Knowing Your Customer With Joshua Denton From Scorpius Tactical

About This Episode

In today’s episode of Tactical Business, host Wade Skalsky sits down with With Joshua Denton From Scorpius Tactical as they dive into the importance of evergreen, foundational items in retail. Learn how to identify passionate customer bases, analyze online feedback, and recognize market growth opportunities. Explore the synergy between action sports and tactical gear, and discover how cultural influences shape the firearms industry. Don’t miss his insights on creating a unique brand and fostering community through shared knowledge and training.

Insights In This Episode

  • Understanding the local market demographics and customer avatars is crucial for targeting the right audience effectively.
  • Creating a retail experience that integrates lifestyle and culture, not just products, is key to engaging customers deeply.
  • He focuses on understanding merchandising, creating a fresh and engaging retail environment, and ensuring customers feel comfortable and informed.
  • Providing tailored gunsmithing services based on individual customer needs ensures high satisfaction and long-term value for their investments.

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’m speaking with Joshua Denton from Scorpius Tactical up in Reno, Nevada, one of my favorite parts of the country. Josh, how are you doing today, man?

Joshua: Doing great. Thanks so much for having me.

Wade: Oh, no, I’m excited to have you. It’s sort of my pre-show research. I was kind of like poking around what you guys are doing, and I love sort of your approach and kind of how you’ve you’ve selected your niche, and we’ll talk about that in a second. But before we get to that, I want to find out how did you get into the firearms industry? I know you have kind of an unusual story about you were in a totally different industry, and how did you get here?

Joshua: So unlike tons of guys who’ve gotten to start this from the ground, whether that was in their home or they were absolutely passionate about building a firearm store, it was in May of 2022 that I that we closed on the sale of it. So I bought an existing business that had been here. We’ve been in Reno now for 11 years, and I looked at it as an opportunity to get back into retail. Super lucky to be with Oakley and massive amount of growth, time to grow Oakley retail stores and be a part of that team. And I found that I ended up missing the retail side, and I believe that the firearms industry needed somebody to do something kind of similar, which was create an experience in the store. And that didn’t necessarily mean being all things to everybody, but being somebody very specific. And the past owner really created a foundation for that. So through M&A ended up buying it. And we are now over two years under my leadership. And the reality is the DNA of the company is still the same. And we’re just focusing on the things that we’re really good at.

Wade: So I love talking to people because there is that sort of, okay, are you going to build from the ground up, right, like out of your garage and just learn every single thing you can? Or are you going to buy an existing business and then bring a different skill set to, you know, maybe a more traditional skill set in terms of from the business side to firearms? Because sometimes I feel like the firearms industry is like still back in like the 1950s. Right? Like in some ways, right. In terms of on the business side, what is it about retail that you miss? Like, I find that interesting. Is it? I know you talk a little bit about customer experience. Like what is it about that industry that you miss?

Joshua: So I think that we’ve seen obviously online sales grow massively since in 2008, 2009, Oakley we were eyewear sales were nearly impossible online. People felt like, hey, I’ve got to put these on. I got to see how this is going to work. And we made an amazing online, but it was through our retail stores that we ended up having really good growth, because what we found is most people had to buy the first time through the store, and then they would start buying online because they felt comfortable with, oh, I know how these things fit or whatever. And so I think firearms is really close to that. We are seeing online growth ridiculously because it’s a race to the bottom on pricing. But at the end of the day, if you talk to these people who are making some of these purchases, they’re not 100% stoked on what they got. And it’s basically because they didn’t get to put their hands on it or they didn’t get to walk through, hey, what are the pros and cons of whatever platform I’m going toward? And so I also believe that there was a ton of people who were on the outside of firearms who didn’t grow up with families shooting with them, don’t have friends and family shooting with them who feel like they they need to be welcomed through a door so that they can go, hey, I’m interested in this and I have no idea where to start.

Joshua: And I’ve got a secret shop them and I’d shop from them before, and to see how the guys interacted with people was one of those. Took me right back to 2009, 2010, in brand new Oakley stores where people were like, oh, you’ve never heard of Oakley? Oakley? They’ve been around a long time, but it was kind of a new, new it was a new batch of customers, and it was this thing to get people stoked about it. And so getting to see what those guys had done, I was like, no, this is what firearms need, firearms needs in Reno, and specifically kind of through more of a civilian defence, they needed to have more of a welcoming place that it helped them go through their thoughts and ideas and then help them get the products and tools that they need.

Wade: Yeah, no, I’m a big believer for retail, for firearms, for a lot of different reasons, especially in the beginning. I mean, like, look, if you’ve been shooting for a long time and you, you know, you can I think you’re right. I think you can kind of go online and buy, you know, whatever. But until you find out what your gun is and that’s kind of different for everybody. I think having an actual human being to talk to is, you know, is an amazing advantage for any business. And then creating that customer loyalty through that journey, because there’s nothing more exciting than learning firearms as a new person and becoming to enjoy. And you attribute that to store that you’re working with. And then let’s talk a little bit about the buying process. So how did you settle on Reno? Like what was your sort of your because I know there are some people out there that are considering, okay, do I want to buy or want to build? Like what would you recommend to someone who’s like, yeah, okay, I think I want to buy something, sort of what are some general sort of principles that guided you in your in your purchase?

