Building a thriving gun club community, 3 lessons with Matthew Fleischer of Ron’s Guns

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with Matthew Fleischer of Ron’s Guns as Matthew delves into the intricacies of running a flourishing enterprise. Gain valuable insights into operational management, regulatory challenges, and community involvement. Join us as we explore the strategic maneuvers and entrepreneurial spirit driving the success of gun clubs.

Insights In This Episode

  • In Connecticut, gun enthusiasts face challenges from anti-gun legislation, prompting advocacy efforts by Matthew and others.
  • Matthew emphasizes the importance of firearms safety and proper training to prevent accidents.
  • The cultural significance and ethical considerations associated with hunting, beyond mere sport.
  • Auctions provide opportunities for buying and selling firearms, with careful research essential for making informed decisions.
  • Expertise in firearms, including historical knowledge and market trends, is crucial for successful gun business operations.

About Tactical Business

Tactical Business is the weekly business show for the firearms industry. The podcast features in-depth interviews with the entrepreneurs, professionals and technologists who are enabling the next generation of firearms businesses to innovate and grow.

Episode Transcript

Wade: Welcome to the Tactical Business Show. I’m your host, Virginia Beach based firearms entrepreneur and copywriter Wade Skalsky. Each episode will be exploring what it takes to thrive as a business owner in the firearms industry. We’ll speak with successful firearms industry entrepreneurs about their experiences building their companies, leaders and legislators who are shaping the industry, and tech executives whose innovations will reshape the future of the firearms industry. Let’s get after it. Welcome to the Tactical Business Podcast. I am your host, Wade Skalsky. And today I am talking with Matthew Fleischer, a man of many talents. And we have a lot of things to talk about. Matthew, how are you doing today, sir?

Matthew: I’m doing great, sir. How are you?

Wade: I’m doing good. I want to start with what you got up on the wall. And I think that would be a natural because I misidentified it. What? It was because I was like, oh, that’s cool. So what is that up on your wall up there, man? That’s a sweet. What?

Matthew: What’s right behind me there is a a water buck that I shot in Botswana, Africa.

Wade: I’d love to talk a little bit about conservation and hunting, because the thing that I don’t like is when, like on social media, you’ll have these people who they’ll they’ll pile on certain hunters who will do like show hunt or whatever, and then but they don’t understand the conservation aspects of it. They don’t understand the money it brings to the local, the local areas. And a lot of those in those countries, they depend upon a lot of that, a lot of that income. Yes.

Matthew: That’s correct. Especially like in some of those countries, it’s what brings the people. There’s no doubt when we paid a lot of money to go there, it was a great place to go when we were in Botswana. And again, it’s about conservation. It’s not like they go in there and kill all the animals. They go in there and kill selective animals that they feel are trophies. And in Africa, sir, nothing is wasted. Zero. They eat every part of every animal.

Wade: Well, and there are a lot of water buffalo too, right? So like it’s not. This is a.

Matthew: Water buck, not a water…

Wade: Buck. Sorry. Yeah. Water Buck. Yeah.

Matthew: No game. There is very a lot there’s mucho game there. There’s no doubt hunting. There’s you have to keep the herd in check. You don’t want them to get to a position where there is no browse for them to eat.

Wade: Well, and that’s what people don’t understand, is that if you ever want to be horrified, take a look at a mismanaged deer population that’s just wasting away because it doesn’t have enough food or it doesn’t. It has just too many. There’s just too many of them or whatever. And so I think when we have sportsmen like you and who are really into the conservation, we’re going to talk about that in a second. It’s very important for people to understand that, that hunting is a part of the ecosystem, and without that part of the ecosystem, there’s going to be some problems in that geographical area.

Matthew: That’s correct.

Wade: So let’s talk a little bit about your let’s talk first about the Niantic Sportsman Club, which you’ve been the president of for. Is it 17 years? I think we’re.

Matthew: Saying 17 years. That’s correct.

Wade: So that’s you put some time in there. So everything there is to know about it. How did you come to that place? What is it about? I know you guys got a waiting list. Walk me through a little bit. That whole journey for you.

Matthew: Obviously, I’m a shooter. I’m a rifle shooter. Have been for years. It’s my. It goes with my hunting. I’ve hunted all over the world. I’ve been to Africa. I’ve been to Alaska all over the northern continent, hunting different animals. So that’s where my love for it is. And then it became, well, I’m a business owner, I’m a manager. And I took the club over and started managing it like a business to bring it to life. And we have I have a great team of executive board guys over there. They help me manage everything and it’s it’s a great facility. Everyone that’s a member likes being there. We have an outdoor range out to 200 yards. We have an outdoor pistol range. We have ski fields, we have an indoor range. We have a big hall that we can put like 275 people in. Then during Covid, we did a $600,000 renovation. We had a small kitchen and a small bar. We blew it out, made it really nice. So it gets a lot of use by the members. Yeah.

Wade: And and something like that. It’s almost like it’s almost like a country club. But instead of golf, it’s guns. Correct? Community context. I can see why that would be. Words are important for the messaging for sure. Okay. So you’ve done that for 17 years. Before that. What kind of brought you into shooting? Did you grow up hunting? Are you from the northeast? That’s where you’re from right now originally. How did you get into firearms just to begin with?

Matthew: Same as you. My 13th birthday, I got a shotgun and we were into deer hunting and squirrel hunting and shooting in the field. And then as I became older, I got involved with the club. I’ve been there a long time and that’s really where I got my start. It’s been a love ever since then. As I got older and a little bit more money, I got a little bit more expensive equipment and definitely into precision shooting.

Wade: Yeah, well, that’s a rabbit hole in and of itself. That’s the one nice thing about guns is that there’s so much depth to it, whatever you like. So if it’s I don’t know if you’re an AK guy, you can go deep on AKS. If you want to go more on precision shooting, you can do that. And I know that when we were talking as well, is that you have a gun store that’s pretty well known throughout the country. Walk me through a little bit about that. How did that come to be? What is your guys’s philosophy over there?

Matthew: Yeah. So in this last year, I bought a gun store called Ron’s Guns. So Ron owned the gun shop. He started it in 1973, in his house here in East Lyme. And then there was a bunch of years where he traveled around the country going to different gun shows, very big into Winchester’s Marlins. A lot of the older stuff, just a wealth of knowledge. When about ten years ago, I approached him about when he got ready to sell the gun shop. I’d love to own it and carry on its legacy, which is what we agreed to. And in this final year, we finally got it done. And unfortunately, he passed in November right after we got the deal done. But we’re going to carry on the legacy. I have a partner in the business. It’s actually his son, so rando still is part of the deal. That’s what it is. Ron Rando and I think it’s going to be a great marriage and carries on the legacy.

