Consumer Information

Gun Store Etiquette

Gun store showroom

Gun stores can be intimidating, especially for a newbie. I am not always comfortable every time I walk into a gun shop.

It should always be your goal to never offend the shop workers or owner.

Every time you walk into a gun shop or into a gun show, just like at the gun range, you should be on your best behavior.

Gun store clerks have been subjected to all kinds of bad behavior — handed loaded guns, muzzles pointed at them repeatedly, treated like idiots, and generally disrespected.

Do not make them feel even more jaded by committing these unspoken “rules” of shopping in a gun store.

Along with my own experience working at a gun store, and interviewing current and previous gun storeowners and workers, I have come up with a list of gun store etiquette “rules.”

Like everywhere, even at home, there are a few golden rules of firearm safety:

  • Treat every gun as if it were loaded.
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Never point it at something you are not ready to shoot.
  • Know your target and what is behind it.
  • Always check to make sure the gun is unloaded. Never hand a loaded gun to a gun store clerk and never let a gun store clerk hand you a loaded gun.

First off, your shopping experience at any gun shop, whether a big chain or a local mom-and-pop store, should be enjoyable and safe.

If you spot unsafe practices happening at a gun store at any time, just go ahead and leave.

If one of the clerks is rude or makes you feel stupid intentionally, then you have every right to leave, also.

One of the main reasons why you go to the gun store is to shop for a new gun, right?

If it is your first time, you might be nervous about handling all those guns.

Well, don’t be! You can ask the clerk any question you want about the gun. I still do this. I always ask what each control is on a new gun.

The clerk should clear the gun and show you that it is completely clear, never pointing the muzzle at you or anyone else.

Pay attention to how they hand you the gun. It is good gun store etiquette to hand the gun back the same way they handed to you.


When you are holding the gun to get the feel for it, keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

Sometimes the gun store will have targets on the wall that are a safe place to point the gun.

You can ask the clerk where an appropriate place is to point the muzzle.

close-up photo of men using and inspecting gun in store. salesman explain how to use it, customer hold it in hands

Handling the Gun Don’ts

  • Do not dry fire the weapon. Dry firing is pulling the trigger when the gun has no ammunition or a snap cap in it. It is damaging to some guns, especially rimfire guns, if they are dry fired. It is understandable that you want to feel the trigger when considering a new gun. Ask the clerk before dry firing.
  • Do not disassemble the gun. If you want to see its guts, ask the clerk to disassemble it for you.
  • Do not flick the cylinder of a revolver back in place.
  • Do not release the slide of a semi-automatic.
  • Do not “force” the gun to operate. I have had times when I have pushed the magazine release and nothing happened. I always ask for help.
  • Do not be afraid to admit you are a newbie. It is best not to act like a know-it-all when you aren’t.

Shopping for Accessories

All gun store workers and owners will plead with you to know the caliber, model, manufacture and size of your gun.

When I worked the catalog pick-up window, I had a customer come in and ask, “Do you have a holster that fits my gun?”

I smiled and replied, “Maybe. What gun do you have?” The customer’s response was, “It’s black. 9mm.”

Some of you are probably laughing right now, but this happens all the time.

Gun stores want to sell you what you want and need, but they cannot do that when you have no idea what it is you exactly need or want!

Therefore, research what you want before you go. Workers are happy to chat with you when they have the time.

However, remember, everyone’s time is valuable so be considerate, especially when the store is busy.

On that note, many gun store clerks say not to tie them up too long, “It is fun to play with a multitude of guns, but if all you want to do is look and it’s obvious that the store is really busy, don’t keep the salesman tied up too long. Remember, a lot of us work on commission and we aren’t making money while you stand there and fondle 20 different guns with no intention of buying.”

shotguns on rack

Chitchatting with Clerks and Other Customers

Gun stores can be a plethora of information, both good and bad.

It is fun to chat people up in a gun store, but it is important to remember your manners when talking to clerks or other customers.

One former gun store owner says, “Be polite and respectful to everyone. You don’t know who they are, where they have been, or what they know.”

This same previous owner says he has seen people nearly come to blows over arguments.

We all know that gun people have some very strong opinions and we all think our opinions are right.

So, do not recommend guns or ammo to anyone unless they ask for your opinion.

“I don’t care what your favorite or least favorite gun is, people are set in their ways and think they know what they want, facts be damned. Nothing good can come out of an unsolicited recommendation.”

All gun store employees I talked to, ex and current alike, said do not interrupt and do not contradict anyone.

You hate it when someone gives you unsolicited advice, right? Then do not give it to others.

man holding AR-15 rifle in store

Other Etiquette Points

I asked some current gun shop employees about gun store etiquette and they brought up quite a few good points:

  • Do not talk about killing the president.
  • Do not talk about making your gun fully automatic.
  • Keep your children close to you and under supervision at all times.
  • Do not try your gun in a holster without clearing the gun first. Show the clerk your gun is completely unloaded when you walk in the door.
  • Never point a gun at anyone.

Clint Smith, a writer for American Handgunner magazine, got a chance to work behind the counter at a gun store just to see how life was on the other side.

He said safety is key and noted that some customers are very rude.

He writes, “The store guy is actually on your side and he would like to sell you something. Work with him, not against him, and it will go much better, trust me.”

Do you have any advice on gun store etiquette? Let us know in the comments section below!

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (149)

  1. Thank you for the advice to handle every handgun as if it were loaded and to aim the muzzle in a safe direction while entering a gun store. I’m considering purchasing a shotgun from a gun store since my brother wants to take me duck hunting during the appropriate season. It seems prudent to think about going to a respected store that has the rifle I’m searching for and to always use caution while handling firearms.

  2. I liked that you listed down etiquette to practice when visiting a gun shop and how you said the store guy or clerk assisting you is on your side and only wants to sell you the best, so it is okay to spread some kindness too.
    We were thinking of purchasing a firearm weapon for protection and security. I’m glad I came across your article and read some essential tips when visiting a gun store.
    I will share this with my husband and see how it helps our agenda.

  3. Thanks for mentioning that when visiting a gun shop, treat every firearm as if it were loaded and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. I’m thinking about going to a gun shop because I’m considering buying a shotgun since my brother wants to take my duck hunting during the proper season. It seems like a good idea to consider going to a reputable establishment that has the firearm I’m looking for and to always practice safety when handling guns.

  4. I just got into hand guns and it seems like unless you a know it all about guns i am treated bad.I ask question and they seem annoyed.seems like theyy don`t wanna be bothered or try to sell you a gun as fast as possible.They don`t seem to want to show difference about guns or help at all.WTF my money is American just want respect and someone to explain the ins and out of guns and help buying one

  5. Hello i just turned 21 and reacently have become faccinated with firearms from function to purpose to aesthetics, and I feel working in a gunshop is the career for me. Or at least the right direction, but I dont know how to get my foot in the door. Could anyone offer any advice?

  6. There’s a gun shop in my town who had been there alone for the longest time, so they charged high prices and were very rude knowing they could get away with it being the only place to go. The staff was very rude, condescending, and generally money grubby. On one trip there I witnessed them kick out a USMC vet for offering to help another customer adjust his front sight post, claiming he was taking business from the gunsmith ($15). Last time I ever went there. A new shop recently opened and its taking all of their business. So having people behind the counter who are polite is just as important as being polite yourself.

  7. The thing about firearms in particular and other non-ballistic weapons is that they possess a “mystique” that is different from all other tangible, physical things. They were designed to kill.
    I know, I know….there will be those who would “knee-jerkily” respond that a weapon’s main purpose is to “defend oneself” and NOT to kill, and of course they are displaying the proper regard for such things. (Hunting animals is in a completely different category of why weapons exist). For the purpose of addressing “gun store etiquette”, let’s leave out the arguments intended to DEFEND why we made the affirmative decision to carry a firearm.
    Therefore, because of a firearm’s mystique, an aura of intensified trepidation, (that is fear and caution), often exists in all stores where they are bought and/or traded. We all intrinsically know, (well, most of us anyway), that certain behavior is demanded when in the gathering of firearms… it often puts us in a defensive mode, always on the lookout for the callous, the irresponsible, the deranged and the incompetent. Gun store clerks operate in that atmosphere on a daily basis, and after a while it is going to impact their civility.
    I have often found that the one thing gun store clerks really appreciate more than anything else is EYE CONTACT. A lot can be instantly understood between two people just by looking in each other’s eyes. While eye contact is important in any interaction between two strangers, it is especially important in gun stores. A sense of trust must be immediately established, and being able and willing to look a clerk straight in the eyes will serve to establish that trust.
    Once the trust is established, most the rules mentioned here by various posters, (i.e. – Don’t point guns at anyone you do not intend to shoot, don’t ask unreasonable requests, don’t bring out-of-control children into the store, etc.), should all be followed, but I have found that one of the best ways to receive respect from the gun store owner and employees is by being the first one to initiate respect and assume they have the greater knowledge….in other words, don’t try to show you know more than they do, (you very well may know more, but you will come off as a pompous ass if you try to establish such superiority.)
    Another good tactic when dealing with gun store people is to assume a “non-dominant” attitude. If you bring a gun into the store and you want to show it to the clerk, ASK if it is OK to show the gun before you produce it. Put yourself in the position of the clerk. How would you feel if someone just pulls out a gun in front of you without warning? And do not just ask to show a gun and assume the clerk is OK with that. He or she might want to know if your gun is loaded or not before you produce it.
    I suppose that what it all boils down to is COMMON SENSE….something we are seeing less and less of everyday.

  8. AMEN MOST GUNSTORE EMPLOYEES ARE RELATIVES OF THE OWNER OR SOMETHING .as a business owner ,i know where my money comes from

  9. This article amuses me! I have met polite, informative clerks in gun stores, but that is a rarity! Most of the employees I meet are rude, uninterested in relaying information, condescending, and impatient. Believe me, I would rather go to the dentist than enter the gun shops on my area. Today was no different. No eye contact. No answer to questions. Products without price tags Nd no one to be able get information on the price. where do these people. One from?

  10. Gun Stores and Retail outlets that sells guns. When a customer that requests a copy if the ATF F 4473 form they just completed they are entitled to a copy of that and no federal law prohibits it. You would be surprised at the number of FFL’s think they OWN that form. They are required to keep the orginal but copies are the customers! There is an FFL Newsletter that was put out in December 2002, Pg 2 addresses that under sub-heading of “PROVIDING COPIES OF ATF FORM 4473 AS PART OF COUPON/REBATE OFFERS” It states “The Federal firearms laws do not prohibit an FFL from providing a photocopy of the ATF Form 4473 to the buyer at the buyer’s request.”.

    FFL Holders please educate yourself to the law not your own understanding.

  11. @Betty, Ma’am I am glad you took it upon yourself to pursue your 2nd Amendment rights. To the first store owner who treated you with disrespect, he should be without a job. There is no excuse for his over reaction. I have been selling firearms for 15 years. I get guns pointed at me all the time. I politely tell the customer to be careful not to point it at myself or others and we go on about our business. There’s such a thing called tact when dealing with these types of touchy situations. You told the man you were not familiar with semi autos. He should have given you a lesson on how to operate the firearm first before he handed it to you. He also should have been a bit more patient with letting you get the feel for it. These things happen and being a firearms Nazi will only discourage good decent people who just need a little guidance. I teach my employees to show respect and be patient. I can proudly and honestly say in 15 years I have never had anyone leave my store feeling bad about their experience in my store. Kudos to you for not giving up because of one jerk.

  12. Wzrd, I don’t see that Betty displayed inability under stress or, for that matter, at all. The slide slipped out of her grip, probably because she wasn’t quite prepared for the stiffness of the recoil spring on most semi-autos. I bet she would have done fine on a second try, had the numbskull clerk given her that chance with maybe a little demo of how to grip the slide, etc. Is it fair to characterize her little slip as “an inability under stress with that weapon”? I think that’s harsh and unreasonable assessment. So we disagree on that.

    But I fully agree with you that the jerk gun store clerk doesn’t deserve his job or at the very least needs a good talkin’ to by the owner.

  13. @Anthony, I disagree. She displayed an inability under stress in handling that firearm.
    Today, that may not be true, but THEN, it WAS true.
    So, she was then, ill fit to the weapon.
    The idiot handling the instance was beyond idiocy in his handling of the situation. Sounds more to me like “Women don’t BELONG owning or handling weapons”, based upon personal experience. But, I could be wrong. He could just be a village idiot instead.
    That she followed her heart and went to another gun shop shows her value in her following her beliefs. I rather respect that. A LOT! I LOVE IT!
    His idiotic behavior only moved her to an establishment that supports neophytes to firearms and educates the neophyte.
    That she persisted and acquired a firearm AND PRACTICED with the weapon on a rather regular basis makes me want to introduce her to some friends with class 3 firearms.
    She may never wish to acquire them, but I’m certain that she’d enjoy the challenge in striking a center mass or zero reflex with a three round burst.

    Now, if I were the former gun shop employee’s employer, I’d terminate for cause and give the cause as rejection of constitutional ground AND for rejection of sexual equality (OK, it’s constitutional, but it carries greater weight and is reflected in his behavior). If I want idiots as employees, I’d install robots.