Joshua: I think the biggest thing to look for is foundational items that feel like they are evergreen. So does this store have a customer base that is passionate about the store that they go shop at? If you can figure that out, how are they talked about online? Is it just like, oh yeah, they had great prices? Or was it like, oh my gosh, these guys helped me through this, this and this or they got my, you know, they got my AR. Tuned, and now it runs phenomenally because you could if you’re fighting for price. Unfortunately, you could flop names all day long, and at the end of the day, you’re just racing for the price. So if you’ve got foundational items like the store has a group behind them, then that’s solid. And then looking at the market, I mean, that’s one thing that I was probably really lucky. I was working on the real estate side with Oakley. So understanding who is your customer, but really narrowing down and going, hey, what is this avatar? Who does this community have? That person? Is that who I want to be selling to? Because at the end of the day, we’re still all working in this business.

Joshua: You know, countless hours you want to enjoy who you’re getting to work with, which includes your customers, that you’re coming in. So figuring out that avatar, who that is, and then does your demographics in the area support that. And for me, Reno was an opportunity for growth. We have seen I mean, we have Google here now, Facebook, I mean, we’ve got all these tech companies. We have massive growth in Reno, obviously, California leaving, even Texas, actually, we’ve had a lot of people move here because of Tesla and everything. We have a foundation for growth that takes us well beyond the next ten year mark. So that’s something to be looking for. If you’re kind of a stagnant town and there’s other competition, we always believe that we can go in and oh my gosh, if I put this effort in, this is going to change this or that doesn’t always work. You have to have the other variables that are there. So the opportunity for growth means that ideally there’s new people moving into the area or there’s growth of the city. Um, if there’s not a lot of competition and it’s an opportunity to buy something that might that might work as well.

Wade: Well, and I think that’s a that’s a big belief in the firearm community because it’s such a passionate community where they’re like, okay, if my my passion will translate to sales no matter where I’m at. And yeah, it’ll translate to some sales, but will it translate to enough sales? And so that’s the thing I think that where people need to understand about the firearms business is that it is still a business. Right. And it it has the exact same principles as I don’t care if you’re selling shoes or if you’re selling ice cream or if you’re selling cars. It’s all the same principles for business. And the faster that people get their arms around that, I think the faster that they can have a chance for success. And, you know, when you were looking at buying a gun store, it’s, you know, were you did you look at, you know, okay, I want to get a gun store with a range. I just want to have just the store, like, because I know the range gives all these other complexities, like, what were you what were your, sort of your, your guidelines, like, I want to have I must have this, but I’m kind of optional on this.

Joshua: So it really took me back to action sports, which was I grew up, father was a pro skater in the 80s. I grew up around skate. I was in the action sports industry. And because trending from a tactical side, there’s a lot of influence from to action sports right now. If you look at tactical apparel, if you look at the graphics we’re doing, it is such a throwback to 90s early 2000 skate culture. There’s a lot of my age demographic who went from, I can’t skate anymore, I can’t go skate pools. I’m going to get hurt. I got to work at and firearms and specifically tactical firearms kind of really has blown up within that. So I was ideally looking for the least amount of complexity. So a range was going to be way too much. We also live in an area that has the most amount of BLM land. So the reality is everybody gets to go shoot anywhere we want. That’s becoming less than, uh, harder and harder just because we keep growing. But with that being said, you don’t have to go to a range. We’re not we’re not within some of those confines like I have in California. But I was looking for something that could be passionate in the the cultural side of it, not just like, oh yeah, we sell. It was more of the entire lifestyle process of it. So we probably have the least amount of firearms on the wall of any shop.

Joshua: But the majority of the store also has all the tactical gear. We have all the medical, we have all those those things that are really specifically within tactical. And so when I was looking at I was actually looking at retail as a whole. I was looking at all skate shops, I was looking at all kinds of things. And it was through a meeting that the owner was just like, gosh, I wish you would have been with me ten years ago. You have a vision for what I wanted to do, but I’m burnt out. And I was like, huh, that’s weird how this all came together. I never necessarily I wasn’t necessarily thinking firearms, but had been involved. And I was like, huh. So that was that was almost a year before we even really started talking. And so it kind of became my idea that, oh, my demographic, my age, everything is kind of getting into this. What if we had an amazing place where you didn’t have to just do YouTube research? You could go in and talk shop, just like we did at skate shops, like, oh, these new trucks, these new wheels. Well, now we’re talking about, hey, this suppressor, this new handguard, whatever it is. And it’s so similar. It was like I couldn’t I couldn’t help but go this way.

Wade: I find that’s really interesting. I’ve actually never heard anyone kind of reference that 90s skate culture and that’s and say that’s what the trend is. Now walk me through, walk me through that a little bit. So if I hear you correctly, what you’re saying is that like the graphics and the. The sort of the vibe is now going from, you know, 1911 Fudd, Fudd, gun to skate park, kind of right. Like on the you’ve.

Joshua: Got brands like, you know, Court of Observation Group or fog or countless other night vision brands, and they’re all doing the what we did in the 90s, which was knock off a logo and make it look like yours, but it’s your brand. So like there’s a company called The Valley who does tactical gear, and they made it look like Folgers, like it’s all these things that we did in the 90s, which was make it look like a Coca-Cola logo, make it look like this. And we have done it over and over. You did it until you got a cease and desist and then you stopped. That was just kind of how it worked. And so this like punk rock misfits style like artwork from like the from punk rock 80s, like we did a t shirt for the store that was an old Suicidal Tendencies logo because Suicidal Tendencies S and T Scorpius decal totally worked. Sold out of it super fast. And so now we’re seeing this type of like it’s almost now getting into the streetwear side of it, which was kind of the hypebeast thing. So look at brands like Q, super limited runs, super limited distribution and getting everybody pumped up about it. Whereas Smith and Wesson, back in the 80s and 90s, massive amount put them out in market. They sell okay. We move on. Now we’re doing small little drops, just like we did in skate, just like we did in in all the action sports stuff.

