Has the Black Rifle Market Turned White?
Dr. John Woods 04.24.18
Turned white? Yes, sales of black rifles in particular the AR-15 genre’ have paled in comparison to six months before the last presidential election. Nearly every aspect of the gun market is in a downturn right now. There is really no other honest way to assess it. Every category is off.
Gun manufacturers are making adjustments in their production capacities for AR rifles and are actively shifting to other products at least in the short term. The wholesales that filled warehouses with ARs before the election are now actually offering dealers deals, but still the boxes are slow moving. Dealers themselves at the grassroots levels are back to eating bologna after a years of tasting prime rib. Some mom and pops are closing their doors.
With well over 400 makers of AR rifle platforms vying for the shrinking sales, it is a tough market to survive. Naturally, most all of the primo brands of standard ARs are still capturing their fair shares of what sales continue. Smith and Wesson, Ruger, DPMS, Bushmaster, SIG-Sauer, and Windham hold their own. Some other brands may be doing well, too but news of that is scarce.
Top end ARs in the upper crust price ranges of $2000 or more are not busting any sales records. Buyers continue to be strapped tight for money in a national economy that is still flat despite what the politicians say it is. So many sectors are slow right now, businesses continue to close, layoffs are frequent, and consumers are holding firm on spending. This does nothing but continue to hurt the gun market.
Attending a dozen or more gun shows a year, I have seen the crowd traffic dwindle every show since last year. Many dealers have the most table stock I have seen in years especially in terms of AR rifles. They just are not selling right now. Accessories continue to do fairly well, because show attendees just want to be able to buy something. It isn’t AR rifles these days.
Ironically though, now is the time to buy. Prices are moderating as wholesalers try to dump excessive inventory and dealers are getting good buys. Even the big box stores are running specials on ARs nearly every weekend.
Are AR sales done? Hardly. This cycle will work itself out in time. Meanwhile, consumers can enjoy a little break in rifle, ammo, and accessories prices. Take advantage while it lasts.