By Kyle Jillson | August 11 2009 15:15

Firearm accessory wholesaler supporting the NRA

Kyle with Larry Potterfield

Earlier this week at Camp Perry, I had the chance to sit down and talk with Larry Potterfield, founder and CEO of MidwayUSA. His operation is a wholesaler and retailer of just about every gun-related product you could imagine.

Midway has had a great relationship with the NRA over the years. Since 1992, Larry and his wife Brenda have asked customers to round up the total of their purchases and donate the change to NRA's NRA's Institute for Legislative Action.Through this, they have contributed over $3.7 million to the National Endowment for the Protection of the 2nd Amendment.

"We're updating our website soon, on the 17th actually, to make it faster and more productive," Potterfield told me. Always putting the customer first, he stressed how much strategic planning Midway goes into determining which products to carry, which to add, and which to discontinue.

Since this past fall, the market for primers and almost everything else has been pedal to the metal. They have been almost impossible to find and primer stocks are depleted almost as soon as new shipments arrive. "We're finally starting to see a bit of a lull in primers," Potterfield mentioned. But there is still a very strong demand in the reloading community. He went on to talk about how four different brands were brought in last week and practically shipped out the same day. "It's an interesting thing how primers work for us," he said.

"We get a shipment first thing in the morning and we have a thing on our website where you can receive a 'reminder' in. You get a notification when we receive a new shipment and you have about ten minutes to get on the web or phone and make your order," he continued. A first come first serve policy seemed the fairest way to handle the demand. "It's an interesting phenomena."

Larry Potterfield

Midway recently made a generous donation to the NRA's Competitive Shooting Division of $1 million. I asked Mr. Potterfield what he hoped would be accomplished with their donation.

Sharing success with customers & the NRA

"Our customers and the world have been very kind to Brenda, myself, and the Midway business," he began. "The question you have to ask is what do you do with success? Do you hoard all your money and die with it? Try to find a way to preserve the future in a way you'd like to see it? For Brenda and me, Midway, and the Potterfield family, the question was how do we pay the industry back that has taken such good care of us?"

The NRA has always been something the Potterfields and Midway have wanted to support through the years. After deciding to donate, they had to decide where in the organization the money would go. "We had to look at the NRA's positions," Potterfield explained. "Everybody knows they're guarding the right to keep and bear arms, but a lot of folks don't know about the NRA's other missions. We wondered what would happen if the NRA shut down the Competitive Shooting Division. Would anyone be able to take up the gauntlet and do what they do?"

Who indeed. In addition to the National Matches, the NRA has a big hand in tournaments such as the Bianchi Cup, Collegiate Championships, Tactical Police Competitions, and the Junior Air Gun Championship, to name a few.

"We thought the funding of the Competitive Shooting Division would ensure their self-sufficiency and the longevity of those competitions," he said.

Fulfilling childhood dreams

Surprisingly, this was Mr. Potterfield's first trip to the National Matches at Camp Perry. Even though he wanted to shoot at the famed location since childhood.

MidwayUSA"I wanted to go to Camp Perry, the Grand American, a one shot antelope hunt, I wanted to go to Africa, I wanted to hunt bears, all the things kids want to do," he said. "I'm just a kid and I've been very fortunate that I've been able to do all those things. Camp Perry is a very exciting place. I'm very comfortable to be back on a military base. These are great people, it's great facility, and it feels great to be here. I feel at home on a military standpoint and because our customers are here."

With that, Mr. Potterfield left to continue his tour of the base. The sport of competitive shooting is very lucky to have such a compassionate proponent like Larry Potterfield. With his support, and the support of others like him, competitive shooting is in great hands for years to come.

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