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Bud’s Gun Shop is my go-to resource when I need to figure out a fair price for a gun or if I’m looking to pick a new one up. Even with shipping and transfer fees they have a tendency to beat out the local competition. Turns out a few other people have the same opinion, and the result is that Bud’s currently has five times more orders for guns than they did the February following the 2008 election. You know — the month after Obama was sworn in, an event many blame for sky high firearms and ammo prices. They sent out a letter to those waiting on orders explaining some things, and one of our readers was nice enough to forward it on so we could share with all of you.

This notice is being sent to all customers who recently placed an order with and may not necessarily apply to your order.

If you are not already aware of what is going on in the firearms industry, there is no doubt you soon will be via the media. Our sales in the month of February were over FIVE TIMES what they were back in February 2009 following the last presidential election…and you may recall those were some pretty crazy times ! We did plan for 2012 to be another challenging election year….but we admittedly did not plan for this level of volume, and definitely not this early in the year !

Although your order may not have experienced a delay, we would like to apologize to anyone who has, or is currently, experiencing a delay in shipping. Our order volume unexpectedly skyrocketed in February, far beyond our capacity to process and ship. We immediately began the process of expanding our facilities, adding additional staff, and working extended hours…but those efforts are just now starting to pay off.

The good news is that we are starting to get back on top of things. We are currently shipping out more orders each day that what we are taking in, so it is now just a matter of clearing the backlog that was created in February. Since Monday we have been able to ship out 300 more guns than what we sold during that same time….so the backlog should be cleared shortly at this rate. We are shipping oldest orders first (first in – first out) so clearing this backlog will cause some newer orders to ship closer to the “7” in our advertised “3 to 7 business days” terms. Many repeat customers were so use to us shipping in 3 days they started to get concerned when their order had not shipped in 5 days…even though we were well within our “3 to 7 business days” terms. Also, “business days” refers to Monday-Friday only, as neither UPS or USPS pick up packages at our warehouse on weekends.

We sincerely apologize if you experienced a delay and assure you we are continuing to do everything we possibly can to prevent future delays. We have also suspended all cancellation fees for any delayed orders. If you orderhas been delayed, and you prefer to cancel your order at this time….we will be glad to accommodate that request with absolutely no fees….we need more guns anyway !

We appreciate the business and commit to do a better job next time if given the opportunity.
Kind Regards,
Team Buds

So, the synopsis is that Bud’s is experiencing the firearms warehouse equivalent of a DDoS attack — firearms were being sold faster than they can fill orders and now they have a backlog. But why?

The obvious answer is that the upcoming election (and crappy Republican field) is scaring the firearms buying public into purchasing more firearms. And while that’s a satisfying answer and in line with what we’ve been seeing on other fronts, that’s not the whole picture.

Some other factors that are playing into the apparent spike in demand include the longer trend of firearms becoming more popular and mainstream (a begrudging thanks to Top Shot and Sons of Guns for that), the impending sense of doom for our society felt by more and more people, and the fact that people (especially the internet generation) feel comfortable buying their guns online.

Or it could be a fluke. We don’t know — we’re too close to the events to get a good critical read on what’s going on. But all signs point to increasing popularity and ownership of firearms among the American population, despite the attempts from the other side of the aisle to downplay and dismiss those signs.

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  1. Nick, I too find Bud’s the place to look and often to buy. My local range/gun shop focuses on particular brands. Outside those brands either their prices are not competitive or they simply won’t find the item for me. Two years ago I received a shipping backlog notice like the one you posted. Bud’s growth has been steady and on an exponential curve. As for the reason for widespread purchasing: I don’t believe people expect catastrophe. Rather, the people I speak to seem to expect a mild but steady decline in policing and a noticeable increase in financial desperation among those who so far have been propped up by Federal largess. Buyers are taking responsibility for warding off (brandishing off?) crime. Who can fault them?

    • Indeed. I don’t hear anyone talking about gun bans, I hear lots of people talking about defending their family from criminals. There’s a general sense of unease, combined with people de-leveraging and being a little more confident in their financial situations. If your job has weathered the initial hit of the recession, you’re still in your house, and you’ve paid off your credit cards, but you still feel like there might be worse to come, a concealed carry pistol starts to look mighty attractive.

  2. Bud’s retail location was packed last Saturday. It’s one of the closest gun stores to my house. I was in there to purchase a new ccw gun. I had to wait a bit and it wasn’t because people were browsing.

