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Are handgun buyers getting the shaft when it comes to purchase prices? Why do handguns cost as much, or more then rifles? There is more material in a rifle. There is more machining in a rifle. The labor for assembly should be about the same. R&D should be about the same.

Here are some examples.

Kimber 1911 basic model MSRP $730
Remington 700 BDL MSRP $650

Kimber Custom Shop about $1800
Remington Custom Shop about $1500

Am I comparing apples to oranges, or is there something to this?

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Economics. They charge $730 for a Kimber Custom Classic because people pay $730 for it. ($730 is MSRP, street value is around $575-$600, from what I have seen, but you get the point)

Glocks when they first arrived on American soil ran between $300-$400. Now they run between $500-$600. Has the cost of production gone up? Not likely. Popularity and market conditions dictate pricing. They are going to charge the maximum amount they can get for anything, no matter what the product is.
 

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Are handgun buyers getting the shaft in regards to prices over long guns? It depends on your persective.

Aside from variables such as individual brand names that might affect prices, due in part to the snob appeal factor on any product, there are several reasons to consider that might be a cause for higher handgun prices.

First, gun companies have higher liability risks for handguns. This is because handguns are more often used for interpersonal conflict than long guns, at least on the civilian level. Companies do not suffer liability suits for such products until AFTER somebody gets hurt by the products. Just about every cop in the US carries a handgun, but few carry long guns. Most shootings by cops are with handguns and as such, every injured person potentially will sue for damages relating to being shot. AND, unless you have been on the moon for the last 10 years, then you will know that hangun liability has become a signficant cost to handgun makers.

Most ccw people carry handguns, not long guns. More liability risk for the handgun makers here too. While I own a shotgun, chances are that it will not be the gun that gets used by me to protect myself while away from home, and even a likely possibility it won't be used in my home, although that is why I have it. This is because I don't carry the shotgun around with me while at home or in the yard, although I usually carry my handgun all the time. I own zero rifles.

Complexity of the mechanism: Few people (comaratively speaking) buy single shot handguns over multi-shot guns. Most single shot handguns (and rifles) are less complex to make, hence will suffer less material and labor costs. So, as a category of difference, more rifles are single shot than handguns, hence general rifle prices would be cheaper. What about multi-shot handguns versus the same in long guns? Here the issue may be attributed to the possible influence of size. Smaller items are more costly to produce in labor, than larger versions in many cases. For example, it used to be that hand held or pocket color TVs cost more than 27" color TVs. Part of this cost was due to miniturization and part due to economies of scale. For handguns, the minituration problem comes in regard to difficulty of putting smaller parts together and the fact that on some types of handguns, miniturization means higher amounts of precision are needed to assure proper function given that there is less room for slop. The precision of parts' size (and fitting) for a cannon may need to be only within .01" whereas on a handgun, you may need .001" or better.

Next, consider economies of scale. I am guessing on this, but I assume that probably more long guns are sold than handguns. Kimber made 17,000 handguns. How many Remington 700s were made last year or how many were made that used some of the exact same parts (various 700 series guns)? In the world of mass production, unit cost per item drops as production increases. No matter how many guns are produced, the same tools will be needed to produce 1 or one million, so with machinery overhead the same for production output. Therefore the cost is spread not over just one item, but many. If Kimber used $4 million of machinery to produce a 1911 and made one gun, machinery overhead is $4 million. If they produced 4, then the cost is only $1 million each.

Smithmeister noted that Glocks cost $300-400 and now cost $500-600 and attributed this fact to market popularity, not cost of production. I think his comment in sightful, but probably quite wrong. Glock may have been able to reduce its costs of production with economies of scale (more popularity equating with more guns being produced to meet demand), but prices may still have risen. So is Glock ripping off people? Probably not. Generally popularity of a product does not increase the price to the consumer EXCEPT when supply cannot meet demand. When that happens, prices go up. If supply can meet demand, prices tend to drop in a competitive market (not monopoly). Notice how it is cheaper to buy in bulk than singularly? As such, companies can lower their prices, capture more market share (which has huge benefits from repeat business in the future, greater name recognition, etc.), and still make profit. There is where competition is really a factor in the market environment.

So, why did Glock prices go up even though their guns must be cheaper to cost now due to economies of scale and the benefits of having captured a large segment of the handgun market with their popular guns? This is a no brainer. When Glock started selling guns in the early 1980s, many types of costs were cheaper then than now. Labor was cheaper, machinery was cheaper, etc. Now they aren't. Plus, our dollars simply do not go as far today as they did in the past. One cent was what I paid for one piece of bubble gum in the late 60s and early 70s. Last time I saw one piece bubblegum at the convenience store, it was 5 cents. In going through the old Sears catalog, there were rifles that cost less than $20 that now have a price over a couple of hundred today for the same model.

