Listening to the Hunter Puts Thunderbolt Customs on the World Stage
Thunderbolt Customs Inc, the one manufacturer of compact gun rests in the world, attributes its success to listening to what hunters and dealers say is needed.
In 2005, the company started with a unique gun rest concept available in one color. It was designed specifically for hunters that like to carry a hiking staff or walking stick. The “Original” model featured a loop-style device to place over the top of a walking stick to convert the walking stick into a monopod.
“While the Original Little Sure Shot Gun Rest model was highly functional and utilized by the market segment that routinely carried walking sticks, these folks represented less than 10% of hunters and shooters,” according to Curt Lackey, president of Thunderbolt Customs Inc and the product’s inventor. “The 9o% of the market that refused to carry walking sticks told us that they too wanted the increased accuracy and range our compact gun rests offered. They asked us to design a compact device that would hook around virtually anything a hunter could find in the woods like a branch, fence post or even an ATV upright,” he added.
This was the turning point for the company. Today, Little Sure Shot Gun Rests stay
tucked away in a pocket or pack until needed. Once at the hunting site, the compact rests are easily hooked to limbs, branches, sticks or fence posts. No longer must a stick be carried. Hunters attach the compact rests to what nature offers as a shooting support. The compact rests stabilize hunters allowing them to stay on target and concentrate longer when using Little Sure Shot Gun Rests.
For the minority of hunters that own traditional wood walking sticks, aluminum or composite hiking pole, Little Sure Shot Gun Rests can be attached to these supports to convert them into ideal shooting platforms.
“Customers continually tell us how our compact gun rests help them relax and remain comfortable waiting for just the right shot,” Lackey said. Helping drive the company’s continued successes are price points. Traditional shooting sticks range from $45 to $120. Little Sure Shot Gun Rests MSRP is $19.99.
This listening approach also provided valuable insights for new products. The company was asked for product variations better suited for different geographic conditions and hunting environments. In 2012, the product line includes 12 different Little Sure Shot Gun Rests which are all manufactured in the United States. Color options include Desert Camo, Tactical Black, Blaze Orange, Forest Green Camo, Pink Camo and Deep Woods Green.
The line’s growth was not limited to just color options. The “Ultra” and “Big Mouth” series were developed to increase the usability of the compact gun rests with various size shooting supports.
The “Ultra” series consists of six models that feature an oversized hooking device capable of wrapping around virtually any shaped shooting support from 1 1/4 to 2 3/8 inches. They can be affixed to fence posts, larger branches, trees, sign posts, pipes, and even ATV uprights.
The “Big Mouth” series fits around midsized items ranging from ½ to 1 ½ inches and also uses the open-ended hook design that allows hunters to select most anything in the field to use as a shooting support. This line also has six color options.
Each model is no bigger than your hand and small enough to put into a shirt pocket. They are made from a heavy-duty polypropylene plastic resin for enhanced strength and durability. The colors are blended throughout the entire device so that if a scratch does occur, it is less visible. They are 6 1/4 inches long, weigh less than 6 ounces and easily reposition to various shooting heights with just a twist of the knob.
“Everyone asks me what happened to the “Original” model that was sold to folks that routinely carry walking sticks, he said. “ Believe it or not, we still get a few hundred requests yearly for the “Original” which we accommodate,” Lackey added.
The listening to customers’ ideas to identify new opportunities has paid off. The products are becoming standard hunting gear and are sold across the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Australia, Belize, Denmark, South Africa and Finland. Stocking retailers can be located online at www.LittleSureShotGunRests.com.
Thunderbolt Customs specializes in developing common sense products that make hunting and outdoor life more enjoyable.