CheaperThanDirt Starts Selling Guns Again—But Not ARs

First, CheaperThanDirt stopped all firearms sales in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting. When the gun rights community took them to the woodshed for the voluntary ban, the company claimed they were “reviewing their policies” Firearms sales would resume. Later. Soon. Then, without any fanfare, a notice appeared on their site saying they weren’t selling firearms. Now they’re claiming that they are selling firearms again next week. What’s more, they only shut down sales because the volume was too high. From CTD’s blog . . .

Consumer reaction to the political rhetoric after the shooting in CT caused a rush of online orders at Cheaper Than Dirt! which led to the largest backlog in the company’s history.

Cheaper Than Dirt! management had no choice but to suspend firearm sales while examining ways to meet customer demand and maintain the careful and lawful processes established.

Firearm sales require a significant amount of individual attention compared to the automated system for non-firearm products. Firearm orders were being placed faster than the inventory system could update, potentially leading to an overselling situation and cancellation of orders on a very large-scale.

I was born on a Tuesday. But not last Tuesday. Check this . . .

Firearm sales will resume on a limited basis beginning Tuesday, January 8, based on available inventory. The selection will increase as more firearms become available. Specifically, firearms that are in high demand are not currently available from manufacturers due to the lack of inventory. This includes most modern sporting rifles.

So now Cheaper Than Dirt! IS selling ARs only they’re NOT selling ARs because they’re not available. As the Brits would say, pull the other one it’s got bells on it. Or, as we Yanks say, well, you know what we Yanks say.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

78 Responses to CheaperThanDirt Starts Selling Guns Again—But Not ARs

  1. avatarGeorge says:

    Was that why they increased the cost of $20 magazines to $99?

  2. avatarRydak says:

    Yea, and what did any of this have to do with 99 dollar crap aluminium AR mags?

    They played the political game and lost.

    They played the price gouging game and slime-balled their way to hell.

    Screw them, they are dead to me.

  3. avatarJR says:

    They’re full of it. They could have put up a message that said something to the effect of “Due to overwhelming demand….” Instead, they put in bold red under all firearm listings “CTD does not sell firearms”

    Keep digging that hole, dirtbags.

  4. avatarBob says:

    “Price gouging” (a.k.a. the price mechanism; supply and demand) is actually a good thing, believe it or not. I know it stokes intense emotions, but at least be open minded:

    • avatarPascal says:

      This is no different than what we see with gun control. First, politicians have zero clue about guns or economics. Second, it is emotional — they see it as a moral issue — they consider it social justice and fairness– they do not see economics. THIS is why so many govt entities are a mess and would be broke and out of business if they where a public company. If you want to see insanity, just go to your local town/city budget finance meeting or general meeting. If anyone had a clue how much their town spends just to cut the lawn at city hall they would fall flat on their face as to the waste.

      They treat us as children being scolded by the politician parents — logic, economics, math, actual true facts, none of that matters because regular joe public has not a clue and politicians feed off of emotions instead of leading and coaching — its much easier that way.

    • avatarMr Pierogie says:

      Most people don’t know anything about economics. Everybody shops for the lowest price, but when demand drives prices up, people are screaming for the government to intervene. As somebody (mildly) affected by hurricane Sandy, I can tell you that I spoke to people who waited between 12 – 24 hours in line to buy gas, that is if they were able to get it before the gas stations ran out.

      You see, the government of NJ made it illegal to raise gas prices (even though panic induced demand went through the roof, while supply was getting lower and lower). That meant that people who did not need gas were in line to get extra gas, just in case. That, in turn, meant that people who really needed gas had to wait and waste a lot of time, if they were lucky enough to get it before gas stations ran out. Many people own or work for businesses where they need gas to operate their trucks, vans etc., and they didn’t know whether they’d be able to buy any. These are the people who would gladly pay more for gas, no doubt about it. But most importantly, because of government rationing and price controls, nobody from out of state would deliver gas to us, even to those gas stations with power, because it made no economic sense to them. It was cost prohibitive, and it was solely due to what the government did. Higher prices would signal to other gas suppliers that it’s now feasible to supply gas at a profit, so more suppliers would answer the call. That would mean more competition, so the prices wouldn’t go up very much, just enough to make a profit. After all, the suppliers would be diverting gas from their normal routes, thus it would cost them more to ship it here. The market would set the price on its own, but thanks to the government, we had massive gas shortages and long lines instead. That’s what happens when government restricts the free market economy, even if their intentions were good.