  14. Betty, I think you were 100% right for taking your business down the road. That first clerk was being an… well, let’s be kind and just say he was way out of line. It’s not unusual for someone unfamiliar with a particular firearm or with firearms in general to fumble around a bit at first. It sounds like you just needed maybe a tiny bit of coaching about how to grip the slide and a few more tries to get the hang of it. The clerk, knowing that you were fairly new to firearms and totally new to semi-autos, should have been 100% sure that the weapon was unloaded before handing it to you, and as such should have simply made a gentle comment about avoiding unintentional contact with the trigger, while helping you get more familiar with the best grip and motion needed to successfully rack the slide. I am all for safety – but using it as an excuse to be rude and condescending toward you was completely uncalled for. There does seem to be an abnormally high percentage of arrogant jerks working in gun shops, but even so there are plenty of good, helpful people that understand that the Customer is doing them a favor by giving them a shot (pun intended) at the sale.

    I’m glad you were not dissuaded from acquiring a firearm, and that you found someone that helped you make a selection that you’re happy with.

  15. @Betty62, I’d have plucked that weapon from your hands as well.
    The difference is, I’d have simply said, “Ooookay, that one is not for you. Let’s see another one, shall we?”
    To a novice in firearms, choosing the correct weapon for the firer is rather like the scene in Harry Potter when he was getting his first wand.
    One selects for the hand size of the potential wielder. For anything too large can’t be reliably held by the novice (or many experienced firers.)
    One selects for the strength of the wielder, for a too heavy firearm won’t be aimed reliably and be useless.
    One selects for the ability to cycle the action, for the uncycled or unsafely cycled action is useless to dangerous.
    In a way, the weapon selects the user for the novice at the hands of a good firearms dealer. For said person is in the business of both advocacy of responsible firearms use, care and ownership. Said person is in the business of assisting a client with proper selection of a weapon, especially important for the ill informed experienced firearms handler, critical for the neophyte.
    Said person is also in business to make money, but that is no excuse for shirking the “duties” outlined above, for with proper communication, education skills and letting the firearm sell itself, there is no conflict.

    For my wife, it’s revolver all the way. She has had some medical issues that rendered her hands unable to operate most semi-automatic pistol actions. I had to find a light weight wheel gun for her that she could handle.
    She loves it.
    Me? I’m essentially an M1911A1 man, but fully qualified to operate anything from a 155mm Howitzer down to the specialized function low caliber weapons in the special operations community, courtesy of many years of military service.
    But, the ultimate weapon remains what it’s always been. That jell consistency thing between my teeth and my hair, aka the brain.

  16. I am a 62 year old woman who lives alone. First of all, I want to thank all of the gun store clerks and owners that are polite and take time educating new people. I became interested in firearms after I had been stalked by a man I did not know. He attempted to break into my home and luckily a neighbor who saw him came to my rescue that night. I knew nothing about firearms. I didn’t grow up with them. I attended a safety course in handguns and long guns before I decided to make a first purchase. I was very nervous about going to the gun store for the first time. The first store I went to had a lot to choose from and I had an idea of what I wanted. I was mostly interested in a revolver. I thought it would be easiest to operate. The man handed me a semi auto handgun. I had only shot a revolver during my gun safety class. So I had no knowledge of a semi auto and I told the man this. He handed it to me and said to pull back on the slide. When I attempted to move the slide, my finger slipped off the side of the gun and touched the trigger. The man snatched the gun from my hands and began to raise his voice at me. He gave me a 10 minute lecture on safety. I told him I knew all about safety and that my fingers just slipped. He said I shouldn’t buy a gun and that it isn’t for me. I was determined to own a gun and protect myself. So I went to another store and before I did anything, I pulled a gentleman aside and told him my whole store and what had happened to me at the ‘other’ store. He was so nice and took over 30 minutes to show me everything. By the time I left I had fallen in love with a semi auto. I’ve had this gun for over 8 months now and I regularly take it down and clean it. I go to my local range almost every weekend now. I am glad that I did not listen to the first store clerk who told me guns were not for me. I am now very good with my gun and I practice using it a lot. So thank you to those who take the time to educate in a polite manner. It only took one nice man to give me the time of day to help me better protect myself. Had I listened to the first guy, I would be unarmed and possibly fall victim yet again.

  17. Take care of your customers, whether they’re nickle & dimers or high rollers, the best advertisements comes from happy customers. If your customers aren’t happy, your business will fold eventually. Thats just how it works, like it or not. If your an A$$hole to 50% of your customers, your losing 50% of possible income.
    Out of everyone that comes through your door, you either make them happy or they’ll leave and look somewhere else and most likely wont come back to you because you didnt help them the first time around.
    If you treat your customers like $hit, you deserve to close your doors!

  18. I’ve had experiences as a customer on both ends of the spectrum. When i first started getting interested in AR 15s a few years ago i went into my hometown store to ask a few questions and the boot licking old fart that runs the store gave me a sermon on how assembling ar’s using OLLs is basically illegal and the dreaded ATF was gonna start cracking down on all the evil black gun people. I had never had someone try so hard to talk me out of spending money. This guy didn’t seem to understand the the ATF is an enforcement agency and that they don’t actually write laws. Kinda hard for them to enforce laws that don’t exist even though i’m sure they wish they could. Took my pile of money to the next town over and have been ever since

  19. I have to agree with the posts from shop owners who pointed out the small margins. I’ve just added a small “gun Shop” to my Florida concealed weapons permit class and tactical training facility, and am amazed by how many nickle and dimers there are.

    The majority of my sales are to my students and my online gun shop I only charge 15% above my cost, but it seems like everyone wants something for free or want even a better deal.

    When this happens in my shop, I usually show the customer what my cost is and then explain after I pay for shipping, I make about $20 – $30 on their gun.

    I can’t charge more because on of Florida’s chain gun shops is right around the corner, so I have to keep my prices low to compete.

  20. To “adam” from comments 90 and 91, I am shocked by your experience at Bass Pro Shops. I worked at one of their largest locations for five years while attending college and graduate school after my discharge from the army and I find it incredible that you were treated so rudely. During the half decade that I was employed there, that company placed customer service above all else, including profit. For example, employees would receive bonuses in the form of Bass Pro gift cards when a customer positivtely mentioned them in a comment card, but they receive no commision for sales.
    In fact, I can only think of one instance thats even remotely similar; I remember a time when a customer tried to buy NATO .556 ammo for his remington .223 rifle. After the department ProStaff tried to explain the difference in the rounds and the dangers of using the wrong ammo, even quoting an article from this website, he refused to sell the customer the ammo. That customer went home and wrote a letter very similar to yours to Bass Pro’s website, making all kinds of outlandish claims about the employees. Fortunately,Bass Pro constantly monitors the gun counter and the security footage proved the irate customer’s claims to be untrue.

  21. I agree with all the points in the article, and also with the comments about bad experiences that Customers have had in gun shops. It seems that an especially high percentage of gun store clerks are condescending smart-a**es that are more interested in showing you how expert they are than in giving you good information to help you make the best choice for your needs. On the other hand, there are several shops in the area, so I end up going to the ones that respect me as a Customer. I generally don’t buy on the first visit when I am interested in a new firearm, and in my view should not be under the expectation to do so – it’s reasonable to think large purchases over and/or do some additional research. But I do buy on the second or third visit – and if the salesperson has treated me well and done a professional job I will make sure that person gets the sale – even asking what days that person will be working so I can come back on those days. Fair dealing and respect should go in both directions.

  22. What gets my goat is gun store employees who don’t understand what the second amendment is all about. For example I was looking at a smith 357 mag and the counter jerk asked me why I wanted this handgun. “Why do you want something like this, are you a cop?” were his exact words. I don’t buy anything in gun stores anymore for that reason. There are places like CTD and millions of FFL holders (for now anyway) so why put up with the hassle (and higher prices)?

  23. I was self employed for 30 yrs before retiring.. I know about customer relations and treating them good and getting return business.God help the employee that stands and has a conversation with another worker and leave the customer hanging there.

  24. I get the same attitude from a store with 10 employees. I am sorry to say that the best service I get is Gander Mountain.

  25. Besides the basic golden rule- treat others as you would like to be treated and the obvious safety issues, you really need to know what you have when shopping for accessories. I am a pharmacist and I am always baffled by the customer who comes in for a refill of medication and does not know what they are taking. I had a gentleman come in and ask for his “white pill”, he was actually taking 3 different medications all of which were white. Please, help us out. If you are looking for something, don’t be afraid to write it down at home, it will make for an easier, less frustrating experience for you and the clerk.

  26. Here’s what turns me away from ever returning to a gun store. Local one-person store specializes in rebuilding and drilling/tapping hunting rifles, which I didn’t know when I entered. I greeted him and asked if his was a new shop as I had never seen the sign out front before. This upset him as he sarcastically told me he had been there for years. Okay, so I chat with the owner/salesman, and explained I was looking for large caliber handguns. He was less than polite and told me he only had a few rifles for sale. Any further conversation on anything was him telling me I was wrong and that he knew more about x-topic than I did. He kept interrupting me in mid-sentence, so I left. I’m not going back and I tell my friends to never do business there.

  27. George hit the nail on the head! “learn to appreciate your customers” because without them you wont have a business.

  28. At a lot of gunstores ,I have had better service and customer appreciation at Walmart even though I have plunked down $900 for a gun.Most of them around Va just have bad attitudes .I have gone to ordering from sites such as Gun Broker etc,because of the treatment. If I owned a business and someone came in and spent money with me ,the least I would do is greet that customer when he or she comes in for more parts for that gun.I thought it was me,but after speaking to a number of people around town ,It is not me.
    Hey you self employed people,learn to appreciate your customers and make sure your employees do.

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  31. Becky:
    Don’t waste anymore time trying to explain your business model to those guys who keep “carping” about it. Obviously, they don’t understand plain English. Sounds like you have your stuff together. EXCELLENT.
    I live in a small town that has one pawnshop where the owner has a FFL and he simply is not interested in doing any special ordering for anyone. He uses his license just for taking pawn guns and selling them when the owners don’t recover them. Hell, he won’t even use the CTD order form and collect some dough for his time. So I’ll have to go to the city, 22 miles away where it’ll be a choice between a large gunstore / range place with disinterested sales people or the Bass Pro Shop. I would get my own license, but they’ve gone up so high in costs that it’s not feasible for me. Well, guess my little Kel-Tec P-11 will have to stay my ccw for now.

  32. First time purchaser/gun owner…my recent experience at my local gun club…the “Heritage Guild” in Easton, Pa., has kept me going back, time and time again! The staff is ALWAYS friendly, and very knowledgeable. The guys behind the show cases always take the time to explain my questions, and concerns. Because of that, I now joined the membership program, and always look forward to a day at the range.

  33. wow you guys seem to have struck a nerve with this article….i actually come down on the customers side…having met and fired many rude salesmen…rule#1 the customer is always right rule#2 if the customer is wrong see rulle #1…counter people make a big deal out of presenting the weapon to the customer…ie rag the counter top efficiently check the weapon for rounds etc….if you do this the customer will follow suit…post signs don’t expect the customer to read your mind…and overall be courteous…if you can’t find another job…”i’ve seen it all”…well go see it somewhere else

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  35. To Cabela’s (and everyone that commented on Cabela’s) AND to all that object to customers giving other customers unsolicited advice:
    I live 4 minutes away from one of their stores. I love the place. They even have started stocking some decent tactical/precision stuff. The problem is that the gun counter staff know NOTHING… repeat… NOTHING about the guns they are selling. Once in a while, I get a bug and have to pay retail there for something they have in stock that needs to be in my collection… while I shop (which means, looking for THE gun I want since the sales people will be no help) I cannot help hearing the BS that they are spilling to customers. I want more people to be happy in our chosen, um, “hobby” and cannot hold back when the same old fart repeats to all apparent newbies… “can’t go wrong with the [crappy] Winchester .30-06″… doesn’t matter if they are intending to shoot prarie dogs or a T-Rex at 25 meters or 1500. I HAVE to step in to help. Things get even worse with they start talking optics. I’ve complained to the store manager and have been completely blown-off.
    On the flip side… I’ve been out of archery for 15 yrs and recently got the bug back… finding my old, dusty bow looking kind of dangerously frail, I ventured back to Cabela’s. There was a ton of new tech there so I clearly admitted that I was a newbie. Never have I had a better buying experience. Granted, I was shopping high-end, but the Cabela guys must have spent 2 hours with me to get the right stuff, sized and configured correctly, and now I shoot 2” groups at 50-meters all day long. Service is soooo key.

  36. To comment 103: Unless you are at a “big box” store (i.e. Cabela’s)… of course you haggle. I’ve never paid list on a gun at a true “gun store”. Granted, I had over $100K of purchases in at “my store” before the BATFE made up a bunch of BS to shut them down (claimed they allowed straw-purchases… I say them creatively throw such people out of the door at least a dozen times over 15 years). But, even before they knew me, I was getting decent 10-20% discounts and they still were making fine profit. My new store is giving me 10-15% (that will go up if I keep adding to the collection. I don’t know what kind of store you work in… hopefully you are charging reasonable (i.e NOT retail) prices.
    For clarification: I buy battle guns and precision, long range stuff. Not cheap-o 100-meter drunken deer hunting stuff. One of my favorite things to do is show up at the range with my Barrett .50BMG while wearing a pretty dress. It is soooo fun watching the guys’ faces.

