No End in Sight to Insane Prices for AWB-Targeted Guns

I really didn’t want to believe that this was a real picture, but apparently this kind of stuff is becoming more and more common. I talked a little about how distributors are completely out of stock and the shortage is making prices on every model of firearm spike. But at that point I still had some hope that normality would be returned shortly. And then one of my buddies noted that we’re about to steam full speed ahead into the perfect storm . . .

Inventories are already low. Prices are already sky high or getting there fast. Heck, I just sold an AK that I bought about 4 weeks ago for a 100% profit. The political rhetoric is heating up, things are starting to get hairy, and people who weren’t “panic buying” before the weekend are starting to consider it now.

But the one thing that’s keeping most of the buyers out of the market is price — the majority of people don’t have $1,800 laying around to drop on a new AR-15 right now. One gun store even admitted as much, saying that the high prices are merely an attempt to put some brakes on the sales:

Price increase is designed to slow down sales so half of my staff does not quit… Many of us worked Xmas eve and Xmas day. Everyone is tired and wants time off to spend with their families for the holidays. In order to keep production flowing based on current demand, we have to offer bonus and overtime which costs money. My suggestion is to not buy them at the inflated current price and wait until things settle down and they go back to what we consider a normal price. However, at the higher price, they will hopefully stay in stock and anyone that “has to have one” will have that ability.

Not many people have that kind of cash sitting around. But they will in about a month.

We’re heading into tax season, which means people who have over-withheld will be soon be seeing a big fat check in the mail. A check that will give them some disposable income to buy that AR-15 they’re lusting after.

The only reason we see AR-15s on the market at all right now is because they’ve been priced too high for the average Joe. But an average Joe with a tax refund is a different animal. I get the feeling that this run on AR-15s and other potentially targeted firearms will get a lot worse before it gets any better.

Put it another way: buy low, sell high.

[image via Reddit with permission]

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

99 Responses to No End in Sight to Insane Prices for AWB-Targeted Guns

  1. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    maybe. . . . given the screw up in DC going on, refunds won’t be available until mid-late march . . .

  2. avatarTodd S says:

    Hmmm… I have 2 AR lowers just sitting in my gunsafe. I could use an extra $600 ;)

  3. avatarjwm says:

    If the AWB passes, I don’t believe it will, it contains a ban on selling the grandfathered and registered EBR’s. So you’re going to pay 2-3 times the asking price for a gun that will be unsellable legally and needs to be registered with big brother?

    And it’s not just rifles that are getting panic bought. I don’t see any call to ban 5.56 ammo but try to buy some on line. I never thought I would see the time when .30-30 would be cheaper to shoot than 5.56 or 7.62×39.

    I learned from the last panic and I have and keep a stock on hand for my guns.

  4. avatarmatt says:

    Would banning ARs/AKs really stop them? You can make AK receivers from scratch, or buy 80% finished ARs and finish them yourself with a drill press.

  5. avatarNelson says:

    Embedded video removed. It screws up mobile devices. Sorry.

  6. avatarPaul W says:

    I can’t say I’m surprised but I am really, really pissed at the price increases since they mean there is no way I’m getting a rifle this year even if there isn’t a ban. I just can’t afford the new prices–3k for an AR is out of my reach with the new kid and the house repairs we need.

    • avatarMr. Pierogie says:

      If the ban fails, prices will go down. Maybe not right away, because the next wave of supply could be sold out with people on waiting lists or more panic induced buying. But if there’s no new bans then the demand will subside and prices will fall.

      I wonder how many people bought the stuff (rifles, ammo) on credit. You know, they can’t really afford it so they’re maxing out their credit cards. High prices should have discouraged them from buying. That’s what happened to you and me. Although I see nothing wrong with high prices, after all, they are simply reflecting current super-high demand. Look into handguns instead. Prices are still relatively low.

      • avatarjwm says:

        Shotguns are very available and reasonbly priced also. Personally, I prefer a shotgun for home defense over any rifle. YMMV.

        • avatarMr Pierogie says:

          Will shotguns be banned at all? I think most won’t, so there’s no rush to buy them now, but if the ban passes then there won’t be many options out there other than shotguns and hunting rifles. Prices are low now, but if that’s all we’ll be able to buy later, prices will go up along with demand.