Wade: So I’m seeing weird and well, I think part of it is that the, the consumer awareness is so high now. Right. So, so you’ll have you’ll have your people. Okay. Yes, we have our people who are bringing into the firearms community who are brand new. Right. And they’re going to go on their rabbit hole journey. But once you, you know, but but there is a large group of people who have like they they know a lot about firearms, they train a lot. And once you kind of get past that threshold, there’s that, that that desire for individualism starts to creep in. Right? Because then the argument isn’t so much, okay, are you a Glock guy or are you a sig guy for EDC? It’s yeah, I’m this, but check out this, you know, whatever. Like my my, you know, I don’t know whatever my gear or whatever. And then it’s, it’s like you start to get a whole vibe that you bring to the range or you bring to your buds. Do you think that’s what it is? Do you think it’s just a higher level of customer awareness?

Joshua: I think it’s that I think that even us at at Oakley, like the whole, hey, we’re gonna like standard issue. The if it was an American flag and it was OD green, that was your tactical shirt, that was it. Or 511 obviously did a really good job of kind of bringing tactical to just the norm as far as well. I like this clothing. I had no idea that was had to do with, you know, high speed units of, of operators. So they kind of started it and then got like, well, those aren’t the shirts I want to wear. That’s not the style I came out of this. I’m tattooed, I’m this, you know it. It’s when it’s when the action got overwhelmed by the culture part of it. And the culture was, well, this is who I was and this is who I’ve always been. And so skulls and and 90s, you know, kind of punk rock themes ended up being applied. So we took skulls and we put night vision on them. And that’s the logo that we would do. And if you look now, look at any night vision, they’ve got some dude with a skull and he’s got night vision on. Oh no.

Wade: The whole Wendigo stuff, you know, like all that kind of stuff too. Well. And so I think as you’re saying, there’s a through line then. So it’s actually whereas you’re having this aging group of people, you know, who are like in their 30s, 40s or whatever that are coming and you’re just giving them what they had before, basically, but on the firearm side. And then you’re also getting the people who are, you know, that do want to maybe explore a little bit of more individuality as well. So you’re kind of making it, bringing people in the tent that way. It’s really interesting. I never really thought about that. That’s fascinating now. And I think also too, do you think another reason why that is, is that’s working is because there are so many now gun, gun people in terms of foreign firearms are so many businesses and so many people doing apparel and so many people doing tactical, you know, and so many different social, social media outlets too, that you’ve got to differentiate yourself or die. Do you think that’s another reason?

Joshua: No, I think I think that’s 100%. And I think it’s also creating individualism within the firearms market, because and I think this is actually one of the negative things that we are doing, which is we create this massive divide within the Second Amendment. So there’s like we said, like we already have nine 1119, 11 FUD guys. Right. And then we’ve got clay pigeon shooters and we’ve got this. At the end of the day, it’s a very rare opportunity to be in a business that is 100% affected by a constitution. Like we are greatly affected by this. We probably need to create more collective unity of thought. As far as, hey, listen, you can do tactical, you’re doing three gun, you’re doing precision. At the end of the day, we need to be helping each other because this is being attacked every single day. Every single day. Something new is attacking firearms. So unfortunately we create this individualism. But guys be like, yeah, like tactical but. I actually was never in the military, so they needed to separate themselves from that where it wasn’t the typical veteran apparel. So they were like, no, like that’s what we’re seeing more, which is, again, another divide, which isn’t a good thing. We’re trying to create good branding while still collectively putting people together. I mean, I just had a guy like 2 or 3 weeks ago basically say, hey, I hope you’re not selling to blank, blank, blank person. And I said, that’s not how the Constitution. That’s not how the Second Amendment works. I say, if they’re allowed to, if they’re legal, if they do a background check in Nevada and all the things like they’re they’re allowed to get that firearm. So unfortunately, even though we’re creating more individualism, we’re now kind of dividing our own, our own group. But what people are looking for is that reminiscence of being a junior higher high schooler in the 90s, the punk rock scene, the skate scene, or things that they were comfortable with. And I think with Southern California really embracing so much tactical again, that kind of affected a lot of it.

Wade: Well, yeah. And I think the nice thing about like take California for example, which is a high, high regulation. The same with New York. Right. But the tactical gear isn’t as regulated as the firearms themselves. Right. So there is a lot more opportunity, I think, on the merch side of tactical for California or those other markets, you know, to kind of keep keep fighting the fight, you know, and kind of indirectly coming around. And I think, I think you’re exactly right. But I think one way that we can all come together is on the business side, right? Because is if we’re going to talk business principles, the business principles are going to be the same. If you’re going to be like, oh no, we’re the Special Forces guys. We sell to Special Forces X, Special Forces guys to the no. We sell to the Boy Scouts. Right? Like it doesn’t matter. Yeah, we can argue we’re not going to argue about firearms. We’re going to we’re going to we’re going to cooperate over business. Right. So like this works for us. It might work for you. And so that’s why I think another reason why this podcast, where I always encourage anyone that ever comes on the podcast, is like, if you ever want me to connect you with anyone that’s in the business community, in the in the podcast, I’ll ask them like, hey, let’s try to connect people because I think it is. It’s safe to talk about it’s more safe to talk about business principles than it is to talk about firearms.

Joshua: Absolutely.

Wade: You know, and so all right. So so you buy the store, right. What was it. Right. What was it like out of the gate? Right. Because I’m assuming like, were you in the military? You weren’t in the military, right? I was no.

Joshua: I worked with on the standard issue side at Oakley. I’ve been around where I lived literally like ten miles north of Pendleton. So Marines and everybody were in our area all the time. Um, no, I didn’t, but I’ve always been kind of right parallel to them all the time.

Wade: Military adjacent. Right? No, but I mean, I guess the point is, and you grew up in Southern California.

