Roger Krahl of R Guns – Doing It His Way

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By Bud Harton

In 1994, I was a senior Infantry NCO on active duty with the US Army and assigned to an Illinois Army National Guard infantry unit in Elgin, Illinois. Bill Clinton was the President and with the able assistance of the Democratic controlled 103rd Congress, the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban was passed and signed into law. Along with many other Americans, I was desperate to get an AR before the ban went into effect and I rushed to a local gun shop, R Guns of Carpentersville, Illinois. I quickly selected and paid for a Colt A2 Sporter and was amazed that it was still listed at and sold at the same every day price without any price increase. That was when I first met Roger Krahl of R Guns . . .

Twenty-one years later, I returned to R Guns’ new warehouse and retail outlet and met with Roger to interview him. Entering the incredibly impressive store, I first found an AR builder’s dream showcase of AR uppers. On display were literally every size, color and configuration of AR upper receivers anyone could imagine.

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Along with dozens of both new and used handguns and long guns, it was a far cry of what I remembered as a storefront gun shop in a strip mall a generation ago. I spotted Roger and we sat down to discuss how he started and has grown the business.

I told Roger that we had met years before and I still remember that he hadn’t jacked up the prices on his rifles back when the assault weapon ban was looming. He laughed and said, “Yeah I sold out quicker than anyone else due to the price gougers in the market place. I kept the same policy in place in December, 2012 when Newtown occurred.”

“The post-Newtown surge came on the heels of a previous buying frenzy when President Obama took office. The market was still catching up to demand when the Newtown shooting happened. But that was entirely different because the frenzy was closer to a full blown panic.”

“We were working from 7AM in the morning until 10 PM at night trying to get orders out. Then, each morning we would come back in to get started again and we had received 750 emails overnight alone to deal with. We shipped orders between 7AM to 10PM seven days a week. It was insanity.”

“Because we didn’t change our prices, we were overwhelmed with business and it took us months to catch up. That caused some customers to feel that we took too long to process their orders and they were right, but the volume didn’t slacken for almost a full year after Newtown. We did our best to try and keep up.”

Roger opened the original store shortly after completing his enlistment in the Marines in 1988. When the Assault Weapons Ban went into effect, he had to change direction a bit and started importing firearms and parts from all over the world. He has traveled throughout Europe, the far east, Ukraine, Africa, Central America, and southeast Asia in his search for firearms. He grinned when he said, “The hunt for something unique is especially cool. Finding something that no one else has for sale, getting through the incredible logistics of making the deal, shipping, importing and clearing Customs becomes a major challenge. But it’s all good.”

Roger has several pallet loads of Yugo M48 rifles that he just started selling. Picking one up, I could see the marks from the original manufacturer of what used to be known as a Mauser 98K.

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Roger’s 25,000 square foot warehouse and shop facility is also a long way from his original store. He has stacks and crates of AK47 parts being assembled into kits while other employees are assemble both lower and upper assemblies of R Guns manufactured AR15s, rifles, carbines and pistols.

But it’s not just firearms. There are cases and cases of Yugoslavia military 7.62×39 (M67 brass cased lead core) ammunition on stripper clips as part of a huge selection of ammo from overseas R Guns carries. Here’s an idea of how much he has on hand:

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Those are several pallets of Mauser 98K rifle stocks in front of the 7.62×39 Yugo ammunition.

Roger’s optimistic about the future of firearm sales in the US, but admits that things have slowed down since the frenzy of early 2013. He feels that there are going to be a lot of business casualties in the industry in the coming months. “There were a lot of startup companies who responded to the rush and they are now beginning to experience normal times and finding it to be tough going.”

Roger Krahl is pretty proud of his accomplishments and rightfully so. He has come a long way from the strip mall store front and has had some memorable experiences along the way. But he isn’t sitting back and enjoying the success though. “The ‘hunt’ still goes on, there’s another unique deal out there and I just need to find it.”

comments

  1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Good to know Bud-I’m willing to do business in Illinois again. I’ll check them out…

  2. avatar Roy says:

    Yeah, i bought a few uppers from RGuns in December 2012. He was the only company that would give me access to put an order through the shopping cart, and they were normal prices to boot. Everybody else just said out of stock and didnt give access to a queue. Several months later i did get my uppers and they were nice enough. I was very grateful for them.

  3. avatar Jeff says:

    The preceding is a paid advertisement?

