That Gun Isn’t ‘Too Expensive,’ It’s Only Too Expensive For You!

Q. What is the “right price” for this firearm? A. Whatever I was willing to pay for it.

Of all the comments that appear on GunsAmerica, the one we hear most often is the complaint, “That gun is too expensive.” Literally, in almost every gun review we post, a reader criticizes the MSRP of a firearm. At this point, it’s comical because it happens so frequently.

Here are some random examples:

  • “Way over priced [sic], they won’t sell many…”
  • “Are you kidding? I would like to see figures on how many people buy these crazy priced guns an [sic] year!”
  • “What non-sense!! This is neither fish nor fowl, just a toy for people with more money than brains, or money at least.”

Taken seriously, these comments raise some interesting questions: Is the gun industry conspiring to price gouge its consumers? If that gun is too expensive, what should the real price actually be? What is a fair price for a polymer pistol, an old slabside, a pump gun, a black rifle?

Yet, I can’t take those comments seriously.  For several reasons.  The first of which is quite obvious to anyone familiar with firearm sales. That is, the MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) cited in the gun review is often notably higher than the street price at your local gun shop.

To give you an example, The Ruger AR-556 has an MSRP of $799. However, you can purchase one new, in-box, for under $600 on GunsAmerica. Depending on whom you buy from, you’re talking a savings of $200-$300!!!

When readers bitch about the MSRP in the review, I wonder if they actually look to see what the real world price is before they fire off their comment.

Next, allow me to turn the complaint on its head, which is to say invert the paradigm of the comment.  The problem isn’t the pricing of the gun.  Rather, the problem is you, and your lack of disposable income! That’s correct. That gun is not too expensive. No. It’s just that the gun is too expensive for you!

Let’s face facts, gun manufacturers don’t just pull pricing out of their butts. It is more often than not a careful calculation of labor costs, material costs, a built-in profit margin and market forces. Firearms are priced to hit that goldilocks zone where they will be maximally profitable for dealers and manufacturers while also being competitive in the marketplace.

Put simply, price a gun too high and it won’t sell. Price a gun too low and it’ll sell too quickly, leaving money on the table or, worse yet, lose money altogether.  Manufacturers work hard to get the price point just right.  The comment that a firearm is “overpriced” is (a) well, usually just a knee-jerk reaction by someone who wants it but can’t afford it and (b), more to the point, misguided to the extent that it fails to consider the serious thought that went into coming up with the MSRP in the first place.

The last thing to add is that one should always remember that the marketplace is fluid.  What is “priced right” one day can be “overpriced” the next and vice versa.  There are cycles with booms and busts. Remember the Obama gun boom? Remember the panic buying because many feared a renewal of a ban on “assault weapons”? Remember during that time period when a black rifle was selling over double the MSRP?

Ruger didn’t skimp on the important parts. The AR-556 has quality components throughout. And yes, the gas key is staked… do we really have to say so? Read full review

Folks back then would’ve been chomping at the bit to purchase a Ruger AR-556 for $799.  Pricing is, therefore, relative to market conditions.  What’s the supply relative to the demand (Machine guns are scarce, hence their high price point)?  What’s the political climate (Who’s in the oval office)?  What’s the culture surrounding the product (Yesterday polymer handguns were en vogue, tomorrow it may be stainless wheel guns)?

I’ll conclude by stating that old cliche, something is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. If enough people are willing to spend X on a gun, then it’s priced right.  If that’s not the case, the market adjusts and the price moves accordingly.  If you’re not willing to pay for it at the current market price, that doesn’t make it “overpriced” or  “too expensive” — it just makes it too expensive for you.

So, ponder all this the next time you feel compelled to lash out about the MSRP of gun we review.  Check the street price.  Examine the market conditions.  Think outside your own personal finances.  If you do, I’d bet dollars to donuts you’d recognize that the gun is appropriately priced.  And if it really isn’t, don’t fret, the market will fix it.

{ 69 comments… add one }
  • Pops August 11, 2017, 11:50 am

    Sometimes I question what drives prices on used guns, for example, anything from AMT. I have owned a few over the years and they were not put together well at all, especially my Longslide 1911. Slide to frame fit loose as a baby’s rattle and.crooked, yet I see these for $1200. My budget ATI 1911 I got in a trade was assembled better and shot better. Almost as nice as my Colt and Sigs. I don’t fault the sellers for the high priccs as people are willing to pay them, just can’t figure out why

  • Max Hoyle June 9, 2017, 12:16 pm

    This is a stupid article! Do you really think that an@4000.00 1911 is THAT MUCH better than an $400.00 one? If the cheap one is dependable and fairly accurate is it worth $3,600.00 less than the other?
    And manufacturers don’t always use they’re head in priceing, I saw a magazine article about 20 years ago where there was an interview with the person that started up Springfield Armory, this is just when they were undergoing company remodeling, where he said that before restructuring he/the company had no idea how much they made on each pistol or even if they made any thing per gun! This was around the time that they started selling XD’s. Not only did he admit this, but blamed his partner.

  • Paul Franklin March 18, 2017, 10:55 am

    I agree ,if your dedicated to owning that certain firearm or a cabinet full you make a way .

