Frank Advice from Frank Brownell on Buying AR15s
[Administrator's Note: We saw Frank Brownells' advice in the March 27 Brownells Web Bench e-letter and thought his comments about current AR15 market shortages were on point. We got permission to post them on GunReports.com.]
This month, let's take a look the two segments in the hunting and shooting world that are plagued with scarcity - the AR15 market and the ammunition market; specifically the .223, the .308 for your rifles and .45 and 9mm for your pistols. (As a side note, another product segment where we are seeing a huge increase in demand is the semi-automatic handgun, high capacity magazine market.)
In the AR15 market, it is mighty hard to find a rifle on the rack. Suppliers have extended lead-times and when they are able to deliver a few guns, there is a line of customers already on the list ahead of you. So what options do you have left? There are three things you can do to improve your odds:
Order standard - you can always accessorize later. Manufacturing is geared to deliver standard configurations. Products are produced in mass and the production schedules are already set. Anything custom will incur a delay. The AR15 is one of the most customizable firearms produced, it is easier to get your stock weapon and then you or your gunsmith can add accessories later on.
Buy the components which have the potential of being banned. These are 30-round magazines, collapsible stocks, threaded barrels, and bayonet lugs. The huge demand for AR15s is predicated upon a potential reinstatement of the '94 assault weapons ban. The four items listed above are the items specifically called out in this ban. You could still buy your AR15 stock as long as they didn't have these components. If any legislation does come out with restrictions, which we are hoping won't, there is a high potential to include named components. Order these now or get in line to have these ordered. Brownells currently has the 20 and 30-round magazine available for purchase as well as many of the items banned in the '94 law.
Purchase a used AR15 in any configuration as long as you get a quality upper and lower. Just like #1 above, AR15s can be accessorized and fixed more easily than any other firearm out there. The idea here is to get the core action in your hands and from there you can accessorize to your heart's content. These are quick and practical solutions when buying in a market of scarcity such as the market we are experiencing right now. We've made a list of some popular AR15 products currently IN STOCK.
Ammunition also has seen an unprecedented run in four calibers: the .223 and .308 for your centerfire rifles, and .45 and 9mm for your pistols. There are only two real solutions we can recommend in a situation of ammo scarcity. They are:
Start reloading. Reloading is an economical and easy solution which keeps you in charge of your own ammunition supplies. Sinclair International just launched their new website which includes entry level specials and many components to get you back to the range, shooting. I would strongly suggest you consider reloading as a way to keep your ammo stocks full as well as those of your buddies who may be shooting the same caliber as you.
Purchase a .22 conversion. Most firearms and calibers in the market today have a .22 conversion available. The two most obvious benefits are the greater availability of rimfire ammunition and the much lower cost of shooting rimfire ammunition compared to shooting centerfire ammo. If you can't find the ammo you are looking for, seriously consider purchasing a .22 LR conversion. They are very fun to shoot and may be the only way to find ammunition in your area. (type "22 conversion" in the Brownells.com search window).
The silver lining in all of this is: there are thousands of new shooters out there now familiar with the AR15 and their voices are being heard in the market place and in D.C. It is very hard to guess which way the AR and Ammo market is heading. The inevitable fact is that manufacturers will eventually catch up with customer demand, but we do not anticipate this happening for some time.
So the solutions left on the table are to go without, wait in line or one of the suggestions above.