Gun Retailers Changing How They Do Business During the Coronavirus Gun Buying Surge

Coronavirus gun sales surge

Stephanie Miller, of Atlanta, purchases a shotgun and handgun and several boxes of ammunition at Adventure Outdoors Monday, March 16, 2020, in Smyrna, Ga. Miller said she had been on the fence about guns but with recent events she decided to buy guns. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

We’ve all seen the photos of packed gun stores and empty shelves around the country as Americans prepare themselves for a national emergency. Grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops and pharmacies are changing the way the do business and interact with the public given the need for social distancing and minimizing crowds of people congregating together.

Gun stores are no different and they’re adapting to the new reality.

Coronavirus gun sales surge boom

Brian Xia, 44, picks up his gun at a gun store in Arcadia, Calif. Sunday, March 15, 2020. Xia who is a first-time gun buyer, says he buys the gun for protecting himself and his family. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

TTAG’s talked to a number of firearms retailers that have weathered the weekend gun rush and they’ve told us how they’re changing their business practices to adapt.

First, many stores are lining up customers outside. No one is let into the store until there’s an employee available at the counter to help them. That’s intended to keep large crowds from packing the stores where social distancing is impossible.

(AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

We’ve talked to a number of stores that are shortening their hours, too. Employees are frazzled, having worked 12 to 15-hour days over the last week with little to no time for restocking, let alone ensuring that all of the required paperwork that’s necessary with each gun sale is complete, accurate and filed away according to each retailer’s particular requirements.

Most gun sellers we talked to are shaving an hour or two off of their business days, opening later and closing earlier.

To help employees help the most customers while they’re open, two retailers told us they’re not answering their phones right now. They told us they haven’t stopped ringing since Thursday.

“Are you open today?”

“What are your hours?”

“When will you have more AR-15’s?”

“Is it really busy there?” 

“Do you have any GLOCK 19’s in stock?”

“When do you think my background check will be complete?”

Dealing with the constant call volume was taking at least one full-timer off the sales floor who could be helping customers in the store.

Finally, we asked them how the distributors are doing getting them new product. Most said they have a lot of guns and gear inbound, but many of the larger distributors — the RSR’s Lipsey’s, Sports South, to name a few — have been nearly cleaned out. There’s more on the way, but in the mean time, they’re getting inventory from smaller distributors the stores haven’t done business with before.

But they are being resupplied.

In short, gun retailers are working night and day to meet the unprecedented demand for firearms, ammunition and more. So the next time you head to your local gun store or big box retailer, be prepared for some changes. At least until the surge subsides and, we all hope, the viral threat diminishes.

 

comments

  1. avatar former water walker says:

    Ummm…OK. I patronized my LGS’s before all this. Let’s all pull together and put CTD out of business!😏

    1. avatar theunrealriker says:

      Friends don’t let friends buy RRA. Edging toward the fence on Springfield.

    2. avatar Jeff the Griz says:

      Problem is there are thousands of new gun owners that don’t realize $1/round 5.56 nato isn’t normal, or know the history of the political schemes of RRA and SA.

    3. avatar Don from CT says:

      CTD?

      I know about springfield. What is the problem with RRA??

      1. avatar Ron says:

        CTD is a bunch of price gouging asshats.

        100$ for an AR mag.

        Kiss my ass.

        1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

          Where is the upvote or like button?

        2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

          I’ve always referred to them as Cheaper Than Dirtbags,they have earned it and in every new chrises and can’t wait to prove it once more.

        3. avatar Chris in VA says:

          I agree with Tom. Give us the upvote button!

        4. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

          I have called CTD “More expensive than sh!t” for years because their normal prices are already ridiculous.

        5. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

          So you prefer your price gouging asshat neighbors, friends, and family to buy them in times of panic at, say, $10, only to turn around and sell them at the (panic) market price of %100.

          The market is the market. Pay CTD et. al.or pay someone on Craigslist. Call it panic buying or call it the collective expectations of individual buyers, either way, it’s the same surge in demand that drives prices up in times like this. In the short run, supply is fixed.