  • Steve Crowley March 11, 2017, 4:55 pm

    I’ve been a collector – shooter for more than 40 years and this is a marvelous affordable hobby. My grandfather was a real American Cowboy. His horse out in Montana was “Silver Fizz” – a white Palomino. His six-shooter
    of choice was a Colt Officers Model Match in .38 long
    Colt. We didn’t dare shoot .38 Specials as that gun was
    manufactured before the Specials hit the market. You
    could load them and the barrel wouldn’t blow but after
    your fingers got burned — you would know you’d been
    stupid.
    I’ve bought and sold more than 70 handguns spanning
    decades. When you need to “cash-in”, there are three
    brands that bring top dollar and sell within 24 hours–
    Colt, Colt and Colt. Toss in a few pristine S&W models
    like the 29 and 5-shot pocket models. I love the 100
    Model too–fine gun!
    That’s why local Gun Shows are so wonderful in the Buying side. I walk into Shows thinking: there’s just one gun here among thousands that wants me and I want
    it. Sure I’ve made a few mistakes but these shows teach you lessons very fast.
    I am way way picky. I want flawless, and I’m willing
    to pay for quality. I love guns that have been packed away for 40 years–box, wax paper, in a safe. Like Tim
    At the MAC–I won’t buy a gun that I won’t shoot. I once bought a Nickel Long Barrel Colt 6 shooter NIB
    for $900 in 1982. I took it right out on the range and
    put a box of .38’s through it and a few .357’s. They
    thought I was nuts. Years later, it still fetched a nice
    $2,200.
    When I listed a pristine blued Model 29 S&W, I thought I had the best anywhere–good enough for Clint–until
    a Buyer asked me if it had a pinned barrel? No it didn’t,
    another lesson learned. But he still bought it.

    I sold my four Colt Pythons five years ago for some
    terrific prices. Today, these are fetching 50%++ more
    in great shape. Maybe we should buy them all up and
    corner the market!!! Lol. They probably eventually head towards $10,000 each. The world is nuts when it
    comes to Colts.
    Just holding and shooting fine firearms gives me more
    pleasure than any price could dissuade me from owning.
    It’s a fine fine hobby! And I would rather buy a great
    condition gun made in 1957 than one made in 2017–
    but I shan’t turn away from either.
    Steve C.

  • HeavyBrew March 10, 2017, 11:19 pm

    Hallelujah!!!

    Thank you for saying what Ive been wanting someone to say for so long! Yes, I can now afford to pay $3K for a Wilson Combat. And Yes. to see the look on my buddies faces when it show up at the range is worth every penny!

  • Jimmy March 10, 2017, 9:45 pm

    This article is too expensive! They cost half this last year. Ya darn scalpers!

    • larry jkelley jr March 11, 2017, 4:41 pm

      ok lets here lately at some of the guns at the gun shows. say like the Ruger 10/22 say like 8 to 10 years old people are still asking way to much, $ 225.00 to $ 275.00 silly as hell you can still buy a Ruger 10/22 for $ 199.99 crazy right . and oh hell yes that is too high actually way to high, period. the stock looks like its been ran through a wood chipper then you have the barrel that’s way past its prime

  • J Q Public March 10, 2017, 7:57 pm

    The ole adage you get what you pay for is true and with an MSRP of $0.00 this article from Guns America certainly proves it. Not to mention the inherent conflict of interest of the reviewers who get bobbles, trinkets, free guns to evaluate, private hunting trips, private range sessions, dinners by salesman, you name it. Get too critical and you’ve just lost your access to product to evaluate. Lay down your own cold, hard, cash and buy the stuff you evaluate like Consumer Reports does and then tell us what “value” you received. I suspect the reviews would then be far more critical than the current puff pieces. We may even get honest rankings and buy recommendations, buy with reservations, or don’t waste the coin categories.

  • Will Drider March 10, 2017, 6:01 pm

    YOU BLEW IT! ” If you’re not willing to pay for it at the current market price, that doesn’t make it “overpriced” or  “too expensive” — it just makes it too expensive for you.”

    Stating a firearm is too expensive is based on a persons estimate of the value of that firearm to them. It does not have a thing thing to do with their disposable income unless “I wish I could afford it” is in the comment. MSRP on a gun or the window sticker of a new vehicle is nothing but a profit pipe dream. Supply and demand set “Value Street Prices” often much lower, seldom higher. As market demand drops, so do prices to a point where price = value = purchase. When you buy at or above MSRP because you got to have the hottest mall ninja stuff today: you will not get what you paid for it years later. You will get current new street value minus “used condition deduction”. Just like the ARs mentioned, high cap shotguns, PMR/CMRs and others continue to drop from their $1K(+-) points.

    Distributer and dealer costs are what they are but nobody sells below what they paid for it unless its a real dog with a crap reputation and they want to clear inventory. Even a bad firearm will hit a value = price point to get them moved.

    You can see all this in real time if you go to a gun auction. It always boils down to what a individual is willing to pay (VALUE) for a item not what others have paid or what the auction house appraisal (like MSRP) is.

    Accessories and gadgets also fail the MSRP, Retail = Value test. Item might be the best gizmo since sliced bread and do everything its supposed to do flawlessly but if the value of what it is and what it does don’t meet what I’m willing to pay for it: I don’t need it. Need being the equivalent of product demand.

    I encourage readers to address prices. MFGs and retailers should have the feedback to match their sales figures. Either the product is good or bad, or the price is the problem. This is clearly the cause of items sitting on the shelf and failure to get repeat orders. As a example I don’t see a bipod with a $400 MSRP having that much value for the very minor enhancement it provides over a $50 bipod. Saying its a matter of disposable income that is preventing the purchase is idiotic. Do you have one?

