How COVID-19 is Affecting the Firearms Industry

As anyone who hasn’t been living in a cave for the past couple of months knows, the COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed everyone’s lives for the foreseeable future. For some industries, like tourism and air travel, it’s been devastating, while others like the food, paper products, medical supplies, and firearms industries have seen unprecedented increases in product demand.

The firearms industry has always seen considerable swings in product demand due to politics and the talk of gun control. I think I can speak for all of my colleges in the industry when I say this: we’ve never seen anything like this before! In addition to the sheer demand, we’ve never seen a surge in business happen this fast. The velocity of how quickly we went from an industry that was frankly below normal (if there is a normal in the firearms industry) to record demand has been shocking. I don’t think anyone in the industry was prepared for the surge in business like this. I know at Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick Custom, we weren’t.

Products in the self-defense and home protection segment have, by far, seen the most substantial increase in demand. Handguns, semi-auto rifles, home defense shotguns, and ammunition are flying off dealers’ shelves nationwide. As an example, at Wilson Combat, our ammunition sales have been increasing daily by 50-percent or more, day after day, after day, and the only end in sight is when we finally run out of product.

I’ve talked to my colleagues and friends throughout the industry, and here are some examples of what I’m hearing:

  • Federal Ammunition - unprecedented demand, focusing on self-defense calibers, working 24/7
  • Sig Sauer Ammunition - unprecedented demand, focusing on self-defense calibers, working 24/7
  • Starline Brass - unprecedented demand, working all shifts and overtime.
  • Sports South Distribution - With the most advanced shipping processes in the industry that generally orders same-day ship - now orders are taking up to 10 days to process due to unprecedented demand

Our dealers all across the country are telling us the same thing, unprecedented demand!

However, it’s not all rosy in the firearms industry due to employee illness from the regular flu season, health concerns about going to work, fatigue due to long hours, and the overall stress of the situation. Every company contact I’ve talked with is having the same problem of a reduced number of employees showing up for work. I can only speak for Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick Custom. Still, our employees are a mix of those that are thrilled with the opportunity to work lots of overtime and make additional money, and those who are very scared and apprehensive about even coming to work. I can only assume that other companies are experiencing similar situations.

Why is this all happening? My read is fear and uncertainty. Fear that we may see an increase in crime, especially as felons are being released from prisons nationwide, and our police departments are relaxing enforcement. Uncertainty comes from not knowing what’s going to happen the next hour or day, much less a month from now. I don’t know a single person that isn’t stressed and apprehensive about the uncertainty of the future. No one knows how or when this is all going to end, and what effect it will have on their health or financial wellbeing? I predict that our lives and the firearms industry will be changed forever.

Is there a silver lining? Overall, I’m a pretty positive person, always hoping for the best outcome. From a personal freedom and industry point of view, I do see the following potential positives coming from this terrible situation.

1. People who have never owned a gun are buying, and I’m sure some of these will end up with interest in the shooting sports.

2. Many people, especially those living in states with restrictive gun laws, are finding out that you can’t just order a gun off the internet and have the brown truck drop it off on your doorstep. I expect many of these people will view gun control laws much differently in the future.

Stay safe, keep your distance, and wash your hands!

Republished from The Hunting Wire.

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