1. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    Why are guns as expensive as they are and what would make them cheaper?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by TheApprentice, Aug 25, 2016.

    So in my story basically everyone owns a gun because the world is infested with weird little monsters running around everywhere. A company is praised for selling guns and ammunition for cheap.

    I am probably going to skip over explaining how the guns are so cheap, but I kind of want to know how it can be done.

    Is there any way a handgun like, say, a glock could be sold for $50 yet still turn a profit for a major company?
     
  2. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I doubt it. There's a lot of precision machining of high-quality metals needed to make something that won't either blow up in your face or fail to function at the wrong time. I suppose the best thing you could do is look at profit margins and work your way down the supply chain. For example, after a manufacturer produces a gun, it probably goes through two or three more sets of hands before it gets to the (legitimate) end-user. I'm guessing the gun company sells to some sort of distributor, who then sells to the local gun shop, and there's a markup at each point in the chain. If it was legal in your world for the manufacturer to sell directly to the public, perhaps by internet or mail-order, you could probably cut the price in half, but your Glock would still be a few hundred bucks.
     
  3. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Umm, don't really see a gun below $100 if using modern society as a basis.

    However, if you could cut labor costs maybe. Purely automated manufacturing. A.I. technology and robot workers for mass producing.
     
  4. halisme
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    halisme Contributing Member Contributor

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    3D printing. Just say they found a way to make a hard enough printable resin and then you have mass produced anything. Alternatively, they sell the guns cheap, but the ammo not.
     
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  5. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    If the cost of maintaining the machines that build the guns, the cost of raw materials, etc. are all low enough, yes. You'd have to also take humans out of the manufacturing process because those buggers demand to be paid well enough to survive until their next shift.
     
  6. Earp
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    Earp Active Member

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    Probably not $100 in today's dollars, but these guys manage $200 MSRP (http://hi-pointfirearms.com) with a somewhat crude design and a lot of automation in the factory. Still, it's American-made and guaranteed for life. I have one, and it's accurate and reliable, if a bit slippery. I agree with @halisme - 3D printing should bring the price down even further. Guns are a sellers' market right now, though. I'd guess that the cost of liability insurance has an effect on gun prices, too.
     
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  7. IituRSI
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    IituRSI Member

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    Maybe goverment could pay them a little? People wouldn't have to pay the whole prize
     
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  8. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Depends on the kind of economy in which the gun is being sold. If you're looking at an open market, capitalist system like in America, low prices for an item may be a sales gimmick out of the gate, but if demand for the item is high, then market tolerance will come into play. You may have little monsters running around your world, but greed is the ever-present human monster. Things sell for whatever the market will bear. If there is no decrease in sales of units as the cost goes up, then the cost will go up until there is a decrease. And if there is decrease in sales of units, but the decrease is still offset by the increased profit gained in raising the price, the price will still get raised. I know that for all of you living under democratic socialism this sounds like nonsense, but seriously, in an open market this is the dynamic in play.

    Take TOMS shoes for example. The last pair I bought set me back $80.00 USD. This is still relatively cheap for men's shoes in the U.S., but compared to the humble beginnings of TOMS and the whole "we want to give shoes to the world" hippy-dippy, sjw marketing tactic they still employ, the cost of these shoes skyrocketed in little under a decade from the $20.00-ish I originally paid for my first pair. I was still willing to pay the 80 bucks because I like the shoes, so my individual buyer tolerance has yet to be maxed out, obviously.

    Someone above mentioned 3D printing, which I think is really the best way to go.

    ETA: Or make the government the buyer. This takes it out of the free market dynamic and turns it into a bid war. That's something very different. The amount of money to be made is HUGE and guaranteed, but it's understood from the outset that the award will go to the lowest bidder who satisfies the needs of the commission. Then have the gov give the guns out in some fashion. This is how defense contracts (that aren't corrupt) usually work.
     
  9. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd probably hand-wave some kind of new and innovative manufacturing process, and think about what that process might actually be a bit more if it's going to become a plot point.

    With current methods of manufacturing, you could see some price decreases through economies of scale - in your world, it sounds like the market is far larger, so a company could afford to sell guns at lower margins to more people to make an equivalent amount of profit. That wouldn't really explain why only one company was doing that, though, unless you've got one whale-shark of a manufacturer in a sea full of minnows.
     
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  10. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    saturday night specials like lorkin/hipoint/raven etc and various chinese knockoffs are pretty cheap but they are also pretty crap and i wouldnt want to depend on one for defence against 'weird little monsters"

    A sawn off shotgun style weapon could easily be mass produced for under $100 dolars, but you only get two shots and they arent really acurate - the other option is a bow either cross bow or long bow , or a black widdow style catapult - all three of which weould eaily be in budget (or a gas powered flame weapon , or a taser )
     
  11. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    I think that....this person has a pretty good idea. If the weird little monsters really are everywhere (like the damn Pokemon my wife keeps finding in the apartment), the government might subsidize guns, or offer a tax break to the makers or something.
     
  12. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Or people could take them on mano et monstero with edged weapons in a samruai epic :D

    (or given the current political climate the govt could discover that weird little mosters have rights too and that they are only killing people because they are misunderstood, and instead of fireaerms they could fund a focus group and give out buttons saying 'hug a moster' make them feel loved and 'monsters are people too' 'emancipation for monsters" Squirtle/ Trump 2020 .... (okay i think i'll step away from the coffee now)
     
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  13. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    you could always have a gun dealer selling them on the black market which is not legal of course but since this is fictional it would work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  14. Grub-r
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    Grub-r Member

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    Maybe a different point of view here, but I could see in a society where monsters and the protection from/extermination of, has become the norm that truly well made guns would actually be insanely expensive.