    • James June 9, 2017, 7:30 am

      Couldn’t agree more. “Price a gun too low and it will sell too quickly” are you serious? This author is nothing but a corporate shill who gets kickbacks. I can’t believe I wasted my time reading this article. What a self righteous prick. This commentor though is right on the money.

  • Pistol Packin Preacher March 10, 2017, 4:55 pm

    Great article, GREAT country!!! I love this free speech and free market and I love a lot of your stuff but don’t agree with all but again thank God for this country again. We the gun community are taking back some of our rights and I say let’s keep it going. Again thanks for your articles and I still think we the public has a brain that can pick and choose. Personally there is not a single gun or knife that I don’t like. I can’t afford most but have some and looking forward to more. I preach with my gun or I should say one of my guns in my pocket just like the parsons who helped fight for our right to worship and carry arms at our own discretion as long as it doesn’t stop another’s rights.

  • FastEddie March 10, 2017, 4:23 pm

    Ladies and gentleman if you saw the invoice price of firearms, your conclusion would be that they are overpriced! I have been privileged to see invoice prices and it is shocking! We are also forgetting the two tiered sales system in place to purchase a firearm from a dealer. Finally, we are in the dark as to cost of production by the manufacturer. Mr. Blannelberry’s article will go done in history as the epitome of SCAM!

  • D March 10, 2017, 3:19 pm

    Being a dealer, I can tell you that there absolutely is a “prestige factor” built in to the prices of various brands. It’s usually not a lot, but it is there, mostly just on the high-end brands. I have a particular manufacturer in mind whose products came with a Minimum Advertised Price agreement and a letter that said (in summary) ‘please don’t sell our suppressors for too little – it devalues our brand’. There are indeed costs of manufacturing that include labor, overhead, materials, R&D, and other things (like the article said), but an established company wanting to appeal to those with more “disposable income” will add a percentage to their desired end-market price for the purpose of adding exclusivity (and therefore perceived value).

  • Victor March 10, 2017, 3:09 pm

    Maybe your articles should mention the likely street price range. Maybe you articles should delve into reasons and features that affect price differences between similar products. Just saying.

  • Lt. March 10, 2017, 2:55 pm

    OH…the butthurt…THE BUTTHURT!!! Bahahahahaha!!!
    Good Read GA!!! And the comments….PRICELESS!
    Been collecting, buying and selling and building weapons since ’74
    and I’ve seen a lot of the up down back and forth… YOU CAN’T afford it…
    DON’T even look at it! But…if you want that Holland & Holland etc…by all means
    SLAP down that 12 grand!

  • JG Smerda March 10, 2017, 2:47 pm

    Blannelberry, you have an impossible name – wondering very seriously if it is a pseudonym altogether. What kind of an idiot are you to look at MSRP from the point of view of the consumer? That’s the MANUFACTURER’S SUGGESTED RETAIL PRICE, and the manufacturer can eat dung and die – mostly wrong about their guesses. Your premise that a gun is just too expensive for some is correct, in that manufacturers have taken turns to push the prices sky high, thanks in part to Hussein O’Bummer and the Federal Government’s efforts to buy enough ammo to kill us a few hundred times over – wonder what they’re preparing to do, eh? Most guns are overpriced, owing to the ban scares. Unless you’re a professional shootist, one gun is more than enough, especially since one should be proficient with one’s choice of weapon, and that takes time, ammo, and skill building. Buying guns as a pastime is a waste of time and money – unless you’re arming a militia to take on the enemies of this Nation, in which case, go for practical and forget all the flowery rhetoric. You have a right to your opinion, but you shouldn’t be paid to write nonsense!

  • Jon March 10, 2017, 2:03 pm

    Re: supply and demand.

    Try buying an off-list gun in Kalifornia, you’ll see outrageous pricing for anything introduced to the public in the last eight or so years. The only way you can get any of those “dangerous” guns is if someone moves to Kali and dumps a gun, or an LEO decides to turn one over after purchasing it and playing with it for a few months.

  • elnonio March 10, 2017, 1:30 pm

    Looks like someone dusted his copy of Adam Smith’s Weatlh of Nations! 🙂
    Concur overall.

  • Barry Laws March 10, 2017, 12:18 pm

    I agree people’s comments about price are almost comical. They’d rather we make zero selling a gun, and then wonder why we are out of business two months later. Right now there’s a race to the bottom in pricing guns. It’s killing our whole industry. But all these people who call themselves Second Amendment supporters and supporting the firearm industry are the same ones that are tearing it down daily. And you all feel righteous doing it. It’s really confusing. Don’t be cheap. Support your local dealers. There’s really quite a small margin in guns, so stop grinding us. We aren’t in business to rip you off, we’re in the business to supply firearms, accessories, and service to the public. When you see us flying around in Learjets you can bitch…. until then open your pocketbook and spend some money. Firearms dealer.

    • Will Drider March 11, 2017, 2:00 am

      I worked part time in a shop. It didn’t matter if we were a authorized dealer buying factory direct or through the Mfgs selected distributors, or a regular distributor. Handguns were cost + 15%, long guns @ cost +10% (both with a min mandatory of $20 if % were lower). Anything not stocked was ordered at cost +10%. Shop made great profits and opened a second shop!

