Diggory Hadoke takes a peek inside Gordy & Sons’ legendary fine gun room

From the beginning, Gordy & Sons set out to adopt a no compromise attitude for The Vault. The mission was to achieve a level of stock holding which enabled customers to walk in when they had the inclination and walk out that day with what they desired. No order taking, no long waiting times for manufacture, no deferred gratification.

This meant they had to do things differently to most other gun shops. They had to buy inventory. And buy it they have. Just about every major gunmaker’s finest wares are to be found on the racks. Blaser, Rigby, Browning, Krieghoff, Sauer, Purdey, Boss. All are available in numbers unheard of elsewhere. In fact, no other store in the world can claim to be a stock dealer for new Purdey guns. Apart from Audley House, in London, of course.

Gordy & Sons has arranged to have best London guns provided with long measurements, which can be reduced if necessary and fine fitted in a short time. Gordy & Sons boasts the only Purdey-approved workshop in the US.

Texans can now walk out with a new Purdey without the two-year waiting time such an order usually requires. The Gordy & Sons model is working. The store has sold 15 new Purdey’s in a year and a half. That is half as many guns or rifles as Westley Richards build in a year. In fact, Retail Manager Mike Burnett has just ordered six new shotguns from Scottish gunmaker David McKay Brown.

Current inventory shows a 70-30% weighting in favor of new guns and rifles. The 30% is made up of consigned or privately purchased collections. Some of this inventory consisted of 226 Browning superposed shotguns and a large collection of Winchester Model 21s. Sales of these have been strong.

Mike would like to see the ratio balance out at around 50-50 in time. He is keen to sell guns across the range but there will always be a strong focus on the very best English and European sporting guns and rifles. He told me he also wants to cater to buyers with pockets less deep than the average oil baron; citing vintage Purdeys starting at around $16,000, as an example of entry-level access.

There is a thriving trade in classic and vintage sporting guns and rifles in the US and Gordy & Sons plan to be major players in that business. Their profile means they are in a good position to take on large private collections and selected consignment items. Direct sales offer a degree of privacy that auctions do not and a retailer can offer an after-sales service and guarantees, which buyers at auction do not enjoy.

The Vault, with its gleaming array of fine guns forms the hub of the store. Dominated by a huge 18,000-pound steel door from the old South Maine Bank dating back to 1932, it looks imposing and makes a strong statement. The fittings elsewhere in the interior visually back up the ambition. Mr Gordy senior jokes that he started with an unlimited budget and then doubled it. There was never any intention that this would be a normal retail store, Mike reflected.

Counter tops are of black American walnut and the fittings are by the famous bespoke trophy room builders, Julian & Sons. Metal gleams, wood glows with warm tones, the atmosphere is one of focus and quality. You are in a museum of the world’s finest firearms and you can buy the exhibits. One of several English gunmakers to have forged a new relationship with Gordy & Sons is John Rigby & Co, whose contribution includes double rifles with the famous ‘Rising Bite’ action, selling for in excess of $160,000 and the very successful ‘Highland Stalker’ and ‘Big Game’ model, Mauser-action, bolt-rifles.

Rigby supplies Gordy & Sons with new rifles for sale from stock and Managing Director Marc Newton told me that Mr Gordy had approached him soon after Rigby was re-established in London. “He clearly had a vision of creating the best gun shop in the world and he had the finances and the will to make it happen”. Marc is happy to acknowledge the benefit to Rigby that Gordy & Sons’ order for the new ‘Rising Bite’ double rifle was in the early days of the project. Having such a high value order and a top player believing in the venture was a really motivating and affirming milestone for the Rigby team.

Rigby and Gordy struck up a mutually beneficial relationship, which is now embodied in the lines of Rigby bolt-action and double rifles in the vault. Gordy customers can access these immediately with no wait time. “It is an absolute honor to work with Gordy & Sons, said Marc. “There is nothing quite like it in the world.”

For more information, visit www.gordyandsons.com.