Suffield, CT -(AmmoLand.com)- Over the past two decades, Savage Arms has achieved an impressive stronghold in the firearms industry. For this, the company credits one of its key initiatives: dominating niche markets.
“Whether it’s a bigger gun, faster gun or one that fulfills a specific customer need, we strive be the leader in specialty guns,” said Firearms Marketing Director Bill Dermody. “Because when you add up small chunks of a pie, you quickly get a big slice.”
An excellent example how Savage fulfills a special need in a niche market is its broad variety of left-handed firearms. A recent interview with Dermody reveals why Savage is leader in producing left-handed firearms.
Why does Savage offer so many left-handed options?
DERMODY: Specialty guns are our bread and butter and they’re great business for us. All of our product offerings made it in our catalog because they fulfill a special need. For example, lightweight predator rifles, F-Class Target rifles, a firearm that properly fits a woman—those are all special customer needs. A bolt-gun that has the bolt on the other side of the gun is a special need. It’s as simple as that.
How many left-handed firearms do you offer?
DERMODY: More than 18. We have left-handed options available throughout our product line including big game, law enforcement, target competition and predator hunting. We also offer left-handed slug shotguns and bolt-action and semi-auto rimfire rifles. To quickly see all our left-handed options, open the Gun Finder tool on our website (savagearms.com) and select “left” in the search function.
Do you have plans to offer more in the future?
DERMODY: Yes, definitely. When we release a new firearm it’s usually only in a right-handed model, but oftentimes we introduce the left-handed version in the years that follow. However, if you are a dealer looking to stock a left-handed Savage firearm, or order one for a specific customer who is looking for a left-handed model not listed in the catalog or website, just call us. Many times our special order department can build left-hand versions of any our rifles. The only limitation to this is the availability of left-handed stocks for particular rifles. Some of our right-handed rifles are built with stocks our vendor simply doesn’t have a left-handed version for. But the majority of the time, we can special build a lefty for you.
How big is the left-handed firearms market?
DERMODY: Research reports more than 10 percent of Americans are left-handed. Then there are those who are right-handed, but left-eye dominant. These hunters and shooters greatly benefit from a left-handed firearm. Sum them up and the number of potential customers spikes up significantly. Simply put, if dealers want to sell more guns, they can’t ignore this niche. That’s why we’re here to supply dependable, accurate and popular left-handed choices.
How big is the right-handed, left-eye dominant segment of the market?
DERMODY: I haven't seen any official numbers, but we know quite well these people exist. It is not uncommon for people to tell us at sports shows and through social media channels that they are right-handed yet shoot lefty. Several of our employees, plus a few outdoor writers we work with, are like this.
The right-handed, left-eye-dominant customer is interesting. When a right-handed person switches the gun to their left shoulder and uses their dominant eye to aim, they are often more accurate. Most brand new shooters test their eyes to see which shoulder they should learn to shoot from, which is great. However, it’s not uncommon for us to hear about shooters and hunters—those with years of shooting experience—deciding to sell their right-handed guns and buy a left-handed one, especially bolt-action firearms. These folks are shooting more accurately and getting more satisfaction at the range and on their hunts when using a left-handed gun.
How do left-handed shooters benefit from a left-handed gun?
DERMODY: For lefties, having a left-handed bolt gun is extremely important because it allows a fast follow-up shot. A shooter’s support hand never has to leave the forend—or their cheek leave the stock—while their trigger hand operates the bolt. Also, having the action open on the left side makes for easier loading with your left hand, and hot spent cases never fly across your face.
From the manufacturing standpoint, what makes Savage Arms the leader?
DERMODY: Becoming the left-handed leader is not an accident. Part of the genius behind our long-standing, time-proven action designs is versatility. Quite simply, our actions are easier to convert to left-handed. Many of our competitors need a completely different receiver design to convert their right-handed rifles to the left. This is time-consuming and expensive, so they often decide to opt out of the left-handed market. Not us. Both our Model 10/110 receivers and AXIS receivers have a fairly symmetrical design. Our top-tang safety is symmetrical as are bolt releases on several models. So basically it just comes down to changing the bolt assembly and machining the ejection port on the other side.
How difficult is it to make left-handed firearms in your factory?
DERMODY: We greatly benefit from operational agility at our factories. We are set up to changeover our machines to efficiently to build left-handed parts for our rifles. This allows us to manufacture small batches of left-handed guns whenever we need them—without labor-intensive and time-consuming expenses—and without messing up our planned production schedule. It’s just one of those things we are better equipped to do than most of our competitors.
Why should more dealers stock left-handed firearms?
DERMODY: For the same reason we manufacture so many: If you don’t neglect other niche segments then why neglect this one?
We love catering to left-handed shooters. And once they try a Savage rifle, we know the feeling will be mutual. Many left-handed shooters buy one gun from us and they come back for more. We sell great guns and we have an impressive variety of options left-handers are looking for. We are not going to ignore this niche and neither should our dealers.
Is there anything else you want readers to know about Savage’s left-handed guns?
DERMODY: We make specialty guns. Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes: Would you rather have a general purpose gun or one made to do exactly what you want? Just look at the many TV personalities we sponsor—they can shoot any Savage they want and we will give it to them, but they all gravitate to our specialty guns. Jackie Bushman chooses left-handed guns. Some of our other sponsored hunters choose the Compact Hunter and Long Range Hunter rifles.
Whether it is a left-handed gun or a different specialized gun—it’s the same idea: It’s a gun that fits the shooter’s needs. It’s just one of the things that keep them and all our customers happy. When they're happy, we're happy.
Savage Arms is a brand of Vista Outdoor Inc., an outdoor sports and recreation company. To learn more about Savage Arms, visit www.savagearms.com.
About Vista Outdoor
Vista Outdoor is a leading global designer, manufacturer and marketer in the growing outdoor sports and recreation markets. The company operates in two segments, Shooting Sports and Outdoor Products, and has more than 30 well-recognized brands that provide consumers with a range of performance-driven, high-quality and innovative products in the ammunition, firearms and outdoor accessories categories. Vista Outdoor products are sold at leading retailers and distributors across North America and worldwide. Vista Outdoor is headquartered in Utah and has manufacturing operations and facilities in 10 U.S. States, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Canada along with international sales and sourcing operations in Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.