      Gun dealers are crying now saying were not paying enough or buying enough make me laugh. When they toss in the Support the 2A sales pitch I LMFAO! They sure as hell had no problems gouging $2K on a AR or AK and ammo when obama got elected, then reelected and when he was pushing gun control EO! Oh, that was just supply and demand you say. Well guess what? That rollercoaster is running down hill and will be for the foreseeable future. Hope you banked some of those obama sales profits for a rainy day.

      Some fine local dealers are charging $200 for a Hi-Point 9mm they paid less then $100 cost! Look at Glock gen3 priced @ $599 when you can get them all day long for $499 and that not on the net! Some dealers have good prices and other dealers prices are high. Some dealers even have two “Condition Grading guides” of their own design: one for when you sell and another when you buy used to validate their price!

      Bottom line is if your a good dealer with reasonable prices you will make more sales and have repeat business. If your out to make the same profit margin as during the obama scares you will adjust prices, move more volume to make up for shortfalls or go under: your choice. All manufactures are having the same problems, are cutting deep discounts to move inventory and cutting jobs as we speak. Supply and demand = price, works both ways. I don’t buy guns on line but I do price them. I also don’t mind paying about 5% more at my local shop. I don’t quibble about $20 bucks making or breaking a deal either.

      • matthew martinez March 11, 2017, 2:27 pm

        Pretty much. Anybody aside from the Fudds uses the internet to shop around and pull up price a next to price b after shipping options. thats why theres so many box stores selling weapons and very few boutiques that survive. The ones that do have never let me down and negotiate with me when i show up with cash or know what im looking at.

      • matthew martinez March 11, 2017, 2:40 pm

        These are the same guys that drive their cars and trucks into the ground becaude their too cheap to maintain them and will NOT buy a new vehicle. Do they cry at the dealerships? no because they can do so from behind their keyboards. The guns ive paid over 1000 and over 2000 for are well made beautiful pieces of machinery. The mossberg 500 pump i picked up for 200 dollars used is my go to fishing companion down here by the Rio Grande in Texas while my super black eagle 2 is a safe queen only for company dove hunts. Why can nobody see the value fine weapons hold and the superiority in the fine details that make up the weapon as a whole? No, youre old rem 700 from 84 is not a Sako and no, youre 30 year old 1911 cant out shoot the bespoke 1911 made last month. This is like a guy bragging about his new kias performance and handling being the same as someones c63 merc. For the same reason i put a Tci streetfighter th350 in my el camino instead of looking through a junkyard is why i sometimes spend a little extra cash here and there on things i need performance from when i need them most.

        • Pops August 11, 2017, 11:45 am

          A TCI Streetfighter TH350 is much better than stock. A big performance difference. A custom $4000 1911 vs and off the shelf $900 1911, not so much difference in performance. It will look better, have a nicer trigger, but that’s about it. But then again, that’s what some people enjoy, no problem with that.. sort of forgot the point I was trying to make lol

  • John Turner March 10, 2017, 12:14 pm

    I’ve always bought quality firearms. They hold their value. Included are a Colt Python, 9 Sigs, 4 Glocks, a Black Army Colt 1911, 3 S&Ws, Rugers? 3, and more. The ones I regret buying (but won’t sell) AMT Backup 380, RG 22 revolver and yes, A first edition Ruger LC/9. Gotta replace that trigger. If someone thinks a particular gun is “too expensive: then price a Sig P210. Rifles? Same deal.
    Old Swiss saying………….”Pay for quality and you only cry once!”
    A friend just bought a Springfield EMP. Lists at about $1200. It’s worth every cent.
    Those who think guns can be expensive go out and price skis, bindings and boots! $1500 or so and worth perhaps $200 a few years later. Or how about a boat! Or a motorhome?
    For those seeking “street price” just go on GunsAmerica.com and look around.

  • Bob March 10, 2017, 12:13 pm

    I have always wondered about gun manufacturing ? I can buy a small engine say a briggs & stratton that has 5 times as much metal & ten times as much machine work in it as any production gun. For less than a cheap gun ?
    Bob

    • Will Drider March 11, 2017, 2:05 am

      So True!

  • bigK March 10, 2017, 11:43 am

    Another factor that comes into play quite often in these discussions is the fact that some people do not value someone else’s time. These individuals are always complaining about what someone else will charge them to provide a professional service, regardless whether that person is an attorney, CPA, plumber, or mechanic. Yet many times when you ask them about what they do for a living and what they charge per hour or are paid per hour for their work you will hear some figure that just seems rather extravagant by most peoples’ standards.

  • Roy F. Wilt March 10, 2017, 11:19 am

    Do you really want a Cheap Piece of Junk to save your Life? Damn! I hate Stupid People!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • JG Smerda March 10, 2017, 2:51 pm

      Roy – this isn’t about the cheapest guns possible, buddy. We’re not talking about buying a Lorcin, we’re talking about getting a 1911 look-alike from Wilson Combat for $2800. Do you think for a second that the price of a gun will keep you safe or make you a better shot? You are stupid!

