The ‘Amazon’ of the Gun Industry Emerges

Every business has it’s ups and downs; which is certainly the case for 1-800 Guns and Ammo.

The owners Mikhail Orlov, Igor Motkin, and Alex Grigorenko are all immigrants to the USA from the former Soviet Union.

Looking for some freedom and to start a company that included all the things they loved — the outdoors, the Internet, and retailing — an idea spawned.

Mikhail, Igor and Alex launched an online retailing store for outdoor enthusiasts. The company was seeing quick demand for more products and gun sales, but they didn’t have the means to that end.

Finally, they found a solution and what is looking like the gun-lover’s very own Amazon,com.

by Mikhail Orlov, CEO, 1-800 Guns And Ammo

While our online business began growing rapidly, more and more of our local fans kept asking us to open a retail store. Our first store was less than 500 square feet. Version 2.0 grew to 800 and our most recent venture is a whopping 4,500 square feet full of a variety of firearms and ammo.

The specialty retail business, and shooting sports retailers in particular, is tough these days. Amazon.com dominates almost every single category and retail margins are shrinking.

However, e-commerce and proper approach to these channels is the key to success. One cannot fully serve customers in the local community without access to the customer base across the country. The Internet is the great equalizer. Continual investment into technology and people is what helped us navigate these turbulent waters.

Amazon,com is the gold standard of best price and service when it comes to retailing. But for political reasons, they underserve the shooting sports category, citing “reputational risk.” This is a great opportunity for us or other retailers in this space.

As of the end of 2016, 1-800 Guns and Ammo proudly employs 38 people in the U.S. and 20 more internationally. We’ve reached sales of $28 million in 2016, up from $17 million in 2015, and we are projecting sales of $36 million in 2017. We stock over 15,000 individual products from over 500 brands with access to 250,000 more through partners and distributors. 

We want to change the lives of the people around us for the better by creating opportunities in their communities. This work takes various forms. We employ several veterans of the armed forces and raise funds for local charities, like the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, and support our local law enforcement foundations, like the Arlington Police Officers Foundation. Giving back is an important aspect of who we are. 

While building a business and living out our passions is hugefor us, we try to remember why we are here and that’s to change people’s lives. 

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