        • avatarPaul W says:

          I’ve got a shotgun for just that reason. I’ve just wanted an AR and/or a mini-14 for a while, and now I finally have enough cash to buy one…before the prices skyrocketed :(

        • avatarSanchanim says:

          Since we haven’t seen the final bill anything we say is speculation.
          Having said that, it seems there are references to shotguns which have a pistol grip and adjustable chokes, or something along those lines.
          Really it comes down to how vague things will be. Could they interpret the law to include certain types of firearms that we might not think would be covered?
          It is like having a normal capacity magazine in CA for your 9mm. It might have been pre ban, but the cop may or may not know the history etc…

        • avatarLTC F says:

          Even some shotguns are hard to come by. I went to Cabellas in Buda TX with my sister in law yesterday to get her a Mossberg 500. The only short barreled shotguns in stock were 20 gauge. Clerk said he expected more in 2 weeks.

          They were out of 5.56/.223, 8mm, and .308 ammo, but they did have some 7.62×39 and 7.62×54. On Texas Guntrader 5.56 is going for a buck a round as the profiteers sell off their excess. (I’d sell some of mine, but there is no such thing as excess in my mind.)

        • avatarAccur81 says:

          Mossberg 930 SPX – still pending sidesaddle (ammo pouch on stock for $9.99) and a bit of rail for a light. More stopping power than an AR-15 unless its a .50 Beowulf.

      • I bought all my firearms on credit.

        Then paid the card off in full afterwards, to get the cashback.

        I reckon that paying cash when there’s no discount over the credit price just means that I’m the sucker who’s paying CC fees and not getting the convenience. If the cash discount price is lower than the price minus the cashback percentage I’d get, then I’d pay cash.

      • avatarPantera Vazquez says:

        Holy Crapola-our next recession will be based on people who bought guns they could not afford on credit. “I for one shall not be held responsible for other people’s unfunded shooting addictions” Yadda Yadda Yadda…………….

    • avatarWLCE says:

      I shoot my ARs a lot and it is irritating to know ill have to wait for spare parts such as gas block pins, gas tubes, and bolt items if i need them.

      i can see panic buying ARs and ammunition, but mundane parts!? LOL

  7. avatarDale says:

    I’m just waiting for the “hording” accusations to start. (you know, the usual justification for trying to make someone who prepared ahead of time look morally corrupt because they won’t compensate for someone else’s lack of prep)

    • avatarmatt says:

      Not hoarding, speculating. Because you can really only effectively carry 1 long gun if the SHTF.

    • avatarWLCE says:

      thats exactly the problem

      hopefully gun owners will take this as a valuable lesson to stop bitching and making excuses and buy guns and ammo when the times are good. When times are bad or when a ban comes into effect youll be sitting pretty, prepared.

      its interesting how problems with lack of money due to lifestyles are overcome when fears are thrown around.

  8. avatarBobby says:

    80% lowers FTMFW. Plenty of vids, walkthroughs, and buddies with drill presses/CNCs out there. Don’t tread on me Feinstein

    • avatarBlinkyPete says:

      This. It’s not like these things are incredibly difficult to fabricate. Half decent AK’s are manufactured in countries that don’t have paved roads.

      • avatarSanchanim says:

        Yeah just YouTube Pakistan arms manufacturers. I think there are a few videos on the subject.
        An 80% lower is easy to do, and minus the finishing and anodizing will get you a lower.

  9. avatarMark says:

    The only remaining source of ARs now are the cartels in Mexico; time for operation faster and more furious.

  10. avatarPulatso says:

    I had intended to get an AR, for what I spent on .357s and shotguns last year I could have bought an Evil Bushmaster. But I have no regrets.

  11. avatarSammy says:

    Ya spin the wheel and bare the consequences. Buy now and NO AWB =feeling like you CYA but at what price? In that situation how much do you envision prices coming back to normal? Will there be a new normal ie prices that have doubled only fall 25%? Buy now and there is a new AWB =Uncharted territory. If the NFA is screwed with the headaches will be just beginning. Higher NFA stamp fees. 12 guys and gals to handle the MILLIONS of grandfathered gun applications all at once. If you are confidant that the bill will be defeated, I’d hold off. If your thoughts are otherwise, you still have some thinking to do before you buy. If money is tight (like it is for me) you might want to keep some powder dry for “registration and legal fees” for the guns you already own. Fees to register 8 to 10 guns under a new system could well see minimum 4 figure fees all told.