    • Charles girard October 1, 2017, 9:48 am

      There are a lot of reasons some guns are more expensive and the least of the reasons are better quality. For one if its made in the usa its more expensive. Not because of the quality but because of the workers pay,benefits,insurance ect… My big screen tv from sony costs 1200, if it was made in the usa it would be 5000. I will put my 800 dollar m and p 15 up against any 3000 dollar ar out there. Same goes for the over priced sights people are buying for 500, 600 or more. I will put my 100 dollar sightmark up against them too. The technology is only so good. You cant make it something its not. The 3000 dollar ar doesnt shoot laser beams out of it and the 600 dollar eotech sight doesnt automatically aquire targets. I can shoot someone just as dead and just as efficiently with my 900 dollar set up as they can with their 4000 dollar set up. You do get what you pay for, but that only goes so far. I make enough money at my job to afford these weapons, im just not an idiot. I did it once. I spent 1400 dollars on a kimber 1911 style 45 auto. It is really nice, dont get me wrong. But its not 1000 dollars nicer than my m and p 45. Its a gun. Its designed to kill people. Not win a car show. I buy them for what they are made for, not to win a bragging contest. If i ever have to defend myself or my family i have practiced with and feel confident i can achieve my goals no problem with what i have purchased. Spending 10 times more money wouldnt make me feel any more confident. Im not saying you should buy cheaper guns if you can afford it. Knock yourselves out. Im just saying your not going to be any safer in doing so. And dont knock people who do buy cheaper ones just to make yourself feel better about what you spent.

  • Bill G. Smith March 10, 2017, 11:13 am

    Could you please tell me what revolver is shown at the beginning of this article. Thanks very much.

    • SDSmithman March 10, 2017, 12:32 pm

      I believe that it is a nickel plated Colt Detective Special in .38 special. Or it could be a Colt Cobra.

  • Mike March 10, 2017, 10:49 am

    Hey Dingleberry
    I Think you had a bet that your article could garner the most comments. Did you win?

  • Kalashnikov Dude March 10, 2017, 10:47 am

    Blannelberry sounds like a gun industry apologist. My problem is with a Guns America writer who says the gun is too expensive for me, and then tells about the great price I can get it at if I order it from GA. Then doesnt acknowledge the fact that guns ordered through GA are subject to a mandatory charge from a local gun dealer to facilitate and record the trandaction. The FFLs and Blannelberry must be the only people that arent thinking about this infringement as a violation of our Bill Of Rights. But, sure as shit there is GA with another article about the horrible infringement these one gun per month purchase limits exemplify. As long as we all know where we really stand. Blannelberry……

  • Craig March 10, 2017, 10:30 am

    Somehow people have a problem with reality….it’s so sad. I recall listing a nice AR-15 when the prices were ridiculous. I had 2 people say I was “gouging” by asking so much. I replied the rifle was not a need/critical or other than a luxury item.

    When there’s a hurricane and the local store has upped the water prices up 10X the normal price, THAT IS GOUGING. Water is a necessity, it’s part of life’s requirements to have water and food….guns are a want, not a life required need. I find a lot of car prices to be obscene, same with movie tickets nowadays and some restaurants really seem to think their food is somehow amazing and special….but we all value the things important to us and will spend the money needed. I’ve got a horse and a mule…have a 1 ton dually truck and horse trailer (plus monthly board) but considered an extreme luxury to some people’s thinking. Also have an airplane…it’s a 1956 Piper, but still an obscene luxury item to some people’s thinking). I’ve got some neat and expensive guns just because I want them. Why? Because I graduated HS, survived the Army, BS/MS degrees, never did drugs, got a girlfriend pregnant, never was arrested and always lived within my means…so I can buy these “too expensive, overpriced etc. etc. etc” items and have fun.

    If someone made bad choices in their life, or have other expensive choices (kids, student loans, expensive clothes, expensive vacations, drugs etc. etc. etc)…that was their choice. Quit whining people, when the chickens come home to roost, don’t whine “it’s not fair”…that’s the noise of a 13 year old brat.

    • DB March 10, 2017, 12:11 pm

      Amen brother. Amazing what you can accumulate with a little self responsibility.

  • JOmega March 10, 2017, 10:27 am

    I’d be disappointed if GA quit reviewing guns I won’t pony up the cash to buy. Fine watches (e.g. Breitling), fine audio gear (e.g. McIntosh), fine cars . . . FUNCTIONAL ART is how I view these watches, amps, cars–and many firearms. I love that kind of art! I’m not bitter that I can’t afford much of it. In many cases the artist/craftsmen behind these creations have raised the bar for either innovation, style, or quality standards that have benefited the whole industry.

    As a small business owner, I especially appreciate the behind-the-scenes investments it takes to bring a superior product/service into a crowded market–but if its a passion, you take those risks and hope that there are others in the marketplace who share your vision and are inspired to make the purchase. I’m looking forward to future GA reviews of “too expensive” guns. And I will always sift through the reviews from other readers in hopes of finding some first-hand experience among the frequent complaints that are akin to “Why the hell would I buy an Omega when my $35 Timex keeps perfect time?”

  • mike March 10, 2017, 10:05 am

    Oh man, I just realized, say something controversial and you will get lots of press. Well Done GA.

  • H.R.F. March 10, 2017, 10:05 am

    What an idiotic column. This has become garden variety writing by GunsAmerica opinion writers.

    GunsAmerica? Nah!

  • Z March 10, 2017, 9:53 am

    There’s a simple marketing ploy at play. The average consumer can’t tell the difference between a 400$ bottle of Scotch and a 50$ bottle of Scotch. What the higher price does is, it makes the lower price seem perfectly justifiable in comparison. They both provide the same end result. Buy what suits your purpose and your budget.

