Why, you go to the Greensboro Gun Show, of course.
Not surprisingly, with no major sports events on the idiot box (sorry NFL, nobody cares about you or the Pro Bowl these days), the Sunday edition of the show was quite well attended. As per the New Usual, attendance by women, blacks, Hispanics and any other minority you’d care to mention was obvious and welcome–the more broad-based the interest in and support of gun rights, the harder it’s going to be for the Other Side to try and take them away when Our Side isn’t in power.
I also made my first sighting of a new species-a Hipster. Yes, in all his plaid-wearing and bearded hipness, an honest-to-God Hipster. Cool. We’re really going mainstream in a big way.
For me, this was the first show in something over a year, so it was an opportunity to check prices and see what was for sale and for how much. Besides, my old friend Steve-o-rini from a former employer wanted to go, and it’s always more fun when you have company. Son wanted to go, but a bout of Nasty Gastro Bug #482 kept him chained in his new digs. (He’s feeling much better today, thanks for asking.)
So, what did I see? Ammo. Plenty of ammo, all popular calibers and in abundance, by the box or the case. Prices, however, are still above pre-Obama levels and I suspect will never return to Good Old Days pricing. Inflation in the cost of raw materials and a larger pool of shooters are seeing to that. I priced .308 and nearly had a stroke. The days of buying a 900 round case of South African surplus for $190 are long gone, let me tell you.
ARs. Boy did we see ARs. Bargain basement ARs at $369 plus tax, although they had no sights. Still, they were of reasonable quality–they’d make a great first AR for someone who didn’t have one, or AR for someone on a tight budget or perhaps a spare. Better quality guns, such as Ruger, Stag Arms or Springfield, could be had for $500-$750. These were guns that were bringing $800-$1000 a year ago. If you wanted top shelf stuff, how about a Daniel Defense for $1300? If you were interested in an AR10, I saw several DPMS guns for $800. Yeah, ARs are available at fire sale prices at all levels of quality. Get yours now while the bargains are available.
Pistols. Lots of pistols except the one I wanted, of course. I had saved my pennies to replace my original Ruger LCP with its Crimson Trace red laser with the new LCP II with a green Crimson Trace laser. There was not a one to be found. However, there were plenty of everything else. Prices were about where they were a year ago, which I take as indicating that the market is still good in this area.
Hunting guns, both rifle and shotgun. There were plenty of both and with the new manufacturing techniques, you can have high performance guns at what are realistically bargain basement prices compared to decades past.
Collector-type guns. There were quite a few. Prices varied, but I didn’t see any bargains. Given it was Sunday, that’s not a surprise. I also didn’t see any being sold.
Buyers. I saw far fewer buyers than I expected. Of course, sales are way down now that the Gun Salesman of the Decade is out of office. This is probably not a wise move if you still need to fill in holes in your armory or your collection, but it’s understandable. I only saw one AR sold along with a few pistols. Dealers that I know normally do a great business at this show were standing around. Of course, it is January. Christmas spending was up and people have bills to pay, so perhaps that is part of the reason sales appeared to be slow.
Private sellers. Boy, did I see a lot of them. It almost looked like 2008-9, when people were selling whatever they could to have some cash. I saw one guy selling Lugars. Man, if I had had money like I used to, I probably could have picked up a bargain or two there. Plenty of other guys with ARs (felt sorry for them), various hunting guns and handguns. I didn’t see many of those change hands. I had thought about taking one of mine to see if I could start downsizing my accumulation, and I’m glad now that I didn’t. The asking prices for used guns that went begging tell me I may need to sit on mine for a while until the market comes back.
As always, everyone was polite and well mannered. I only saw one dealer who was being a jackass, and that was because he was being undersold by pretty much everyone else at the show. Dude, where I come from that’s called a clue, but I guess you’re from somewhere else.
So that’s the report of the last Greensboro show for the season. Next one is in August. That gives me time to save more pennies. 🙂