Wade: One of the biggest things that I think is important for people to understand is the sort of the institutional on the business side, the importance of institutes like an institutional carry on like that. It’s the same as the heritage side for families, right? It’s important for guns and gun owners that to pass this information along to the next generation. It’s important for these things to continue on, because that history is one of the things that makes firearms so approachable.

Matthew: I would agree with that 100%.

Wade: And I think we need to convert as many people as we possibly can into that. It’s you don’t need to be afraid of firearms. You don’t need to. The more about them the I’ve rarely meet anyone that the more they learn about firearms that the less the more turned off they get by them. Right? It’s an inverse relationship in that way, correct?

Matthew: The more people train and handle them, the more comfortable they become with them. You know what? You can’t have complacency. They are dangerous. You have to be very careful with them when you got to follow the rules. And it’s that simple. But it’s no different to me than driving a car. A car can be dangerous if you don’t know how to drive a car and you’re doing the wrong things, it can be dangerous also. So it’s all about training and spending the time with the firearms.

Wade: Yeah, it’s like on Harleys, right? Like the most times that people get in accidents on Harleys. Is that like whatever, like 10,000 miles or whatever because they get super comfortable. They get too comfortable. They forget like, no, you’re actually on a motorcycle and you have to be as treated with the respect that the motorcycle deserves. And then they get through that phase and then they if they make it through that phase and it comes back around. So I think that’s true for a lot of different things, not just firearms. So now you’re in northeastern Connecticut. I actually don’t know if I’ve ever even talked to anyone from Connecticut. So what is the culture like up there? I’m sure it’s like a strong hunting culture, but is it more like bird hunting or deer hunting or kind of what’s the gun culture up there?

Matthew: Both were stuck in the middle here. We’re definitely bird hunters. There’s a lot of skeet shooters, a lot of sporting shooting. But unfortunately for us in Connecticut, there’s a lot of anti hunters anti-gunners we fight with them all the time. Our government is constantly trying to pass laws that take our guns away. That’s something that we deal with really every single day.

Wade: And do you guys do any outreach to the Sportsmen’s Club or in terms of the for the the gun shop, it’s like, how do you guys deal with that? And from a political level?

Matthew: Yeah, I think we do outreach. I know I’ve opened up the gun club many times to the legislators or to anyone that wants to come right down to this past year. I sat and had a meeting with the governor because I wanted him to hear our side. And unfortunately for us, he doesn’t know much about us as gun people, I’ll say, because we’re not there chirping in his ear because we just do our own thing. We want to be left alone. And that mentality is not going to work. We need to get involved. And I’ve said that to a lot of people, a lot of political people that I know that less gun guys got to start getting more involved. Otherwise we’re just going to get run over. That’s reality.

Wade: Well. And I think you hit the nail on the head. I think you said something really a very profound truth, right? Is that I would say, and the gun community is not a monolith. Okay. So firearms is is very deep in a lot of different directions. But I would say that the majority of people in the firearms industry and hunters and shooters alike, just want to be left alone, right? It’s like they just we just want to do our own thing. We want to become proficient at whatever our firearm of choice is. If like you, you like to do precision shooting. So if it’s a handgun. But that used to work when the country valued what we were all about. Right. Like if you look at pictures of back in the like to say the 40s and the 50s and the 30s people would be its middle school in PE, they would be shooting, everybody would be shooting a gun. When I was in North Dakota, everybody. And this wasn’t that long ago either. It’s like I’m 51. So everybody had a gun rack in their truck, right? And that was just the culture. But that was spread across the country. But now, as the people who are anti-gun, they’re chipping away at those things. We can’t have that same sort of like, hey, we just have to leave us alone. I think it’s almost a responsibility for everyone to get involved.

Matthew: I would agree with that. And that’s what I’m pressing my people to do. I say my people, the club guys, I preach it all the time. Get involved. You have to open up and say something. You’ve got to defend yourself. You shouldn’t have to. What you do in the culture of today, you definitely do.

Wade: What are some ways that you think some practical ways that people can do that? Because I think the media and a lot of people who are on the other side, they’re just waiting to put people into a box, right? Like, oh, you’re a crazy gun person, right?

Matthew: So in Connecticut, we have an organization called the CCL, Connecticut Citizens Defense League. It’s a nonprofit. You don’t have to pay to be a member. But it’s about numbers. And they basically are like a group of men and women that lobby, that go and we fight against the bills, and you put in testimony and you call your state reps and you do all these things along with they actually this year hired a lobbyist who I happened to be friends with. And I talked to her probably once a week, if not three times a week, about things that need to get said and who needs to say it. And again, we got to start getting involved. They’re just going to take them away from us. Like you said, they’re going to put us in a box and I don’t want to be in that box. I want to be left alone, but I want to be able to do what I want to do. Yeah.

Wade: And I think one of the reasons why we are where we are is because we and I’ll say this for myself, I can’t speak for other people. Right. But I know for myself as and this just isn’t limited to firearms. I think it’s where the culture is. I just took it for granted. I was like, I’m going to go live my life when I grew up. It was this way. And it will say that I don’t have to do anything for things to stay this way. I’m going to just leave me alone. Let me raise my two kids, let me do what I want to do. And unfortunately, that was on my part, a mistake. Because now the people that I used to think were super insane and crazy 20 years ago, 25 years ago, those people didn’t do that. They went into the institutions they went into to try to make change for what they wanted. And now that’s where I think we find where we are, where we are right now. And I think it’s and it doesn’t have to be major either. It’s like I think you said it very correctly. It’s like it’s just numbers, right? It’s like if you can just be a part of something and be a number, add to that number. Then when we have a giant number of people, then we start to get leverage.

Matthew: Right where they can say, hey, we represent 45,000 people in the state of Connecticut, which to me is a very small number. There’s, uh, 3.75 million people, I think, in Connecticut, and there’s over 400,000 people with permits. So in Connecticut you have to have a pistol permit even to buy ammunition. You can go get an ammo card, but if you’re going to get the ammo card, you might as well sit for a class and get a pistol permit. So if you have a pistol permit, you can buy a pistol, you can buy a long gun, or you can buy ammo. So there’s over 400,000 people, and only 10% of them are part of a group that’s fighting for their for their rights. But yet without them, we would have lost a lot of battles already. So you can’t. There’s only 10% in Connecticut.

