Another Update from the Gun Retail Front Lines

Tam posted recently on what she believes is at least partially the cause of the current glut on the firearms market:

(W)hile most firearms companies are privately held and therefore inscrutable on matters fiscal, the goings-on at a few are public knowledge because they are publicly traded.

The news from American Outdoor Brands Corporation (neƩ Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation) tells a tale that is probably all too common in the industry right now: Shelves groaning under unsold inventory that was churned out in expectation of the mother of all gun panics following a Hillary Clinton victory.

I sent this link to my favorite local Merchant O’Death, and he recently replied:

As I mentioned in an earlier email, and, as others have pointed out elsewhere, it is definitely a buyer’s market in the firearms industry right now. The big name companies continue to offer almost absurd “deals” in the form of free gear, mail in rebates and the like. One company was offering a free pair of Oakley sunglasses with he purchase of one of their AR platform rifles. I do believe that particular deal has ended but several other companies have continued deals that were only supposed to last a month or two. Ruger is currently engaged in a program for gun store employees. Sell a certain number of new Ruger firearms, send in proof to Ruger that you have done so and, upon verification that no skullduggery is afoot, they will send the gun store employee a brand spankin’ new Ruger firearm of the said gun store employee’s choice (from a list of firearms posted by the company of course). . There are some pretty cool choices on the list. Now to the point: the program was supposed to last for a couple of months. It has been extended for a couple more. I suppose that is one way to move product out of the warehouse.

Our distributors call us Monday through Friday with “ganga deals” on firearms we don’t need either because we have them on the shelves (and in back stock) or because we have no room for them. The only firearms we have a hard time acquiring are a handful of things that were announced at SHOT earlier in the year. The CZ P-10C is much sought after though availability is getting better. Colt announced the return of the Cobra revolver at SHOT this year. I have almost a double handful of customers with money down on one. I have yet to see one. The Kimber K6S, even though it has been out for over a year is still a scarce beastie on our shelves despite the fact that we are a “Master Dealer”. With rare exception ammunition is not hard to come by at all (those rare exceptions leaning toward the “semi-obsolete” cartridges like 30-40 Krag and 348 Winchester etc.) We turn down 22 rimfire ammo every day.

We are still turning customers away with firearms for sale. We are still stacked to the gunwales with black rifles, Glocks, XDs, M&Ps, Sigs, 1911s, pocket pistols and small frame revolvers. We also have a glut of heavy barrel target/benchrest rifles of varying caliber. Had to turn a guy away today with a nice Sako single-shot, heavy barrel bolt gun in 222 Rem. He couldn’t understand why we didn’t want to buy it even after we showed him the eight other target guns we had that had been there for longer than we wanted them to be.

The old and collectable are still flying of the shelves. Had a non-military/police Sig P-210 come into our possession from an old customer that is getting out of the firearms game due to poor health. That gun never made it to the shelf. Customer saw it as we were buying it and said that he didn’t care what the price was he wanted it. Same thing with a couple of semi-scarce Colt 1911A1 models. Same story with some older S&W revolvers.

Things are selling, just not things that are collecting dust on manufacturers’/distributors’ shelves.

So, interesting things are happening in the used market, but the market for all that stuff sitting in manufacturer’s and distributor’s warehouses? Not so much.

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