The perfect solution to juggling firearm sales, regulations, and efficient business management would be a gun store POS system software that facilitates payment processing for firearms (or ancillary transactions like shooting range lane rentals and gun repairs). Such software would be a turnkey solution for FFL holders, incorporating all aspects of the sale in one place. That is where Trident1 comes into play.

The firearms industry (gun stores, shooting ranges, gunsmiths) faces some unique challenges in terms of business. There is not only the B2C relationships they must cultivate but a sizable amount of regulatory overlay that can prove quite disruptive to business owners.

This relates to gun stores, shooting ranges, gunsmiths, and even sporting goods stores that also sell guns. When selling a firearm or renting out a lane at a shooting range, there will be some bouncing back and forth between the payment processor, the inventory or experience management software, CRM, and regulatory software (such as that linked to background checks). All of this adds a layer of difficulty transcending the normal act of ringing up a sale.

Firearm Ownership in America

The sale of firearms is a booming industry that caters to a selling point deeply ingrained in American culture. For example, around 48% of all adults grew up in a gun-owning household. 

Specifically, 67% of current gun owners said they had such an upbringing, while 40% of non-gun owners made the same claim, showing that gun ownership has a propensity for generational inheritance.

Gun ownership is also fairly dispersed in terms of geographic demographics. Around 72% of rural residents grew up in a gun-owing household, and 52% of small-town residents. But 37% of suburbanites and 39% of urbanites made the same claim.

Who Are Gun Store Customers Catering To?

Among those who grew up in a gun-owning household, men are more likely than women to participate in gun-related activities. 27% of such men reported hunting often, compared to 9% of women. 13% of men reported going to a shooting range, but only 7% of women. And 42% of men reported using airsoft or paintball guns, compared to 10% of women.

But don’t let these stats fool you because women are actually the fastest-growing gun-owning demographic today. It’s a statistic so unarguably corroborated by quantitative data that even CNN had to admit it. 

In particular, minority, liberal-leaning women are becoming the most rapidly expanding group of gun enthusiasts, which may surprise some. Trends like this speak to how gun ownership is ingrained in the American consciousness. All types of people want or need firearms.

Gun stores, sporting goods retail shops, shooting ranges, and gunsmiths respond to these needs for safety, recreation, and (undeniably) freedom and independence. But gun sales have become highly regulated over the years, as layer after layer of legislation has encumbered the process of purchasing a firearm.

Without debating the pros and cons of these regulations and speaking only practically, business owners will need to deal with them. This is in addition to all the normal parts of accepting debit and credit card payments for goods and services. They need a new software solution: one that combines payment processing with inventory and regulatory requirements.

Gun Store Industry Overview

Interestingly, America has more gun stores than grocery stores. While there are 55,438 gun stores nationwide, there are 36,569 supermarkets. And if you’re wondering, there are 25,554 Subways (eat fresh), 14,098 McDonald’s, and 10,787 Starbucks.

2020, in particular, happened to be a record year for firearms sales. While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly took the spotlight, 86.6% of retailers saw a year-over-year increase in firearms sales from 2019, and 92.4% saw an increase in ammunition sales. Part of this may have been spurred by social unrest in several cities across America.

One out of three Americans report owning a gun. There is an estimated 393 million firearms in the country…more than all firearms combined in 24 other countries with the highest rates of gun ownership.

In 2020, 22 million guns were purchased. A 64% increase from 2019. States with the highest rate of gun purchases per 1,000 people included Wyoming (208), Montana (194), Alaska (193), and Alabama (187). Places with the lowest rate included Washington D.C. (just 6.5), Iowa (22), Massachusetts (26), and Nebraska (26).

However, some states with low rates were the largest sellers based on sheer numbers. For instance, California (a rate of 41 per 1,000) was tied with Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania for selling more than a million firearms apiece (1.2 million alone were sold in the Golden State).

Trident1: The All-In-One FFL Gun Store POS System

We are already several years past 2020 and the Pandemic gun purchasing surge. But gun sales are still strong. Gun store owners need a robust POS solution that can integrate sales, inventory stock levels, and compliance. If their gun-related business centers around services or experiences, they will need some asset management and workflow components as well.

That’s where Trident1 comes into play. Trident1 is a point-of-sale platform that not only offers FFL POS technology. It also provides compliance, inventory, and customer management solutions. 

