_engineer

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Re: An interesting Read from The Suarez Group on reflections from SHOT
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 05:57:12 PM »
A very interesting missive.  But business always tries to adjust for trends conservatively, and I hope they are wrong on a nationwide crackdown on M4 platform stuff.

Offline Chemsoldier

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Re: An interesting Read from The Suarez Group on reflections from SHOT
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 06:48:13 PM »
I dont see it.  There is no money in the sporting rifle market compared to the tactical rifle market.  While companies may make sure they have options outside of the tactical market that is to keep from going out of business, it isnt a money maker.

Ummm...did he really expect to see a bunch of fringy political/militia type stuff at a trade show?  This isnt a run of the mill gun show.  These are manufacturers and distributors networking sharing what they have and talking to gun media, professional trigger pullers and so on.

Wait wait wait...SI is known as a bunch of AK fanboys.  Now they are going to have a look at the AR style platform?  Come on.  Its the most popular rifle line in the US.  Think you are behind the power curve?  You wanna talk about afraid of being put out of business?  SI caters to AK users and advocate the AK platform.  But the AR can only be stopped by congress.  The AK can effectively become a null platform by Executive Order with import restrictions that could make it and its accessories at least as or likely much more expensive than the AR.  Yeah I bet the popularity of the M4 are having you take a look at it... 

Oh and not carrying for organized ranges unless you are running  Its a chance to shoot new product.  You are a member of the industry communicating with all of us who didnt go to SHOT and you didnt test the new hardware because you weren't feeling it?  What, do you prefer unorganized ranges when you are not the one running it?

*EDIT* I have attended an SI class, even learned from it, quite a bit in fact.  But something about the vibe off the instructor and the dedicated students (the ones that followed the courses all over the place), rubbed me the wrong way and I suppose it colors my views.  This post comes off pretty harsh and I regret it, a little.  Glad to get Mr. Suarez's take on shot even if I am critical.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 07:06:47 PM by Chemsoldier »

Offline chrisdfw

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Re: An interesting Read from The Suarez Group on reflections from SHOT
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 09:05:28 PM »
Actually they have been pushing non-ak stuff for a while, notably the SIG rifles, and more recently anything else they can get their hands on.

I think the view is that now is not the time to be picky. But they are a business, one of their more recent ventures has been their own line of AR magazines, which was coming long before this recent gun control talk.

I wouldn't call myself a follower, I am just a fan of red dot sight pistols, and they do a good job on that. Other than that, they are another source for info, but I wouldn't listen to their views to the exclusion of others as I suspect others on their forum might

Offline PistolWhipped

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Re: An interesting Read from The Suarez Group on reflections from SHOT
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 09:33:42 PM »
Chris beat me to it.  Gabe never did keep to the "Sacred cows" of the gun world. 

They pushed the AK when it was the most affordable/reliable combo in town.  Since parts kits are drying up, it was no longer providing the price to performance ratio it had in the past.  So they expanded into other systems, with SIG rifles, bullpups (FS2000, and AUG), pistol-caliber carbines (Uzi), and PTR rifles being high on their list.

Also, they really pushed the red dot on pistols into the civilian/CCW/EDC arena.  They were mostly sporting accessories before, but SI helped push the concept to prominence, then went out and proved it worked better.

I respect SI for what they do.  They push the envelope, they are always looking for better ways to do things, not resting on their laurels.  But Gabe is a businessman.  He's always looking to sell a product.  He'll have a harder time selling you something you already own.  Like all things, take it with a grain of salt.

Offline The Professor

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Re: An interesting Read from The Suarez Group on reflections from SHOT
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 10:46:36 PM »
I really want to pick this apart, and I think I'm able to do so with over 10 years of experience as one of those CEO types in a firearms manufacturing firm. 

Suarez is speaking from the perspective of a trainer.  He teaches people to shoot things.  They buy his courses, his books and his videos . . . and some other stuff.  I find it hilarious that he breaks SHOT show attendees into three categories. . .into which category does he fall?  Oh, wait. . .he's the CEO crowd.  Yeah, that's it.  He rubs elbows with people such as Peter Simon, Laurie Aronson, Lew Danielson, or Dennis Reese at events other than dinners and photo ops.  I'm sure he's sat in many, many meetings with David Keene, Larry Craig, Sandy Froman, Manny Fernandez, et al.

His insistence that production will be caught up in "WEEKS NOT MONTHS" is bullsh**.  His insider knowledge is listening to the exact same people the dealers are listening to: Salesmen and Production managers whose jobs are to make sure money keeps rolling in.

  Let me give you an example:  At the Ellett Brothers show which took place a week before SHOT, they did about $850,000,000.00 in orders over one weekend.  (Yes, you read that right. . .over THREE QUARTERS OF A BILLION DOLLARS).  And that event was limited to 2,500 Ellett Brothers Dealers.  Imagine how much was ordered at the SHOT Show which expected an attendance in excess of 60,000 dealers.  Federal and Hornady already have their production running three, non-stop shifts and don't expect to meet current orders until 2015.  That's YEARS, not WEEKS.

As a salesperson, do you really want to tell the people who are paying your check (gun dealers, through their purchases) that it's going to be a year or more before they catch up to existing orders?  Or, are you going to tell them that it's a matter of only a few weeks, perhaps a couple of months. . .right now. . .before they'll get their ordered products?

They're going to do the latter, because those dealers will just go to the next salesperson and ask the same question.  They will place the orders with whomever tells them the shortest time.

And, as to the conspicuously missing militia types. . .again, I call Horsesh**.  With the exception of the past three years, I have attended SHOT Shows from 1994 on.  In all those years, I don't think I've ever seen anything resembling a large (or even small) representation of "militia types."  About the closest thing I've seen is the dozen black latex-clad Lara-Croft Lookalikes with the mini-boom-boxes velcroed on their taut, little tuckuses announcing "Follow me to the Taser booth!"

While I'm aware that Suarez is an opinionated self-promoter (he has to be), I find some of his observations to be insulting.  Either an attendee is a wanna-be dealer, a wanna-be badass or a top-tier CEO. 

Well, perhaps that's all he sees.  After all, a gundealer has little or no interest in what Suarez has to offer.  So, they're immediately looked down upon as a "wannabe."

After all, don't we all want to sport kewl gear and the latest in Tactical Chic clothing while staring, glinty-eyed over an AK47 from behind our Oakleys?

Me?  I'm gonna go put on my 5.11's, grab my FrankenRifle and go flex in front of the mirror a bit.

The Professor
(who wishes his shirt was just a bit tighter, right now)