While Donald Trump’s election may have been great for AR-15 owners, it’s causing problems for the firearms industry.
For what may be the first time ever, the firearms industry appears to be experiencing something new for AR manufacturers: a glut.
As a result, gun owners are experiencing something new too: cheap AR-15s.
All across the country, retailers are dropping the prices of the once desperately sought-after 2.23/5.56 caliber rifle to the generously low price of $400. Academy Sports, Bud’s Gun Shop, Cheaper Than Dirt, and Centerfire Systems are just a few of the retailers where shoppers can find AR-15s at this stunningly low price. Many gun show retailers also are selling the rifle at these low prices.
Just within the last week, Centerfire Systems promoted a DPMS Panther for $374. Academy Sports sold its DPMS for $399. Other brands selling at or near the $400 mark are American Tactical, Core, Deltron, Palmetto and Wyndham Weaponry.
“Coming out of the election, we saw a lot of inventory, so we had to be aggressive on our promotions,” Ruger CEO Christopher Killoy said in May.
This new development followed a record breaking run on the semi-auto rifles during the Obama presidency and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Most notably, AR sales spiked after mass shootings as Washington, D.C. threatened to outlaw the rifle.
But after Trump was elected president, with the endorsement of the National Rifle Association, and Republicans took control of Congress, “gun enthusiasts were no longer worried about gun control,” said a recent CNN Money report.
Ruger said in a statement that “decreased overall consumer demand” in the first quarter followed “stronger-than-normal demand during most of 2016, likely bolstered by the political campaigns for the November 2016 elections.”
During the campaign, retailers were reportedly stocking up on AR-15s in anticipation of a Clinton victory, a new drive to outlaw the weapon, and a massive spike in consumer demand as shoppers looked to beat the expected crackdown on AR-15 sales. But that never materialized, and now retailers are overstocked.
Just this week, Bloomberg reported on the rise and fall of gun sales, and how it’s impacting manufacturers and retailers:
(After Obama’s reelection in 2008) was when Shane Thomas, a retail sales manager at Birmingham Pistol Wholesale in Alabama, decided to reopen his family’s gun shop. “It didn’t take long for us to go from zero to a profitable business,” Thomas said.
Like other retailers, he was stocking up before the November election on inventory, including Remington firearms, on the assumption that customers would rush to buy before Clinton took office and cracked down on gun ownership.
“Now that we have a Republican in office, I’ve seen it dropping,” Thomas said. Since the election, “we’ve probably dropped 15 percent, and we’re lucky — I’m sure other places have lost a lot more sales.”
For companies like Remington, this drop causes massive investor relations problems as the company’s stock prices have dropped to “junk status” according to the Bloomberg report.
But while the gun industry may be suffering, Survival Industry consumers and retailers should be able to capitalize on the market developments. Afterall, as the old adage goes, “buy low, sell high.” For shoppers, the developments are terrific. It could be perfect timing to add that much-desired rifle to the survival gear. For retailers, wholesale prices must be good, and the prospect of new customers must be better.