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Surviving 2020 – Panic Buying and the State of the Firearms Industry

September 17, 2020

The firearms industry has gone through some “adjustments” in recent months. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic started a wave of panic buying that many firearms retailers, distributors and manufacturers are still feeling. More recently, civil unrest and racial tensions have caused even more citizens to purchase. Guns and ammo are in very high demand, so much so that they are becoming less and less available.

Prepare For More Panic Buying.

Firearms retailers AND consumers need to make preparations. Millions of existing law-abiding gun owners and first-time buyers are purchasing or trying to. Due to the massive increase in demand nationwide, here are some considerations to help you through this period.

Understanding the Supply Chain

Retailers understand the supply chain in our industry, but the consumer may not. Since this wave of panic buying began, many consumers are questioning product availability, wait time to receive, etc.

Firearms and ammo are produced by a manufacturer, then shipped to a distributor or retail location for sale. Because of today’s high demand, some manufacturers are struggling to keep up with it. Additionally, firearms distributors are experiencing backlogs on orders from retailers, which forces the consumer into an extended wait time for product availability. Unfortunately, these issues cannot be helped. The best thing we can do is to educate consumers on the state of the industry, product shortages and additional wait times.

Consumers, plan ahead. If you are having trouble finding the products you want to purchase, understand that supply may be delayed or unavailable. Manufacturers and distributors are working as fast as they can to get the supply chain caught up.

The Proactive Consumer

We now know why product availability can be scarce during a period of panic buying. Manufacturers and distributors ship products to your favorite retail stores WHEN they can, as quickly as possible. But what can you do if you still can’t find what you’re looking for?

  • Stop asking “When will my product be available?”. The retailer just may not know.
  • DO ask your favorite (Gearfire) retailer if you can be put on a waiting list. They may want to notify you when your product is in stock.
  • Keep an eye on what is available. In-store or online, it is the responsibility of the consumer to check often. High demand products will sell out quickly.

Panic Buying Product Demand

Not surprisingly, the massive increase in demand for firearms and ammunition is focused and specific. Defensive handguns, AR-type or black rifles, and pump shotguns are experiencing the most sales and demand currently. That being said, feedback from FFL retailers indicates that panic buyers may not be firearms experts, and often are “settling” for product that is available now.

Don’t have what your customer is looking for? Can’t get it from your suppliers? Offer up an alternative that is available. These consumers are often not as concerned about the price tag, and are now considering (and buying) options at a higher price point.

Panic Buying to Affect 2020 Hunting Season

The increase in demand for firearms and ammunition will impact the 2020 Hunting Season. Manufacturing resources are currently focused on meeting the demand for today’s high-volume products. It is best for the FFL retailer and consumer to start getting ready.

  • Today’s panic buying obviously affects firearms and ammunition manufacturing priority.
  • Production of products used for hunting is slowing to meet the demands for today. Examine your inventory now and prepare for the future.
  • If production of today’s high demand items continues at this pace, low-volume hunting ammo won’t be a priority for manufacturers to reproduce. Consumers should start looking for ammo now. After all, ammunition sells faster than firearms.

2020 has been an unprecedented year, and we’re only halfway through it. Though the firearms industry has been impacted greatly, most of the problems we face are good ones to have. Consumers are focused on personal protection more than ever. If we can help them understand how our industry fulfills their needs and educate “first timers” on the importance of firearm safety, we can get through this time of panic buying with ease. If nothing else, millions of responsibly armed (or soon to be) citizens are now potentially customers for life.

Certain facts and figures provided by Guns & Ammo.

Originally published on June 12th, 2020.