It really doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll go ahead and say it, this year has been more than just weird. The mood in the outdoors industry was that 2020 was looking to be a ho-hum year. There were challenges popping up in the market mixed with some good news, but overall, we and many others in the industry were ready to buckle down for a long, hard year of working towards our goals. Then, like a wheel weight getting knocked off of a tire, the whole world was out of balance.
Yes, the Corona virus, social unrest, and a white hot election year have sent ripples—no, 50 foot waves, traversing the universe. To continue with the wave analogy, it takes a long time for a wave to completely die out. But with this year, before the signature of one wave got the chance to calm down, a succession of more waves crashed down on us with frightening regularity. And those waves have not stopped or even slowed down in the slightest.
As a result, we’ve been hit hard. Yes, some things have been hard to get in to the warehouse, but for the most part, manufacturing has been steady. What hasn’t been steady is the market from the consumer end. It’s been kind of crazy, in fact. For the firearms part of the industry crazy doesn’t even begin to describe what has happened. I remember seeing on social media around June a meme that said, “Hey, can I get a discount on a gun?” and the gun dealer says you should have come in three months ago. Now you are lucky to find a gun you want, and go-buy-a-lottery-ticket-lucky if you can find the ammo for it.
Prepping for TEOTWAWKI? Add Airguns to Your Skillset
Believe it or not, demand for air rifles and replica airguns have followed the same trend. While airguns are nowhere near as flashy as their firearm counterparts, but that hasn’t stopped the cognoscenti from buying them in droves. People are thinking that TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) is at hand and that the smart prepper has keyed in on the fact that airguns are very handy for low-key and efficient harvesting of small game.
Leading the Charge with Pre-Charged Pneumatics
But it isn’t just spring powered air rifles that are selling hot, PCPs are really coming into their own in this era. People are seeing the incredible accuracy and power that PCPs are capable of. Not only this, but they are seeing the prices fall on these once extremely expensive platforms. Our Gauntlet led the charge of affordable PCPs coming in under $300 when it was released a few years back. The Gauntlet is still an incredible value and has only gotten better with age. The aftermarket has picked up on the platform and tuners are making some really slick rifles. While it was first introduced in .177 and later the .22 caliber version, it is now available in .22 and .25 calibers only. Additionally, a barrel stabilization band has been added to insure the utmost accuracy from the gun. Pick up a Gauntlet and our Superfill Hand Pump and you are good to go.
More recently we’ve added the Origin a .22 caliber PCP that is sold as a kit with a high pressure air hand pump included in the box. This rifle isn’t suited for tuning, however, there’s really not much need for it. The Origin is a rifle that performs very well out of the box. We’ve created an air tank that utilizes an internal gas ram that pre-pressurizes the tank which in turn minimizes the number of strokes needed to fully pressurize the tank. This along with the side-lever charging handle and the tried and true “Gauntlet” magazine means that for one attractive price a shooter can gain a both a PCP rifle and a way to pressurize it. This and a few tins of pellets are all that’s needed to get the bug out bag (or hunker down kit) stocked up for efficient worst case scenario survival.
Leading the Way with Class
Not to be overshadowed by the trendy PCP rifles, the RWS 3400 and 3500 series rifles are now available. For decades the RWS brand has been synonymous with quality craftsmanship and durability. What’s new with this revamped series is that the stocks are coming to us from Italy. Yes, the action and barrels are still made in Germany, but the whole package is being assemble here at our facility in Fort Smith, Arkansas. If you are the sort who like simplicity and quality, you need to take a serious look at the standard power RWS 3400 (spring or gas piston, .177 or .22 caliber) and the magnum power 3500 (spring or gas piston, .177 or .22 caliber).
Right now I’ve got my paws on the Model 3500 Gas Piston in .22 caliber and I am absolutely loving it. It makes great power and only get better the more I shoot it. Yes, it does prefer a good artillery hold for the best accuracy, but that is to be expected with a magnum springer.
At any rate, now is not the time to wait around for a good deal, even with air guns. If you wanted a really good deal, you should have bought one six months ago. That wheel is still out of balance and there are signs that the other tires are getting out of balance as well. Keep your powder dry, so to speak.
Mark Davis, avid outdoorsman, family man, and outdoors writer, is the social media specialist for Umarex USA.