An interesting final day on the floor at SHOT Show yesterday, and I am finally getting the hang of this place in terms of size. You still end up walking miles every day. I averaged 4,8 miles a day. On Thursday we interviewed former Navy SEAL and Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, you’ll see that on SOFREP Radio in a couple of days.
Attendees told me that while the crowds were down over pre-COVID shows, the people who attended were there to do business, which they appreciated very much.
Gun Sales Are Brisk, But Ammo Shortages Will Remain Acute.
I was also told that ammunition is getting harder and harder to make domestically. Ammo makers are having to buy primers overseas in places like Italy and the Czech Republic. Furthermore, we no longer make virgin lead from ore and now rely on recycled lead from old car batteries. As the market moves towards electric cars with batteries made from rare earth metals the stock lead supply will slowly shrink and prices will increase. High demand for gun powder in the civilian market has driven up prices there as well. The military has its sources for ammunition and this takes the first precedence over civilian sales as you might imagine. There has been a rather dramatic increase in gun ownership in the last decade and with it an increased interest in reloaded ammunition which requires black powder.
It is a bad idea for U.S. civilians to have to buy components for ammunition overseas, especially for things like primers. They may not have the same quality controls or regulatory oversight that exists here in the U.S. and if a box of primers blows up in someone’s garage, you will have lots of problems bringing a liability suit in Europe. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and while gun control legislation is unpopular and doesn’t have the votes to pass in Congress, there could be a pivot by gun control groups using regulatory agencies like the EPA to ban ammunition by driving the manufacture of components overseas which a president can then stop the importation of by executive order.
Firearms makers I spoke to told me that sales are very high and that they can barely meet demand. While at the show I discussed a story idea with Grey Ghost Precision, which is one of those quiet custom rifle and pistol makers that does a bit of work for Navy and Army Special Operations Forces guys. We’ll let you know how that turns out.
Night vision optics are more affordable than ever.
Spent some time talking with the people at Bering Optics, in the last, twenty or so years we have gone from, ‘Not Sold To Civilians” to, “Sold To Civilians At Outrageous Expense” to, “Okay, Prices Are Affordable.” The photo below was taken with my phone against the eyepiece of a couple of their sights.
Not everything was for sale on the floor at SHOT Show, as this remake of this Soviet IMA-Ural scout motorcycle from WWII. This is a modern remake from Russia sold today for about $13,000 grand. The updated model includes a modern suspension, an overhead valve 4-cycle V-twin, Brembo brakes and gets 33mpg. You can also actually buy one as opposed to the Soviet-era days of filling out a six-inch stack of forms in triplicate and getting hauled in for questioning by the KGB as to why you thought you even needed one. Note the DP-27 Degtyayov light machine gun mounted on it.
The Maniacs at Mountainside Outfitters In Fordland Missouri
These guys are wildmen. They offer a full suite of sporting arms, camping gear, and some of the most unusual combinations of art, Americana, and guns you could ever imagine. They rework stock weapons into crazy stuff like an electrically powered AR flamethrower that uses a fuel pump motor to spray out a stream of flame about thirty feet.
They also made this cool Steampunk version of an AR with working articulations like tiny mesh gears.
Want a soda vending machine converted into a gun safe? How about a half conversion that dispenses cold sodas, beers, or even hundred-dollar bottles of scotch and is also a gun safe? They can make it for you.
Finally, they have these wild art pieces that are furniture with dioramas inside of them along with firearms, like this coffee table, glass top display case for an AK47, called “Red Dawn’s A-Comin”