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Central Oregon gun stores struggle to meet demand amid shortages

Ammunition sales also skyrocket, Bend's Nosler explains

LA PINE, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Demand for guns has been exceptionally high around the country since the pandemic began, and it's so strong that it's hurting some gun stores around Central Oregon.

Several told NewsChannel 21 that they are having a tough time keeping enough inventory to match the demand, which is actually leading to a drop in business.

Mike Shahan who owns La Pine Sporting Goods, said Tuesday it's been hard on his small business: "I still have a lot of people that think, 'Oh, my gosh -- you're in the gun industry, you must be doing really well!' Well, I did really well -- until everything that was on my shelves were gone."

Shahan, like many gun store operators, is now scrambling to find inventory.

"My suppliers that supply everybody in the United States -- they're all pulling from the same supplier, so they were the first ones to go out. Then I couldn't re-stock my shelves," he said. "Now what I have to do for shopping is wait for allocations to come to me, which are few and far between, or shop for retail and try to get it in the store. It's hard to do business that way."

The lack of inventory is so intense, Shahan said his customers, many who are recreational shooters, have stopped coming.

He said he's just trying to weather the storm, so to speak.

"It is threatening (the business)," Shahan said. "What I'm trying to do now is make it through this dry area until I can start getting things, because what I tell people is it's like being a car dealer -- you just don't have any cars to sell."

A representative for the Bend-based ammo company Nosler explained that they have been taking action to step up their manufacturing as well. In fact, a spokesperson told me they're breaking production records.

The Nosler representative explained, "The consumer base of ammunition sharply increased due to the approximately 8 million first time gun owners in the U.S. in 2020, according to national background checks. That's a uniquely high number of new gun owners in one year and not a measure of growth that ammunition manufacturers were prepared for."

"Couple those surging numbers with various manufacturers dealing with limited production because of COVID cases and precautions throughout the year, as well as one of the largest ammo manufacturers in the world was closed for business for much of last year to facilitate bankruptcy and a sale."

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Blake Allen

Blake Allen is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Blake here.



      1. You are correct. All of us communists, socialists, anarchists, etc trust in our friend, Karl Marx, who said:
        “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary”

            1. That would be attempting to extrapolate things a bit too far. Communism has plenty of faults (just as capitalism does) but it’s universally true that the only way people have remained free at any point in human history is when they have possessed the means to resist the abuses of corrupt governments.

              1. Very true. The exploitation of the proletariat can only go on for so long. I think we are at the point where massive reform needs to occur to prevent the latter portion of Marx’s quote I referenced above.

              2. Communism is great if you like genocide. I think the body count was around 100 million in the 20th century, so there’s that little problem to explain away.

                1. It’s not “real” Marxism or communism because geniuses like him haven’t been in charge yet. They’ll get it right finally.

              1. Hitler was a vegetarian. Therefore, vegetarians are literally Hitler. Wow. It’s easy to call anyone “literally Hitler.” I just read the signs at the antifa riots.

          1. His obsession with Trump is a tad creepy as well. What does one do when their identity is wrapped up in hating a former president.
            It will be interesting to see how Trump derangement syndrome unwinds its tendrils from the lost souls who have allowed it to consume them.

  1. Its tough because some of the big boys like sportsmens and bimart still have lots of options especially in handguns, even some local places like Bend Pawn had pretty good selection over the last couple months (even ammo)… not sure what they are doing differently other than charging more 😉

    1. This comment literally proves you aren’t as informed as you would like everyone to think. Your examples – Sportsmen is doing so well they sold out, BiMart runs out of the popular ammo about 2 hours after it is shelved in the mornings, sometimes before it gets to the shelf because there are folks who know the schedule standing there with their hands our. Any pawn store has nothing to do with anything in this story – pawned items are usually from those who are dumping things to survive, not from those purchasing new items (thanks to your governor).

  2. I’ve seen a good selection of firearms for sale . . . pricing remains normal. Ammo is coming in, but sold out the same day. Ammo manufacturers are running at full capacity and only making the most common calibers . . . leaving the odd ball calibers out of stock for the foreseen future. Price gouging has become a real issue. Reloader’s have it real bad, as it’s getting hard to find powder and primers seem to no longer exist . . . all available primers are going to ammunition manufacturers. Brass and bullets are readily available and priced normally.

