This issue of our Gun Notes will be shorter than normal due to the panic buying of guns and ammo and the meager supply of both. From what I have heard several gun manufacturers have shut down until the virus is past and things are back to normal. All gun shops have to buy from distributors and the distributors buy from the manufactures, so with the actual gun companies being either shut down or only running skeleton crews, things are tight these days.
This last 2 weeks have been extremely hectic to say the least. A week ago we were short on ammo, mostly 9mm and 223 but had a rack full of long guns and a decent supply of handguns. Then things changed. We got several cases of 9mm ammo and 223 in and the shelves were fairly full again. But by the end of this past week our showcases and gun racks were almost empty as people were buying anything they could find. We had people calling from Phoenix asking if we had ammo and guns. If the answer was yes on either we could expect to see them within a few hours.
I have been in the gun business since 1978 as a partner in a gun shop and since 1985 as sole owner of a gun shop and custom gun machine shop. And in that length of time I have never seen it this crazy with people knowing there is a severe shortage of both guns and ammo. On the other side of the coin we are having people walk in asking where our bulk ammo is. We tell them with the panic buying we don’t have bulk ammo, and do good to have any ammo. They ask why. I tell them because of the panic buying. They ask what is that. This is about where I look around to see if this is some sort of joke. But these morons are serious. They have no idea what is going on in the country. Being that I am such a nice guy and polite too, I ask them if they have been living in a cave for the last few months. They look at me serious like and again ask why. Now I am on the verge of going ballistic, sorta. I then do the next best thing, again being a nice guy and wonderful fuggin person. I tell them to go to our competitors as I am sure they will have bulk ammo. Good thing I was nice to him as I was close to losing my cool and asking him if his parents had any children that lived. But he probably would have asked why. Nuff said.
Anyway, with all the ammo and gun shortages the ATF NICS check is taking forever. From one ATF lady I talked to she said they are doing 175,000 NICS checks a day, and that is just the people that do not have a CCW permit. Also on the 4473, the white form one has to fill out to buy a gun, there are places to write in 4 guns, so with one phone call you can buy 4 guns, or actually in free states (there are still a few of us around) you can fill out several of those forms, buy 4 guns, walk out, put them in your truck, walk back in and buy 4 more and do this until your credit card says no. If you have a concealed carry permit you don’t have to go thru the NICS check so if you figure those folks in the gun shops in the country are in theory selling a quarter million guns per day or more. That is if the guns are available, which they have been getting scarcer and scarcer every day.
Strange thing is contrary to what the media is saying, not just AR-15s are selling. Shotguns are doing very well too, especially the short barrel self defense shotguns. My wife Colleen runs the gun shop and a few times a day she calls over to the machine shop needing some help with wall to wall people. A lot of these people are ladies. Probably 2 or 3 guns out of 5 are being sold to ladies. Colleen has called around to our distributors to see if there are any pistol grip shotguns available and the answer this past week has been no. We keep a few 20 gauge shotguns in stock for the ladies and some 12 gauge shotguns for the macho guys in the family. Shotgun buckshot shells are quickly going out the door too. Even the 16 gauge buckshot shells. And I know some of you new shooters are thinking “what is a 16 gauge”? That is a shotgun shell about halfway between a 20 gauge and the 12 gauge. A lot of older geezers love the 16 gauge. It just hasn’t been in vogue for several years. And I say “geezers” with a smile on my face.
Unfortunately, like most gun shops that have ammo in stock, we are having to limit it to either 1 or 2 boxes per person. This at least gives everyone a chance to get some ammo. And it is not just the ammo people are grabbing up. One fellow pulled every Mag Pul P-Mag off the shelf and dropped them on the showcase. Colleen is not quite as humble and gentlemanly as I am and she politely asked him what in hell was he doing. We have a sign over the magazine rack saying one magazine per caliber as they too are getting scarce, and this yoyo had about 40 of them he wanted. He left in a huff, or maybe it was a Prius….same thing. Another fired shotshell sniffer gathered up about 50 boxes of 223 and was going to buy all we had. Again he was politely told not only no but hell no.
Now the focus has been reloading supplies with some trying to buy all we have in primers and powder. Again we are having to put a limit on how many primers they can buy at one time. One fellow was told that and he got all pissy and said “I sure will never shop here again!!”. I told him I appreciate that. He left, probably in a Prius too.
A few years back we went thru a severe 22 LR ammo shortage with a brick of 22 LR ammo going for $65 to $75 when it normally ran around $20 per brick back then. These days the 22 LR is in stock. It is just 223 and 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP that is scarce. We have seen a run on some of the “less than normal” ammo too. Like 44-40, 380, 32 ACP, 32 H&R even 25 auto.
One disappointing thing to crop up due to this virus situation was our Africa hunt has had to be postponed to at the earliest late fall. We were scheduled to go the 3rd week in May and there are 11 of us planning to go. Africa has totally shut down everything. No flights coming in or leaving. Plus most of our airlines have shut down totally. So we all have our deposits and gun permits done and are just waiting to see when all this craziness will end. Even if it drags on thru the fall our deposits are all still good. Good Lord willing we will be going back to Africa, we just don’t know when.
I could go on whining about all these shortages but it isn’t helping either of us, so that’s it for this month. I apologize for not having any good gun news for you but even if I could tell you about a lot of new stuff for this fall’s hunting season, we may not see them until next year. So if you have a chance to do any target shooting this summer, take a youngster or lady shooter with you. They are for sure our future.
Good luck and God bless,