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wjnfirearms 02-25-2012 08:07 PM

Have any other dealers noticed this?
I was wondering if any other of you FFLs have taken notice of this issue with the distributors over the last couple of years.

I have aligned myself with a number of distributors over time and not just for the sake of price, but just to be able to get what clients have wanted which is still way too often an effort in futility. Distributor inventory is pathetic, especially on the more popular guns. It seems that they have quantities of guns in stock and when they are gone, they stay gone. For example, none of my outlets have any S&W Bodyguard 380s and haven't for quite some time. Back in early 2010, I had a client that wanted a Walther PPK and had cash in hand. They were out of stock everywhere I tried to get one. All the reps said that they were on order but have heard nothing. I finally called S&W (they handle Walther in this country) and asked why this is. I basically received no logical answer. This has happened on too many potential sales for a number of guns from a bunch of manufacturers and is getting old real fast. I know Colt has a policy of "You'll see one when you see one, if you see one" and got pretty much this response from two factory reps I spoke to, one on the phone and another in person at last year's NRA conference.

I understand that distributors may be keeping inventory lower for cost saving measures, but the issue really seems to be with the manufacturers, not the distributors. One thing they appear to be doing is to be shipping out orders to the largest distributors that give the largest quantity orders, not the smaller ones or the ones that order less guns at any given time. The jobbers are hesitant to bash the manufacturers when you ask why, but this is what the inferrence seems to be and what I gleaned from my call to S&W about the Walther.

The only brand that I really understand the jobbers not having is Sig. A number of them have dropped Sig because of their internal policy of tracking sales on a retailer level and when they see one that is selling a good amount of their guns, they contact them directly and offer to go factory direct. That has pissed off a bunch of the jobbers and they have dropped carrying Sig as a result. I got this first hand, so I know it's true. Out of the 12 distributors on my list, only 2 carry Sig Sauer now.

It's getting real difficult for us small fish to deliver if we cannot get what the clients want because we cannot align with the biggest jobbers due to their dealer sales policies. It's really getting quite frustrating. :mad:

MrM4 02-26-2012 08:00 PM

Allocation is a bitch, you just have deal with it. The big fish get the 1st bite the rest of us get the left overs. Charge a reasonable transfer fee and make your $ there.

joehawk 02-29-2012 12:52 AM

I am having the same exact problem. Customers have cash in hand but the gun is out of stock with 15 different distributors.

CAW308 03-27-2012 11:25 PM

Learn how to do smithwork, trigger jobs & bedding jobs. I do trigger jobs for simple low time invested weapons. M&P, Glock etc. and make a few $$$ off parts. If you are SOT paid, check around and lower your transfer fees.

CAW308 03-27-2012 11:27 PM

Something else around here, is a few of us smaller dealers band together and carry only a couple of say, Keltec 9 or S&W M&P .22 pistols. Just an idea.

nfafan 04-12-2012 03:45 AM

Just an observation as a former FFL and now just a "civvie" - as others have said; make up with the tough times by doing transfers.

I have one FFL I deal with who receives all my out-of-state/Gunbrokeya purchases. I found him as he advertised in our local in-state gun boards. All states have local gun boards, or national gun boards have regional sub-forums.

Anyway, I do the leg work, take all the risks, pay for it myself - and he does 10mins of paperwork and a NICS call for $20.00. He is busy as a one-armed paper-hanger.

There is another stocking dealer I use for xfers, but mostly for convenience and for hand-guns that I sell and have to be shipped dealer-dealer.

wjnfirearms 04-12-2012 06:51 PM

I already offer to do transfers and accept shipments.

orangello 04-12-2012 07:00 PM

I'm not an FFL, but it seems there are a lot of people making a bit of money teaching classes on firearms safety and safe concealed carry and such. That might be a way to increase your shop traffic if you have access to a range and some dummy guns and a background/experience that would be marketable. If I took a safe carry class and the instructor was impressively knowledgable, i would want their input on choosing a firearm.

wjnfirearms 04-13-2012 04:41 PM

Already got certified and am heading in that direction, oranagello. Definately, a good idea.

silverado113 04-13-2012 04:53 PM


Originally Posted by wjnfirearms (Post 769931)
Already got certified and am heading in that direction, oranagello. Definately, a good idea.

I hooked up with an instructor to send me business until I get certified. Anyone who shows a certificate from his class gets a discount when they buy from me. Now all I need is for the ATF to do their interview :)

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