A Natural Progression
At Anchor Tactical in Springfield, Mo., the mission statement reads in part: “Train, equip, and organize American citizens to always be ready to stop the threat while maintaining security and deterrence through sustained readiness.”
Kyle Braschler, a former law enforcement officer who works at the store, shared much of what Anchor Tactical does began with the desire to serve the law enforcement community and first responders. Over time, however, it grew into a quest to provide the same level of service to personal protection and self-defense customers.
“The store was originally named Kelly’s,” Braschler recalled. “It sold batteries. A lot of law enforcement officers came in to buy batteries, and they asked about flashlights. So, the store started carrying flashlights and then handcuffs. Then it expanded into duty gear and became a ‘cop shop.’”
Products at the time included uniforms and tactical supplies. When the current owner purchased the store three years ago, he expanded into tactical products and gear, including firearms.
Today, Anchor Tactical has good relationships with a number of constituent groups, including private security firms and members of the medical community, especially first responders.
“We carry a lot of medical supplies in-house — direct from manufacturers — so there’s a lot of crossover from that community,” Braschler affirmed.
Several large churches in the Springfield area also have developed relationships with Anchor Tactical.
“We’re in the Bible Belt, and we supply several megachurches in the area,” Braschler shared. “They have anything from church security teams to full-blown protection details for their pastoral teams. We have a lot of outreach there, and the owner of the store is well connected in his own church community. We have a lot of people come in who go to church with him.” Both individual church members and security details are arming themselves, Braschler noted.
“Sometimes it’s the leadership of the details who come in for equipment they’re purchasing to issue, or for training tools,” he said. “A good example of a training tool being used lately is a phenomenal laser training system from Mantis-X. It doesn’t require a lot of actual shooting; it uses dry-fire, so it’s good for various training scenarios inside the church. It’s a big one; several church communities have been looking at it. Individual church members are arming themselves as well.”
COVID & First-Time Buyers
Besides these constituent communities, Anchor Tactical served many first-time gun buyers last year.
“When COVID started, it caused confusion and fear,” Braschler stated. “People didn’t know what direction things were going to go or what was going to happen. Every single day I helped four to six people personally who said, ‘I’ve never bought a gun in my life; I’m looking to get my first gun. I don’t know anything about them, what do you think I should do?’ Those are my favorite customers to help because there’s no ego to get in the way. They want to be helped, and they want to listen. We’ve had a ton of people come in who never thought they’d own a gun in their lives who came in to buy one.”