Cabela's gun counter (courtesy publicbroadcasting.net)

“Americans, apparently, may finally have enough guns and ammunition,” BloombergBusinessweek.com asserts, clocking Cabela’s latest financial results. Wow! “Apparently” and “may” in one entirely misleading lead sentence! Still, there is a bit more than anti-gun agitprop here. “Sales at Cabela’s stores open more than one year plummeted 10.1 percent in the recent quarter, primarily because of sluggish firearms sales and a ‘much sharper than expected’ decline in ammunition buying, says Chief Executive Tommy Millner.” One wonders if the decline in ammo sales had something to do with the fact that they don’t have much ammo to sell. Just thinking out loud. Smith & Wesson’s CEO has a better perspective on the downward (but still better than normal) sales trend . . .

At an analyst meeting early this month, Smith & Wesson (SWHC) CEO James Debney said the industry is “coming out of this surge period into what we would call a more normal environment, which is generally free of influence of some fear or uncertainty about increased legislation.”

While FBI background checks have peaked, indicating that the mad rush for new guns and permits is tapering, they’re still high relative to years past. More to the point, the post-Obama, post-Newtown surge has brought hundreds of thousands if not millions of new shooters into the game. As with their predecessors, it’s only a matter of time before these newbies return to market to add to their firearms collection. 

Meanwhile, they’re shooting their guns. When they can get ammo. Yes, there is that. When there’s an ammo glut and the prices tumble, then you can talk to me about Americans who’ve “had enough” of their guns. Wait. Not then either. Because there will still be huge turnover, as all these shooters shoot.

Meanwhile, more ammo, cheaper ammo, lower gun prices? As the Cars declared, let the good times roll!

129 Responses to U.S. Gun Sales Cooling. Thankfully?

    • FLAME DELETED Seriously, what they say means little, it is when idiot gun owners let their guns be stolen and used in mass murder of children and woman or shopping malls. LOCK YOUR ******* GUNS AND AMMO UP BOYS AND GIRLS! Yes, I have been a gun owner for 30 years, and I have more guns and ammo than you, plus a carry permit I exercise daily. Whining about Obama is a bore.

      • Why don’t you worry about locking up criminals that steal the guns and worry less about us lawful gun owners FLAME DELETED

      • I suppose they forgot your bacon today, too? How can you call Barry and Joe educated? It’s public knowledge they both went to law school! Barry lost his license to practice for some reason, but they won’t tell why. Surprise. If Barry had his way, as announced during his Illinois Senate term, you wouldn’t have any guns at all. You have more guns? More ammo? Does DHS know? We take it as a minor and unsurprising fact that approximately all the crazy shooters over the last eleven years have been Dems or “too young to vote” members of Dem registered families, and that most of the murders-by-gun each week occur in Dem precincts. Certainly there’s no correlation involved? I’m not against Dems. My mother is one. I am for the Dem politicians putting there own house (precincts) in order before they presume it is we who do not understand the sensible use of the things.

      • “….let their guns be stolen and used in mass murder of children and woman or shopping malls.”

        The mass murder of children and one woman I can handle, but when they start killing shopping malls, that’s when I draw the line.

        But seriously, he’s right. Everyday I wake up thinking “I hope someone steals my guns and ammo today… I just have way too much to handle!” I even made up ‘Please steal my firearms’ signs for my windows… I might have to take out a craigslist ad.

      • Re…Greg,

        Is the high IQ president you’re referring to the one that was gifted the position to lead the HLR but never wrote anything? Or maybe that high IQ pres that thought we could keep our doctor. Period.

        • “Gift” is NOT a verb!! “Gift” is a noun; always has been. Using “gift” as a verb is like using “kiosk” as a verb. As in, “don’t kiosk my mall, dude!”

        • I just saw that you had previously commented on that link, WB. I am glad to see that you are a truly dedicated grammar nazi. 🙂

        • dont you love these language trollers that think this is a paper for their freshman english class.. this is a gun blog dude.. hit the road before we kiosk your ass.

