TUCSON, ARIZ. — Precision Shooting Equipment prides itself on self-reliance — right down to the plastic components it makes for its precision archery equipment.
``We make about 90 percent of what we use right here without outsourcing,'' said marketing manager David Polzin. From computer numerically controlled metal machining equipment to plastic injection molding machines, to engineering product development, ``right down to the strings.''
``All the painting, all the assembly is here.''
Only last month, PSE installed a new injection molding machine — a Mitsubishi, 180MJII — that was an addition to its three 25-year-old injection presses. The machines make arrow clips with inserts, pin guards, limbs, limb overlays, eccentric wheels, slide insulators, and hoods that fit over quivers.
Although most of the components of PSE's bows are made of machined aluminum, some of the most important parts are plastic, Polzin said.
PSE claims to be the world's largest manufacturer of archery equipment, competing with about 19 others.
PSE ships to 2,600 dealers, including 200 international accounts in 43 countries. It employs 350.
Despite its international appeal, there is a big gap between shooting preferences of American archers and others. Most archers in the United States are hunters; only about 15 percent are target shooters.
However, outside the United States, the percentages are reversed. Eighty percent of overseas archers, mostly in Europe, shoot only targets.
Peter Schepley started PSE in 1970 in Illinois. He set up a subsidiary plant in Tucson to laminate the wood used in bows at that time, since the climate here was ideal for such an operation. In 1982 Schepley moved his entire operation to Tucson.
PSE has an estimated 30 percent share of the worldwide market. That translates to sales of between 100,000 and 130,000 units a year.
In the United States, about 3 million archers spend from $150-$800 on their bows. Some dedicated shooters own as many as six.
Although Arizona has some of the country's biggest elk, it is not a major location for archery hunters. About 70 percent of all bow-hunters — mostly blue-collar — live east of the Mississippi, mostly in states that touch the Great Lakes. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and Ohio have the largest concentration of white-tailed deer in the United States.
According to PSE, the only way for archery manufacturers to increase the market is to encourage more target shooting. Archers in France, England, Spain, Germany, Austria and Turkey belong to archery clubs and take part in tournaments.