Battenfeld Technologies has been credited with a reliable organisation to produce ground-breaking, innovative products that become instant hits in shooting and hunting. Stan Piecha reports…
Battenfeld Technologies appears to have the Midas touch whenever it comes up with a new idea – or a way of vastly improving existing items on the market – and have it manufactured under one of its core brands, which include Caldwell Shooting Supplies, Wheeler Engineering, Frankford Arsenal Reloading Tools, Tipton Gun Cleaning Supplies, Lockdown Vault Accessories and the recently launched Non-Typical Wildlife Solutions.
Through its various brands, covering everything from reloading to heavy-duty steel targets and rifle rests to must-have vault accessories, Battenfeld has been able to stay at the very top in various sectors of the gun trade.
This has all been achieved thanks to a combination of great vision from its highly advanced Product Development Process, smart yet aggressive advertising campaigns and outstanding packaging as well as customers knowing they are buying some of the finest-quality goods available.
The company operates out of a state-of-the-art 77,000 sq ft facility in Columbia, Missouri, USA, where it engineers many of the products with the latest tooling and technology while managing an extensive network of component sub-suppliers to support its diverse mix of goods.
Battenfeld was originally a division of MidwayUSA, owned by the Potterfield family, but was spun out into a stand-alone entity in 2000.
Earlier this year that entity was acquired by Clearview Capital – a private equity group based in Connecticut – and members of Battenfeld’s management team, who have a vast experience and passion for shooting sports.
Jim Gianladis, Battenfeld’s vice-president of products and marketing, told Gun Trade World: “We are really excited about the direction of the company and the growth opportunities ahead.
“Battenfeld has a longstanding history of not only expanding within its core categories but also launching entirely new brands in adjacent market segments.
“We remain passionately dedicated to building innovative high-quality shooting accessories and supporting our dealers with top-notch customer service and a very aggressive advertising campaign.
“Our belief is that it takes multiple elements to achieve great results. You have to have high-quality, high-value products that shooters want and you have to make it easy and profitable for retailers to meet demand.
“We combine innovative, attractively packaged products with a very aggressive advertising and marketing campaign that creates the demand to pull products off the shelves. In today’s digital world of customer product review and social media, demand for great products is rapidly accelerating.
“It is also important to listen to consumer views so we not only improve existing products but use their input when it comes to developing new ones.
“But I believe the best product strategy is one that brings together an intuition of how customers will react to products with a vision of truly unique solutions to the challenges they face in the pursuit of the activities they are passionate about. If you want to be on the cutting edge you must build what customers want… BEFORE they even know they want it!”
Leading the charge
One of its greatest innovations has been the Caldwell Lead Sled family of recoil-reducing shooting rests, which totally changed the market thanks to the benefit of eradicating recoil from the shooting equation, which means shooters can focus on crosshair alignment and a clean trigger pull, a concept developed by the company’s avid shooters and engineers.
It also presented Battenfeld with a great slogan: “No Recoil, No Flinch… No Excuses.”
Although most competitive shooting disciplines ban Lead Sleds’ front and rear-support device, its Fire Control Front Rest is legal and, earlier this year, Chad Jenkins set an IBS 4-target Light Gun record with a 600-yard aggregate group of 1.495 inches with that model.
The advertising footage that surrounded the Lead Sled rests showed potential customers that not just were they watching the launch of a new product, but that a piece of revolutionary technology was now available to them. The commercial depicted the amazing recoil reduction in action with a highly visual demonstration of a wine glass and an egg placed between the Lead Sled and the shooter’s shoulder – both remaining intact after the rifle had been fired.
Battenfeld can take pride in producing items that are not only appealing to hunters but also to ‘plinkers’, as witnessed by the variety of targets it manufactures.
Jim revealed: “Across our multiple brands we have products that appeal to hunters and shooters alike. We have found success in taking our expertise in accessories designed for the shooting range and developing products that deliver the same accuracy to hunters in the field.
“We design targets that are fun and interactive to shoot but we also have the best targets available for developing long-range shooting skills with high-calibre rifles. Our Caldwell Kill Zone Gong is constructed of AR-550 steel designed to withstand the heaviest centrefire magnum rifles and simulates the vital zone of a large game animal.”
Its venture into accessories for gun safes and cabinets under the Lockdown Brand has enjoyed phenomenal success and was devised after identifying several gaps in the market.
It knew no vault manufacturer had a comprehensive line of accessories and those that were available were poorly packaged and not merchandised well. Most internal accessories were not universally compatible with most brands despite a growing demand for vaults. It solved all the shortfalls with the launch of Lockdown, now regarded as the most comprehensive line of accessories.
Jim added: “We tend to look at the bigger picture when developing products and brands. We focus on not only making the products better but also solving challenges for the retailers so they are successful in bringing the goods to the consumers. That is why we are not surprised at the success Lockdown has enjoyed.
“Our fastest-growing category in 2012 is our line of Wheeler Delta Series Tools, which enhance the process of building, cleaning and servicing the modern sporting rifle.
“The long-range accuracy of today’s firearms is greater than it has ever been and we help shooters build and maintain their system in a way that achieves the maximum accuracy potential.
“Tipton has really dominated the demand for high-end gun-cleaning accessories. Our key to success is that we tend to home in on the niche categories that allow us to really use our abilities to innovate. We tend to beat the competition when it comes to conceiving better solutions and providing better features as can be seen in our gun vices.”
On the horizon
Jim is the brains behind the company’s Non-Typical Wildlife brand launched this year, saying: “I have used electric fence systems for several years to help get maximum performance from my food plots. I can’t take credit for the concept but I saw some key elements that were missing from products on the market.
“No-one had been able to offer a complete, affordable kit in one box, ready to install. So we did just that and the Non-Typical Wildlife brand and the Hot Zone Deer Exclosure System gives everything a customer needs – except the battery – for under $500.”
Battenfeld is a company totally geared to continuing to provide innovative products and it believes that the 33 new items – ranging across all its brands – will cause a few ripples in the industry when they are unveiled at the 2013 SHOT Show.
And if that’s not enough to keep the trade talking, it also plans – for the first time – to bring out additional items during a mid-year launch.
Little wonder everyone at Battenfeld is excited about the future of this go-ahead company.
Battenfeld Technologies Inc
T: +1 573 445 9200