  • Chil March 10, 2017, 9:41 am

    S.H. Blannelberry, you are truly a condescending tool.

    • H.R.F. March 10, 2017, 10:06 am

      Thank you!

  • KC SMITH March 10, 2017, 9:31 am

    As usual with articles from this blog, condescension towards your readers while you tout every gun you are given to review as the greatest gun ever is so frequent it is almost comical.

    • Cam March 10, 2017, 10:11 am

      Nailed it!

  • Jack Daniel March 10, 2017, 9:30 am

    There’s a triggered joke here somewhere.

  • alan March 10, 2017, 9:26 am

    Uh, agree and disagree.
    For example, you showcase a AR platform that’s $2500.00, but there are many AR platforms, with similar barrels and carriers and so on, for much less.
    That’s a legitimate observation of companies marketing against those market forces.
    That’s their prerogative, but many will see closing doors now that the buying boon is over.

  • Doug March 10, 2017, 9:00 am

    It’s all about supply and demand. Maseratis exist not because people need them, but because some people want them. I never can figure out why people will pay $40k for an SUVA but they are as common as ants on a hill. A $500 Glock will do what most people need a handgun to do, but just like with cars, houses, and everything else in life there is a balance between wants and needs.

    I will likely never pay more than $2k for a firearms. My Les Baer that I bought for $1,400 is probably the most gun I’ll ever buy. But, some will want to spend more and that’s just fine. Car magazines do the same thing, focus in high end custom Mustangs and Vettes when most of us will never drive anything close to it.

  • Doc March 10, 2017, 8:43 am

    Can’t afford a Harley so I bought a Suzuki. Can’t afford a Cold Spot so I bought a Frigidaire. Can’t afford a Porsche so I bought a Toyota. It goes on and on. Better quality comes with a higher price tag. I would love a Wilson Combat 1911 but my pocket book affords me a Kimber. Such is life.

    • JG Smerda March 10, 2017, 2:56 pm

      Doc, a friend of mine bought a Kimber CDP and had nothing but trouble while getting alibi after alibi on the range. He was using custom Chip McCormick mags. I’d recommend selling the Kimber and buying a Springfield 1911 for yourself. I did and it still shoots as well as it did back in 98 when I bought it. Never had an alibi and I fed it mostly Sellier&Bellot FMJ. I use surplus stainless 7 round mags and this gun rocks, if you take my meaning. Kimber is junk IMHO.

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn March 10, 2017, 8:36 am

    “At this point, it’s comical because it happens so frequently…” I’m sorry but the entire premise of the story is condescending to the point of being insulting… I would suggest that those individuals who are writing in to opine that this rifle/pistol/shotgun is too expensive are more likely to be thinking “why do gun magazines and such focus so much attention on the expensive rifles/pistols/shotguns?” In that context they are fairly frequently, correct; and just as often those individuals who advance this argument are belittled by an editor. As a retired newspaper reporter both the publication’s policy and the editors’ views were to let a complaint about our coverage or opinion slide. That idea seems lost on those who own and operate gun magazines. Nothing wrong with covering a rifle/pistol/shotgun whose suggested retail price equals or exceeds a couple-three months of a house payment. But to suggest that such toys are “must have” or will get the job done better is simply disingenuous. A bullet fired from my inexpensive .357 Rossi revolver is no less lethal than one expelled from my oldest brother’s Colt Python. Editors need to keep reminding themselves that they should be more beholding to their readers than to gun manufacturers.

  • chris March 10, 2017, 8:14 am

    I’ve seen this same gripe from readers (“too expensive!”) and a similar reaction in the past by periodicals (“bla bla bla”).
    Companies make expensive toys for those who can afford it – case in point, the new FN semi-auto M249 series.
    Yes they are expensive as frak. No, I can’t afford one. I put it on the same top shelf as OOW’s BARs, SMGguns’ FG42s, etc.
    To be brief, I think the readers know the items exist, yes, it’s nice to read about one NOW AND THEN. But from the periodicals to which I subscribe (G&A, American Handgunner, NRA’s American Rifleman, ET AL) I think at times gun writers just go hog-shi* crazy over these top-shelf pieces they get in-hand to review, and then the magazines (online or otherwise) are filled to repletion with gun articles about pieces most of us can’t afford to splurge on. So yes, I CAN actually afford some of these (fer sure, I could forgo taking the wife out for fine dining a few times a year and have that friggin’ Nighthawk) – but we have to be realistic. When that Nighthawk custom is sitting cozy and warm in the gun safe and the wife is curled up under a blanket because the heat is turned off and belly grumbling because said no to Outback — well, let’s just not go there! Just do more good reviews on mid-income guns – the one’s we actually buy.

  • Larry Abrams March 10, 2017, 8:12 am

    I don’t give a rats behind what this article is trying to get across. I know that it is supply and demand but just because I think an item is overpriced doesn’t mean that I should be talked down to because some butthead had told me it I can’t afford it.. To me its like going into a car dealership and asking a price and having the smart ass salesman telling me if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it.
    You bet there are some firearms I want and can’t afford it but I don’t need some smart ass from Guns America telling me that its not to expensive.. The cost today of some firearms are a complete rip off because some people will pay anything to have one which is fine. I remember when I had a FFL I bought and sold Cold Detective Specials for less than a hundred ten dollars. Is the asking price of six hundred dollars to much in today’s market ? Hell yes no manner what GA says. If you have deep pockets thats fine and bless you for buying over priced items, But Guns America you have no right putting down people who are of the opinion that a certain firearm is priced too high because there are a hell of them out there.

