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Pandemic Gun Sales: What's Hot

A detailed look at the firearms that have vanished from retailers.

Pandemic Gun Sales: What's Hot

Strong sales of compact carry guns, and inexpensive guns are selling the best, which is no surprise. Even as I was talking to a local gun dealer, the crowd at the store was busy examining the most affordable pistols and shotguns. (They seemed to miss the classic High Standard Supermatic target guns and a vintage Smith & Wesson Model 19 I spied, but both of these were priced well above what most new gun owners want to pay. Once the lines dwindle, I may have to return and take a closer look at those guns if they’re still for sale.

It appears that you can still find firearms for sale on a national scale, though your options may be limited as available guns are selling out quickly. So, Guns & Ammo’s editors sent me out on assignment to survey what’s selling. I stopped at Brownells ( for a pulse of the industry’s supply.


Brownells has more than 50 9mm semiautomatic pistols in stock including such popular models as the SIG Sauer P365 and the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. There and around a dozen handguns chambered in .380 ACP, .45 ACP and .40 S&W, too.


Revolvers — .38 caliber in particular — are also hot sellers. Around 80 percent of the .38 wheelguns that Brownells typically keeps in inventory have been sold out. Of the six different .38 models currently in stock, two of those are single-action guns.

Model 1911

It’s worth noting that of the guns remaining, many would be classified as among the more expensive options in this category. If you have the financial resources to afford a Model 1911 costing upwards of $2,000 or more, those guns are still available. The $600 1911s have all but vanished.


On the rifle segment, AR-type rifles are a popular item at the moment, which is in juxtaposition to their sales prior to March 2020. Brownell’s preexisting stock of 125 5.56 semiautos has been reduced to just 25 options. There are seven different semiautomatic .308 rifles still available, but be prepared to spend. The least expensive model carries a price tag of $999 and several range between $3,000 and $5,000.

Just two .300 Blackout guns are in stock, but if you’re willing to shoot a rifle in 6.5 Grendel or Wilson Combat’s .300 HAM’R cartridge, those ARs are still available.

Pandemic Gun Sales

Bolt Actions

There hasn’t been as much demand for bolt-action rifles, and many calibers and brands are at least 50 percent in-stock. This could be a good thing because a bolt gun can make a dandy home defense option for those who live outside of metropolitan areas.

Lever Actions

It appears that lever guns have a stronger foothold in the defense market than previously imagined. There has been plenty of coverage in the gun media reviewing Marlin’s new Dark Series and celebrating Winchester’s levers. Additionally, this category has been supported by lever-specific ammunition such as Hornady LeverEvolution ( and Federal’s new HammerDown line ( These cartridges manufactured in an array of chamberings, but .30-30 Winchester is the most popular. In fact, at Brownells there is only one .30-30 lever gun in stock at the time of this writing. This also mirrors what my local gun store in Ohio is experiencing.


Semiautomatic, over/under and side-by-side shotguns haven’t sold out. These are generally in-stock with numbers running more than 50 percent available compared to pre-Covid-19. However, defensive shotguns such as the Stoeger Double Defense and other short-barreled tactical semiautos including Mossberg’s Shockwave and Remington’s TAC-13 are being scooped up.

Pump guns are selling rapidly. Of the 50 options at listed at Brownells’ website, only a single slide-action model remains in stock. I believe that this is likely due to the pump’s lower price point and reputation for dependability as a worthy home-defense option.

Final Thoughts

The figures from Brownells represent what’s currently available to be shipped to your local FFL. These guns are not available for direct shipping to your door, which is much to the shock of panic-stricken gun-control advocates. In fact, anti-gun activists are now waking up to the reality that guns are not for direct sale online as they had always believed and spewed through the media. It’s likely that panic buyers who have no background in guns may not even be aware that a company like Brownells exists. Just because there may be empty shelves behind the gun counter at your local shop doesn’t mean that there are no other options to purchase a firearm.


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