Wade: You can’t buy ammunition without a card.

Matthew: No.

Wade: You can’t really. You have to. Like, if you buy it online, it has to be delivered like you have to.

Matthew: Send your you have to send a copy your pistol permit to whoever you’re buying it online from. I didn’t know.

Wade: That. Like like I said, I’ve never talked to anybody from Connecticut. I didn’t know that. That’s even worse in California because at least in California, I lived in California for I was in Los Angeles for like 16 years. And and I was like, man, these the gun, obviously the gun culture there, it’s changing a little bit, but it’s very high level of regulation. But I didn’t know that. Like, so do you have to do you have to like send your ammo to an FFL or they’ll sent to your house, but you just have to send them to.

Matthew: Your house as long as you have a pistol permit.

Wade: Right? That’s great. That’s not right. Obviously I’m going to think that way, but. And is it getting worse in Connecticut? Is the pressure continuing that you’re seeing or is it leveled out, or is it something where it’s like every year it’s a fight.

Matthew: Every year it’s a fight. It’s and again, the Cddl is fighting for us every year up there at the legislator trying to have. Conversations with them to get them to get rid of this, get rid of that. If they had their way, they’d take away all our guns. They’d close every gun shop in the state. When I went there and told the governor, I said, you know, you’ve got to stop doing this. We’re good business people, and the good guys with guns are not the problem. We’re not out shooting the place up. We’re not doing the shootings at midnight, 2:00 in the morning and all these cities. It’s not us. But yet you want to attack us because everyone thinks that makes it better, or that it’s that’s going to solve the problem. Well, it’s not. It doesn’t.

Wade: And I think if you look at this, the stats licensed gun owners are way lower for crime than everybody, every other group, it doesn’t matter.

Matthew: So as an example, a friend of mine’s father in law died. I went to Massachusetts to get his guns, to get the father’s guns, to give them to the son. I had to go up there with my FFL show that I was an FFL and all my credentials. The chief of police gave me this guy’s guns. So now I could bring them back to Connecticut and I could legally sign them out to him in Connecticut, which is what everybody wanted. So in having a conversation with this police chief, he said he’s been in policing for 32 years. He said in 32 years, he’s never not once had an issue with a legal gun guy with a gun, if that makes sense. In other words, maybe they got in trouble for something else, but they always gave them the respect and said, listen, I have guns. I have a permit. Let’s put that aside. Deal with it how we have to deal with it. But let’s deal with the problem. But beyond that, never had an issue with gun people. And there’s a guy I don’t even know and the conversation just came up. So it’s like the gun guys are not the problem. Well, I just realizing it. I used to.

Wade: Be in law enforcement in terms of on the prosecution side. Right. So like I wasn’t a police officer, but I was a prosecutor and I can tell you is as my time as a prosecutor and doing that kind of work for a long time, I never, ever saw anybody like a concealed carry. I never had a case with anybody that had a gun with concealed carry, ever.

Matthew: That’s another rabbit hole you and I can go down because, like in Connecticut, here’s one of my big bones of contention. And I brought it to the governor. I said, if you do a crime in the state of Connecticut with a firearm, it’s a mandatory five years for the firearm. Now it’s the crime on top of that. So let’s say you rob a bank and it’s five years for a firearm and five years for robbing the bank. You have a ten year sentence and the prosecutors don’t do it. They don’t do it. I brought him a list, probably 1800 cases. And now I’m going to tell you maybe a couple of them are prosecuted. Most of them were not plead or plead it out like the prosecutors didn’t want to deal with the gun problem. So it’s like. Don’t want to hear it on my side.

Wade: Yeah, well. And that’s I saw that in California a little bit when I moved to California in like, the early 2000. It was a gun. Crimes. If you use a gun in commission of a crime, it’s ten. It’s a ten year enhancement. Ten years. Right. And they were pretty liberal about their liberal and like using that like meaning they use it a lot. Right. And so when I was there but then as the next say 15 years I left California in 2019, it started to soften a little bit. So I don’t know what they’re doing there now because I don’t do that kind of work anymore. But yeah, but people are surprised. They’re like, they had it backwards. We’re going to regulate the we’re going to we’re going to try to regulate the the people who want to comply with the law. But then we’re going to have less of the hammers for people that use firearms in commission, like who thinks that’s going to work, right. Because I don’t think it’s about working. I don’t think that’s what it’s about at all. And no.

Matthew: I don’t think so either. I think it’s just the way it is around here anyway.

Wade: Well, but it’s not just limited to Connecticut. Like you would be shocked like I. So I wrote a and this really opened my eyes in the political sides. I wrote a bill that would to give expungement relief for victims of human trafficking. Right. And I was like, oh, this is gonna be a slam dunk. Everyone’s gonna be in favor of this. Who’s not against human trafficking, right? Victims of human trafficking. And I through that experience, I got the bill sponsored and it went through the whole process. And I was shocked at it. It got opposition. And so I think the one thing to bring it back to our conversation is, is that people need to understand is that just because you think something is fair or right or the Second Amendment right, it has to be fought for. It’s not. There are other people who are going to oppose us just because no matter what we do. And so it must be fought for peacefully and through the process. And I think it’s important that every gun owner realize that.

Matthew: Sure. But again, that’s why we have the CDL in Connecticut and we support them at the club. And my club guys, I’m constantly on a call, have a relationship with your state rep, which I do, and my Congress guy, I have relationships with them. I don’t necessarily like them, but I have relationships with them. Call them up and say, listen, you got to vote against that. We’re not for that. We help you get elected. You got to look out for us. So we try, that’s for sure.

Wade: Do you is it your experience up there that on the hunting side of things that that your, your organization or your club or just being a hunter in general, that the hunters are dialed in with the the management people or the management people in your experience, just out to lunch, right? Because I know in some states the hunters know more than management people. Right? And they’re yeah.

