gun store etiquette

Discussion in 'General Handgun Discussion' started by TankTop, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

    I am new to firearms for the most part with the exception of some shooting about two decades ago. I plan to purchase my first firearm in the next couple weeks and I don't want to be a complete moron when I do it. Background, I sell cars for a living, if someone walked in with a pile of money and told me they had never purchased a car before, it may not work out in their favor. I also believe in supporting the local guy. Generally speaking, are most local gun stores honest, can I negotiate? Also any other general etiquette pointers would be great.

    I would love for my first gun to be a 9mm, but I worry my opportunity to purchase an AR may be more limited than my cash flow...
  2. g17frantz

    g17frantz New Member

    Some shops negotiate, if it's a chain, forget about it. If it looks "nice" probably not. They got too much overhead to pay for "nice". If there is a grip of employees, nope. Shop around man, it's your first purchase so take your time and finger bang every gun you get your hand on to get the one that FITS YOU. People can recommend all day long but YOU are the one that is buying it. Oh yeah, don't buy a high point. Do some shopping online to get prices, is a good place to get an idea what they should sell close to.

  3. c3shooter

    c3shooter Administrator Staff Member

    Find a couple of LGSs- local gun shops. Do not show up on Saturday or the day before opening of deer season- they are going to be REAL busy.

    Yes, explain that you are a noobie. MOST LGS will be a sole proprietor type business, and are more honest than most politicians. When you want to look at a gun, ASK. Do not dry fire a gun, and watch where you are pointing it (some of us are crotchety old men that will offer to insert that gun in an uncomfortable area if you point it at us again)

    Sometimes there MAY be some room for negotiation- if it is a used gun. Consignment, not really. New- maybe, but a small degree. Couple of non-aggressive invitations to haggle a bit- "Discount for cash?" (credit card charges cost the merchant about 3-4%) "Do you have any wiggle room in the price?"

    Do not be afraid of used guns if they are a quality brand, and if the store has a guarantee (one of my local shops offers a 30 day repair guarantee)

    You might find ammo a dollar a box less at Wally World. But when you need one screw for the scope ring, it is nice if that LGS in still in business.
  4. roscoguy

    roscoguy New Member

    Since you sell cars, I assume you know all the tricks that those other ;) salesmen use (the up-sell, steering you towards the latest cool trend, etc) as well as some mistakes that uneducated car shoppers make. Watch out for similar things at the gun stores - especially the larger chain stores. Also, keep in mind what the intended use for your first gun might be: home defense, concealed carry, critter control, hunting, target shooting or whatever. If you communicate that to the salesman, it'll help him/her point you in the right direction. Bear in mind that no single gun can likely fill all these roles. (Another car analogy - a V8 minivan with off-road suspension & gangsta-style spinners...)

    c3shooter offered some great advice, I'd just like to expand on one thing: It's not always wrong to dry fire a gun, but it definitely is against 'etiquette' to do so without permission. If you find a gun that you like & seems to fit but you'd really like to test the feel of the trigger, ASK if you can dry fire it. They should be OK with 1 or 2 test pulls - just not several times on every gun you handle. That's kind of like the car shopper that wants to rev/red-line the motor of every car he sits in. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  5. downsouth

    downsouth New Member

    Do some online research on the type of guns you are interested in. What is legal in your state, what kind of action you desire, da/sa, sa, dao. How do you plan to use the gun? Home, range gun you may want a hi capacity all steel gun. Ccw you may want something small and polymer for comfort and lite wieght.

    When you figure somethings out, go to a range that rents different types of guns you are drawn to. Nothing like shooting a gun before buying one.
  6. TankTop

    TankTop Well-Known Member Supporter

    I think there are two shops I'm going to lean toward, one is in the basement of an old house with a bazillion weapons of every type. The other is a range with a full museum and even tanks... COOL! ( I live in Colorado, I think everything is legal here. I like the fact, no CCW required to carry in your vehicle). They are both family owned and sell used guns, which I am not apposed to. If I select a gun to purchase, should I also ask them to show me how to disassemble it and clean it, maybe a five minute tutorial?
  7. PanBaccha

    PanBaccha New Member

    My first purchase was from a local gun shop. Didn't know the difference between a 45 and a 9mm. I picked up both S&W 457 and Glock 9mm and asked
    what the difference was. The salesman pointed to his partner behind another counter dealing with a customer. "You see that man there? If you shot
    him with this 9mm he would fall back against that wall and become very angry with you. If you shot him with this S&W 457 45 he would be long gone."

    Needless to say the partner was over 350 lbs. I immediately placed the 9mm on the counter and said: "I'll take the 45." It is now my avatar. :D

    Attached Files:

  8. winds-of-change

    winds-of-change The Balota's Staff Member

    I agree with this. When I am looking at a gun I always ask if it's okay if I dry fire it. It all depends on the gun.

