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Why are gun stores so overpriced?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Alex45ACP, Apr 24, 2005.

  1. Alex45ACP

    Alex45ACP Participating Member

    Apr 21, 2005
    All the gun stores in my area charge way too much. How do these places manage to stay in business when their products are so overpriced?
  2. BryanP

    BryanP Senior Member

    May 25, 2003
    Lavergne, TN
    Overpriced compared to what, exactly?
  3. DontBurnMyFlag

    DontBurnMyFlag Active Member

    Sep 16, 2004
    actually according to the MSRP on websites, gun stores are nicely priced. however, when compared to gunbroker, and gunsamerica and gun shows well yea gun stores are overpriced. it just depends what you compare it to.

    example MSRP of beretta storm is 800+ on the website
    at a gun show it was 500 brand new
    on gunbroker 480
    at my gunshop 600
  4. albanian

    albanian member

    Nov 27, 2003
    I think I know what you mean. Internet is always going to much lower than a brick and motar store and sometimes gunshows have better prices than local stores. I have found that some stores are basically good places to spend my money and others are basically rip off joints. Even the good stores will sometimes have outrageous prices on certain items.

    I have a local favorite that sells used handguns (which is my personal cup of tea) for very good prices. They charge insane prices for some other things like ammo and holsters. They have good prices on used shotgun bbls and new stocks and grips so as long as you know what they are charging way too much for, you can still shop there and be happy. If they only charged a little too much for the ammo, I would buy it there but the prices they ask, it is cheaper by far to just order from Natchez and pay shipping. I mean it is like half the cost.

    There is one gunstore that everthing they sell is as MSRP or above. It is the largest store in town so they must be selling to someone but I don't buy from them anymore. Every once in a while I will see something there that I want and I buy it but later I found I got ripped off. It sucks because it is the closest store and the biggest so I like to stop by once in a while at least just to look.
  5. MikeIsaj

    MikeIsaj Active Member

    Mar 8, 2005
    North of the City of Brotherly Love, West of The P
    I'm going to assume you mean compared to gun shows or the big box, mega we don't care about you beyond your wallet chain stores.

    A gun shop is by nature a small business specialty shop. As such they cannot begin to compete with the big stores in purchasing power or overhead costs. There is an economy that dictates when you by ten thousand of something, you get a better price than when you buy 200 of something. If you get it cheaper, you can sell it cheaper. Then there's insurance and other overhead costs that also get cheaper when you do things on a large scale. Most utilities provide electrical service at a different rate to a large building than they will to a small store or to a residence. They do this because they can provide a different product that is cheaper for them to produce and distribute to a large building.

    Remember when comparing prices at different stores, also compare the service. I buy weapons exclusively at gun shops. I do this because the extra money paid is worth the extra service and general expertise found at the small business. As I've said before, I consider the extra dollar or two I pay for ammo at my local gun shop a fair trade for all the free advice I get.
  6. Werewolf

    Werewolf Senior Member

    Sep 12, 2003
    Guess it depends on where you live. With one exception all the gunstores in OKC have prices that run 70 to 75 percent of MSRP and that beats online site prices (especially after you add transfer fees and shipping) by a huge margin.

    Gunstore prices here aren't overpriced and from what I've seen gunstore prices in Dallas are even cheaper than here in OKC.
  7. mustanger98

    mustanger98 Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Union County, GA, CSA
    The gun shop I deal with now prices their guns $15 over wholesale. If they special order one, and they have more me three times in the last year and a half, they go wholesale + $15 + $12shipping + sales tax. And it's cheaper than that caveat emptorium I quit going to three years ago.
  8. Zach S

    Zach S Mentor

    Jun 30, 2003
    Western NC/East TN
    I think the one I frequent is 10% over cost, minus shipping. Pricing is decent IMO, pretty darn good compared to one pawn shop in particular that had a beat up G36 tagged for $600...

    IME most of the guys that ask too much are open to haggling (me for example - well, not for guns, I dont sell them), and guys with competitive prices are pretty firm. Of course, there always exceptions.
  9. redneck2

    redneck2 Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    Standard reply...

    if you think it's so profitable, start your own shop and you too can make the BIG MONEY...yes, you can

    hire employees
    pay wages
    pay property taxes
    pay sales taxes
    pay employee (FICA) taxes
    pay liability insurance
    pay utilities
    pay mortgage payments

    and best of all, have $500,000 tied up in inventory...

    then have customers come in, handle a new $2,000 Browning shotgun and whack it against the counter and gouge the stock...so that the next customer can work you over on the price

    or special order stuff that customers never pick up

    or stock stuff that costs you more than Wal-Mart sells it for. Neat thing is, the customers buy stuff at Wally World because you're the "rip off artist", then expect you to fix it because the guy behind the counter at Wal-Mart worked in the housewares section last week and lawn & garden the week before

    or have shoplifters come in and steal you blind because you're rich (after all, you own a store)

    and you get to do all this while only working 80 hours a week

    the real answer is that Wal-Mart sells cheap by short-changing their suppliers. Sell to Wal-Mart and you might get paid...partially..after 90-120 days. Oh, not getting paid??? Take them to court...yeah Why do you think you almost never find the same thing in Wal-Mart twice in a row???