Joshua: So your.

Wade: Fifth generation down there, right? So like, it’s not a lot of pheasant hunting down there, you know what I mean? So. So how so what was your gun knowledge when like the day one store opens, where was your gun knowledge at. And then what was the you know, how did that go for the first first bit of time? Like walk me through what that was like? It was probably.

Joshua: A realization that you feel as though you have this knowledge and it’s like, hey, you know, I’m ahead of these people because we have baselines all around us, right? Like firearms. I kind of took what my dad had taught me, my grandfather and then others around me, and I went a little bit farther. I got to Nevada and started hunting right away. So I was doing chucker hunting, quail hunting, and then we were doing big game. So now I’m getting into some of the other parts that we didn’t get to do as often. And I was like, okay, this is where it’s at. And then I got with my guys here and went, Holy crap, had no idea that a deer gun had this much tuning available to it. Or why do they do this or why, you know, then I went, oh, I’m way down here because we only can. We can only judge ourselves based on the perspective of who’s around us. I was like, oh, I’m ahead of them. Had no idea where it could go. So but went into it telling my people, I’m not here to influence the firearm side. I am here to understand merchandising, to understand how a retail store works, how people like to shop, how to engage them while also letting them feel like they’re getting to go and experience the store on their own, um, and not feel like they are lost in the whole, I don’t know, you’ve got ammo over here, and then there’s a bunch of stuff over here and that looks like it’s been sitting here since 1998, like it’s how to keep a store fresh and stuff. I was going to just focus on that.

Wade: Well, and that’s and I think this is really important because you even in the beginning of the interview, you said, you know, when you were talking to the original owner, he’s like, you have a vision for what I wanted to do, but I got burnt out. Right? Well, he got burnt out because he didn’t have the knowledge that you have and the experience that you have. So when you can put those two things together, right, like you may have a lot of firearms knowledge, way more than me in terms of when you if you keep the people who came in, but you’re bringing all this new business knowledge, which can really be a force multiplier for the the economic side of the store. Right. And go ahead.

Joshua: And I was encouraged by my guys. I was like, hey, listen, like, I know this is going to feel really uncomfortable because we’re going to be talking about things that we’re probably not consistently talked about or talked about at all. I said, but this is a time for you guys to influence this store, to feel like you’re part of it, not. I feel like a part of it. Be a part of it I go to often. Owners are. This is my vision. Either get in line or get out of it. The reality is we need people to have this vision together, and my perspective could be completely wrong. And I’ve got a couple different age groups within my team, and they give me different perspectives. That allows for us to shape this, to ideally be as best as we can to as many as possible, while still understanding that we are a very niche boutique kind of shop. It’s not it’s we’re not everybody’s shop. And so they really helped shape that while also giving the biggest thing that we we came together on is that everything we do is good, better, best. We have good options, better options and best options, which does mean that sometimes there’s some budget items and there’s some things that are just expensive. Um, but our whole thing was to make people not feel like they walked in and go, I can’t afford you. This is way beyond me. And walk out. It’s for people to go. I had no idea. There’s so many options available for us and you guys were willing to help us.

Wade: So yeah. And let’s talk about the niche a little bit. But before we do that, so did the existing. Did the store have the identity. Did you keep the identity of the store or did you go for a different niche when you came in?

Joshua: No, I you know, I think so often, you know, like it’s bad luck to obviously rename a boat, rename a business. Not as bad, but the reality is it stood out on its own. He had a whole story behind it for why he called it Scorpius. I’ll be honest, from a search engine optimization standpoint, I couldn’t. You know, being Alpha Bravo Tactical would not help us anyway. So Scorpius stood out. It was a good logo. It was a good branding. We’re kind of going through some evolution of, like some of the brand stuff now, but I was going to wait two years before I did that. And at the end of the day, there’s I mean, look at the buds. Guns exist, right? And it’s just a standard name and it does great. So the reality is the people behind the brand are what makes the name. The name doesn’t make us. So that’s kind of how my whole concept was with it.

Wade: Well, yeah. And I and I write for the firearms industry and I write, you know, SEO stuff for people. And, and the one thing that I’ve discovered is that if you do have a little differentiation, it’s actually better for you because the way that AI is going, it’s just it’s aggregating all of those very like tactical sounding names together into like one thing. And so it’s actually easier to stand out if you have a little bit different of a brand and that brand identity that you’re talking about. I think it’s easier to do that transition from, okay, we’re going to take some chances with some 90s skate skate approaches, right? Whereas if you’re like, we’re alpha male tactical or whatever, it’s like it’s a little harder to do that. So let’s talk a little bit about the niche that you’re in. Like, I know that you you have like a little bubble you like to stay in. Like, what would you define that bubble as? Who is your perfect you talked about avatar. Who’s your perfect avatar for your story.

Joshua: So I mean, you got to give a lot of respect to Lucas Bakken and T-Rex arms, the whole idea of civilian defense. So civilian defense is this idea that we have all the stuff that people sometimes from the outside are like, you shouldn’t have that. The reality is we have every right to have it. And going all the way back to the Founding Fathers, I mean, they were like no cannons and a whole navy. We don’t care. This is what we should have. We need a defender though, so we have this amazing kind of dichotomy of that. We support all of our local sheriff and our local PD. We’ve got Swat teams and stuff that shop with us. We’ve got all the gear, the new gear that they’re like, hey, I’m needing better pouches. Like we’ve been partnered with stack for a very long time. They’re really, again, growing where people are finding out about them. So we’ve got some smaller tactical brands and stuff that are professional locally use. Well, the cool thing is, when it’s proven professionally, it’s really great for civilian wise. And so they’re using that as well. We’ve been partnered with a company out of Southern California, right outside of Pendleton for body armor since Brian started this company then. And so we’ve got body armor. And unlike other shops that only will sell for for law enforcement, we have them directly right here, ready, ready to go. So yeah, it is civilian defense. So we we do offer a lot of CCW options so or not CCW. But like concealed carry firearms our duty line of weapons are, you know mainly striker fired. So we’re kind of narrowing that. But we probably have the most amount of AR parts in all of northern Nevada.