  37. quit haggling prices! gun stores arent car dealerships or pawn shops! you wouldnt haggle the cashier of wal mart would you? yes, i work at a gun store lol.

  38. You forgot another manner to obey in a Gun Store..


    or Don’t feel that just because you have a cell phone that this call is so important that I either wait til you’re finished, or I’ll put the gun back in the case and wait on someone else.. until you’re available!!!!! ARHGHH!

  39. I have worked behind the counter for over 5 years now. The thing that gets me the most is the guy who “knows” everything about guns. He’s the one that when you’re selling a gun to someone, just has to chime in with his own ideas and thoughts about the gun that you are selling. He has no clue about the 10 minute conversation that you just had with the customer about their needs or wants. This guy proudfully boasts all of his “knowledge” about guns and what the customer should buy or needs. All of this “info” usually justs confuses the customer and sometimes costs you the sale. Then this guy walks off and doesn’t even buy anything. Leave my customers alone and keep your opinions to yourself and your damn mouth shut. The sales people are there doing a job that they were trained for and enjoy, to help customers make a purchase based on unbiased facts and the true needs of the customer.

  40. When in a gunstore looking at firearms,
    I follow a certain Protocol. I know ahead of time which gun I will be asking to look at. If undecided, I narrow my search to only TWO. After the Clerk hands me the gun, I proceed to checking it out to ensure that there are no rounds in the gun, even if the clerk verified Empty Gun two seconds earlier. It’s MY Safety Procedure, and I do not deviate from it. Following the Unloaded gun verification, I proceed to get a Sight Picture. I hold the gun close to my chest – muzzle Up, and then p[roceed to extend my arms, making sure that my Index Finger is OFF the trigger and resting on the trigger Guard.

    I ALWAYS point the gun at an Upper Corner of the room As I bring my arms to Full Extension.

    This is the safest place to aim for, and the converging lines make for a good target.

  41. I was at a gunstore ,looking at an FN5seven.A lady was in there looking for a gun and asking the clerk questions and she turned to me and asked me what I would do in her place.I said that she needed to go somewhere and get some training first but a small 38 ladysmith may be good for you. The clerk got pissed and jumped me and told me to leave his store now. I said she asked me and I told here.I told him I was sorry and I donot get into other peoples business but she asked the way he was trying to sell her a Taurus Judge. What a b***hole. never been back

  42. Great article. I worked at a gun shop for a few years while in school, and am also a certified pistol instructor. I’ve seen most of the same things people have talked about here, on both sides of the counter. The most frustrating customers are the ones who come in the store drunk or high, or the ones who are obviously buying a weapon for their friend. We were always encouraged to refuse sales to people like that, so don’t be surprised if it seems your sales person is sizing you up to make sure you’re not a straw purchaser. That being said, there’s no reason for them to be rude and anything less than professional.

    As a buyer, my biggest pet peeve is a sales person who isn’t well trained in gun safety. I have, on several occasions, been handed an unchecked weapon. I will ALWAYS check the chamber of a weapon, and if I’m instructed that I’m not allowed (because of how brand new it is, collectible value diminishing, etc.) that’s an immediate walk away moment.

    I was yelled at once for locking the slide back on a semi-auto pistol at a gun show, because it was “brand new, just out of the box, and it wasn’t loaded.” I was told by an inexperienced salesman that I would “mess it up,” and that “the boss told us not to let anyone ‘play’ with the guns.” I mentioned that a brand new firearm can be just as loaded and deadly as a used one, and that I would not handle a firearm unless I had checked it myself first. To which he replied “it’s brand new, don’t you trust me?” I handed the pistol back safely, with the slide open. The salesman couldn’t figure out how to close the slide, and accused me of breaking the gun. I offered my services as a certified pistol instructor, to which I received a less than polite response.
    I have never dealt with that gentleman, or company, since.

  43. I’m not sure if I communicated poorly, if there’s some anti-female bias, or if us having a different business model just befuddles some of you, but I’ll try again.

    We are happy to help people. We have very high repeat business, and our customers say we set the standard for superb service. We’ve got customers that will drive over 200 miles just to deal with us. We have customers who call us for advice from all over the country. We merely ask that you respect our time as much as we respect yours. I educate our customers about how the industry works, about how to do gun research, about how best to help themselves and how we can best help them. We actively promote the local gun club, and have lots of helpful information that we’ve created to hand out to anyone asking.

    We don’t sell used or consignment guns, so I created handouts directing people to local gun shops if that’s what they’re looking for. My handouts also contain numerous helpful web links where people can do the required research about California’s restrictive laws, do extensive comparative research on new guns and their availability, get quotes, etc. We’re here to help anyone who wants to learn more, without being so arrogant that we think we’re the sole source of information.

    We manufacture high performance ammo (for ex., for bomb squads for remote bomb detonation and disruption, for SWAT/SRT teams’ snipers, for hunters throughout the USA, including many of those heading to Africa, for government acronym agencies, etc.). Because of that, we have about 500 guns in the shop, which we use for load development. Very few of these guns are for sale. Instead, we use them as a 3D catalog to help customers understand differences in models and features.

    I am friendly and helpful to everyone who walks through the door, but we aren’t your normal gun shop. I politely explain that, and tell them how we can help them. Some customers do not listen, and ask me to play show and tell with guns that are not for sale. I always politely explain again that most of the guns they see aren’t for sale, but are our load development and test guns — that we are primarily an ammo factory.

    We’re happy to do new gun sales too, but we do it by appointment so that you get undivided attention and expert help (from someone other than me). I’m there to handle the basic questions, the legal questions, the logistics. The experts are in the back loading ammo, so I do NOT interrupt them. (Loading requires intense focus so you don’t make mistakes.) Instead, if you’re serious and willing to work with us, I make appointments to talk with an actual expert when they’re not busy loading. We ask you to do some research, reading, and thinking if you haven’t already done that, and give you helpful handouts about how to do that. If that doesn’t work for you, we’re happy to direct you to a normal gun store.

    Your normal gun store makes their money talking with everyone and churning their inventory. We make our money creating high precision ammo. Because our experts love the shooting sports, they’re happy to share their expertise with serious customers to help them buy the right guns and accessories for them at great prices. Making appointments allows us to use our experts time wisely. Their focus is high end loading and advice to shooting professionals, but appointments for gun sales also lets them help those who want, need, and appreciate their extensive knowledge. I’m there to facilitate that by handling all the basics and the initial customer interactions. Serious customers almost always appreciate that, and are willing to make appointments, and that includes customers who are new to the sport. (Actually, those new to the sport are more open to this professional approach.)

    The internet is democratizing shopping and researching. Instead of fighting that, we’re working with it, and helping anyone who is serious understand how to best utilize online resources, the reality of onerous state gun laws, and our expertise, to get the best result for them at the best price. All they have to do is be willing to work with that model. If they aren’t, our handouts direct them to old style gun stores who are still working with churning their inventory and the opinions of just that owner. If that’s what works for you, keep doing it.

    If you want to get to our experts, you have to understand that their time is valuable, so they ask you to make an appointment, to show that you are serious. In the meantime, I’m as helpful and welcoming as I can be to 95% of those who walk through the door. I promote the sport, membership in the club, education about guns and shooting, how to use online resources to get instant quotes and availability, etc. I really am here to help, though perhaps not in the expected way. So… I repeat my original request. Be polite and communicate well, which includes listening; it helps you to get better results.

  44. I still remember going with my Dad to buy a pistol one evening when I was in High School. While my Dad was handling pistols and doing paperwork, one of the other salemen spent over half an hour with me, at his initiative, showing me rifles and shotguns, and expounding thier respective vitues. He kept reminding me, “when you turn 18, you come back, you can buy any of these guns” Contrast his attitude with some of the stories above!

    I also remember the phrase,”be an ambassador of the sport”, and I think that really sums up the way everyone in the firearms community should act, hobbyist, sportsman, or professional. (Becky, that means you,too)

  45. When I walk into a gun shop that I’ve never entered before, I look around a LOT first. At the door as I come in.
    Does it look like the roof is leaking? If so, they don’t regard their merchandise worthy of protection from water, I can’t expect my purchases to be in good condition. If so, my view is extremely jaundiced. I don’t want to purchase a firearm that is encrusted in rust!
    Is the merchandise reasonably organized and NOT mixed together on the same peg? If the latter, a jaundiced view is applied. Can I rely upon the staff to supply me with what I request, rather than the first thing that they grab? Will I have a call from BATFE to verify my serial number of a handgun that was purchased? In short, I have some concerns, as there is no organization of the stock.
    Are people just milling around? If so, that could be a good sign or a bad sign. I’ll venture further a bit and overhear what I can. If I overhear talk about a massive, drunken party, I depart hastily, for that is a house of fools and gun shops are rife with risks in the hands of fools. For there, the loaded gun is handed from one fool to another. For there, the fool hands the other fool a knife to be swung around wildly. Sorry, but I survived a very interesting 27 years and change of military life, I’ll not permit a fool to risk my life now!
    Are they talking about firearms or other sporting things? I’ll venture closer to listen to the character of conversation. Are they talking about sports? If so, I’ll continue my perusal.
    Have I been approached by the staff YET? If not, be guarded, for they don’t care about new customers.
    I have no problem with friends stopping by for a chat or even a long conversation. As long as the behavior is mature, sane and not foolish. If they talk about some zombie apocalypse, I’m outta there in a New York minute. I’m a SERIOUS purchaser, not one who is interested in fantasy.
    When I eventually approach the counter, I examine the stock on display closer, as I’ve perused it from a distance.
    I’ll ask questions about some items, I’ll ask about items I know QUITE well, to gauge the knowledge of the staff. I’ll even ask a question, if the staff is extremely versed in the technical, gunsmith questions on a particular item. If the staff doesn’t know, I’ll respect an “I don’t know”. I’ll not respect bullshit, for that belongs in compost for use later as fertilizer. I’ll LOVE an “I’ll go find out, if you can wait a few minutes”, for then, I’m very interested in doing business for a long time!
    My time is valuable. So is the staff’s time. So, it becomes a bit of a dance, IF the shop has survived that long. I’ll also express at the point that I respect the staff as professional firearms distributors, my wish to purchase today or within a time frame that I clearly express for a particular class of weapon.

    My money is hard earned. The safety and existence of my butt, even harder earned.
    I won’t suffer fools with weapons in a place that sells weapons. I’ll move on to a reputable business.
    I won’t tolerate lies from staff or worse, owner of a business. That disrespects my hard work, hence, me.
    I won’t tolerate disrespect of the stock, as that is disrespect for the customer.
    I’ve encountered a sparse few businesses of the run away kind, a couple of walk away kind and one of not even walk into the door kind. The rest tended to be reputable.
    An extremely sparse few were experts, but that was due to occupational information of that sparse few who supplied our military needs.
    I’m retired now, my needs are simpler. Don’t do stupid things to try to kill me or others around me when I’m shopping (that goes for MANY businesses). Don’t lie to me, that is stealing. Don’t be ignorant, find out and I’ll value you greater than platinum. That will pay off over decades. 🙂

  46. The best service we ever got at gun stores was when we took my then 18 year old daughter shopping for a handgun to take to college. Walk in with an attractive young woman who wants to look at a number of guns and she will get as much time and attention as anyone could want.

  47. Good article. I lived in California most of my life, and I never went to a good gun store there. I don’t mean just the products that were available, I am talking about the staff. Every gun store always had arrogant and a “holier-than-thou” attitude. I like guns. I like going to gun stores, but why the constant attitude from the staff?

    On the flip side, living in the state I am now, I go to a gun store and people are all smiles and offering me something to drink. It is a true great experience. Perhaps it is just california.

  48. After reading these comments, I understand the position of anti-gun nuts better. Some of you scare me worse than the criminals do.