Matthew: I’d say we’re somewhat dialed in with them. We do have a very liberal hunting process. Like years ago, you had to register your deer and take it to a check station. Now you just go online and you just post up that you shot a deer, and they’ll send you a book at the end of the year if you want. But it’s pretty liberal. We have a pretty good population of deer here. And again, we had a very mild winter again this year, so the population will double again. And that’s what happened. We shoot some deer, but not as many as you would think. Like again, this past year we had a mild winter so there was plenty of food. So the deer aren’t, you know, moving around. A lot of them don’t get shot. That’s what happens. They hunker down and they don’t have to move for food. So that’s what I saw this year. Yeah.

Wade: And but it’s funny though because there’s that disconnect then. So it’s it doesn’t seem to they’re trying to regulate the hunting as much. Right. But then they have the issue with regards to the scary guns. Right. Like the Ars or the the handguns. Right. Because oh, those are the scary guns. But people don’t understand guns. It’s like it’s the same thing. It’s just it’s I don’t know. Right.

Matthew: So this year, as part of one of the reasons I went to go see the governor, they put a law in effect seven where the state of Connecticut classified guns as assault weapons. They came up with their own definition, which to me is anti two.a. Like, who are they to decide what how a weapon is going to be classified or a gun? And they did it and now they’ve come out with there’s a mandatory registration. Once again they did it in 2014 and now they’re doing it again. Now where you have until the end of May or to the beginning of May, somewhere in May, they have to be registered again. It’s like they know we have them. They say they’re not supposed to keep a list, but I can go right on the internet right now, put my name in on a certain website and the whole list of guns come up that I’ve ever bought, sold or possessed. But yet now they want me to register my assault weapons for whatever reason.

Wade: Well, but if you take an AR, if you have an AR and you have a Ruger 1022, so the same mechanism, it’s the same. It’s the exact same mechanism. It’s not. So it’s just one just looks one just looks scary. It’s like but it’s the same. It’s the same thing.

Matthew: Right. But you can make the the the non scary one look exactly the same as the scary one. And you can make the scary one look exactly the same as the non scary one right. Change all the configurations. Right. But what they did do in this state though is they didn’t go after many fourteens. Like, not on the list. And 22 caliber. Not on the list in the caliber ized it. And went after specific guns by name.

Wade: Well, and I think part of the reason that they’re doing that is because then the lawsuits. Right. So with someone, when some yehu uses an AR or something or they use a Glock or whatever, then they’re like, okay, cool, we can sue Glock now, right? Or they’re setting the precedent for that.

Matthew: But when the drunk drivers take Ford or the Chevy or the GM, they don’t. They don’t go after them. They kill people. They kill people every day in this state.

Wade: Oh well, yeah. Well, I’m like I said, as my past life, I was a lawyer. Right. So the legal theories that are being used right now, I’ve got to make sure that I don’t use a curse word or use something that’s offensive. They’re just dumb. They’re just dumb. They’re not legally sound. Right. And here’s the thing, too, is that I think the goal is just to make everything expensive. Even if you say to yourself, all right, we want to regulate these guns, we’re going to do this law. We know it’s not going to. It might not pass muster, but you’re going to have people pay money to go through the whole process. Right. Like these lobbying organizations are going to have to someone’s going to have to defend it, and then you could win. But even if you lose, you’re draining the resources. And that’s this constant pressure. And I think to kind of bring it back around. I think what you said, though, you said a couple things have been really good, but the one thing it said is just the numbers. It’s like politicians only understand money and power. And so if you come to them and you say, hey, we have 400,000 people that are in this organization, or half of them, right? 200,000. That’s a lot of people in Connecticut. And I think that’s what I think. What you’re doing is so great, would be out encouraging people in the club to do outreach, encourage. And then do you guys do what kind of training do you guys do over there? Do you guys do any trainings over at the club or at the ranges or.

Matthew: No, mostly private guys do the training. There’s training available for people if they want it. Actually, a friend of mine just opened up an indoor range just up the street from us, and he’s going to start doing a lot more training. That’s something that we talked about even through the gun shop. Any new purchase of a handgun through a handful of gun shops, he’s going to give people 50% off training if they want to go and do a little bit more, because like in Connecticut, you take an eight hour class, you get your pistol permit. Now you can walk into my gun shop and you can buy a gun and you can put it on your hip and off you go. And there’s no, no requirement to do any training beyond that, which is great. But if people aren’t trained to not train is to train to fail. That’s awful.

Wade: Well, 100%. And you just have to start putting bullets down range. Understand, there’s a lot more to a gun than just pointing in a direction and pulling the trigger and making it go bang. Right. So it’s it’s again, we come back to that depth scenario, which is you can go as deep as you want on guns. It sounds like California, which you guys have to do out there, because in Virginia, the two nice things about Virginia is I can just walk into a gun shop and just buy it. I don’t need to be licensed or they run you right to make sure you’re not a felon. But. Right.

Matthew: They run your driver’s license.

Wade: Yeah, exactly. And then, like, concealed carry is pretty easy. We’re not a constitutional carry state, so we have to actually get you have to go through a class and do all that for concealed carry. But it’s for six years or 5 or 6 years. So it’s nice. It’s like a long time. And then the second thing it’s nice down here is you can’t spit and not hit a Special Forces person for training. Every single human being here has either been in the Special forces or the army or the right. So there’s so much training that’s available down here, which is nice. And Connecticut, you guys have, I’m sure like more along the hunting lines of training. You probably have some guys out there too. Yeah. This episode is brought to you by Every few years, it seems large banks and national credit card processors suddenly decide that they no longer want to process payments for firearms and firearms related businesses, and so they drop these businesses with almost no notice, freezing tens of thousands of dollars in payments for months on end. If you want to ensure your partner with a payments provider that is dedicated to supporting the firearms industry, or you just want to find out if you could be paying less for your ACH, debit and credit card processing, visit Again, that’s What’s the plans going forward? Right. Like what is the next five years? Look for you. If I was to force you to put it down on paper and say, Matthew. All right, man, you got the Sportsman Club, you got the gun store, you got some. Do you have any big hunting trips coming up, like on the bucket list or kind of. What’s next?

Matthew: Yeah, actually I do. So this year my manager for the gun shop is happens to be my wife’s first cousin, and he’s running the gun shop for me. And this past year, so 2023, I took him and his son on their first deer hunting trip. Again. I’ve hunted all over for years and years. I hunted in North Carolina with my father, who was older before he passed because it was easy. Temperature wise. It doesn’t get really cold there, so he could sit for a while in the stands. So I actually took those guys. I hadn’t been there a couple years. I took those guys. We went to North Carolina, so they got the opportunity both of them to shoot their first year or two. And then so Josh, that’s my wife’s first cousin, says, let’s go shoot. A moose loves to eat moose. So this year we’re going to North Carolina. Deer hunting in November. And then in December we’re driving up to Newfoundland to go moose hunting.

