Brownell’s Selectively Filling Magazine Backorders?

Brownell’s is one of the major online retailers for firearms gubbins, much like MidwayUSA or (at least until recently) CheaperThanDirt!. During the Great Gun Panic of 2013, all of these retailers have been overwhelmed with orders for PMAGs and other 30 round AR-15 magazines, and many customers have been placed on backorder lists. The assumption when the orders were placed was that they would be filled on a “first come, first served” basis. But based on a rather angry thread on Arfcom, it looks like that might not be proceeding quite as planned. The result? Yet another hilarious Downfall spoof video. BTW, it’s one of my favorite WWII movies ever. The original, not the spoof. Although this is a chucklefest.

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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!

43 Responses to Brownell’s Selectively Filling Magazine Backorders?

  1. avatarJSIII says:

    I can tell you Midway is not doing that. I received about 6 of the 8 PMAGS I had on back order. A guy I work with you placed an order for 20 about 2 days after I did still has not gotten any.

  2. avatarEric S. says:

    Haha! Melted Pringles lids!

  3. avatarcyrano says:

    Downfall is one of those great movies. I had no problem with getting my orders filled. More conspiracy talk. Best not to make it more than what it really is.

  4. avatarcyrano says:

    I have had no problems with orders. There are always people out there who will gripe and go straight to conspiracies. Best not to egg them on. Brownells is a standup company.

  5. avatarMatt in FL says:

    That may be the best Downfall spoof since the BluRay vs HD-DVD one.

  6. avatarTheSleeperHasAwakened says:

    Good stuff!

    “Maybe I could get a nice Tapco stock to go with my Tapco mags.”

  7. avatarSGC says:

    That never gets old! I just watched “Iron Sky” this weekend, and while it wasn’t exactly worth the time I spent on the couch, they did have a nice tip of the hat to this scene from Downfall in there that made me laugh too.

  8. avatarrangered says:

    Hilarious, but I can’t add more right now, on hold with Brownells checking on my order.

  9. avatarTaurus609 says:

    I had ordered some NHMTG mags from 44mag early last year after I bought my new Sig AR (it came with one NHMTG). So earlier this month I put in a notify me on the same type of mags, and I got an email they were in and ordered a few more, they should be here today! Great customer service and response time from them and I love those mags. Don’t know if they had a limit on each order for I only ordered four, and they explained in advance that they were running behind. But total time from order to delivery was less than two weeks.

  10. avatarGyufygy says:

    Does it make me a bad person that my first thought on seeing that video was “Hmm, what does Mr. Hitler have to say today?”

    Oh intarweb memes, how you make me chuckle.

  11. avatarNate says:

    I just laughed so hard it hurt and I had tears as well. Wow I haven’t laughed liked that in years.

  12. avatarAccur81 says:

    I don’t know if this comment will even post, but that video was flippin hilarious!

  13. avatarIn Memphis says:

    I’m laughing so hard that I’m tearing up, that was hillarious. Glad I bought my 10 pack of pmags before I even bought my rifle, before this all started.

  14. avatarGoodbarrel says:

    pure therapy- thank you for that!

  15. avatarGossven says:

    The part about Canadian Thermoids and Tapco mags makes being made from melted pringles lids cracked me up

  16. avatarBobby says:

    Lucky I got my USA-made Thermolds (not those Canadian ones!) but I’m still waiting on a TM stripped lower from Brownells ordered 12/17. If they give some mofo that ordered after me a stripped lower I’m gonna be pissed. I’m in Maryland and running on borrowed time until my douchebag “representatives” sell me out to Owe’malley and the pro-criminal crew.

  17. avatarAnon in CT says:

    As a Canadian who was once upon a time issued Thermolds, I get where he’s coming from. I’m actually dubious about all plastic mags due to my Thermold experience. Give me USGI any day.

