Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, we look at investing in AR Lowers. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

Gold at 14-Month High Heading into FOMC Meeting Next Week

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Eight Reasons a Huge Gold Mania Is About to Begin

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And for the leftist-globalist perspective, there is this discussion at CNBC: Traders discuss why gold is near highs as dollar also rallies.

Economy & Finance:

Walmart’s Desperate $3.3 Billion Acquisition of Fails. But it Now Discloses its US Online Sales, and They’re Big

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Reader H.L. sent this: PG&E’s bankruptcy: Renewable energy costs at 800% of market rates. H.L.’s Comment: Another nail in California’s coffin. How very sad. JWR’s Comment: Here is where Liberal Feel Good intentions conflict with common sense. I won’t be surprised to see electricity rates jump to 40 cents per  kilowatt hour in California, within two years. Here in the American Redoubt we are still paying under 10 cents per kilowatt hour.


The global crude oil market is now in turmoil. The price of oil had been plunging up until June 12th. Then came news that two oil tankers had been struck by limpet mines, in the Persian Gulf. Stay tuned.

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At Seeking Alpha: Tight supply, strong demand push iron ore price to new record high


EBay Denies Rumors It Will Start Accepting Crypto, Despite Advertising at Crypto Event

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Crypto Market Starts Fresh Increase: Bitcoin Cash, BNB, EOS, TRX Price Analysis

Tangibles Investing (AR Lowers):

I am once again making special mention of the importance of stocking up on AR lowers–specifically AR-15 and AR-10 lowers. For the uninitiated, this takes a bit of explanation: Just one part, the “lower receiver”–an 8-ounce alloy trigger and magazine housing that bears a serial number–is legally considered the “firearm”, under Federal law. All of the other parts for rifles are completely unrestricted here in the Land of the [Formerly] Free. Everything but a receiver can be freely bought and sold by anyone. This is substantially different than the laws in most European nations, where not just receivers, but also barrels and bolts are restricted. (Typically, their laws restrict all “pressurized parts.”) Thus, we presently have the opportunity to stock up on serialized “firearms” for under $40 each, that can be fully assembled at a later date. If we look back just a few years at the Obama Administration, for a period of about 10 months the price of stripped lowers jumped to $200 each. I expect something very similar to happen again, if another Democrat is elected to the White House in 2020, or in 2024.

It is noteworthy that Palmetto State Armory frequenty runs $29.99 sales on their standard “Safe-Fire”-marked stripped AR-15 lowers. (Search on SKU 1728, at their web site.) They also regularly sell AR-10 lowers for as low as $79 each. If you have some extra funds to invest and if your local dealer charges a percentage, rather than a flat fee fro Form 4473 gun transfers, then I suggest that you stock up on AR lowers, heavily!  You will thank yourself the next time that the price of stripped lowers spikes up. I believe that they may soar to $300 apiece, in the next Political Panic Buy period. So that would literally be a 10X return on investment! Granted, this is a bit of a gamble.  But anyone with an extra $300 on hand has a fair chance of turning that into $3,000 in either two years, or in six years.

Estimate the number of grandchildren you’ll have, if you live to be 90 years old. Now multiply that number by 3. The result should give you a good baseline number of how many  stripped AR lowers to buy, just for your own family’s use. Beyond that, buy extras, for speculation.

One advantage of this tangible investment is that it is fairly compact and lightweight. You can fit about 20 AR-lowers in a large briefcase. That is a $600 investment that you might someday be able to easily parlay into $6,000. And one nice thing about American ban laws, is that there is almost always a Grandfather Clause.

If you are a machinist, you can find 80% complete unserialized AR lowers for roughly $20 to $35 each. But keep in mind that those can ONLY be completed for your personal (immediate family) use. Re-selling them in completed form would be a violation of Federal law.

Note: If you decide to stock up on any AR parts, then please be sure to use our Palmetto State Armory affiliate ordering link. That way, we’ll earn a small commission.


SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.

News Tips:

Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who particularly watch individual markets. And due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” investing news. We often get the scoop on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!


  1. RE: AR-15 lowers. Buy lots, then buy more, then build them out [with lower parts kits] – triggers, hammers, takedown and lock pins, pistol grip, buffer tube assembly, etc. so they’re ready to “drop on” an upper. Yes, a stripped lower will command a much higher price when scarcity hits, but a complete ready-to-use lower will command a MUCH higher price. Do it now while stripped lowers AND completion parts are plentiful and cheap. (The FCG (Fire Control Group – trigger, hammer, pins, springs) doesn’t have to be a $240 Geiselle SSA-E, just functional, and those parts are cheaper and many of the “just functional” parts are quite good. But I’d keep a few “premium” FCGs on hand to convert some lowers back to one’s personal use if necessary.)

