There are many who claim that Cheaper Than Dirt, along with other retailers of ammo, are price gouging. I disagree. This is simple supply and demand at work. There is even an old joke about it:

A woman pulls into a gas station and tells the clerk “I can’t believe that you are selling gas for $4 a gallon! That’s price gouging! Why, the station down the street is selling gas for only $2 a gallon!”
The clerk replies, “So why don’t you go get your gas there?”
The woman says, “They are out of gas.”
The clerk then replies, “Ha! When I am out of gas, I sell it for $1 a gallon!”

Let’s say that you are a dealer who normally buys ammo at $4 a box and sells for $8. The massive demand hits, and all 1,000 boxes of your ammo quickly sells out. You have 700 customers demanding more.

You call suppliers, and they have a limited supply. He tells you that he has 500 boxes, but they tell you that they will only sell you 50. If there was a rule about only selling for $8 a box, the story would end here with 650 of your customers having to look elsewhere for ammo.

Or you can offer your supplier $8 a box for all 500 of the boxes he has in his inventory. So you make the offer and put the 500 boxes up for sale at $12 a box. Those 500 sell out at that price, and now because of the shortage, you have 500 more customers in a panic who are willing to pay more, but you don’t have any more.

So you get creative and begin calling around, offering distributors $10 a box for any ammo they have. There isn’t any. The suppliers begin calling the factory, offering double the normal wholesale price for any ammo they can get. The factory begins paying their workers overtime, because the added price means that they can now afford the increased cost of production.

Now the wholesalers have gotten more ammo, but the wholesale price is now $12 a box. You pay it, and put it up for sale to your customers at $16 a box.

Sooner or later, one of two things will happen:
The high prices will cause more manufacturers to enter the game, which will increase supply, or demand will decrease. Once the supply/demand curve is reduced, the prices will decrease.

This isn’t gouging, this is how free markets work. If you don’t have enough guns or ammo right now, that is entirely YOUR fault. It isn’t as though the repeated gun and ammo shortages of the past weren’t a warning. If you failed to heed that warning and are left unprepared because you spent your money on other things, that is on you.

I saw a guy in my LGS wearing a USMC ballcap. He told me he was buying his first AR because, “I don’t know how much longer they will be legal.” So he waited until AFTER the inauguration of a gun hating Democrat to buy his first AR? I would argue that he DESERVED to pay $2K for one as a fine for being stupid.

RKguns has no lowers.

Every PSA lower is either out of stock, or more than $100. At one point last year, they were selling for less than half that.

Brownells has ONE lower in stock for less than $150. (at $136, it’s no bargain.) The rest are out of stock, or are more expensive.

Categories: economicsPrepping


Jonathan · February 13, 2021 at 10:30 am

I understand prices going up as demand increases, but CTD goes overboard with it. I’m surprised at how many people don’t shop around online and always buy from the same place regardless of price.
I buy lots of stuff online, but rarely buy twice in a year from the same website.

    it's just Boris · February 13, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Well, yeah.

    The only reason CTD could sell anything at some of those prices is that people don’t know any better, or are so desperate they will hit buy the first time they see something in stock.

    In this day and age, not doing at least a basic online price comparison – when one is already shopping online – is almost in the willful-ignorance category. So I don’t have tremendous sympathy for the first category.

    For the second, if you’re that desperate, then clearly it was worth it to you so post-facto complaints aren’t really too appropriate either.

    Me, I simply don’t buy from them. 🙂 Not will I tell anyone not to shop where they choose, but will suggest they ship around.

it's just Boris · February 13, 2021 at 11:36 am

Come on, the situation at Brownells isn’t that bad.

They have for under $150:

(In Stock)

(In Stock)
$149.99, or $125 for a blem

(In Stock)

So, agreed, not great and I’d still take an Aero M4E over any of them if I could find one (and, that’s a different conversation).

But I’m happy to see they are available.

(The SilencerCo lower for $250 is … Amusing.)

Bill Cleveland · February 13, 2021 at 12:35 pm

The FBI dropped a 5 year, OPEN Quantity Requisition for NATO 5.56 last week and Federal got the bid. See the NRA website. There are other .gov entities getting ready to drop additional RFQs, on a similar base line. 5 years, Open Quantity- 500 mil round minimums. ,for all the most popular calibers. Gonna get worse before it get batter – if it gets better.

Will · February 14, 2021 at 7:51 am

It’s not every dealer but CTD has a long history of jacking up prices way over the top. They pissed me off several years ago and I haven’t even looked at their site since.

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