  • Bill March 10, 2017, 8:05 am

    Well Kiss My A$$. That was about rude. “The problem is you and your lack of disposable income.”!!! Let your old school republican out why dont you.
    All I ever hear from manufacturers is how theyve streamlined this and found an easier way to do that and theyve bought cheaper steel from China and have automated everything and SO they can pass that savings on to you but guess what, the prices only get higher.
    And, as far as your smarta$$ comment about the income , there are far fewer rich people out there than there are regular people like me but just because they can pay it doesnt mean I can so why do they gey to set the market for so many others.
    Why dont you just say whats really on your mind, poor people suck

  • Mike March 10, 2017, 7:46 am

    Interesting take from a gun review site….
    Isn’t it YOUR job to see if a gun is worth what a manufacturer is charging based upon all available information? Econ 101, what will the market bear. We are the market. So you’d better listen.
    Seldom am I seeing that tough judgement call made here. You guys pretty much like every gun and gadget you write about. Even defend tooth and nail the ones that aren’t really needed….oh for instance that new tumbler with steel rods….I see all kinds of problems from a metallurgy standpoint. Yet defend away!
    Specifically writing about whiny people who comment on “whoa, that is too much, I won’t buy that”, seems a bit over sensitive. Are you trying to curtail free speech?

  • Eddie J Trujillo March 10, 2017, 7:33 am

    We’re can I find the true MSRP for a firearm. I want to know it I payed to much for my wife’s G-27.

  • ToddB March 10, 2017, 7:12 am

    So its not that some guns shown on here are vastly overpriced, but were all cheap. Using the Ruger as the example to show MSRP doesn’t mean anything. Not to say the Ruger 556 is a bad rifle, but its a basic AR in a very very overcrowded market. It would be difficult in the current market to think one can get top dollar for a basic AR, when they are lucky to even sell any. Why not use the example of the FN made AR15 with an MSRP of $1700? Its not like the FN made rifle is some super wombat tricked out Daniel defense or whatever, its pretty much the same as the Ruger 556 for $900 more dollars. Maybe its some alloy of moon rocks? Or the 1911s we see on here, you know a gun thats been around for over $100 yrs. You can buy a functional one for $700 NIB, then some company comes out w one for only $3000. Really? So were being cheap? I have no issues with putting money down on a gun thats worth it. But not many people are going to pay an extra $900 because it says FN on the side of an AR.

  • Thomas March 10, 2017, 6:43 am

    I get that you need the gun manufacturers to make a living, and they need you to a lesser extent. But come on, really? Just because I think something is expensive doesn’t always mean that I can’t afford it. Ever hear of some common sense when throwing money around?

  • Fake Name March 10, 2017, 6:10 am

    While I generally agree with your point about market forces, it all goes a bit nutty when you live in a state that has large venues hosting gun shows. Every time I walk into the gun show, every banner on the bigger retailer\’s tables are touting $X off MSRP, XX% under MSRP, and so on. Even during the black rifle buyup panic. MSRP pricing isn\’t the goldilocks zone. Goldilocks zone is carefully calculated at INVOICE price plus a certain percentage markup, which tends to be precisely where dealers are selling. Invoice pricing is the price that the manufacturer or distributor sells the gun to the dealer, and the percentage markup is cost-covering and profit. When we say \”Overpriced\”, what we really mean is \”I can have a gun with identical capabilities in my hand for $XXX less than what the manufacturer wants a retailer to charge.\”. If manufacturers and/or distributors were a little more transparent with their pricing model, I don\’t think you\’d see that as much. You give the example yourself of a Ruger AR-556 having MSRP of $799, where the invoice is obviously sub-$600 since that\’s where it\’s selling. Not like retailers are going to take a loss, they\’ve just raced to the bottom to squeeze a couple percentage points of profit margin out of it. MSRP is an artificially-inflated \”value\” the manufacturer tags to their item to say \”This is what you charge a sucker\”.Maybe a suggestion for the future will help – in future articles, instead of MSRP, why don\’t you tell us the Invoice (price paid by the retail dealer to get the gun on the shelf), and then we can make a more informed decision on whether we want to pay LocalShopX a 20% markup or buy on the marketplace here at 5-7% markup? Invoice is certainly a closer qualifier to \”value\” than inflated MSRP pricing.

    • Mike March 10, 2017, 7:57 am

      Great comment!

  • Joe March 10, 2017, 5:34 am

    How come when the name on the gun is Kel-tec the MSRP is less than the price at the store. That is of course if you can find a store with the gun in stick.

    • J rey March 10, 2017, 9:22 am

      You just answered your own question bud

  • Brent Kauser March 10, 2017, 5:21 am

    This article is overpriced!
    I can’t believe how much I paid for it.
    Oh well as long as I enjoyed it.
    No buyers remorse here.
    Keep up the great work GA I enjoy your articles.
    Brent.

    • chris March 10, 2017, 12:52 pm

      I too, unfortunately, paid way too much for this article. I should have shopped around. I’m sure it’s cheaper elsewhere as demand for it is very low.
      Made me laugh…AT THE AUTHOR, for getting so upset! Ha! Thanks, i needed that

  • Scott Phillips March 10, 2017, 5:16 am

    If the MSRP is $799 and the gun can be bought at a dealer for under $600, then the gun is, by definition, overpriced.
    Given the ” …serious thought that went into coming up with the MSRP…”, how did they get it so wrong?

