Will the Gun Industry Survive?

Mike Weisser
3 min readFeb 26, 2024

Yesterday I received an email from Bud’s Gun Shop with their latest specials for my review.

Buds happens to be one of the largest online sellers of guns and ammunition, so when they set a price on any item, you get a pretty good idea of which way the gun market is going.

You should know, incidentally, that for all the talk about how we have to protect ourselves from the Rio Grande ‘invasion’ and the terrorist threat from whichever group has qualified as leading the ‘terrorist-of-the-month-club’ gang, gun sales happen to be flat and are almost 50% lower than they were at the beginning of 2021, when everyone needed a gun to protect themselves from Covid-19.

So, in rolls an email from Buds who wants to sell me an AR-15 for $449.99. The gun is made by an outfit in Texas, Radical Firearms, which sells both complete assault rifles and separate components if you want to build your own gun.

Back in 1978 I bought my first color TV and my first assault rifle at more or less the same time, although obviously from two different stores. The TV was a 15” Zenith which cost me $300 bucks. The AR was a Colt Sporter which ran around $600 bucks.

Now let’s do a little math.

Adjusting for inflation, the TV should have cost me $1,419 this year. Wal Mart is selling a 30-inch flat screen color TV for $429.95.

As for the gun, the $600 that I paid in 1978, adjusted again for inflation, should now cost me $2,838.19.

The differential for the TV is $989, for the AR, it’s $2,388. Now maybe you understand that if you want to make a million in the gun business, you should start with two million.

Back on July 2nd, 2021, when the Pandemic gun craze was at it highest, a common share of Smith & Wesson stock sold for $30 bucks. This past Friday, that same share closed at $13 and change, which I the price the stock has been fetching for the last couple of years and was also the price before the Pandemic got every gun nut more nuts than usual.

For all the talk about how guns represent a big threat to public health, and for all the noise about how we need to enact more restrictions on gun owners in order to prevent guns from getting into the ‘wrong hands,’ I’m increasingly convinced…