Wade: I was like, yeah, you don’t have a moose in Connecticut, do you?

Matthew: We do. Actually, they just started migrating into the northern part of the state. Yes. Can you hunt.

Wade: Them though, or are there. No. Yeah, yeah. They’re not gonna let you do that.

Matthew: Back in 2005, I shot a 45 inch bull in Maine that weighed £950. I’ve killed a big bull moose.

Wade: Do you take it somewhere to have a butcher dress it, or do you do that yourself?

Matthew: Yeah, yeah. You know, I had.

Wade: £900.

Matthew: Up there.

Wade: Yeah. That’s like twice as big as a cow. Yeah. How much meat did you get off of that?

Matthew: Oh a lot.

Wade: You were trying to give everyone a moose meat for like, oh, like a year and a half. Like eat some moose. Yeah, yeah.

Matthew: I brought it to the club and gave it away. And then I donated a bunch to the game dinner, so it got eaten up. Is it good? Yeah, I’ve never had. It’s probably the best, really. I’ll be the best out of all the game I’ve ever eaten.

Wade: And then how does it is it? And hunting it? Is it just like hunting deer, you’re just in a blind and you’re waiting for it? Or do you.

Matthew: Have. Yeah, most of the time it’s spot and stalk. And believe it or not, you can call them a bull. Moose will come to a call. That’s how we did it in Maine.

Wade: What would you say the benefits of hunting are? So like, I’ve got a five year old son and a seven year old daughter, and so I’m definitely going to bring them up with firearms. And but for let’s say that I didn’t have hunting in my background right at all. But I was like, okay, so I maybe I want to teach my son to hunt. Maybe I want to learn to hunt. What would you say are the benefits for someone to get into hunting?

Matthew: The first thing I’m going to say, something that we talked about a little bit earlier, Wade, was it’s about conservation. Hunters are conservationists. No matter how anyone looks at it. We’re about the species. We’re about the habitat. We don’t go in the woods and throw garbage everywhere. We try to keep our footprint as small as we can so that we don’t disturb their habitat. We like to harvest the animals. And then I always praise that. That was one of the things that really impressed me when I went to Africa. So when I was over there and I shot some really beautiful animals, they dressed the animal for a picture. Not like we do. Like here, we just hold it up there, they wipe the blood off it, they staged it, they laid it out, made sure it was sitting right, propped the head up with a stick, and everybody was really excited about it. It’s part of a culture that people have to understand. It’s more than just shooting the animal. And then to me it’s about waste not want not. It was like that when I was in Alaska. That was a huge, big thing. We got flown in and dropped off on the tundra, and the game wardens actually flew overhead low enough so they could make sure we took all the meat off the caribou that we killed. And that’s the rule. So there’s a lot to it. But typically I’m going to say 90% of the game that I’ve shot, I’ve eaten. There’s a couple things that we didn’t eat, but that’s just what it is like when I was in Africa, they they don’t eat zebra because to them it was like horse. And we didn’t eat the waterbuck because the time of year that I was there, it was like, I don’t know. They said it was probably a little bit on the rancid side, but other than that, they waste nothing. So that that’s all part of the hunting and conservation.

Wade: Well, and I think the enjoyment part that people get wrong about hunting is they think it’s the harvesting of the animal is the most enjoyable thing, right? No, I’m not the camaraderie.

Matthew: It’s being with your comrades, whether it be your wife or your kids or guys that you want to hunt with. That’s all part of the experience, you know? I mean, like when we went to Africa, that was a whole experience in itself before the hunt. And then coming home was another experience. And that’s all part of it. Yeah, we shot some really nice animals. But, you know, my friend Mike and I, we spent ten days together outside of the country. Only a handful of people we were around even spoke English. And it was just so cool to to learn to communicate with these people that don’t see a lot of outsiders. So there’s way more to it than just pulling the trigger and killing the animal.

Wade: It’s like baseball in that way. It’s the anticipation of everything. And so it’s like you’re going to go on a duck hunt, for example, getting it. It’s the one time in my life it’s like, I enjoyed getting up at 3:00 in the morning, like you say, exactly what you said is you get up at three in the morning, you’re out with you’re out with somebody. You guys, you go to the pick the blind, you’re sitting there and you’re just sitting there and it’s. Man. It’s just the nature part of it is what people don’t get. Like it’s just it really is beautiful. And then there’s the anticipation. And so that’s why even if you don’t harvest an animal during a hunt, you can still, at least for me, it’s a successful hunt, right? Because it’s the act of doing it.

Matthew: In North Carolina, as an example, my newbies didn’t really care for it, but there were certain areas like you could only shoot certain things he doesn’t want. He’s trying to preserve his herd, so to speak. It was an eight pointer, better on the books and didn’t want to shoot a little dose. So that’s all part of it too. So now you’re seeing all these animals and experience all that. I could go sit all day and just watch the animals. I don’t have to pull the trigger.

Wade: No. Yeah, well, I mean, like my bird feeder in my house, like I have, we have cardinals and blue jays and we when we my children, we have the little bird book, and we’re teaching them the calls and we’re trying to make calls to them. And so there’s so much enjoyment that can be had for nature, but it must be conserved. And I think that’s one thing about the hunting culture that people just don’t get. And social media doesn’t help very much, because then you’ll have these people who will post these videos of them just being like, like this exuberant and and I understand being exuberant at a hunt. Right? But it only captures the harvesting of the animal and the exuberance. Maybe you’re overly exuberant, right. And people from the the messaging game, it can do some damage because that’s not what hunting is about in my opinion.

Matthew: I agree with that. And again, I’ve been hunting for a long time. I’m an old man. I don’t look that old, but I’m pretty old. I’ve been around. But then one of the other hunts, which is probably there’s going to be people that are 100% against it. But I have a friend that’s very wealthy and he’s got a jet. And a couple of years ago we flew to Sweetwater, Texas in the morning and we got on helicopters. And it’s an extermination hunt. So I don’t know how much about the pigs in Texas, but the devastation that they do to these farms, yeah, is like unbelievable. So we went down there and shot these pigs out of helicopters. We paid a lot of money, and I’m sure we’re flying on farms. And. But the devastation that the man showed me that flew me out, what these pigs can do in one night to this man’s land was unbelievable. And those are, like I said, extermination hunts. What would be the word? Be run by the state where you call it? Yeah. You don’t pick the hogs up or anything. The hogs just get devoured by the next batch of hogs that come along, believe it or not.