    Go to Wal-Mart and look at the nice Colt and Kimber pistols...oh wait, they don't have any. Well, at least you can look thru the used guns...oh wait, they don't take trades. Well, just look at the Leupold scopes. Oops, none of those. Try to get your new rifle bore sighted. The clerk will just look at you like you've got two heads.

    Dude..Wal-Mart sells junk to hillbillies.
  10. Majic

    Majic Mentor

    May 3, 2003
    What do you think they should be charging and why?
  11. lee n. field

    lee n. field Senior Member

    Dec 29, 2002
    Cost of doing business. Out of gross profit the gun dealer needs to pay for his building, insurance, employees' pay and expenses, advertising, etc.
  12. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears

    Fellow walks into a Auto Parts Store. "How much for a carburetor" he asks the Parts fella .


    "Fifteen bucks!, Well the Parts Store down the way says they only charge $12".

    Go buy it from the other Parts Store

    "They are out".

    Yeah well - I quote $12 when I am out also...
  13. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Home of Heroes, Pueblo, CO, USA
    Just an example...

    MSRP on a Henry Golden Boy is $409 (IIRC)

    Dead dealer's cost with shipping to Colorado: $300.

    Gun store price: $359.

    To me, a 20% markup is way too low. I don't know how they do it.

    Actually, I do. Gun stores make their money on accessories and ammo, not guns.
  14. marshall3

    marshall3 Member

    Dec 9, 2004
    Signal Mountain, TN
    It's our duty to buy at the local gun shop...

    Don't buy ammo or anything at WalMart etc. Support your local gun shop. They aren't getting rich, and we need these guys!
    PS: I don't have a shop, neither do my relatives! :)
  15. redneck2

    redneck2 Mentor

    Dec 25, 2002
    Northern Indiana
    Perhaps my above rant seems excessive. I worked in a gun shop part-time a few years ago

    If you'd give me that shop with the stipulation I had to work it like (as hard as) the current owner for the next 10 years, I wouldn't take it for free
  16. Edmond

    Edmond Participating Member

    May 12, 2004
    Wish You Were Here
    In my Chicagoland area, the gun shops are at least 25% of what the online places sell for. Their accessories are also expensive as well. I called to ask about some nite sites for a P229 and this one place wanted $120 + an installation fee!

    I find the sites online for $65. Who do I buy from?

    I found an FFL who does transfers for $20.

    Even asking the local shops to do a transfer will get you nowhere. Some shops want $50 or 20%, whichever is greater and others want to charge you sales tax.
  17. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Terlingua, TX; Thomasville,GA
    The owner of a small gun store might well be married and have a couple of kids. The Gummint says he's in poverty if his gross income is less than (roughly) $25K a year.

    That's $25K net/net/net after all store overhead. Near-poverty.

    Say he has an inventory that's cost him a half-mil to build up. That's not all that hard to do if you've been in the business for any length of time.

    At least one clerk: $20K or more. Rent, $12K or more. Utilities, $5,000 a year, maybe. Phones/computer/FAX costs. Accountant. Insurance? Aside from liability, at least $1,000/yr premium. Liability? Maybe another $1,000? And, possibly, the cost of a line of credit for operating capital from his friendly banker.

    So he absolutely must make an average of somewhere around 25% on the overall sales, minimum, just to keep the doors open and eat better than poverty level.

    And that's just a quickie rundown of numbers I've seen for various small businesses; I don't even pretend it's exact.

    Could be worse. He might have gone into the jewelry bidness.

    :), Art
  18. Kamicosmos

    Kamicosmos Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Kansas City, Missouri
    I trend I have noticed at the shops in my area is that everything is tagged with full retail price.

    You have to haggle, which I hate doing. But, I assume that they make some easy sales where someone comes in and just pays the full tag price.

    Also, the big stores (Cabela's specifically) has everything tagged at full retail, and they WILL NOT come down at all.

    I try to buy from my local guys whenever I can. It's hard with cabela's having everything under the sun, especially reloading stuff, but I do give my guys a chance.
  19. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Senior Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    A lot of people believe that if a dealer (no matter what kind) sells a gun for say $800.00, that's what he gets too keep, and he's made a lot of easy money. Not too many working guys take home $$$ like that, or so they think ...

    But that money doesn't all go into the dealer's pocket. He had to buy the gun in the first place, and depending on where he is and what the competition is he can expect to make anywhere from 10% ($80.00) to 30% ($240.00). Now this may look like big money to a working stiff, but he forgets that isn't all money in the dealer's pocket. He still has to pay for all of the costs of doing business (called "overhead") so he'll be lucky to take home maybe 1/4 of the total profit ($20.00 to $60.00) from that $800.00 sale - and it's unlikely he makes very many of those in a given day.

    So there isn't a whole lot left to support himself and his family. That's why in some areas it's getting harder and harder to find a local dealer, and as competition goes the prices at the remaining shops usually goes up.
  20. MikeB

    MikeB Member

    Dec 30, 2003
    Northeast PA
    I never won the lottery, but I guess all my luck went into having really good gunshops around. I can very rarely find a better deal online or anywhere else than I can at two or three different local FFL's. I don't recall ever paying anything close to a MSRP; of course I do buy a lot of those fired once handcannons. I also usually check pricing on gunbroker, gunsamerica and the like for anything I'm interested in and invariably the local FFL's have a better deal.

    Of course I suppose buying a lot of guns from them helps a bit with the pricing too.

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