January 25, 2010
Handgun Sales Boom at Elk Foundation Fundraisers
MISSOULA, Mont.—Ask an elk hunter about their favorite caliber and you’ll hear nary a peep about the .45 ACP. Venerable handgun round, certainly. Big game round, hardly.
That’s why Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation officials are pleasantly surprised that a Kimber 1911 in .45 ACP emerged as the top-performing firearm at 2009 fundraisers for elk habitat conservation.
The gun, blued with an RMEF logo laser-etched into rosewood grips, was the first-ever 1911 in the organization’s core lineup of firearms for auctions and raffles nationwide.
“Hunting rifles and shotguns are always the centerpiece of our fundraising efforts, but last year we sold 325 of these pistols and generated well over $600,000 gross for elk and other wildlife,” said Steve Decker, vice president of marketing for the Elk Foundation. “At several events this gun sold for more than $5,000, which we certainly never expected.”
Also in 2009, RMEF passed the 5.7 million-acre mark in habitat protected or enhanced for elk and other wildlife, and the 600,000-acre mark in hunting lands opened or secured for the public.
Decker says he’s uncertain whether the Elk Foundation’s 2009 handgun sales were related to the nationwide boom in handgun sales last year, or if the big game hunters who support the organization were simply enthusiastic about the new offering. Either way, the inaugural 1911 was so successful, RMEF will offer a Kimber .45 ACP companion model in stainless steel, with matching logo engraving, in 2010.
All firearm recipients must pass standard background checks.