Pyramyd Air’s CEO Val Gamerman Talks To Hard Air Magazine – Part Two
In this latest exclusive Hard Air Magazine Executive Interview, Val Gamerman, the CEO of Pyramyd Air, talks to HAM Publisher Stephen Archer.
Our meeting was at the 2018 Pyramyd Air Cup in Ohio in September. There was so much to talk about that we had to divide the discussion into two parts.
In the first part, we talked mainly about Pyramyd Air as a company. For the second part of our conversation we move more into a discussion of market trends and futures…
HAM: Pyramyd Air is a founder member of the Airgun Sporting Association (ASA). What are the benefits?
Val Gamerman: The ASA is important; and – by the way – this is the third time in my memory in the past 15 years that such an association has been formed!
This time though, I believe it’s better funded and has Mitch King – a great and knowledgeable person leading it. The ASA allows industry to combine efforts in promoting and growing our sport – particularly airgun hunting at the moment, but many more things are coming.
Without the ASA we will be relegated back to having a few separate conversations with a specific state on, new hunting regulations, (e.g. one by Crosman, one by Umarex, one by Pyramyd Air, one by AirForce, one by Sig Sauer, and so forth) instead of one. I expect the ASA will do great things for the industry in the coming years.
HAM: How does Air Venturi fit with Pyramyd Air?
Val Gamerman: Air Venturi was born from Pyramyd Air, and while it enjoys some synergies, it has its own staff and Leadership Team. Our biggest job on the Pyramyd Air side is to not show any favoritism and treat all products based on their merits. I think we are doing just that…
Air Venturi’s job is to help get as many airgun dealers to be as large and as successful as possible, which of course creates competition for Pyramyd Air. But that’s a welcome competition!
HAM: Let’s talk about the overall airgun market in the USA. Do you see airgun sales increasing or decreasing year-over-year?
Val Gamerman: If you look at the number of units sold they are stale or low single digit growth over the last three years. There’s no doubt the airgun industry has been impacted negatively by the abundance of firearms and the glut in sales of firearms.
HAM: How about PCPs. Do you their sales overtaking break barrels?
Val Gamerman: Not overtaking, but they will definitely grow more in future.
HAM: There’s lots of hype about big bore air rifles. But are they a significant part of the market yet?
Val Gamerman: Not yet. Hopefully within 3-5 years as state level hunting legislations are passed, that will change.
HAM: CO2-powered firearms replicas are making many sales. Who buys them?
Val Gamerman: People who enjoy shooting guns and don’t have time to go to the range. I am one of those!
By the time I get home, it’s dark. Weekends are family time, and I find maybe just a few times per year when I can go to a range. My basement mini range is perfect for being able to find some trigger time even if it’s just 20 minutes, it’s on my time, when it’s convenient for me and it’s quiet enough that I am not waking up my family 🙂
HAM: What are the most popular airgun calibers today: 177, 22 or 25 cal?
Val Gamerman: In big box stores, it’s still .177 caliber. Their buyers (the employees responsible for buying airguns) in those categories are really behind the trends.
Online, it’s .22 – partially due to our efforts, as .22 has more applications and we promote that on our side.
HAM: Are “airbows” a real growth driver in the airgun market?
Val Gamerman: Not really. Their job is to extend the use of airguns for larger game hunting. They do play a role and hopefully that role will increase.
HAM: Are extended warranties a real sales driver?
Val Gamerman: There are always consumers that look for piece of mind. As a consumer, I expect product to last a certain time. Your intended frequency of use is what will dictate either you will be willing to pay a higher price for longer warranty…
HAM: Do you see low cost HPA compressors as the next big sales driver?
Val Gamerman: I see it as a way to help grow PCP segment. Unfortunately tariffs will put some strain on the affordability factor of compressors (and probably airguns) down the road as many compressor developments are taking place in China.
HAM: What do you see as the impact of Turkish devaluation and economic troubles?
Val Gamerman: I can only speculate because it’s not just economic but also political. Due to their currency valuation Turkish manufactures are extremely competitive as is. However due to the political situation in Turkey, it’s tough to make any kind of a prediction on what the future of Turkish made airguns will be in the USA.
HAM: Do you think China trade sanctions will extend to airguns?
Val Gamerman: Most likely. They just did into compressors!
HAM: Val, thanks for answering these questions in such a clear and open manner. It’s been great to talk to you again.
Val Gamerman: I’ve enjoyed it Steve. See you again soon!
Thanks to Justin Crutchley of Pyramyd Air for taking the photographs.