    A side thought on CTD and dirty Dick’s S/G. These companies have lawyers.and can see farther over the political horizon than we can. If they are bailing on a very lucrative part of their business maybe, just maybe, they see developments we can’t. Just a thought.

  12. avatarRoll says:

    $600 for a stripped lower?! I bought mine a while back for $98!

    • avatarRambeast says:

      I bought my 2 stripped lowers 2 months ago at $65 each. I am still giggling at the guys that told me I was being paranoid.

    • avatarAaron says:

      I bought the complete new frontier polymer lowers for $109 each… Lol it’s a $109 lower under a $1000 upper. They’re probably all gone by now on their website, though.

  13. avatarRob says:

    Unfortunately there seems to be a market of opportunity for people that have no interest in owning a gun as well. I over heard at least three conversation this weekend at Gander Mountain of people openly discussing only purchasing with the intent to flip them for profit. One particular conversation even had a guy’s friend asking why he wouldn’t just keep it and he replied he didn’t need a gun. I was told by an employee that one person put eight ARs on layaway before Gander started making a two per customer limit. People like that aren’t helping.

    Then again, like someone said above, if the ban gets stopped dead we’ll see prices drop slowly as stocks replenish (although how likely is it that some companies will want to control the flow of new stock to ride the price bubble longer). Also, if these AR flippers sit on their goldmines too long you’ll see them flooding back onto the market.

    • avatarmatt says:

      I predict many Americans will come to learn about guns, the same lesson the Dutch learned about Tulips in the 1630s.

      • Kinda hard to defend yourself from crims and thugs with a tulip, though!

      • avatarBruce says:

        That they don’t grow well underwater?

      • avatarRob says:

        That is happening as well. I saw many people this weekend at Gander and at the two gun stores I stopped at that were not familiar with guns that were asking questions, handling guns of many types and ultimately making purchases. I think that’s a great thing. But when I see a bunch of douches claiming they have no use for a gun and they want to cash in on the panic, I get a little aggravated.

        • avatarAnon in CT says:

          Meh, it’s like the housing market. Eventually there will be a crash and the speculators will get hammered, and then there will be price adjustments.

    • avatarMike in NC says:

      I’d like to think the AR “investor” or “flipper” is a trivial fraction of recent purchasers. Certainly people buying at Gander’s prices are already at a disadvantage.

    • avatarMr Pierogie says:

      Rob, nobody likes high prices, but if retail stores had increased their prices right away, there would be no buying and flipping at auction sites. There would be very little or no profit margin for people to do that. Higher prices would have also discouraged those people who already have ARs and don’t really need extra ones, there would be more stock left for the rest of us.

  14. avatarAharon says:

    Yesterday, I went to my local Wally World. They’ve been out of .223/5.56 for at least ten days. According to the employees, a customer came in with $10K in cash and bought up all the AR ammo they had. Afterwards they put up a sign limiting ammo buys to 1,000 rounds per customer. 7.62 ammo is also unavailable. Even .38 special is getting low at WW. I spoke with a woman at customer there looking for .25 caliber ammo. She had bought a gun online because it was pink knowing nothing about guns. IMO, she sorta symbolizes what is going on right now.

  15. avatarChris says:

    Start buying M1′s from CMP.

    • avatarAharon says:

      They’re available from CMP?

      • avatarChris says:

        As of now yes. I have an order in for a Service Grade Springfield M1 Garand. Sent it in Satruday and should be in their hands on Wednesday. Hopefully the turn around time isn’t too bad and the prices stay as low as they are now. Can’t beat 200 rounds of surplus 30-06 for $100 either right now.

    • avatarSanchanim says:

      I would love to own one. Not so much to shoot but rather because it is a piece of history in your hands.
      Besides being a game changer in WWII it is a really nice rifle. Sure not the perfect thing in the world, but you hold that old wood in your hands, look at the scratches, and wonder if it could talk what would it tell you. Who held it and fought for our freedoms?
      For that reason alone I would want one or two..

  16. avatarMr aNINNYmouse says:

    Re: “big fat check in the mail”

    See: fiscal cliff.