    1. No. Sponsored posts are always ID’d as such.

    2. avatar David B says:

      Why should you care if it’s paid or not? The last time I checked none of the TTAG aticles were behind a pay wall which would entitle you to ad-free browsing. If the man can make a buck doing what he loves, who cares? Certain things I dislike, abhor, detest about the site such as their pushing the homosexual agenda, legalization of drugs, and restoring gun rights to felon. But, having paid nary a thin dime for any of the articles, who am I to bemoan their advertising programs?

    3. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “The preceding is a paid advertisement?”

      A short while back TTAG asked the readers for suggestions on improving the website.

      One of the suggestions was local gunshop reviews. There are good gunshops that people may not know about if they do no advertising.

      That is Bud’s review of a local shop he has done business with.

      With the good, can come the bad. If you had a bad experience there, comment on it using your full name.

      Do you have a small local gunshop in your area you have been particularly pleased with that could use some good publicity? Write it up and submit it to TTAG.

      Personally, I’m looking forward to future reviews of gunshops here in central Florida.

      (Note to TTAG: Perhaps tagging those posts “My local Gunshop Review” or such may clear things up with the readers… just sayin…)

  4. avatar David Harries says:

    I remember ordering some magazines from them right after Newtown. They took forever to come, but come they did. And still at pre-panic prices. I appreciate a business that isn’t only interested in the quick buck and in it for the full ride. Thank you R Guns.

  5. avatar Chadwick P. says:

    I picked up an ak74 parts kit a while back and was really happy. Good price and as described. I wish parts kits came with barrels still and that they were cheaper all around but that’s a whole other story.

  6. avatar Publius says:

    I hate to break it to the “I’m a special snowflake!” people, but the laws of supply and demand aren’t “price gouging”. When stores have a limited supply and them demand goes up 500%, they can either keep the price the same and tell most of their customers “Sorry, we’re sold out” or the price rises to the point where they’re selling them at the rate that they’re getting them in stock. This applies to EVERYTHING, not just guns. It’s basic economics people – quit whining because you think you’re special and shouldn’t have to pay a fair price for something.

    1. avatar ihatetrees says:

      +1 on the ‘Special Snowflake’ people. The same types whinged about the .22 shortage.

      There was a shortage of $2.50/gallon gasoline in late ’08, but not today…

    2. avatar DJ says:

      They should really be blaming the government for creating an artificial shortage. Of course, it was also an epic fail by the NRA as well…

    3. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      The problem is that many gun owners (and people in general) do not know basic economics. Once a crisis hits and demand goes through the roof, a few things happen:

      Store A keeps prices the same with no quantity limits; Store B keeps prices the same but sets limits on quantity (ie. rationing), Store C quickly raises prices to match demand, does not impose limits on quantity.

      Stores A and B will usually sell out quickly, while Store C will have ample supply (and high prices). Customers who were too late to buy from Store A or B but who still want to place an order, are comparing the prices from those stores to Store C. And now the whining and complaining starts, whether they think it’s price gauging or some other nonsense. They feel that Store C must be trying to take advantage of them, since the other two stores kept the prices low. They don’t see the irony that those stores will have bare shelves for weeks or months and could very well shut down because of that, and that the only reason the customer can still buy what he wants from Store C is the high price.

      Sure nobody likes paying $100 for a Glock mag. But when the demand is abnormally high because people think those mags are going away or will be banned, $100 could be the new low price. Those who already have mags won’t spend that much, but those who have just a few will gladly exchange that much money for the mags because they see the value in that exchange.

      Unfortunately some people will cry price gauging this or unfair that, but what’s more fair than the market setting its own price of something, based on supply and demand? In case of guns, it’s mostly politicians who just by proposing new gun control laws can drive the demand for certain items to new, never before seen highs. The market will adjust the prices accordingly. Prices move up or down for a reason. And they don’t stay high or too low arbitrarily. They’re adjusted based on supply and demand.

      I don’t hear you people complaining when prices come down; when the demand is normal (or low) and the market brings prices down. Oh no, you’re fine with that. Well guess what, it works BOTH ways. If you don’t understand that or won’t accept it than you have nobody to blame but yourself.

      But I love how after explaining everything in fairly simple terms people will still refuse to accept this and call me an a-hole. Sure, why not. I guess I’m also responsible for you taking out an adjustable rate mortgage and being upside down on it now because you fell for the ‘buyer’s market’ crap and bought a overpriced house you couldn’t afford anyway.