Wade: Yeah, well, and that’s the. There’s nuance. And that’s the thing about firearms. I think that people that are against guns is that they don’t have any. They don’t have any new ones about the situation. If it’s in the hunting side or if it’s in the regulation side for the crime. Right. It’s like it’s just first order effects. They just they’re scared of the gun. It’s like big loud noise. Boom. Scares me. I don’t like it. Right. And and so I think that’s why it’s so critically important to have conversations like these. Because people they don’t understand like go talk to somebody that has to deal with coyotes in their farm eating their chickens, and coyotes are a pest. And so it’s like, oh, but it’s so fuzzy and nice. It’s like, no, it’s not. It’s like the pigs, like people don’t understand how, like you said, like a devastation of what pigs can do, not just to the farms but to other animals and, and if they get out of control. And I think that’s that nuance is how we the nuance starts with just exposing people to new ideas and conversations like this.

Matthew: And actually the NRA magazine had a big article. I had it here somewhere about the devastation of the pigs because the pigs not only they’ll eat eggs, so they’re killing any type of ag animal. They’ll kill young deer and eat them. The devastation is horrible. Then they get in the water and they contaminate the water supply. People don’t think about this stuff. It’s down there. It’s real. And they’re not playing. They claim that there’s over 5 million of these feral pigs. We shot one farm and I asked the guy, the guy that was flying the helicopter, I said, how quick can you come back here and shoot this farm again with more pigs? He said, a week more pigs will move into that farm. It’s insane.

Wade: Yeah, well, it’s it’s the same thing, like rabbits. If you get certain places in the world where they have huge rabbit problems because they don’t have any natural predators or like, I know that Australia, they used to have, I don’t know if they still have the rabbit problem in Australia, but I know that they got it wasn’t a natural animal from Australia and they would just take these, they’d go out in the farm or whatever and they would have like a big steel. I don’t know if it was like a son of a Quonset hut or something, or just like a, like a big, like a big wooden board down or whatever. And they would just pick it up and it would just be teeming with rabbits and they would just run. And you think that’s like, what do you think it’s going to do to livelihood, like what you think it’s going to do to your food? And I think it’s stories like that that help people understand that, hey, this is a little bit more than what you think it is.

Matthew: Yeah. No, I agree. And then back to you would ask me a question. One of the other things that for my 60th birthday, my wife and I think are going to go to New Zealand first and then Australia probably going to go to New Zealand five days ahead of her and shoot a red stag. It’s definitely one of the things on my bucket list.

Wade: Nice. Well New Zealand is beautiful. Yeah. Like and well, wait a second. You were talking like you were like 80 years old. Your 60th birthday. I’m 51. You’re not that much older than me, brother.

Matthew: Like 58. Brother.

Wade: That’s. That’s like the way you’re talking. You’re like, I’ve been around. I’m an old, grizzled hunter. I’m. You’re talking like.

Matthew: You’re. I’ve been.

Wade: You’re electricity and and legends of all. It’s like I’m gonna get taken out by a bear when I’m 95.

Matthew: Think about it, though. I walked into the gun shop that I now own when I was 13, an okay, I’m 58. So that was what, 40, 45 years ago? Yeah. I walked in there and bought my shotgun and went hunting. So 45 years of hunting, what it’s been.

Wade: But that’s an American. That’s an American story. That’s a and that’s the other thing, too. I think this might be a good thing to talk about for a little bit is that hunting is our heritage. So there’s everyone wants to point out all the bad things about America. Everyone wants to point out about this sort of like, oh, it’s we don’t have a culture. But there is. My dad gave me a Ducks Unlimited single shot, 20 gauge for my 12th birthday, and I talk about it probably too much. And people that listen to the podcast get sick of it. Me saying it every time. But that’s such a powerful moment for me was that when my dad my dad’s this is 80s, that’s like 82 or whatever. And he sometimes when you have your I’m going to hate this call. But he called me. He said, hey, look, I’m doing the trust for everything. And I had these guns, like, what do you want for the guns? I said, dad, I said, the only thing I want is I want the the shotgun, the ducks unlimited shotgun that you gave me so I can give it to my son. That’s the only thing I want, right? Because still at his house. And that creates a strong bonds in the country, like strong families. And it’s part of the cohesion of our country.

Matthew: Yeah. No doubt when my dad passed, he wanted me to have all his guns. And I have them all the different guns that he had over the years, and they were his treasures. That’s how I feel about it.

Wade: It’s an heirloom. What’s your favorite gun of his that you have? That if you had to pick a favorite Colt Python.

Matthew: It’s an original 1973. That’s a good, pretty nice gun.

Wade: It’s a good one.

Matthew: Yeah.

Wade: And that’s I think down the line. Right. Like this is there are a lot of things have to come together for you to have that kind of appreciation for those guns. Right. So someone that’s just starting out, but that’s what’s so exciting about it, is that that’s if people could understand the depth of how far you can go on a journey with firearms, where a father passes it to his son, and it’s like his most one of his most cherished possessions. How can you not be in favor of that?

Matthew: You have to be. Some people don’t realize. Maybe they’re. Father gave them a gold coin, which my father gave me some of those too. But he gave me this gun. That that particular gun of guns is like jewelry. It’s probably one of the best handguns ever made. It’s like a fine piece of equipment, handmade.

Wade: I’m a Glock guy. And so, like, people hate me. Like, oh, it’s a piece of plastic. I was like, yeah, okay, okay, okay, great. It’s like.

Matthew: They’re good.

Wade: Guns. It’s going to work, right? Like, I know it’s going to it’s I, it’s like a I have a Gen 319. It’s gonna work.

Matthew: It’s my EDC is a SIG Sauer P320. And the story behind it is it’s tricked out Wilson combat. A guy brought it in, so he’s got $1,700 into a $700 gun. And he wanted a 43 x, I’m like, okay, there’s a $450 gun, right? That’s what he wanted. So I traded him and I took it. It’s an unbelievable gun.

