Keith Higginbotham, The President of Gamo Outdoor USA, Talks To HAM – Part Two.
In this second part of HAM’s latest Executive Interview, Gamo Outdoor USA President Keith Higginbotham talks to HAM Published Stephen Archer about airgun product strategy and more…
Hard Air Magazine: Keith, I think the ProshotID system is a great idea! Can you tell readers more about the concept and the ways in which it aids airgun shooters?
Keith Higginbotham: It’s so simple. Blue is for target and competition, red is for pest control and plinking, and green is for hunting. We wanted to make it that simple for consumers to immediately identify the right air rifle for them, and then redesigned the packaging as a guide.
Most of our guns fall into the red and green categories (you’d need to add another 0 to the end of the price tag to get a true “competition” air rifle). We make fun, effective air rifles at a reasonable price. We want the buying experience to be as easy as possible.
The Proshot ID system is applied to Gamo pellet packaging as the photograph below shows.
Hard Air Magazine: BSA Airguns in the U.K. has long been part of Gamo. BSA makes some excellent PCP air rifles, yet they don’t seem to be very widely appreciated in the USA. Are there any plans to increase the profile of BSA airguns in the US?
Keith Higginbotham: Yes, BSA is widely respected as the maker of accurate and powerful pneumatic air rifles in the U.K. and other parts of the world, and we do see PCP growing here in the US.
Many companies are creating larger caliber PCPs and there are five states that allow them to be used for deer-sized big game. I think that trend will continue to gain steam, and in turn the interest in PCP air rifles and BSA will grow.
BSA Optics are already gaining a foothold and will open that door for the rifles.
A range of BSA air rifles are shown at the 2017 IWA show, below.
Hard Air Magazine: Gamo air rifles have long been market leaders for muzzle velocity. Gamo was also an early provider of silencers on mass market air rifles. And the company was also a pioneer in the “black synthetic stock” look for air rifles. What do you think is the “next frontier” for air rifles and how will Gamo participate?
Keith Higginbotham: We will continue to push the envelope with velocities and noise reduction advancements. We also are working hard on all of the other difficulties break barrel air rifles pose. We are nowhere near the end of our capabilities as far as innovation goes.
Below we see a view inside the vast Daisy/Gamo warehouse in Rogers, AR.
Hard Air Magazine: Gamo manufactures the vast majority of its airgun products in Spain. Can you tell us something of the size and core competencies in that manufacturing center?
Keith Higginbotham: It’s 50,000 square feet and its core competencies include in-house Research and Development, as well as manufacturing.
We have a lot of experience in the automobile industries and have adopted many best-practices from those teams.
Also, our Green Initiative has been strong. We’ve redefined the bluing process to be far cleaner, and we make wood pellets for heating from the shavings that come off during the manufacture of our wood stocks.
Those are just two examples, but we’re leading the way toward being more earth-friendly.
Hard Air Magazine: Some readers may not know that Gamo sells more products than just airguns and pellets. Can you tell us about the other parts of your business? (archery, flashlights, scopes etc).
Keith Higginbotham: Our US sales will continue to be dominated by air rifles, air pistols and pellets, but is complimented with accessories like cleaning kits, scopes and mounts, cool targets and such.
Hard Air Magazine: What do you see as the future direction for Daisy airguns?
Keith Higginbotham: We have an advantage no one else has – Daisy is the No. 1 youth airgun brand in the world, and Gamo is No. 1 when it comes to adult precision airguns. We introduce them to shooting and graduate them on up.
No matter who you are, either Gamo or Daisy has a product that fits your needs!
Daisy will continue to produce the youth guns the world has grown up with. As far as a first gun goes, I think tradition demands we don’t mess with the Red Ryder, Model 10 and the Powerline series of BB/Pellet guns.
Will we make additions? Sure we will. But shooting, more than anything else I can think of, is a special family thing and it’s important that your son or daughter or grandson or granddaughter take their first shots with the same kind of gun you did.
Hard Air Magazine: Can we expect to see any new product announcements from Gamo at the SHOT Show in January?
Keith Higginbotham: You can bet on it, Steve. But I’m not telling you what they are!
You know, for shooters in the USA, more important than new products is battling the misconception that airguns are not “real” guns. Many hold onto the attitude that air rifles are for youth and not much good for anything but plinking, but Gamo is changing all that.
Gamo gives adults exciting, fun and effective performance at an inexpensive price tag. They’re real guns, whether you want to target shoot, eliminate pests or hunt small game.
Hard Air Magazine: Keith, thanks for talking to me and all Hard Air Magazine readers. I look forward to seeing you again at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas!
Keith Higginbotham: Likewise Steve, I’ll see you there. It won’t be long now…