Cheaper Than Dirt! Resumes Firearm Sales

Consumer reaction to the political rhetoric after the shooting in CT caused a rush of online orders at Cheaper Than Dirt! which led to the largest backlog in the company’s history.

Cheaper Than Dirt! management had no choice but to suspend firearm sales while examining ways to meet customer demand and maintain the careful and lawful processes established. Firearm sales require a significant amount of individual attention compared to the automated system for non-firearm products. Firearm orders were being placed faster than the inventory system could update, potentially leading to an overselling situation and cancellation of orders on a very large-scale.

Ammunition and shooting accessories orders more than tripled, resulting in week-long shipping delays. Since firearms sales are a much smaller portion of its sales and require more resources, the decision was made to utilize personnel in areas that would make the most impact servicing customers.

The past three weeks have been spent catching up on the tremendous backlog of orders, training additional staff and increasing inventory back to acceptable levels.

Firearm sales will resume on a limited basis beginning Tuesday, January 8, based on available inventory. The selection will increase as more firearms become available. Specifically, firearms that are in high demand are not currently available from manufacturers due to the lack of inventory. This includes most modern sporting rifles.

Cheaper Than Dirt!‘s goal is to maintain the level of service customers have come to expect.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (51)

  1. Wow, to all the good folks at CTD, I am truly sorry I caused so much stress in your lives to the point where you had to protect your sanity by raising the price of a $12 magazine to $50.

    Had I known I was causing you such difficulties I would never have shopped here in the first place, like I swore back in ’08, last time you had such a panic attack.

    Take heart though. My local store has everything I need so you won’t have worry any longer about me trying to put my greedy, grubby little fingers on your precious inventory levels.

  2. You guys at CTD are a joke. I have a degree in economics, and I understand supply and demand pretty well, but raising prices 60% overnight is just bad business practice. I know lots of people who remember the last time you pulled this price gouging crap in 2008 and they have not spent a dime with you since. I wonder how many other people will quit doing business with you after this round of madness?

    But more disturbing was the suspenion of online gun sales- which gives the impression of pandering to the political interests and people who want to do away with our sport and hobby. The causes and people you needed to support the most, and your customers, you abandonded in a public relations move while raising your prices to ridiculous levels.

    All CTD has become to me is a place to price check what I need, so I know the absolute price ceiling of a product so I can buy it somewhere else at half the price.
    Thanks for helping me shop and spend my money elsewhere.

  3. Why not favor orders from REGISTERED long-term, loyal customers? Those that registered before Dec. 14th and have a history as a loyal customer? CTD should announce that no orders for MSRs, high capacity mags, or specific caliber ammo will be taken from new customers signing up after December 14th (at least until the order volume has declined.) Weight should be given to customers based on the dollar amount of orders before December 14th and length of time as a customer.

    CTD needs to reward your best, loyal customers like the airlines reward their frequent fliers with upgrades to first class. That will build MORE customer loyalty and keep us long-term customers from getting run-over by the Jonny-come-latelys.

    I also approve of item per customer limits like the other websites are employing.

  4. This is great news. Midway and Brownells do not sell guns online, so I’m glad to see CTD back in the game. Brownell’s is still out of magazines… and It’s gonna be a while before things settle down. Glad I bought all my mags before December price increases. Milk prices are going up… who’s gonna boycott that industry?

  5. I guess what I don’t understand is why all of the bulk .22 ammo is sold out as well. We use that for plinking at the range but you’d think it was the hottest thing in self defense based on the empty store shelves. Maybe the shortage of other calibers has the makers focusing on those and not producing the .22s. As for more gun control, two recent news stories show the irony of the situation. First, Chicago, with some of the strictest controls, set a record with 500 murders in 2012. Second, California has seen a dramatic increase in gun purchases but gun deaths have gone down.

  6. Face it folks, if 30 round mags were $10 each, there wouldn’t be any to buy anyway. Price helps to distribute quantity. Also, if CTD sold the mags for $10, many would be purchased and resold for a substantial markup and we’d still struggle to find any. This is the result of astronomical demand. The consumer really sets the price. And I hate too. Try buying a non-AR gun. The manufacturers are devoting all production capacity to ARs to chase demand because that’s where the money is to pay the bills.

  7. Brownells limited in demand items to two per customer. They kept their customers with that method rather than profiteering. While your explanation on price gouging may sound good in your own mind, it does not to us. Basically what you’re saying is that you always want items to sell in order to always be able to make a profit. It has nothing to do with service to the customer to have items in stock, it’s about profit.

    That is what the free market is about — but on the consumer side we can make decisions as well. My principles require me to not do business with a company that not only price gouges in tough times but also lacks integrity by stating one reason for a decision then another and another while covering their tracks by deleting over 20,000 comments of irate customers on Facebook.

    Thankfully their are great companies out there who already have my business.