After a simple data migration from your painful and costly POS system to Trident1’s a gun shop POS system, you can do everything you need to within the platform. Let’s take a look at a few of the different things that Trident1 can offer your FFL business.

Shooting Range Management

A shooting range is an indispensable facility for gun owners and 2A enthusiasts. For those who don’t hunt regularly but want to practice their marksmanship, a shooting range provides a place to do that. 

Shooting ranges are also great places to learn about handling and firing a gun safely. From the business end of things, managing a shooting range is not just about providing a place to shoot—you will also need to rent out guns to patrons who aren’t bringing them.

First, an industry overview of shooting ranges. While just around 34% of gun owners say they hunt sometimes or regularly, 52% regularly or sometimes go to a shooting range. As of 2022, the shooting range market already had a global valuation of $1.21 billion. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.85%, reaching $2.05 billion in 2029.

While shooting range end users include defense services (such as private security personnel), law enforcement, the military, and athletes, an overwhelming portion of end-users are purely recreational. Gun enthusiasts might go to a shooting range to brush up before they go hunting. They might go as a competitive group activity. Sometimes, they go just for the therapeutic benefits of shooting a firearm.

All Aspects of Shooting Range Management in One Gun Store POS System Dashboard

Trident1 Gun Range Management software brings a wide variety of functions together in one fully integrated platform. You can manage your range of activities, rentals, reservations, memberships, events, and classes all from the POS. 

So, there won’t be any jumping back and forth between your scheduling software and your payment processor or having to walk around and see which lanes are open. You can do everything in one place.

That one place is the intuitive dashboard, which reports on every aspect of the shooting range, like which lanes are vacant and which ones are occupied. You can create tiered memberships that allow for customizations like late-hours shooting, club access, and discounts.

Automated notifications can remind you about maintenance schedules, usage, and other operational requirements. Events will synch automatically with internal and website calendars so that employees and customers are on the same page.

Retail and Gun Store POS Systems

The main takeaway we want to impress on shooting range owners is that Trident1 is an all-in-one software. There is no more redundant data entry into multiple software systems. No more non-integrated accounting that has you wasting time on manual tasks. You can manage everything from payment processing to inventory to accounting to compliance in one place: the point of sale.

One immediate benefit to this type of seamlessly integrated payment gateway is the reduction of data errors. A survey found that poor data quality is behind average losses of $15 million per year. 

Granted, this data was culled from larger businesses, but the import is the same: accounting errors result in lost money. More telling, perhaps, is the fact that 60% of polled businesses had no idea bad data was costing this much, as they had no way of measuring it.

For the firearms industry, the stakes may be a little higher. That’s because regulatory issues (and fines) are also involved. Gun stores can be fined hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for violating Federal or State guidelines around storing and selling firearms. 

There are also potential pitfalls around the sales process in terms of collecting customer info, background checks, and having the right paperwork. Not everyone can get a sweetheart deal for falsifying an ATF Form 4473 (you know who we’re talking about). Gun store owners slapped with ATF violations have said that the fines were attributable to clerical errors.

Compliance, Oversight, and Accountability

That’s where the Trident1 partnership with FFLGuard and FastBound comes into play. Gun store owners will have greater transparency in every step of the firearm sales process. Your ATF-required bound book and background check processes are fully integrated with the gun store POS system. These integrations will eliminate some of the above-mentioned data entry clerical errors that can result in ATF fines.

Since 2007, the legal team at FFLGuard has provided the #1 compliance assistance program for Federal Firearms Licenses. Industry partners include Heckler & Koch, Brinks, Gearfire, and Epicor. 

These names have trusted FFLGuard to represent them with 500 years of combined legal experience. Proactive Law Plus Guidelines help gun store owners preempt potential issues based on legal precedents, professional advice, and proven experience.

Then there is Fasbound, whose compliance software product has 20,000 subscribers, issuing 50,000 digital 4473s every month. There are no special hardware requirements, as you can access the cloud-based solution from any computer, tablet, or customer smartphone. Fastbound, with its partnership with FFLGuard, offers guaranteed legal defense related to the use of its software.

Now, back to the Trident1 dashboard and hardware. Their FFL gun store POS systems also integrate Federal NCIS and multi-state background checks at the point of sale. The Trident1 securitization of data actually exceeds ATF compliance standards (based on ATF Ruling 2016-1). Extra layers of compliance assist importers, collectors, ammunition manufacturers, and pawn brokers (NFA 2, 3, 6, 8 FFL types).

