AR Brand(s) to stock


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Mamertine
February 5, 2012, 11:07 AM
I was talking yesterday with a relative who has a FFL who is looking to carry an AR or 2 in stock. He sells mostly at gun shows. He mentioned that he has a Bushmaster that brings people to his table then they leave when they see it's a Bushmaster. He had a similar problem with a DPMS. Is there a brand that everyone finds acceptable? Or has the AR market become fragmented by brand loyalty?
I suggested a Smith & Wesson, mostly because if I had the cash it's what I would be buying.

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68wj
February 5, 2012, 11:42 AM
It seems pretty broken by loyalties now, but not everyone. The S&W seems a good idea, as well as Daniel Defense. Windham Weaponry is trying to catch on and had an underdog mystique.

Ramone
February 5, 2012, 11:48 AM
Lately I am hearing more good than bad about STAG arms.

just about any brand is going to start a debate, with people chiming in the it's THE GREATEST EVER! followed by someone declaring that if they owned one and a baseball bat, they'd use the bat for Home defense and the rifle to play baseball.

But like I say, I am seeing lots of very happy Stag owners lately. they have a nice broad range of models, as well.

LiquidTension
February 5, 2012, 11:57 AM
I would take a closer look at Smith, Bravo Company, Daniel Defense, Spikes Tactical, Colt, and PSA. I would walk away from Bushmaster and DPMS just like his other customers.

Birddog1911
February 5, 2012, 12:34 PM
Well, looks like LT said just what I was going to say. Just a guess, but I bet that PSA would be happy to have a retailer carrying their stuff.

Welding Rod
February 5, 2012, 12:59 PM
Colt.

Most of the guys that are going to want a boutique gun are probably not going to be buying at a gun show. Most of those at a gun show probably never heard of the boutique brands and will be suspicious of their quality.

Smith might be a good bet too due to name recognition by the masses.

kfgk14
February 5, 2012, 01:44 PM
LT said it best. Just look around at what prices are reasonable to demand for those rifles. He may also want to make a connection with Noveske and Knight's armament, depending on how large of a military/high-end competition/serious AR fanatic base he has. LaRue Tactical is another high-end, ultra-accurate brand to potentially explore.

I personally feel that before he gets into AR sales, he needs to really master the platform himself. He ought be able to maintain whatever he sells, so he should study up on how to put together an AR-15, learn about all the different manufacturers of AR components and accessories, and study up on what it means to be a mil-spec AR-15. Tell him to join m4carbine.net and look around there for a while. They'll fill him in.

shootniron
February 5, 2012, 02:04 PM
I think that he needs to stock based on the demographic of his clientele. He will probably be like my local shops and sell many more of the less expensive brands than he will of the higher end brands. For the average fairly active AR guy, $750.00 bucks will buy a very dependable gun. I hear all of this talk about having to have X brand for it to be durable...I am not too impressed with this advice. My friends and I have never had more than about $800.00 invested in an AR (and that includes a fairly large group of rifles) and we have found them to be very reliable. While we do not shoot the fabled "carbine classes", it is not at all unusual for us to run 500rds through one on a range trip with no issues at all. Anyway, just my opinion and hope he puts a lot of them in the community...I always like to see a local dealer do well.JMO

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2012, 02:25 PM
I would choose S&W at the lower to middle end, Spike's Tactical middle range, and Daniel Defense, LMT and Colt for premium ARs.

Aiko492
February 5, 2012, 03:03 PM
I would choose S&W at the lower to middle end, Spike's Tactical middle range, and Daniel Defense, LMT and Colt for premium ARs.

I would agree, and add Bravo Company for the nicer line along with Daniel Defense, LMT and Colt. Others have mentioned Palmetto, while they make nice things for the money-they have had increased issues with customer service.

MachIVshooter
February 5, 2012, 03:10 PM
I would walk away from Bushmaster and DPMS just like his other customers.

Me too.

If I were him, I'd probably stock an M&P sport for the "budget minded" customers, and then one of the nicer S&W models, a Stag, a Colt, an Armalite, etc.

