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Why don't gun companies sell guns on their websites?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by BehindTheIronCurtain, Apr 15, 2012.

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  1. BehindTheIronCurtain

    BehindTheIronCurtain Member

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    Is it a legal thing? It would be awesome to buy a glock direct from glock cut out the middle man and have it delivered to my ffl. Why don't any of them (that I've seen, and I've been to a lot of websites) ever sell wholesale on their own sites?
     
  2. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Member

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    Distributor and dealer network protection.......cut them out and it would be the death of your business.

    As a manufacturer, do you want to sell 500 guns to one distributor or deal with 500 individual customers, sales tax for 50 different states and plus the local laws and regulations?
     
  3. Carl N. Brown

    Carl N. Brown Member

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    Taking orders, shipping guns, is a lot of work for a manufacturer. They would rather ship a truck or train-car load to a wholesale distributor, who then parcels guns out to FFL dealers. The FFL dealers then deal with selling guns to the public (or local police) in accordance with federal, state and local laws on firearms sales.

    For a manufacturer to ship guns directly to local FFLs on individual orders, would require them to have a large staff handling a relatively small part of their production.
     
  4. hardluk1

    hardluk1 member

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    Instead over shipping orders to a limited number of wholesaler companies they should sell to 4 million peoplea year through there local ffl, one at a time. At retail prices!!! . Bet a prices would go up across the industry too. Extra handeling with paperwork. Haveing to be sure ever dealer is how they say they are ever year. I'll buy from a fine LGS at 10% over cost now and he allways has 400 to 500 firearms in stock. So I can touch it before buying it. I would pass on the direct buying.
     
  5. mortablunt

    mortablunt Member

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    It's cheaper on the supply end to distribute to the retailers who deal with the end users. It's also less legally complicated and provides a layer of legal protection. 'we didn't sell him the pistol that exploded and sent the slide into his brain- that bozo from Memphis did.' The biggest benefit is tracking dealers and contacts.
     
  6. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    The answer is "Lee Harvey Oswald."

    Google him and see.
     
  7. wally

    wally Member

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    Probably the same reason GM, Ford, Toyota, etc. don't sell cars to you directly.
     
  8. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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    This....... +1

    The same reason most manufacturers of any retail goods do not sell to end users
     
  9. writerinmo

    writerinmo Member

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    I'm about to shut down my individual sales on some sight tools that I make and only sell through a few commercial buyers that I have for much the same reason. It's a lot easier for my to track sales to five buyers a month rather than 50, cheaper to ship in bulk than singly, and saves me loads of time every day inputting and processing orders and shipments.
     
  10. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I think you missed the point of the question.

    The OP wasn't asking why the FFL dealer system (and the rest of GCA '68) exists -- why we have to have a federally licensed dealer transfer the gun into our state for us. Note, he said, "cut out the middleman and have it delivered to my FFL."

    He's asking why the manufacturer's won't sell the gun to an individual person, for transfer through their local dealer. The large manufacturers only sell guns in large quantities and through a network of distributors who then sell to the dealers. He's asking why that network of middlemen is required.
     
  11. gilfo

    gilfo Member

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    MSRP Wouldn't that come into play somehow?
     
  12. drsfmd

    drsfmd Member

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    Because that leaves no profit for the FFL... you guys complain bitterly about FFL's wanting $25 for a transfer! Do you know how many transfers an FFL has to make a $25 each to make a living? After taxes, heat and lights, insurance, etc. an FFL working all alone would need to do 4,000 transfers a year (that's about 11 guns a day, every day, 365 days a year) to GROSS $100,000... add an actual bricks and mortar store selling ammo and accessories and an employee or two and that that's not even close to enough to keep the doors open.

    If your idea were to come to fruition, it would put most gun shops out of business as they simply couldn't turn a profit.

    When you read the "what do you want in a gunshop" thread, it's clear that you guys want the world and don't want to pay for it. It's also clear that virtually none of you have ever run a business or made a payroll.
     
  13. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    Selling direct to the end owner is suicide for the manufacturer.

    Think about it for a bit.

    I was going to post a long educational rant, but I'll just leave it at that. Suffice to say, I've been in retail long enough to know that bypassing your customer in hopes of getting his customer is just a plain bad idea.
     
  14. Jorg Nysgerrig

    Jorg Nysgerrig Member

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    It's all about the channel. The FFL requirement limits the channel options greatly, but there's certainly more to it than that.
     
  15. crazy-mp

    crazy-mp Member

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    In the suppressor world many of the manufacturers will sell directly to the public, you pay full MSRP and shipping, if you go to your local dealer they can beat MSRP, but some choose not too. Same reason as posted above they would rather sell one distributor 500 suppressors than sell 2 to this dealer 3 to another and 1 here.
     
  16. mnrivrat

    mnrivrat Member

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    My first thoughts follow along the same lines as what has been said here, however the future is loaded with changes and different circumstance.

