Dealer 001: Defender Outdoors
Dealer 001: Defender Outdoors
“Our guns are located on the counter where customers can pick them up and interact with them… and then they get to ask about it.”
SilencerCo has revived the Dealer Spotlight series an opportunity to recognize key NFA dealers and their best practices that make the silencer buying experience what it should be. Each month we will pick a SilencerCo partner that in some way has found significant success dealing our products and explain why they are successful.
Defender Outdoors is located in Fort Worth, TX, and offers a wide selection of firearms, ammunition, and shooting sports accessories to private citizens and law enforcement personnel alike. Their stated goal is to provide the best selection, price, and customer service in the industry.
“We basically built the largest indoor gun range in north Texas.”
Anyone who has been to Defender Outdoors will can agree on one thing this place is HUGE and offers everything a customer needs. The convenience of Defender Outdoors has a somewhat unconventional story behind it. We basically built the largest indoor gun range in north Texas around our retail store, which is kind of backwards in comparison to the big gun ranges with a little retail store built into it, said Will James, President of Defender Outdoors.
The largest gun range in north Texas has a lot to offer. The 43,000 square-foot facility has a total of 30 shooting lanes. There are 25-yard lanes allocated for archery and pistol training and 85-yard lanes dedicated to rifles. Aside from firearms training, the range also gives Defender Outdoors a unique approach to sell suppressors. In addition, they have a lounge, a customizable Simunition (non-lethal training ammunition) house, and a simulation (laser shot) system.
The range allows us to show each suppressor from every brand we carry, which then allows customers to choose what they like the most, said James. It is a very hands-on approach. Providing customers with the experience of shooting suppressed is far more effective than telling them they will like it.
The range isn’t the only thing that makes Defender Outdoors stand out. Their retail space is very open and inviting, with clean lines and product accessibility more like an Apple store and they have lots of product to show including many more accessories than most NFA dealers. In fact, they encourage their customers to look with their eyes and their hands. Conventional store layouts will get the job done, but an alternate, interactive retail space built around the fundamental basics of life look, touch, feel, use will always be more effective.
Our guns are located on the counter where customers can pick them up and interact with them, said Chris Baker, COO of Defender Outdoors. This is great because the ergonomics of a gun change between brands. It is the see, touch, feel; this one fits in my hands where this one doesn’t, and then they get to ask about it. Today’s buyer is a totally new generation of customers. They want to feel educated before they start speaking about it because they don’t want to feel dumb that is why all of our pistols are out and accessible. Think of the opposite: A sales associate hands you a gun from behind a glass counter, then sits there and watches you and waits for you to hand it back to him so he can help somebody else talk about pressure. Defender Outdoors also uses brand displays like the SilencerCo display with cutaway silencers to help explain to customers what is going on under the hood of firearms and/or silencers.
Defender Outdoors also spends a lot of time educating people on suppressors. To help dispel misconceptions, they host a free Suppressor 101 class regularly that is open to the public. Sometimes we get 17 people attending and sometimes we only get two, James said. But we love to do it, and it’s always worth it.
The class takes participants through the history of suppressors when they were invented, who invented them, why they were created and ends on the range where attendees can experience the shooting suppressed. When class is over, all participants are given a discount with no expiration on any suppressor purchase.
In every interaction with the Defender Outdoors team, there was a strong, recurring theme. The employees would always end up talking about customers regardless of the topic. In fact, everything they do is for their customer, and we’d bet that is a large part of why they have been so successful.
If you find yourself passing through northern Texas, be sure to stop by Defender Outdoors. In the meantime, learn more about them on their website.