        • “grammar nazis,”

          Well, when the grammar po-po are merely enforcing legitimate rules (for example, grammar and syntax), then I wouldn’t go so far as to call them Nazis. I’m one, but I’ve been politely uninvited in that capacity, and what good does it do anyway? 😉

        • Big deal. Do it out of respect for your native language. It happens to be, along with German, the most useful language in current use. Sometimes ugly, but complex and particularly suited for a complex life.

        • Yeah. I’m self-appointed chief of the Internet Apostrophe Police, the Internet Grammar Police, the Internet Syntax Police, and the Internet Usage Police, and it’s somewhat akin to holding back a tsunami with a feather.

        • WB: From the Oxf.Dict. of American English: verb [ with obj. ]
          give (something) as a gift, esp. formally or as a donation or bequest: the company gifted 2,999 shares to a charity.
          It is a term of art in US tax law, as well.
          But the OED considers it obsolete in British English, because they apparently don’t read Brit tax law:
          †2.2 Given, bestowed. Obs.—1 1671 Milton Samson 36 Why was my breeding ordered and prescribed‥To grind in brazen fetters under task With this heaven-gifted strength?

        • Many people misunderstand BHO’s role on the review. He was not Editor-in-Chief, a position of academic respect. He was President of HLR, an elected position which goes to that student editor least feared by the various factions, the one expected to be moderate in the exercise of his duties.

        • “Failist” is NOT a word!! “Failure” is a word; always has been. Using “failist” as a word is like using “gloobflorb” as a word. As in, “don’t kiosk my gloobflorb, dude!”

        • Stinkeye: “Failist” is NOT a word!…”
          Matt in FL: “Well done.”

          And here I thought a “Failist” was one who believes in the religion of Fail. 😉

          Kinda like a jargoned-up defeatist, you know?

        • I’ve decided, notwithstanding opinion, to advance the word “failage” into the langauge. When someone produces a great deal of fail (now becoming a noun) what they leave behind is failage.

        • Having just checked my philological references, it seems “failist” should properly be “failator,” much for the same reasons as produced the word “fellator.” So the feminine would be “Failatrix.”

      • Wow, so much fail, greg. Did i step on your nuts in another post? If so, I’ve already forgotten. But, I’ll be looking for chances in the future. Count on it.

      • I’m going to bet Greg is FLAME DELETED. And Btw some of the dumbest people I have known are collage educated.

        • My wife is trying to educate me by means of collages with subliminal “be nice” messages, but I’m thick and can’t take a hint, notwithstanding having served four years in the state college.

        • “some of the dumbest people I have known are collage educated.”

          Luke I’ve often arrived at same conclusion may a time on numerous days to many to count. Not all but enough to speak of. Book smart, but little else to offer some times “a mule has more sense”. Then there’s the Deity attitude some others have.

          Let me save some one some time “Flame Deleted”

      • Right, because an illegal industry founded on smuggling easily detectable contraband into the country would never be able to augment or supplant domestic theft as a source for the firearms used to defend their illegal distribution networks. And of course if firearms were to disappear completely they would find themselves helpless to continue defending said distribution networks or victimizing folks who would otherwise not be involved.

        Whether firearms are legally purchased or stolen before being used to commit violence, they are simply not the root of the problem.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for locking up guns, not so much in a vain attempt to disarm criminals, but because they cost me $500 goddamned dollars or more each. Sure, lock up your guns, make gangbangers jump through an extra hoop or two, but don’t pretend that violence is dependent on stolen firearms or would go away without them.

        If all guns became magically protected against theft starting tomorrow morning, I don’t believe it would have any detectable effect if disarming criminals for any period of time longer than a trip across an ocean in a boat.

  1. As a Cabela’s employee, I can say that not many people as before have been coming in and buying firearms, although they’re has been alot still. Ammo is starting to come back as well, slowly but surely.

    • At my local Cabelas the gun counter is still filled with people. I’ve been buying the hell out of gun library guns. They also just had a 10% sale on gun library guns. That made some stuff too tempting to pass up!

