Brownells’ WebBench: Great News for the Shooting Sports Industry with Frank Brownell

Frank Brownell
Frank Brownell

Grinnell, IA -( Have I got some great news for you – and everybody else who loves the shooting sports!

We’ve been seeing some amazing NICS numbers come in over the summer, and it looks like they’re building into a serious trend. There is solid evidence that an all-time-high number of guns were sold in the U.S. starting with a record-setting June and continuing through August – with more than 2.6 million NICS checks performed during that time.

If you run a gun shop or gunsmithing business, this is a positive sign there are lots of potential customers who need and want your services. If you’re not on the professional side of the industry, it’s encouraging that more Americans than ever are choosing to actively exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.

If you look at the sales of new guns from the major factories, those seem to have dipped a bit. If you do some head scratching, that might indicate many of these checks are for used guns. Which should indicate that the sales in that part of the market are good. I might be taking this too far – just don’t know. What I do know, however, is that increases in NICS checks add up to a trend that’s great to see!

Another fantastic development is that the shooting sports are making a big comeback at the high school level. With many competitive shooting activities for the kids, it doesn’t matter how tall you are, how fast you can run, or how high you can jump. It’s a level playing field… shooting sports are just about the only sport where boys and girls compete with each other directly, on even terms. This is a really a great sign. It’s the one sport that is gender neutral (how’s that for politically correctspeak!)

Getting young people into the shooting sports, no matter if it involves shotguns, rifles, handguns, or even all three, is an enormously important way for us to make sure the next generation loves and values our firearms heritage and traditions as much as we do. Be sure to introduce the youngsters in your life to the safe enjoyment of guns and shooting. The good news is there are plenty of training resources to help you start young shooters on the right foot. The NRA has an excellent selection of youth training programs you can get. Go to to see the listings and pick the one you want.

As a side note, we sponsor Scholastic Clays on our company range and have six schools with active teams, five of which handle it as a letter sport in their school. When the local paper came out with pictures of all the sports teams, the biggest team by far was the Scholastic Clays team. Long rows and rows of kids competing, with the potential of getting a school letter for their sport. I think that is not only amazing, but as my daddy used to say, “It warms the cockles of my heart!”

Black Rifles Still Reign – Of course, the AR-15 continues to reign supreme as one of the most popular guns, and for all sorts of good reasons. As folks get into this modern sporting rifle, sometimes they want a little more punch and start looking at the larger, more-powerful versions chambered in .308 Winchester. Here’s a bit of AR history that not all AR fans know: even though the AR-15 in .223/5.56 is more widespread by far, the original design by Eugene Stoner was chambered in .308. So the bigger caliber actually came first!

One of our guys is a serious history nut. Roy Hill did a really nice write up explaining the origins of .308 AR rifles and how they differ from the AR-15. You can read it right here. If you’re wanting to put together a .308 AR, or already have one you want to gussy up a bit, we’ve got all the parts, tools, and accessories you need. Check our brand-new AR-15/M16/AR-Type .308 Catalog #11 coming out in a few weeks or

New Stuff At Brownells – The folks on our New Products team are always keeping an eye out for the latest, most innovative products. Here’s a sampling of what they’ve picked up recently, just to tweak your interest.

Check out the brand-new Miniature Rifle Optic, or “MRO” from Trijicon. It’s a great way to put a high-quality, lightweight red dot on your gun – and apparently, a lot of folks agree because these things are selling like hotcakes. If we’re out of stock when you click the link above, don’t worry – we have more on the way. Check back a little later or feel free to place a backorder (of course, we won’t charge you until your order ships).

We also have Viridian laser sights with nifty “Instant-On” holsters. That means the laser “knows” when you draw the gun from the holster and turns itself on, and then turns itself off when you re-holster. You never have to worry about hitting the switch as you raise the gun toward the target, only to realize the laser’s dead because you forgot to shut it off the last time you used it. What will they think of next? We’ve got them with both red lasers and green lasers, too.

For you fans of 1911s chambered in 9mm, we’ve got the brand new 10-Rd Elite Tactical Magazine from Wilson Combat. Wilson is one of the premier makers of magazines, and a lot of 1911 fans swear by them. You just cannot go wrong with their magazines. And if you haven’t tried a 1911 in 9mm, you should get your hands on one.

If you have a Remington 700, as so many bolt gun fans do, the new Hunter 700 stock from Magpul looks like a real winner. It’s aluminum-bedded and fully adjustable, with built-in M-LOK accessory mounting slots for accessories from Magpul and many other manufacturers. We’re taking pre-orders now, so get on the list.

Would you like to always have fresh drinking water at deer camp? Do you need a higher-capacity water filtration system for your emergency preparations? The Lifestraw Mission is just the thing. Hang it up, fill it with available water, and Presto Change-O! Clean, safe-to-drink water!

Make The Most Of It – As the harvest gets into full swing here in Iowa, the air grows crisp and cool, the days get shorter, and the leaves turn, it’s one of the best times of the year for folks who cherish our great American firearm traditions and hunting culture. Hunting seasons are in full swing, or just about to start all across the land, for fur and feathers alike.

Dove season has been on for about month here in Iowa, and some of our gang have bagged their limit already. Fall turkey seasons are coming up soon, and plenty of states have teal and special fall Canada goose seasons, too. Don’t forget about rabbit, squirrel, and other small game. Lots of life-long hunters start off chasing cottontails and squirrels. No matter how long you’ve hunted, there’s nothing like working a stand of timber full of squirrels with a suitably scoped .22 rifle to really freshen up your stalking skills! My dad, Bob, got proficient enough that he used only a flintlock he’d built and only took head shots. As a kid trailing along and using my .22, it became a challenge to match him squirrel for squirrel. No matter how I squeeze my memory, I can say with absolute assurance, I never beat him!

Of course, the one we’re all waiting on, deer season, is on the horizon. If you hunt out west for mulies or even elk or sheep, you may have already had your shot, so to speak. And if you want a way to get into deer hunting earlier, don’t forget about archery seasons. Remember, Brownells can outfit you with archery gear to help you put that buck mount on the wall and fresh meat in the freezer.

If you are more into shooting than hunting, it’s the perfect time to head out to the range for a round of clays, to clang that steel, or punch paper.

No matter how you celebrate our firearms freedoms – hunting, training, busting clay birds, or just plinking – now’s the time to get out there and pull triggers. The weather is beautiful, the smells are unique to the season, and it’s a way to relax like no other I can think of. And, it builds tremendous memories to carry us through what is being predicted as a miserable winter to come.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to introduce at least one new person to this wonderful world we all love so much.

About Brownells:

Serious About Firearms Since 1939, Brownells is the world’s leading source for gun parts and accessories, ammunition, gunsmithing tools, survival gear and archery. With a large selection of both common and hard-to-find items, and an extensive collection of videos, articles, and gun schematics, Brownells is the expert for everything shooting-related. Committed to maintaining our great traditions, Brownells has more, does more and knows more – and guarantees it all, Forever. Stay up-to-date with Brownells on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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