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My Best Tax-Refund Spending Tips Go “Pew Pew Pew”




Monday was Judgment Day: Tax day. For those of you that the IRS saw fit to refund: How are you going to spend that annual stimulus? Sure we can use the money for things that we want, but what about the stuff we NEED…guns and gear?

Right now we are in the perfect storm when it comes to the consumer side of the firearms industry. We are far enough removed from the COVID lockdown shortages of everything. Right now most gun stores are finally restocked, and prices are back to almost normal rates. Take it from someone who has seen this cycle many times: This is TEMPORARY. We are in the calm of the eye of the storm. You have until exactly November 5th for the current sanity to hold.

On November 5th, of course, we will have exactly one year until the national election. Every election year the firearms industry goes nuts! Consumers suddenly realize their rights can truly be lost and go into panic buying mode. Prices increase by magnitudes overnight as dealers try to take advantage of a seller’s market. As far as inventory, forget about it, as it dries up immediately. Suddenly everyone needs to hoard pallets of ammo. Get out ahead of them with this list of my favorite 2A online retailers.

At the top of my list has to be Brownells, because I am an American gunsmith. They sell everything from firearms to the accessories needed to make them useful. They specialize in gunsmithing tools and equipment, and have a full selection of parts to service most modern guns. You can order both online, via the paper book catalog and over the phone. If the website says an item is in stock you can take it as gospel, since they use real-time inventory.

Shipping during normal times is always within a day and the rates are as low as they can be. Brownells also offers an Amazon-like subscription called Edge Membership, with waived FFL fees, free two-day shipping, and member discounts. If you are first responder you can get a nice discount on every one of your orders just by registering with Brownells.

If Brownells is like Target, MidwayUSA has to be like Walmart. Arguably where Brownells first and foremost caters to the gunsmith/gunstore, for MidwayUSA the consumer is the main audience. Founder Larry Potterfield has grown beyond just the MidwayUSA supermarket to buy and develop in-house brands that most of us use. Have you ever used a Wheeler Engineering product? Shipping moves like the speed of sound … within an hour of hitting submit, I get the UPS alert that they have position of my order. Again MidwayUSA really specializes in the more modern firearms, so it is hit or miss for older and rarer parts.

This will get kind of confusing at first but bear with me, Numrich is the name, but the website is Numrich is a real jewel of the gunsmithing community … but they will sell direct to the consumer. The Numrich Reference Guides are required reading and I have multiple versions on my coffee table, that’s how useful they are. Think of Numrich as a mega thrift/surplus store. Do you need a Hotchkiss 1922 machine gun firing pin? Well they have some used ones for 37.43 to get your gun working again. When it comes to older and obscure firearms I like to tell customers that if Numrich does not have it…It no longer exists. The inventory has always been spot on and shipping times are more than acceptable.

Remember they specialize in used parts, but they do sell reproduction and even new manufacture parts as well for the most popular firearms. The great thing is that you can order over the phone if you need some help, they have some really knowledgeable people to give you some advice — I can’t count the times they have saved my bacon.

On the opposite of the spectrum from Numrich, you have Midwest Gun Works. Midwest Gun Works specializes on the modern side of gun parts. Do you need a Beretta or Benelli part? Or maybe an FN complete upper or a Springfield XD Grip Safety? MGW will probably have what you need and ship faster than going directly through the firearms warranty service.

I needed a Ruger LC9 Hammer Catch Spring to repair a customer’s gun. MGW had it in my hands before Ruger even answered the warranty email. An interesting thing about MGW is that they offer a GunXchange program, where you can trade in one of your firearms for credit to trade up to something else. You pick a gun you want from the MGW inventory, then take pictures of your trade gun. They make you an offer and if you accept they send you the shipping labels and you pick up your new gun at your local FFL.

GunsAmerica is an online marketplace for buying and selling firearms, accessories, and collectibles. I tend to think of GunsAmerica like my local gun trader service. Now while you can find deals all over the country, what makes GunsAmerica unique is the locals section.

Even in a relatively lower populated state like Alabama, the locals section is extensive and is constantly changing. Once you find something that you can’t live without, you can buy it online and have it shipped to a local dealer. With the locals section you can see inventory of local dealers, pawn shops, etc. I have found things in the most random cities in stores I never even knew existed. Want to keep up on the latest 2A news, GunsAmerica has one of the best Blogs available. The GunsAmerica Digest is an indispensable source for news, guidance and reviews.

Gunbroker is basically the eBay of firearms sales. Where you can just buy items on GunsAmerica, Gunbroker is an auction first and foremost. The catalog is extensive and can sometimes be overwhelming but the search is half the fun. Buying guns online and sending money to strangers can be intimidating. The great thing is that GB has been around so long that the seller ratings are one of the most valuable parts of the website. If multiple dealers have the item you are looking for sometimes it is worth paying a few more dollars to get it from a reputable dealer with thousands of A+ ratings. You know those dealers ship quickly and if they say a condition is like new or new they mean it. The other great thing about Gunbroker is that they are a live up to the minute pricing guide. In the past we had to look at book of gun values buying new editions every year. With Gunbroker you get to see real world pricing with what actually sells and what does not.

I chose these companies both for their products and their customer focus. During the panic times these are the companies that stayed steadfast and didn’t price-gouge. As with the stock market, when it comes to 2A items, it’s best to buy low and sell high. Buy while the gettin’s good.

–James the “XDMAN” Nicholas Mr unPewFessional Himself


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