Wade: 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 Yeah. No. When people start to go in on the civilian shouldn’t have this idea. Right? Is that it’s this normalcy bias where they think, okay, all you need is a pistol because it’s just going to be you in one person. Right. Or and and yeah. Okay. Great. Okay. But but the thing is, is that as you look around the world is that, you know, yeah, we have a society that functions pretty well. But what if it doesn’t like, you know what I mean? Like it’s immediately going to go from, oh, you may have to deal with multiple numbers of people coming to your house and you don’t want them there. Right. And it’s the normalcy bias. I think that people have such a hard time understanding the self-defense argument. And then but I will say is that when someone that comes from that camp has a bad experience, they can be some of your best advocates for firearms ever in the history of time, like your blue haired liberal person who’s like, I need a firearm right now, right? Like, like you sell them that gun and you walk them through it because they’re not going to stay. It’s a it’s like a red pill for them with regards to everything else in their life. At least that’s what I’ve found.

Joshua: No, absolutely. They end up being people who quite honestly go a little bit farther, a little bit faster, because the reality is they’re catching up. Some of us probably take it for granted that we’re like, oh, no, self-defense is our right. We have this. And then there’s others who are like, oh, I went through a situation and now I know that I need self-defense. Some of us have been lucky enough to not have to ever be involved in anything, or witnessed anything, or felt that uncomfortable. The civilian defense side is one of those things, like the worst thing that we can do as a country. We keep thinking that our peace is guaranteed, we think it’s guaranteed, and it nothing is guaranteed at all.

Wade: And there’s another way to look at it, too, that I’ve been I’ve been thinking about a lot. Is that like look like let’s say that. So my goal is I want to become like a rifleman, right? Like I have an AR. I want to be like a, like what I would consider a competent rifleman with it. Right. And I’m a civilian. I’d never be in the military and maybe I never have to use it. But if I teach that to my son, maybe he never has to use it. But somewhere down the line, somebody’s going to have to use it. Yeah, right. It may be six generations from now, but somebody somewhere down the line is going to have to use it. And that that is part of the American culture, like firearms from the beginning of America was built on firearms. And I think we I think that is, um, something that we don’t want to lose, lose sight of. And the tactics, the tactical side of it is, is just a really fancy way of saying is like, oh, it’s like the be the most competent you can be. Yep.

Joshua: And tactics are part of it. Right. Like, I mean we so often tactical is you know we who tactical. Timmy’s got all the gear. At the end of the day, all of this has been designed around the idea of being able to carry a load, being able to to reload. And now since basically guadaira hey, now we’ve got protection on. So we’ve got we’ve got body armor on. We’re kind of new in this. I mean, honestly going all the way back to Desert Storm, they didn’t have body armor, they had flak jackets, but they weren’t wearing body armor. So this has really been only over the last 24 years that we’ve been seeing this evolution. And because of civilian involvement, we’ve seen these products improve so well. It’s not just the military doesn’t drive it, it’s really civilian use. It’s like, hey, we came up with a better way to do this. We started, you know, mounting optics hire for night vision. You know, it’s been a collaborative. So we always draw this line of like, oh there’s military then there’s civilian. And yet the reality is they’re completely benefiting from each other.

Wade: Well, and just the just the advances in body armor are ridiculous, right? Like if you go for just if you want to go on the plate side and say, I’m going to have a plate carrier, okay, great. Just get the plates or you’re going to go more on the, you know, I’m going to get the actual like not a flak jacket, but you know, like the actual everything’s pre-made. Just throw that bad boy on and Velcro it on. You know, the plates are already sewn in there, so I don’t even know what you would call that, but just the, just the survivability of of someone in what would be considered crappy plates, you know, now is ten times better than it was ten years ago. Yeah. Oh, absolutely.

Joshua: And unfortunately, the reality is from a military or from a, you know, country defense and all everything. So our plates keep getting better and better. And now we have involvement of ballistics and firearms and ammunition. So it’s this thing that keeps pushing each other forward.

Wade: Well and that’s and that’s the great thing about firearms is that there’s an a shop like yours. Right. Is that your shop. Someone can go as deep as they want. Yes. Right. And that’s the thing that I think that was, was what’s great about brick and mortar stores that kind of take the approach that you take is that it’s like, look, if you want to go deep on the tactical, you’re in the right place with you guys. And I love that you have the medical side, too, because I think that’s always very overlooked is that, you know, if you’re going to get in a gunfight, chances are you’re going to need to know what you’re dealing with. The medical.

Joshua: Yeah. And quite honestly, I think that I don’t know why it’s culturally it’s always been this like, oh, I have a first aid kit. And okay, well, they have Band-Aids, Neosporin and some, like aspirin. We almost were like, well, I’ve never been medically trained. I shouldn’t know how to do these things. Quite honestly, the stuff that we’re doing from a medical side on this is archaic. It is very crude. I mean, this is, hey, just cut blood off from coming out of you, out of this part of the land. From tourniquet side. So the reality is I think it’s we have to be welcoming to be like, hey, listen, you can be medically trained and not be a medical professional. You do not have to have been an EMT. You don’t have to be all this. Now, there’s certain things that obviously we’re like, hey, that’s for the professionals. That’s, you know, these are nasal pharyngeals and stuff like that. But a educated society who can help people is one of the greatest things on earth. But if we keep gatekeeping all of this knowledge from everybody, we’re not as safe. And so the reality is, your kid, most likely a laceration is going to happen more often than a gunshot wound, but a laceration and proper tourniquet training and all that can save a life. We should be wanting to do that for our our neighbors, for our family, and for our community.

