Letter Re: Some Observations at a Recent Gun Show

I attended a gun show in a Southern state this weekend and wanted to share my observations. I got there very early and was among the first ten in line. By the time we were allowed to enter, the line was out the door of the building and around the corner. I’d estimate around three hundred people in line. I left the show a mere hour later and the room probably had in excess of eight-hundred people and the line was still quite long.

Ammo, of course, went fast. I was able to acquire all the ammo I desired, in all my favorite calibers, with no problem, from my regular favorite vendor. His prices were the same as four weeks earlier, which both surprised and pleased me. Other ammo vendors were doing brisk business, as well, but some of their prices were dramatically higher. By Sunday afternoon, my vendor had extinguished their bulk ammo supply in .223.

My attendance was centered on finding a good deal on an AR-15 full upper, at a decent price (a relative term, of course). Most AR-15 full uppers were going for between $700-$1100, depending on manufacturer and features. The vendor from whom I’d planned on buying was, surprisingly, not there. The very last table I came to, however, had five AR-15 carbine A3 uppers, made by Model 1 Sales, the vendor from whom I’d hoped to buy. Mine came out to $611 with bolt carrier assembly and charging handle, which was easily the best deal at the show, since I’d seen the same basic configurations for $100-$500 more. Most astonishing was the deal I found on Sunday when a vendor was laying out a used DPMS AR-15A2 in excellent condition for a scant $799. She wouldn’t hold it for me and by the time I returned with the necessary funding five minutes later, it had been sold. Most fully assembled ARs, used or otherwise, were going for $1,100-$2,500.

Magazines are definitely going up in price, dramatically. The [formerly inexpensive fairly plentiful US government] contract O’Kay Industries AR-15 mags are now $12-20 in used condition, and new ones are $15-25. P-MAGs at the show were $28-35 and obviously becoming scarce. Springfield XD9 factory mags were going for $28-40, way up from the $21 each that I had paid just two months ago.

One last note. I picked up an ARMS rear sight #40 for $110 and even managed to run across a brand new Vortex flash hider for $60 (I’ve been searching for one for several months now). Average prices there, I guess, maybe a little high.

I’ve also noticed more and more private sales by people buying and selling person to person, increasing one’s odds of finding a good deal. Just the sort of activity that makes Charles Schumer’s hoplophobic blood curdle. I spent $1,500 at this show and got probably half of what I could have bought a year ago for the same money. I suspect this time next year will find me saying the same thing again. Ordnance…at inordinate prices.

May God bless your continued endeavors, – Shrike