      • avatarWLCE says:

        Mr Pierogie, thank you for that post…

        alright naysayers, time for your education.

        • avatarfrankgon4 says:

          Nope, not asking for govt intervention. I don’t see anyone on this post asking for govt intervention. I see a lot of people saying they will spend their money elsewhere and there is a business lesson in there somewhere.

    • avatarpat says:

      Its the “we dont sell firearms” crap more than the price madness that has most people steamed. I would still love certain companies to keep the prices real and see that they are rewarded, but that will probably come when the smoke clears and everyone will see who the good guys are and who are the creeps. I do still pull for capitalist principals of supply and demand but would like to see companies rewarded (long term) for principal values (like freedom through gun supply to the public during dangerous gun grabbing times).

      • avatarMr Pierogie says:

        That’s my beef with them too. Not the pricing, but the sudden decision to halt all gun sales. I don’t know if they have a good reason for doing that, but the “we have too many orders for guns so we’re going to stop selling them altogether” sounds like BS. If their reputation suffers because of this, then so be it.

      • avatarBob says:

        By looking at the comments here at TTAG in regards to CTD, it’s been my observation that their “price gouging” gets more people steemed than the 2nd amendment thing. Just scroll down and look at the comments for this TTAG post.

        Dare I point out the similarity to the emotional knee-jerk reactions and resistance to logic and reason of the anti-gunners? (Of course public schools government indoctrination camps purposely do not allow their subjects get a decent economics education)

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      I had to log in via my PC to say this, because this thread is completely non-functional on my phone:

      Please do not ever link three YouTube videos inline ever, ever, ever again.

      Thanks.

    • avatarfrankgon4 says:

      So is choosing where to spend my money . That also falls into economics.

    • avatarWLCE says:

      There is a lesson in this season of “price gouging”: buy your stuff while it is inexpensive and readily available!

  5. avatarSCS says:

    They can claim anything they want. Just as I can spend my money anywhere I want. And it sure as hell won’t be at CTD. Ever.

  6. avatarMike S says:

    F**K them.

  7. avatarJohn J. says:

    If you search for some of their old products, it’ll redirect you to the front page. However, there are still ‘jewels’ like this one: http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/product/80906 . Clearly says “CheaperThanDirt.com does not sell firearms.” Just pulled that up.

  8. avatarCapt. Howdy says:

    They are so full of it. I’m not paying 50 bucks for BX-25 magazines and $.78 per round of 5.56. Not another penny for them ever. They have lost so many people, so many customers that WERE loyal. They keep changing their story and it is obvious they are trying to do the PC thing. I am in total agreement with Rydak’s post above.

  9. avatarborekfk says:

    You know a lot of other sights put up messages saying their systems were overwhelmed. Only took one or two sentances. Why couldn’t CTD do the same?

  10. avatarstormchaser says:

    Too busy to process orders but plenty of time to re-price all of their mags.

    Seems legit.

  11. avatarJeff W says:

    I’m throwing the flag.

  12. avatarchewcudda says:

    FYI cabelas in Allen tx is actually holding ammo on the shelves again.
    .223 is 16.99 a box but it is there.

  13. avatarMatt in AL says:

    Say whatever they like I will not buy from them.

  14. avatarAccur81 says:

    Didn’t believe BHO in 2008, didn’t believe BHO even more in 2012, don’t believe CTD in 2013…

  15. avatarBig Jack says:

    Oceanfront property selling good in Arizona! Buy now!!

  16. avatarRydak says:

    Emotions were devastated for everyone when people heard about the slaughter of those young little angels. People saying things maybe they didnt mean, I can understand it, people lashing out, I can understand it. Cause I felt it myself. I saw my children’s faces when I saw the family photos of those kids. I get it…

    But CTD and every politician needs to pay and pay hard. We should put them out of business as a reminder to every other business or organization, company or group who decides to buy into media lies and turn on the hand that feeds them.

    Now, the media and ‘friendly’ politicians who were but now are not….they are next. First we clean our own house with extreme prejudice then we move onto the next threat. NO mercy of any kind.