          The only two options are allow prices to rise to reflect the product’s scarcity, or impose rationing and its accompanying stockouts and backorders. Even with rationing, the secondary market still returns to the new market equilibrium, e.g., $100 on CL.

          CTD may well be asshats, but your basic quarrel is with your fellow people of the gun and the laws of supply & demand, not with CTD.

        6. avatar jwm says:

          JH. ctd are asshats because even when times are normal they try to swindle you. Get an amazing price on ammo from them? Wait til you see the shipping charges.

          They are shysters.

        7. avatar Ron says:

          Johnathon it’s not about the typical “supply and demand” discussion. CTD are shady businessmen. There’s nothing wrong or un-American about calling them out on it. I call them out the same way I’d call out time shares and other sleazy business ventures.

    4. avatar HEGEMON says:

      CTD is an insidious cancer…

      1. avatar S says:

        Yet they continue to live. Maybe they will ask for bailout money from the gubermint.

    5. avatar frank speak says:

      these buying frenzies tend to die down after awhile…

  2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Asking about AR-15s and Glock 17s. That’s predictable and funny! No one that knows firearms asks about those. That’s like asking for mayo on a sandwich.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Not quite sure what you mean. I have multiples of both. Wouldn’t we want gun newbies to be asking questions, and wouldn’t be expect many of those questions to center around common models?

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Haz, you have multiple of both? Sorry for your luck. What I meant was you you don’t get more plain vanilla than those two. If you’re asking about them you learned what little you know on a screen. Glocks are ok. ARs are a step up from a spear.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Hmm. Wasn’t expecting to hear that from the likes of you, good sir. Sounds to me like bait for another one of those conversations that too easily become pugilistic (my caliber’s better than your caliber…no, my 1911’s better than your Glock…no, my reloads are better than your factory cartridges…no, my Mini 14’s better than your PSA AR-15).

          I shall simply back away from the bait, knowing fully that my Glocks and ARs have performed flawlessly for me and will continue to serve me well.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          Newbies should be asking questions.

          And there’s nothing wrong with either an AR or a Glock. They’re not fancy, or special but they work. Were shit really to hit the fan, which ain’t likely to be happening with COVID, I’d rather have something that works than something fancy. When you actually need a gun no one gives a fuck how cool or rare or sweet or fancy your gun is. They care that it spits bullets and puts them close to where you want them.

          Also, if inbound 62gr 5.56 doesn’t get your attention up and head down you won’t live very long. Caliber warz are stupid. The weapon with the biggest body count year in and year out for decades now doesn’t have a caliber. It’s the machete and anyone who tells you they’d rather have a machete than an AR is lying or so stupid you should be sprinting away from them.

    2. avatar D.B. Cooper says:

      I know plenty about firearms and Glocks and AR15s are my go-to weapons, because, I know a lot about firearms.

  3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Has (haz?) anyone else noticed the lack of open concern by LE agencies over the increased sales of guns and ammo? A month ago, the Left was clutching their pearls over the mere mention of guns, and now the number of gun owners is increasing at a rapid rate. Where’s the Sheriff, Police Chief, Mayor, or Governor expressing their heartwrenching concern over the additional death machines being obtained by their constituents?

    Or maybe, deep in their little black hearts that are three sizes too small, they understand that an armed society is a more polite society. ??

    1. avatar Dude says:

      It’s funny how priorities have changed. Are they still screaming about the world ending in 10-12 years over a tenth of a degree increase in temperature? Or has that induced panic been placed on the back burner for now?

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Girl Greta is is having a temper tantrum because her stardom has been overshadowed by that pesky virus.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Have you seen the satellite photos of China since the outbreak? That virus caused china to go on lockdown and as a result their air pollution is going away.

          If greta was serious about this climate business she’d be cheering the virus on.

        2. avatar Reredacted says:

          Greta IS the virus…

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Just wait until they start complaining about the inadequacies of NICS and the lack of universal background checks. They haven’t caught their breath yet after lambasting Trump.

