Why Is The 1911 So Great?
This is probably going to be one of the first questions you’re asked by your retail customers looking at a wide array of less-expensive polymer pistols in your display case. As a retailer, you should probably first determine if your potential customer is going to be a serious shooter or a buy-it-and-leave-it-in-the-safe type. If he wants to be a serious defense shooter and is going to get smart on the operation of the 1911 pistol, then by all means explain the merits of the 1911.
The pointability of the pistol speaks for itself when someone handles the gun. The muzzle generally points where the shooter points due to its grip angle. The single-action trigger pull is the same, first time, every time. There is no grip shifting required due to the pistol starting in a double-action mode then changing to a single-action pull for subsequent shots. There are multiple levels of mechanical safety on the 1911 pistol, including a manual thumb safety. The manual thumb safety can be a life-saver in a gun grab or wrestling-type situation.
Many of the more modern pistols are simply point-and-pull pistols, meaning the gun can be fired by even untrained assailants who are successful in getting their hands on your pistol. And when it comes to durability, a high-quality steel 1911 pistol shooting standard velocity cartridges and receiving basic maintenance will generally fire hundreds of thousands of rounds without frame fracture.
One of the next questions your potential 1911 customer will ask is what brand should they buy? There are so many 1911 manufacturers in the market today that this can be a difficult question to answer.
There are the-well known, large-production brand names. There are midsized production operations making semi-custom pistols. There are high-end 1911 specialists who make ultra-detailed pistols, and there are companies that make junk. If you want to maintain a long-term customer base, you are better off making your sales recommendations based upon quality and long-term reliability rather than the higher profit margin that some companies offer to the retailer. The more experience you have with 1911s, the better recommendations you can provide.
Get to know your customers and their expected use for a 1911 and you will be able to advise them best.
The 1911 accessory world has become a business of its own. If you have a wide variety of 1911-shooting customers, from defense to optic competition, you might serve them best by stocking a full range of accessories. How deep you want to go depends on the level of 1911 experience your store has. You can be assured that if you sell a product, there will be a customer asking you to install it for them. If you don’t have the installation capability in your shop and you can’t refer them to a highly skilled 1911 gunsmith, then it is probably best not to stock certain “gunsmithing required” accessory items.
If you offer full-service gunsmithing in your store or have a referral source for accessory installs, then the 1911 accessory market is wide open for your business.
Today the 1911 market for your retail store can be what you want it to be. It all depends on your motivation to learn and experience what makes the 1911 a timeless and popular design.