    GUN CONTROL (And the ignorance it fausters) KILLS PEOPLE

  17. Cheaper Than Dirt is dead to me. I’ll spend my money with their competitors.

  18. avatarRalph says:

    F^ck them and the horse they rode in under.

  19. avatarRandy Drescher says:

    CTD can pound sand. I still haven’t forgot what geico did around 20 years ago & never will. ctd is just one more on the sh.t list, Randy

  20. avatarMatt in FL says:

    I call bullshit.

    I got their email and went to their blog to read it. It had about 30 comments, and I was writing one to call bullshit on the story. By the time I finished typing and hit send, they’d turned commenting off. I found it amusing.

  21. avatarJ says:

    I clearly remember the “CHEAPER THAN DIRT DOES NOT SELL FIREARMS” notices. Not “due to overwhelming demand we cannot sell firearms at the time”, or “orders for firearms are temporarily suspended”, or even “firearms no longer in stock”. No, it was, plain and simple, WE DO NOT SELL FIREARMS.

    This poor attempt to cover up just cements their reputation as slimy opportunists. Fuck them.

  22. “I won’t buy a $99 magazine!”

    Good, you are doing EXACTLY what you are supposed to do. In a crisis, prices are supposed to go up until no one can buy, and then back down.

    Everyone hates speculators, but now is when speculators work their magic. In this situation, they would have extra AR mags to sell, and drive prices back down.

    CTD shouldn’t have knee-jerked on selling guns, but their magazine pricing is pure supply and demand.

  23. avatarCGreiner says:

    Cheaper than Dirt has every right to raise the price on their magazines. I am a strong believer in the free market and this is just how capitalism works. There’s nothing inherently wrong with abiding by the principals of supply and demand.

    Of course, there’s one other aspect of a free market CTD probably should have considered, and that is consumers are able to choose where they shop. CTD made the calculated choice to raise their prices in order to make a few extra dollars while knowing it would piss off some of their customer base.

    Well I am one of those that is pissed off. I will not shop at CTD again because all things being equal my purchasing power is a vote for companies I respect and admire. I feel neither admiration nor respect for CTD and their greediness.

    It’s amazing how much you can learn about a company in these crazy times. In the last few weeks I’ve made purchases for Brownell’s, Midway, and Buds. All of which I could tell were overwhelmed with orders yet kept the interests of their long-time costumers forefront. CTD might have made a few extra bucks during this fiasco from yuppies with deep pockets buying magazines for their first AR, but when everything settles down I hope their decision comes back to bite them.

    • avatarrightontheleftcoast says:

      Agree on the pricing issue- thats supply and demand, at work.

      As for CTD’s policy on selling guns, I wont forget that decision, and while I completely support their right to make it, as its their business, after all-

      I have no problems voting with my wallet, elsewhere.

      PS: same with Dicks.

  24. avatarAvid Reader says:

    I had been a regular customer of CTD for close to 15 years. I rarely had problems with them, and if their prices were competitive, great. However, after watching the ham-fisted ineptitude with which they handled this, I’ve chosen to not give them any more of my money.

    I can only conclude that CTD is either: A) poorly managed, or B) run by weasels.

  25. avatarBuckeyecopperhead says:

    CTD didn’t jack up their prices due to supply and demand, they did it because they think gun owners are stupid. Maybe some are, especially if they pay these types of prices, but not *this* gun owner. And this whole overwhelmed with orders garbage is bullcrap. Classic Firearms, Century, J&G, Buds, and many others were overwhelmed too, but they didn’t post that they “no longer sell firearms.” They were honest with their customers.

    “Cheaper Than Dirt”? More like “Cowards That Deceive.”

    • avatarJim in Billings says:

      Buds has pulled at least one very shady deal that I know of. I’ll never deal with them again on anything.

  26. avatarJPD says:

    I do not care about CTD. I live 60 miles from them. Not once were they ever the best price on anything I was buying.

    So, for me. not a big deal. Goodbye and good riddance.

  27. avatarWilliam says:

    Buh-BYE!

  28. avatardoki says:

    I went into CTD today after a couple other local stores, just to see what prices were prevailing and ammo stock. They had lots of ARs on the walls, really overpriced. $2999 for an SR-556. But the ammo shelves were mostly empty, regardless of calibre.

  29. avatarswhit says:

    I dunno, I don’t really see how CTD is doing anything immoral.