      Or maybe they are too shocked that their own constituents are buying guns, or that they are afraid to speak up as their constituents complain about how hard it is to buy a gun in a time of need–and that this is a result of their representative’s actions.

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        expect little comment on this gun-buying frenzy…it doesn’t fit their narrative….

    3. avatar Jose Hebron says:

      Anyone see Tucker last night? Maybe it’s because some LE are not even responding to burglary calls.

  4. avatar Otto Lode says:

    wow slow news day or what ??

    in other news folks are actually dampening their TP prior to wiping it’s sweeping the nation in this brave new world !!!

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      You do that? They make actual baby wipes in convenient little packs, ya know. They even have lavender scented ones for the ladies.

      That brings up the question…what scents would be acceptable for men? Manly stuff…

      Saddle Leather?
      Gun Cleaner?
      Pipe Tobacco?
      WD-40?
      BBQ Sauce?
      Bacon?
      Freshly Mowed Lawn Grass?

      1. avatar Jim says:

        Hoppe’s No. 9!

        1. avatar Southern Cross says:

          Darn. You beat me to it!

      2. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

        “That brings up the question…what scents would be acceptable for men? Manly stuff…”

        Carolina Ghost Pepper. (You’ll only wipe once!)…

      3. avatar Phil LA says:

        The armor-all wipes are pre-scented and work just fine.

      4. avatar Defenders says:

        New tire smell and fresh cut hardwood saw dust.

      5. avatar Unlistedxpat says:

        Napalm

  5. avatar JohnnyL says:

    Friend works at a gunshop here in CA. Here are his most asked questions.

    What do you mean I have to wait 10 days?

    I have to take a test?

    I’ll just go to Arizona/Nevada/Oregon.

    I’ll buy one from a guy I know and avoid all this paperwork.

    I’ll buy one at a gun show.

    The address on my driver’s license is where I lived 6 years ago, I have to show proof of residence?

    How did I get denied to buy ammo?

    I saw this handgun in a magazine, why can’t I buy it?

    1. avatar BH Obama says:

      Wait…Wut? I’ve been telling people you could buy a machine gun online because of the thingamajig loophole.

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Just thought of something.
    What if those anti people DONT see us at the gun store? They’ll think we already have them!
    So, I’m going to the lgs and be seen walking out with nothing.
    Brilliant, right?

  7. avatar Shire-man says:

    Kinda feel bad for the AR builders who shut their doors due to market saturation in recent months.

    1. avatar guest says:

      Don’t. This will pass. Colt will be fine until their next bankruptcy, and no one would buy a cobalt regardless of a pandemic anyway.

    2. avatar Ron says:

      I don’t. People who don’t understand that economics is always a long game are always the ones that lose. For example:

      When’s the best time to buy into the stock market?

      Right now.

      But isn’t the market terrible right now?

      You’re damn right it is. That’s why you buy up as much stock as you can when it’s cheap and sit on it until the market improves. The people who bought property after Katrina and 2008 were considered fools until 10 years later when they sold them off for a huge profit.

      1. avatar James Campbell says:

        In the words of Warren Buffet, “the time to buy is when eveyone is panicking”.
        Time to buy.

  8. avatar GS650G says:

    I’ve got all I need right now so this is entertaining. I’d like to get a revolver or 2 but that can wait.

    1. avatar Greta van sustren says:

      Yeah, maybe in six months or so some of these liberals buying guns will come to their senses and there will be some great deals on like new firearms for sale on armslist or gunbroker….

    2. avatar Deuce says:

      Yeah, I watched a vid today on the “New Production Pythons”. Thinkin that would be a good starter handgun.

  9. avatar jwm says:

    Social distancing? All those left wing trolls like vlad and miner 49er have an advantage over us normal folk in that regard. How much more socially distanced can you get than your mothers basement?

    And the way they managed to hang onto their virginity…….