  2. I have to suspect much of that drop-off is solely my home state of NY. Everyone I know was feverishly buying all the ammo we could before the ban on internet sales kicked in on 1/15. Most on line ammo sellers stopped shipping or taking orders after 12/31. Unfilled back orders were canceled on 1/15.

    BTW, the copyright at the bottom of the page still says 2013.

    • I disagree, I think Cabela’s downturn was due solely to me and a few buddies slowing down a bit. My credit card caught on fire twice last March and then again in June.

  3. Has anyone considered that it’s winter? People just aren’t shooting as much right now. Unless I wanna pay $60 for the crappy, poorly ventilated, short, poorly lit, nothing-but-brass-casing indoor range, I have to wait until March before the state park range opens up. I’ve bought my ammo, I have my supply, I haven’t bought anything but .22 for the last 3 months. I simply cannot expend the ammo I purchased. Same goes with guns. It’s just a slow part of the year.

    • I think this is an important influence as well. This has a been a brutal winter — quite likely one of the top 10 coldest and snowiest winters ever recorded. That definitely limits people’s options to practice their craft.

    • This is true. January and February are the worst retail months, and it would be a mistake not to take that into account.

      • Besides, wasn’t last year their record high for “gun related” sales? So, 10% off of a record year is, by my rough math, still a lot…

        • Exactly. If sales were up 50% last year, going down 10% is still pretty incredible sales.

      • Why would they? Based on the name, I’m assuming that this venture is as willing to run without facts as the MAIG.

        I’m not an economics expert, and I didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express, either. But you don’t have to be a genius to know that sales of a product will go down if there is NO PRODUCT AVAILABLE. Secondarily, in a still-down economy, sales also go down if the buyers don’t have money. Or maybe I need to go to business school where I can learn how product unavailability or no means to buy available products is not relevant to sales trends.

  4. Gun ownership was widespread ten years ago. Not a problem.

    But, where’s the .22LR? Mini-mags? At the old prices?

  5. I live near a Cabela’s and they are still selling .223 at 9.99 for 20 rounds……50/per round unless you buy Herter’s steel case that my range won’t let us shoot. I have yet to walk in and find any .22 LR but occasionally find it in 500 rnd bricks at Dicks for $42 with tax. Not often but enough to keep me ahead of what I shoot per week. I won’t believe this is back to normal until I can walk in anywhere and find .22LR. I think we have a long way to go.

    • At the rate that guns are dropping off of the CA approved list, there may be nothing new available to buy by the time the 9th Circuit ruling is reflected in CA law, if it ever is.

      • Which, under today’s decision, would be prima facie reason for invalidating that section of the law also. The 9th circuit opinion basically said that any law that makes it impossible for most [and that word is the critical pivot of the opinion] people to carry is facially invalid.

        The extension is obvious from the 7th Circuit’s decision that Illinois’ requirement for range training to obtain a CCW made Chicago’s de facto prohibition of gun ranges in the city unconstitutional.

        Unfortunately, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Circuits, who control the law in the cesspool called the Acela Corridor, disagree. So, on to the Supreme Court, before Obama gets to pack it.

  6. I think that the continued downturn in the economy plays
    no small part. Then couple this with the ever looming
    implementation of the “Affordable” Care Act, and the
    vastly growing number of people losing their current
    health coverage. I’d wager that much of what little
    disposable income there is is currently being applied
    toward maintaining medical insurance rather than
    non-perishable goods that may-or-may-not (most likely
    not) be needed in the near future.

    • As I read your comment, it just occurred to me what pure genius the Affordable Care Act is. It accomplishes several objectives for Communists Progressives:
      (1) It gets votes for Dems because it feels good thinking we can have “free” health insurance (inaccuracy of this sentiment notwithstanding).
      (2) The Dems can say they are “doing something” about uninsured citizens.
      (3) It puts a large chunk of our nations Gross Domestic Product under direct federal government control.
      (4) It bankrupts the federal government that much sooner than the Progressives could have accomplished otherwise.