    The prices on goods that aren’t insanely expensive everywhere right now have remained the same. I was checking on Hi Power mags, and the HP .40 mags are available and the usual price (Browning Hi Power .40s only take 10 rounds). Garand clips are the usual, etc.

    I’d be interested to see how many “hi cap” mags went to other businesses during the rush to buy on CTD and how many went to regular folks. I bet a lot of gun store owners bought a ton of mags simply for re-sale. I would have, if I owned a shop. Furthermore, I bet a lot of these sellers are charging prices not dissimilar to what CTD is charging now. I would wager that when a lot of other online businesses (brownells, midway, aimsurplus, etc.) actually recieve more inventory, they will be charging pretty steep prices.

    I was pretty young during the start of the first AWB, but from what I’ve read, this happened before and just after the 1994 ban as well. Even gun companies like Glock engaged in charging an arm and a leg for pre-ban mags.

  30. avatarSmaj says:

    Lies and more lies from them. The management of this company are a disgrace and appear to be perfectly happy lying to our faces. Oh, and they’re moral cowards. The worst kind of moral cowards. They need to go out of business.

  31. avatarDr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Dumber than Dirt can Die in a Fire.

  32. avatarHippie says:

    Everyone is talking about mag price so I thought I would throw this out there. THEMAKOGROUP.COM has nice steel mags with no tilt followers in stock and they are not raising prices. Use the promo code arfcom and free-grnd.

  33. avatarAnmut says:

    And now this is at the end of the comments on their “blog”

    “Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.”

  34. avatarMike in NC says:

    Something I suspected when CTD first suspended firearms sales was that they had been taking orders on inventory that was still in the pipeline (in transit/allocated/promised) and the sudden collapse of the pipeline put them in a world of hurt to fill old orders. This makes sense to me while reading between-the-lines of their statement.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      That’s what they want you to believe.

    • avatarMatt in FL says:

      It’s nice that you’re giving the benefit of the doubt, but nothing you wrote has anything whatsoever to do with the blanket statement that they initially put up:

      “Cheaper Than Dirt does not sell firearms.”

      There’s no equivocation there.

      • avatarMichael says:

        Who knows what intern they told to “go put something on the web site that says we’re out of guns” – my experience is that most of these gun industry companies are only slightly better than completely incompetent when it comes to Internets.

        Honestly, I couldn’t care less – CTD has always been expensive with absurd shipping prices, and I’ve never bought anything from them. The magazine pricing deal is perfectly rational to me – who knows when they’ll get another shipment in, and Econ 101 says you charge what they market will bear. Plus you have to consider the inventory replacement cost is going to be higher.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          I agree with your second point. I understand economics and how supply chains work, and while I think jacking up their prices sucks, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. I’ve only purchased from them once or twice, as a little research will almost always find what I want elsewhere for less.

          I disagree, however, with your first point. I understand what you’re saying, but I find it hard to believe that a company as intimately involved with the firearms business as CTD would fail to comprehend the reaction to what they did and allow it to happen unless they meant it.

        • avatarMichael says:

          Matt, my only response would be “never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Ultimately, I’m willing to admit that I’m not in a position to judge their motives based on the limited information I have available.

        • avatarMatt in FL says:

          That’s a perfectly valid statement. “When you hear hoofbeats, you think horses, not zebras.”

  35. avatarSaul Feldstein says:

    So much for the gun community being “tight knit.”

    When opportunity arises these slimeballs show their true colors.

    Natchez sent a magazine to me last month, “prices good till January 15th.” Yeah right, they simpy change the computer to show “out of stock” wait a week then start selling the same stuff at much higher prices.

    Supply and demand be damned, selling stuff that was on the floor for 299 for 999 two days after a rampage killing is gouging.

  36. avatarTitleFifty says:

    Wave BYE BYE to Cheaper Than Dirt. They will NEVER get another dime from me. WHY? Two reasons. 1st they did the Mickey Mouse ¨We are not selling guns¨ garbage and even worse, their price gouging is enough to make you vomit.

    Once everything calms down, 95% of the gun community will remember those who tried to SCREW their customers with prices inflated over 700% for things like PMags that were $12.99, Glock Mags and the like.

    YES CTD, we WILL REMEMBER so when everything calms down and your orders drop through the floor, I hope your short term profits were invested well, TRUST ME,, you are going to need the cash flow to pay your electric bills.

