Cheaper Than Dirt?

Former TTAC Managing Editor Frank Williams sent his former boss this screen cap from the former ammo supplier to many members of our Armed Intelligentsia. You know; before Cheaper Than Dirt! pulled firearms from their website in a sop to the anti-gun gestalt following the Sandy Hook spree killing. And then jacked-up their prices like Nell McAndrew jacked-up her career playing Lara Croft. Ninety-bucks for a box of nine? Sure, they’re hollow-points, but still, are we still at the point where someone, somewhere will pay a quarter of the price of a gun to run their gun? As for CTD, the Brits have an expression: when you’re in a hole the first thing you do is stop digging.

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90 Responses to Cheaper Than Dirt or More Expensive Than Hell?

  1. You should really consider switching over to .9mm these days. Materials and shipping costs are much lower.

    You need to invest in some good tweezers if you plan to reload for it though.

      • Pshaw! Then you drop magazine capacity from 190 to 110. Besides, with modern hollowpoint technology a .9 will expand to 1.5mm. I can just put 30 rounds into a target and be as sure of their effect as your 10.

  2. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. I have never found something I wanted at CTD that I was not able to find somewhere else for less with just a little research. I didn’t really even bother looking at them anymore before Sandy Hook, and I’m not going to change that now.

      • +1. Been to their site many times to look at products, but ALWAYS found it for less (and very quickly, I may add) somewhere else, with lower-priced, faster shipping and better customer service to boot. I really don’t understand why anybody ever ordered through CTD anyway, before or after any sort of crisis. They were never cheap, and their website is a mess to navigate in the first place.

        …and, yes, this $90 ammo is horrifying…

        • It’s not even the fifty round box. For close to the price they’re charging for a hundred rounds of 9mm hollowpoint, I bought a thousand rounds of .45ACP Ball at my local shop….

    • Just got Colt Match Target .22, factory SS mags, for 15 bucks there. I could go into business flipping them on ebay at 2-3x that.

      Shipping was crazy high for such a small item, so I got 3 to average it out.

      New customer there, ammo is crazyland at that place.

      • Try Midway USA or Brownells next time they are both cheaper and they support the 2nd Amendment. They also did not jack up their prices at all after Sandy Hook or any other event.

    • is this actually real?!?! please tell me that people are not paying $90 for 9mm. someone tell me this is photoshopped.

    • Just snagged .338 Lapua at $3.49 per round. But hey, the 9mm will leave a bigger hole in a paper target than a .338 will, right?

      • That’s a good deal. What brand did you get? The cheapest I have ever found is 4.50 for Hornady BTHP. I only have about 60 rounds saved up and I don’t even think about shooting them.

  3. Yesterday I saw a 500 round box of .22 Armscor on their site for $149+, same ammo I bought from them in January for $30 a box. An increase of 500%?! It was overpriced at $30.

    I’ve had some success at a local big box store in getting 500 round boxes of .22 for $20 if I get there early, so I wouldn’t buy from these guys again anyway – but after seeing this? Never again, since you’re talking about another $13 in shipping on top of the inflated price.

    • Just got back from the VA DMV for my ID. Cost: $34, and it was EIGHT bucks when I last got one, eight years ago. More than tripled in 8 years.

      Not germane to the discussion, but an important societal factoid nonetheless.

    • Yet you apparently purchased the overpriced $30 box back in January. Just as (I have to assume) someone is buying this 9mm for $89.19 or at least CTD expects someone to based on their sales over the past couple months.
      Reward the other stores all you want for keeping prices low, but you can’t blame the others for keeping their shelves stocked (and their paying customers happy) by raising the price.

      • I paid $30 because I could not find any .22 anywhere at the time, and was glad to pay a little extra to have 1000 rounds in reserve. But multiplying that price by 5 seems a little excessive. A lot, actually.

        I guess if someone buys it, their approach is correct. I’ll be watching curiously to see if that happens.

    • Bingo we have a winner. With the gov placing huge orders for ammo we are seeing gun control by pricing ammo up.

  4. EIGHTY-NINE NINETEEN? What does it do, KILL VAMPIRES? What a pantsload. Yeppers, they’re driving their business down the drain, but no one will plunge them out.

    And that Lara Croft picture’s a MANNEQUIN, right? How do I get one?

