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Why and how firearms sales spiked during corona Gun spikes and COVID-19

November 10, 2020 Coronavirus (Covid-19) No Comments

Back in April 2020, things changed in the USA with the arrival of a deadly and very infectious pandemic. 

While I could go on forever about all the different elements surrounding this world-wide event, the key question here is if and why there were some real spikes in gun sales in light of all the activity in the area of public health.

Firearms sell out

Moving again back to April of this year, I was already aware of a shift in buying patterns regarding gun and ammunition sales in the area of the country where I live. 

Within 20 miles or so we have at least one very major gun store/shop and three big box outlets that sell firearms in their sporting goods sections. 

As things got worse with the pandemic, I visited these outlets and took some mental notes and some photos of what I was seeing as gun racks emptied. Ammunition counters went dry as well.

What I saw was a direct correlation between events presented in local and national news and the amount of ammo and firearms moving off the store shelves. 

Word was out that we would have to shelter in place for the most part, and it was advised to stock up on all basic necessities because this was a world-wide disaster and no one really understood where the whole mess was going to end up. 

As if this was not bad enough, the political scene in the United States had turned into a real dog and pony show, as such, and therefore massive uncertainty was building about the future of the republic in many camps across the country. 

Civil unrest

Add all that background material up, and you had the makings for civil unrest, which indeed did erupt in some states and cities. Mass panic settled in regarding the defense of life and limb against whatever was the boogeyman of the day. 

Race riots, looting, and burning down major areas of cities took place as a social pandemic of its own. As if all this was not bad enough, people were dying of a deadly disease. 

When supplies started running out in stores, the other theory of the three-day rule took effect in many people’s minds. That theory is quite simply that when supply of materials stops it only takes three days for the population of any major area in the country to feel the pinch. 

After the initial phase of the three-day rule, everything runs out, and after that it is every man for himself.

With all this going on over a three- or four-month period, and I am simplifying all this due to both time and space here, there was an obvious ebb and flow in terms of buyers hitting the gun shop doors. 

As a gun guy, a writer, and a reviewer for Huntingmark, I found it interesting that there was a solid correlation between what ammo was on the store shelves after a surge or rush-buying versus what had been cleaned out. 

Ammo flies off the shelves

First up was the basic 9mm Luger round, followed by the .223 Rem (5.56 NATO), and the (AK-47) 7.62X39 Russian Short. After that it was mix and match in terms of what was left over. In time, almost everything else was cleaned out as well. 

Still remaining were the $150.00 per box 338 Lapua. 300 Weatherby, and other assorted heavy big game African hunting class cartridges. 


The first guns to go were an assortment of handguns, followed by a far better home defense choice, the short-barreled alley-sweeper-style shotgun. It got so bad for a short period, that people were buying high-end class target and field shotguns and cutting off the barrels. 

I wonder how many went below the AFT standard at that point (18 inches total length), as I am sure by observing buyers at gun counters that some had no idea at all what they were doing. 

A new gun-owning public

I even received phone calls from folks I knew for a fact had never even entertained the idea of owning a gun wanting me to suggest what they should do in terms of getting hold of a self-defense firearm. 

At this point in time, the industry has been left in somewhat of a state of panic as well. Manufacturing’s basic materials and all related elements are in short supply. Backorders on guns, including this writer’s test firearms for 2021, are standing at three months in arrears. 

Meanwhile, the gun store shelves are looking a bit empty.

At the time of writing, November 1, 2020, the sickness still rages, riots have calmed down a bit, and an election is hours away that could decide much of this country’s future. 

In the gun world, there are masses of people armed to the teeth who have no idea what they are doing at all in terms of maintaining safe and effective weapons function. 

Training classes in my area are full, but they can’t even start to handle the real mass of brand-new gun-owning folks. 

During WW2, the Emperor of Japan, or one of his generals, was asked why he did not invade America directly. The answer was, loosely: Behind every tree and blade of grass is an individual with a gun in that country. We would not last a week after hitting the beach.

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