  3. I’m just wondering when our friends in Congress will propose closing the Buds Guns loophole. A loophole is any method used to make gun owning more efficient or cheaper by their definition. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to offer a bill that specifically outlaws whatever business model they don’t like.

    • But you can buy guns online! OMG! Guns are so easy to get, they are mailed and show up right at your door step without any legal record or paperwork at all!

      • Guns cannot be shipped to your doorstep unless you are a registered FFL dealer. Guns can only be shipped to your local gun shop to be picked up…no different than going to the shop in the first place aside from waiting for shipment and perhaps a cheaper price.

        • You are mostly correct. If you meet the requirements of the Civilian Marksmanship Program you can purchase an M1 Garand from them and have it delivered to your door-step.

  4. I picked up a gun from Bud’s last month, and my experience confirms everything in your article. Bud’s prices are usually the best you’ll find *anywhere.* Their SIG P250 kit was almost $100 less than the best local price I could find, even after shipping and insurance were added in. Their front-end customer service was friendly and well-informed.

    And their back-end order processing was…well…not the quickest; my FFL guy got the gun about two weeks after I ordered it. Delays like that are frustrating, when we’ve gotten used to next-day shipping for most orders, but saving a Benjamin on the deal makes it well worth your time.

    I also appreciate that they’re honest and forthcoming about the delays, and the reason for them. Thanks for the update, Nick.

  5. I also use Bud’s as a guide but, whenever possible, I try to give my business to the local “merchants of liberty” even if it means waiting a little longer or paying a little more (not a lot more).

    When you think about it, the price of a gun alone, not to mention a 5-10% variability (even after tax, transfer fees, etc.) can be almost insignificant compared to the ammo you’ll put through it in it’s lifetime. You might spend many thousands of dollars on ammo for your $500 gun. Am I going to get in a twist if I paid an extra $20-30 for the gun (along with a little convenience)?

    • Just like gas, insurance, taxes, maintenance and upgrades for a car. The choice of a gun’s caliber can be driven by ammo costs. Some calibers just cost way too much, like .380 versus 9 mm.

  6. My local gun dealer hates Buds because since Buds doesnt charge state tax to most states, Buds ultimately in one way or another can beat out the small business man, and maybe I didnt approach it right, but when he asked who had the most competitive prices with his shop, when I replied Buds Online, he went into a rant that I probably cant repeat on this forum.
    Anyways, he did say he is always happy to charge his $25 FFL to get a buds gun in for me…

  7. How is Ron Paul “crappy”? Oh, right, he takes his oath to protect the Constitution seriously, wants to protect U.S. borders not everyone else’s borders, and wants to make actual budget cuts not just cuts in the rate of baseline budget increases.

      • And part of his problem is that since everyone knows he is unelectable, lots of people won’t vote for him.

        One of those vicious circles, like the Obama logo.

      • Who cares if Ron Paul is unelectable? I find Mitt and Barry nauseating. I would rather vote Libertarian and build a dissenting body than vote for the upchucks.

        • i like paul too, and romney not so much. but let’s all realize that if enough of us vote our preference to vote for an unelectable candidate, and these votes thrown away, leaving obummer in our white house we might not have another election until after the bloodshed.

          i’m gonna vote romney, like it or not.

    • I really like Ron Paul, but the man is 102 years old. I think he knew several of the Founding Fathers by their first names. Of course he supports the Constitution — he signed it. The guy was eligible for Medicare during the first Reagan administration. He’s against Social Security increases because he believes that a Congressman shouldn’t vote himself a raise. I could go on, but you get the point.

  8. I have used Bud’s twice in the last two months. My local gun shop charged me $25 for the transfer the first time, then the second time they said all transfers from Bud’s are $75 (everywhere else still $25). They are just being jerks because they have been having to do so many transfers from Buds, and are mad that locals aren’t buying guns from them anymore.

      • If you don’t like it don’t pay it. Transfers are a service and they can charge whatever they want, or refuse to do them. They aren’t being jerks, they are trying to stay in business. Transfers are a pain, you make nothing and do a lot of paperwork and become legally responsible for the sale. If everyone just uses them for $25 transfers instead of buying from them they will have to shut down.

        • No, They are being Jerks.
          If they charged $75 for all transfers then you would be correct. Singling out Bud’s is BS. I’d stop going there.

