The Column, No. 149:

Should you Buy a Turkish Firearm?

By Randy Wakeman

Many do, of course. According to Turkish statistical agencies and recruitment agencies, the average wage in Turkey in 2023 is 23,000 liras per month, which at the current exchange rate is $864. These figures are relevant for large metropolitan areas such as Istanbul and Ankara. It varies by position, of course, but there isn't much difference in labor cost in Turkey vs. labor cost in China. Turkey is currently crippled by inflation. The annual inflation rate in Turkey accelerated for the second consecutive month to 58.9% in August 2023 from 47.8% in July, and surpassing market forecasts of 55.9%. The central bank of Turkey also revised its inflation forecasts to 65% for this year, 33% in 2024, and anticipated a gradual reduction to 15% by 2025.

Americans may pay $20 an hour to have coffee poured for them, but can have a shotgun made in Turkey for them for five bucks an hour. However, labor costs alone are only 25-35% of revenue: labor costs alone do not provide an accurate picture, and modern manufacturing uses far less hand work than in times past. Turkish firearms are cheap for other reasons: they are largely copies of other firearms, they do not pay for proper CIP proof-testing, and Turkish manufacturing is not under the umbrella of the EPA or OSHA.

According to the ATF, in 2021, 3,934,374 rifles were made in the U.S., and 675,426 shotguns. The U.S. exported only 160,294 rifles and 27,487 shotguns.

Far more Turkish shotguns are sold in the United States every year than are produced in the United States: it isn't remotely close, for Turkish firearm sales in the U.S. crushes domestic production by close to 400,000 units per year. As the Turkish lira continues its collapse against the U.S. Dollar, expect Turkish arms to continue their drop in value in terms of the greenback.

For all of the complaints about the shoddy Turkish firearms, they have had help from the collapse of Spanish and Japanese gun industries, along with the current political aversion to many things Russian and Chinese. Germany is now called “the sick man of Europe,” while several once popular American brand names have sunk into near-oblivion. Winchester makes no firearms, Remington was blown apart by bankruptcy court, the remnants of Colt are owned by CZ, and Ithaca seems to have evaporated. To be sure, there are successful and well-run American companies that make affordable firearms, like Ruger, Savage, and Mossberg . . . but that number dwindles.

As to the question, “Should you Buy a Turkish Firearm?”: most already have, although it may well have been delivered in a Winchester, Weatherby, Savage, or Mossberg box.

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Copyright 2023 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.