Walmart Manager on Decision to Drop ARs, Some Shotguns

walmart

Yesterday we broke the news that Walmart is dropping AR pattern rifles and “personal defense” shotguns from their firearms lineup. Walmart media relations confirmed the decision and told TTAG that the decision was based solely on sales data – no politics or outside pressure. The following is an email we received from a Walmart manager . . .

I work at a $100 million store in Kentucky. We have received zero information about any sort of political motivation. My store manager attended the yearly holiday business meeting in Denver just two weeks ago and stated that ARs and other firearms would be going half off soon due to low sales, which is completely true in east KY anyway. Our prices were outrageous on ARs, while CDNN and others had Colt 6920s for $880 or so, we stood fast at $1,097, $650 Bushmasters for $997. We were told that we would have a shipment coming in of ARs that were not selling in other states, to sell them at the half price mark here.

Other firearms such as “hi cap” shotguns, even Ruger 10/22s with the synthetic stock, went half off as well. The wood stock Ruger and Take down model stayed regular price. Certain hunting shotguns also went half off. The $890 Remington Versa Max was sold at half price for example. H&R pump actions from near $200 were $89.
Also, firearm related items such as many scopes, lights, lasers, etc went half off. I picked up a Surefire x300 Ultra light for $154, we sold them for $297 before this. These related items rarely sold here in extremely gun friendly east KY, so I would imagine they sold even worse elsewhere.

In conclusion, I would imagine that the company bought ARs and other guns at a high cost – my system shows we spent much more than dealer cost – and is just trying to make something back as they were just taking up space. The company goes for sales, and those firearms were generating near zero for the past 6 plus months.

As a proud 2nd Amendment supporter, along with all of the other 14 salaried managers at my store, I would have been 100% outraged if we were dropping certain firearms due to some agenda.

As a side note, I never buy ARs from my store or Walmart in general, not because of the internet legend that they are of a lesser quality (they are the same as shops get, ours come from Sports South), but I prefer to build my own.

comments

  1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Hmmm. Might have to visit the local Wally World and see if there are any bargains.

    1. avatar ShaunL. says:

      My thoughts exactly. Already told the GF I’ll be home late tonight because I’m stopping at 3 wally worlds on the way home.

    2. avatar Steven Clark says:

      You’re already too late. Guys have been snapping them up for the last two weeks.

  2. avatar Shawn Graber says:

    It’s unfortunate they’re no longer stocking them (it may be a youngster’s first exposure to an amazing hobby!) but I don’t think I’ve ever seen an AR-15 in any Walmart in my area. Every time I hear people shouting that there are AR-15’s currently stocked at Walmarts, I’m surprised. Aside from the liberal hotspots of Iowa City and Des Moines, my home state is filled with folks who enjoy firearms. You’d think Walmart would sell plenty of them here. Perhaps the reason I’ve hardly ever seen a single firearm sold in Walmart is because I live next to one of those aforementioned liberal hotspots.

    1. avatar RTinIA says:

      The Walmart in Cedar Falls carries firearms and used to carry AR-15’s, but I stopped by there last night and didn’t see any.

  3. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    I suspected it was something like this… People go to Walmart to get a good deal on Chinese imports, not pay MSRP+10% for a M4 clone. Makes sense that management would drop something that people either have no capacity to buy more of or have found better deals on elsewhere.

  4. avatar Buck says:

    Bullshit! If it was just for the lack of profit you could still special orders them like the hunting rifles but I was told no ordering of any ARs.

  5. avatar Anonymous says:

    All they had to do was wait for the next election – then they could have sold them all at asking price.

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      I would have laughed, but you’re probably right!

  6. avatar Another Robert says:

    After my lousy experience buying a single-shot bolt-action .22 at the local Wal-Mart a few years back (I thought I was never going to get out of the store) I resolved never to buy a gun there again. And why would anyone, with an Academy with employees assigned solely to gun sales just a couple of blocks away? If my local Wallyworld is the rule rather than the exception, I’m surprised they sell any firearms at all.

    1. avatar Chrispy says:

      I certainly wouldn’t buy a wal-mart gun simply because they’re not the same gun you get at the gun store. I whole-heartedly believe that they are given the “seconds and thirds” when it comes to the quality control checks on the assembly line.

    2. avatar Galtha58 says:

      Yep, our local Walmart is about the same. Very little inventory and one sales person trying to help while people wait in line or walk away. Appears that the guns and ammo counter was an afterthought. Our local Cabelas is almost as bad. Good place to buy ammo but if you want to look at a gun you have to take a number and wait in line. They have lots of inventory but not enough sales people most of the time at the counter. The small local gun shops are much better places to go to look at or buy a gun in my area.