          I hope you didn’t find out about the tripling of the transfer fee when you went to pick up your gun.

    • My last weapon purchase was from Grabagun. Their price was less than Buds advertised price (which is the cashish price not credit card price). Even with the shipping charge and FFL transfer it was still cheaper than Buds. Though in defense of Buds, it does have a larger selection (the pickin’s there are bit slim right now). The local shops were charging $75-$100 more than what I paid, for this particular weapon.

      It does pay to to shop around the interwebs for everything.

  9. The last gun I bought was my Sig Mosquito, and Bud’s was effectively the same price as the cheapest local place, once you factored in the transfer fee. I ended up buying from a local shop that was a bit more money, but they give free range time for 30 days following the purchase (regularly $12 to shoot all day, with leave/return privileges). Seemed like a fair trade to me.

    • @Matt in FL
      “regularly $12 to shoot all day, with leave/return privileges).”

      I practically fell over after reading that. Here in CT we are usually paying $20+/hr to shoot.

      That said, I would happily purchase locally provided they had customer service as you described. My last purchase was online because the LGS was $110 more expensive and would not even meet me half way. When I said I would just buy online, he said fine, go ahead. In another instance I went into a different LGS looking for a specific gun, and shop owner himself told me to purchase it online and he would FFL it for me.

      I believe for a lot of people, if you are not going to add additional value to the sale, or you cannot provide any better information on the item, why would I deal with you — I can click a few buttons online and just wait for it to be delivered. Some LGS have no customer service and believe you should just walk in and buy whatever they have like it or not.

      • “I practically fell over after reading that. Here in CT we are usually paying $20+/hr to shoot.”

        Ouch. I suppose that’s the benefit of being in a large market. There’s probably 10 places to shoot within a half-hour of me; sadly, all the public ones are indoors, and the max distance is 25 yards. You have to go to one of the private membership clubs to go outdoors/longer distances.

        The cheapest place to buy a gun locally is also the most expensive place to shoot; they charge per person, per hour, but they do offer a membership for ~$225 that lets you shoot whenever you want; you can only shoot their rental guns if you’re a member. The other two places I commonly visit both charge a flat rate; one is $14, one is $12.

    • Paying by the hour is something I do not see around here. Now paying $30 per year for 7 day a week range time is and then $2 a day to shoot indoors during the winter months unless you do not mind trudging though the snow to shoot at the outdoor range.

    • Find and independent FFL holder. I’ve got a great guy who does it to help his friends and make a little money on the side.

    • Find an independent FFL holder. I’ve got a great guy who does it to help his friends and make a little money on the side.

  10. Just want to throw it out there, I find it amusing that Bud’s site has been down all day today.

      • I haven’t been able to get in all day. It’s the universe telling me not to buy a gun today.

      • It was down, now its SLOW and good luck logging in or making a payment without it timing out.

        Now that there are less than 2500+ people trying to view the page its loading decently, they are suffering major growing pains over there.

  11. Nick, you gave 3 reasons for the increase in gun sales and I think the one you amplified the least “impending sense of doom”, is actually a feeling of immanent danger and is the majority reason. We have 8 houses on our short block and in the last 6 months 4 of the households have purchased a gun or a bunch of ammo for range time. It’s the innate sense of “creepy” out there. Increase in daytime break ins, the violence of the crimes is spiraling up to near demonic levels, the number of strangers hanging around where there were never any, looks the women report when shopping, stores insisting on escorting women who are alone to their cars with the purchase. All these things and many more that are sub-conscience level give folks the feeling that they “Need” to protect themselves.

    I hate this new reality, but it is true and must be dealt with.

    • RKf, it’s the same old reality but a new perception. We were always at risk; now people are beginning to understand it and know that they are responsible for their own safety. I don’t hate this at all. In fact, I think it’s the best thing that could happen. Ignorance may be bliss, but not for long.

  12. Everybody is gushing about Bud’s but the best kept secret is in Western Kentucky. Whittaker’s Guns ( beats Bud’s by a mile on prices. They don’t have the slick website that Bud’s has but they do keep a pretty gun list of used guns. If you want something, just give them a call. You won’t be sorry.