IMO, unless he is going to get well-versed in the AR world to where he can explain the differences/similarities/manufacturing processes/parts compatibility, etc., he should probably not stock the less-known names, especially those with higher price tags than Colt and Armalite. The average buyer has probably not heard of these smaller companies, and that unfamiliarity will overshadow the quality/value he would be getting with something like a PSA rifle.

gotboostvr
February 5, 2012, 04:47 PM
Hard to argue with S&W and Colt, everyone and their mother knows who they are and no one has anything bad to say about them. those plus whatever his backstock and what he takes in trade may give him a decent inventory.

ol' scratch
February 5, 2012, 04:56 PM
Colt.

Most of the guys that are going to want a boutique gun are probably not going to be buying at a gun show. Most of those at a gun show probably never heard of the boutique brands and will be suspicious of their quality.

Smith might be a good bet too due to name recognition by the masses.
I would add Armalite to that list of brand recognition. They do make a good rifle too. You might try Remington, as everyone knows who they are.

mtrmn
February 5, 2012, 05:52 PM
If you take a closer look at Windham Weaponry you'll find they are the OLD Bushmaster. The original owner hired back a lot of the old hands and re-opened the old BM factory under the Windham name. They are where BM got its' original good reputation, not the new bad rep the new owners have.

Ludasmith
February 5, 2012, 06:07 PM
Colt with a decent price. A lot of people assume Colt = big money in comparison. They can be competitive if he allows it. And no one will ever say the Colt is a POS.

needmorecowbell
February 5, 2012, 06:10 PM
I agree with Z-Michigan and Aiko492.

Devonai
February 5, 2012, 06:10 PM
I lived in Maine for seven years and went to high school while there, and I own a trouble-free Windham Weaponry carbine, so I have to stick up for them.

RetroMan
February 5, 2012, 06:31 PM
Daniel Defense <---Now that's some good Kool-Aid right there.

Z-Michigan
February 5, 2012, 08:02 PM
BCM is great stuff but most of their sales are direct. The only dealer I've seen carrying them is G&R Tactical, which is small and I believe personal friends with BCM's owner. If you can get BCM great, but I don't think you can realistically get it as a dealer.

Armalite is quite good but not a standout. Depends if you want 2-3 brands or 8+.

Palmetto State Armory I think is only selling direct, not to dealers. And I'm one of the people who has had serious problems with their products (defective parts) and service. I wouldn't jump on that wagon. Spike's Tactical is in the same ballpark for price, claimed specs, and market appeal, but at this point is much more proven - and they mostly sell through dealers.

MachIVshooter
February 5, 2012, 08:12 PM
Armalite is quite good but not a standout

I beg to differ. After all, AR stands for ARmalite. Anyone who knows anything about AR's knows that name, even if they don't know that the current Armalite, Inc. is not the same company Stoner started over 50 years ago.

At $900 and up, they do fall kinda in the middle price-wise, though, so not going to attract budget buyers any more than a Colt will.

Like I said, I think he should stock a budget model in the form of the M&P sport, and then some mid-price ($1,000-ish) models from Colt, Armalite and others.

Unless he can afford it comfortably, I would steer clear of the high-end stuff, though, for the reasons Welding Rod mentioned. $1,500+ ARs tend to sit on shelves for a long time.

HKGuns
February 5, 2012, 10:30 PM
I'd recommend he carry Colt - S&W - Armalite, all of the other stuff mentioned is built to order using components sourced from around the country. Heck, he could even start his own brand to compete with all the other companies now building AR's with their names on the lowers. It wouldn't cost a lot to have his name etched on some lowers.

Mamertine
February 5, 2012, 11:41 PM
just about any brand is going to start a debate, with people chiming in the it's THE GREATEST EVER! followed by someone declaring that if they owned one and a baseball bat, they'd use the bat for Home defense and the rifle to play baseball.

This is what I was expecting when I started the thread, thanks to everyone for avoiding this track.
Also Ramone, I own a Stag and it's a nice gun, but I don't hear much about them so I figured they didn't have much name recognition.