  7. avatar Geoff says:

    I bought my first AR from Walmart in November 2013 when I started getting Social Security. It was a DPMS Sportical and cost me $666 with tax (Really Evil Black Rifle! LOL!)
    The only thing I have left from it is the BCG and charge handle, the rest was sold off to finance building my custom AR in 5.56 and the other one in 300BLK.
    Both of those cost less than $650 each, not including the scopes.
    Both from a milled and drilled 80% lower, one aluminum and the other polymer.
    Parts from PSA, Ares Armor, Amazon and whoever had stuff on sale.

  8. avatar Dean Carpenter says:

    The art of deceit is so embedded in our society we will never know the truth about anything ever again.

  9. avatar Wiregrass says:

    I see from the photo they are increasing stock of quality hunting scopes like Leupold and Nikon. Where are these Walmarts? The one here only has cheap crap scopes packaged in molded plastic.

    1. avatar JTwig says:

      Same here, but usually at double the price you can find the same items on Amazon. If it wasn’t for cheap groceries, school supplies, and plinking ammo I don’t think I would ever step foot into a Walmart (let a lone any department store).

      1. avatar gemalo says:

        Plinking ammo? Really? My local Wallyworld hasn’t had .22 LR on the shelf in months! I asked my sons GF what the story is, since she works there. Seems the local pawn shops are snapping it all up as soon as the truck arrives.

    2. avatar John says:

      their optics are indeed a joke ,,wal mart is just fun to go in and see all the freaks lol

  10. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Wally World is notorious for beating up on their suppliers to get better pricing than other stores. And we are to believe that somewhere there’s a Wal*Mart purchasing agent who pays ABOVE the normal dealer price? Call me skeptical. Such a buyer wouldn’t last two days in Bentonville.

    1. avatar Charles Thompson says:

      Walmart can “beat up on” suppliers because of the volume of product they move. For many products, they are the highest volume retailer since there are few Mom and pop shops that sell Hello Kitty Sunglasses with a matching trashcan and Tupperware on the next aisle. However, when it comes to firearms, I guarantee you that Walmart is nowhere close to holding a significant market position. Thus, Walmart can “bully” the gun distributors all they want. but most will just shrug and sell to someone else; especially when you consider that Walmart, to my knowledge, doesn’t sell handguns.

      1. avatar Sian says:

        Got it in one.
        Wal-Mart aggressively negotiates a razor thin margin for the manufacturer, arguing they’ll make it back in volume and exposure.

        They can’t do this with guns, because most manufacturers know they can easily sell everything they can possibly manufacture in their own distribution networks, at a much better margin.

        Wallyworld doesn’t offer the gun manufacturers anything they can’t get elsewhere while maintaining their profit margins. They have a little more pull with the ammunition manufacturers, but not that much.

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          None of that explains why they would pay more for a gun than my local FFL who operates out of his basement and gets shipments one gun at a time.

          I can see how they might not outprice the competition, but it doesn’t make sense that they will would try to sell guns well above the street price. It’s the opposite of every other product line in the store.

        2. avatar Will says:

          Wally has in the past offered manufacturers the deal of close up U.S. manufacturing and move it to China while selling to them cheaper and making a profit that way, selling thier company to another company (who would do just that) for a tidy sum, or be dropped from Wally. Sam would NOT be happy with those money hungry execs if he was alive.

  11. avatar Charles5 says:

    That is one explanation. Still, I bet there is also some political motivation that isn’t articulated to the store managers. Walmart is huge when it comes to lobbying. They are probably telling some Dem Representative that they will stop selling AR’s if said Rep supports some legislation they need passed. Considering that AR sales are piddly compared to other profits (or losses if this article is to be believed), it is hardly a sacrifice on their part.

  12. avatar Texas Colt carry says:

    But, but, but Walmart is supposed to be Americas LARGEST GUN DEALER! Or at least that how they were touted during a congressional hearing a few years ago where Walmart reps testified. The media was big on calling Walmart Americas largest gun dealer. And the “largest” gun dealer doesn’t even sell pistols. Now they are dropping certain long arms?

    How can you be the largest gun dealer if you don’t sell guns?

    1. avatar GRW says:

      It is, Walmart had 482.2 billion in sales in 2014. I’m sure more of that was bread and milk (pretty much anything) than firearms but still, D.C math and logic.

