This past Saturday I decided to brave it and attend a gun show at the Cobb County Civic Center. I wrote about a gun show at the Civic Center some time back, and reviewing that post today, I see how much this one was different, in a post Sandy Hook world.
There seemed to be two recurring themes at most of the tables: Fear and Famine.
Fear led to price gouging. Even guns that had no chance of being banned were $100 more than I had seen them before, including $350 Mossberg 500 shotguns and $339 Ruger 10/22s. Gen4 Glock 17s were for sale at more than one table for $699, that I saw at my local gun store for $559.
There were quite a few individuals walking around with AR’s shouldered, with flags and signs advertising them for sale. The cheapest one I saw was $1500. A lot of people were asking about them, but no one was buying them, from what I could tell. (I could be wrong, they could have easily been completing their business out of my sight.)
Magazines were a joke. MAGPUL 30 round AR magazines which sold for $15 last fall were $49 at the show, when you could find them. (File that under Famine, too, I guess.) Korean made Glock magazines, normally 2 for $30, were $29 each. Glock factory mags were $39. Beat up GI mags for ARs were $20, which would have been $8 a year ago.
Admission has gone up from $8 in 2011 to $10. My first gun show cost me $4 to get in. Yes, it was Union dollars.
Famine meant there were a lot fewer of some items. There were some AR-15’s for sale, but the cheapest one I saw was a DPMS for $1259. Most were $1800 or higher. There were no dedicated AR-15 tables, as there were at the last show. This meant it was a good thing I had ordered the bolt carrier and bolt for my AR-15, rather than wait to buy it at the show as I had first thought. But the tables with all the small parts were not there.
Don’t even ask about ammo. I didn’t find any .22LR beyond the odd single box of match ammo for $1 a round. Even the reloaders like Georgia Arms were selling ammo for 50% more than I paid just last fall. It sure looks like the day of Blazer 9mm for $8 a box is long gone. 9mm is more like $20 a box now.
I used to see crates of Mosin Nagants and tables of SKSs, but there were none but singles of either. Granted, the SKSs were good samples, matching number Yugos or Norincos.
Some other things I noticed, though, that gave me hope:
- There were tables of MAGPUL furniture and accessories, at about the same prices as my local gun store.
- There were a lot of dedicated .22LR ARs selling for $350 to $450. Too bad there was no .22LR ammo for sale.
- Despite the high prices, there were sales going on. I saw a lot of people filling out paperwork while I walked the aisles, and I passed a lot of people coming out with gases as I went in. They acted like they were happy about it, which is why I figured they weren’t leaving with guns they had brought for sale.
- As always, there were tables of neat accessories, which is what I came for. I ended up buying a couple of mounts for optics, a sling for my AR, and a new holster. (Look for a review soon.)
- Knives. Wow, it seemed like there were double the number of knife tables there. Maybe I just noticed them more, but that was my impression.
- The NRA and GeorgiaCarry.org tables were very busy, signing up new members. Good to see.
In all, I guess it was as good a gun show as we could expect in today’s climate. There were no mile-long lines at least. I didn’t find the AR parts I wanted but I didn’t come away empty handed either.
One last observation: Sellers, few things dissuade me from commerce with you than not posting prices on your merchandise. Yes, I know you are negotiable. But let me know whether you are worth starting the conversation.
See you at the next one!