This past Saturday I attended the Greensboro (NC) Gun Show with my son-in-law Jeremy and his dad Jeff. The show is held twice yearly at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex. It had been a year since we’d last gone to this gun show. The show is an 800 table show which puts it about twice as large as the Asheville (400) and Winston-Salem (300) gun shows.
Much has changed in the year since we last attended this gun show. The largest change is in the political landscape which in turn has impacted the gun world and attendant sales. When it looked like vehemently anti-gun Hillary Clinton would win the presidency, gun sales stayed extremely strong and broke previous records. Many had a “better get it now” mentality. Then Donald Trump surprised both Hillary and the world by taking the presidency. While there are still threats on the state and local level, the pressure on the federal level is now off. Sales are down and so are the prices on certain firearms.
Along with that it seems so is the attendance at gun shows. The last time I attended the Greensboro show there were lines to buy tickets. This year, you could just walk up to one of the four ticket sellers and buy a ticket. Parking was easy and we got a good spot not that far from the entrance.
My experience in Greensboro is similar to what I’ve seen in Asheville. Aisles are not crowded. There are some tables going unsold and some vendors are missing. I spoke with one vendor who sold knives who said this was their last show at Greensboro unless they saw sales improve. They had an end of the row location with tables covering both sides and the end. In other words, a prime location to attract plenty of attention.
I didn’t see too many people wandering the aisles with guns or ammo for sale. That may just have been a Greensboro Gun Show thing as I often see it in Asheville. I did see a handful of tables with people conducting private sales of a limited number of firearms. These tended to be either older bolt action guns or double barrel shotguns.
In terms of prices, gun shows have never seemed to me to be the place to get the best prices on new guns. That said, I was more than a little surprised to see Ruger AR-556s selling for under $500. Indeed one vendor had them marked down to $445. That is as telling an indicator of the state of the AR market as anything. Of course, you had other vendors trying to sell these same carbines in the mid-$600 range. As many others have said or written, now is the time to buy an AR-15 if you don’t have one. I almost bought one to put away but I already have enough ARs as well as enough parts to build three or so more.
The one firearm category attracting the most attention are the new 12-gauge,14″ barreled not-shotguns, not-pistols, but merely firearms from Remington and Mossberg. I spoke to one vendor who had at least 8-10 Mossberg Shockwaves on his table and he said they were selling very well.
So what did I come home with? A set of AR handguards, a molle mag pouch to use as a knife pouch, a RCBS shellholder, and a Fenix mini-keychain flashlight. My best deal was on the handguard which were the old M16A1/Colt SP1 triangular handguards. While they can sell for as much as $200 for new old stock and in the $35-40 range (or more) used, I picked mine up for $15. I felt like I got a steal!
We ended our visit to the Greensboro Gun Show with a late lunch at Stamey’s BBQ which is across the street from the Coliseum. I know my friends from Texas and from eastern North Carolina will disagree but there is nothing finer than a sandwich of Lexington-style chopped pork BBQ topped with tangy BBQ slaw and some dip sauce. It was a great way to end the day.
If you have been to a local gun show recently, I’d love to hear your experiences so please leave them in the comments.