The newly rebranded SENTRY Products Group has a long legacy in the firearms and sporting industry despite the new name.
In 2015, Scopecoat, a manufacturer of premium neoprene optic covers, was acquired by a group of former executives from BLACKHAWK! Products Group. That group included the former Founder, CFO and VPs of Marketing and Product Development. While Scopecoat was the start of a string of acquisitions including Sentry Solutions, Slideboot and, most recently, Hexmag, the new conglomerate was rebranded as Sentry Products Group with the tag line — Live to Protect.
Aside from the acquisition, SENTRY has continued expanding by adding product lines that include bags, packs, belts and firearm covers. It is also expanding the Hexmag line with a new Glock magazine.
Tactical Retailer had an opportunity to speak with Terry Naughton, president of SENTRY, about where the company is headed.
TR — What should dealers know about SENTRY?
Naughton – As a group, we have a tremendous amount experience in the industry in terms of structure, products and dealer account support. We understand the value of the direct relationship we have with our dealer base and work together with them to bring the right products to market. As a result, we have experienced tremendous growth over the past three years. Our dealer and distribution network grows each week and we have been successful in expanding key OEM relationships. This growth allowed us to open a new production and distribution facility in Boise, Idaho, which expanded SENTRY’s capabilities for USA manufacturing and allowed brands like Hexmag to be added seamlessly. This facility has also allowed us to create new jobs in the USA and provide faster delivery and better dealer support.
On a day-to-day basis, we understand our mission: Build the internal structure to support growth; Provide innovative products; Deliver on time and accurately; Remain customer focused. When you are adding new brands and product categories into the mix, you cannot be averse to change. Personally, evolving and growing the company has been the most fun part of the job.
TR — Why did you relaunch the company under a new brand?
Naughton – Within the first 16 months of starting the company, we had acquired three brands. A few short months later, we had four with varying levels of brand awareness. Scopecoat had been in the industry for 25 years and was well known in the OEM space, and was growing in retail distribution. Sentry Solutions is nearly 40 years in the industry with a loyal user base and was well known in collector, firearms and knife markets. Hexmag was less than five years on the market, but very well established in terms of branding and end user adoption.
The challenge was managing multiple brands and websites while leveraging advertising and marketing energy across the diverse brands. We needed to create or purchase a brand that could encompass everything. Electing to create a master brand — SENTRY — was born. In brainstorming names, we looked at the image of the sentry and it fit well with our core mission. When we combined SENTRY with “Live to Protect” it resonated with all of us and products well no matter if you were protecting your home, your family or your equipment. We have already launched multiple products in the bags, packs, belts, belt pads, pouches and firearm covers categories under the SENTRY brand name.
TR — How is Sentry Solutions different from other lubrication products?
Naughton — In a sea of gun lubes, Sentry Solution is clearly different. It’s a dry lubricant and metal protectant eliminating the problems associated with oil-based products. When a firearm is cleaned and lubricated with an oil-based product, dirt, dust and contaminants like carbon become trapped in the oil. The result is heat, friction and wear. By replacing the oil with our proven dry lubricant, the firearm runs cleaner and with better accuracy for a longer period. Sentry Solutions lube, wipes and cleaners have built a loyal following in the firearms and knife industry.
TR — What changes did you make with the Scopecoat brand?
Naughton – Scopecoat was heavily engaged in OEM manufacturing for leading optics brands, but we really wanted to develop a stronger market presence on the retail side. The first change was the packaging to make it consumer friendly. We created a new hang tag that incorporated a fit chart to allow consumers and retailers to easily select the correct product. Secondly, we moved the production from a third-party supplier to our Boise manufacturing center, giving us better quality, inventory levels and reaction time on new item development. Scopecoat can be custom screen-printed to support the retailer’s brand and is an easy upsell at retail as it provides the ultimate protection in storage, transportation and in the field. Expensive optics need a good protective cover and consumers love the idea of a simple slip-on firearm cover.