    1. Yep. This is the exact same situation we have seen several times before.
      It will take some time but things will eventually come back around to
      normal again. People get complacent when there is no shortage and then they
      panic when there is a shortage and the prices go up…
      I always keep more than enough ammo on hand for the calibers that I don’t reload,
      as well as reloading supplies, then when something like this happens, I don’t even
      notice it, and all of the ammo and supplies that I have, I payed regular prices for.

  3. Tough times. Online they’re just gouging us, 9mm box of 50 for $48, but they’re gone the same day, so somebody is paying that. Bimart has been a life saver until about a month ago, good prices on 9 and 380, now they’re just out all the time. I’ve been wanting a o.r. p10c but they’re just impossible to find now. I really enjoyed this sport so much, getting so tired of dry-fire. I keep thinking sooner or later the hoarders will finally have enough and let the rest of us get back to plinking, but I guess that day hasn’t arrived yet. If your shoulder can handle the abuse, there’s still shotgun shells on the shelves…

      1. Look fester… we ride hard out at Phil’s trail, ride hard Northwest in the trees, we climb, so not fat or scared or weak. Through a stroke of luck I got to shoot a friend’s pistol several years ago, and I was awful. I’m usually naturally really good at stuff and I was shocked at how bad of a shot I was, so I worked at it. It took a years but I’ve gotten way better, and I really dig the whole thing where we gear up and go spend time hanging with friends and trying to always get faster and tighter. I’ve put a lot into it and gotten a lot out of it. Sorry, not sorry.

    1. Democrats are gun shop owners’ best friends. They did fantastic business when Obama was in the White House due to so many of their customers freaking out; it’ll be much the same with Biden.

      1. Yeah gun sales really slowed down when trump was whipping you all up into a frenzy right? Gun owners are not very smart or have very short memories or both! Clinton didn’t take your guns, Obama didn’t take your guns and Biden isn’t going to take your guns! so, now that you have 50 guns and can’t afford your kid’s college! hmm, stupid is as stupid does!

          1. I attended a State university in CA which I paid for myself, and now am finishing paying for my two kids Oregon University educations without any debt at all.

  4. Now over 6000 new gun owners in Bend alone since the demonstrations/violent protests began in Portland.

    And the majority offering they never thought of buying/owning a gun before.

    Political affiliation aside folks can see the police are hampered and the “bad guys” are emboldened because of this.

    Heck, even “peacekeeper” founder Luke Richter is on the public record about his Intent to “gun up”.

    One of the first things the Nazis did when they came to power in Germany was to outlaw private firearm ownership for the general public.

    History is repeated by those who fail to learn from it.

  5. .22LR now sells for what 9mm used to and 223/5.56 is now about a $1 a round. Even 7.62 X 39 is no longer cheap. I just shoot .22LR and don’t touch my AR and AK. The 9mm I’ll shoot a magazine or two just to keep the skillset semi-honed.

    I haven’t gone the pellet gun route, yet. 🤣

    But those 8 million new gun owners will come back in handy should Congress start pondering anti-firearms bills.

    1. “…should Congress start pondering anti-firearms bills.”
      A common misunderstanding on the right side of the aisle is that the left side is anti-gun. That is demonstrably. Being pro-gun control does not make one anti-gun. How long have Republicans campaigned on the claim that Democrats were going to “come take your guns”? How many times has that happened? As stated elsewhere, Democrats are the best at selling guns!
      Sure, California and New York have some silly “featureless” requirements, but they don’t keep you from owning a gun.
      And for the record, I think magazines should be limited to 30 rounds (rifle caliber) and 33 rounds (pistol caliber). Machine guns (which already fall under different legislation than “normal” guns) can be exempt from that rule. If it’s good enough for our military, it’s good enough for you.

        1. Most modern sporting rifle magazines are made at a 30 round capacity and Glock-based pistols (using the BATFE definition) can use their 33-round 9mm magazines. I just figure it would be easier to reference products that are already available rather than require manufacturers to re-tool or modify their designs to be compliant.