  49. just the other day, about two weeks ago, I went into a local BASS PRO shop to their gun counter looking for ammo, my first and only time there. I have a 1891/30 (Mosin Nagant), A SKS, a Nagant Revolver (M1891), and a Walther p38, I was looking for ammo for. Well, looking for the most cheap price. Went up to the counter, looking for some help. I had been looking at the case, and the counter-guy was on the phone and said I would be right with you. Another guy walked up, and he promptly got off the phone for him. I said, Wait a second, I was next. The employee said, “well, he always buys something when he comes up and you don’t look like you can afford anything here.” I said, oh really? I took out the two thousand dollars cash I had (I sold a car, and did not get the bank yet, and it was across the street) and threw it on the counter. Very pissed off, I requested to see the manager. Again, another nimrod. However, he said, “steve” was wrong to do that. So, he talked me down, and I told him I was looking for AK ammo..7.62X39… He stopped me and said, “don’t you mean 5.56mm?” I said, “I have an SKS, that uses 7.62X39mm just like the first gen AKs. I was under the impression 5.56 was for the AK 74..not anything older.” He just said, YOUR WRONG! YOU CAN STILL USE A 5.56mm in place of a 7.62 and it will chamber.” (NO IT WONT BUT ANYWAY) I said, well, your welcome to do what you want to with your guns, I will just use what it says works with it.” He blasts back; ” Why would I own a junk rifle like an AK OR SKS… PIECE OF S-IT!” I said… ok do you have 9mm Luger or 32? I am starting to think what is this guys problem. He said, 9mm is junk, .32 is a wussy-ass round… and why would I ever want a wuss-ass round?! Then he looked at me right in the eye, and said, “you must be gay? to want such weak ammo.” Never missing a beat, I said, Sir, you are a bigot and an ass hole, I would not by any thing from you. Nor would I take anything even if you gave it to me. Further more… 9mm was created by the Germans, and served in two world wars… and a few well trained German SS Corps would turn you inside out for calling 9mm ‘Gay”.” I left after raising hell, security came over… and I said, don’t bother I am leaving. So, I found a local pawn store, where I buy ALL MY GUNS FROM NOW, they are awesome… They even let me “touch” and mess with any gun or rifle I am thinking about buying. THEY ALSO SPECIAL ORDERED MY 7.62X38R (Nagant) ammo I needed for m1891 Rev. I LOVE THEM! Seems no one likes my local BASS PRO SHOP. For my standard ammo, I go to my Local Dunhams Sporting good stores. Got me a box of 9mm 50 rounds for 6.99!!! AT BOTH places they know me by name! LOVE THEM BOTH!

  50. just the other day, about two weeks ago, I went into a local BASS PRO shop to their gun counter looking for ammo, my first and only time there. I have a 1891/30 (Mosin Nagant), A SKS, a Nagant Revolver (M1891), and a Walther p38, I was looking for ammo for. Well, looking for the most cheap price. Went up to the counter, looking for some help. I had been looking at the case, and the counter-guy was on the phone and said I would be right with you. Another guy walked up, and he promptly got off the phone for him. I said, Wait a second, I was next. The employee said, “well, he always buys something when he comes up and you don’t look like you can afford anything here.” I said, oh really? I took out the two thousand dollars cash I had (I sold a car, and did not get the bank yet, and it was across the street) and threw it on the counter. Very pissed off, I requested to see the manager. Again, another nimrod. However, he said, “steve” was wrong to do that. So, he talked me down, and I told him I was looking for AK ammo..7.62X39… He stopped me and said, “don’t you mean 5.56mm?” I said, “I have an SKS, that uses 7.62X39mm just like the first gen AKs. I was under the impression 5.56 was for the AK 74..not anything older.” He just said, YOUR WRONG! YOU CAN STILL USE A 5.56mm in place of a 7.62 and it will chamber.” (NO IT WONT BUT ANYWAY) I said, well, your welcome to do what you want to with your guns, I will just use what it says works with it.” He blasts back; ” Why would I own a junk rifle like an AK OR SKS… PEICE OF S-IT!” I said… ok do you have 9mm Luger or 32? I am starting to think what is this guys problem. He said, 9mm is junk, .32 is a wussy-ass round… and why would I ever want a wuss-ass round?! Then he looked at me right in the eye, and said, “you must be gay? to want such weak ammo.” Never missing a beat, I said, Sir, you are a bigot and an ass hole, I would not by any thing from you. Nor would I take anything even if you gave it to me. Further more… 9mm was created by the Germans, and served in two world wars… and a few well trained German SS Corps would turn you inside out for calling 9mm ‘Gay”.” I left after raising hell, security came over… and I said, don’t bother I am leaving. So, I found a local pawn store, where I buy ALL MY GUNS FROM NOW, they are awesome… They even let me “touch” and mess with any gun or rifle I am thinking about buying. THEY ALSO SPECIAL ORDERED MY 7.62X38R (Nagant) ammo I needed for m1891 Rev. I LOVE THEM! Seems no one likes my local BASS PRO SHOP. For my standard ammo, I go to my Local Dunhams Sporting good stores. Got me a box of 9mm 50 rounds for 6.99!!! AT BOTH places they know me by name! LOVE THEM BOTH!


  52. Gun Shop Story: This happened in AZ at a big retailer/wholesaler. My friend was a counterman there. One afternoon, a gunshot goes off outside the store. A short time later, another round goes off. The store protocol for employees at that store is to lock all the doors and wait for the police to show up.

    Well, after about 30 minutes, they get the “all clear” call from the police and open back up. A few people mill in the front door and my friend asks one of them “What happened out there?”

    The guy starts laughing and says: “My friend wanted to bring his gun in the store and it was loaded. He was trying to unload it inside his new truck and he accidentally put a round right through the roof.”

    My friend said: “But how come I heard TWO shots?”

    The guy said “When he fired the first round, he got so mad that he decided to put another hole right next to the first one.”

  53. @86, Adam, had the same experience in other businesses. Most of the time, I did what you did, go to a business that was prepared to do business.
    On two occasions, I made a point, as the salesman was especially egregious in the dismissal of my business.
    For one, I plopped $8000 on the counter and explained that his business wasn’t the only one that sold high end computer equipment, so he should make a choice. I got what I wanted. I was also quite nice and explained how I spent more money than he made, to drive the point home.
    For the other, I showed that salesman my money and explained that there are thousands of jewelry stores in the region and one of them would get that money, then left and did business in a store that wanted my business.

    It’s not only gun stores that get that attitude in their staff, many businesses have that unfortunate habit. Most of those eventually go out of business.

  54. At #60 Bryan,

    Had a similar situation purchasing my first high dollar hunting shotgun. Been a waterfowler since 18, and used a mossy pump 535. When I turned 22 (am 29 now) I started saving $150 a month until I had $1500. Did a ton of research and picked out 3 possibilities, a Beretta Xtrema 2, Benelli Super Black Eagle 2, and Browning Gold Hunter. Walked right into the local shop, asked to see the Benelli with my license on the table, and the clerk didn’t move. Said, “Do you know how much those cost?” I replied that I did, I had done a lot of research, and just wanted to check the fit on the 3 shotguns before I bought one. The guy still didn’t move, and asked me if I was serious or just “kickin’ tires.” I took my license off the table, went right to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and the extremely helpful salesman let me hold and mount all 3 shotguns. This is the Dick’s in Framingham, MA by the way. At any rate, 20 minutes later I walked out with a brand new Beretta shotgun, $1,449, paid for in cash.

  55. I’m sure many customers are rude and difficult to deal with. However, I have found gun shop employees to be even more impolite and unsafe with regards to the firearms they are handling. After 11 years in the Marine Corps and 25 years in civilian law enforcement, I am still amazed at how clerks in gun shops hand a customer a pistol without checking to determine if it is “safe” (i.e. “unloaded”). I always go through the process of checking/clearing the pistol I have just handled, prior to giving it back to the clerk. If I ask to see another pistol – you guessed it – the pimple-faced little goof hands me another pistol in the same unchecked, unsafe way he handed me the first one. This goes on whether I only look at one pistol or a dozen. It just doesn’t seem to sink in. And don’t get me started on the number of times a gun shop clerk has “assured me when I’ve asked for 5.56 mm ammo that .223 and 5.56 mm are the same.” What are gun shop owners/managers doing to to train their employees? We have a local store that always has the latest firearms and lots of variety, but I only go there to look, not buy, due to the number of bad experiences I’ve had/seen with the store clerks. And don’t tell me to talk to the owner about it. He’s even worse!

  56. You know, there are a few things in life that begs for deference and for mutual respect.
    Firearms are only #3, artillery and nuclear warheads are #2 and #1.
    Well, NORMAL folks don’t deal with #2 and #1, other than in bathrooms. 😉

    I have a few rules that have served me quite well in businesses that sell firearms and ammunition. (A small hint, I don’t do Walmart or Kmart.)
    First, when I see a firearm I’m interested in, I ask about specifications. Then, I ask about range of ammunition it’ll handle, if the clerk isn’t bright, I’ll ask about load/round mass, which will bring someone who knows whatinhell I’m wanting to know.
    I ask if the weapon I’m interested in handling is clear. That is a VERY important message. For me, far more important, as I’ve been personally present for an “unloaded” weapon discharging. Said owner had some dental problems afterward…
    I’m probably MORE anal retentive than your range RSO. Literally. See the above.
    I’ll ALWAYS ask if it is safe for the hardware to dry fire. If the answer is “maybe” or no, I’ll ask for a snap cap to try the trigger. If one isn’t available, I’ll put SOMETHING in the way of the hammer or not bother dry firing. That typically means that I’ll also not purchase. If a trigger needs work, I want to know about it AT THE COUNTER, not at the range!

    @Michael Kay, I’d NEVER accost anyone with a firearm acting foolishly. Shouting can cause a sudden tension in a finger by accident that would end up with someone leaking that really important red stuff. Very, very ungood. I’ll do that “Uh, you, with the gun pointing around, can you PLEASE point that either up or straight down, RIGHT NOW!? Thanks, if that was unintentionally loaded, we might be on tonight’s news, a very, very ungood thing.
    For the inexperienced clerk, I’ll ask the inexperienced to GET an experienced clerk and wait to give experience. Learning is SO totally cool for the newbie clerk or customer. It beats the hell out of ignorance!
    For the “experienced shooter”, I’d approach as you did. THEN, it’d degenerate, as I’d then explain nicely that I was TRYING to be nice and not treat him like a butte bar, but HE insisted, as one butter bar did, who tried to march us into a *#&&! minefield. Didn’t happen then, won’t happen now, get over it.
    For YOU pointed a weapon with a closed breach, which to any *REAL* shooter is loaded, at my CHILD!
    Were we ANYWHERE by here, with an RSO, you’d be in a bag right now.
    To not put too fine a point on it. You’d do the same for your grandchild.
    Now, I suggest that you reconsider your point before you are ejected from this range, yea unto the seventh generation!
    But then, I attended the George S. Patton school of diplomacy. 😉
    I’m also GOOD at such an approach.
    For, there is range safety and there is God.
    Then, there is safety of my family and there is God.
    When the latter two meet, God agreed to sit that one out. 😉

  57. I know my P&Qs. There are clerks that think most of the public are dumb asses and treat them with no respect. By the way I always ask if I may dry fire.

  58. As a relative newbie, I have to admit I have the opposite observation of this article. I have a few stores on my list already who were very rude and unprofessional to me when either calling or shopping in their stores. A rep from the largest store in my area was almost insulting when I and my friend were asking questions at a gun show. His attitude was almost that he “didn’t have time for newbies”. We either had to know what we wanted or move on (even mumbled something to the effect under his breath as we walked away). I’ve purchased thousands of dollars worth of guns since that encounter… none from them and never will. Similar experience with my local store on a phone call. I don’t think these are isolated cases. Just read the online reviews for many stores.

  59. What the heck , I just received an e-mail in my box from this site with a comment on a blog about shooting, and gun stores. I know I get a little off topic, on some of my posts BUT WHAT THE HELL IS SOMEONE (BRYANNA POUCIL COMMENT 77 ) COMPLAINING ABOUT Having to pay to message on the Dating Site CHRISTIAN MINGLE . What the hell ? I thought I get off topic sometimes, but I am not commenting on my dating life and complaining on a shooters info and advice Blog about having to pay to message someone on a DATING WEBSITE . After being married to my wife for 36 years, I never thought about looking for a date on this website. I guess if I were looking for a woman to date who shares my interests (which my wife and two daughters do ) I Might think about posting something on this site. But Complaining about having to pay for messaging on a Dating website on this blog, just seems a little out there to me . Or have I missed something on this site ,and never realized I was posting on a dating service website. If that is the case , I have twin daughters who I would love to have meet a good man who is a shooter, so they could date someone who has the same interests that they have. And the guys that they would meet should be prepared to be out shot by them because my daughters are great shots. LOL I know I should not have said this because if they see my post I am in hot water , but they know their dad , I always do and say things that embarrass them. Thats are what Dads are for.

  60. One important thing to remember, as a customer, is that your salesman may be very knowledgeable, but it doesn’t mean that he/she knows everything or that his/her word should be taken as the gospel. I’ve seen salesmen recommend 44 magnum ammunition for a 44 special only pistol, which I took the time to politely correct. He wasn’t excited about my correction, but a quick glance at the warnings on the front of the manual and he understood. Another salesman at a Cabelas chain argued with me for 30 minutes about whether or not you could convert the Glock 32 chambered in 357 sig to shoot 40 S&W and 9mm. I know for a fact that it is possible because I do it in order to practice cheaper and did this to teach my wife and children about firing a pistol. I left the counter and returned from my truck shortly with my range bag to demonstrate this for him. I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to them, but nothing makes my stomach feel worse than listening to an inexperienced shooter repeating misinformation given to them by salesmen and others. Read your manual!!