    There are very good Youtube video tutorials on almost any gun you can think of. I did not ask for a demo at the gun shop on how to clean my guns. I did ask here on FTF and received many links to very good Youtube videos. Also, the manual will have a step by step procedure to follow to clean the gun. Between the videos and the manual and the experienced people here on FTF, you will be able to disassemble and reassemble your new gun with no problem.
  9. Blueguns

    Blueguns New Member

    Agreed you do need to dry fire a gun before you choose to purchase it. Always ASK first though, I almost got yelled at. :eek:
  10. Colby

    Colby New Member

    Dry firing a brand new revolver etches a visible circular scratch around the outside cylinder. The gun becomes "not new" anymore to many people - so many shops will not allow this.

    Dry firing a 22 will start collision damage between the hammer and the edge of the cylinder chamber. Damaged edges can result in future failure to fire for 22's. Most shops will not allow 22 dry fire for this reason.

    Most shops will allow dry fire of centerfire semi-autos - because these two trouble don't apply to those guns. But it is very much etiquette to ask permission for dry fire - even in those cases - it is the man's property - and it is not sold - and he will feel the way he feels about it - at the time. And it could have to do with what he just ate, or the bill that just came in the mail, or the wife's phone call, or the previous bad attitude customer, or....

    Always ask. Don't make enemies...

    If you feel you must dry fire - use "snap caps" --- plastic "pretend" cartridges. This will work or the 22's and centerfire auto's - but NOT for the new pristine cylinders of a new revolver. Again, this approach will work - if the owner feels like he wants it to "work".
    Go find a used revolver which has already been "etched" for dry fire.

    And do not point any gun (yeah - even though it's empty) at anyone or even close to anyone - point at the ground - off to the side. Gun people notice this handling of guns VERY MUCH.
    Always verify that a gun is empty - and nothing in chamber for semi-auto's - mag empty. Always. Always.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2012
  11. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

    C3 about covered it.

    Two more suggestion would be to show the same courtesy you expect in car sales.

    1. Have some idea of what interests you...IE, pistol or revolver, polymer or all metal, hi cap or uber concealment... This will eliminate frustration.

    2. Taking your time to handle many guns is fine but like they say in the car business, Monday through Thursday is for "shopping" Friday, Saturday, and Sundays are for Buying. Don't expect your LGS to patiently help you "shop" on buying days.

    Good Luck

  12. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member


    Here's my opinion based on my experiences in the past:

    I love supporting my local guys, and usually do...just not with an actual gun purchase. I know, makes me sound like a dick, but in big purchases, I can usually cut off $200+ or more on the price of my gun...$200.00 that can buy accessories or ammo...

    Example: My last purchase was a Colt LE6940 - bought it at for $1,400...local guy wanted $1,750.

    So, no disrespect to my local guy, but if he's wanting to keep large margins, he's just not going to get my money on a firearm purchase...though I go to them for gun work, some accessories, etc.

    Simply put, look online, check out places like and ... compare prices.

    As far as 'honesty' goes, it's just like anything else, depends on the person. I have had a few times at my local gun guy where I thought he was telling me a little fib just to get his way...he even tried to hide a little screw up he did on a duracoat job once...I very kindly pointed it out to him, and he seemed to be pretty pissed off that I found it and wanted it fixed.

    My suggestion, if you're hell bent on buying local, is don't buy on your first trip. Go in there, see what they have to offer, see what they have to tell you, then tell them you want to sleep on it. Go home, research the hell out of everything they said (plenty of great members here who can help out)

    and then make your decision.
  13. JD1969

    JD1969 New Member

    All good advice. One thing I might add is to try and do some research before hand, have a little idea about what you want. This way you will not be going in and comparing single action revolvers to hi cap semi autos. You said you are interested in a 9mm, so look into a few different 9's and then go in and compare. I would try to to keep it to 3 different models/brands for your first trip. This way you are less likely to confuse yourself. Narrow it down to one you like and then go home and research that particular firearm. Go back a day or two later and compare the one you like to a couple more. Most gun shop owners/employees are eager to help a new shooter, they understand the need for more people to get into shooting and 2A right, that said, if you get a bad vibe or are treated rudely, take your business someplace else.
  14. gollygee

    gollygee New Member

    Some good suggestions already offered. Gun stores are like any business, some good & some maybe not so good. One clue to whether it's a good gun store to do business with is how they react when you tell them you are new to firearms. If they right away start telling you what you need, look out. A good sales person will start with questions about what you want it for, how you are going to use it, etc. Only when they understand what your needs are, can they help you fill those needs.

    The only reason I go into the big box stores is because they generally have a large selection & wide assortment of handguns to drool over. :) My wife has bought a couple from Academy (two different stores) because they are the only ones in the area that had what she was looking for. Prices were reasonable. The sales clerk at one didn't know beans about firearms, but he was just a young kid, new to the job. The guy at the other one seemed to know his business & was himself a shooter.
  15. clearsights

    clearsights New Member

    If you narrow your choices down as suggested, see if they have them at the range for you to get a feel for not only how they fit in your hand but what it is like when it actually goes 'bang!' You might hate it or absolutely love everything about it. You can be your best salesman.