Wade: Well, and just in general, it makes everyone more confident. And the more competent you are, the more confident you are. The more confident you are the actually, the more you don’t get into trouble. It’s just a weird. It’s like a weird inverse relationship is the more competent you are, the less trouble seems to find you. And I don’t know why that is, but that just seems to be.

Joshua: I think you end up being aware of situations because you’re like, oh, this is how that situation can start. I’ve been trained in this. Oh, I want to avoid that, even if it’s subconscious at that point. And the reality is we have to probably continually be getting better, because I know in our area we’ve grown so much. Our response time from EMS is slower and slower, and I don’t even I don’t blame any of those people. They’re understaffed. They don’t have. But the difference of being able to treat somebody within two minutes versus waiting 15 to 20, that that’s the difference of a life.

Wade: Well, yeah, well you don’t have to if you take a stop to stop at the stop the bleed class is and a stop the bleed class is not is less complicated than a CPR class. Right. Like your your ability to to to to pack a wound to put pressure where to know where to use a tourniquet. Right. And and you know, okay, chest seal whatever. You can make that argument. Maybe you should do that. Maybe you shouldn’t. Whatever. But like, it’s so less much complicated than than CPR. Right. And but and you only have it was shocking to me when I started to get the medical about how fast you can bleed out if you don’t stop the bleeding. Right. Yeah. And and I think it’s, it’s everyone should every adult should be carrying around a tourniquet.

Joshua: We have a customer who worked locally for. He’s a lineman for all of our electrical around the state. He was now they they’ve gotten to not having two guys in a rig. It was one guy by himself. He was out in the middle of the desert, but he bought a tourniquet almost every time he comes in the shop. So he’s got 3 or 4 in the in the rig. He’s got him at home. Well, he fell, lacerated the underneath of his arm, was able to give himself a tourniquet, drive back to town and get taken care of. Yeah. And because he was out in like some shooting anything, it was literally working as he does terrible spot and was right underneath the arm. But he was able to stop it and he was able to make it to the, to the E.R. and get taken care of because he had a tourniquet and he had the training to do it well.

Wade: And and part of that is also risk assessment. Right. Like you may, you know, men were dumb. And so as a rule, we’re like it’s fine, right. Well no, it’s not fine. This is actually really, really bad. And so you got to know when that is in fact really, really bad or not. And that’s and that’s the thing about like on the tactical side is what I enjoy about the tactical side is um, is there’s, there’s so much more that you can learn. There’s always more you can learn from the medical to the training side. Do you guys do you guys have local training where you’re at in terms of do you partner, you have partners or strategic partnerships that you guys work with in terms of training or how do you guys work through that?

Joshua: So right now we’re actually we’ll be bringing CCW in-house and we’re going to be doing that a little bit differently. I think that there’s a ton of people that want to do it, but an eight hour day is miserable. So I’m going to be actually breaking that up. So it’s like two hour, two hour. And then we finish up for four hours on the third day. People who work or can’t work or can’t take an entire weekend. So we’ll be doing that. But we do dry fire training for both pistol and rifle. And then we do stop the bleed training. So we work with a Carson Swat medic who does our Stop the bleed training. And so we offer those those are probably quarterly. It’s, you know, hopefully fill that class as full as we can. And we’ve actually even done some training like hardening the home not necessarily firearms related. It’s more of what does your home look like as a target in your neighborhood? The things that you can do that are going to make you not look as desirable, because I think too often you’re like, oh, I’m running a ten five, I’ve got this suppressor, I’ve got this. The reality is, all of us want to avoid having to use any of this.

Joshua: So what can we do to improve that? And hardening the home was one of those ones that really did well because neighbors were starting to go, oh, I had no idea. That’s what my house looks like or oh, I shouldn’t be leaving, you know, after Christmas, that big box that says 85 inch TV, like, oh, they have a house that wants to be stolen. Just little things that you can take ten minutes to make yourself not look like a target. And then it made them talk to each other like, oh, we have that one neighbor who does this, this and this. We really don’t want them doing that either. And again, we need to be talking more, which is something that. We probably don’t do well enough in this industry, or at least in this space. As far as second amendment it point fingers talk crap on each other. The reality is, if we came together, we would be almost amazingly unstoppable. But they keep us divided really well. So communication within our our own neighborhoods and our cul de sacs, that’s what we kind of teach in a lot of our training is that don’t hold this to yourself. Start talking to your neighbors, start working together. You’ll feel a lot better.

Wade: Well, and some of the best money that I ever spent was my firearms instructor. He’s like former Swat and all that and and PD and marine and all that. And I said, come to my house and educate me on what to do. And so that was some of the best money I ever spent. Like he he said, okay, first of all, exactly what you said. Like you need to do all of this. So we, you know, did change all these things about my house, had to put an escape plan figured out. You know, where if someone came into that, it was so invaluable. And it was so for the I. You know, I’ve spent a lot of money on guns. I’ve spent a lot of money on range time, spent a lot of money on lessons. I can’t think of a better return on my money than that. Hardening the home money that I spent. Because it’s. I think about it all the time. I’m like, oh my God, I can’t believe I didn’t do this. And I think the second part of that, what you talked about is that is that you can be as trained as you want, but if if you are also trained and you communicate with your neighbors, it makes your family safer. Yeah.