  61. I was visiting family out of state and the father-n-law recommened a place in Georgia called GT’S, he loves the place, I will never go back not even if they were giving away guns for free. Long story short, I went to the counter they were not very busy and ask one of the guys ” excuse me sir, I have a Tanfoglio..” and before I could even get the words out to tell this guy what I was looking for he responded with “SO WHAT DO I CARE” I loudly responded “I was going to buy a new set of grips from you asshole but now I am leaving.” I have learned that you need to just browse a gun shop a few times before asking anything. I have since found here in Virginia a local small shop that may not have great prices but the owner is ready and willing to order anything for this hard to find parts for firearm, big bonus is he is not an asshole.

  62. Christian Mingle is definitely the best christian internet dating web site however the greatest difficulty I’ve got is that it simply seems wrong to have to pay just to message people. I really cant get myself to doing it.

  63. Comment # 40 from Taggert Snyder , on my # 21 Comment/Story

    Taggert, I am sorry I just saw your question on my post asking ” Where were all the officials at this range while all tis was going on ? Did I report the incident ?

    Taggert , I have been shooting over 50 years now , and just realized a few weeks go that me shooting over 50 years and I am not even 60 years old yet, so I have been to many clubs through those years. I grew pretty much with all my free time at Gun Clubs, and at 16 , with a drivers license and a hunting license No one ever saw me during hunting season. So what I wrote were incidents that I was involved in and was there for when they happened. You question was right on as to where were the officials when this happened ? Many times at different clubs , they have different shoots each night, each shooting discipline would have those rifle days, shotgun days, pistol days, and archery days. There was an indoor range so that was also shared . And each weekend a month was given to each different group, sometimes they did not like to share. BUT YOU ARE RIGHT WHERE WERE THE OFFICIALS WHILE ALL THIS WAS GOING ON ? The Chairman of the shotgun Committee was there as were other members of that clubs committee , but as you saw It was only me who stood up to that CRAZY SHOOTER . There were over 80 people there at the club the night my son had the gun pointed at him and the shooter who went nuts when I asked him to keep his gun open and not point it at my son. The shooter was not a member. This particular shoot was an open shoot with members and non-members. But you are right where were the officials, they were there, and I think they were all stunned when all this happened ,and some saw what went on , first on the line and then they could not miss what went on in the Clubhouse , but not one of them even got involved when the EXPERIENCED SHOOTER WENT BERZERK IN THE CLUB HOUSE . I am not sure if they were just in shock with what occurred, and froze, or they saw that I was handling it as calmly as I could, as I was a committee member and a former Chairman they knew my demeanor and safety record .Everyone respected the way I usually handled everything , but that night that shooter did get out of hand. THE NEW CHAIRMAN SHOULD HAVE STEPPED IN BUT HE LEFT ME STANDING ALONE. I will say that was the last shoot that shooter EVER ATTENDED AT THE CLUB . Since he was not a member , he was just banned from the club. That is not to say I did not meet up with him a week later at a Sunday Shoot at another Club ,which he did start with me there again. Once again I kept my Cool , and after his outbreak there he was banned from that club. It did not hurt that I was the Chairman of the Southeast Region Trapshooters Federation and ran all the regionsonth , and Scheduled all the Inter-Club Shooting Competitions. He was just unlucky that he went up against a shooter who was known (ME) at two different clubs and when you do anything to interrupt the harmony of any shoot we have a RULE that says you will be removed and asked not to return. He was TOLD NOT TO RETURN TO THE FIRST CLUB , and when he went Crazy at the Second Club when he saw me, he was ALSO ASKED NOT TO RETURN TO THAT CLUB ALSO ,by that clubs chairman. I had no power to do that as the southeast regions Chairman, it was up to the Clubs chairman where the shoot was taking place that made that decision. But after that second Clubs ban, I never had any confrontations with him again. I GUESS HE LEARNED HIS LESSON . It just goes to show you that the way I handle things calmly and was known for that by the Clubs in the Federation backed me up.
    That shooter was just in the unfortunate to have done what he did at 2 clubs , so he was banned from two Clubs . I think he learned his lesson. And I was not the one who banned him, at the two clubs.
    OH one horrible event happened at the first Club , One day a good friend of mine who I shot with ,and who was older than me did something that was an accident , And I felt so Bad for Timmy . Back in the 70′ shooters used what is called a Snap CAP , you put it in your Gun . I have always been afraid of them as I have watched people use them and stood there cringing because some look so much like a regular shell. At one shoot Timmy was done shooting , picked out the ” snap Cap from his pocket, put it in and pulled the trigger. Inside the Clubhouse there was a horrid explosion, it ended up Timmy put a live shell in his gun , closed it and it went off when he went to take the pressure off the firing pin spring. . We were lucky as I was right next to Timmy when it happened, but he too followed all the safety rules, and had the gun pointed in a safe direction ,but it did hit the floor, take out a piece of the tile and bounced off the floor and sprayed the wall.
    I will always remember Timmy standing there shaking, and crying when this happened . Ever since that day my view of a SNAP CAP HAS BEEN DON’T USE ONE. Timmy did everything right , but put a live shell in his gun. I HAVE NEVER EVER USED A SNAP CAP BEFORE AND SINCE, BECAUSE THEY HAVE ALWAYS SCARED ME. AND THAT DAY IT PROVED ME RIGHT. I was 12 years old when it happened and Timmy was 19 , so I know he never used one again.

  64. Thanks for this train of very informative and revealing postings. It’s amazing how many people have no idea what they’re doing, and how many people bite their tongues inparting such information to them without losing their cool.

  65. I wanted to buy a particular firearm from Century Arms. I went to a couple local dealers the mainly just “brushed me off”. One owner was too busy looking at porno with a couple of his “regulars”. I finally went to a dealer 25 miles away, they could not order direct from Century, but eagerly offered to receive a firearm for me. Ordered from CTD, they called me, made the transfer, all in a very courteous manner. I bought another $160 of “stuff” from them as a thank you for their courtesy. I will make a point to buy another firearm that they have in stock in the very near future. The places that are too “esoteric’ To me will never see any of my money!

  66. It’s very interesting to read the wide variety of comments posted here. Especially the way some handle their business. For the poster who said they don’t have time to deal with newbies, I’m amazed and mystified! How does someone get information (other than the internet) to experience the feel or heft of a firearm? I know going to a club or range may work but even if you rent a firearm, you are usually on your own. I don’t have near the experience that many here have stated, only 6 years and that was a while ago. But customer service, tempered with reality, still works. You don’t need to shout, threaten or draw down on 99.9% of your customers. The same person that said they don’t deal with newbies also had an excellent idea…if you are new, set up an appointment and spend quality time getting a little education. It goes a long way and creates a relationship.

    In addition to the safety rules stated, you should know where the shop considers a safe area to point the gun you’re handling. Some have a target or aiming point on a wall and it’s not always obvious.
    You should ask permission to dry fire.
    Don’t be afraid to ask what’s the difference between firearms. If the staff doesn’t know…well, you may want to shop elsewhere, or maybe you can learn together if it’s a new product.
    Offer a safety class, either yours or a local class to bring people up to speed at least on safe handling.
    If a safety issue comes out, take the customer off to the side and explain why what they are doing is unsafe. Embarrasing a customer will cost you.
    Advertise in local club newsletters.
    If rules for entering the establishment are on the front door, READ them and comply. It’s their business.
    If someone comes in with an item for sale, and the owner passes, go OFF the property to conduct any personal business.
    Don’t get down on a salesperson if they refer to literature to make sure they are getting it right. There are just too many models out there for everyone to know everything.
    If you don’t suffer fools easily, this is the wrong business to be in. A hostile or indifferent atmosphere reaps its own rewards.


  67. COMMENT 67 : This is for PB THE RANGE OFFICER AT 2 CLUBS. I compliment you for you patience and handling of the pointed gun situation. MAN MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU. When you hear those words , like you heard, ‘
    ” I HAVE BEEN SHOOTING ALL MY LIFE ” You know you are in for it. I don’t know why but the guys who use the excuse of I have been shooting for years , or shooting all my life , when you hear those words you know what your in for. That shooter is not going to take any advice, and you are now his enemy ,and that’s when the words start flying. You know we all make mistakes and when we do , hey man up and appoligize . You SHOOTING ALL HIS LIFE SHOOTER , calling you a range Nazi , and quiting the club as he reports you /. HEY WITH HIM GONE HE IS NOT SHOOTING AROUND YOUR CLUB ANYMORE. It his loss and your gain.
    You incident with the young boy with the Pistol , now that is scary and what you did in the way you handled that was great. You stayed calm, the grandfather shooting never even saw his grandson pick up his pistol, and it was great you were there to catch it. And as you said the grandfather was visibly shaken, and felt bad. Just the fact that Grandfather and grandson still came back, is a testament to you. You did not seem like the Range Nazi that the first guy accused you of being. and the best part, the grandfather after leaving the club, you know was talking to his grandson all the way home on Gun Safety . So between you handling of the situation and the grandfather telling the boy about safety on the way home and most likely as they came back , That was the best learning session you could have asked for.AND I BET THE GRANDFATHER AND KID STILL TALK WITH YOU , UNLIKE YOUR FIRST GUY WHO QUIT.

  68. I have had similar bad experiences at gun shops. But the worst happened when I went to buy an automatic at a shop I’d never been to before. I,too. had the ‘old guy friends sitting around shooting the shit in an empty store’ experience. Being my mother’s daughter, I gave them the respect of quietly waiting at the counter for some help, listening and learning what I could. When one of them deigned to acknowledge my existence and start to help me, I asked a question about one of the topics they had been discussing. The old guy SCREAMED at me that I shouldn’t have been eavesdropping! And muttered “damn women”. Grrrr….Being a person of dignity, I barely avoided unloading both barrels at him, so to speak. But I fear I did a very female ‘flounce’ out of the store.

  69. My FFL dealer has told me some of the full horrific tales of dealing with annoying, rude, and just plain dumb people while in the business. While she does not have her own shop per say, she operates it out of her home, she is subject to dealing with baddies nevertheless. She is a pure-blood Russian Class III FFL Dealer (the Russian decent shows with her minimal tolerance for bullshit). But despite her angry explosive hostility toward buffoonery that results in yelling in her lovely Russian accent, she is quite calm, nice, and pleasant to be around when people act like normal human beings. Having been around the block so many times she started to criticize the architect’s design, she is one of the most knowledgeable persons I know about firearm and weaponry. She also takes a shine to anyone who is willing to learn and loves helping people out by sharing information with them and helping them attain a better understanding of things of which they show interest. But God help you if you piss her off… being rude to her results in an explosion that will blind you like the glare of staring at one thousand suns.

    One occasion she permanently banned somebody from her “store” for actually dry firing a pistol at a person. When confronted about it, the man flew into a rage saying “IT WASN’T EVEN LOADED.”.
    Needless to say I am glad she told him not to come back… ever.

    Another time someone broke one of her machine-guns. He was fiddling with it and jammed a snapcap in the chamber and couldn’t get it out, so he hit the bolt with something to loosen it and bent it. Of course, the guy then had the audacity to say “I don’t want it now, it’s broke.”. I question whether someone with this kind of competence could even legally obtain a full-auto machine-gun. She made him pay her for the damages… I don’t think he was bold enough to refuse…

    And on another occasion, she permanently banned somebody again (this time somebody I unfortunately know personally), for putting a hole in her wall. He took the magazine of live rounds out of his carry pistol and put it in the new one he was going to purchase and was cycling the slide, and his carelessness of not keeping his finger off the trigger (well he wasn’t supposed to even been doing this in the first place), discharged the weapon. Now she has a hole in her wall so you can see right into the kitchen from the living room. Before the banning of course, she made him fix her wall.

    Fortunately for me, she always gives me great deals and discounts and even goes great lengths to find the things I am looking for (the firearms I collect aren’t considered ordinary to most and can often be tedious to find for sale). I am not only a preferred customer but by her own claims her BFF. It just goes to show how a little responsibility and manners can go along way, while irresponsibility peppered in obnoxious can promote the wrath of 40 years of sadistic rage you thought died with the Soviet Union…

    -“This message has been brought to you by the wise words of a man who is older than dog-shit”

  70. I’m a RO at two ranges, both are “clubs”. I get guns pointed at me on a regular basis. it’s usually the “experienced” shooter who knows everything that is the most dangerous.
    One afternoon on the outdoor range I noticed a shooter pointing a hand gun towards me ( although it was point downward ) and firing into the ground between him and myself.
    I freaked out, went right to angry and confronted him on his reckless use of a firearm.
    He replied with the “I’ve been shooting all my life” speech and he knows better than to shoot “towards” me, he said his wan’t loaded, that he was firing just caps to clear the nipples.
    I was using ear plugs and muffs so I couldn’t really hear it was just caps, from my perspective I saw smoke and dust from the “impact” area.

    The man actually considered the gun unloaded and din’t understand my rage.
    I explained to him that a black powder gun isn’t considered loaded until it’s capped and with no powder but caps IS considered a loaded weapon.

    He quit the club, in his letter to board of directors he accused me of being a “range Nazi”.

    That was the only thing he got right, I am a bit of a range Nazi when shooters don’t listen to me or give me lip, I run out of patients fairly fast with when it comes to “range commando’s”.