      It’s more than possible the combined eleventy million Walmart stores (in Ohio alone) sell more firearms than other individual chains, LGS’ etc. However firearms are an afterthought in most stores if its a thought at all, trailing behind Hello Kitty bed spreads and adult diapers.

      Yet when you want to make an example of someone or something better to attack a big boy (who, lets be honest already has staff and lobbyists there, and can take it) than to be seen attacking a mom and pop LGS.

      D.C folks won’t let math and reality get in the way of a good media circus, regardless of chosen mascot.

      The media, well they like soundbites. LARGEST is better than some piddling whatever.

      1. avatar Texas Colt carry says:

        I see what you mean but it is still misleading. Walmart can sell out of its eleventy million stores a 10/22 takedown and only that rifle. That would still technically make them the largest gun store but with absolutely no variety. So they are the largest LONG GUN store and nothing else. And with a very limited variety of long guns.

        To me, that in no way makes Walmart a legitimate largest gun dealer.

        1. avatar GRW says:

          It is misleading, It’s either intentionally so, simple stupidity or my other theory, outdated censorship and prohibition tactics. Before the internet if a big box store wouldn’t carry your video game, album, lawn darts etc. It may as well of not existed, sure specialty shops existed (LGS) but not enough to really sway opinion or increase uptake at least on a regular basis. Now the internet has obviously killed that method but maybe the antis are still dumb enough to expect that the big boxes pulling out would kill uptake and interest in shooting sports and firearms in general.

          Internet, video games, buds, hyatt’s and a cute little startup called the National Rifle something or other etc. etc. mean it wouldn’t work out but when’s reality stopped them. It could dent it but there is enough to take it’s place.

    2. avatar John says:

      they are the largest stinking pile of cheap chinese trailerpark trash junk

  13. avatar Siris says:

    Will they not price match an Ar if they have $1,000 marked on a $699 m4?
    They claim to match the price of any item still don’t they?
    About to go check my local store and see if any 1/2 price AR’s are left. My wife said I can’t get one unless I get her one too.
    How sweet is that?

  14. avatar JWM says:

    Market glut. Plain and simple. Barry did his job so well that every home in America has at least one gun.

    Fastest growing segment of new gun owners is the self defense market. And that means handguns and wallyworld don’t sell handguns.

  15. avatar the ruester says:

    I think the real story for Shannon here is “wal-mart floods gun market with ban-rumor surplus; prices lower than ever.”

  16. avatar IllinoisShooter says:

    I went by my local walmart (Just outside of San Antonio TX). No black guns, no shotguns that I would call “self defense” shotguns. Some bird guns, 2 12G a few 20G. all bird. Some hunting rifles in camo, wood… nothing pure black.

    odd. I was just hoping to find a deal on something. So rolled down to the local gun shop and bought a little semi-auto 12g 🙂 I like the little guy.

  17. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    You had to go to Wally Worlds out in the hicks to see the big bad ARs. Never have seen defensive shotguns in Wally World yet. The people manning the gun departments are totally incompetent and are clueless. I have too many other places to buy guns in my area. Seymour Indiana has at least 3 gun shops. I have several Rural Kings that sell guns. I have a Gander Mountain, Bass Pro, and soon a Cabelas within easy driving distance.

  18. avatar Siris says:

    Monday was the last day of the sale according to two different local store’s sales people.
    I did happen to find a nice pellet rifle still on clearance. $150 rifle for $74. 1200 fps. “Black ops” barrel break action single pump. Looks like a .338 with can and adjustable cheek piece, padded butt (idk why) grip is oversized and feels really nice.
    It’s quite impressive. Paperwork says pellets can travel up to 450 yrd. I haven’t got to test it at 100 yet but it’s the strongest air rifle I’ve ever owned by far.. Beats the crap out of those old pump ups. Heheh

  19. avatar Jimmyjames says:

    One of my shooting buds who cannot drive past a Walmart w/o stopping to take a look around, called me 2 weeks ago and said his local store had gone crazy and was selling DPMS AR’s (well what passes as an AR from DPMS) for $449 and Ruger 10/22’s for $125 (bout what I paid for one in 1987). He bought one of each. The DPMS choked and puked on the first 20 or so rounds and then started shooting ok I think. No dust cover and no forward assist. I think the lower was made out of some sort of metal. My bud is a cheap bastard so he was in heaven finding those close out deals. Me, the only thing I buy at Wally World on a regular basis is their house label Merlot and it’s the only thing they sell that I am willing to bet my life on. Cheers!

