National Shooting Sports Month — Get Involved!

National Shooting Sports Month is coming up in August. Is your shop ready to participate?

National Shooting Sports Month — Get Involved!

Throughout August, our industry will celebrate the shooting sports during the 4th annual National Shooting Sports Month. This month is all about getting new people introduced to the shooting sports and showing them how safe and enjoyable they are.

This is a chance to focus on your community — reaching out to people beyond your regular customer base and letting others see the value in your business and the resources you offer them. The best part is that how you get involved is limited only by your imagination.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Get to Know Us Open House

Pick a Saturday, put some hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill outside, and encourage your regular customers to bring someone new with them to see what firearms and target shooting are all about.

Seeing staff handle firearms responsibly and talk about them intelligently can go a long way toward easing apprehensions people unfamiliar with firearms often have — and can help spark the curiosity that turns them into customers.

Community Safety Day

Do you offer firearms safety and handling classes? That’s great for people looking for that kind of instruction.

But what if you had a day devoted to all sorts of safety classes such as first aid, CPR certifications, emergency preparedness for extreme weather events, hiking trail safety and wilderness survival? Instructional offerings like these draw in people from all walks of life to your store. Add to that a few officers from the local police or sheriff’s department to give some youth safety presentations, or hold a “Have Your Fire Extinguisher Checked Free Today” event with the local fire chief, and now entire families have an excuse to visit your store.

Such events show people that you are truly invested in the community, and they give exposure to your store and your services to many who might otherwise have never thought to pay you a visit.


Non-Gun Promotions

As a firearm retailer, you naturally carry all sorts of inventory beyond firearms and ammunition. Take a look at some of your non-gun inventory and think about how that might appeal to someone who might not realize you stock and service those products.

You probably have at least one counter devoted to knives, for instance. Offering a free knife-sharpening service or a “Buy a New Knife and We’ll Sharpen Your Favorite Kitchen Knife Free” promotion during August would be a super way to see all sorts of new customers. How about your binocular case? A special sale advertised to backyard bird watchers, high school sports team parents or the area hiking club would be another smart way to drive new traffic to your store.

This is truly a think-outside-the-box promotion — thinking outside your box as a retailer primarily of firearms. The truth is, you have products and services that appeal to a wide variety of people. Get them in your store for those products and services and you have your best chance of turning them into firearms customers as well.


Charity Events

Gun owners are some of the most charitable people around and letting other people know that is a great way to turn heads. But while national and global causes are sure to gather attention from the general public and are, therefore, certainly worth your time to consider, if you really want to seize the attention of the people in your community pick a charity important to you and your neighbors.

You could hold a canned-goods drive for your local food kitchen and offer a gift certificate, free firearms safety class or a coupon good for a discount on other instruction to anyone who brings in more than 10 items. Such an arrangement gets people into your store who, again, might otherwise not visit. It gives them a chance to see the good your business does, and by offering a spiff (gift certificate/free class/coupon) for participating, your staff has an unprecedented opportunity to do more than say “Thanks for dropping off that can of beans.”

For ranges, charity shoots are a no-brainer. They’re also a spectacular way to get new people involved in the shooting sports when that charity or cause has wide appeal locally. Animal shelters, public parks, hiking trails and other recreational spaces, scholarships for the area high school’s top graduates, even the local library, community center and boys’ and girls’ clubs are things that your neighbors and your neighbors’ neighbors can get behind.

While that common cause is a great starting point, it may not be quite enough to get someone who doesn’t know anything about firearms to your store or range. This is where you’ll want to get your current customers on board with NSSF’s +ONE Movement, which is all about having experienced shooters introduce someone new to the shooting sports.

Your customer who has the “I Love My Rescue Dog” sticker on their car window? Yup, they’re your best choice for inviting all the other rescue dog people they know to your .22 fun shoot raising money for the local animal shelter. All those regulars who wear “Fighting Badgers!” sweatshirts in diehard support of the scrappy but underfunded high school football team? A “Shoot for the Goal Posts” sporting clays tournament with the proceeds going to purchase new helmets and jerseys for the team could be the ticket for doubling your customer base. And the husband and wife with the two foster kids? You can bet they’d bring a few minivans full of likeminded folks to your Steel Challenge shoot that raises funds for a new afterschool program for underprivileged children at the community center.

The list could go on and on. The key to success is knowing your customers, knowing what’s going on in their lives beyond your store, and then putting that knowledge to work in a way that appeals to people outside your core customer base.


NSSF’s Resources Boost Your Customer Participation

We mentioned NSSF’s +ONE Movement above. To help build the strength of this initiative, NSSF has created a number of resources to help your retail store or range promote the movement both year-round and in conjunction with National Shooting Sports Month. +ONE resources (found at and National Shooting Sports Month resources (found at include:

  • Banners, Posters, Gun Mats and Tent Cards — Retailers and ranges can display these on countertops, store and clubhouse walls and other high-visibility, high-traffic customer areas.
  • Selfie Frames — The selfie is as popular as ever, and new retail and range customers using +ONE and National Shooting Sports Month selfie frames and posting to social media help spread the word to other non-shooters about how inclusive and enjoyable the shooting sports are. Remember to have your customers use the #PlusOneMovement and #LetsGoShooting hashtags when they post their selfies to all their social media platforms.
  • Online Marketing Toolkit — A collection of free, downloadable +ONE logos, branding activation guides, scripted social media posts, digital ads, public service announcements and professionally photographed range and hunting images for use in marketing and social media communications.
  • +ONE Stickers and Challenge Coins — exclusive to the +ONE toolkit, these mementos of a great day at the range or in the field can go a long way toward encouraging return activity. Give the stickers to those who’ve had a great first time on your range or taken their first firearms safety class, while also rewarding mentors who’ve taken the time to pay it forward with NSSF’s special +ONE Challenge coins.

Grab Your Swag

When you create an event for National Shooting Sports Month, the first thing you’ll want to do is list it on the national calendar at There’s no limit; list as many events as you wish.

Once you do that, NSSF will send you a collection of National Shooting Sports Month T-shirts and ballcaps — great for giveaways as door prizes, for match or tournament participants, any way you can think to reward your customers for visiting your business.

For more information on National Shooting Sports Month, NSSF’s +ONE Movement and how your store or range can get involved, contact Ann Gamauf, NSSF Retail & Range Business Development Coordinator, at or 203-426-1320 ext. 247. She has lots of ideas to help you host a successful event and guidance on making the most of NSSF’s free resources.


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