Shooting Range Customer Relationship Management

Customer information input by sales reps will be automatically saved, creating potential member profiles. Prospecting for memberships and events becomes much easier when you have this saved contact information in your system. You can set reminders for expiring memberships, payment declines, and renewals.

The CRM facilitates the creation of unique member experiences. You can create monthly membership packages that incorporate discounts and VIP perks like better pricing and benefits. Membership pricing can be tiered, with add-ons for military, law enforcement, and first responders. You can also create special event pricing for unique events like women’s shooting nights, charity nights, and whatever else might benefit your community.

Sales and reporting functions are also included. Time clock, payroll, and commission reports are available through the dashboard, helping you keep track of employee activity and sales. Other reporting features include lost sales and sold and retained statistics (e.g., repeating customer acquisition). You can get nuanced details on customer demographics and membership signups, like age and single memberships versus family memberships.

Then, there is new customer processing. An easy waiver enrollment system collects customer info with fields that can be completed on a terminal, iPad, PC, or online (right from the customer’s phone). There is an RSO Brief in video form that can be pushed to any device, initiating new customers in the safety features of the range. And there are additional optional questionnaires on topics like safety.

Gunsmithing Compliance

An ATF-compliant A&D book also allows gunsmiths to collect and retain firearms for overnight repairs. The software has a standalone gunsmithing module that supports the end-to-end functionality of most jobs. From the customer end, push notifications will give them status updates, notes, and even images uploaded by technicians.

Stay on top of efficiency with performance metrics. You will see some robust reporting of how many jobs were performed (daily, weekly, monthly, annually), the average time to complete, and profitability by job type. 

Review a daily list of gunsmithing tasks and stay on track with deadlines. Create printable barcodes to attach to firearms to keep track of job assignments. Status tracking assists with identifying specific components needed for a job and which technicians would be best suited to perform it.

For technicians, an app allows them to upload pictures of the job at various points and keep you and the customer in the loop. They can relay job status to customers via text, email, or through the app, including notifying the customer that their gun is ready for pickup. Custom work templates can be created for any job—cerakoting, gun cleaning, or trigger jobs, to name a few. Serial numbers associated with guns under repair or maintenance will be used to automatically create A&D entries.

Training and Support For Trident1’s Gun Store POS System

You might be reviewing all these selling points and wondering how easy it is to start using Trident1. After all, even though Trident1 integrates various facets of business operations in the firearms industry, there are lots of different parts (payment processing, compliance, resource management). The good news is that navigating the Trident1 dashboard is facilitated by a proven and time-tested onboarding process.

Efficient onboarding facilities its payouts. 78% of companies that invested in onboarding saw revenue increases, 64% saw increases in KPIs (key performance indicators), and 54% saw increased employee engagement. Employees who know how to use a software dashboard will conduct sales more efficiently, and business will run more smoothly.

For instance, in a gun store setting, employees who are familiar with the software can efficiently manage an already compliance-heavy process from start to finish with minimal hiccups. Improved customer experience may turn into word-of-mouth marketing, bringing more foot traffic to your store. 

In another example, shooting range employees who can navigate the software will minimize mix-ups and delays. There will be significant increases in customer experience with range operations (shorter wait times, for example) and safety.

5 Easy Steps to Replace Your Gun Store POS System

Replacing your disparate systems with Trident1 is easy to accomplish in 5 easy steps: (1) subscribe and get a project initiation started, and (2) begin working with an expert project manager who will oversee configuration, customization, and current data migration. Then, you can (3) engage in staff training and testing to ensure operations will continue to run smoothly once you (4) go live with Trident1. Finally, (5) ongoing support is available in perpetuity. 

Unlike large payment aggregators, Trident1 customers have email and phone access to platform experts and account managers.

Trident1 has several options for bringing your employees up to date with training. You can schedule real-time webinar sessions or even in-person, on-site education (in a group setting). There is self-led video learning, so you can fit it into your schedule and review certain topics as needed. The platform itself also has embedded documentation that can provide quick reminders on how to use certain features.

No matter how you do it, Trident1 provides the educational tools to master the software in weeks or less (not months). 25% of onboarding takes one day or less, while 26% takes one week. 21% takes a month, and 11% takes several months. With Trident1 software and support, your gun store will certainly be in the 72% that takes less than a month to get fully acclimated.

Are Guns a High-Risk Business?