  8. To the CTD blogger whose response to Chris was “Go buy them”. Business” who do not respond to customers respectfully should not be surprised when their customers go elsewhere. Yes, you have a backlog now, but that will change and you’ll want those you drove away to return.Please make your employers aware that those of us who now go to Midway,Tombstone Tactical and Grab a gun, went there with your blessing.

  9. Firearms sales have needed no more special attention since the CT shooting than they did before the shooting. It was a knee-jerk reaction and this is a sad attempt at an excuse. CTD Management should be embarassed. People buying firearms from your company on the internet have no choice but to have the firearms shipped to a licensed FFL. Whether the firearm is a handgun or a longgun a background check is conducted at the FFL of choice. Where is the special attention? Massive amounts of sales? yes, maybe the rush caused some backlogs and shifting of personnel but there is no difference in selling online now than before the tragedy. Buck Up, Man Up and get behind your customer’s rights to KEEP AND BEAR ARMS. We all know a war over our rights is coming and knee-jerk reactions will end up in registration, bans and confiscation.

  10. “Pricing is used to slow sales and maintain inventory levels.” So you would rather maintain levels (remember: anything you haven’t sold = spent [lost] money) than make money? Doesn’t sound like a sensible business model.

    Keep your warehouses happy with their maintained stock levels, price yourselves out of the market and you’ll be joining the jobless… please don’t take advantage of us, and we won’t abandon you.

    These are changing times… perhaps trying to plan stock levels a year ahead is just not the wisest thing to do right now.

  11. It seems critical posts are disappearing. Can’t take criticism? Will the firearms you will be selling in the future be limited to low capacity “sporting arms”?

  12. CTD Blogger…your comment to Chris was exactly what I DIDN’T expect from a professional organization. It’s little immature frankly…you have (had?) a lot of loyal customers who count on your company for their shooting needs…guns, ammo, accesories, etc. I too have found stable prices on many things, but of course many are on back order as well. To have my “go to company” to invite me to go shop at a competitor is akin to telling him to go “XXX” himself.

    I think I’ll be going with Chris.

  13. Sounds like company execs trying to CYA after backlash of their reactionary political correctness LACK OF SUPPORT OF THE 2ND AMENDMENT.

    I would bet a pmag that the firearms they begin selling again will only be “sporting” arms, no standard capacity (high) semiauto firearms.

    Instead of raising prices why don’t you try placing an order limit of one or two items per customer? Several other prominent online sellers are doing this.

  14. Thanks CTD Lady Blogger. A very good explanation. There is no need for any business to have to sell at any fixed price. Supply and demand, if nothing passes and you get stuck with 3 months supply that is a gamble you took and have to deal with it. Most of us knew this could happen after the last two elections and have planned for it. Some are taking advantage of the price increases by purchasing from you and reselling them anyway.

  15. You must see why someone would think this to be a copout to a very bad decision made by CTD. Other sites published their decision and the explanation in advance… although they did not choose to take things off the shelf. Why did CTD not publish this decision until now?

  16. This sounds logical, however that’s not what you said when you suspended sales. If this were the truth then why didn’t you state that? I think you made a knee jerk reaction and now you are trying to cover that up. Assuming that is true, then what is your explanation for your price gouging? The prices are ridiculous! Why are you taking advantage of your customers in a time like this? Academy sports still is selling pmags for $14 and a local supplier received a shipment of 1400 pmags yesterday and held their original price of 12.99!!! That’s the kind of company that deserves the gun owners loyalty, not one such as yours that takes advantage of the people that have built your business through their support. What is your response?

  17. FEAR! It is a great motivator. Many of us were in disbelief obama was re-elected, and fearful of his leftist policies. Much less, he stated four years ago. “If I am unable to perform the duties of this office, in four years I will not seek re-election.” Well obviously, he is not a man of his word and has broken the trust with the tax paying people. So if our leadership has not the ability to be truthful with the public, we have No leadership! No budget! No direction! Just open disregard for the taxpayers who SUPPORT this nation. People have no faith in him as a leader, for he has shown to be set on a direction to destroy this America that I love. Chaos is not a direction that I feel will be healthy for this nation. It saddens me to think this once GREAT nation has come to this. I hear all the politicians blame and make excuses for our situation, but nobody is looking at the big picture. Wake up guys, America as we have known it is in its final hours. My Civics teacher in 1973 taught us to look for these signs. Well, thanks CTD for allowing me to vent. Rick

  18. I am glad CTD will be starting up their firearms sales again. I have never found a brick and morter store that prices like they do. I also hope that Feinstein and her ilk fail in their efforts to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and cripple one of the few bright spots in an otherwise weak economy especially since the safety/crime reduction gain from those laws would be zero.