  5. The supply and demand curve leveling off (slightly but it is happening, day by day) only showcases the profiteer mentality of Cheaper Than Dirt. I’ve taken business courses. Not a ton of them but enough to know that simple market value at one time cannot rebuild credibility at any time.

    Any business that lives by the 80/20 rule of 80% of the business experienced is by 20% of the customer base as loyal repeat customers knows you can’t gouge that 20% too hard or long term profits, after the supply chain returns to a stable place, will be heavily damaged.

    Even in the age of gunsmith work being at a premium my smith charges me fairly and does my work as timely as possible. He does that for all his customers. Because its the days he does nothing in the shop people like me bring in rifles with mystery ailments. All the quick and easy Glock triggers and night sight slide ins ain’t likely to recoup the loss of people building and repairing custom equipment. His man hour cost went up a bit but only because he had to hire assistants and deter some of the ridiculous volume work orders. But outright gouging only works short term, as if no one comes back you eventually can’t stay open.

    Doesn’t mean CTD will wither up, not for years yet, but their profits will plummet the quarter that hoarders and impulse buyers aren’t the market mainstay. Us 20% do not forget easily.

    • Do you think so? I’m betting that CTD is expecting that everyone has a short term memory and a year from now people will mumble and grumble but order from them anyways.

      They might be right. I’ve never ordered from CTD, and now it’s cemented that I never will. Not even if they have an in stock hard to find item, down the road.

      But other people don’t really give a damn, and I’m guessing the ‘remembering’ number is lower than 20%.

  6. Their retail store in Ft Worth has a sign that reads something like: “we’re trying to keep our prices as low as possible for our customers in the current climate”. Every other store in the area is hit or miss with a few boxes here and there. CTD has fully stocked shelves of popular calibers marked up 400%. They are gouging!!

    • I certainly hope they enjoy the ride, because they’ve just f*cked themselves in the long term. Sonsa blotches.

      I hope their business death is slow and painful.

    • I was in there today. The cheapest (and only) 9mm they had was a no-name brand box of 50 for $35. Glock mags: $59.95. Winchester 22LR: 12.97 for a box of 50. I left with a frowny face.

    • Maybe, but they are at least keeping stock on the shelves.

      I haven’t shot 9mm in months, because it is impossible to replace what I shoot at any sort of reasonable price point. If I surf around enough I can often find .45, .40 or 10mm at a somewhate decent price, but 9mm is just gone.

      So yeah, I wouln’t buy it at a third of CTD’s price for range practice, but if I literally needed it to save my life, at least I’d know where it would be in stock.

    • You’re one of them faith-in-the-market fellers? The theory works part of the time, but when the economy flatlines (soon), it’s a new game with a new scoreboard.

    • Agreed – I really wish retailers felt free to charge what the market would bear. I would rather have ammo available at market prices, than spend four hours to unsuccessfully score a box of .40 cal.

      I think we are being short sighted to complain about price gouging.

      • What is the market price? I just bought 2 boxes of 100 rounds of .40 at Walmart for $35 each. Then a day later, I see the same stuff for $70 each on Lucky Gunner. They both have the same purchasing wholesale power. Obviously, the $35 is market price while LG is ripping people off. People complain when the gas went up a few dollars, but when the ammo goes up…oh it is the market. Yes, there is negative stuff going on in the gun retailer industry. It needs to be reported.

        • Wal-Mart prices are the same now as they were three months ago, and are *well* below market price for most items. A pack of 100 rounds of 9mm is $20, but easily fetches twice that on the secondary market — that’s the market price! When the price reaches a point where an item is selling at the same rate at which it can be replaced — that’s the market price.

        • it blows me away that people are naive and childish enough that prices on items should always remain the same.

          Price gouging laws? FOAD.

          If people are making the transactions then the prices are therefore “moral”.

          Its not my fault some people choose not to be prepared. Me selling or trading also keeps the community more intact and keeps the natives from turning restless (can you imagine the kind of attention a gas generator would gather in a area like New Orleans?)

          Oil companies are NOT gouging us (and you Dr Jerome Corsi fanboys can urinate up a rope). It costs more money and energy than ever to extract a barrel of oil from the ground. It seems to me those that complain the most about oil companies have little knowledge of the value of oil and the economics behind trading it in the global market.

      • >> I would rather have ammo available at market prices, than spend four hours to unsuccessfully score a box of .40 cal.

        There’s plenty of ammo for market prices available for purchase online; gunbot.net and gunbroker.com are your friends there.