  17. avatarIn Memphis says:

    I am real happy I put an AR on layaway before this mess started. I was also considering buying a brand new M&P lower for $100, but didnt because I wouldnt have the money for a full build in the forseeable future. At least I got my AR and some pmags but Im really kicking myself in the @&& over that lower now.

  18. avatarJustMyHumbleOpinion says:

    And all of our stashes won’t matter. The GOVERNMENT will let us keep ALL of our firearms and our ammunition – they’ll just make it illegal to use, even in a self defense situation.

    So they let us have “the right to keep and bear arms” – they just won’t allow us to use that “right.” And they’ll turn all of us into criminals with the stroke of a pen.

    They, of course, will be protected by personal armed guards, while they live in gated communities protected by armed guards and send their progeny to schools protected by armed guards. They rest of us will be SOL.

    • avatarJoe Grine says:

      “they’ll just make it illegal to use, even in a self defense situation.” Heller would have to get overturned by SCOTUS before any such law could be constitutional.

  19. avatarJPD says:

    While everyone is going nuts over AR’s , my budget is being used on pistols, new 308 scout rifle. Steyr has one I like. All at regular prices. No need for anymore AR’s.

    • avatarAnon in Ct says:

      I was in Hoffman’s Guns, a big LGS store here in CT. They usually have a big case of Glocks – yesterday there were 2 left, both Gen 3. Almost the same for other affordable pistols – the only cases that were full had the really high-priced stuff – Kimbers, Gold Cups etc.

      • avatarIn Memphis says:

        Errr Hoffmans was one of the many reasons I never took to guns while growing up in CT. They always had bad atitudes and a waiting list to take a permit class which was over priced. Really nice store but they just were not worth it to me.

        CT laws were a bigger reason than them though.

  20. avatarJPD says:

    Subject: Doctors vs Guns

    Doctors

    A) The number of physicians in the U.S. is 700,000.

    B) Accidental deaths caused by Physicians per year are 120,000.

    C) Accidental deaths per physician is 0.171.

    Statistics courtesy of U.S. Dept. Of Health and Human Services.

    Now think about this:

    Guns

    A) The number of gun owners in the U.S. is 80,000,000.

    Yes, that’s 80 million

    B) The number of accidental gun deaths per year, all ages and all
    groups, is 1,500.

    C) The number of accidental deaths per gun owner is .0000188 >>
    Statistics courtesy of FBI.

    So, statistically, doctors are approximately 9,000 times more
    dangerous than gun owners.

    Remember, ‘Guns don’t kill people, doctors do.’

    FACT: Not everyone has a gun, but almost everyone has at least one
    doctor. This means you are over 9,000 times more likely to be killed
    by a doctor as by a gun owner!!!

    Please alert your friends to this alarming threat.

    We must ban doctors before this gets completely out of hand!!!!!

    Out of concern for the public at large, we withheld the statistics on
    Lawyers for fear the shock would cause people to panic and seek
    medical attention!

    • avatarBob says:

      Awesome post! Could you please post your references?

      • avatarJPD says:

        I did not record them while I was on the sites, sorry.

        However!! Easy lookup on Department of Health & Human Services for Doctors. I volunteer in local public hospital, in the ER. So that was an area of interest.

        The best site to see all deaths, by cause, are kept by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Of note here is that choking and drowning are major cause of death for children under 14. While death by accidental discharge of a firearm is way down the list.

        FBI keeps stats, but the Department of Justice lists all causes, by year, age, other demographics. On this site also lists the crime database. VERY INTERESTING!!

        In the major crime categories, average Americans commit 425 crimes per 100,000. LEO’s commit 423 per 100,000 citizens. The 510,000 Texas CHL’s? They commit 14 per 100,00 (comparison based on same categories of reported crimes). That is a rate 30 times LESS than the general public. Stats are courtesy of the Texas Department of Public Safety for 2010.

  21. avatarstormchaser says:

    If those who have been panic buying would instead give that money to our excellent Civil (gun) rights groups we would be much better off. I am now a member of not only the NRA, but also GOA, SAF, CCRKBA, as well as JPFO.

    I have also contacted my reps via e-mail and have composed another letter I will be printing on a dead tree and sending in the mail. These people understand that it just takes a minute to send an email.
    I have sent a message to those reps who are pro-gun and a different message to those who are anti-gun.

