Monday, January 21, 2013

My note to Brownell's

I have always been curious why retailers and those in the industry of firearms buckle and cater to the push of a public that has not and will never darken their door.  Recently, true colors seem to have been shown in light of an emotional topic.  When it came time to stand on a side, a few merchants decided they would cave and/or do head-scratching things.

A couple of these were Dick's Sporting Goods and Cheaper Than Dirt.  Now, Dick's pulled a bonehead by pulling all semi-auto sporting rifles from their stock and submarining their relationship with Troy Industries in the process.  However, Dick's isn't specifically targeted toward the shooting community.  They just like our money a lot, but their real bread-and-butter is sporting goods in general.  I'm not saying that gives them a pass, it just makes them hypocritical.  They have other interests as well, but that call will keep me from getting ammo from them in the future.

However, Cheaper Than Dirt?  What purpose would be served to suspend sales of ARs to your customers?  If it was a matter of being overwhelmed, then let's just say so.  I know that Brownell's did exactly that.  They were honest and stuck with their customer base.  No price-gouging, just a serious attempt  to meet the expectations of their customers.  I have no clue what prompted Cheaper Than Dirt to post a comment something to the effect that they were 'suspending sales' while they re-evaluated their process for selling firearms, but that's squirrelly at best.  Meanwhile, I see Brownell's saying they are doing their best to provide their products and they were just overwhelmed.  They even continued to take back-orders at their normal prices for quite a period of time.  Honesty, plain and simple.  In full disclosure, I cannot remember having ordered any products from Brownell's in the past.  I may have, but they weren't the first place I looked.  I know I have ordered from Cheaper Than Dirt.  I can say that may be a thing of the past.  I was on their email distribution list and received an email saying "Magazines, back in stock!"  I didn't have time to look at it on my phone, but quickly forwarded it to a group of friends, one of which had mentioned they were wanting a couple of AK mags.  The responses back were quick and filled with colorful language.  I won't use it here, but the discussion was all around the high price of the magazines.  $80. for a blue steel AK mag and $130 for a metal Colt AR mag?  Well, I guess that shows me why they're in stock.

So, I thought I would send a note to Brownell's and tell them I appreciated:



Mr. Weeks,
My friends and I are pretty passionate about firearms and the outdoors.  We love to collect, shoot and enjoy the firearms that we are lucky enough to have.  Recently, we have been watching some of the companies that I thought would be our allies in the current battle for our rights.  We have been sorely disappointed.  Yes, these companies are usually competitors, but lately there is plenty of business to go around  We watched as Cheaper Than Dirt initially suspended sales and now have turned around and begun some serious price gouging on magazines.  $130. for a used Colt AR mag is a bit insane.  We have also watched other companies and how they have handled themselves during this time.  Brownell's, for some reason, was never my first stop when looking for accessories and I don't know why, really.  The first thing to get my attention was the post on AR15.com by Mr. Brownell which I stumbled upon through other gun blogs.  His up front and honest description of what was going on was refreshing.  In general, people are not stupid and an honest explanation was all it took.  From there, I went to Brownell's and went ahead and back-ordered some Pmags.  It was obvious that Brownell's had more business than it could deal with and could charge whatever you wanted, but you did not.  These short-term money making decisions may work right now, but customers do not forget this in the long run.  Because of the way Brownell's has handled themselves during this time of high stress, it will be my first stop for accessories from now on.
Thank you for standing by the community.



Though I'm sure he has been insanely busy, Mr Weeks responded in short order:



Thanks for noticing!  We've hired temp help, been working overtime and generally trying to dig out this hole. Our crew had two meetings with magpul at SHOT show.  They are trying to bring more machines online to increase their production.  It all may take a while but we will all get caught up.  In the meantime, please call your senators and congressman.  Thanks for your faith.
Larry Weeks



It is times like now when those that will stand up are recognized.  I know we can't be doing any infighting at this point, but actions will be remembered.  I know that Cabela's has also shown some real spine lately.  I will have to save my pennies and travel a little further up the road to support them next time.

17 comments:

  1. I'll try this again. My first comment didn't post.

    Anyhow, I've done business with Brownells for years and they are a great company. Well done on the letter.

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    1. Thanks, Stephen. So far I am impressed with the level of customer contact they have. They are keeping in touch on the back-order.

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  2. Not surprised by Larry's response- He's good folks and so are Brownells.

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    1. It's good to know, NFO. From what I have seen so far, they are honest and up front about issues. Nice to see that.

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  3. Dunno where in Texas you're located, but my wife and I are between Dallas and FtWorth (closer to FtWorth). I work, literally, about 3/4 of a mile away from Cheaper Than Dirt off of 35 and 820. That being said....we will drive right past CTD and head up to Cabelas on 35 by Alliance whenever we need to do our shopping. We haven't ordered anything firearm-related online (still new enough that we like the hands-on and face-to-face ability to ask questions and get feedback and opinions), but Brownells has our respect for how they've handled this. They're top of our list if we ever need (and can afford) to order online. Thanks for the post and the info, 45!

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    1. I'm further south, Rabid. I know CTD is a Texas based company which made it all the more distressing when they got all goofy. There are a lot of other places to go that didn't pull this stuff.

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  4. I've liked Brownells, but for some reason, they weren't my first stop for things. They will be now. Thanks for sharing this with us, I will pass it on as well.

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    1. There are so many that have stuck by their guns, Brigid. Brownell's was the earliest voice I heard standing by customers and providing the same product at the same price. There are others for sure, but Groupon, Dick's and CTD are out for me. Groupon cancelled all firearm related deals recently. Funny how companies will take your money when it's good for them. Groupon is off the list for me as well.

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  5. +1 to what Old NFO said. I'm proud to be a Brownell's customer, and Larry is also a customer of mine. I've always found him and the others at Brownell's to be good people. Highly recommended.

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    1. Thanks for coming by, Michael. Jennifer was one of the first blogs I frequented. It sounds like the people at Brownell's are quite connected with the good guys in the community. :)

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  6. Michael makes great holsters and is always willing to try something different. Larry.

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    1. Well, thank you for stopping by. I have heard that from many places. I may have to inquire about one for a 1911 and I might start carrying it again.

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  7. I ordered from Brownells for the first time on Dec 28th. I have since preordered about $250 worth of mags from them. I am stacking up. I chose to only order from them because I read about how they were not caving. They will surely be pleased to see how much their integrity pays off with new loyal customers like myself.
    Steven

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Steven. I also ordered a stack of Pmags. Not necessarily because I "needed" them, but more for insurance. It does pay to have learned from the past and I'm pretty well set for now. I do believe we need to make sure our reps know how we feel so we don't relive the ban of the 90s, but probably twice as bad.

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  8. I'm pretty sure I have shipped you something from Brownells before. Also, the Alumahyde II that I painted your P3AT mag extension with is a Brownells product

    Brownells was always #2 on my list just because the website used to suck. Now that they have updated it, and they are neck and neck with Midway as my top money vampire now.

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    1. Was that the 30-30 peep sight? That thing, by the way works awesome if I haven't told you. The Alumahyde is still holding up like a champ after banging around and running a couple hundred rounds through it. Huh, more good reasons to use them. I need to get a can of that Alumahyde. I have a few accessories that could benefit from a spray or two. It's so dry around here that all you need to blend in is just to be some shade of brown. Was the one you had Coyote or Desert Tan?

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    2. I think it was Coyote, but I'll check when I get home.

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