Traditional payment processors are wary of the industry and label it a high-risk industry. In turn, merchant services for gun stores, ranges, and smiths will need to be high-risk payment gateways. 

To explain a little further, high-risk businesses are those where the business itself is risky (e.g., bad credit or little payment processing history), or the industry as a whole faces potential legal, compliance, and regulatory challenges.

Guns are certainly one of those business types. That is to say, your business may have perfect credit and an established history of facilitating credit card payments with few chargebacks. But because you’re selling firearms, you’ll have a harder time getting anything outside of a high-risk merchant account.

It’s not a secret that establishment media is definitely antagonistic about gun culture, attempting to foster consumer sentiments that tie legal, law-abiding gun ownership in with crime. 

The fact is that a whopping 93% of crimes committed with a firearm are done so with an illegally obtained firearm. The vast majority of consumer gun enthusiasts are law-abiding, purchasing their firearms through a highly regulated legal process.

Unfortunately, this monumental fact does little to change the way financial institutions view gun sales. The Bill of Rights enshrines gun ownership, but laws and regulations still vary from state to state and even city to city. 

There is an ample amount of potential exposure for gun distributors to get pulled into a lawsuit. And credit card networks and banks are often weary of doing business with these types of industries.

High-Risk Payment Processing

If it makes you feel any better, they feel the same way about the cannabis industry, bail bonds, credit repair, adult entertainment, gambling, and pharmaceuticals. Some of these industries do attract crime (such as money laundering). 

Others have a variegated legal landscape across the United States. Whether it’s due to inherent risk or risk resulting from regulatory compilation, banks and card networks still call it risk.

And, like anything else in financial services, there are certain ways of hedging risk. One of them is to just not take on a business as a customer. Another is to lean the contractual terms in favor of the bank or lender. 

Risk Consequences

In this case, for payment processing, that may mean slightly higher transaction fees. It may also mean a rolling reserve requirement. A rolling reserve is when a business must keep a certain amount of cash on hand with the payment processor to cover any chargebacks (customer disputes initiated with the bank).

When it comes to payment processing, it’s good to work with a company that specifically understands your industry. They will be better appraised of the inherent risks that relate to your business and more willing to take them on than a business that isn’t. Yet, another example of why Trident1 is an excellent solution for the firearms industry.

Trident1 and their Partnered Payment Processor are Familiar with Your Industry

A quick look at Trident1 leadership will tell you that they are familiar with firearms. The CEO and COO of Trident1 are both former Navy Seals. After retiring from service, they worked in consulting and financial services. 

Bringing all these experiences together has resulted in a software platform that is perfect for gun stores, shooting ranges, smiths, and other businesses in the firearms industry. They have leveraged their direct experiences with guns, financial services, and business operations to create the perfect solution for FFL retailers.

State of the Art Hardware

One other aspect of Trident1 bears mentioning, and that is the payment processing hardware itself. Trident1 POS terminals are up to date with the latest payment technology, which includes EMV chip insertions and contactless payments. These modalities are more secure than the traditional magnetic stripe because every interaction is randomized and encrypted.

To clarify further, older POS terminals accept magstripe payments. These magnetic strips contain static information that can be skimmed with small devices installed in the card reader. EMV chips and contactless chips are different. 

They use radio waves or a physical connection to communicate randomized strings of information to the terminal. Each transaction is different, making it impossible for criminals to steal customer data.

Card skimming can occur in online stores as well, albeit in a different manner. Over 90,000 customers shopping with Rainier Arms and Numbrich Gun Parts were impacted by this type of data breach as recently as 2022. For FFL payment processing for woocommerce stores, internet payment gateways must also be fortified against theft.

Once again, this is where Trident1 comes into play. In states where online gun sales are legal, Trident1 may be able to provide secure online payment processing to gun store owners. For shooting ranges that take reservations online, Trident1 payment processing can also integrate with asset management (e.g., lane rentals) all in the same platform.

Trident1 Gun Store POS System Recap:

Trident1 is a gun store POS system specifically designed with FFL business in mind. It was created by Jake Newbold, CEO of a retired Navy Seals whose post-service experiences in finance and business management were joined to their firsthand knowledge of firearms. 

This type of system will prove a huge boon to FFL retailers like gun stores, shooting ranges, and gunsmiths. They go beyond the average scope that a mediocre POS system for sporting goods stores would. To learn more about what Trident1 can do for you, schedule a free demo. 

(We can link to the Trident1 contact form or ECS and automate email forwarding.)