  18. avatarChuckN says:

    It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. I can see a number
    of benign causes and effects that could be screwing up orders.
    The shear number of orders, number of items per order, item
    availability, policy on shipping partial orders: all, I’m sure, are
    playing a significant role. Does Brownell’s fill an order for 100
    PMags and make 20 orders of 5 pmags wait or not? Do you fill
    out a partial order? Brownell’s has to be aware of what
    happened to CTD. Do they piss off 1 or 2 large buyers to keep
    20-30 others from posting hate mail and going elsewhere?
    Considering how fast Cheaper Than Dirt got sent to the chopping
    block (rightfully so in my opinion), this is a big concern.
    Do they send partial orders or not? Do partial shipments depend
    on size and number of items? Has Brownell’s suppliers been
    able to keep up with demand? Does Brownell’s itself have the
    capability to efficiently deal with the massive increase in sales
    in the last few months? Are they in the middle of restructuring/
    growing in order to handle the increase? Can whomever ships
    packages for Brownell’s handle the increase? Is Brownell’s trying
    to use/hire alternate carriers to handle the increased volume.
    Any of these issues could be behind problems with purchases from
    Brownell’s right now. Though they can be influenced to varying
    degrees, none of these issues are necessarily malevolent.
    All lot of the gripping in the forum seems to be little more than
    whining (there are a few legit gripes) and many seem to have
    no idea that there is a massive run on AR mags and lack of
    availability may not be Brownell’s fault. Brownell’s has stated
    several times to bear with them as they cope with the increase
    sales. And from I have seen and heard this increase is not
    in thousands but the tens of thousands. Considering how fast
    the run on firearms has played out, EVERYONE is finding
    it hard to cope.

    All in all, let’s find out if Brownell’s are screwing around on
    purpose before we bring down a flood of hate and frustration.

  19. avatarWLCE says:

    I have yet to break and wear out my existing PMAGs, Lancers, TDs, and USGI ones and decided to have nothing to do with trying to get G3 PMAGs with the current apocalypse happening right now.

    if you ordered in december and still havent had your order fulfilled, that sucks and i feel for you. unfortunately, order timing is undoubtedly the last thing on Brownell’s mind and they just want to get the mags shipped out. people need to learn to be patient.

  20. Props to the guy who made that parody. The ending bit about wheel guns (God’s chosen weapon system) brought me quite the hearty guffaw!

    That said, though, I couldn’t help but notice the commentary on Tapco mags. I’ve got an SKS with one of those fancy-schmansy Intrafuse stocks, and I was looking at some of Tapco’s 20-round SKS mags to supplement/replace the one dubiously-reliable 30-rounder scrounged from before the 1994 AWB. Does anyone here have experience with those SKS mags that could provide some insight as to their performance/reliability?

  21. avatarjmk says:

    you mean there are ArfCom’s who didn’t have enough mags to begin with?

    unpossible…

    • avatarAlphaGeek says:

      My sympathy level dropped significantly when I read through multiple pages of that discussion and realized that most of them were bitching about some of their PMAG 10-packs showing up while other 10-packs were still back ordered.

      And to think that I was happy to get 4 30-round PMAGs with removable capacity limiters for a decent price before things got totally wacky…

  22. avatar16V says:

    Heil-arious!

  23. avatarWLCE says:

    hilarious video!!!

    and arfcommers have closets full of magazines. they can have a cup of STFU.

  24. avatarLance says:

    Yep I bet current AR owners are very happy to have kept there guns and mags over the years w/o waiting lists.

  25. avatarrosignol says:

    Does anyone know if there’s some actual confirmation on this? While I hear good things about arfcom, I’ve also heard that they have occasional troll infestations…

  26. avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Pfft.

    Someone bragging about ordering $300 from Brownells… heh. That’s humorous.

    When you get to the $5K mark per year, call me.

    • avatarMark says:

      Uh…

      That was supposed to be a joke.

      • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        I, too, had backorders (for receivers and parts) cancelled and kicked out of their system.

        Having heard what happened to their order system (a flood of orders like the local pump and hose vendors back when Noah built himself a boat), I can understand why Brownells did what they did. Their order system just wasn’t structured to handle a situation where they were getting backorders… but were being informed by their vendors that they had no clue what the lead times would be any more.

        People need to quit being so huffy about the situation that they themselves created. Retailer and vendors have never seen this situation before.

  27. avatarFug says:

    Working for a liberal state government and having been previously terminated from a state position the day after I mentioned I owned a gun, knowing my internet use is monitored, I only read enemy propaganda at work.

    It is interesting, I read an anti-gun screed on Slate today while I was at work that specifically mentioned MidwayUSA. I don’t know if I should link to it, but the piece is entitled “The Gun Industry Wants to Sell Your Kid an AR-15.” It was expelled by one of their hardcore feminist authors, Amanda Marcotte.

