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Fast, Good, or Cheap? – You May Not Have a Choice.

February 27th, 2013 · Posted by · 1 Comment · America, News, Shooting

You may be familiar with the idiom, Fast, Good, or Cheap, pick any two.  In the current firearms and accessories market, you may not get any of those choices.

While much of the U.S. has been experiencing a gun, magazine, ammo, and reloading component shortage, there’s been a secret among shooters at Arizona ranges.  Quietly whispered among shooters, “Psst, you can still get all the gun powder, primers, and bullets you need at normal prices from Bruno Shooters Supply in Phoenix.”  Pretty soon, the secret was out and Bruno was slammed with orders, just like every other company in the firearms industry.  On an Arizona shooting forum, Amy Bruno explained why prices are skyrocketing, phone calls go unanswered, and orders are taking much longer to ship:

Hello All,
I do need to clear the air.  The reason that our prices keep going up is because the manufacturers are rarely shipping anyone product.  We need to buy it from whomever has it in stock.  Because of this, we have to pay shipping charges and Haz-mat fee just like you.  This is what is raising the prices.  It has nothing to do with manufacturers’ price increases. It has to do with the increase in our true COST.  We try to at least have stock for you to buy.

In regards to Jason (my brother), he is there. He took time for a honeymoon, but he is still there.  In regards to heating and cooling, we do not own the building. We rent. We have only the swamp coolers that they provide. These do not work in the summer. In the winter, we have one little heater.  I am sorry that the climate is unbearable. It is for us too.  Also, we never accept your payment without giving you a total first.

In regards to our hours, we are open from 8am-5pm Monday thru Friday.  Sometimes we leave 5 minutes early.  Sometimes we stay 4 hours late.  We do not have the staff to be open all day every day.

Now onto the phone situation.  As many of you know there are only 4 of us there. We have chosen to leave the door open to walk in customers and not accept calls.

As of today, we have over 2000 orders (we now measure in reams of paper). We are at least 2 weeks behind in even looking at your order.  Once we get to it, if we are out of something, we will call or I will email you. Assuming most of you are local, this will not apply to you but I will say it anyway.  Orders for non HAZ-MAT (powder and/or primers) orders will ship in about a week as long as everything is in stock.  Orders for primers and anything else BESIDES powder will ship in about 3 weeks.  Orders with Powder and any other item will ship in about 6 weeks.  The reason for this is because no vehicle can have more than 100 pounds of smokeless powder on it.  This means UPS. We have already 2 trucks coming daily.  This means we can ship 200 pounds of powder a day.  Considering the circumstances, this is a drop in the bucket.

We are not accepting calls because we cannot get to our orders if we do.  We would be unable to wait on customers if we do.  Next to go is the website and as a last resort, we will lock the door to walk-in customers until we can get caught up.  We are trying to avoid both of these situations and are doing the very best that we can.  We ask that you do not call or come in or email to check order status until at least 3 weeks have passed.  We will contact you, we promise.  We also have chosen not to ration or hit you with limits like the other stores.  We may not be well-lit, or temperature controlled.  We may not have a public restroom or lots of parking.  But at least we have things that you need (most of the time) in stock so you can shoot.

Thanks for understanding,
Amy Bruno
Bruno Shooters Supply

I think Ms. Bruno’s honest explanation applies to the current industry-wide shortages of firearms and components.  Major national dealers have also struggled with providing accurate inventory availability online, responding to customer inquiries, backorders, and prompt shipping.  The order systems are under a severe stress test and seemingly minor system limitations are showing up as major weaknesses.  The demand for these goods is unprecedented and overwhelming!   Even industry heavyweight Brownells has had to revise their order tracking system in attempt to keep up with the  avalanche of orders.

Hopefully, manufacturers are not running their production lines beyond their capabilities too.

Local gun stores here, even large dealers, are placing ads essentially begging to buy guns from the general public.  Dealers are trying to stock their shelves for customers, but when those dealers have to buy at inflated street prices, then add their margin, the retail prices have to go up and the cycle repeats.  Eventually, supplies will return to normal, prices will come back down, and the industry will make their customer service / ordering systems more robust to handle surges in demand.

Until then, we’ll all need to be patient.


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