Also Colt has come up a lot, for some reason I was thinking that everyone hated them because they sell primarily to the military/LE and poor customer service for civilians. Or am I just misinformed?

Fishbed77
February 5, 2012, 11:46 PM
I would take a closer look at Smith, Bravo Company, Daniel Defense, Spikes Tactical, Colt, and PSA. I would walk away from Bushmaster and DPMS just like his other customers.

What he said. ^
These manufacturers represent some of the best values in the AR world.
Bushmaster and DPMS just aren't at the same level, and are genrally overpriced for what they are.

Z-Michigan
February 6, 2012, 12:21 AM
I'd recommend he carry Colt - S&W - Armalite, all of the other stuff mentioned is built to order using components sourced from around the country.

Actually no, LMT, Daniel Defense and Spike's Tactical all primarily build standard configurations that are then sold to dealers in quantity. And the first two make most of their own parts. I don't think LMT will even do custom orders for an individual end customer.

kfgk14
February 6, 2012, 04:44 PM
It is paramount he learn in detail about the function of the AR, the value of things such as the TDP, mil-spec, HPT, MPI, shot peen, different barrel steels and other materials used, etc. so that he can best maintain the AR platform as well as educate customers on the features of the rifles he sells. He obviously needs to understand basic stuff (free-floated barrels, optics mounting, maintenance, cleaning, etc.). He should try to stock rifles which exemplify various accessories (fore-ends, stocks, grips, lights, optics, etc.) Which brings up another point. He should try to stock these items, or at least be able to order them to his shop and sell them to customers. For instance, he should be able to at very least connect his customers with the various accessory manufacturers in the AR industry, so they can get the products via the internet, if he can't mail order it to his shop or stock it at his shop.

Now, this may all seem a little complicated. But setting up an area of his counter space for this shouldn't be hard. He should get in contact with the manufacturers, get catalogs, and put them out on his counter. Contact the big guys, like Troy Industries, Daniel Defense, LaRue Tactical, Noveske, Colt, Magpul, Surefire, and Midwest Industries. Those companies sell a very wide range of products, and most every half-decent AR out there is wearing components from one, if not many of them. I have Midwest industries, Troy, LaRue, Magpul and Surefire kit on my rifle. he ought to also know how to install whatever he's going to connect the customer with, which means perhaps before he starts selling AR's, he should try building one or two himself. Once he has really studied up on the subject, he should go into business selling AR's.

Also, to those who know one AR brand from the next, and know quality, a big "we sell LaRue Tactical - Daniel Defense - Bravo Company - Colt - Noveske - Knights Armament" sign will bring them in en mass. It is rare for a gun shop to stock these "high end" brands (I don't see how they're high-end, they just make good kit...I digress) and many guys swoon at the opportunity to handle this good kit. If he can sell the guns in question at a reasonable price, word will get out "what AR are you shooting" "Colt, got it for $975 at XYZ's place" "wow no way! Colt's for under a grand? I'm checking that out!" and if he's a good dude behind the counter, he'll have no problem moving serious product. He'll also really create some AR enthusiasts, and as their interest in the higher-end AR brands sparks, he'll be ready to roll them right out the door.

Just my mileage, YMMV. Personally, if a local shop was selling good gear for a good price, did good work, and stocked the components, optics and accessories I was looking for, I'd be broke and buried in AR's.

Jspy
February 7, 2012, 10:52 PM
Can someone explain why the Bushmasters are on the " walk away list ". Does this apply to older models as well. If I recall maybe a few years back that was all we heard about, maybe not top of the line, but not POS.

MachIVshooter
February 7, 2012, 10:55 PM
Can someone explain why the Bushmasters are on the " walk away list ".

Value. There are simply better guns for the same (or less) money. Same goes for DPMS and Olympic. Why Spend $800 on one of these when you can get a S&W M&P Sport that is better built for $650?

kfgk14
February 8, 2012, 05:43 PM
And you can get a PSA for $700. Also, far too many Bushmasters/Oly's/DPMS guns have totally crapped out on folks. They have a reputation for failing.

TexasPatriot.308
February 8, 2012, 05:48 PM
Armalite as in AR and Colt.

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