    Another time I saw a small boy, maybe 6 or 7 carry what looked like a polymer semi-auto. My first thought was the kid had an air-soft pistol but there was no orange tip so I calmly approached Jr and said ” Hi buddy…is that a real gun?” He said “Yes”, “may I see it please”…
    Turns out grandpa was shooting his rifle and set his “carry” M&P 9mm on the bench. The kid picked it and walked off.
    It had a full mag and a round in the chamber.
    The kid was polite and cooperative, grandpa was visibly trembling and felt horrible.
    Both gramps and Jr have been back many time since with no problems.

  71. I’m originally from Kansas and grew up hunting with guns. I’m also a Navy veteran and was qualified on the .45 (Navy kept them into the mid 90s), the 9mm, the shotgun, and the M-16. However, I have had relatively few good experiences at gun shops or even gun shows. Most of the owners and clerks have just been terribly rude to me. I read this article to see what I was doing wrong. I didn’t see anything. I’m always respectful and always safe. Reading a lot of the comments explained the problem though. Many gun store owners really are just self important a-holes. I guess the normal rules of retail/customer service don’t apply?! Don’t even come in if you aren’t ready to buy?! I learned to not make a major decision without doing my homework and maybe even sleeping on it a few nights. To me, spending more than $100 is a major decision, not to mention if it is a gun I’m buying for self defense. I’d like to know how all these customer service experts expect me to know what I want to buy without shopping around and getting the feel for all the different guns? And you can be sure I’m testing the shop as much as I’m testing the gun. I don’t give my hard earned money to people who don’t deserve it even if they are the best price. All I can say is don’t cry about big chain stores or the internet ruining your business when you can’t make a living and have to get a different job. If I treated my customers even remotely like the people leaving these comments suggest I’d be fired quick.

  72. Having taken sales classes and having worked retail for a couple years and having good parents I know to always treat ‘the guy behind the counter’ (and my fellow man) politely. My problem is that half the time I go gun shopping its the other way around, the guy/gal behind the counter is treating me like some no-nothing jack ass. On at least one occasion it cost them a sale (I wish it was every occasion but when stores are limited and they have a decent price I’m stuck…). And almost every I go shopping I know more about the gun I want to purchase than they do! (granted I do my research before I buy so I know what I’m doing)
    All that said I do have to hand it to people working in gun shops, its dangerous! Once while I was in a Cabelas and another time while I was in Spragues Sporting goods in Yuma customers negligently discharged their guns up in the ceiling… I don’t know that I would ever want to work in a gun store simply because there are so many idiots out there.

  73. This is for John’s #52 comment on the range officer/master. I commend you ,your brother and Uncle and the other guys on the line. When the range master entered in yelling about someone not signed in , you guys were great. It is so true that the range master could have startled one shooter and caused an accident. You and your uncle show what good training does, you emptied your guns and took care of the problem. There are too many Range NAZI’s out there that handle situations inappropriately , they never look at the big picture and they themselves become a danger to themselves and others. YOU guys did great staying calm, and emptying your firearms and dealing with the sign in issue where the range officer missed reading the extra name. I do not know why some range officers find it so appealing to yell at others and distract others .It could be they need to feel important , In my case when I was running a discipline shoot , there were certain people who I would never allow to be range officers /range masters just because I knew of their bad attitude and that made them the biggest safety issue I would have to deal with . There is nothing more distracting at a shoot than a range officer who is on an ego trip and tries to show how great he is and how low a new shooter is on the line. I always have an experienced shooter stay with a new shooter until I myself know the new shooter is a safe shooter. I have never had one complaint from the new shooters that they have a shadow with them on the line,watching and helping them until they know the rules of safe gun handling. And in the end, the new shooter feels he fits in , and if he is lucky makes a few friends in the end. AND AS WE ALL KNOW AN UNSAFE SHOOTERS REPUTATION WILL FOLLOW HIM FROM CLUB TO CLUB.

  74. The first time I went to my local gun store I was a newbie. I went in very excited about purchasing a firearm. I had all sorts of questions. However, the owner/operator was short with me. Never gave me any advice, and acted like he thought I was wasting his time. I was also the ONLY customer in the store during this time. It ended up being my last visit.

    I ended up driving 30 miles away to a neighboring city’s gun store. They were interested in my needs and were very knowledgable and courteous. I’ve been a faithful customer to them ever since, and have recommended the second store to my fellow gun owners.

    Attitude between the customers and employees is very important

  75. Shoobear–

    I agree with everything that you mentioned. However, I feel that these characteristics don’t necessarily apply to the typical firearms dealer. There are corporate chains in the gun world but store fronts are not common. Only a few that I can think of (local to me) is Gander Mountain and Fin, Feather, & Fur. I know there is also Cabela’s and somewhat Bass Pro Shop. For the 15 dealers that I can think of in a 50 mile radius of my home, 2 are corporate and 13 are all privately owned companies. That’s what I think is so great about the firearms world. It is small enough to retain private business but touched just a little with corporate commercialism. What you mentioned above is exactly how I feel about 99% of industries out there. But in the firearms trade, I don’t feel it applies as much. If one mom and pop shop treats me like crap, I’ll go to the next private business down the road. For the most part, corporate firearms dealers are good for online sales.

  76. Response to John:

    I think we are largely on the same page as I agree that the salesperson has to understand his/her obligations to the public and be polite and helpful to ALL prospective buyers, not just those who are planning to buy TODAY!

    I also agree that it’s a free market and one should not wildly overpay! I do a fair amount of research prior to buying a firearm (and a car) and the only point I was trying to make here is that an added level of service should be worth something to the consumer. In my area we have two smaller specialty shops that pride themselves on imparting knowledge and service and we have on high volume dealer where the staff is frequently brusque/rude and often less knowledgeable. One phenomenon we often see today is people will spend alot of time with the friendly, knowlegeable dealer, but then, go buy from the jackass, just to save $20 bucks. If we continue to place a low value on service, we will eventually lose the better dealers.

    If the cost delta is really large between a preferred dealer and a less desireable shop, i would suggest asking them if they could match or at least come closer to the other shop’s price, but I understand that not everyone is comfortable doing that.

    I will admit i have a bias being a sales professional myself, but as the saying goes, sales people can be some of the toughest customers. I will not waste one minute of my precious time with a salesperson who is anything less than conscientious, helpful and patient (nor should you), but when I find a salesperson who meets these criteria, I try to respect his/her time as I know they have a family to feed and a business to help succeed.

    I’m not for a moment being confrontational or suggesting that you don’t feel similarly–just trying to clarify my earlier statements. Also, as you suggested in your post, ultimately, regardless of how I feel on this subject the free market will ultimately decide this matter. I just hope there will always be a place for the small, family owned shop because, for me, the big box and mega-dealer experience is just no damned fun!

  77. I had an interesting experience recently, purchasing an AT-15. I visited 5 different retailers, with the intention of comparing models, brands and prices. Now. I work a job that requires a lot of physical labor, so when I showed up in my work clothes, I didn’t appear to be what most retail employees think of as a “big spender”. When I asked to see their selection of AR-15s, the first 4 locations, everything from a “big-box retailer” to a “mom&pop shop”, I was told something along the lines of “they’re over there” and then promptly ignored. But when I entered Oak Ridge Gun Range on Orange Avenue just south of Oak Ridge Road in Orlando, FL. (I think they earned a plug) I was greatest by not one but two very knowledgeable employees who spent over an hour helping me, answering questions, and sharing their experience and opinions. What the employees at the other stores didn’t realize is that sometimes, “dirty jobs” pay really well. Between the rifle, the scope, the bipod, the extra mags, and the case, I spent more than $3000 that day.
    That’s why, when my girlfriend decided that she wanted to try shooting a gun for the first time, I took her to Oak Ridge Gun Range. Once again they were very patient and helpful. They answered all he questions without being condescending and helped her overcome her anxiety at having never held a gun before. After letting her try out multiple weapons on their indoor range, she finally resided on a .double action .38. They even gave her 30 days of free range time after she bought it.
    Other retailers would do well to learn from their example.

  78. Chevy–

    Indeed, it is. Now I don’t mean to sound like I am unsympathetic to that aspect of the salesperson’s obligations, but they are just that; obligations. Every job has its good and bad. Working sales also has different positions. Sales in retail, means selling face to face with customers. Sales on a corporate level means preparing presentations and facing a member of another company to sell them a large purchase that would make your company lots of money. It’s not fun showing product to everyone who wants to touch it, nor is it fun spending weeks on a presentation for a company who actually has no interest in making a large purchase order with your company. So after weeks of preparation and an 8 hour flight to their HQ, you were blown off and wasted a ton of time and effort; only to have to fly back home with nothing to show for it…..It’s the way the free market works.

  79. John — you are so right, well said.
    It is the part of the trade of a salesman to have to wade through those that are looky-loe’s so it is never a waste of ones time.

  80. Shoobear–

    Have you ever purchased or went looking to purchase a car? How many hours did you walk around the lot, getting into and out of cars? How much of the sales person’s time did you “waste” by taking a test drive, asking questions on operation; only to not buy it? Retail is retail. I am totally with you about customer loyalty. I give my money to those who earn it. But the gripe from gun store workers about, “Don’t waste my time” is a load of crap. I went to the Cadillac dealership to check out a car and was escorted around by a salesman for a long time. I then made my decision and left–without buying. I went home, knowing what I wanted, and price shopped online. Then, I returned to the same dealership with a print out of the same vehicle at another dealership; listed at a lower price. Because of the time that the salesman put in, I was willing to give him the commission…if he brought the price down to acceptable levels. While I understand that we are talking about a $500-$3,000 gun vs a $20,000-$50,000 vehicle, being a salesman is more than just handing someone the product. I will shop around until I find what I like and I won’t just toss my money down without price shopping. Most of the guns I buy are online because they can be had for hundreds less than in-store. It’s called the “Free Market” and competitive pricing is the result; this is good for us consumers. Since I can’t handle a gun over the internet, I’ll do it at a store. If the store price is within $60 of the online price, I’ll take it. When you buy online, you have to pay shipping and FFL transfer fees (but no sales tax if buying from another state), so it must be worth it. This goes for both in-store and online. Sales tax on an $800 gun is almost $60 here. If the store wants my money, they’ll be competitive AND friendly. I won’t give the local shop $200 dollars over price because they were nice to me. Similarly, I won’t take a $20 discount if they are dickheads. It’s the way the free market works. The thing that bugs me is… seems like gun stores are the only ones who don’t understand this (and I don’t mean gun manufacturers, I mean retail stores).

  81. Like alot of the posters here, my grandfather passed along alot of firearms wisdom to me. He was an old Yankee northwoods hunter and outdoorsman. Beyond the safety essentials, which came first, most of what he taught me had to do with respect for others. On my first visit to a gun store with him, I can still remember me telling me the etiquette to observe and to practice when I got older. I try to live by these rules:

    1. Always keep the muzzle pointed away from others.
    2. Always hand any firearm back to the salesman with the action open and never accept a gun from the clerk unless it has been cleared with the action open.
    3. Assume ALL guns are loaded (including and especially muzzleloaders).
    4. Don’t ask to see a firearm unless you are genuinely interested in buying it. Not only is this a waste of the clerk’s time, but they have to wipe down all the guns that were handled to prevent any fingerprints from destroying the finish.
    5. It’s okay to talk guns and ask enthusiast questions when the shop is slow, but if there are other customers in the store, don’t cost your dealer sales by being a long-talker or asking to see things you aren’t looking to buy that day.
    6. A slow day at the gun store is a good time to look at a gun or two in which you may have long-term interest.
    7. Find a reputable dealer and support them. Be a good long-term customer and you will have a dealer relationship that will pay off when you need service. Don’t make a dealer show you the gun and spend a alot of time with you and then go across town to buy it for $20 less. A good dealer hires knowledgable staff, unlike the “big box” stores. That knowledge and attention should be worth a few extra bucks. Incidentally, I have followed this advice and now that my dealer knows I am not going to waste his time when it’s busy, abuse him for advice and buy elsewhere and ask to see every gun in the case on days when I’m browsing, he actually treats me like a preferred customer, quietly giving me discount on my purchases and volunteering to show me new inventory he thinks I will like.
    Most of this is common sense, and yet, sadly, those of us who habituate gun stores often see alot of behaviors that are disrespectful, unsafe and just downright rude.

  82. My firearms training was complements of Uncle Sam. Getting probably 500 troops a day through Basic Rifle Marksmanship training is a daunting job which the range officials did with elan, Today, nearly 50 years later I cringe to see what some people do in gun stores and on ranges. My own code of conduct with a weapon includes the fact that ANY firearm I touch is LOADED until such time as I have cleared it myself and even then I will never point the muzzle at another human being (unless of course he needs a little killing) as a matter of common courtesy. I would never hand an un-cleared weapon to a counter person, and would greatly appreciate the same consideration from him or her. Slide racked open, bolt back, chamber open, whatever that weapon needs to clearly demonstrate to the recipient that I value his life as much as my own. I treat my daily carry piece the same way. Cleared when I put it away at night, cleared again when I pick it up in the AM (lest the bullet pixies have been mucking about with it in my sleep). I only know the status of a firearm as long as it is in my hand or holster. Any other place I get it from, I clear it, and know it is STILL LOADED as far as muzzling anything I am unwilling to destroy. To my way of thinking a firearm has only one purpose,to make dead stuff out of live stuff, and the only reason for doing so is to A: eat it, B: keep it from eating me or C: keep it from harming me or another innocent. Like any other God given birthright being armed comes with responsibility. And most responsibility is simple (not so) common sense.