  19. You could have said this at the start, instead of just suspending sales with no real explanation. That, coupled with the recent price gouging, is why I will no longer be supporting nor recommending CTD.

  20. Never seen such a back peddling in my life. You know some stores in our area. Stopped selling to the public in reaction to CT. And one announced they would only sell to LE Agencies until the Sheriff went on national TV to announce he would never supply his department with weapons from that dealer ever again. You guys danced on the line of never having your customer base again. You need to make a stronger 2A statement and make a strong stance to clear yourself of this garbage. If you limit our 2A rights in any way you will see a backlash you won’t enjoy and that extra work force wont be needed because we wont be buying a barrel flag from you again if so.

  21. Thank you for the clarification about what is happening in the retail supply and demand arena. Too many folks are reading conspiracy and tail tucking into what is a market that has been overwhelmed by a huge increase in demand, largely inspired by tragedy with the resulting political pandering by uninformed politicians and demands by liberal gun grabbers and the leftist half truth media speculators. Of course, who can blame the firearms enthusiasts, collectors, and those wanting to experience their 2nd Amendment Rights before they become unavailable from becoming alarmed when they are assaulted hourly by those with a blatant, unfounded anti 2nd Amendment agenda?

    Whatever happened to news being based on known observations of events and officially released facts rather than the broadcasters or reporters personal half-baked knee jerk opinion, sarcasm, and snickering. Even KPBS seems tame today compared to the leftist liberal abuse being constantly disseminated by nearly all of the liberal mouthpiece major broadcasters. Whatever happened to investigative reporting that seeks the truth of a matter rather than trying to invent the truth? The media has become even more hypocritical than the politicians.

  22. The thought process of those who believe that guns kill people, people do not kill people goes far beyond the realm of even unintelligent logic. We live in a world of guns. To even comprehend that disarming law-biding people or all people in general will create some sort of utopia is ridiculous to say the least. It will only amount to exactly what the socialist movement intends it to do, minimize the resistance from the population who would object being subjected to a life totally regulated by a dictatorial regime. Have you noticed that the Dem, Liberal, socialists never, ever talk about punishment? It’s always gun control which like I stated above is just a cover title for their real agenda of firearms confiscation. They believe in disarming all except the government. The very thing our Founding Fathers feared and in order to prevent such a situation, created the second amendment. A provision that would at least give the American people a means to resist the heavy iron boot of tyranny. A situation that is unfortunately growing stronger every single day.

    1. Clayton Brakeville—

      It business economics for us.

      Pricing is based on demand, inventory, future resupply, plus speculative replacement cost. Let’s use magazines as an example.

      We plan to buy a 12-month supply of a magazine. We know how many we sell in an average month’ we buy 3 months worth and put in a purchase order for more magazines to be delivered every 3 months to round the year. We have room for a 3 month supply, but not 12 months worth. It also ties up the inventory expense in 3 month periods, not 12.

      Our business model is to always have inventory. It does nothing for the customer or company to have out of stock items. Ideally, the last magazine is sold as the truck delivers the next batch. All is great.

      Now demand goes absolutely crazy. We’re burning through our inventory 10 times faster than we planned. There is a true panic taking place right now.

      Pricing is used to slow sales and maintain inventory levels. You can see pricing go up sometimes several times in one day to slow sales. We want to have inventory until our next shipment arrives. We calculate the sales vs. time, and do our best to have inventory until we are resupplied. The customer is now competing with other customers for the same magazine. At $10 each, every single one would be gone within hours (Brownell’s sold out in 72 hours is one such example). At $40 a piece, they may be around long enough for a customer to buy one or two before they are all gone, or we get more in. To stay in business, we need products to sell. As a customer, you want products to buy.

      Then there’s speculation, just like gas and milk prices. How much will it cost us in the future to buy that same items? We sometimes look at the worst case scenario, and price items high. Right now, there’s no inventory to be purchased quickly at decent prices, so we have to wait for purchase orders to be fulfilled. Manufacturers are still making products, but it takes weeks to get it to their distributors, and then to us.

      Now this sound all doom and gloom, but it’s not. The exact opposite works too. We have 40,000 magazines on the shelf, and sales are a trickle. Then next shipment is due in 10 days. Demand is low, inventory is high, and we need room for the next shipment. To make room, we slash the price and hope they move out quickly. This has happened in the past. No one was complaining when we had a glut of magazines and sold them off at $5.00 a piece.

  23. As an American I feel as if I am being dragged from on crisis to another. From one tragic event to another. In each case I feel as if I am the the victim..the target..efforts of those who would use a tragic event…a crisis… to forward an agenda that would make me the bad guy. I feel threatened. Alone at night at the ATM, I feel threatened. Walking in a parking lot, I feel threatened….I know these threats. But I sense another threat…

  24. Reminds me of a quote from another famous firearms dealer who recently said “Barack Obama is my best salesman!”

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