      Those four objectives I already knew. But now for the fourth objective:
      (5) The Affordable Care Act put a lot of people out of jobs or significantly reduced the number of hours they work making them more dependent on government handouts.

  7. There was a time when I could go into Walmart post Newtown and not find a single round on the shelf. I can go into Wal-Mart just about any day of the week and they have white box Winchester 38, 40, 45 and 9mm as well as Tula and Remington 223/5.56.

    22lr is still impossible to find, but other calibers are around

    • My local Wally World had ammo cans with 720 rounds of .223 that appeared to be made in Turkey. The price wasn’t attractive to me, but not outrageous. At least they had it.

      No .22 though.

  8. This is the way it will be until the next event , and the leftist s scream for more gun control ,or until Boobama tries to push more gun control . As for him using executive orders ,for more gun control he is as far as he can go legally , if he signs more orders they will be unconstitutional , and not be able to be enforced , that is if Congress will get off its ass and put a stop to Boobama’s dictatorial auspices , it will also take the Supreme Court to stop him . Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder dry.

  9. Even gunbot.net says brass-cased .223 and 5.56MM are $0.34 and $0.38/round respectively.

    I say this because none of the ranges I’ve been to in my state, especially the indoor ranges, will let me shoot steel-cased ammo of any kind there.

    None of the “common” calibers are back to pre-WTF levels, and inventory of ammunition, weapons, and accessories at my LGSs here is still pretty sketchy — especially magazines, and pistol magazines in particular.

    • Interesting. Any thoughts on the peak, small peak, trough pattern? I can’t really see how they line up, but is it something like Christmas & tax refund for the peaks?

      • Seems to be a good explanation.

        December looks like it’s always the peak month, with a sharp drop off to the next January.

  10. Now is a great time to stock up, if you have the income to do so. I figured Obama et all would push more gun control since ’07, when I feared that our nation would be collectively dumb enough to elect him based upon his merit less “Hope and Change” platform.

    Now is a great time to stock up, if you have the ability to do so. Once I refill my savings after my home refi, I’m looking at getting lots of new toys.

  11. Perhaps people are choosing other retailers instead. I don’t think I would ever purchase a firearm at Cabela’s because their prices always seem much more expensive than plenty of internet retailers.

    • I did the math and found if I order from the net, I might save $25-30 bucks per gun I buy after shipping and transfer fees. That amount is not worth the hassle and wait IMO for an internet gun.

      • I guess I don’t see what the hassle is — you pay for your gun, it ships to the dealer, you pick it up. It’s like ordering online for in-store pickup. To me there’s more hassle and time wasted by waiting in line at Cabelas or other local gun stores.

        Most firearms I’ve seen at Cabelas are priced at least $100 higher than the final cost of an online order, or perhaps $50 if it’s on sale at Cabelas.

  12. My econ degree tells me about pent up demand where if the economy takes a dive and people can’t afford new cars, they keep them running, but they do wear out. When jobs return, there is a backlog of cars to be purchased and high demand. This gun thing might be the opposite. Everyone that thought they should have an AR got one expensive and now wont buy another till their kid grows up or the’re cheap. Exhausted demand

    Hopefully.
    Now the G-damned G42? That’s another story

  13. 1.) Gun stores can’t compete with the low prices that people are offering on little or unused weapons they bought during the panic, and now realize they don’t need.

    2.) I only buy 300BLK and 22lr in stores. If they don’t have it, I can’t buy it, plain and simple.

    3.) I have *TRIED* to buy four guns and three $250+ barrels since December 2012, and no local gun store was able to get me ANY of those things. (a KelTec KSG, an S&W Model 28, two S&W 632Ps; two LMT Barrels and a Noveske Barrel) If they can’t get me what I ask for, I’m unlikely to take my request there the next time. Places like Bass Pro and Cabelas are even LESS likely to have or be able to order things. I had a gentleman in a Cabelas tell me “Only what you see” (not realizing the hilarity of it at all) and refuse to attempt to order something that was not in the Cabelas inventory. Uncooperative business may find themselves attempting to market to unreceptive customers.

