Gun Show Woes

I used to love gun shows. Like a six-year-old on Christmas morning kinda love. 

Now pushing a half-century under my keel, I remember the “good old days,” if you will, of the early 1990s when a mad rush of surplus from post-Cold War Eastern Europe was flooding in coupled with the liquidation of stocks long-held in NATO arsenals for the same reasons. You know, $99 Russian SKSs, $49 Turkish Mausers and Russian Nagant revolvers, $79 Spanish Mausers and M91 Mosins (with bayonets and accessories!), $125 SMLEs, $200 Walther P-1s, $150 Makarovs, Bavarian-marked M1 Carbines for $300, etc, etc. ad nauseam.

However, sometime around 2014 or so, after the great panic buys and skyrocketing prices of everything gun that came post-Newtown, I stopped going to shows as I found that 99 percent of items were just way, way overpriced and the “I know what I got, son,” guys were just so tiring when you tried to point it out. Carpetbaggers. Opportunists. In-authentic bottom feeders of the gun community. Gross. 

Just as I was thinking about dipping my toe back into the water, I got this in the “new stuff” email from Empire Arms this week. If you don’t know, Dennis over there is the man, hitting the road like 200 days a year to scour the country for milsurp deals and passing them on to the people on his list.

Anyway, Dennis’s feedback on the huge recent Wanenmacher’s gun show, one of the largest and historically best in the country:

Our recent visit to the TULSA ARMS SHOW was pitiful, as virtually everything I wanted to purchase at tables was priced at two to five TIMES what we would sell them for (and few, if any, items were actually moving at those obscene asking prices). There has to be a lesson there somewhere, as this “top-dollar” attitude is not doing anyone any good. I am certain that these dealers and table-holders actually didn’t feel that their prices were too high at all, it was just that literally everyone coming through the door of the show was a “cheap bastard” (including me, I guess).

Of course, any public entering the show with anything decent for sale got “low-balled” by these same self-righteous idiots. We purchased almost every one of the measly twenty guns we were able to buy from walk-ins (who commented bitterly on the ridiculous cheap offers they were given by folks who often had the very same stuff at three or five times what they were offering). Very discouraging!

Sigh. You can never go home again, right?

One comment

  • I went to the Medina, Ohio gun show on 11-14-2021, and noticed the same. Ammo is plentiful, but still high priced. Best price for 5.56mm was $12 for a box of 20 , 55grain,Serbian mfg, brass/reloadable.

    However-I did buy a nice original USGI M1905 bayonet, dated 1913, with a WW2 scabbard for about 40% of what they cost online.

    I’ll continue to go to area gun shows. I think the entry ticket price is too low at $7 a head. I think it should be $10, with 2 bucks going to State gun rights groups.I enjoy seeing the old stuff, and once in a great while, you find a deal from a private seller ONLY.

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