MONDAY, MAY 9, 2022

HuntStand has signed on as a sponsor of Mountain Archery Fest that will offer a free one-year HuntStand Pro membership to each paid entrant, and access to several exciting 3-D courses at five upcoming MAF events being billed as “The most complete 3-D archery events in the U.S.A.”
The Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series will enter its tenth season next year as the state’s premier weekend tournament trail for amateur bass anglers with an 11-event schedule offering more than $590,000 in awards including $10K in prize money in celebration of the tournament’s tenth anniversary.
Leupold & Stevens, Inc. announced that, in partnership with the Mule Deer Foundation and Oregon Hunters Association, it hosted the first Black-Tailed Deer Summit at the company’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., April 20-21.
Full Forge Gear, manufacturer of tactical bags, pistol & rifle cases, tool bags and other everyday life backpacks, invites all NRA members attending the 2022 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits to their booth #1947.
Dead Air Silencers announced that they will be attending the upcoming 2022 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference in Tampa from May 16th through May 19th, 2022.

- GEAR -
The Elite Survival Systems Travel Prone Tri-carry Bag is a sizable tactical duffel that provides efficient use of space and can be carried as a backpack or standard duffel with multiple carry handles. See it at the Modern Day Marine Show in Washington.
Silencer Central had the honor of welcoming South Dakota U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson to their facilities on Tuesday, May 3rd.
NSSF reports that its first Marketing and Leadership Summit, taking place May 10-12 near Austin, Texas, has received outstanding support from industry sponsoring companies.
APEX Ammunition is pleased to congratulate Rob Keck on winning the Top Gun award at this year’s Kansas Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt and placing second in the Alabama Governor’s One-Shot Turkey Hunt.

Lucid Optics announces they will be attending the 2022 Modern Day Marine Expo set for May 10-12 in Washington, D.C.
- JOBS -
Big Rock Sports, North America’s premieroutdoor sporting goods distributor, is seeking an outstanding individual to join our team as an Inside Sales Representative to manage key customers in the Midwest Region in the Shooting Sports industry. 
Leica Sport Optics has just launched their new Ballistics App, combining the best of two worlds: Leica’s 30 years of pioneering expertise in optics and rangefinding, with the global leader in ballistic applications, Applied Ballistics.
TRUGLO reintroduces its Intercept rifle scope with new features designed to give shooters a broader range of options and improved performance. The Intercept returns in its familiar 3-9x40mm optical configuration but includes a new glass-etched BTX IR duplex reticle.

Viridian Weapon Technologies announces its E-Series Green Laser Sights for the line of Taurus G-Series pistols. Products for the G-Series are now shipping.
New styles and designs in new patterns and color ways meet Kryptek’s signature hot weather technology to form the new 2022 Fishing Collection, available exclusively at Kryptek.
SCI announces the hiring of Christopher LaCivita Jr. to serve as its Digital Marketing Specialist in its Washington D.C. office.
Primary Arms Government has announced their latest monthly giveaway, which includes a Radical Firearms Blue Line AR-15 with a new SLx 1-5x24mm FFP Rifle Scope from Primary Arms Optics. Supporting Primary Arms Government’s partners, this giveaway is only open to active-duty military, veterans, and first responders, who can enter to win for free—no purchase necessary.

The June issue of North American Whitetail Magazine will be on newsstands on May 10. The issue highlights DIY hunting content, news on the 19th season of NAW TV on Sportsman Channel, as well as information on the firstr Boone and Crockett Media Summit.
Indiana DNR’s Division of Law Enforcement will host two conservation officer recruiting events on Saturday May 14, and Sunday, May 15 for District 9, which includes Rush, Fayette, Union, Decatur, Franklin, Jennings, Ripley, Dearborn, Jefferson, Switzerland, and Ohio counties.
Help document rare butterflies across Nebraska by getting trained to monitor for regal fritillaries and monarchs at one of three upcoming events.
Thousands of channel catfish from Arkansas Game and Fish Commission hatcheries are being stocked at several locations around the state, and a select few carry a “bonus prize” if you catch them.

Nine bighorn sheep from a group that were recently reintroduced into the Little Belt Mountains have died from pneumonia this spring. Others have exhibited symptoms.
On this episode of The High Road with Keith Warren, Keith takes his daughter Matti to Florida where they will be hunting invasive ducks, geese, and monster iguanas.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife has confirmed nine additional wild white-tailed deer tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease in northern Marion and southern Wyandot counties.

The first sign that SIG SAUER was on to something with their consumer-focused “Freedom Days” came even before I pulled off Carefree Highway and into the expansive Ben Avery Shooting Center in Phoenix on Friday morning. It took 25 minutes to get into the parking lot. It took another half hour to get into the actual event. And I was in the short (media) line.

