With over 23 years’ experience in the French gun trade, Jérôme Lanoue has recently joined the international sales team at London gunmaker John Rigby & Co. Having studied at the Liege School of Gunmaking in Belgium, Jérôme gained over two decades of experience in the gun trade. Throughout his career he has worked as a gunsmith at various gun shops in Paris and northern France.
We catch up with Jérôme to learn more about his background and what the future holds in his new appointment.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I live in north-west France, in Normandy with my wife, who’s a vet and has a clinic here. Together we have two boys who I hunt with.
I always wanted to be a gunsmith from a very early age because hunting is my passion. Before I got married, I even chose our honeymoon, which was a duck hunting trip to Argentina.
I’m one of those people who really live and work for hunting – it has really influenced my whole career and its why I work hard, to continue doing what I do. Our industry is fantastic, as it’s filled with great people who share that same passion and for that I feel lucky.
Tell me about your background and experience – what did you do before joining John Rigby & Co.?
I studied at the Liege School of Gunmaking in Belgium, where I qualified in 1997 as a gunsmith and stock maker. After leaving school I worked for a few gun shops in Paris and Normandy, where I’m living now.
For the last 12 years I worked for the French gunmaker, Verney-Carron as a director in their l’atelier department for handmade guns. I managed a team, who produced between 70 to 80 guns per year and I had 15 people working with me. I love to create and we made some very small calibre rifles, rifles for children and even the largest nitro calibre, a .700 Nitro Express. Here I also created a gun for my son when he turned seven, which was a very small falling block, weighing 1.6kg .222, with the right proportions for children.
Do you have any personal achievements from working within the gun trade industry?
There were a number of projects I worked on which I really appreciated, but the rifle I was most proud of was for one of my biggest customers. He had a lot of faith in me and told me he wanted a .450/400 NE but to create what I wanted with the rifle – just as I would do for myself. It was quite peculiar because of the customer’s confidence in me given he was such a high profile client. I ended up creating a very nice African rifle – which I would say is my speciality – but it was very small. Typically, you would use a big action for this, like a .470 or .500, but I reduced everything to use the calibre with a much smaller frame. The .450/400 NE is very similar to the .404 Jeffrey, so it’s very comfortable to shoot. We were able to reduce the size and weight of the rifle, which was something that hadn’t been done before.
When you looked at the finished gun you would have said it wasn’t possible for it to be an African calibre, but because of the technology and actioning I did, every proportion was perfect. When you held it, it was so hard to imagine the calibre it was, yet it was still very comfortable to shoot.
Tell us about your hunting experience.
I started hunting by myself when I was around 16-years old, but when I was much younger, I was only allowed to join my father on afternoons. I also enjoyed hunting with my grandfathers in central France, where we hunted partridge and hare.
Nowadays, I hunt a lot in Africa and spend two to three weeks there every year. This weekend I’m going to France to hunt roe deer with a customer.
When I hear my customer’s saying they have a dream, for example, wanting to hunt chamois and I’m due to hunt that later in the year, I take a lot of enjoyment from inviting them along and helping teach them.
Why did you want to work for John Rigby & Co.?
The Rigby name is such a strong, well-known British brand, which I’m looking forward to representing. The way the company is run is fantastic, under the great leadership of Marc I can only see the company growing and flourishing.
When you look at the team, you can see they have been with the company for years, they all stick together and truly work together. For that to be the case, there has to be something special that bonds them and that excites me.
What will your new role entail?
Working in international sales, I will be responsible for selling and opening up the Rigby brand to a much wider market to create even more brand awareness.
What do you think will be most challenging?
I’m not afraid of selling because I’ve many years’ experience of this under my belt, plus I’m well-known to the industry and to work with such a strong brand is only a positive.
If you would like to get in touch with Jerome, please email: email@example.com