Wade: I put the first optic on on a handgun because I always just just like, I’m just going to get good at the iron sights because I’m proficient with the handgun now, right. Like I would say, I’m proficient. I’m not an expert shooter or anything like that, but I can do all sorts of things with that gun and put it on the target. And I wanted to get really good at the iron sights. And so but I did on one of my guns, I did put an optic on it, and I’m still debating if I’m going to keep it or use it. But I think it’s funny when someone puts like a, you know, the optic is more expensive than the gun on the gun, you know what I mean? And so like and that’s the thing is like, but that’s like a car. It’s like people, I’m just gonna trick people. Do that with cars all the time too. And so there’s no shame in shaming people. I have no shame in my game for that kind of stuff. It’s like you get to do whatever you want. There’s no right way to do it.

Matthew: Yeah. So with handguns, I’m not a big handgun guy. I carry a gun. Mhm. Um, I’m good with a handgun, but I’m way better with a rifle. And some of my rifles, like you just said, are crazy. I got $3,000 scopes on 15, $1,800 guns, but they shoot. Unbelievable.

Wade: That’s going to be my next journey. Is going to be a precision gun like that because I want to take my son deer hunting. And so. So in a couple years I’ll go, I’ll start deer hunting and and getting that all going and but like right now I’m in the car in the car meetings, in the, in the handguns in the and I have a and this is the thing I think of important for people to, to listen if they’re not gun people. Right. If they’re just like casual gun people is that I believe and I love your opinion on this because you sell a lot of guns and you like, I believe that you have a gun for you. Right. What I mean by that is that in every level. So for like a handgun, um, you’ll shoot a, you’ll shoot a bunch of different guns and you’re like, oh, this is the gun. For whatever reason. It’s like a I don’t know if it’s a spiritual thing or if it’s a, if it’s just a fit. Like just everything comes together like, this is what I. And that’s different for everybody. And that’s kind of part of the fun. Do you believe that too?

Matthew: I do so, so I’m a big Kimber guy. Kimber 45. It’s just they’re too heavy to carry. I carried one for the longest time, and it just. I shaved a pound off the weight of my gun by going to this other gun, which you say. Well, pound. Well, what? It’s hanging off your belt every day. All day. There’s a big difference. Yeah. You know, I mean, as far as a rifle, I’m a Remington 700 guy. I’ve got a 338 custom gun. Came out of the custom shop. Love to shoot it. That’s what I’m going to shoot a moose with this year. And then my other go to gun is a seven, you know, 700 Remington.

Wade: So if I what would you. So for me. Right. So what would you suggest to me if I walked into your gun shop? I said, look, I said, I’ve done a lot of bird hunting, not don’t got any deer hunting experience. Right. And so I was like, I want to get into deer hunting. What gun should I buy to do that?

Matthew: Well, I would recommend a 308. 308 is very user friendly. Not a lot of recoil. The little guys can shoot, it doesn’t beat you up and it can do anything you want to do with it. Is there a.

Wade: Brand that you? Is there a brand that you like?

Matthew: I like Bergara, Bergara has come a long way. You’re the second.

Wade: Person who’s told me that, by the.

Matthew: Way, they they’re. I’m going to say they’re a knockoff of a 700 Remington. 700 Remington doesn’t make the 700 really anymore. And Bulger’s picked it up. What’s amazing to me is when I have a bunch of my sell, a bunch of having the shot, how smooth the action is, what a smooth action is nice for second shot if you need it. You’re not fighting with the bolt. It’s they’re just they’re butter smooth. That’s what it is. And they have them. They have a whole range you can go all the way up to like a $4,000 gun, and then you can go all the way down to like $850 gun. And they’re all good quality. I would be very comfortable selling you any one of the range. Yeah, I got some time.

Wade: Luke’s five. And so the first gun I’ll get him on is the Ruger 1022. Right.

Matthew: So perfect.

Wade: And then and then do the shotgun some bird hunting and then. So I got time. I probably have five years. Right. But I’m going to spend the next couple years just doing the doing the AR, the the AR and the everyday the EDC and the medical like. I’ve been spending a lot of time doing medical lately, like working on that. But yeah. And again, that’s just the cool part about firearms is there’s so many different ways you can take it.

Matthew: So yeah no doubt, you know, I mean, and I have so many customers that every everybody thinks differently. Like you said, they look at a gun and like have to have it. And I look at it and go, hey, whatever. If they gotta have it, I’m I’m good with it. Yeah.

Wade: Well, absolutely. Well, yeah. Let’s collect a collect. It’s like collecting baseball cards. It’s like it’s if I want to if I have a baseball card collection, I really want a Bo Jackson card. I’m. And I see one. I’m like, oh, this is what I want.

Matthew: So no. So probably one of the coolest things I ever did. I run into a lot of people in the gun business. We buy a lot of guns, we sell a lot of guns. I probably buy more guns than anyone else around us use guns. And I ran into one guy. I want to say he had 300 handguns. And most of them I’m going to say 95% of them never shot, not even taken out of the box, you know, and he was selling them. So I got in a conversation with him, actually ended up not buying them. But I got in a conversation with him. I said, what’s your reason? Like what? What made you buy all these guns? And he said to me, it was actually a pretty valid thing. He says, listen, Matt, he said I was really bad with money. Like if I had money in my pocket, I just spent it. So the theory that I came up with, if every week I took my paycheck, cashed it, gave my wife what she needed, took my money and bought a gun, put it away. Now I need money to go buy a house. And that gun collection was probably worth 200,000. So he was going to sell those guns, take his 200,000 and go buy a house.

Wade: Well, I just talked about this with somebody else about the investing in guns. Right. And then and that’s a dicey business. Like you got to be careful when you invest in guns. Right. But it’s a it is something that is it keeps its value if you get the right gun, obviously right. Like it’s because it’s a it’s like a hard asset. And so like just look at inflation. So if you would have taken your gun you would have taken a certain set of your money five years ago. And same with ammunition too. Like you buy that it works forever, right? As long as it doesn’t get in the humidity or whatever. But it like you said, the guy could have had those guns for ten years. Like, okay, now I’m gonna take it out. And it’s not for everybody. But it is an interesting. So that’s another whole nother. That is a whole nother thing that we could talk about too. We’re running a little short on time. Do you ever do any auctions? Do you ever go to auctions and do any of that kind of thing with guns? You do.

Matthew: What do you sell guns at auction. We buy guns at auction.