    1. avatar Waylon says:

      Less trolls then normal here… after a sizable portion of the population in China is under lockdown or killed… just saying…

      1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

        And here I was thinking it would have been after the next election for a slowdown in trolls.

  10. avatar George Washington says:

    I’m all good with EVERYONE being a gun owner….. I just hate to see someone buying a gun who obviously has no business BUYING A GUN….
    But it’s really none of my business so i’ll just shut up…..I just hope they don’t BLOW THEIR EYES OUT!!!! 😉

    1. avatar RCC says:

      I have no problem with people owning guns but the 20 to 35 year olds who are panic buying now and only know firearms from video games / movies are scary.

      Friend had one the other day who wanted to load gun in store and shove into pants. He could not convince him that holsters are a good thing. We are betting on Darwin Award via testicular surgery.

  11. avatar CWH says:

    I am concerned that I can hardly buy reloading supplies, these clowns are even hoarding powder n such. I am stocked but damn my hobby shouldn’t play second to these cucks with their panics.

    1. avatar SAFEupstateFML says:

      Wasn’t there a bit of a shortage even before the virus?

  12. avatar N Texas says:

    People got scared and scary at same time I guess. hope all works out ok . years ago always enjoyed shooting paper and steel targets , kept ammo on stock , bought and traded at pawn shops have what I like in weapons .

    it’s true , have to protect your self and family , at home mostly on your own , and out on the street.
    be safe , be alert , Take Care ya’all

  13. avatar 41mag says:

    Just left my LGS near Goodyear.

    Line 20 deep, for firearm purchases, and a sheriffs deputy sitting by the front. All ammo in common calibers were gone.

    None were getting antsy or rude, but all were looking intent on arming up.

    Shop is smaller than a subway sandwich shop too.

  14. avatar Will Drider says:

    I can understand a few current gun owners trying to top off private inventory or buy that special gun they’ve put off getting. The rest of this is non gun owner mindset, panic buying because a real world threat has emerged that can upset social and economic order. Where we’ve known one bad guy can ruin your day if not prepared, these new panic buyers are starting to understand the need for a means of personal protection. Their finding out there is a price to be paid for coming to the trough late in the game. It is these same first time panic buyers that have supported gun/mag/ammo/sales bans or restrictions and the eliminate the 2A. Yet here they are: trying to buy guns and ammo and I would bet the vast majority has ZERO training in firearms or the laws for their use and posession. Two minute function review at the counter and told to Read the Owners Manual will surfice. LOL

    If the gun grabbers prophecy of Wild West shootouts in the streets was ever to materialize, it will be their supporters that create it.

  15. avatar strych9 says:

    You know, it strikes me that TTAG comments in recent days are a perfect example of why we have problems in general.

    If a person, new to guns, just discovered TTAG in recent days and decided to try to get information here they could be forgiven for thinking that many in the gun world are arrogant, self-centered assholes. Such a person would certainly would think twice before actually asking a question on this site because this comment section has been anything but “welcoming” to the uninitiated.

    It’s really not a surprise that the antis manage to paint us the way they do. When it appears like there may be a problem gun owners are quick to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat by shitting all over exactly the people we should be welcoming.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      just be supportive and answer dumb questions as thoroughly as possible

    2. avatar Darkman says:

      Touche….Don’t forget the Training.

    3. avatar DixieBiker says:

      +1 I learned in the woods from my grandfather and father (RIP) in a time when a person could legally buy a 20mm howitzer. There is no reason to be arrogant or dismissive to a newbie who takes the time and energy to read and post here. We were all new to the hobby at one time.

  16. avatar Darkman says:

    Not all training is good training.
    Arrest made in tactical training shooting that left victim paralyzed, cops say – lehighvalleylive.com
    https://www.lehighvalleylive.com/news/2020/01/arrest-made-in-tactical-training-shooting-that-left-victim-paralyzed-cops-say.html

  17. avatar Ralph says:

    My LGS is limiting quantities of ammo and curtailing hours, but they have maintained their prices throughout — jut as they did after Sandy Hook. No gouging.

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