    Here’s the closer:

    “So, how is the gun industry marketing to kids? There are magazines and advertising campaigns aimed at young people, including ads for the Bushmaster AR-15 that Adam Lanza used. The gun industry also spends a lot of money trying to establish shooting as a character-building hobby for young people by creating shooting clubs or encouraging existing youth organizations to adopt shooting as an activity for members. The industry also feeds parents a line about how guns teach “responsibility,” though there must be safer routes to that goal. A goldfish, perhaps?

    Larry Potterfield, the CEO of Midway USA, which makes a fortune off gun sales, has given $5 million to youth shooting programs, and the quote he gives to the Times on this demonstrates how rarely he’s ever had to defend himself in the media. “Our gifting is pure benevolence,” he says. What a big heart. Here’s hoping the rest of the Times series shines a spotlight on all of Potterfield’s fellow industry softies.”

    Is she out to get Midway because they’re not part of the “controlled demolition” of online gun accessory sales? Put on your tinfoil thinking cap while you contemplate that one.

    There is no excuse for the behavior of Brownell’s and Cheaperthandirt. Those of you who call price gouging ‘Capitalism’ need to extricate your heads from your rectums. Businesses misbehave and we reflect our displeasure with our wallets, that’s how the market works… don’t use Marxian terminology by calling it ‘Capitalism.’ You are not John Galt and all gun owners are in this together.

    This kind of bullshit makes no sense, and it is odd to me that they are targeting Midway by name when they are one of the few doing it right.

  28. avatarThe Stig says:

    I placed Lancer AWMs in my cart before the Sandy Hook shooting, but waited to checkout because I thought I’d add some other items, and the day after the shooting realized I shouldn’t have waited and quickly placed my order. At the time the order was placed (Saturday) the website still claimed to have them in stock, but obviously the inventory hadn’t been updated.

    The following Monday came and they were backordered. I received my shipment a little less than a week ago, or a little over 5 weeks after placing the order.

    I don’t think Brownells is shipping out of order, but perhaps a mistake was made.

  29. avatarJLR says:

    Reading through some of the example orders from that thread, I wonder if part of the problem is multiple-item orders. If I recall correctly Brownell’s usually charges more to individually ship items as they become available, otherwise the default is to have everything grouped into one shipment.

    Which might be fine during normal times, but in these times what’s the chance that various backordered items would all become available at the same time? How much you want to bet that a lot of people bought various combinations of items in high-demand.

    I know I personally backordered from Brownell’s a ten pack of 20rd PMAGs, two 25rd M&P15/22 mags, and several M&P9mm mags. So I expect to see my order some time after never.

  30. avatarJuanCudz says:

    +1 for the ‘Downfall’ like, would have been +2 for ‘Das Boot’.

  31. avatarGreg says:

    Recent Brownells Email:
    Dear Folks,

    We want to thank everyone for your patience with us. Thanks especially to those of you who told us orders were being delivered “out of cycle.” We’ve been in business an awfully long time and are proud of our reputation for great service, so we had to find out what was going on.

    And we found the problem. Simple really. About 15 years ago we put in place system logic prioritizing a few back orders ahead of others. It was a rare situation, but necessary at the time and under normal market conditions back then, those reasons made sense.

    Then the world changed, and back orders ballooned into the thousands – literally – and our system and the vendor’s ability to keep up just broke that logic. About 300 orders were moved to the head of the line under the old system logic, and had their orders shipped ahead of where they should have been in line. It moved all the rest of you back about 300 places in line – which, rightfully so, caused an uproar.

    When we found the problem, we immediately disabled this logic, truly resuming our first in first out policy. The real problem is that demand is far greater than any factory’s ability to quickly catch up.

    The good news is we have cured the broken system logic; thanks for telling us. We are shipping in order received, and handling your orders the way we have always tried to – honestly, fairly, and with everything right on top of the table.

    Best,

    Frank & Pete Brownell

    Just makes me wonder what there policy has been all these years on back orders:
    Fill large orders first…
    or
    Fill new orders first since the people already waiting will never know.

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  33. avatarmagnetik says:

    Here we are going on into March and people that ordered in January are STILL getting their orders before the December orders. Brownell’s needs to open up the backorder so the people that ordered in December can reorder. It seems they will get it faster since they supposedly can’t fix their ordering system.

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