There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that the firearm supply chain is full and prices are down to move inventory, but we contacted one of the nation’s largest wholesalers, Davidson’s (which owns galleryofguns.com) to get the scoop from a firm that actually witnesses ordering trends between retailers and gunmakers. Bryan Tucker, CEO and president, was frank about what he’s seeing today.
“Manufacturers have been heavily promoting, offering special buying programs for dealers who reduced their effective costs by as much as 20 percent and in some cases more,” he said. “Additionally, there have been many consumer-rebate or value-added promotions put in place and some manufacturers have just taken price reductions.”
What launched this collision course between AR-15 inventory, wholesale pricing, incentives and rebates? It was “Due to the fact that most of the industry was anticipating a Clinton win and had the opinion that she would try to reinstate the ‘assault weapons’ ban of 1994,” Tucker said. “Accordingly, manufacturers increased production, dealers and distributors built inventory assuming that Clinton’s election would spark a mad rush by the public to acquire modern sporting rifles…As we know now, Clinton didn’t win, and there was no rush to buy the items.”
“Over the past year, it has been difficult to find a Daniel Defense rifle for a couple of different factors,” said James Ross, director of commercial sales at Daniel Defense. “The most influential of those factors is our increased brand awareness. More and more people are realizing they can buy a high-quality rifle at a reasonable cost.” However, he added, “Right now the market is prime for a great deal as retailers are eager to move their summer inventory and prepare for the upcoming fall/winter market.”
Nathaniel S. Schueth, director of Sales, Marketing and Product Management, wears a lot of hats at Faxon Firearms, a company probably best known for its ARAK rifle. Those vantage points provide him an unusual view, and despite all the angles, he’s seeing the same thing. “It’s a great time to buy now with prices likely to rise after hunting season begins,” he said, adding, “…the market for inexpensive, reliable ARs and their accessories is excellent for the pro-gun consumer.”
Jaime Ramos, accounts manager for American Tactical—home of the new AR-15 .410-bore shotgun—agrees. “The industry as a whole is having one of the lowest priced summers ever…due to manufacturer rebates.”
There’s another key factor in this perfect buyer’s storm. “The sales market on firearms seems to slow in the summer, because everyone is out shooting what they purchased in the spring,” Ramos said. “Firearms sales tend to slow in the summer as most families are taking vacations or prioritizing for other purchases,” Ross concurred.
Prices on the used market have also dropped. A Rock River Arms AR-15 traded in to a licensed New Mexico dealer in June, for example, was purchased by reader Miles Littlefield for $800. The deal doesn’t sound scalding hot, until you consider the EOTech, Magpul backup sights and SureFire weaponlight already mounted. He picked up a naked and well-cared-for Armalite later for half that price.
Fall’s just around the corner and Tucker warns if you haven’t gone shopping for that new AR yet, “The excess supplies in the market will correct themselves over the upcoming months, so act now to get the best pricing and selection of modern sporting rifles ever available to firearm enthusiasts.”