Joshua: We we definitely. I mean, if you look at if people from 1960s, 1950s looked at what neighborhoods look like now, the neighborhoods don’t look much different. But what they would see is the interaction is so much different. I think they’d be shocked. They’re like, how quickly did you guys get to this point? Like, how did you get here? You guys just drive in, open the garage, get inside, and then you’re in the house and then you leave the next morning. We have completely fragmented ourselves as far as that inter community, inter neighborhood relationship. And I’m not saying like everybody needs to be best friends in their over at their house, you know. Hey John, good to see you. I’m coming over like, but at least have awareness, like, oh, hey, we’re going to be traveling. We’re going to be gone. You should feel comfortable to tell your neighbors, like, hey, keep an eye out, you know, or but we don’t we don’t do that as often. It’s I’m I’m looking at it as when I approach them, they’re like uncomfortable until like, you break down that wall like, oh, you’re just here because you care about all of us in the neighborhood. Yeah, because that helped my family be safe, too.

Wade: Yep. The two things I did on my neighborhood is I walked my dog, which is a great icebreaker. And then I got a side of beef, um, like a quarter side of beef where it’s, like, organic. I just gave everybody meat. It was it was so funny. I was like, I was like, hey, I have this organic. And from a place in California, actually perennial pasture, perennial pastures in San Diego. I had it shipped out here. And you’d be shocked about how that breaks the ice in your neighborhood when you give people organic beef, like they’re like, oh, I have this great beef. And so now my neighbors are all, you know, I’m gonna have a militia by the time it’s all done right with.

Joshua: We’re not far off from our old ancestors, which at the end of the day, as much technology you can come our way. The reality is, you know, whether it’s food, small gift and talk, we can actually still have all these relationships. It doesn’t have to be through an app.

Wade: 100, 100%. Yeah. And it’s like it’s it’s it’s funny because I bought the I bought it because I wanted a cow from like the 1950s. Right. Like I don’t want anything in it. Just give me the cow. You know, like just the cow with no anybody else. And people love it. And that is like one way to break the ice. And I think everyone’s going to be different. But I think if people start thinking about that, it makes your it makes my family so much safer because now I have everybody’s phone number, everybody knows me. And and it’s easy to start talking about these types of things. One thing I want to talk about, and we’re kind of on the runway here, but I do want to talk about two things. Is, is your gunsmithing right. Because to walk me through a little bit about because I’m looking at your, your website and you have like a custom build option for the R’s, you talked earlier about tuning up. Like if I had wanted to bring my AR in, you guys could like gunsmith like walk me through that. Like, how does that work? And because I know that there are a lot of stores that say that they do that, but you guys actually seem to have that to be something you really focus on and sort of walk me through that decision of why you did that and how that works.

Joshua: Yeah. So the reality is our gunsmithing started with a lot of questions because we try and get an idea of that. We’re going to create a solution for either the problem or what is the actual performance of the firearm that you want. Okay. Oh this is a guy that wants to shoot three gun okay. So there’s some different things we’re going to do. Or we’re going to design a gun a little bit more specific for that. Most likely they’re going to do like a 16 inch nine mil peak because it shoots off and you can be on target quick. So we’re going to do we we’re going to ask a lot of questions, but ideally so that when they invest money they’re like, I invested this money and it’s going to be with me for a long time from an and we say we’re not we’re actually we don’t even consider ourselves great gunsmiths because the reality is the AR platform, it’s Legos. It’s it’s one of those things that is not like those amazing guys that are doing, you know, rifle gunsmithing for hunters and hey, they’re doing lathe. We are the most basic of gunsmith. What we do is we look at combinations of parts to make them run the best that they possibly can. So we work within the buffer systems and springs as opposed to a lot of a lot of people change buffer weights. We change buffer springs through spring Co just. To tune that thing so that it’s ejecting brass exactly where we want it. Oh, you’re going to be running a suppress. Okay. We need to look at we’re going to be over gassing this thing. What do we need to do to improve that? We work with Cake Industries on their they’ve got a down court BCG that shoots gas down into the mag so that you’re not getting gassed out.

Joshua: Trigger okay. Are you shooting like if you’re really used to a traditional milspec, a single stage is gonna be great. But here’s what a two stage can do for you. Or you bought a gun and it was off the wall. And we won’t go into branch, but certain brands just come ridiculously over gassed. We’re going to fix it so that a the longevity of the firearm lasts as well, as it’s enjoyable to shoot, because the worst thing is buying this cool gun that looks great in a photo and then go shoot it. I didn’t that wasn’t great. This other gun was great. Well, we want to make the enjoyment of shooting every time. That’s what we we go for. But we really ask a lot of questions because at the end of the day, we’re all trying to solve a problem or we’re trying to achieve something and we can’t get there with just our own ideas, like we ask them and then start to dial it in, and then we try and work with them to where, sorry, you can’t always spend, you know, an extra, you know, 1500 bucks on your firearm. Let’s we’ll, let’s have a plan. And we’re going to do this this month. And in the next couple of months we’ll do this so that they feel like they can actually achieve it. Because the worst thing you can do to a customer is make them feel like they’re not supposed to be here. They can’t afford to be here. Okay, I’m all done with the sport.

Wade: Well, yeah. And that’s the cool thing about the AR platform, is that there are things you can do with really high leverage, piecemeal, right? Like they may be Legos, but I spent nine hours putting together an X-Wing fighter, Lego with my son made just out of Legos. It looks like the real thing in the freaking movies. It’s like ridiculous, right? So like, it’s just because it’s just because the parts are interchangeable doesn’t mean you can’t make that into, like, the baddest est gun in the history of time, you know, and but, but and you don’t have to do it all at once either. Right. And that’s and that’s the thing. And I think you touch on a really good point from the training side, is that if your gun is fun to shoot, you’re going to shoot it more. You’re going to get better at it. Yep. You know, so so that is that is let’s make it fun to shoot. Yeah.