  7. Wait, it is not just CTD. I have seen it on Lucky Gunner and Bulk Ammo. But, according to some TTAG readers, this is okay. Look at the posts “How do you feel?” Just basic economics 101. What about LGSs? They are jacking up their prices, including firearms, too. This is what everyone should do…do not go crazy with purchasing everything in site that is unreasonable. Blast (or write comments) on the sites of the online retailers in their review sections. Warn people that the retailer is ripping people off. The longer the expensive stuff sits on the shelf, eventually the price will go down to a reasonable level.

    • My LGS is selling Federal 9mm for $14.99. Wally world for the same box is $11.37. So even with tight supplies, neither one is gouging the customer. Both do have a 3 box limit, per day. Which I also find fair.

      • LGSs will charge a little bit more. That is understandable. But at a LGS they were charging $25 for a $15 box of Tul Ammo. Or at two other LGSs, charging $300 to $600 above MSRP on a firearm. Here is another kicker, $70 for a transfer fee while some others in the area are charging $20. I thought all the LGSs would be on our side…I guess they are in the F’N in our a$$ business just like the Government.

        • unit sales.
          little to sell?
          Must make more per box.
          Fixed cost outgo must equal Y boxes of ammo times profit.
          If Y is big, profit(markup) per box can be low.
          If Y is small due to shortage Markup must be high to stay in business.
          KCK
          U Wisconsin BS Economics 1981
          BS=Bachelor of Science, not that other stuff

    • My Local Gun Shop is limiting us to two boxes of ammo for roughly what it was going for before Sandy Hook – when it has been available.

      As to different prices from different retailers – that’s how it is. Wal-Mart has the cheapest price for .40 cal range and target, but it’s not there very often. I spend a little more at the LGS, and it is worth it to me.

      I am now starting to reload, which is (in my opinion) a better response to high ammo prices than just bitching about it.

      • RE: our LGS, similar policy and prices here. Never visit Wally’s so dunno.
        Started reloading 3yrs ago. Been a couple times when components were scarce but not for long. During the latest famine I did have to switch powder brands and buy larger bulk lots of bullets vs the usual mixed smaller lots, due to limited availability. Other than that, business as usual.

    • yes on Natchez (sp?). They may not have it, but if the do it will generally be reasonably priced.

  8. Yes, CTD seems to have become the high price leader on many of their products.

    The only up side is that they may be the only retailer with a particular product available – again probably due to price.

  9. Don’t matter these stupid panic buyers makes these prices all over the gun selling community normal. When these panic buying ends remember who you buy from when prices are back to normal, make price gougers pay!!!!!!

    • Here is the thing – a “price gouger” had product to sell you, whereas the “good citizen” had empty shelves, or limited you to a box when you needed two (IDPA uses about 100 rounds an event). Who really served you better?

      • The Idealist in me knows that the sooner there is no profit motive in reselling that which one obtained at ‘regular’ price, ie, much of this “dollar a round for poodle-popper 5.56” ammo pricing will end.

        That is, if we all just suck it up until the production catches with the demand and quit panic buying, prices will drop sooner than later.

        I just got .22LR and 5.56 at almost normal price +10% at last week’s St Chuck gun show. Why? Because the real sellers figured out the demand curve and they wanted to cash out before the crash.

        Sure there were idiots who wanted nearly a buck a round for 5.56 and almost $.50 for .22LR. I laughed (heartily) at them and two days later, they hadn’t moved much, if any, merch. The guys who read the writing on the wall were moving green tip LC for under $.40 per round. Which was under $.30 per round last time I grabbed a few cans at Wally World.

  10. This is the ‘free market’ at work. When supply and demand are allowed to act unfettered in the marketplace those offering goods for sale and those willing to purchase those items arrive at a mutually agreed upon exchange of money for goods and/or services this is the price you pay. If the market continues to be so robust for the suppliers there are only two possible outcomes, prices will rise to cause a decrease in demand, or new players will enter the marketplace to take advantage of the large profits to be made in the supply of the high demand which will cause competition to drive the price down again. This is how it SHOULD BE! Yes the government interferes with the market in many ways but don’t piss and moan about being a part of the best marketplace in the world with almost uncountable variety of products available when it is working the way it should. Most of the people I know that are pro-gun love ALL of the freedom we have in this country. If you want to be angry with someone be angry with your fellow enthusiasts that are hoarding ammo supplies way beyond their needs, this is the true cause of the high demand and high prices. If you don’t like the price don’t buy. It’s your choice, remember its a free country…. well, it used to be. 🙁

  11. My first thought was:

    “Whoever is selling those people their dirt is ripping them off?”

