Q The price of shooting seems to be going up all the time. I am resisting haggling every time I go into a gun shop because I assume there are wider legislative or economic forces at work behind all the price rises. But am I right?
A Stuart says: Pricing of any product can be a very sensitive topic, but the gun trade has its own unique set of factors to consider. First of all, it is waist deep in regulation and restriction. As for products generally, gun shops need to cater for a shooting community with a very broad range in terms of spending power, which means they need to stock a huge number of products to enable all their customers to feel like they have purchased something that is bespoke to their individual needs. There are a huge number of variables involved in this – when I shot clays competitively I do not recall ever seeing two individuals using exactly the same gun (make and specification) with precisely the same ammunition. Everyone strived to acquire something different.
So shooting is bound to have a certain price associated with it, and this is by necessity of the high cost of stocking a gun shop, not by anyone’s greed. But when it comes to pricing strategies, all shops should conform to the Chartered Trading Standards Institute’s new Guidance for Traders on Pricing Practices. One notable change in these guidelines is that products advertised as discounted should have been on sale at full price for the same amount of time they are discounted for (previously there was a ‘five months on, one month off’ rule). Also discouraged are using ‘reference prices’ on seasonal products when they are out of season to give the impression of a discount when the product comes back into season; and using a reference price when only a small amount of product has actually been sold at that price.