  13. anyone looking at the government debt here and in europe, and the neighborhoods arround them , can see that the media “all is well ” mantra rings quite hollow. Since there really isn’t another good source of information it’s easy to be apprehensive about the future. Even the police seem to be afraid. if they weren’t, why all the swat stuff and combat gear? seeing the cops afraid like that worries people.

  14. I’ve ordered from Bud’s several times. Never had a problem except for a red dot sight I ordered from them that was never delivered. They promptly credited my account.

    It’s really hard to beat their deals.

  15. Stop by Bud’s retail store on the weekend, it’s WILD.

    When you have a local gun show in Lexington things get even worse. Everyone (well not everyone, but it feels like it) goes to the gun show, then stops by Buds.

  16. I went to the Ohio Gun Collectors Association gun show today. Jam-packed. Hard to get through the aisles. Lots of guns going out to the cars. Majority of attendees older men, but still quite a few women and young people.

    Prices for “antique” and “vintage” guns were stratospheric, but modern guns were being sold at prices competitive with gun shops. Lots of “private” sales; no NICS checks. Worth the price of membership to avoid a paper trail.

  17. I’ve only dealt with Buds once & it will be my last. They failed to reveal that a Mosin Nagant could be shipped direct to C&R holders, it isn’t mentioned in the product description or at any stage during the order process. I was pissed that it cost me an extra $40 to go through an FFL-01 dealer, plus the time wasted in 2 trips (one to do paperwork, one to pick it up) & tax. I tried to suggest to Bud’s that they make it clear that they could ship C&R firearms to FFL-03 holders & was treated to a tirade of how it was all my fault because I didn’t call them up….

    ….hold on, an e-commerce website requires a phone call to find out about shipping options not mentioned anywhere on Bud’s website….& that’s MY fault?

    I tried going up the chain of command, at each stage I was treated even more aggresively, being repeatedly hung up on & given absolutely no recognition at all. When I gave them an idea to simply make sure this didn’t happen again (like include “this can ship C&R, call us”) in the product description I was accused of trying to tell them how to do their job & was, once more, hung up on, my order was cancelled & my Bud’s website account closed, despite not asking for any of this.

    In my opinion Bud’s is a POS, once step below a greasy, used car salesman & not to be trusted under any circumstances.

    • You have a C&R and weren’t aware that Mosins are on the list? Hell, that’s why a lot of people get a C&R.

  18. i think its up to you to know the rules and regs of your license – I especially wouldn’t expect Bud’s job is to tell you the benefits of YOUR license. They can’t write every option for every license type, State regs, etc. for every gun on their site! Buds is the best thing to happen to gun prices for consumers in 20 years! I don’t have to pay rediculous prices from some rude jerk in my local gun shop anymore – they aren’t perfect I’m sure, but they sell hundreds of guns a day and they probably are not interested in you lecturing them on how to sell guns.

  19. Buds sucks, just google all the complaints on these clowns. When I got a gun that was obviously a used range gun instead of factory new “Team Buds” all started threatening me online when I posted my experience on a gun forum. These KY tough guys are total crooks, based on my experience and all the TONS of complaints online from others. Just google “Buds gunshop sucks” and take a look how these shysters operate. Buy local, from a place you can see firsthand what you are getting, the cruds at Buds are notorious for shipping stuff that wasnt what was advertised. Trying to save 20 bucks just isnt worth it trust me! Buyer beware! AND SCREW YOU BUDS!

  20. I have bought 3 rifles through Buds and have never had a problem at all. They have great firearm prices and I will buy more weapons from them in the future.

  21. I had the WORST experience! I bought a Savage 110 BA. Got it home and less than 5 minutes out of the box I discovered the bolt looked liked this: NO NEW BOLT IN THE WORLD looks like that, with THAT much brass on the head! To be sure I posted on several gun forums and the overwhelming response was that it was grossly used! Making matters FAR more suspicious is when I wrote a scathing review –rather than acknowledge the issue, attempt any resolution or even APOLOGIZE –Bud’s Guns Shop not only censored my review but they DELETED MY ACCOUNT! Bud’s Gun Shop is a scheming scamming company! BUYER BEWARE!

  22. ” Not being a philosopher or a physicist, I’m not planning to learn about that subject in print, but I can tell you that, from your marketing standpoint, the net marketing effect on the business stated earlier was obviously a big fat zero. This business of trading is hard enough and now we should reap the benefits of every edge in the market that’s available to us. Politicians are the types who make trouble and then campaign against them.

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