When you consider the holographic and electronic optics that have an exact fit, there are a total of eighty different fits available. With traditional hunting rifles, we can cover most of what is in the optics counter with four to five sizes. On sizes that our dealers do not carry, we are glad to drop ship direct to their customer.
TR — How do your neoprene products differ from other optic and firearm storage products on the market?
Naughton – We like the protective properties of neoprene. With the ability to form-fit to an optic, it provides exceptional coverage and withstands the elements well. As an optic cover, neoprene protects the lens against scratches, dirt and moisture. It also protects the body and turrets against damage. We expanded the idea of a Scopecoat to firearms with our Slideboot, a protective cover for the slide and sights of handguns, and our new Go Sleeve that covers the entire weapon offered in sizes from subcompact through shotgun. Compact and efficient, these are excellent options to help better organize the range bag or to protect the firearm in storage and transport. With reasonable MSRP’s both product lines make for excellent upsell opportunities at retailers.
TR — And now SENTRY has expanded the company into new brands?
Naughton – We have two channels for growth. One portion comes from acquisition and the other is organic growth. We are very acquisition-minded and our goal in the acquisition is to be a good steward for brands. Since we have invested in infrastructure and process, it is becoming easier to plug additional companies into the mix as we grow. Our organic growth through category expansion was intentional and it is the reason that Eric Yeates joined the company from the start. Eric runs our Product Development creating new products. His team is focused on design, materials and manufacturing process. We had evaluated some gaps in the market where we wanted to go early on and key dealers provided input into the products they needed. The first category expansions were bags and packs, belts and pouches and firearm covers. All of these are marketed under the SENTRY brand.
TR — How is your bag and pack line different?
Naughton – When you cut your teeth in the industry with backpacks, it was only logical to bring them into the line. We started at the top of the market to develop a pack with the Special Operations community in mind. The goal was to provide military feature sets that did not look like a traditional military pack. The challenge continues to be lighter, faster, stronger, so, it comes down to material choices balancing weight and strength. Our fabrics and finishes offer extreme weather protection in a lightweight package.
Innovations like AirFrame technology help distribute load while keeping the pack off your back, increasing air circulation and reducing heat buildup, allowing the user to perform better, longer. Our patent-pending 1080 technology is an innovative octagonal molle mounting system that allows pouches and accessories to be mounted in vertical, horizontal and diagonal orientations on the same panel. In our travel bags you get ultralight weight materials designed for extreme weather conditions. Some of the technologies developed like the 1080 mounting system and our lightweight high strength materials have also found a home on our Battle Belt and pouch systems that we developed in Spring of 2017 and have been field tested since the fall of that year. We will continue to expand this offering with new introductions at SHOT Show in 2019, so make sure to stop by to see all the new gear!
TR — How will Hexmag integrate into Sentry LTP?
Naughton — Hexmag was a great addition to the SENTRY family. They had exceptional products, a great brand following and were growing very fast. Innovations like the True Riser system, HexID color identification system, Tool-less takedown and lightweight Polyhex2 really set this product apart in the market. What we brought to the team were development resources and expanded dealer network with a fresh approach. The first new product released since the acquisition is the GLOCK 17 magazine where we incorporated a stainless-steel frame that is Thru-Molded into the polymer body. The metal frame and feed lips give users the best of both metal and polymer magazine technologies. You will see this same treatment with our next series of AR-15 mags, which should release around SHOT Show 2019. The development list grows daily with the Hexmag line as end users and manufacturers present new ideas. Along with additional magazines, we look to continue to expand this line with additional on-gun accessories.
TR — Where do you see the industry as a whole right now?
Naughton – Of course we must be realistic about the pressures and political influences on our industry. As a growing brand, we feel fortunate that our retail network is growing each week and it is getting easier for consumers to find SENTRY products at their local shop, so from my perspective the industry is doing very well. We look forward to the fall show season and SHOT Show 2019, where we have planned to launch many new products.