Ollie Harvey joins Steve Randles as he sets his sights on trade with the revolutionary Shoot SP.
In an industry that is steeped in heritage and tradition, innovation can be hard to come by. It is a cliché to say that the firearms industry is stuck in the 20th century but in this digital age we must move to ensure that this stereotype doesn’t ring true.
We can do this by adapting and evolving while retaining the core values of the sport that we are all passionate about.
This means approaching new solutions to old problems; whether it’s creating a biodegradable wad to cut plastic waste or, in the case of Shoot SP, changing how shooters tackle eye dominance.
The SP (Shot Paraboloid) is a new option for shooters looking to control eye dominance – gun up or gun down – and is already proving a challenge to the normal conventions.
With recommendations from top grounds and coaches, the discreet unit is unlike any product that came before it. Now here’s the technical bit: The SP allows initial control during the set-up by creating a unique stimulant for the eye.
The brain reacts to the unique image in the shooter’s peripheral vision leading the eye over the rib, creating the shot picture with firm focus on the clay or bird – and crucially not the gun.
“It’s simple but highly effective,” says SP director and inventor, Steve Randles.
“We are already seeing a great demand from customers online but appreciate that there is a larger market that don’t use the web, and we want the product to be available for all shooters. We already have grounds and shops stocking it, but we are looking to grow this across the country alongside our international sales. It’s very simple to fit and use, so it’s ideal.”
A high bond tape means the SP is secured on the gun but can be removed if necessary (replacement tapes can be ordered to place it on a new gun) and the minimalist fitting makes it perfect for all clay disciplines and game shooting.
Steve explains: “We have seen a great pick up of the SP from all levels of clay shooters which has gained us a World ITSCF Ladies silver medal right through to county and club-level success.
“We have just entered the game season and we are already seeing a good response. The SP was designed to be discreet so as not to look out-of-place on the clay or game guns; the nature of game shooting and most clay shooting sees the discreet side-mounted position suit gun-down shooting perfectly. We are looking at developments to allow a wider range of SP’s next year.
Already proven at numerous international events, the product and brand is growing both nationally and internationally. Retailing at £39.99, Steve suggests that the SP offers a good margin for retailers. “We also have options on POS stands or euro hooks to help with displays,” he remarks.
“We are a small UK firm and are always on hand to discuss stocking and opportunities with grounds and retailers. We have sourced all the production parts from the UK – bar the tin, which comes from a UK supplier – and the final production is done in house.
“I am a county shot myself, shooting at AAA ESP (something achieved after developing the SP). With a 25-year background in aerospace and automotive design, my shooting hobby and business is relatively new, having only shot for seven years,” says Steve.
“The company’s primary focus is the SP and its development in other fields. Other areas in the business see a focus on production efficiencies and day-to-day running of the business, including production and quality checks. Patents are being pursued in the UK, Europe and the USA along with further testing in multiple markets.
“The SP has a number of focused options in the pipeline including coloured and alternative sizes to suit disciplines within the sport. We also have huge interest from abroad and will be looking to set up export partners.”
As part of SP’s ongoing development, the eye dominance aids are sent to shooting grounds for coaches to use as part of their tuition, as Steve explains. “We have coaches’ kits that allow them to have three SPs and 50 coaches’ tapes to allow trials with clients before they buy.
“It’s important that the shooter has a gun that fits them, and has a general understanding of shooting to make sure the concept is well understood. The focus is on the clay or bird and understanding that the SP isn’t a sight is very important – it is to trick the brain into using the eye over the rib, allowing confidence in the shot!”
When it comes to introducing innovation to the trade, there are a number of avenues for relative newcomers to reach their target audiences. Steve comments: “I am considering the option regarding shows and establishing costs and the best way to demonstrate to shooters, we are planning a series of demo dates across the country with grounds in Cheshire and the Forest of Dean initially. The grounds that stock the SP also have demos for testing and we intend to increase this to cover the whole country.”
SP’s plans for exhibiting come at a time when shooting shows are facing increased pressure. The dissapointment of a cancelled show in Liverpool is the latest backlash and Steve, from neighbouring Cheshire, argues that, like trade exhibitions, new products can also take time to become accepted into the marketplace.
“The SP is a brand new concept and we understand it will take sometime for the general community to accept,” he remarks, “What we have seen though is the natural growth of the product as friends or fellow shooters get to try a gun with it on and see the impact instantly.
“We know that the most effective way to show people it works is for them to use it, but we are starting to have some major companies in the industry showing interest and that is confirming our belief the SP will change shooting for a lot of shooters new and old.”