Not surprisingly, it's going to depend on where you are seeing it. (EDIT: I now see this is NFA's commercial sponsor section, but I'll let my comment stand as a guess anyway since I've already put it out there.)
I remember seeing the term at one of my usual suppliers, but I can't remember which one at the moment.
Just by context, I would guess that means they have some physically in stock, but not available until other obligations are fulfilled. Labeling them as "allocated" may be the best way for the supplier to keep track of what's what, or to tell normal customers that there is a possibility some might be released as available.
Last time I was in NFA. Sales person told me the physical store is last in queue for stock. Online and other verdors/FFLs get priority. So the store gets what's left over.
If that's wrong info or I misunderstood, maybe NFA can chime in and clarify.
You are looking at their Davidsons gallery of guns link. They are teamed with Davidsons which is a large distributor so that is why it says they have 99 in stock. you can order through there or go to galleryofguns.com and do the same. Just pick up in store.
Allocated means they either don't have any in stock or very little and only pass them out one at a time so you go on a waiting list.
On our Gun Genie link you're browsing live inventory at one of our larger distributors in AZ. That inventory is not our actual inventory in the store, but when you go on their and put a deposit down they automatically ship the gun to our store for you within 3 days or so.
When you see an item thats allocated, it is not released for you (or even us dealers) to purchase normally on their website. Each one of their reps gets a certain amount of them daily, weekly, or monthly to distribute out to their dealers. Its normally very new and hot selling items until inventory can keep up with demand. They're usually guns that you could buy and sell for over full MSRP on Gunbroker the next day, so they don't want dealers to be able to go on and clean out the inventory when they get some in.
The good news is just because it shows allocated there on Gun Genie doesn't mean that SOMETIMES we can find it an another distributor or we may have one in the store, so e-mail email@example.com with what you're looking for and they can get you a quote and availability information. Please be as specific as possible with mfg's UPC code or exact model and configuration.
As for the store being last priority, I think that was a miscommunication or was misunderstood. On the products that we make in house at our machine shop (Most of the items on our website), we have large backorder lists from dealers that get filled before we sell direct to retail. We do that to be fair to our stocking dealers. Thats why our own website is often out of our own products. We try to keep the store stocked with those items the best we can but when the warehouse sells out and we continue to get online, e-mail and phone orders from out of state we then start to sell off the store stock thats sitting.
"LOCAL LOVE" TIP: If you place an in store order or over the phone or e-mail as a local, they are the first orders we fill as product comes back in stock!
Hope this helped answer some questions and dispel some myths!