      1. avatar Publius says:

        Amen, brother. It’s painful having two degrees in Economics in a nation full of people who think Economics is a four letter word. Any time you try to explain even the most basic concepts, they just scream insults because they have no idea what they’re talking about and your facts are hurting their feelings.

        1. avatar God says:

          So in other words you are a conservative economist and you think that Trickle Down (a/k/a Voodoo or Piss Upon) Economics works?

      2. avatar God says:

        So … you advised Reagan on that wonderful concept of Trickle Down (a/k/a Voodoo or Piss Upon) econmics and now that explains why there is a shrinking middle class in the USA?

        1. avatar Big E says:

          Being a perpetual victim must be exhausting. I pity you that everything is outside your control and places you at the whim of circumstance you decry as abuse by the ‘powerful’. It is the of the motto of the weak-minded and scared to blame others. Big Business, Vast Right wing conspiracy,the NRA or Betty Crocker, SOMEONE is responsible, just not me.

    4. avatar Slick says:

      Agreed. Its funny that most of those who complain about “price gouging” usually complain about “socialism” the next minute.

      Free market, baby. Dont like it, dont buy it.

  7. avatar ihatetrees says:

    Yeah I sold out quicker than anyone else due to the price gougers in the market place. I kept the same policy in place in December, 2012 when Newtown occurred.

    The phrase ‘price gouging’ turns my stomach.
    Sure, he pleased some of his customers – but allowed others to flip his product for big bucks. A lot of those bucks could be in his business.

    He can run his business how he wants. I suspect he would have been better off raising prices when the market allowed, with discounts for historically loyal customers. But there’s no easy way to please market ignoramuses during a buying panic. Relationships will get frayed…

    1. avatar actionphysicalman says:

      Gouging is an anti-market term. Prices should fluctuate with supply and demand as it is the way production is regulated for maximum benefit.

      1. avatar Publius says:

        Exactly. Raising prices because costs increase or demand increases isn’t “gouging”, it’s basic supply vs demand. However, situations like current gas prices are gouging when we can compare the current price per barrel of oil to almost a decade ago when oil was at the same price and gas prices were much lower. We keep seeing the price of oil decrease, yet gas prices are staying (essentially) flat.

        1. avatar Downrangefuture says:

          But the ones doing that “gouging” are the federal government. Oil companies used to post the taxes paid on oil on the pump, but Uncle Sam made them stop. The amount of taxes on oil drilling/exploration/pumping/distributing/refining are ridiculous. And they only go up each year. Free market applies to oil/gas as well. Of course they’re going to charge what people will pay. Don’t like it, don’t buy it. But just realize that almost 60% of what you pay at the pump is taxes. Compared to just 8 years ago when you paid “only” 40% taxes at the pump.

      2. I have to disagree because most of these people are misinformed and are just parroting the corporate line.The health insurance industry has them under their “spell” … they do not want change because it would cut into their greed. $$$

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Yes, he can run his business how he wants.
      It would appear that his strategy has paid off for him.

      I could walk into his store tomorrow and not have to worry about whether or not I’m getting a fair deal, which makes me more likely to walk into his store tomorrow.

      Get it?

      1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

        Yep I get it Curtis. I have a long memory. I don’t shop at my local gun shop from their price gouging. Other local shops still have my business. And Cabelas as a chain store. Screwing folks is not a good business strategy. And I got a BIG MOUTH…

      2. avatar Publius says:

        Until you want to walk in and get a gun for a “fair price” and he says “Sorry, we’re sold out.” Then you realize that not raising prices when demand increases means that customers who really want it (in this case, you) end up being told that there’s nothing left. Remember the gas lines of the 70’s? That’s what happens when prices don’t rise to bring supply and demand into balance.

        1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

          There is NO ”until” with me publius-in my business I have folks I have been dealing with for more than 20 years-because they never screwed me. I am an antique & art dealer and give my business to folks who try to be honest and above board. They get to sell the paintings I’ve gotten more than $100000 for over the years.(Not to mention all the other stuff). Not the azzwholes who cheated me in 1996 out of commission. Guns are a perfect personal analogy.

        2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          “Sorry, we’re sold out” Is what I still hear most places when searching for .22LR. Then there are the places selling it for 15 cents a round. No sale, either way.

