Covid-19 made huge lines in firearms stores

Long lines at gun stores are still a thing.

ABC 4 in Utah reported in January that people were lined up outside an Orem store on a Saturday.

“Williams Gun Sight Company had a line out the door every day from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring to the end of January, said Brian Wright, head of operations at William’s Gun Sight Company said. The Flint business had to hire security to manage foot traffic, Michigan Live reported.

Why? Worries

A study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research shows that people intending to acquire a firearm in the next 12 months have less tolerance for uncertainty, have exaggerated threat expectancies, and are experiencing more severe COVID-19 specific fears,” says Futurity.

That research report says, “Our results indicated that those intending to acquire a firearm in the next twelve months are less tolerant of uncertainty, endorse exaggerated threat expectancies, and are experiencing more severe COVID-19 specific fears.”

Most places that sell guns are having a hard time keeping guns and ammo on the shelves. The Orem store’s lines were the result of a shipment of ammo coming in. By the time the TV station got there, a store employee said they’d already sold at least 100 guns.


The panic buying, at least partly related to COVID-19, is widespread. A Chicago TV station looked into the matter and found gun sales in the Windy City in April 2020 more than doubled the previous sales record in April 2018. 

The Covid States Project took a look at gun sales and the pandemic in Report #37 The report was released in February 2021. The research was done through Northeastern, Harvard, and Rutgers Universities.

The researchers report buying guns for the personal defense was the most common reason given at 70%. Over a quarter (32%) said they were reacting to lockdowns, fears of the government, COVID-19, or the 2020 election,” the report says.


The lines and the demand is still there. The Oregonian reports even stores that sell mostly collector guns are swamped.

“Gun dealers are reporting a rise in sales as the nation hits the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘We’ve got more empty slots than we do fill slots at this point,’ said Craig Serafini, owner of Upstate Guns and Ammo,” reports Spectrum News.

Smith & Wesson, the iconic gunmaker, sent out 623,000 handguns in January and February 2021. That is a 67 percent increase over 2020, which was right before the pandemic began.


With 40 percent of the guns sold during the pandemic going to new gun owners and gun owners buying more, understanding the ammo shortage becomes easier.

Those who are panic-buying guns know they need ammo to feed their guns. A gun without bullets is an expensive stick. The new gun owners buy ammo both for practice (those who bother to go shoot in the first place) and to have on hand. Longtime shooters know a box of ammo only lasts a few minutes on range day.

Ammo producers are running at full volume.

In the past week or so, some prices have come down. Some retailers are offering .223/5.56 ammo around the 50¢ per round mark. That’s still expensive compared to a year ago, but certainly better than 75¢ and upper round.


More than guns and ammo are in short supply these days. Gun parts are hard to find and if you can find some, the price is often a lot more than just a year ago. The AR platform and handgun markets are the hardest hit, with Glock and Glock clone parts taking the biggest hit. Receivers, trigger assemblies, and bolt control groups are the hardest to find. Other parts are still pretty common.

For instance, getting an upgrade for your Ruger precision rifle is easy enough, as long as those upgrades do not involve the receiver or the bolt. Prices in the bipod and scope market, items that can go on any rifle, are almost the same as a year ago. 

Gun kits are up. 80 percent polymer frame handguns have jumped in price considerably. The BATF says frames that are 80 percent complete are not a handgun. You can get one and build it in your home without filling out BATF paperwork, provided you can legally own the finished product.


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