  14. I can assure you it was mighty busy at Cabelas today. On a Thursday afternoon. I tried to buy a shotgun last Friday and didn’t have 2 hours to wait. Horrible weather doesn’t help. BTW if you think Odumbo or Shotgun Joe are intellectual giants you’re a LOON.

    • I was in a Cabelas last Saturday, and there was a good crowd at the gun counter. I was shopping for scopes, which are kept in the same department behind the counter. I waited almost a half hour to be waited on. During that period the guy that took care of me sold a rifle and a shottie. He wasn’t normal counter help. He said he normally was in the back manning the gun locker, but got pressed into counter service because they were so busy.

      As for ammo, no .22, but a decent selection of rifle and pistol ammo plus lots of shotgun ammo. Plenty of .223 and 7.62×39. Not the best prices, but not bad if you consider buying the Herter’s store brand. Oddly, Herter’s brass cased ammo was cheaper than the aluminum cased. No reloading components except bullets.

  15. If the rush is over, why the hell can’t I find most of the pistols I want to buy? Besides stores like Cabelas Gander Mountain; etc. don’t have the best prices. Their same store sales may be off because the more knowledgeable are going elsewhere.

    • I totally agree. If cabelas wants to increase guns sales they need to drop prices another 10-20%. they are crazy high. the only reason I have purchased a gun from them is because I can’t find it anywhere else.

  16. Sales are only down from the panic, not down compared to normal.

    Although I think .22LR is clearly in massive shortage. I still don’t find it anywhere, even if I can find anything else most of the time. The only caliber besides .22 I have trouble finding on occasion is 9mm, and even then it’s not too hard, maybe 50% of the time it’s there.

    Makes me convinced that if .22 ever returns, I’ll make sure I’m extremely stocked up. No more getting caught with my pants down.

  17. Ya won’t buy ’em if ya can’t shoot ’em, and ya can’t shoot ’em if there’s no ammo.

    Since .22LR rifles and pistols are among the most popular firearms in the US and there’s no .22LR to be had, I’m not surprised to find that gun sales are off. And since we train our kids with .22s, I’m not surprised to find that the G is thrilled with the dearth of .22 ammo.

    Not that the G is behind it, because that would require the G trying to brainwash our kids, which we know they would never do. Even though Eric Holder wanted to.

  18. I’m a CCW instructor and we did a women’s event where we signed up 425 women for CCW classes.So Greg,……. And Mom’s Demand To Be Victims……. There’s going to be some MOM’s blasting back at jackasses that try the mass murder attempts .AND……We are going to be signing up and training more and more and more,oh And guess what Shannon ,Diane,and Michael? They’ll be joining The NRA………..OOOPS TOO BAD FOR YOUR SIDE.( and we won’t be sending them to Starbucks for coffee!)

    • Don’t forget, it’s tax refund time for some people. My daughter already got hers. That’ll perk up sales some.

  19. The big name stores may have a drop in sales, their prices are the main cause. I regularly visit gun stores in a 4 county area north of Pittsburgh and they are still moving iron like nobody’s business, not to mention hard rice and cleaning gear and reloading supplies/equipment.

    As for greghole up the thread? Liar. Never held a gun in its life much less actually own any. FLAME DELETED

  20. Hmmm…I just bought my 2nd ‘new’ gun for 2014, so it’s not my fault.
    BTW, my local Wally-Whirled *finally* has 9mm in stock –available– on the shelves for the 1st time in 14 months. Still no 22lr / 38/357 / .40SW / etc., but I guess that’s ‘progress’.

  21. …by contrast 40 is easy here. 9 mm is spotty but doable with patience, and 22 LR is VERY tough. I’ve occasionally played doorbuster at an LGS and snagged a brick. I also FOUND two bricks sitting on my reloading bench (which I set up after moving, but haven’t used and that was about four years ago).

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