Back in June, 2015, I interviewed Larry Piercy, who was about to embark on a really cool adventure traveling the U.S. with the Airguns of Arizona van. Initially, the project had four goals:
- To establish additional dealers in the Precision Airgun distribution network.
- To help existing dealerships be more successful.
- To interface with the airgunning public.
- To do some outreach to provide some relief for people in need.
Recently I spoke with Piercy, getting an update from him on the road with the AoA van in Florida.
“It’s going well,” he said. “but with a slightly different emphasis than we initially thought. We’re doing more support and education. We’ve been supporting a lot of shoots – benchrest, 10 meters, and field target. And we’ve been doing education. We went to the California duck calling championship. There were 4,500 to five thousand people there, and most had no idea that airguns have advanced to the level that they have.”
“We’re doing stuff with some of the younger kids, going to some of the ranges and opening up the van, working with different clubs and sponsors, and letting the kids shoot different guns from the van.”
Piercy has also been supporting Precision Airgun distribution network dealers. Several of the dealers are working on airgun ranges, and Piercy has been consulting with them on what kind of guns, safety and other considerations associated with setting up a range. “My NRA certified instructor and range safety office training comes into play there,” Piercy says.
He adds, “We have established some additional dealers, but not as fast as we had hoped. Everyone is amazed at the state-of-the-art in airguns, but they are typically slower to react and do something about it. Still, it is better to have one good dealer than five who are in it half-heartedly.”
“Some of the existing dealers have picked up their sales as well. Some haven’t been dealers that long, so I have been doing a lot of education,” Piercy says. “Often they want to know ‘how fast does it shoot?’ and I have to point out that fast isn’t necessarily accurate, and if you are not accurate, you are just blasting lead. A better question to ask is “How many foot-pounds will it shoot accurately?’ They also want to know how many shots a gun will deliver, and I always tell them how many good shots it will give.”
Piercy has also visited many events: the field target nationals, the US air rifle benchrest nationals, the Cajun Spring Classic, several local benchrest and ten meter events, filling tanks and sometimes repairing guns. “I found out that if you offer free tank fills, that’s like offering free food – the shooters definitely show up!”
As to helping people in need, Piercy has been handing out one-gallon zip bags stuffed with soap, toothbrushes, razors, socks, water, and other goodies. One chilly fall morning in Albuquerque, Piercy gave a bag to a gentleman who was asking for help, and as Piercy drove away, he could see in his rearview mirror the fellow wolfing down the breakfast bars and drinking the water.
The biggest surprise for Piercy is that “the general public has no idea that airguns have advanced as far as they have. Another surprise is the demand for information about airguns for nuisance wildlife control.
So far, Piercy is enjoying the project. “I’ve met a lot of nice people, seen a lot of beautiful country, and helped some airgunners and dealers along the way.”
Til next time, aim true and shoot straight.
– Jock Elliott