    • Craig March 10, 2017, 10:47 am

      Gun dealers have to make a profit. Some dealers will always dicker, some won’t. There is “price” and then there is “cost”. Price is what they ask…cost is typically fixed (land, labor, capitol, entrepenuership (sp), raw materials, regulations, advertising). The manufacturers didn’t “get it wrong” when they came up with the MSRP…who hasn’t seen the “hot” gun sell for more than MSRP…the S&W 44 Mag during the Dirty Harry period was obscenely overpriced. Heck, Jeeps, a real piece of crap vehicle added an “excess dealer profit” amount to their price.

      Items are worth what the buyer is willing to pay, no more. If it’s not worth it to you, doesn’t matter what the MSRP is.

  • Jon March 10, 2017, 3:02 am

    I think the Ruger AR-556 is a bad example for this article because it happens to actually be a great value for what you get for the sub $800 AR-15 market. I get the authors point ( to an extent) I’d like to see someone justify some of the prices that “production/custom” 1911’s are going for these days! Tell me why nighthawk, republic forge, wilson combat and others in that class (not trying to pick on those companies in particular) have msrp’s in the $4000-6000 dollar range? I know they are nice, but can you tell me with a strait face that they are worth 3-5 times more than other 1911 style handguns (even US production) that are made by reputable companies with many years of experience in firearms production? Just my opinion, and I know there are exceptions with other types of guns/materials used but I think there is alot of “paying for a fancy brand name” going on.

    • Cody March 10, 2017, 6:59 am

      Jon, why does there have to be a justification to why a certain 1911 is $4000? Who cares if it isn’t 3-5 times better than a $1000 1911. This is exactly the point of the article. Just because you find a $4000 1911 to not be “worth it”, doesn’t mean there isn’t a market for it. Obviously, there is a market it for it and some justification for some people or else, these companies wouldn’t be in business. Joe manufacturer doesn’t just sit down one day and say “Hey, I’m going to crank out 1000 1911s and sell them for I don’t know, $4000 because its a random number and I want to stick it to the little guy.” No, businesses don’t run like that. There is a worth to the gun and the market. The gun just isn’t worth it to you and you choose not to participate in the market. That’s fine, but I don’t quite understand the stigma that people have with the notion that because a person can’t afford something or doesn’t find justification in its pricing, it automatically is deemed overpriced or just a name. The gun industry is exactly like the automotive industry. We have companies like Ford and Chevrolet, companies like Mercedes, BMW, or Porsche, and then companies like Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Bugatti. By your logic, just because a $50,000 Corvette does what a $250,000 Ferrari does performance wise, doesn’t mean there isn’t a market and justification to purchase a Ferrari. Some people want super high end guns just like they want super high end cars. Does that mean that in the 1/4 mile or 100 yard range, one brand will outperform the other? Probably not. But, this the United States, we have a free market. There will be $100, $1,000, $10,000, even $1,000,000 firearms. Just like there will be cars that sell for $10,000 and cars that sell for $10,000,000. There is nothing wrong with this. Its good, its healthy, its great for the industry. It allows a much broader group of people with different skillsets and financial budgets to get involved with shooting sports and the industry. Not everyone wants a $500 AR or $1000 1911 because it fulfills their needs performance wise at the lowest cost. No, some people collect firearms, some people compete, some people want to pay $2000 extra if it increases their split time by 1/10th of a second or if the gun has a certain marking or manufacturer stamped on the side. It’s the market. Supply and demand. It’s a good thing. Money is flowing and the industry is producing. People just need to set their egos aside and get over the fact that just because not everyone can afford an $8000 FN 249s or a $4000 Vickers Elite 1911 by Wilson Combat, doesn’t mean these firearms are overpriced and not worth it. It simply means that they are priced for a market which you don’t participate in. I love high end guns, but things like an $8000 FN 249s, I personally can’t justify. But I won’t complain about the price because I can’t participate in the market. I just simply deal with the fact that its an awesome firearm, its out of my market, and its a cool thing that it is available to buy if I ever choose to do so.

      • bison1913 March 10, 2017, 10:04 am

        Excellent paragraph… I could not have written it better myself.

      • Charles girard October 1, 2017, 10:56 am

        Your an idiot. Cars are not a good analogy at all. I mean really? Your going to compare a lambo to a corvette and why the prices are different? A daniel defence ar and a smith and wesson ar are the same car. Its like comparing two corvettes and charging 60000 for one and 500000 for the other one. And saying “well we put this one together like this and we put the other one together like that” so thats why its better. Even though you cant really prove it on the road. But trust us,its better. It just proves having a lot of money doesnt mean your smart. Its more like apple compared to microsoft. We, apple, are going to sell you this computer for 1200. Its are base model. And we,hp, are going to sell you this computer for 1200. Its one of our best models. Even though the hp is really better people will still buy the base apple. Why? Because it says apple. You have a minority of rich, yuppy people still willing to buy there overpriced crap. Same thing, there are a minority of wealthier people willing to buy daniel defences,wilson combats, and numerous others overpriced crap. Just because it has a certain name on it. Hey, just like harley davidson. Same thing. You have a whole group of people that are willing to spend a fortune on some overpriced crap instead of buying a yamaha or a honda, even though they are better.

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