martinibuster - 7:51 am on Feb 22, 2011 (gmt 0)
It is a forum-based site with many custom features for members.
As LIA and Lexur indicated, there is more to it than traffic. Traffic quality plays a role, what is the traffic doing on the site, where on the buy cycle are they, etc.
Are any of those custom features related to making a purchase or locating a dealer where a purchase could be made? If you don't have a purchase related section then build one, whether it's a "feature" or a forum category related to purchases.
Take a look at similar regional sites and see how they're monetizing. A quick scan indicates direct advertising for local merchants is a component.
You may want to broaden your regional scope. Limiting your audience limits your opportunity. You don't have to change your forum. You can simply build out another section of the site and promote it.
Are there any firearms affiliate programs? If so look into that to supplement direct advertising sales, etc. In order to maximize affiliate sales you may need to expand the site to include a review section, a how-to section etc., with affiliate links to where newbs can buy gear.
Speaking of newbs, many site publishers prefer to be known for the advanced level of their sites, with some publishers being quite hostile and impatient with newbs. But here's the thing, newbs may be your bread and butter. They're the ones that need gear, who are experimenting with new techniques. As a consequence they're eager to acquire the latest widget that will make their hobby a better experience or bring them more joy.
The joy button is important. Remember Vince the Slap Chop guy? Check out his video [youtube.com]. The heart of what he's doing is telling people how much joy the slap chop will bring to their lives. He gets to the point right away by saying that the slap chop will help you slap your troubles away. I love those commercials, they're inspirational. Watch the remix [youtube.com], it'll make you smile.