We spent the weekend at the Berea gun show just south of Cleveland and walked away with a few insights about navigating the waters of buying at gun shows. Here are a few takeaways for anyone thinking of attending a Shooting Sports / Outdoors / Gun & Knife Show near them.
3 Observations About Gun Shows in 2021
- Demand AND Prices Are Still High.
From a business aspect the demand for ammo is still high and prices are still high. Gun show prices are higher than online prices, but factor in shipping and hazmat costs and it’s kind of a wash. So big purchases are OK online but small purchases of self-defense ammo and hunting ammo are still a fair bet a the tables of your local show. (Tip: Hit the tables the last hour or two on Sunday and wheel and deal, they would rather sell it than take it home, especially private sellers. I saved $20 on 165 rounds of hollow points for my pistols and some hollow point .22s for squirrel hunting).
- Off Calibers Are Trending.
Off calibers are still in high demand, too. Everybody has a 5.56 rifle or two or six 😂 But .300 BO, 9mm, grendels and AR 10 are in demand. We will look to start building some inventory of this stuff as parts availability is up and prices are stabilizing.
- Don’t Forget the Private Sellers.
I really enjoy walking around and looking a the stuff the private sellers have. The vintage and antique guns, the military memorabilia, etc. I have an affinity for old cowboy lever action guns and would love to start collecting them someday. Who doesn’t remember John Wayne in True Grit riding down the mountain, reins in mouth and cocking his lever action rifle and firing 1 handed?? The prices of these pieces is still very high but I love to eyeball them anyway.
BONUS Buying Tips:
Buying tip 1: Take notes of prices and locations while you’re shopping, when you’re ready to buy you will know where that best price you saw was and won’t have to walk the floor for another hour to find it.
Buying tip 2: if you see a screaming deal, buy it. It’s not likely to be there when you come back in an hour.
Buying tip 3: Gun shows are a great way for collectors to network. Once you’ve made friends with some of these guys, the deals come more frequently. They love a good “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” situation.
It is always nice to shop and support local when you can. It helps those small places stay in business and helps your local economy. Until next time, stay safe and shoot straight…