          I’m thoroughly familiar with the basic laws of economics and support a business owner’s right to price his products as he chooses. I truly wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m also smart enough not to buy durable goods, or even consumable goods, during a temporary, emotion-driven price spike.

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      So ihatetrees says “gouging” ok/good but “but allowed others to flip” is bad? What?

  8. avatar Tominator says:

    Pre Bush Ban[1988] there was little money to be made in the firearm business.

    When hearing of the ban on importation after Stockton on the radio I immediately pulled over and called my friend and part time employer. He immediately removed all imported firearms. WE actually made a profit that year.

    Most here are too young to remember the past when a firearms dealer worked for minimum wage simply because of his devotion to the 2ND Amendment!

    It does my heart GOOD to hear of the successes such as this!

  9. avatar Jonathan - Houston says:

    “I told Roger that we had met years before and I still remember that he hadn’t jacked up the prices on his rifles back when the assault weapon ban was looming. He laughed and said, ‘Yeah I sold out quicker than anyone else due to the price gougers in the market place. I kept the same policy in place in December, 2012 when Newtown occurred.'”

    Price reflects demand, and demand reflects scarcity, and part of scarcity is the market’s expectations about future availability.

    So-called “price gougers” are simply the people who respond to the market (read: YOU!) bidding up prices to reflect increased anticipated scarcity. The windfall profits suppliers temporarily reap are a signal to increase supply. By holding prices firm, so as to look like the good guy who doesn’t jack up prices, all you’re doing is distorting the market by interrupting proper price signals.

    If goods are not allocated by price, believe me that they will be allocated by other means. Those other means, unlike price, happen not to be efficient. This is how you get jack wagons staking out retailers all night for truck arrivals, so they’re first in line to snatch up whatever scarce resource is being under priced. This is how you get some jack wagons who happen to have a buddy working the receiving dock someplace set aside the new shipments so he can come in at his leisure and buy everything up. Meanwhile, other people go without.

    All that does is ensure that some lucky/sneaky individuals will load up on extra crap they don’t need. Yes, I said “need”, because they don’t need it. They don’t even want it, not at market prices, which reflect true value. They only want it for themselves at the artificially low prices, or so they can resell at market prices to someone else.

    All this feel good hold-the-price nonsense does is ensure overconsumption of the scarce resource, such that extra of it gets used up by someone who isn’t submitting to its full cost, or adds more transactions costs to the overall delivery to end user, as scavengers buy up and resell to others. It’s wasteful all around, does nothing to alleviate the scarcity, and in fact contributes to perpetuating it.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      they don’t need. Yes, I said “need”, because they don’t need it. They don’t even want it, not at market prices, which reflect true value

      And their is you special brand of statist marxism. “NEED”. WTF are you to determine who NEEDS what/when? From each/to each bud.

  10. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Thank you presidents Clinton and Obama for showing the american people how our civil rights can be taken away in the blink of an eye. These two men have done more to show how capitalism, entrepreneurship and freedom can battle the anti civil rights leadership in this country.
    And thank you to the founding fathers for giving American the second amendment. The only nation on earth with it.

    1. avatar God says:

      Actually the Mexican constitution has a promise of keeping your weapons. Which you can in Mexico. Sorta.

    2. avatar God says:

      Actually the Mexican constitution has a provision similar to the 2nd Amendment. Which is sorta, kinda honored in Mexico. Sorta.

      1. avatar Chris T from KY says:

        Mexico sorta don’t count. Only one gun store in a country the size of Texas. Just 22 caliber and 38 caliber only for civilians. That is not the right to keep and bear arms. But it is better than India, revolvers only for civilians, or Africa no guns allowed. Except in South Africa where you have very limited gun ownership that the communist government is working to eliminate.

