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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Guns Sales Ease Back to Normal Levels?

Michael Bane posted this yesterday;

More and more I'm hearing that not only is the run on ARs over, the pipeline is starting to backup with unsold black rifles. This from our DRTV Forums. To be sure, AR variants are now available over the counter in many gun stores and some on-line outlets.

May background checks were up 15.4%. The May increase followed a 30.3 percent increase in April, a 29.2 percent gain in March and rises of 23 percent in February, 28 percent in January, 24 percent in December and 42 percent in November when a record 1,529,635 background checks were performed. We don't have June numbers yet but it is possible they are more in line with May numbers. There was some question as to whether the May number was because sales were cooling or if it was due to the lack of stock in stores resulting in a lower number of sales.

What goes up eventually has to come down and this was bound to happen at some point. The benefit may be that prices will also come back to earth and those who waited to make that next purchase will see a dividend for their patience.

If sales are declining to a more realistic number, it remains to be seen what if any impact this will have on manufacturers and the industry as a whole. The firearms industry was the only one that was weathering the recession (though some sectors of the industry were clearly hurting). Last month we saw one casualty in the family - Knight Rifles - a manufacturer of in-line muzzleloading rifles. The hunting end of the firearms industry was not seeing the massive sales increases that tactical rifles and some handgun models experienced. I can't speak for all hunters but I have two firearms I use for deer season - a muzzleloader and a .30-30.

I haven't purchased a new deer hunting firearm in four years. A lot of other hunters may be like me. Add that to the declining number of hunters and it is not a good recipe for continued growth. Some manufacturers, like Remington and Smith and Wesson, have diversified their lines by purchasing other manufacturers but Knight was known for in-line blackpowder rifles and while some people may upgrade to the next new model, many don't, which is why we need to constantly introduce new people to the shooting sports and especially hunting or we will see a lot more "Knights" in the future.

Hat tip to Michael Bane and Sebastian.

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