Letter Re: Supply and Demand at American Gun Stores

We finally caught up on magazine sales in late February, filling our last outstanding back orders, and I actually have a limited number of C Products AR-15 magazines in stock and some Magpul PMags (which I really like). The manufacturers tend to send out a half of an order and then a few weeks later, the balance of it. They are clearly allocating inventory across their customer base and I would estimate that they are running two to three months behind. The delivery situation is getting worse, and my guess is that new orders placed today would likely arrive in June or July.

Almost anything related to AR-15s/M4s is backordered. Spring sets, repair kits, accessories, bolts and bolt carriers, etc. Even magazine repair kits have dried up. I probably have close to $4,000 worth of merchandise on back order from Brownell’s for our web-based store. Prices are rising as well. Wholesale cost on Glock magazines have jumped to what used to be our retail sales price. We’ve seen a 60% jump in the
wholesale price since the election.

The ability of these producers to ramp up production is limited. Many are running extra shifts or hours on existing machines, but none of them want to add new equipment because the capital expense will take so long to recoup. If the law changes and their products are suddenly banned, their income will drop off a cliff and the new debt burden could just force them into bankruptcy that much sooner. So the pipeline is constrained due to the uncertain future. This is another lesson in why it is better to prepare sooner than later.

My advice for anyone who wants to buy ammunition by the case lot and black rifles is to try GunBroker.com. I do not sell there, but I have been doing some personal buying there. Sellers have items in stock, but prices are not low as the auction format tends to float prices up when demand is high. Still, you can buy ammo by the case, complete guns, complete lower [receiver]s and stripped lowers as well as magazines and accessories.

I wish you continued success, safety and security, – Dave of (Captain Dave’s)

JWR Replies: That matches what I have been seeing. As recently as September, an AR-15 “Lower Parts Kit” (the hammer, trigger, sear, pistol grip, trigger guard and assorted pins, springs and detents needed to complete building a stripped AR-15 receiver) was selling for as little as $49. Today, they are very scarce, and selling on Gunbroker.com for as much as $125 each! There are so many folks frantically parting-up ARs that there is a genuine shortage of not just the receivers themselves, but also the little “fiddly bits” piece parts!