The whole issue of product price is much more complex than simply saying, "Look, handguns oftn cost more than long guns, we much be getting ripped off."
 

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Originally posted by 173abn:
Pistols are still a 2lb(+ or -)piece of metal (plastic?) which is 90% machined and way overpriced. I've been through this on another thread a while back, and I haven't changed my mind.
I agree. Prices are over where they should be. These lawsuits people point to for higher costs seem to be being thrown out of courts left and right. So I dont see that is being a big factor.
 

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Of course consumers would not see lawsuits as a big factor as they are not the ones getting sued. Keep in mind, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on so that cases can go to court. Even if the case does not go the court, companies being sued will have still spent a lot of money in preparing a defense.

Rifles are 6-9 lbs pieces of metal (plastic?) which is 90% machined and way overpriced as well. Sorry, could not resist. Weights and what is left after machining is not really relevant in that the value of the gun does not decrease beause it was machined from a big block of metal or the stock from a wood tree trunk.
 

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Originally posted by Double Naught Spy:
Weights and what is left after machining is not really relevant in that the value of the gun does not decrease beause it was machined from a big block of metal or the stock from a wood tree trunk.[/B]
Machines have a big effect on the cost of production, it brings it down, less manhours,,there is a lot less "smithing" in a gun today than years ago. However, I believe in the free market system, so if we really want the price to go down, all we have to do is stop buying for a while. Are we ready to do that?
 

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Think about all the hands the guns go thru to get to us. Each has to keep records and make a profit. I buy most of my guns from outside the US production Sigs HK Glock etc and they each have different exchange rates and vastly different labor costs. I find it more interesting that buying a basic gun costs about the same for a remington 700 or a 1911 or a glock or an autoloading shotgun... I think guns are made to certain price points and the manufacturer may make a bit more or less based on what the gun can sell for.
 

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Pop a basic rifle (like a Rem 700) out of it's stock and all you have is a long barrel screwed into a receiver. I think there is more to a pistol than a rifle in those terms. Maybe that justifies that pistols cost a little more. NAA.

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At least one factor that has run up prices somewhat is shipping. Thanks to UPS and other companies who now insist on Next Day Air shipment of handguns.

Another factor for Glocks is that they are produced in the Austria Prefecture of the Socialist States of European Union where the labor costs are very high.
 

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Consider too that, unlike computers or power tools (which are more technologically sophisticated than semi-automatic pistols and have huge R&D expenses), you cannot buy a handgun through direct mail order, thanks to the Gun Control Act of 1968. Were this transaction possible, there would be more competition for your gun-buying dollars. In turn, prices would come down.

It is over-regulation of the firearms market by your elected representatives and their knuckle-headed bureaucratic enforcers that has driven up the cost of a firearms in the U.S. Increased regulation has created a seller's market.

People who want more Gun Control know that they cannot enact (in practical terms) a general prohibition against the private ownership of firearms. They do know though that the expense of increased regulation is passed along to the retail buyer. Decreasing sales over the last few years tell the story: They intend to starve us out of our guns.
 

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The finest revolver (S&W)costs much less that an equally good auto pistol. The revolver appears to be a more intricate and complicated to build device to my eye. So, what gives? The S&W in it's current form has been around since 1899 and the basic pistol since 1911. There is not much R&D cost involved with either. I would guess that revolvers are involved in about as many lawsuits as pistols.

So, I wonder too, but more specifically, why do pistols cost so much more compared to revolvers, rifles and shotguns?

The answer is likely; supply and demand, as previously stated.
 

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The law suits are being thrown out but it's costing the companies millions in attorney's fees to get them kicked. Increasing the business costs of the companies was one of the primary reasons for filing suit.
 

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We need to remember economy of scale, too. I won't begin to guess how much it affects gun prices, but if Remington is selling 50,000 Model 700s in the same time that Kimber is selling 25,000 1911 clones, then Remington can spread all their fixed costs (like tooling and R&D) over twice as many guns.

My guess is that there is a lot more R&D involved in making a 1911, anyway. If you don't have everything just so, the stupid thing won't work. With a Model 700, if you don't put the ammo in backwards, it'll probably work fine.

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If God didn't want us to own guns, why did He make the 1911?
 

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Another thing to consider on this subject is how much red tape and fees blah blah blah that the manufacturer and dealers have to go through for a handgun. It is much more than is necessary for a long gun. Plus the Excise Tax (which is usually included in the cost) on handguns is MUCH greater than on longuns.

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Economics. They charge $730 for a Kimber Custom Classic because people pay $730 for it.
Exactly. Choose your handgun carefully, and there are still bargains to be had. New Ruger wheelguns still sell for under $350, with the kind of quality that will literally last you a lifetime. Taurus also offers excellent value.
 
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