    I looked up all of those who opposed the re-authorization of warrantless wiretapping last friday, all democrats but two, and composed a letter thanking them for fighting for our civil rights and urging them to do the same when gun control legislation comes to the floor.

    I have also emailed everyone I know and asked them to help. I called the few I know are not on board and had a discussion of many of the issues involved and reasoned with them.

    I hope everyone here is doing something every day to address this, even if you only spend fifteen minutes to do it. If we all put forth the effort we can stop this legislation but we have to stay on it, be convincing not argumentative, etc..

    Thank you all for your help with the fight!

  22. avatarAir Force TSgt says:

    There are still reputable local mom and pop dealers out there that deserve your money more than some D bag at a gun show, or some huge chain store. I just picked up a brand new M&P 15 OR for $770 out the door from my local dealer. :)

    • avatarChris says:

      The big box stores don’t seem to be jacking up prices but they have nothing worthwhile in stock Right now. It’s the middle men online retailers that are no longer getting good distributor pricing, and I can’t fault my LGS for high prices. Tomorrow may be the last rifle they can sell for a while and they need to pay bills. I’m trying to fill in gaps I have in my collection but I cashed some stock out in October because I wanted my money tied into something real like guns in case the economy tanked.

    • avatarRob says:

      I have run into plenty of mom and pop stores that also run tables at gun shows, so I’m not sure why that would make that D bags.

    • avatarLars says:

      I doubt that. I’m seeing 700 dollar ARs go for 2k. So either that fella really likes you or you are just blowing hot air.

  23. avatarLars says:

    I have two Stag lowers one stripped and one complete with a nice snipe stock, silent spring, timney trigger, phase 5 bolt release and some other extras. Brought it into my local shop to get a look at different patterns of duracoat colors and options. A guy there offered me 1k off the bat. Then when I told him I basically put about 800 into it he offer 1600. So yes, lowers are marked up bigtime. That shop hasn’t had them in stock for well over a month, they and other stores had issues with keeping lowers in stock long before the Sandy thing. I’m seeing 2-3,500k new basic carbine ARs on armslist in many areas. Many sellers are titling their ads with language the mutt Feinstein uses for effect. I see 300-500 dollar AKs going for 1k or more. This is definitely real.

  24. avatarLand says:

    Bought my palmetto state for $725 on black Friday, saw it at last weekends gun show for $2,000. Saw other AR’s going for $3000-$4000. Saw crazy people with weird bugged out eyes at gander mountain trying to buy anything in .223. I was only 12 when the 94 ban started so I don’t know how that went, but I wonder wtf some of these people are thinking paying these prices. I love shooting my AR but not at these prices. I already pay out the ass for 30-06 ammo, now .223 is just as bad. In the meantime I bought a cheap ass .22 so I can feel free to shoot hundreds of rounds a week and not give a crap

  25. avatarKris says:

    A gift for my TTAG brethren: AR mags in stock and shipping. Please pass it on. RF, maybe you want to tag this link.

    http://www.themakogroup.com/mobile/default.aspx#P37926

  26. avatarAPBTFan says:

    I have a stripped LAR Grizzly 15 sitting in the safe. Might put it up to trade for a decent D/A .22 revolver and see what happens.

  27. avatarFletch says:

    I just picked up my Colt 6920 MOE with CA bullet button. Paid full MSRP 10 days ago. Went back today and there were no rifles left. The only black left in the store was a 870 tactical for $800. Glad I got my AR before they raised prices.

  28. avatarokto says:

    Ammo buying protip: go to a Wally World in a liberal/progressive/hipster area. I live in such a place, and the store up the street had 10 boxes of Tulammo 7.62×39 FMJ. Didn’t check for 5.56, but the ammo case was far from ravaged.

    • avatarAPBTFan says:

      Wow. I never figured there’d be even a shred of an advantage living in such an area but I guess there is one.

      No such luck here in Phoenix from what I hear. About three months ago it was time for me to restock on powder and primers which turned out to be just in time.

  29. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    Tax Return = Nighthawk Custom T3 Talon in .45acp. 7.62x54r-got it and reload dies. M1 in .30carbine- got it and dies.
    Really no need for an AR in 5.56/.223, but an AR in .308?? Maybe later next year.

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