    Otherwise:

    Price-gouging takes care of itself. So on the one hand…chill.

    On the other hand…don’t chill…because people complaining about insanely high prices and not buying is part of how price-gouging takes care of itself.

    Overall though, keep in mind, that the market needs gougers in order to function. Like it or not without them ammo prices will not go back to normal. They make ammo available in the marketplace (what use is a low cost provider if he has no supply), they encourage people to buy less, and they allow supply chains the breather they need to catch up.

    Its the sucky part of the system…but its still needed.

    Think of it this way:

    If you absolutely HAD to have bullets right now…you could buy them. You would have to pay WAY TOO MUCH for them…but you could get them.

    Price gougers are the reason why.

    …and they are still greedy bastards who suck.

  12. They’ve always been shady, from the $99 GI mags, to their shipping PLUS handling charges. I never have, and never will buy a single item from them, even if it is priced, including those extra fees, less than anywhere else.

      • Odd, the Gander Mountain in Aurora Co never has them priced that low. $44.99 usually if and when they have them.

      • Yes, because in the near long-term I know that the guy who got to Wally-World before I did and is trying to resell his ‘score’ on armslist/gunbroker at a huge markup is a POS and will “get his”.

        Just like the filth at CTD. Keep all the prices low and the panic buying will evaporate in (relatively) short order.

        They can all s my d. I’ve got a “stash” for if the SHTF. I can afford to stop my practicing and such, because I shan’t pay 10x what it’s worth to do it.

  13. Stop bitching about prices that’s capitalism dont like the price then dont buy. You want to complain about them backing down to liberals fine, but stop complaining about prices Somebody must be buying it otherwise the price would be lower.

  14. My local Mom and Pop gun stores have marked everything up 200 to 400 percent, The local Gander Mountain, Shoot Straight and Lotus Gun Works are still selling everything for the same price! Who do you think I will be spending my money at when inventory returns to normal and everyone I know agrees with me, I do not think the smaller stores will have very much business when this is over and at least one store is already having a lot of AR-15’s sitting on the shelves at a 250% markup while the bigger stores are selling their inventory almost as fast as it comes in, sometimes before it even gets to the shelves. I used to go out of my way to spend money at the smaller dealers, even paying a few dollars more on something to help keep them in business and they repay me by marking up everything by 200 to 400 percent and yes they did a years worth of sales in less than a month instead of items sitting on shelves but it will come back to bite them in the future, I am currently looking to spend about $2000.00 on a rifle and plan on spending a lot more in the next few years and they will not get my business.

  15. Feels like guns and ammo are becoming like printers and ink. Get a free box of .22 with the purchase of a Marlin model 60. When you run out, buy another rifle for the ammo.

  16. When they say cheaper then dirt thier really talking about Real-Estate and that aint cheap. I never buy from them anyway.

  17. CTD has been off my Christmas list for awhile. Shop around and you can beat them hands down.

  18. I like how some of the posters here feel that hyper inflated capitalism is the American way but speaking your mind (the “original” ammendment) isn’t.

  19. Meh, its been obvious they’re gouging. Their choice, hopefully it screws them over in the long run. I’ve gotten good deals from them in the past on some things. It just is a matter of shopping around. Their whole shipping charges/warehouse deal is a friggin game of its own.

  20. I have a small store of ammo, probably paltry by most standards, but enough for any emergencies involving the use of firearms. As long as DHS is buying billions of rounds of one or two calibers the rest of the calibers are going to be in short supply. See what they did there?
    If Congress were to cut funding for those orders and force cancellation of the buy then you would see ammo prices level off. Now that the wars are declared over this means ammo should get cheaper again. With the government buying so much, it artificially raises demand. You could call this gouging in reverse since no one thinks they really need enough ammo to fight a 27 year war and by inflating demand at the federal level it starves out the consumer.

  21. Just got an email from CTD SALE for 100 rounds of Tula 9mm ammo for $99.59. Are you kidding me! A dollar a round for 9mm. I’ll never buy from them again. Gouging is an understatement. I appreciate places like MidwayUSA, Academy and even Wal-mart for not taking advantage of the lack of supply and keeping prices as they were. Reap what you sow CTD

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