  20. avatar Jamie says:

    I can’t really pretend to understand the economics here, but can vouch for some very interesting changes at the WM’s on the south end of Denver.

    Scopes and other accessories went on clearance last week at about 50% off at two of the three stores closest to me. Even airsoft guns and gear seemed to be included in the clearance bonanza, and I managed to snag a few deals on Nikon scopes, tactical lasers, and airsoft BBs.

    One of the stores, however, hasn’t discounted anything significantly as of this past weekend, which is a bit odd. Castle Rock and Highlands Ranch WM’s were having a virtual fire sale while the Centennial store was holding fast at regular price as best as I could tell. We’re talking stores withing 20 minutes of each other. The inclusion of airsoft shwag in the clearance bonanza was the noodle scratcher – if it was purely an business decision because they aren’t able to compete selling AR-pattern rifles so be it… but airsoft BB’s being sold at 75% off too? But actual BB guns were still at regular price?

    Seems they are maybe trying to distance themselves from certain things in particular.

  21. avatar hurricane567 says:

    I paid $1000 ish for my colt m4 at wal mart when feinstein was waving around her gun ban list. Very few were to be had at any price, anywhere and i counted myself lucky to have one. Now i can buy a Colt Competition AR for ~$600. I don’t regret it.

  22. avatar Jon says:

    I baught my diamondback AR 15 a little over a year ago at a walmart gun clearance. It is a good gun and shoots very well.

  23. avatar Boxilar says:

    This makes sense. The post Sandy Hook rush on AR-15s and other modern sporting rifles is over. The market is settling in. People have realized that Modern Sporting Rifles (“assault weaopns”) aren’t going to be banned and the folks that bought $700 Bushmasters for $1500 are stuck with them. The thing Newtown and subsequent incidents did was make people think about the realities of gun ownership and what they needed on a day to day basis. More and more people are buying handguns and getting concealed carry permits, and the market is shifting to reflect that. Modern Sporting Rifles will continue to sell, but the days of being able to sell tons of AR-15s for the manufacturer’s MSRP are probably over for awhile.

  24. avatar Bob Noxious says:

    AR-15s are EXPENSIVE!!! Double-ought (? 00) is up to $1.25 per SHELL!!! People that don’t have a lot of money shop at Walmart. Connect the dots and get out of your mom’s basement. Duh…

    1. avatar Bob Noxious says:

      12 gauge double-ought buck…is that spelled correctly?

  25. avatar Seku H says:

    A store ban, much like the weapons ban in general, does nothing to stop people from acquiring guns. The local Walmart went through and deleted all tactical gear, which meant a lot of new mods for my ARs while it lasted (2 Bushmaster M4A3s purchased well before Walmart even began selling ARs again).

    Since having cleared the shelves, there were no more tactical lights available, but I made one from a $19 Blackhawk scope mount and a $25 Coleman CT 24 240 lumen flashlight, all found at Walmart. The point being people will always find a way to accomplish a task, and the same applies to acquiring firearms for nefarious intentions.

    I was brought up with guns, learned to shoot when I was 7, and never once considered using a firearm against anyone other than someone posing an immediate threat to the live(s) of myself or others, and it’s that psychological training of the proper handling of both the situation as well as the tool that I feel is missing in the gun debate as a critical component of responsible gun ownership within this country. You’re supposed to be thankful not to use your firearm for anything other than range practice, but ready just in case that dreaded day comes, and yet I feel as if the mindset is the exact oposite through my observation of others.

    The gun safety argument has focused itself for too long on the wrong components of the equation. The initial constant is guns, the end result is always death, however no one looks at the specific variables that shape the parameters of the equation, like the socio-psychological interactions of the individual for mass shootings or a person’s lack of regard or knowledge of safe handling protocol for accidental shootings, or even the glorification of violence in media for most other gun related crimes.

    These days it’s unpopular to support gun ownership because of the fixation on the end result of death, and it is truly saddening to see so much senseless death occurring almost daily.

    As a realist, I realize that guns, much like nuclear weapons, will never disappear entirely, because the fault is inherent in our humanity, manifesting as our fear of the unknown; through the possession of such tools of destruction we hope to ease our worry, hoping that a tool might give us an advantage in an otherwise dire yet completely unknown situation.

    I think aknowledging our fears of firearms and implementing some form of standardized training and certification schema for various weapon types wouldn’t lessen our freedoms, rather it would grant us more of it since everyone would therefore be on a level field of understanding.

  26. avatar Rem870 says:

    I thought that gun sales were constantly growing during the several recent years…

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