  83. Another great article. One thing I’d like to ad is this. It’s time the gun stores start finding a more effective way to display guns, especially handguns. Almost everywhere, they are displayed in low level glass display cases, sometimes with 3 shelves. Have you ever tried to look at that gun on the bottom shelf, in the way-back? You know what I’m talking about. Plus, you normally have to wedge your way between a couple of fat asses who have been leaning on that counter for 20 minutes already. Sucks. The owners need to get these guns up to eye level, or above, displays, so everyone can see them without laying on the floor. I’m sure I’ve missed some interesting guns in the past because I got tired of waiting for a certain display case to clear of “the fat asses”. Also, most shops do a better job of displaying long guns on the walls behind the counter, but, could you possibly bring them a little closer to the customer so we don’t have to look at them with binoculars? In addition to that, how about some proper signage with make/model/caliber, and PRICE that can be read from 6 feet away? That would save the clerks tons of time answering the same questions. Displaying the PRICE is essential, and saves us time by not getting interested in a $2200 rifle when I have a budget of $900. It also ads to the integrity of the store by not hinting that the gun is for sale for: “how much do you want to spend today”?

    One last thing. Thanks for advertising on GBTV with Glenn Beck. He is great and deserves great sponsors like you!

  84. My uncle (who is an EXTREMELY experienced shooter) took my brother and I to the range on a saturday morning. When we arrived there were two other older fellows shooting pistols we greeted each other and my brother and I began shooting our .22s. 15 minutes later while everybody was focused and shooting the range master opened the door to the range and screamed “YO, THERE ARE 5 SHOOTERS AND ONLY 4 PEOPLE SIGNED IN!” So our uncle, who was supervising us calmly proceeded to the sign-in book where he had earlier signed my brother and I in on the same line, as our information is practically the same. Personally that doesn’t seem important. What did seem important is that manner in which the range master handled it. Yelling on a range is a don’t, everybody knows that, so theerioecty so should the range master. When you yell on a range it distracts and startles everybody ESPECIALLY when they are shooting, as someone could drop their gun, or turn around and point a loaded gun at somebody unintentionally. My brother and I have been shooting for 2 years and could still be classified as “green horns”, but fortunately everybody there knew better and made their firearms safe before turning around. All he had to do was wait for us to finish shooting and walk-up to ask for us to sign-in again properly (This doesn’t have to do with gun shops but it does have to do with gun-etiquette)

  85. i know my story was the reverse of the sales, but realy. im the person (disabled) who intered a store pawn/gun in Twin Falls, Idaho whare a store manager/partner started to DRAWDOWN on me and my caregiver. -am a multy stroke servivor an Conceled carrying Lic. holder)edit this as you will. i sent in the story about the salesman who put his hand on the 1911 .45 and cock it kep hand on it while i intrduced myself by asking a ?? then placeing a rifle case closed on counter. while talking i opened the case open on his side. in case was a Ruger 10-22 with mag laying away from rifle. this is and was the last time i ever went there. i called police and they came out and had a Serious chat and filed a report on this. my care giver is in her 50’s in Nures uniform. i was in retail for 12 yrs. DA. thank you C. F.

  86. I work a counter, and if you’re a clerk and your business model is that people walk in and shop around, then you have to acknowledge customers. Even if you have to say, “Hey, sorry this is taking a while, I’ll be with you or send someone to you as soon as I can.” I’ve found that it’s that simple to appease 99.9% of everyone, and on top of that it gives you a chance to assess the situation with that person before you actually begin dealing with them.

    Also, if two customers or groups are in close proximity, you can help both at once by positioning yourself correctly and taking questions as they come. Obviously, you don’t want to juggle several guns, but alternating showing guns between customers isn’t bad if they’re just shopping around anyway. Also, if they decide to talk among themselves this can alleviate some of the pressure on you while making their experience more enjoyable. This is good for repeat business and you getting what you need to do done.

    Presenting overwhelming force is also a good thing, everyone working should be armed and the weapons should be visible, it makes it very plain that no robbery attempt is going to succeed without having to say a word or touch a pistol. This is the method at our shop, and there has not been a single robbery attempt since the shop opened in the seventies- and we’re in the middle of a very active gang area, so that says something.

    This is just my point of view, and of course I’m not preaching it as gospel, as with all advice, your mileage may vary or your situation may be different.

  87. I work at a gun store with indoor ranges and have been involved with firearms for about a decade now. Although I have seen an amazing amount of unsafe behavior on both sides of the counter and especially in our ranges, I would challenge the sales/store dudes to remember this. MOST people (even many LEO and some military) do not know a whole lot about firearms and firearm safety. Make a friend. Educate them. Be very courteous and respectful, even if they don’t know proper etiquette. A gentle reminder, with a smile, about keeping their finger off of the trigger will get a positive response. A scream from across the room will not only lose a potential customer but maybe also lose a future 2nd Amendment advocate because you scared them away! I get guns pointed directly at me all the time. While not the best situation, I personally take 100% responsibility to double-verify that the firearm is empty before handing it to a customer, and I usually tip the open breech toward them and say “empty, safe” before handing it to them. Educate, meet their need, and they are a customer for life. If they are just looking, spend some time, educate, and if you think it is going too long, excuse yourself so you can handle another customer. If you are a customer, don’t be a jerk or a know-it-all. If you are a salesperson, don’t be a jerk or know-it-all. Make a temporary friend, meet their need, and you will have a good customer and a profitable store! Win-Win.

  88. Boomstick–

    Do you work at a gunstore : /

    Amature spellcheck nazi’s…..the best way to ruin a discussion.

  89. Proofread your articles, please. The spelling errors and typos detract from the message.

    Also, you make it seem like you have to chat it up and talk to people and whatever else. Why? If you want to buy a gun, you go in, say you want “Blah Blah in XX Caliber,” show your ID, fill out the paperwork, pay the man, and leave. I say as little as possible, not going there to make a new friend. Is that not proper etiquette, says the gun shop gods?

  90. I owned a gun store for many years and spent a lot of time training employees to be polite and respectful. I would always tell them “Even when the customer tells you he is a Ex-Navy Seal Marine sniper and he used a .22 cal rifle when he was a Green Beret, you can’t call him on his lie or make him feel stupid, just smile and nod.” Never make a customer feel stupid even if they are lying. For customers, NEVER pull out your concealed weapon without first getting permission! If you are a customer that likes to talk a lot, that’s fine, but if there are other customers waiting, pause your story and tell the clerk to help them first. Treat other customers like you would like to be treated, the clerk wants to be nice and listen to you, but needs to help others as well.

  91. Politeness goes both ways. I’ve never worked in a gun store, but have managed a lot of customer service employees and dealt with the public a lot of years. Working with the public can really suck. However, I have bought a lot of guns and been in a lot of gun shops. I don’t know where the rudness comes from, but it’s pretty pathetic. I’ve waited forever in stores for help when the employees were just shooting the shit. I’ve gotten rude service though I’m always very polite. If I’m in a gun store I’m looking to buy if 1. they have what I want. 2. they aren’t charging some insane price for somthing I can get at another store for a whole lot less. 3. they give me good customer service. I have written off a lot of local gun stores and shop at more big box stores or the internet and use an FFL to get better service/prices. I support local business when I can, but they need to give me good service (for whatever thier business is). When I get great service I come back, even if I pay a little more. I don’t get how small gun stores think they can stay in business treating potential customers badly. It’s just not a good business model.

  92. To Comment #32
    And YOU’RE the reason why a lot of us buy online. Sorry for being a bother.

  93. Comment #21
    Where were the officials at this range while all this was going on? Did you report the incident?

  94. John, I’m sorry that you’re so angry and so close minded. Our store is in California, so you need not worry. We are primarily an precision ammo factory (with sales to serious hunters, SWAT teams, bomb squads, the ATF, proof loads for gun manufacturers, various acronym federal security agencies, etc.). When the results matter, come to us — Because we are in anti-gun California, and because we are in a section of town where we get more non-serious walk-in traffic than we can handle, we do most of our gun sales by appointment, like a pro shop needs to. It is a business decision. If that is not how you prefer to buy guns, please go elsewhere, with no resentment (on our part) at all.

    We’re happy to help serious customers. That doesn’t mean you have to buy; it means that you understand and are considerate of the fact that we are in business and must make sufficient profit to stay in business. Entertaining anyone who walks in would make it impossible for us to remain in business and offer the superb ammunition and low cost new gun prices that we do. We have more than enough customers who do appreciate our business model. If you could get over being pissed that not every business operates the way your expect, you might notice I explained that in comment 15 above too.

    As I requested, please be polite and talk with the owner about what you want or need, and be courteous enough to listen to their response too. If we aren’t the right fit for you, we’re happy to refer you elsewhere.

  95. I deal in firearms of every type amd have vast experience with FFL’s on line and in stores and with the public. That said, I can tell when someone is just wasting my time and never intending to buy.
    With them I am direct…but if I even get a hint they might buy my guns, I give them my full attention.

    The way a customer asks along with comments they make before and after handeling a gun will determine if I hand them a gun to examine or future guns to examine.

    I too at times would come in to see my dream gun as I was saving for it but I would also show enough respect to the clerk and TELL him that was what I was doing.

    So Becks, John, and others take a deep breath and communicate FULLY. This should releave any hard feelings in the shops and such.

    It really works.


  96. Becky; Comment #32.


    What store do you own/work at? I just want to know so I will never shop there. Your business methods are common among GS owners/employees. Sure, it will get stressful and time consuming taking guns off of the shelf for looky-loo’s; but that’s the business you are in. I never have a problem when I go to Champs Sports or Footlocker, having the kid in his referee striped work shirt, running back and forth to find me shoes in the right size/style/feel until I find one that feels comfortable. For some reason, only gun store workers have a problem with this. Maybe I walk out with a pair of shoes, maybe I don’t. I will try them out until I find one that I like. If you are having problems getting your administrative work done, you need another employee. Have designated personnel for the floor and whomever needs to run the phones/computer; do so. If people have to wait in line to see a gun, because there are only 2 staff members able to help them, then so be it. That will eventually throw off some people who aren’t serious about buying and don’t feel like waiting just to fondle the newest toy in the cabinet. Do your job. If I want to come into your shop and touch every single freakin’ gun you have behind that counter, without buying a single one, I shouldn’t receive any fluff from you or your employees. That is the business you entered in to. I am an avid shooter and have myself set at a strict limit of $300-$500 a month on various firearm related goodies. There are 3 local stores that I can go to shop at but only one gets my money. I have tested the waters and made purchases at all three but the minute I encounter “Joe-No-Customer-Service” I about-face and never return. I am treated in the manner that I should be, at the store I frequent and they get a lot of my cash. You get what you deserve, Becky. Only helping novice shooters by appointment is ridiculous. It is people like you who make customers and new shooters feel like shit and turn many potential hobbyists away from our past time. We could use all of the support we can get and every new shooter should be treated like royalty to bait them in to buying their first gun. Help whoever comes in, when they come in. I don’t care about your emails, website, or voice messages and neither do they. If you are so busy with them, stop being cheap and hire help. The customer shouldn’t suffer because of your inability to run efficiently.

    Seriously, what’s the name of your store so I can cross it off the list of shit holes to visit. I live in Ohio so maybe you can just tell me what state your store is in if it’s not local to me.

  97. I noticed in the article when they were talking about the “GOLDEN RULES” That “Keep Your Finger Off the TRIGGER” was not one of the rules. I think this is very important and always on my list of “GOLDEN RULES.”

