BY MIKE STEVENS
AZUSA – In special cases, an individual doesn’t have to be familiar with the subject matter to be able to recognize and appreciate a level of quality leaps and bounds above the norm. This can be the case if it’s anything from a pocketknife to a sports car, but for shotguns, Pacific Sporting Arms (PSA) in Azusa is a spot brimming with elite products worthy of knocking the socks off of anyone – familiar with fine firearms or not – who walks through the door.
My father-in-law is one of those guys who could spend hours checking out the high-end long guns on hand at PSA despite having right around zero interest in shooting sports. All I could think of when I tagged along to a WON sales guy’s visit to the shop hidden in plain sight in a nondescript industrial area in Azusa, was how much he would dig it if for no other reason than because I sure was digging it.
As for the location, it’s kind of like places to eat in Paris: sure the restaurant with a view of the Eiffel Tower is packed, but the place you really want to eat at is the hole-in-the-wall down a narrow passageway in the Latin Quarter with a line at the door before it opens. That’s how it works at Pacific Sporting Arms. Due to its reputation, those who know, know.
We were greeted by PSA’s General Manager, Jordan Hirschi, who showed us around and brought us up to speed on the shop that’s been in business since 1999. According to Hirschi, PSA’s gun inventory is about 98 percent shotguns and “a few rifles.” You won’t see a handgun at PSA. This place has serious hunting and competitive shotgun shooting written all over it. Hirschi said they are still working through supply-chain issues and price increases, but it sounded like he was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
A sign on the showroom wall reads, “This place has nothing to do with need, but everything to do with want,” and I’d quickly realize that pretty much sums it up.
Hirschi tabbed Krieghoff, Perazzi and Beretta Premium as flagship brands at PSA and mentioned England-based Longthorne as one of the relatively newer brands to their impressive roster. A trophy awarded to PSA naming them “#1 USA Longthorne Dealer” shows they really hit the ground running after bringing in the “English shotguns with the world’s most progressive barrel technology.”
When Hirschi headed back to the office to chat with Landon Thomas of WON, I was free to roam the shop for a closer look at what Pacific Sporting Arms is all about. High-end brands including but not limited to Fabarm, Merkel, Gallo, Benelli, Kolar, Fausti, Grulla, Dickinson, Browning and Zeiss orbited the periphery of the store along with a cool collection of exotic game mounts. Classic rock playing in the background took the edge off of the fact I was exploring legitimate works of firearm art as someone who couldn’t imagine actually shooting these things, but I’ve also profiled PSA in the past and know that the popularity of pushing such products to their limits – both as a hunter and a competitive shooter – is out there.
As I made my way through the showroom, I was constantly picking my jaw off the floor as I moved from one shotgun to the next, marveling over the ornate woodwork making up each barrel, and the fine details in the etched and engraved designs covering the receivers and trigger guards. I likened that to the modern version of metallic artwork you might find on an ancient Samurai sword. PSA also has a consignment gun display that looks every bit as classy (I saw a pair of shotguns priced higher than what childhood home went for, new, in 1988) as the rest of the store while also showcasing models accessible to blue-collar hunters. Top-shelf shooting apparel and accessories are also on hand at PSA.
High-end shotgun enthusiasts including top-level competitive shooters are very familiar with Pacific Sporting Arms, but any level of shooter owes it to themselves to pay PSA a visit if for no other reason than to see what’s out there and get those juices flowing.
There’s no way I’m not bringing my father-in-law, who ironically lives a stone’s throw from Pacific Sporting Arms (east) in Walled Lake, Michigan, for a visit. Once he pulls himself away from the vintage motorcycles (something he is familiar with) also on display at the Azusa PSA location, I have no doubt the guy whose taglines include “if you buy the best, you’ll never be disappointed” will be even more blown away than I was.
Pacific Sporting Arms (west) is located at 912 W. 10th St. Azusa, Ca., 91702. Visit them online at PacificSportingArms.com