AmChar Wholesale Inc. is entering Canada’s gun industry with a bang: the U.S. firearm distributor set a 16-year record for imports of Glock pistols from Austria as it prepares to supply police, recreational shooters and competitors.
Canada imported 5,481 handguns valued at $1.49 million from Austria in April, data released today by Statistics Canada showed, more than any month since April 2001. In all of 2016, 1,949 revolvers and pistols valued at $811,046 came from Austria. The data don’t show who made the guns or brought them in, and don’t show a breakdown between pistols and revolvers.
“What you’re seeing is our first order,” Edward Morgis, AmChar’s sales manager for Canada, said by telephone today. “We’re a distributor for commercial right now, but we have to supply and service law-enforcement agencies with parts and support, so our first order is absolutely massive.”
Glock Canada Shake-up
About 80 percent of police in Canada use pistols made by Austria-based Glock GmbH, the world’s biggest handgun maker, Morgis said. AmChar, based in Rochester, New York, opened an office in Toronto late last year and is preparing to shake-up the industry after having taken over distribution of Glocks from Korth Group Ltd. in March.
Distributors help move guns from the factories that make them to the stores that sell them, and generally don’t sell directly to individual consumers. Some retail chains, such as Cabela’s Inc. and Bass Pro Shops, handle their own distribution.
Korth, based near Calgary, decided to stop carrying Glock after the Austrian manufacturer said it planned to drop prices beyond what would have been viable for the Canadian company, Korth’s owner said at the time. A few smaller companies also distribute Glock in Canada.
‘Changes the Landscape’
This April’s handgun imports from Austria were also the highest of any month for any country besides the U.S. since April 2001, when 2,695 guns valued at $1.54 million entered Canada from Austria. Steyr Mannlicher GmbH is also based in Austria and makes handguns. The retail value of firearms is typically about 30 percent higher than the import value.
AmChar, one of the largest firearm distributors in the U.S., sells about 10 percent of the guns Glock makes worldwide at factories in Austria and in the state of Georgia, Morgis said. Besides Glock, he’ll also be selling FN guns in Canada, and other products.
AmChar’s Glock order catapulted Austria to the No. 2 source of handgun imports in April, behind the U.S.’s $2.97 million, which included 509 firearms from Georgia valued at $270,800. Switzerland was the No. 3 source, with 112 handguns valued at $165,074.
“The size of AmChar coming to Canada would be like when Home Depot came to Canada 20 years ago,” Morgis said. “It changes the landscape of how everything is sold and distributed. It’s huge.”
(Correction 02 June 2017: Corrects time frame for record in first and second paragraphs.)
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