        1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

          Chris Mexico is almost 3 times the size as Texas.(formerly Mexico). It is a terrorist state where you can’t tell the gubmint from the criminals. Lots of nation-states have constitutional “guarantees”-very few honor them.I do believe South Africa has far more guns than you think. And what’s up with gawd/sex dino? He sounds almost human…

  11. avatar TravisP says:

    While I agree it’s not price gouging I have stopped shopping at a number of venues due to their insane price jumps on everything. Especially Cheaper than Dirt. I stick to my local guy now for everything. He didn’t raise his prices during the panic, and to this day holds a few bricks of 22 when he gets them, and sells them at a pretty regular price 50 bucks for the Remington bucket of bullets

  12. avatar Anonymoose says:

    I checked out their “miscellaneous” category and discovered that they carry HK hunting rifles. I wish I had $2500 on me right now…

  13. avatar anaxis says:

    Last time I did business with R-Guns, was as part of a group-buy of 1895 Nagants. About 20 of us took part, and I got two for about $75/ea. Nobody got to cherry-pick their pistols, but everyone was quite happy with what they got and the speedy shipment. The ones that showed up at my FFL were a ’29 and ’32, and both were in excellent condition (not considering billboard import stamps).
    I’ve occasionally heard guys bitch about a lack of customer-service, poor quality of a randomly-picked milsurp, or expediency on an order…. but their gripes seem largely due to R-Guns having a “Piss poor planning on your part, doesn’t constitute an emergency on ours”-type policy.

  14. avatar Craig says:

    I have a Vz. 24 from them and I’d buy another.

  15. avatar Adub says:

    Holy crap, those pallets are amazing! He’s got enough weapons to march on the White House!

  16. avatar pwrserge says:

    I managed to pick up a pair of Nagant revolvers from these guys. Now my collection include a pre and post Russian revolution example of the weapon. They were awesome in that they brought out a half dozen examples and let me pick through them for the exact years I wanted. I’m not sure a lot of C&R importers would let you do that.

  17. avatar Geoff PR says:

    I’ve hear the old expression “(X) was stacked up like cordwood”.

    That shop actually *does* have guns stacked up like cordwood!

  18. true American.
    No double standards put the DC politicians on Obamacare and SS.Thanks for your support and vote.Pass the word. mrpresident2016.com

  19. avatar neiowa says:

    Thanks for the review had not heard of this supplier though I generally try not to leave my $ in the PRI.

  20. avatar Supermatic says:

    I’m happy to hear that R Guns is still in business – and doing well. I purchased a pistol from them in the mid-90’s when they were just a hole-in-the-wall on Highway 31. I had thought they had gone out of business but now that I know better I’ll seek them out again!

    1. avatar Bill in IL says:

      They moved just a mile or two north on 31 to the industrial park. They must have got a great lease and the new store is awesome! Just bought a lower from them recently, I love them because they are 5 miles from my house.

  21. avatar Ken in TN says:

    I would live nothing more than for him to get some more Krink kits in stock!!!!

  22. avatar Joe R. says:

    Happy R Guns is doing well. Unhappy that they are serving their sh_tbag community of IL (D)head haven. A large percentage of the evil POS’ within their borders HAVE BEEN THE REASON THE RESPONDERS TO THIS POST ARE FIGHTING OVER GUN AVAILABILITY AND PRICING.

    They are the chicken AND the egg. They are the evil POS’ that we fight against daily in our quest to just talk about great guns, instead of having to argue with our a-hole neighbors over our RTKABA.

    FUIL

  23. avatar God says:

    So. Are their AR’s decently made?

    1. avatar Kevin says:

      Hit or miss. Some are pretty good. All the ones I’ve seen from them are pretty heavy. They have lots of reviews online.

  24. avatar Kevin says:

    This review is pretty lopsided. They have carried an F from the BBB since way before Newtown. Their customer service both in the store and by internet order is exceptionally bad. I suggest you do a little more research before shopping here. Caveat emptor. This is one of 2 gunshops I personally avoid like the plague.

    1. avatar Bud Harton says:

      Is this the same better Business Bureau that admits that they always grade their paying customers much higher because they support them with (gasp!) monetary payments? Here’s a Time Magazine article about the BBB
      http://business.time.com/2013/03/19/why-the-better-business-bureau-should-give-itself-a-bad-grade/

      and if you look up above a number of people state the exact opposite of your claim concerning bad service. R Guns has a successful business operating in a not only firearm unfriendly State but also a State where it is becoming impossible to operate a small business. They have been in business for 27 years and are still growing even though they are operating in a hostile environment.

      I would imagine that BBB gave R Guns an “F” because Roger decided responding to a complaint made to BBB wasn’t worth the trouble and the BB, as has been documented numerous times, gave him an F because he ignored them.

      What was your personal experience that was so bad?

  25. avatar Libertytoad says:

    Wow. I live probably within 20 minutes of that shop but have never heard of it. I’ll have to run over there and check it out.

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