    Gun sales via internet for example is relatively new, and continues to grow rapidly. I would not completely rule out changes in how items (including guns) are marketed in the future. That includes factory direct sales as being possible in my opinion.

    One thing for sure seems to stand out in marketing today - small operations are disappearing.
     
  17. shuvelrider

    shuvelrider Member

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    I'd rather keep my LGS going as a sales outlet for a variety of guns, not to mention the trade ins that I can get a good deal on. Those old gems do show up, so I like to have the LGS around for a source.
     
  18. RCArms.com

    RCArms.com Member

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    Because without that network of middlemen, you would not be able to take legal possession of your factory ordered firearm.

    They exist as long as their business remains profitable. If the profit shrinks, their days in business are limited.
     
  19. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Arrgh. The OP acknoledged that in his post: "for delivery to my FFL."

    There is no legal requirement to have the manufacturer sell only to a distributor who then sells to the dealers, or even for the manufacturer to sell the gun to a dealer at all. Only that the transfer be handled by an FFL dealer.

    I think the question has been answered very clearly now, but it ISN'T because the law forces it to be that way. The law does not.
     
  20. RCArms.com

    RCArms.com Member

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    The assumption is that "for delivery to my FFL" remains a viable option.

    We all know that there is no legal requirement for the manufacturer to sell exclusively to distributors, but they all choose to have that type of distribution system with different pricing tiers for purchase volume. They have been operating like this for years and I don't see it likely to change anytime in the near future.

    If the day comes when the manufactuers move from a distributor basis to a retail direct sales model, it will present the question of what to do when your vendor becomes your competetior. That will open up a whole different set of issues that are not explored on this thread.
     
  21. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    Exactly.

    It has happened over the years in my industry (awards) and always with a bad outcome for the manufacturer. The gun distributors would likely (and with good reason) boycott the manufacturers who are competing with them.

    I've seen it happen several times over the years. Sure, the manufacturers would like to get retail prices for their products, but they would be giving up their main customers, the distributors.
     
  22. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Do you feel that's a realistic possibility or strategy? Just saying (and I agree it is unlikely for the near future) Glock, Ruger, S&W, Colt, Remington, Mossberg, or another big-name manufacturer decided to go to retail sales, would the distributors stand a chance of improving their situation by boycotting that manufacturer?

    It's not like there are hundreds of arms manufacturers and/or that all of them are putting out roughly equal products. In the public's eye, guns are the ultimate non-generic item. Brand is everything. If a distributor boycotts them, the dealers (and public) will simply go around him to get the product they want. If the distributor pushes his dealers to boycott as well, the one lonely dealer who refuses to boycott becomes busier than he's ever been before because everyone who wants a Colt, or wants a S&W M&P, or whatever, comes to his door. A Pepsi sure may not be as good as a Coke, but if a Coke's not available, most folks will drink a Pepsi. If someone wants an M&P 9 times out of 10, they will travel a long road to get one -- not settle for the Glock that's sitting on the dealer's shelf.

    If we were talking about ballpoint pens or car tires or even brands of soda I'd say such pressure would be effective. But guns are perceived as far more iconic and unique than that (and than they truly are, to be honest). I'm fairly certain that S&W or some other major entity like that could absolutely dictate terms to their distributors without fear of repercussions.

    To my way of thinking, previous posters are right in that the manufacturers use a distributor network because they WANT to. It outsources a lot of burden and cost in the dealing and distributing of their product.
     
  23. Larry Ashcraft

    Larry Ashcraft Moderator Staff Member

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    True also. Why deal with hundreds of thousands of customers when you can deal with a few dozen and sell the same amount of product.

    The trophy manufacturers who tried to go retail found out that it didn't work, even though their potential markup would be way higher. Not as true for the firearms industry, I suppose, since the markups are relatively small.
     
  24. CharlieDeltaJuliet

    CharlieDeltaJuliet Member

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    I went to visit the Barrett Industries in Murfreesboro,TN. One of the gentlemen that was with my group asked that question and it was a lady name Vicky that answered that, it was mainly liability. They would have to fill out the paperwork and check all of the individuals that purchased one of their weapons. They said it would require a larger staff dedicated to public sales. I guess it would look way worse if the manufacturer sold a weapon directly to someone that missused it.
     
  25. RCArms.com

    RCArms.com Member

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    The 4473 paperwork and background check would be handled by the Local FFL that would handle the transaction to the retail customer.

    So the additional paperwork and liability angle is not an issue. What they would see is a ton more exposure to bad debt from Credit Card charge backs.

    As for a Boycott, I don't see that happening, but if a manufacturer started selling retail direct and expected a local FFL to handle the transfer, I'd expect that they would charge a much higher transfer fee on this manufacturer's items than their standard rate.

    I'd also bet the savings for the customer would be pretty small by the time the buyer factored in the purchase price from manufacturer, shipping on an individual purchase, and the transfer fee when compared to a local retail purchase.
     
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