    Quickly they'd become status symbols. Master-crafters only making one or two precisely engineered pieces a year and only for the most elite citizens.

    Of course anything that takes a long time to be made right that could be sold for a ton of money, could also be made quickly and cheap.

    Perhaps there are a dozen or so shady manufacturers that sell less then reliable weaponry. People with little or no means have no choice but to use them even with the risks involved. Your choice being eaten alive by monsters with no chance to defend yourself or take the 50/50 chance that piece of crap starpped to your hip will work this time. The government turns a blind eye because the alternative would be unarmed vulnerable citizens.

    It could be the mark of your class. Thorston Snootyton III with his Ferrari vs Joe Q in his beater.

    This of course would ruin your plot point with the benevolent company. I'm not sure how intrinsic that is to the story.
     
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  15. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    My dad's pal's daddy made them a rifle on the lathe - to play with. Dad took the gun to college to frighten the college bully. This bully had been waving a Webley round the classroom and 'frightening girls,' he said, [father]

    I wrote it up - as fiction, but the story never shapes up right.

    I'll go, write it again someday. That would be 1956, the gun was free of charge.

    [I'll try and fix it now, actually, bugging me]
     
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  16. Dr. Mambo
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    Dr. Mambo Active Member

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    I know this thread is over a month old, but I figured I'd chime in anyway since someone mentioned Hi-Point firearms.

    They're ugly, they're anchors, and everyone who knows guns makes fun of them, but Earp is right to point out that they're the perfect example of what the OP is looking for. In a world where everyone needs arms to shoot all the random gremlins running around, it isn't inconceivable to think that a company like Hi-Point would proliferate cheap firearms for the common good. Similarly, the person who suggest government subsidy might be onto something. The government will pay people a few cents per animal to massacre certain varmints such as prairie dogs in an effort to control those populations. Why not do the same thing for the monsters?
     
  17. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Firstly you have to consider your fictions economy and how it works. How much the raw (or salvageable and recyclable materials) cost to obtain and then priced out for wholesale pricing by the tonne. Recyclable materials would be a hell of a lot cheaper to collect as they don't have to mined or manufactured. For example (and to save time) we will say fresh raw materials are $5G a tonne and recyclable materials $1.5G a tonne. Either rout you go you will need a foundry facility to melt the metal components down, and something similar for the polymer plastics (though you could have a full manufacturing depot that has such facilities and run by automation with around we will say 1-2,000 crafts people and line workers). Now if your manufacture is relying on recyclable materials at $15oo a tonne, they will not as much per tonne compared to fresh mined. But in each of the salvageable tonnes they can get both materials to be refashioned into the parts they need, without having to shell out and rely on two different companies to extract, pre-fabricate the parts, and ship them out. So by spending less for resources you can cut the cost of production down substantially along with having the extra addition of site foundry and fabrication facilities onto of the assembly line crews.

    For munitions however, they will be a little cheaper than they are today (this is assuming they recycle brass, be it from spent casings or from other items made of brass that can be melted down and recast to make bullets (and where ever possible spent casings can be reloaded)). Also the minerals needed for primer and powder will be an extra cost but will say $2300 a tonne for pre-mixed powder and prefabbed primers. And the projectiles can be harvested from the softer or easily workable metals salvaged from the recyclable materials keeping manufacturing costs low.

    So you can have (if you offer a reliable and accurate pistol and rifle, each in a single effective caliber) hot off the line and to the masses in bulk. Unfortunately a pistol will be around $75, a rifle at $200. And ammo will be $5 for 50 round box of 9mm, and $8 for a 20 round box of 5.56x45 (AR-15 standard caliber).

    At the end of the day you could flood the market with weapons all day everyday at affordable prices as well as cheap ammunition. Giving your populace the armament they need to combat the monsters plaguing them. And there you have it, you can manufacture more weapons at low low prices. :)
     
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  18. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Or you can buy an axe handle for $10 and drive a bunch of nails through one end and have a servicable weapon that doesnt jam or run out of rounds and requires a lot less skill to use ;)
     
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  19. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    True but an axe or a machete can be purchased for $10 or less and be just as effective. A wooden bat would be a much better candidate for being modded, but instead of nails use long wood screws and wrap it with barbed or razor wire. :p
     
  20. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Actually its probably better unmodded so it doesnt get jammed or stuck in the moster concerned :)
     
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  21. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Why you gotta suck the fun out of it? :supergrin:
     
  22. big soft moose
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    big soft moose Active Member

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    Theres plenty of fun to be had bludgeoning little monsters with a fungo bat or garroting them with cheese wire ;)
     
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  23. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    And Piano wire, guitar strings...
     
  24. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Going to put a whole lot of assumptions into the OP's story for the sake of argument. sorry. Let's assume that a "weird little monster" is roughly equivalent to an adult house cat or medium sized dog. If everyone is carrying guns because of this, there's probably a reason people want stand-off capability, so maybe they're venomous or something. Venomous house cat vs. baseball bat? 50/50 odds you don't get bit, but trying to garrotte even a regular angry feral cat or dog is going to be a trip to the emergency room afterwards.

    And if they're bigger?
     
  25. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    If they're driving jeeps is no problem.
     
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