Wade: Well, that’s a whole nother thing too. Now, do you just do that off of your kind of your basic knowledge of being in the business for so long? Or like, do you do research on something or like, what’s your research?

Matthew: Everything. I have a guy that does that does gun broker for me. So we sell guns every week at auction, and then a lot of times we’ll go to auctions, usually get an auction sheet, and I’ll have this guy do the research or somebody else do the research for us. But yeah, I don’t buy if I don’t know what I’m buying, I’ve learned.

Wade: Well, and then you’re looking for that situation, like the guy that came to trade the gun into you that had tricked it out. And you want to leverage that situation because sometimes you’re like, oh, this could I know I can sell this for this. So it makes it, you know, sense. And I think where people get into troubles, where they don’t have that core knowledge, where you have to have the base knowledge of what you’re doing.

Matthew: Yeah. And unfortunately, with Ron Randall, the guy that I bought the gun shop from, some of that knowledge died. He had knowledge that guys didn’t. When people had questions about old Winchesters, they’d call him old Ruger’s. They’d call him Old Marlins, they’d call him. There’s only a handful of those guys left.

Wade: Well, and that’s the. We have to preserve that knowledge, right? That’s why we have to get more people into guns and learn, learn that stuff to pass it down, because there’s such a depth of knowledge and a history to all these guns, too. And so and I think that’s I think that’s why it’s incredible. I just think it’s cool what you’re doing. You’re doing so many cool things. Like I was like, I wish I was doing cool stuff like that. So, you.

Matthew: Know, sometimes I wish I wasn’t doing so many cool things, but that’s just how it is. Yeah. Like as a quick example, there’s some crazy shotguns, like old shotguns, old rifles, pre 64 or pre 64 Winchester 70s. I have some of those. They’re like 1012 grand. Then there’s some that were made differently from the factory. You don’t always know why but you know that could be worth $20,000 for a gun. Some guy walks in and says, hey, give me 300 bucks for this thing, or 500 bucks because they don’t even know what it is. Typically, we buy guns for what people want. I want the customers to be happy. I’m the best and make the research out.

Wade: Of all my guns. Like I just have the normal guns, right? Like I just have an AR of shotgun, handguns, whatever. I’m the most accurate with that shotgun. I have a mossberg, I have a mossberg 500 tactical shotgun, and for whatever reason, I am the most accurate. I am extremely accurate with that gun, and I don’t know if it’s maybe because I used to shoot when I was younger, shotguns or whatever, but I shocked myself how accurate I am with that gun, considering how little I shoot it.

Matthew: But wait, you said it yourself. That’s the gun for you, right? You believe in it? It’s in here. You believe in it, in your heart and in your mind. And that’s my gun. That’s the difference.

Wade: Well, and I think I’m so comfortable with it, too, I don’t. On the trigger. Pull. I’m not yanking the trigger. I don’t worry about recoil. I just do it right. Whereas with the handgun, I’m still. I have some anticipation stuff, and. But for whatever reason, with that shotgun man, it’s like I it’s.

Matthew: That’s like me my go to for accuracy. I have a Ruger precision out of the box. Nothing fancy. 6.5 Creedmoor and I shoot consistently one inch gong at 200 yards.

Wade: That’s. Yeah, that’s out of the box too.

Matthew: Out of the box. No.

Wade: Off him. Right. Iron sights. Yeah.

Matthew: No optic.

Wade: Oh, yeah. No. That just. Oh, yeah. You would do it. I’m thinking shotgun. Yeah. I don’t have a one inch. It’s a long. Yeah. It’s a precision shooting so. But like but the optic is just a standard out of the box kind of optic kind of thing. Or is it like just. Yeah, it’s.

Matthew: Just a loopholed eight and a half to 20 5X3. Yeah.

Wade: It’s like the summer. Like you’re at summer camp. Like it’s like, oh, here, take the take this guy. And that’s I just think that’s cool. Like that’s one thing I would like to do though is just some more longer range shooting. But yeah on my on my shotgun that’s out of the box. I’ve never done anything to it. Like the only thing I did on is I put a sling on it and it’s iron sights and it’s not even it’s, oh no, that’s not true. I think I put a flip up. Did I put a flip up iron sight on it? I don’t know, whatever. It just says iron sights on it. And I just if.

Matthew: You if you ever want to come up and shoot. Come on up, man. We got guns, we got ammo, we shoot. I shoot every single Sunday. Less when there’s family events going on. Like this Sunday, I’m going to Boston to be with my daughter and her boyfriend for Easter. But other than that, I shoot every Sunday morning at 9:00.

Wade: Dude, I’d love to come up and shoot. I’d love to come up and do some hunting up there. And so I will definitely put you on the list of people to be aware of if I ever get that going. Get up there because we’re is your deer season short up there because it’s so.

Matthew: We have we have the whole month of December. It starts on a 15th of November. So you got November 15th to December 31st. And you can shoot into January if you want to bow hunt.

Wade: And then for bird hunting, what kind of bird hunting you have up there?

Matthew: We don’t really have any wild birds. The state releases birds. You’re allowed two a day. Yeah, because you’re.

Wade: Too far north of.

Matthew: Reserves.

Wade: You’re too far north, right?

Matthew: Yeah. Well, there’s all kinds of preserves. Like if you wanted to come and we could set that up, we can do it 20.

Wade: Well, I like, so like, like for me it’s like pheasant and duck. Right. So that’s because the Dakotas, there’s six bajillion dollar ducks and pheasants over there. So there’s nothing else there. So. Well deer but yeah. So. But anyways. Well listen, Matt, it’s been great to talk to you. And we covered a lot of different ground. But like I said, I think this conversation can be super valuable for to get people thinking differently, a lot of different topics. So how do people find you? How do people find your club.

Matthew: NSC com.

Wade: And then are you on social? Are you on socials or anything or.

Matthew: Yeah, a little bit. But again, it’s a private club or cap. So it’s like I’m not looking for new business, but people can come check us out. Then the gun shop is They can find us there.

Wade: Ronsgunsct.Com yep. Awesome man. Well listen I really enjoyed our conversation today and I’d actually love to have you come back on the show again.

Matthew: You let me know when weighed. I like to talk, so I’m good with it.

Wade: All right. Me too. Brother. Talk to you soon. Everybody talk soon. You’ve been listening to the Tactical Business Show by Join us again next episode as we explore what it takes to be a business success in the firearms industry.