Hogue’s New Minimum Advertised Price Policy

Hogue, Inc. announced a new Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy. The policy states that any reseller advertising a Hogue product below a company-set price will lose access to the company’s product line. Many shooters know Hogue for its lines of handgun grips, but they also make stocks, bags, knives, holsters and more.

Many manufacturers across all industries have MAP policies. One side of the argument is that the consumer is hurt because gun shops and accessory sellers can’t aggressively compete by offering low prices.

However, I have seen the other side of the argument as well. A local gun shop I frequent offers great service and very fair pricing. However, a new “big box” retailer moved into the area and is offering many of the same guns, but at prices below the wholesale price. Even factoring in quantity discounts the big box store gets, it appears they are taking a loss but gaining market share. The possible effect of this is the small shop goes out of business, and the big box store then inflates prices up due to a lack of competition.

What are your thoughts? Do MAP policies hurt or help in the gun industry?

Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


  • MAP is BS. I’ve called several manufacturers asking how XYZ website is selling below the price they told me to sell at for fear of being cut off, and they usually say “well, they are still making us money at that price”. Then when I ask if I can sell at that price they say no. What crap.

    • SpazC

      Selling price and minimum advertised price are two separate things. Companies are only legally allowed to enforce MAP. Walmart, along with several state AG’s have sued several MFG’s in different industries for price fixing.

      The second a MFG tells you you cant sell a product in your brick and mortar or online ( in cart price) below X price you can go to the bank with a lawsuit.

  • jeff k

    that’s bullshit capitalism. imagine if all firearms were sold at msrp ?

    • DrewN

      Welcome to California my friend. And not just MSRP either, alot of shops mark big sellers UP.

      • MR

        They charge what the market will support? Those @$$#*!&$!

      • Consider it a hostile environment surcharge. There are a lot of people in California that don’t want the gun shops there, and the owners have to deal with that. Tracy Rifle & Pistol and Ares Armor have had to argue cases over having images of firearms depicted on their signage, for example.

    • Cleophus

      Bullshit capitalism????? Please elucidate; thrill me with your economic acumen…….

      • jeff k

        I would try to explicate my acuity to your circumlocution but your ebullient attitude and lack of equanimity would only further show that you are saxicolous.

        ps. being sesquipedalian doesnt make you smart, it makes you dumb yo!

  • Frank

    MAP is anti consumer bullshit. Also what big box stores have decent prices on guns? Every Gander mountain I’ve been to has had awful prices on guns. Maybe Basspro, but there aren’t many of those around.

    • SpazC

      Gander, Bass Pro, and Cabela’s tend to be a bit high because they are destination shops. Go to any Academy sports or Walmart and you’ll be hard pressed to find a price higher than your LGS.

      • Geoff a well known Skeptic

        That depends, Academy is usually $100 higher than the lowest local store. Walmart prices are good, selection is bad and you have to know your sale prices. Geoff Who shops..

      • Frank

        Walmart barely has a gun section anymore and only stocks rifles. Most don’t even stock many semi auto rifles. Never seen an academy before, but I live in the mid atlantic.

    • Anon E Mouse

      I live 10min from a Bass Pro and I can tell you their gun prices and slection are not that great. I mostly go there because they have a decent ammo slection.

  • SpazC

    MAP, if implemented fairly, can only help independent shops.

    I work in a wholly unrelated business, but the company I rep for has a MAP policy and all my independent retailers enjoy it. It guarantees decent profit margins, especially when the independent retailer can’t buy in the volumes necessary to get discounts.

    If Bass Pro, Dicks, Cabellas ect can’t advertise product X for less than 24.99, The independent shop still has a chance to make decent margins. The majors would get product X at 9.99 cost after volume discounts, while the independent shop would still be paying 12.50. With out MAP you can bet your wallet the Majors would price product x at 19.99.

    Anyone can get around MAP too. A company can not legally tell you what price you can sell a product for, only what you advertise it for. Thats were you see ” see price in cart” online.

  • allannon

    MAP isn’t necessarily bad, the devil’s always in the details. In this instance, Hogue’s in a competitive enough market that if they set their prices too high someone else will just move in and undercut, so there’s a distinct benefit to Hogue to keep MAP at competitive levels.

  • MatKep

    MAP and “free market” are mutually exclusive concepts and I greatly prefer the latter. I think MAP does more to protect brick and mortar retailers from online retailers, not big box stores. The dilemma for local gun shops is how they can retain market share with consumers who are increasingly self sufficient but require competitive pricing. The answer is through superior customer service and ancillary services that online vendors and big box vendors can not offer. All locally owned businesses face the same dilemma.

    • Cleophus

      Finally, someone with a little sense! Free market should always be preferred over regulation.

      • SpazC

        How are MAP and free market mutually exclusive? Free market is lack of or restricted GOVERNMENT involvement.

        • MIke H

          Yeah, a free market allows someone to sell their product with whatever restrictions they wants… which, in this case, is Hogue.

          Hogue isn’t forcing anyone to buy their products, and there are plenty of alternatives out there to them. If their MAP is a poor business decision on their part, they’ll eventually suffer. But there isn’t any sort of intrinsic right for one private party to buy something from another private party without restrictions, or a right to make someone sell you something on whatever terms you, but not the seller, wants.

        • MatKep

          Free market is the lack of coercion of price. It has nothing to do with government or politics. It is the ability of buyer and seller to agree on a price without outside influence.

          • SpazC

            And again, MAP has nothing to do with the selling price As price controlling is illegal. You’re slow to catch on aren’t you.

  • MR

    “Prices so low, we can’t tell you here.- You have to see them in person” or some such nonsense. You can’t advertise a lower price than MAP, but you can sell at whatever price you want. Unless the particular agreement that you, as a retailer, signed, states otherwise.

    They’re a big name, but I’ve never been that impressed with Hogue products. This is just another reason for me to avoid them.

  • sianmink

    If you set a MAP you need the reputation, service, and quality to back it up, otherwise people will just take their business elsewhere.
    IMO, Hogue will probably do ok with this.

  • Treiz

    MAP is nonsense. If they don’t want the big box stores to sell the items cheaper they need to stop giving them discounts, not issue threats.

    To me it sounds like Hogue thinks they have TOO MUCH market share, and I say more power to them, and will wait for another competitor to move it and undercut them.

  • Jsim

    Well video games like xbox or playstations have this on all of there games so I cant see how this could hurt there business

  • Tenacious221

    All the big box stores around the small shop i work at have rediculously high prices across the board…

  • Sometimes retailers need to unload product quickly. How do you move product quickly if your price is the same as everyone else’s? You’ve now got to decide whether you want to be stuck with excess inventory, or getting blacklisted by your supplier. That’s great.

    • Cynic

      A MAP doesn’t prevent you from selling at a cheaper price just advertising.

      Plenty of big companies do it to main’t a in an image as high end and luxury brands or quality.

      The response is simple just advertise as ‘see price in cart’ or ‘call for best price.’

      A MAP protects small shops from big companies who have the power to advertise in massive levels but that isn’t why it’s used. It’s used to support the companies image. 8 you can’t see it advertised for less than x it’s obviously worth x.

  • CrankyOne

    At the risk of being, ah, risque, F**k MAP!

  • Tom Currie

    Yawn. So now all ads for Hogue products will have the infamous “Price too low to print! Call for pricing!” crap. When will manufacturers learn this stupidity is stupid.

  • Mark

    Hrmph. Well, I won’t be buying any Hogue products any time soon, unless a suitable substitute does not exist.