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Old 01-23-2013, 7:16 PM
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MichaelKent MichaelKent is offline
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I've been to the Ventura fairgrounds show a couple of times, and I went to the most recent show this month... never have I seen the place so packed and the selection so limited! Pulling into the almost-full parking lot was a strange experience.

Normally I could say you'll find all kinds of goodies there, but with panic season in full swing don't expect to see any great deals on ARs... or even any ARs at all. This month I saw several lowers, some at reasonable prices (like $129 for a stripped lower, which can range between $350-500 in the calguns marketplace now), but those all sold very quickly. Where in previous years I'd seen lots of AR and AK variants, this time I mostly saw "old-timey" rifles and shotguns. Those are still cool to be sure, but don't expect a plethora of modern weapons. I think the only complete AR I saw for sale was from a private seller walking around with the gun on his back and a little sign on it saying to make an offer.

You can probably find a good deal on a 1911, but I don't think you'll find one cheaper than in any normal gun store on an average day (I wasn't really looking at those to be honest). The Springfield XDM is off-roster last I checked, so you will not find FFL vendors selling those. Disregard media talking points, every gun law that applies to FFLs in CA applies equally inside a gun show, there are no special loopholes!

Unless it's a C&R, you can not walk out with any guns you buy that day. When you buy a gun at the show, many vendors have their own local shops where you can pick the gun up after 10 days have elapsed. Vendors that aren't local can ship to any FFL (usual fees apply). Alternatively, some vendors offer to hold your gun until the next show where you can pick it up then (in about a month or so) to avoid transfer fees.

There were many long, long lines. I never saw any 6 hour lines, but people waited 30-40 minutes to pick up an AR lower, and the Miwall ammo line went out the building! While many vendor ammo prices were quite inflated, the Miwall ammo remained more or less reasonable. I was able to pick up 1000 rounds of 7.62x39mm for ~$250, which wasn't too bad considering it's hard to find anywhere else.

Is it worth going? Eh, yeah. While it's definitely not as "worth it" as normal, I'd still say it's worth checking out, especially if you've never been to a gun show before. There are lots of interesting and friendly people to chat with (all sharing your same passion), there are some rather cool firearms for sale on display (just not modern), a good range of accessories (everything from holsters to knives, little military figurines, etc.) and ammo is actually available - which is more than can be said for many locations. However, you have to get there early on the first day, because the good stuff WILL go fast. Also, Calguns is going to have a booth there (I think) next month, so you can volunteer!

Meanwhile it's definitely worth checking out local gun shops such as Island View Enterprises.

I hope that helps.
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