Bobby Harris of Harris Tactical recently shared some of the information that he gathered during the 2013 SHOT Show. I found a lot of it to be invaluable.
Here is what he shared:
The Scoop from the SHOT Show ’13 in Las Vegas, from a personal perspective.
Magazines: Some Companies have re-tooled, stopped the production of other products to meet the demand and focus on Black magazines (not tans or greens). Other colors have been put on the back burner. The demand is extremely higher than the quantity that can be produced right now but some are cranking them out in 3 shifts and some are cautiously molding and developing parts from raw material. Why are some cautiously producing parts from the raw goods (polymer, springs and 30-round bodies)? If a ban on the higher capacity magazines is implemented within a short timeframe, a Company could be stuck with springs and bodies for 30-rounders that they cannot sell. Millions of dollars could go to waste and risk shutting that Company down. With that said, they are being produced but the threat of a ban looms a black cloud overhead.
Black Rifles, Uppers and AR Parts: While some are focused on pounding out as many complete rifles and lowers as they can, some are only taking orders for uppers. If a ban comes down similar to 1994, the “pre-bans” may be grandfathered in. What no one knows, is the extent of this new bill and if it will look similar. Will there be a grandfather clause? No one knows. I can state that some Companies are not even taking orders for complete rifles but some are. The other issue is the availability of parts (i.e. lower parts kits, Bolts and Bolt Carrier Groups (scarce, buffer tubes, barrels etc.) With Companies that are focused on filling P.O.s with complete rifles, you may find it harder to get uppers and individual parts. Backorders range from 60 days to 270 days with some not taking new orders until filled or what may become of the proposed legislation. Pricing has increased for dealers in conjunction with MSRP with some manufacturers up to 10-20%. Distributors are another story and even more so with some retailers.
Ammunition: Supply and demand are not even close. The demand for “popular calibers” of ammunition are overwhelming Manufacturers, Re-Manufacturers, Distributors and Dealers. Brass is scarce and cost has risen with the demand. I spoke with several large Companies and they have record requests for the amount of ammunition on order. The Manufacturers are sending out pallets and truckloads to Distributors as it becomes available. Those same Distributors have every dealer and new dealers requesting larger than normal shipments of ammo. Most Distributors do not have a stock status as inventory is already “allocated” to their pre-orders. Ammunition arrives on docks and is not put into inventory. P.O.s are filled from there and on it’s way back out. That’s not including Government and LE Orders.
Pricing: As far as I know, Manufacturers are not charging more for Magazines. That change could take place at the Distributor and Dealer level based on demand, threats of a ban, limited supply and greed. Uppers and parts are beginning to increase in price but nothing substantial. The wild inflation is taking place on gun auction sites like Gunbroker, with buyers getting into bidding wars over fears of higher prices later and the possibility of not being able to purchase ever again.
When will this let up? No one at the show knew and everything is in the air right now. With that said, please be respectful of manufacturers and dealers who have items on order with quoted or guesstimated ETAs. Some have shut down their phones and cannot respond to all of their emails right now. The amount of emails and phone calls coming in are overwhelming and in the hundreds per day. It is not a good thing, believe me. If a Company is taking no charge pre-orders, please do not continuously request status updates. You can keep your order and hope it is filled within a reasonable timeframe. If not, cancel and find it elsewhere. Some sites may or may not have updated ETAs and status updates listed on them. Some have shut their phones off. If you are paying old retail, that is a great manufacturer or dealer. Do not bust their balls as they are trying to take care of everyone in the manner their order was received. Status updates will only paralyze the staff on the orders that need to be processed and packed. If you do not hear back, they are not ignoring you. There just isn’t enough time in the day to answer the mass of emails. Thank you for listening. BH