Sunday, July 19, 2020

A Different Flavor of Panic

The firearms industry is currently in the throes of a second wave of panic buying. The first was kicked off by the early days of the 'Rona, when people decided that an extra AR15 and a case or three of ammo was necessary to defend their stash of hand sanitizer and toilet paper.

The second wave was kicked off during the protests and riots following the killing of George Floyd. It still seems to be going strong and at this point it's highly unlikely that supplies will return to anything like normal before it's time for the Great American Quadrennial Election Year Gun-Buying Freakout.

This current panic has a different flavor to it than most, though. Available evidence shows that there are a large number of first-time buyers looking for something to defend home and hearth, rather than existing gun hobbyists adding a twelfth or thirteenth AR15 to an existing collection.

Exhibit A would be that, while budget AR15's have disappeared from dealer shelves, there's no real shortage of lowers, lower receiver parts kits, or completed uppers at most of the vendors I've checked. You may not be able to buy a Ruger AR-556 or Smith M&P15 at your local gun store right now, but you can go to Palmetto State Armory or CDNN and buy the parts to build all the ARs you want.

That was not the case during the '08 or '13 panics, where stripped lowers were rationed and you couldn't find a LRPK or BCG for love nor money.

What this tells me is that the current wave of buyers is not largely made up of hobbyists fearing bans, but non-gun-owners wanting to buy a firearm for home defense. Those people don't know about buying a Poverty Pony lower from CDNN and a blem upper from PSA and rolling their own; they just know about going to the gun store and buying a gun.

The other signal is that the quintessential American Normie Home Defense Long Gun, the 12 gauge pump action, is selling like hotcakes and sometimes at crazy prices...

If you're looking at those prices and thinking "Hey, I've got that old Fuddblaster 28" Wingmaster I bought when I thought I might take up bird hunting. I should put a shorter barrel on that thing and Gunbroker it!" then I've got bad news for you, because it looks like you weren't the only person with that idea...

This reminds me that I need to change the batteries in the light on my own 870...