    RE: AR-10 lowers – you’ll find the standardization in AR-15 parts is almost completely lacking from AR-10s because the 15 are mil-spec, the 10s aren’t. Many parts are unique to THAT PARTICULAR LOWER (Ex: PSA takedown and pivot pins will fit PSA receivers (and probably a number of others) but NOT Aero Precision receivers – Aeros use longer pins because the receiver is wider (nearly all brands of AR-10 lowers WILL accept an AR-15 FCG and use AR-15 buffer tubes, but buffer weights and springs will probably be different).

    Procure and maintain lots and lots of spare parts; they’re readily available now, you’ll use some building out lowers (and uppers), you’ll need some as “future spares,” some will get lost (“sproing”….oooops…..), and some are very useful as diagnostic tools. I keep a full set of carbine-length buffer weights (carbine (3.0 oz), H1 (3.8oz), H2(4.6oz), H3(5.8oz), HSS(6.5oz) on hand plus a range of carbine and pistol buffer springs (10.5″ – 14”) as diagnostic tools; don’t forget carbine-length buffers use different length buffer weights and springs than rifle-length buffers, and while you might be able to use carbine-length weights in a rifle the reverse is NOT true. If you have bolt problems – broken extractor, etc. – it takes about 45 seconds to swap a complete bolt, about 6-8 minutes to replace an extractor, maybe 3-4 if you’ve done it several times before, and requires a couple small tools that you may not have in your “compact field kit.”

    BTW, building a lower – and upper – from scratch is a great way to learn how these things go together and operate. ARs can be assembled with minimal tools (and maintained with almost none) but prepare to buy more tools to make it easier. Someday you may have to replace an extractor with a Leatherman tool and candle light and if you’ve done several on the bench under good light it’ll be much easier.

    Oh, and all those little, tiny spare parts? Organization, organization, organization. If you can’t find it it’s just like not having it, no way to tell if you need to order more and some will get misplaced or just plain lost. They do come in labeled little plastic bags, but dumping all the bags in a 5-gallon bucket ain’t the answer.

  2. Fro those thinking of stocking up on AR-10 lowers, be aware that unlike AR-15s, parts from different manufacturers are not necessarily compatible. Buying an AR-10 lower from PSA likely ties you to PSA parts for the rest of the rifle.

  3. i keep buying cheap anderson ar-15 lowers. my problem is that i also keep building more carbines, rifles, and pistols with those lowers. time to repeat the process i guess.

  4. During the 0bama gun / ammo shortage, unprepared me, had a completed AR lower but couldn’t find a complete upper for the life of me. I ended up having to trade a .30cal M1 Carbine for a (quality) complete M4gery upper. The total values of each were heavily uneven but that’s the result of supply and demand. The M1 was a Frankenstein reimported from the P.I. after they returned their lend-lease weapons which then became available on the U.S. retail markets, but the rifle did headspace, had a good barrel and shot well, I only had to do a 100% clean and oil and scrub down and refinish the stock to rid it of that awful Teak Oil that is so heavily used in Asia. In the end, We both had something of value.

  5. You don’t have to be a machinist to finish off 80% lowers. Get yourself a 5D Tactical Router Jig Pro and as long as your existing router is compatible with their tooling (see the list on their website, that’s all you’ll be needing, other than a hand drill or preferably, a drill press. While you can pick one up from most any of the big firearms retailers, you can many times get a better deal on a kit directly from the manufacturer. You can’t go wrong with this one, as long as you can read and follow instructions. I waited years to buy a decent jig and this one has exceeded my expectations. And it does AR-10 lowers as well as 9mm lowers.

    1. I sold mine, after I had completed all of the 80% receivers that I wanted for my own family. So far as I know, the GhostGunner II model is still being manufactured.

  6. JWR noted in his post above finding 80% lowers in the $25-35 range. My experience of late has been anywhere from $60 to over $100 for black anodized, and about $50 for in the white, which is what I am finding in the net. Does anyone happen to have a supplier link they can provide for a vendor with those lower cost 80% lowers? My wallet would appreciate the help!

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