    Best to change your company name to WE ARE NOTHING BUT DIRT and yes I am one of the original customers when you started your first store over in NW Ft. Worth, so this is one pervious customer who HAD spend quite a bit of cash with you, going back to before Y2K when you had stacks and stacks of MRE´s on the floor of your store.

  37. avatarLars says:

    What is the real complaint about CTD?
    Their right to decide as a private company to do what they want by temporarily stopping gun sales, or is this about the normal price gouging done by every biz in the nation?
    If you chose to stop doing business with them that yours biz, but in my eyes they haven’t done any wrong worthy of a boycott or the constant attacking.
    They made a bad decision on the gun bit, they heard from the customers and now they have changed their minds. What about no ARs? Nobody has them anymore. And most custom shops where one can order a full rifle or just an upper are now backed up 1 year or more some are not even accepting new orders.
    So what’s the fuss really about?
    Feeling betrayed? Other then the stopping gun sales for a limited time and CTDs seemingly weal and frightened stance against the gungrabbers, I don’t feel they deserve this thrashing.
    During the ban scare, which is still happening and getting much worse bty, I sold over 90-40 round AK steel AK mags for up to 100 a piece, most 70. I sold 1,000 round ammo boxes of 7.62×39 of various steel and brass brands for up to 500 each. I did not sell off any of my high grain .223 because I don’t feel I have enough. But it was my choice to sell, it was the buyers choice to buy, and the demand and supply set the prices. Sounds like good old capitalism to me.
    Quit whining and lets get back to the fight. Fighting amongst each other is a recipe for defeat. Someone needs to tell Chuck Yeager this to as his whine was heard throughout the internot.
    I never really even used CTD, yet here I am defending them from those that supposedly support the right of freedoms. Enough already.

    • avatarfrankgon4 says:

      I disagree with you completely. They have shown a betrayal beyond “good business” or beyond “capitalism”. It is not whining to point out those companies that are fair weather friends and that is part of the fight that you bring up. It is my money in my pocket and I can spend it where I wish. I feel CTD is not worthy of my business. The best way for you to defend them is for you to actually shell out money and become a customer of CTD. The best way for me to show my non-support of this company is to spend my money else where. And yes, they deserve the ripping they are getting.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      If CTD decided for political reasons to stop selling ARs like Dick’s then I might agree with you but they stopped selling all firearms. Including those labeled by Princess DiFi as “good” guns used by “legitimate sportsman.” They abandoned all members of the firearms community including those whom the gun grabbers for moment claim are ok. That is their sin and for that they should corporately die.

      Dick’s gets a lot of flack for dropping ARs but they kept selling other guns. I have said before, Dick’s is a store that sells guns, not a gun store so they have other considerations that go into their marketing decisions. I have decided to keep patronizing them for firearms and ammo.

  38. avatarkim125 says:

    I, too, will no longer be a customer of CTD… not because of the price gouging, but because of their abandoning us gun owners at a crucial time. They fled when they should have fought.

    There are many other good gun stores: Brownells, Impact Guns, Midway USA… All of whom help support our freedoms.

  39. avatarDirk Diggler says:

    well – they sure are linking alot of TTAG stuff in their forum

    http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/forums/FrontPag.aspx

  40. avatarBob says:

    Just because you can get someone to pay a certain amount doesn’t make it right to do charge that much. I don’t have an AR and don’t want one and don’t care what a magazine for one costs, but when you jack your price up 5X you’re showing your customers that you’re willing to screw them out of however much you can and that is all you care about.

    Compare their stories from then and now of why they stopped selling guns. They’re lying.

    Sorry, but I don’t do business with a bunch of lying cheats. Midway has earned my business over and over again.

  41. avatarAwol58 says:

    I have a problem with people like Glenn Beck who was more than happy to take CTD ad dollars before the CT slaughter of innocense, then went silent when CTD was “no longer selling firearms”, then just today started shilling for CTD again. So, I guess in the true form of capitalism Glenn would rather shill for a POS like CTD in search of the all-mighty ad dollar thusly being shred of his own integrity than to tell CTD to pound salt thereby actually standing up for honesty, truth and integrity. To wit, I have also canceled my subscription to TheBlazeTV.

  42. avatarBitter Clinger says:

    I will gladly purchase items from CTD at their going out of business sale.

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