At times, waiting lines were long-and slow- but they didn’t do anything to lower the mood of attendees. OWDN Photo

Once you were inside, the lines shortened considerably. That happens when you have an event scattered across the expanse of Ben Avery. There were literally hundreds of people everywhere, but the distances between shooting bays reduced the crowding.

People were queued up to try one of the many products in the SIG catalog. From their diminutive .22 caliber P322 pistol to the rifle, machine guns and ammunition that are set to become the Army’s next-generation combat weapons, every line was represented.

One pistol being sampled by an appreciative crowd hasn’t even been announced -although the curtain has very much been pulled back on their new 10mm pistols.. This “soft launch” debuted their new 10mm to a few thousand shooting enthusiasts. SIG tells me they’ll be making the formal announcement “soon.”

SIG unofficially “soft launched” their new 10mm pistols this weekend in Phoenix (top). Like all 10’s they’re a handful, but still very manageable (bottom). OWDN Photos

Freedom Days represents a shifting focus for reaching consumers. For months, SIG’s Tom Taylor has spoken about the benefits of using broadly-focused consumer outreach to reach existing/potential consumers. The efforts, however, aren’t just focused at pushing SIG products to consumers. Mossberg had partnered with SIG as “the official shotgun” and holster, knife, survival gear and apparel companies were also exhibiting. Black Rifle Coffee Company and author Jack Carr also were on hand.

“This isn’t about making money,” SIG’s Ron Cohen (SIG President & CEO) told me, “it’s all about outreach - about introducing people to shooting sports and shooters.”

“We want people who might own a gun they’ve never shot or people who only shoot once a year to come out, try new products, and get excited about shooting-and shooters,” he said, “they’ll discover that shooting sports are fun and shooters aren’t monsters, we’re just regular people.”

He also shared his first experience taking his sons shooting. “I was nervous about how they could behave there,” he reminisced, “they didn’t always get along. But on the way back, they were different. Better mannered; more attentive. On the range they learned about safety, about responsibility and about helping each other out. They came home much closer to being grown-up.”

“At the same time,” he said, “they had a great time and wanted to go shooting again.”

That’s the message SIG’s working to spread, in conjunction with the many other companies participating in Freedom Days. The carnival atmosphere was exemplified by impressive, but equally fun shooting exhibitions from Team SIG, along with the legendary Jerry Miculek running the eponymous Mossberg competition shotguns. There were also concessionaires offering a variety of food and drinks in an atmosphere that, with a little blaring music, would have been right at home in a carnival.

When three generations of a family get to try their hands on the Army’s new machine gun, it’s an occasion worth celebrating-and commemorating. It’s a memory the Fletchers will remember. Grandson Levi said the experience would “make me the only kid in my class who can raise his hand when someone asks ‘any of you ever shoot a machine gun?’” What else did he repeatedly say to everyone? “Thank you SO much!”

There was some of almost anything imaginable to be sampled, from SIG and Mossberg guns to shoot, to knives, holsters, apparel and books. Author Jack Carr and his books were a popular stop, with Carr obviously enjoying his time with his fans.

Watching Jerry and Lena Miculek, Daniel Horner and Team Captain Max Michel spend with their many fans was as impressive as watching them shoot. Unlike many other sports, we have no shortage of positive role models. Imagine better known pro athletes posing for photos and signing autographs while trying to eat a rapidly melting popsicle or a drink of water. But the Miculeks, Daniel Horner and Max Michel grabbed swallow of water and bites of food while being (frequently) interrupted by fans.

Whether being wowed by the speed and accuracy of all the pros (top) watching Daniel Horner nonchalantly pick off targets out to 400 yards (center) or waiting for their chance to get a picture to share with friends (bottom) there were enthusiastic crowds- everywhere.


Long lines formed for autographs, selfies or brief conversations after every exhibition throughout each day. Each time the shooters were smilingly obliged.

While SIG’s Cohen says the event wasn’t about making money, it certainly provided the opportunity to showcase every facet of the company. Shooting bays, for example, were manned with SIG Academy instructors. Shooters, especially new ones, were reassured via the patient coaching from some very “high-speed, low-drag” instructors who also teach the nation’s warfighters and first responders the advanced techniques of combat shooting.

So, will there be other Freedom Days? No official answer, but Cohen made a comment that may mean more events upcoming. “Sometimes,” he said, “you have to be bigger than your own business. We want to spread the SIG message, sure, but we want to let people know that it’s a great family activity, too. We have something for everyone from a new shooter to a soldier, sure, but it’s about people, too.”

Based on the response of the crowds, SIG may have tapped into something- instead of talking to customers and prospects, they created a special event designed to talk - and interact - with them. After long lockdowns and in uncertain times, there’s a comfort in that.

We’ll keep you posted.

—Jim Shepherd

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