        1. Would those be the same games that we played when we were younger, but most of us outgrew when we became adults ? It cracks me up seeing guys in the 30’s and 40’s pretending that they are still teenagers playing basketball, or any of the other team sports.
          These are the same guys that hang out in sports bars wearing their favorite players jersey, yelling at the t.v when a real athlete makes a bad play…

          You may not consider shooting a real sport but there is a lot more to it than just
          pointing and pulling the trigger. Some people aren’t into target shooting but do use their guns for hunting. When I was still hunting with a rifle, I’ve gone elk hunting in remote wilderness areas with guys in their 30’s and 40’s that considered themselves athletes, and by the second day they were sitting in the tent because they couldn’t pull it off…

          1. Learning to control your mind and body when you’re about to set off an explosion in your hands with the intent to poke several holes quickly and with a high degree of accuracy takes inner peace and self control earned through thousands of repetitions willing yourself to stay focused and in the moment and not to flinch or relax. An IPSC Grand Master can give a class in inner peace and focus that would rival any Zen master, plus he could defend his family in a pinch.

            1. You certainly said it a lot more eloquently than I could have…
              I shot IPSC and Glock competitions too for several years, but I’m
              not what I would consider a Grand Master. I really like my Glocks for
              various reasons but I absolutely love my 1911’s…
              When I was shooting competitively I shot 5-600 rounds of 45acp a day,
              5-6 days a week.

  6. I’ve been accused of being both liberal and conservative, but I’ve no issue with responsible gun ownership. In fact, I’m currently shopping for a .22 handgun for the home. Nothing fancy. Just a single six. Like Grandad says, if you cant do it in one shot the rest won’t matter.

    My only issues with gun owners are those that think they need an armory at home and have more firearms than they realistically could need (yes…WANT is different) and stockpile literally thousands and thousands of rounds. If you’re that paranoid of THEM (whoever they are) coming for you or your stuff, I dont know what to tell you. Nor do I enjoy being around those who flaunt their guns as a compensator for their assumed limited manhood. You know…the type that would storm a capital building…

    Pardon the ignorance, but how is the market for those doing their own reloads? Is it just as expensive and supplies limited as well?

    1. Reloading supplies are affected too. Bullets are still around but selection is becoming limited and prices are trending up. Powder availability is down significantly. Primers are all but impossible to find, any that show up for sale online sell in minutes.

      1. My rule for the appropriate amount of guns to own, as a member of the Socialist Rifle Association, is the current number you have, plus one.
        Technically speaking, most folks have a maximum of two hands, so I get that two is a good, logical number. For an “all purpose” collection, going with a 3-gun (a piston, shotgun and rifle) mentality can tick all the boxes.

      2. I have several cousins who each own no less than 20 firearms. One has a gun room that is electronically locked so only he can enter and his last count was 56. Then there is the ammo…

        That to me is excessive. I go between thinking they’re nuts to figuring that if it makes them happy…what the heck.

        I personally figure a person should be good with a handgun for home, a hunting rifle and/or a shotgun.

  7. Pathetic. When was the last time anyone on this forum needed a gun to protect themselves? Probably never. But wait, gun ownership is so much more than that! It’s a “sport”! It’s way cool to go out on public lands and shoot a TV. Might as well dump your trash there at the same time. Pathetic, insecure, uneducated and afraid little people. “My brain is really limited, so I have this arsenal to defend my fear based beliefs”. Clueless. Why don’t you take your gun & ammo money and order take out food from a local restaurant (not a big mac or whopper)? Try helping the community as opposed to hiding in fear.

    1. 32 years ago. Needed it, used it and have no regrets. I hope I’ll never have to do that again but hope in one hand and c**p in the other and see which fills up first. You should try it before you knock it, chief. Try squeezing off a few rounds. It’s a lot of fun. It really seems to rattle your educated, oh-so-mentally-stable cage that people have interests you don’t share. What’s behind that? And do you really believe that nobody in the community makes a living from selling guns and ammo? Try helping the community as opposed to hiding in fear.

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