Joshua: And if we can make you if we can take your baseline skill set and you now shoot better because now firearms actually properly being handled in your hands and like you’re staying in the corner, you’re just going to be more excited about it. Like I tell customers all the time, if we got to the point where we never sold another new gun and all we were doing was reburying all your existing guns, because you’re shooting your guns out because you’re going in training so much, I would be beside myself. Oh yeah, because that would be the most epic thing ever that people. Don’t get me wrong, we all enjoy getting new guns. But if it was like, no, I’m really good. And my my setup is this I got to put a new I just shot 20,000 rounds through this barrel over the last two years. I need a new barrel. That would be my ideal goal, because that means that we’re doing exactly what we’re all in this for, which is becoming real experts at what as best we can.

Wade: Well, and that person’s going to be ten times safer than the person who has ten, 10 or 15 different types of guns and and shoots all their different guns. And it’s kind of okay. Right? It’s the it’s the Bruce Lee thing, right? Like I don’t fear the man who knows 10,000 kicks. I know the man who’s practiced one kick 10,000 times, right? Yeah, exactly. Um, all right. So kind of last question here. We’re on the on the end. And then I want you to go through how can people find you and socials and all that is, is where do you you know, what is your plan for the next like 2 to 5 years. Like where do you see Scorpius taxable going or where would you like it to go in the next couple of years?

Joshua: So in the next, in the next 2 to 5 years, we’re looking at some potential other opportunities for other locations. I honestly am working through a licensing model for this because FFL are not a good franchise, just because of the license, because of how licensing needs work, but to create an opportunity for people who are passionate about retail to have a I’m not kidding, like literally the blueprints and everything of how to merchandise, how to lay this out and become so that they’re not to allow for people to become business owners within firearms who maybe aren’t the person who, like, built it from the ground up saying, I know 1911, I know this, but they’re really good retail business people because we need more of that across the country where people are like, I enjoy the experience of shopping. Um, most guys in firearms will never say, like, I don’t enjoy shopping. I don’t like going shopping. Yes you do. You love when you’re going through the store and you’re finding new products and that there’s like, oh, this changed or like the merchandising changed a little bit and it’s like, oh, you love discovery. Firearms. People love discovery. They love finding new products. They love finding something that makes them better. We want to create a place where you can walk through those doors and have that opportunity. And so our ideal goal is to do that. And then ideally basically create a distribution arm, not necessarily to become RSR or anything, but really the distribution for other Scorpius locations, so that when you say, hey, we’re Scorpius and you went down to Phoenix, but you’re visiting or you’re visiting Phoenix from Reno, you walk in and you’re like, no, I know what Scorpius is like. I know what I’m going to see and go in there. It’s what we did with Oakley, which was across the country. People feel like it doesn’t matter where I am. Each of them have their own little specialty to them. But they were in Oakley store and the people were Oakley people. So Scorpius becoming not becoming something like that, but honestly kind of being tailored around that.

Wade: Well, and I think that’s awesome because and we talked about it earlier, is that that is the business side of firearms is the one area where every vertical of the tent can have common ground on. Yeah, right. And so that’s the thing is like is if anything that this show can do to help you do that, I’d love for you to come back on the show and talk more about it, because that is a it’s a safe space. That is a that is a common ground, that it doesn’t matter if you’re on the hunting side, the precision side, the three gun side, the tactical side, the the bass pro shop, I don’t care. Right. That is that is the same language that everybody can get around. And then as a group, we can come around on the business side of things and lobby from a business perspective and I think be very successful that way. So. Well, look, our time is up. I’ve had so much fun talking to you today. And and I actually learned a lot. What how do people find you? And I know you guys are But are you guys on social? If they want to contact you directly, how do they do that? Yeah.

Joshua: So Instagram, Facebook, the the unfortunate world that is X or Twitter. So we’re Scorpius 775 on that one. Scorpius tactical everywhere else. We’re going through a telegram right now trying to figure out how an opportunity to have more open conversation with people without them feeling like they’re attacked. I mean, we didn’t even talk about it, but this is the weirdest business I’ve ever been in, that you have to create a moat around yourself to hopefully keep outside arms from stopping you from communicating with your customer. We’re looking for every opportunity that we can through that we try and get involved in Reddit, but a majority of ours is Instagram, our YouTube channel. You know.

Wade: Reddit don’t do Reddit, man, that is a that is a booby trap of booby traps. I’m very pro Twitter x Twitter. I’m very pro gun Twitter like I think that’s the future personally. But I’ll persuade you offline why that may troll.

Joshua: In at Reddit a little bit just to get oh.

Wade: Good. Well then do that. Then go with God. That’s good. You’re doing God’s work then. But Reddit is a cesspool of disaster for two a. I would never do that. I mean, we it’s.

Joshua: Too enjoyable to watch people’s minds explode. It’s it’s funny because we, we really don’t come from the idea that like, it’s, it’s bougie or nothing like, right. That we’re like, no, we can make guns that you don’t have to spend that much.

Wade: I’m going to start a Reddit thread about how muskets are the best EDC carry and just just, you know, 100% muskets all the time. All muskets. Yeah. All right, brother. Well, listen, like I said, I learned a lot. And I’d love to have you come back on the show in a few months and just check in and see how you guys are doing, because I think every one of the firearms vertical can really benefit from more becoming better business. Right. And that’s the I think that’s the way forward for everybody. So thank you so much for.

Joshua: Raises all ships. And I can’t thank you enough for the opportunity to be on it.

Wade: No, it was great. Great. And we’ll chat again. 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.