The Lefty Leader

Lefties are 10 percent of the market. To accommodate them Savage Arms has left-handed models for most of its firearms. This is the Savage 10 FLCP - SR rifle in .308 Win., the left-handed version of the 10 FCP - SR.

Accurate and very affordable rifles keep Savage Arms’ reputation and sales strong. This was enhanced in 2002 when Savage developed the AccuTrigger, a trigger system that revolutionized the rifle business. But Savage has always done something else well: It finds and even creates niche markets.

“Whether it’s a bigger gun, faster gun or one that fulfills a specific customer need, we strive be the leader in specialty guns,” said Firearms Marketing Director Bill Dermody. “Because when you add up small chunks of a pie, you quickly get a big slice.”

An example how Savage fulfills a special need in a niche market is its multitude of left-handed firearms. We asked Dermody why and how Savage makes guns for this niche market:

RANGE365: Why does Savage offer so many left-handed options?

Dermody: Specialty guns are our bread and butter, and they're great business for us. All of our product offerings made it in our catalog because they fulfill a special need—lightweight predator rifles, F-Class Target rifles, a firearm that properly fits a woman. A bolt gun that has the bolt on the other side of the gun is a special need. It's as simple as that.

RANGE365: How many left-handed firearm models do you offer?

Dermody: More than 18. We have left-handed options available throughout our product line, including big game, law enforcement, target competition, and predator hunting. We also offer left-handed slug shotguns and bolt-action and semi-auto rimfire rifles. To quickly see all our left-handed options, open the Gun Finder tool on our website (savagearms.com) and select "left" in the search function.

RANGE365: Do you have plans to offer more in the future?

Dermody: Yes, definitely. When we release a new firearm it's usually only in a right-handed model, but oftentimes we introduce the left-handed version in the years that follow. However, if you are a dealer looking to stock a left-handed Savage firearm, or order one for a specific customer who is looking for a left-handed model not listed in the catalog or website, just call us. Many times our special-order department can build left-hand versions of any our rifles. The only limitation to this is the availability of left-handed stocks for particular rifles. Some of our right-handed rifles are built with stocks our vendor simply doesn't have a left-handed version for. But the majority of the time, we can special build a lefty for you.

RANGE365: How big is the left-handed firearms market?

Dermody: Research reports more than 10 percent of Americans are left-handed. Then there are those who are right-handed, but left-eye dominant. These hunters and shooters greatly benefit from a left-handed firearm. Sum them up and the number of potential customers spikes up significantly. Simply put, if dealers want to sell more guns, they can't ignore this niche. That's why we're here to supply dependable, accurate and popular left-handed choices.

RANGE365: How do left-handed shooters benefit from a left-handed gun?

Dermody: For lefties, having a left-handed bolt gun is extremely important because it allows a fast follow-up shot. A shooter's support hand never has to leave the forend—or their cheek to leave the stock—while their trigger hand operates the bolt. Also, having the action open on the left side makes for easier loading with your left hand, and hot spent cases never fly across your face.

RANGE365: From the manufacturing standpoint, what makes Savage Arms the leader?

Dermody: Becoming the left-handed leader is not an accident. Part of the genius behind our long-standing, time-proven action designs is versatility. Quite simply, our actions are easier to convert to left-handed. Many of our competitors need a completely different receiver design to convert their right-handed rifles to the left. This is time-consuming and expensive, so they often decide to opt out of the left-handed market. Not us. Both our Model 10/110 receivers and AXIS receivers have a fairly symmetrical design. Our top-tang safety is symmetrical as are bolt releases on several models. So basically it just comes down to changing the bolt assembly and machining the ejection port on the other side.

RANGE365: Is there anything else you want readers to know about Savage’s left-handed guns?

Dermody: We make specialty guns. Put yourself in the consumer's shoes: Would you rather have a general-purpose gun or one made to do exactly what you want? Just look at the many TV personalities we sponsor—they can shoot any Savage they want and we will give it to them, but they all gravitate to our specialty guns. Jackie Bushman chooses left-handed guns. Some of our other sponsored hunters choose the Compact Hunter and Long Range Hunter rifles. Whether it is a left-handed gun or a different specialized gun, it's the same idea: It's a gun that fits the shooter's needs. It's just one of the things that keep them and all our customers happy. When they're happy, we're happy.