  98. This is in response to DARYL’S POST # 34. Daryl, I am grateful to you for your quick response and good eye to pick up on something that is strange and does not feel right. If we all followed our instinct maybe things in the gun owners world would be different .I applaud you for your actions.
    A short story from the early 80’s, my job took me allover the country and into the cities. One Job I was assigned to was down in Philadelphia , it was a particularly tough job as an inspector in which I was onsite for 90 hours a week and it was stressful . One night after working for 16 hours,and a VERY STRESSFUL DAY . I got in my car and started my 40 mile drive home. Being from the suburbs, I never thought of locking my passenger side door to my car, I never even thought of it. That night I stopped at a red light and all of a sudden a guy opened my passenger side door ,jumped in and stuck a pistol into my ribs , and said ” GIVE ME ALL YOUR MONEY” . NOw normally being brought up around guns all my life , I would have just handed over any money I had, but tis day, and I don’t know why I did this but IT WAS A REALLY TOUGH STRESSFUL DAY WHERE EVERYTHING SEEMED TO GO WRONG AND THEY HAD ME RUNNING FROM AREA TO AREA FOR 16 HOURS .I NEVER EVEN GOT A CHANCE TO TAKE A LUNCH BREAK I WAS SO BUSY.
    So this guy jumping into my passenger side of my car and sticking a gun in my ribs was JUST NOT WHAT I NEEDED. I looked at the guy and actually told him , ” PAL YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT KIND OF DAY I HAVE HAD, AND I DON’T NEED THIS NOW. He then insisted that I turn over my money in my pockets as he started patting me down. I told him I had no money and get the hell out of my car. He told me empty my pockets so he could see and I told him , SCREW YOU. I guess i confused and shocked him with my reaction , but he ended up opening up the passenger side door and started getting out, when he went to get out of my little Datsun b-210 he hit his hand with the gun on the door jam and dropped his gun onto my car seat. What did I do? I floored it and drove off with his gun still on my seat watching his face in my rear view mirror and his shocked look as I drove away with his gun. On the drive home as I crossed a bridge I took the pistol and threw it off a bridge into the Schukill River . I don’t recommend doing what I did, as I always was taught just give them what they want, and it had to be just the bad day I had that caused me to refuse to submit to his robbery request. Looking back , I don’t think I would ever do that again , but this time I did end up taking an instrument of crime off the street as the criminal stood there watching me drive away with his gun. I figured throwing it off the bridge into the water was the right thing to do ,I just wanted it out of my car. AND IF THE SCUM BAG WHO TRIED TO ROB ME READS THIS SCREW YOU ,AND I HAD THE LAST LAUGH . YOUR GUN IS IN THE RIVER, SO YOU WILL HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER WAY TO ROB PEOPLE.
    Once again, I don’t recommend anyone resisting like I did and consider myself lucky I was not shot. But God was with me that day and rewarded me with a pistol, that I threw into the river.

  99. a short while back i walked into a Gun/Pawn shop with a rifle case to check the value of a rifle. i asked who did aprasals and was directed to a man at the end of counter. when i went to him i identafied my self and put the rifle case on counter. i told him what i was there for and asked if i could open case. at this point the CLERK raised his right arm and placed his hand on the 1911 hammer an grip and steped back. i got scared and step back a step and he started to grip harder on gun, i panic and raised my hands and said WOOO ! my wife and i are real scared and i raised my voice and said Woo wait a minute i just want a gun appraisel. i slowly picked up my case and walked very slowly out the store. ileft and went to police and filed a complaint. has this ever happined to you?? sorry bout length an handycaped and own a large number of Firearms.

  100. Great article! While working at a local gun store, I had a young hispanic fellow come in seeking ammo for his shotgun. He didn’t speak much English so communicating was somewhat difficult. He didn’t know what gauge his shotgun was but said he had the gun in his car. I agreed to follow him to the car to check it out. Upon opening the trunk I noticed a 9mm Beretta, and a sawed-of 20 Ga. shotgun. It was a shock to him when I told him it was a illegal firearm. Something just felt wrong with this guy, so after he left, I called ATF. They subsequently arrested him on illegal possesion of a non-legal firearm. It turned out to be one that had recently been used in a hold up. It pays to pay attention, and to listen to your gut. Who knows what might have happened had I not become suspicious and followed up.

  101. In response to the last comment, I’d like to reply. Unfortunately, it is true that we can’t take the time to show every gun to everyone who would like to look at them. If you are a serious buyer, we will make the time. If you are spending time amusing yourself, it’s rude to the shop owner to take him/her away from profitable business. (In my case, I could be updating our web site, answering emails, responding to phone calls, dealing with my remote customers, who make up >50% of our custom ammo customers.) Our ammo factory/ gun shop is open to the public 25 hours/week, but mostly to give you quick info about how to do gun research and make appointments if you are interested in buying guns. We’re a pro shop. We do not make our profit by being open a lot of hours and churning our inventory by showing anyone who asks any gun in our inventory. If that’s what you want, please go elsewhere. It is important that you talk politely to the owner or employee, and listen to what they say, because they may have a different business model than you expect. We welcome beginners, but only by appointment, after they have done some thinking and research and are ready to have a serious conversation. We really are not there for your entertainment; we’d never make enough money to remain in business if we played show and tell with everyone who asked to see our numerous wonderful guns.

  102. I went into a gun store and the clerk was a jerk.. He didn’t want to show someone the gun and asked if he was actually going to buy it. Then proceeded to give him a schpeel about how the shop doesn’t have time for everyone to look at the guns unless they are ready to buy. Then someone left out of the back door of the range hallway, perfectly legit if it’s unlocked and not posted… like it wasn’t and the same clerk pulled his gun from the holster into the ready position as if to enter a tactical situation… I was standing there and once he put his gun someplace safe (out of his hands), I proceeded to leave the store thank full for my life.. Later I found out that supposedly he was some sort of law enforcement… some people are just frigging nuts and don’t use their head, clean record only means they haven’t done anything stupid yet. I found it hard to believe someone this jumpy and quick to be an ass could pass a psychological test and allowed to carry a gun around asserting authority but he does apparently. I’d hate to see what happened to the guy who thought to come in the half opened back door. I’ll be watching the news for that one, gun clerk guns down customer returning from restroom.

  103. Most gun people are already thinking for themselves, and as such are extremely brand-loyal. If someone has done right by them in the past, you’ll find a lot of people will continue to use that particular person even if they’re not the rock bottom best price. It makes people feel good that someone, anyone is looking out for them so if they see this from you, you might have a customer for life.

    On the flip side of this same habit is that loyalty works both ways. It only takes a little bit to offend some people. While some obnoxious people expect the clerks to grovel for their business many just want to be treated with the respect most folks deserve. If you ever disrespect them, and this can be as simple as insulting their intelligence without really meaning to, you may have lost a customer for life.

    I guess it’s just best to remember the nature of the kind of person who shops for, enjoys and carries firearms in this gun-phobic culture.

  104. All. Great comments about Gun Shop behavior. Am gun user-shooter since childhood & participated in training family to GC to be shooters, including self defence. Am also from the “floor” of machine shops before degrees. My input is about technical advice-questions. Do join a gun-sport club if you own even one gun. Attend funtions related to your interest-needs. Take advantage of the immense expertice among club members. Most, if not all, will provide invaluable advice-tips-et al. I regularily “bounce” questions off most knowledgable members in my club as to gun apps-mods-etc, including shop owners. Indeed a fount of experience-knowledge ia available. Oh yeh. an infantry-tank vet. Take care. Yuri GN

  105. Went to a shop that I had been to multiple times before, to see if they had a FNP45 (I came for a specific reason). The older gentleman, who seems to be working there as a retirement job to keep himself busy, was lounged back in his chair talking to two other older guys sitting in chairs on the other side of the counter. It was obvious they were friends and just shooting the s**t during the day while things were slow. I stood there and stared waiting for him to acknowledge me. I got nothing so I chose to walk around looking through the glass. I had seen all of the FNP’s but not the 45 that I wanted. I walked back over to him and stood there again, waiting to be acknowledged. They continued to chuckle and while he was facing directly toward me as I was standing behind his friends who periodically looked over their shoulders at me, he still kept talking. Finally after I left out a, “Humphhhh” did he get up to ask if I needed anything. It was a waste of my time and he told me that he could order one for me. Then he says, “I don’t supposed I could talk you into a Glock.” I said, “That’s not even remotely similar to what I am looking for.” He tried to give me a terrible Glock sales pitch in which I said, “No thanks, I’m headed down the road to —-.” It probably wouldn’t phase him one bit to know that I have not been back since and they will never get another dime of my money. I would have been much more polite had I been helped the moment I walked through the door. Instead, his buddies were more important and then he topped it off with a half a*sed, “well let me sell you something” that rubbed me the wrong way.

    This is why I typically order everything online.

  106. all of these comments are very good. But the stores as need to treat the customer with respect. I have been in stores in MO, TX, AR & LA and have been treated like an idiot, not just me but also have seen others treated the same way. Unless the person knows you or you are a regular they do not want to help you. I’ve also been in stores in those states and have been treated like a fellow gun owner and a customer.

  107. I consider asking permission before dry-firing someone else’s weapon a sign of respect and is A MUST! I have been laughed at by a store clerk once after asking “do you mind if I dry-fire it”. “What?!?!?!” he said, “Hahahahaha its not loaded, I dont give a damn.” And proceeded to walk away and leave me unsupervised even though I was handling HIS weapon. Needless to say he(and his store)lost my respect and I ended up buying that same pistol from another shop the same day(kind of a blessing in disguise-the other shop was cheaper).
    Show respect and you will get respect from those deserving of respect.

  108. I was Christmas shopping for rifles for my two sons when a vet in a wheelchair, a bubble short of plumb I think, pulled a pistol and began to trace my outline with the laser sight. I asked him to stop but he just grinned. The store clerk just watched.

    I later heard that a customer had been shot at that store by the clerk trying to clear a jammed weapon.

    I don’t sweat the small stuff, but I think this was over the line. I am not going back.

  109. fine article but i have had bad experiences with personnel in some gun shops as well,particularly before i had purchased a firearm and new to shopping for same. needless to say i have never returned to a gun shop where the personnel were rude. fortunately most personnel in gun shops are helpful and polite.

  110. I have been around Guns and Gun Shops (both Large and Small ) all my life . I have taught and instructed over 8,000 youths and adults . I love the sport and all 4 of my Children are also heavily involved in courses with me. They also shoot regularly and are known by many. It was my grandfather who taught me the safety rules and how to shoot. He before he passed away even taught my 2 oldest children. The one thing he always drilled into me from the age of 5 was safety. And those RULES were made to follow ,no exceptions. My punishment as a kid was loosing my shooting privileges for so many days or weeks due to bad tests at school or some other trouble a kid could get into. Like not listening to my mother AND THERE WAS NO LYING ,HONESTY WAS SUPREME TO HIM AS HE SAID IF ONE PERSON TELLS ANOTHER THAT YOU HAVE LIED TO THEM ABOUT SOMETHING, WORD WOULD SPREAD. And your WORD given to someone ,was a contract, violate that and your word means nothing from that time on. Needless to say this all stuck with me and has been passed on to my kids. And we all live by those rules. I don’t know what my punishment would have been if I ever did a violation of Safe gun handling rules,but I imagine it would have been harsh. One of my fondest memories is of my middle son, who at 10 years old started shooting trap. At 11 years old we were at a ATA 100 bird trap shoot. As he was taught as I was ,he knew all the rules and the consequences of violating them. I entered him in the shoot and when he was called out he was ready, went to the line by himself ( I was not that far away but not right next to him on the line as I had been when he was first learning. I sat on a bench about 30 yards behind the line. I saw the reaction of the other 4 shooters all in the 40’s as they were going to be shooting with a kid. and there were LOOKS . Upon finishing up the 100 bird shoot three of the Adults came up to me and thanked me and shook his hand. They said they were expecting to be shooting on the line WITH AN INEXPERIENCED KID. To their surprise and the relief they found a seasoned 11 year old who kept up with them in shooting and was safe. And they told my 11 year old son that he could shoot with them anytime. It was a memorable moment in all our lives.
    I have with my kids, and anyone who has taken a safety class with me told them all shooters have to learn somewhere , and GUN SAFETY IS RULE NUMBER ONE. What I see more and more, people are getting into the sport with little or no experience. They just don’t know . They think you just pick up a firearm and go out and shoot, no one took the time to help them, and many times they are afraid to ask for help. These people are the ones who through their inexperience are the ones who you see point a gun at someone, pick up a gun they have no idea how it works , and even accept a loaded Pistol , handed to them by another person as that other person points it at them. I have even seen them pick a shotgun or rifle off the rack handle it , try to figure it out as a store clerk stands by and watches them . I have often wondered if some clerks had any training in safety at all.
    When in a Large gun shop/ sporting goods store you see this all the time. And many time you will see four reactions ,
    # 1) The NEWBEE VERBALLY ATTACKED WITH THREATS : An experienced shooter see’s an unsafe act, like pointing a gun at someone in the store , the Newbee was never taught that it was wrong and for some reason doesn’t think about it. But the Attack comes when that experienced shooter is going to teach the new guy a lesson, and from the Aisle of the store you hear SCREAMING , with a bunch of explicative’s along with ” I should take that gun and beat you to death with it for pointing it at someone.And ends it up with ” I should shove that gun in you where the sun don’t shine” . At that point you have a Newbee, who most of the time is now scared holding a gun,almost dropping it ,and sometimes shaking and almost crying, because of the reaction. JUST THINK what could have happened if the Newbee was at a range and may have had a gun loaded, and he panicked and dropped the gun or had his finger on the trigger. THE Newbee never had any training.
    # 2) THE ATTACK ON THE CLERK WITH THREATS : The Newbee once again is holding a gun and points it around ,an experienced shooter see’s it and tells the Clerk . The clerk is inexperienced and does not react fast enough in the Experienced shooters mind . So now you have the same screaming,yelling and both the NEWBEE and The Clerk are getting attacked with choice words and threats. And once again the treat of having the Gun shoved up where the sun doesn’t shine ,this time in BOTH the Clerks and the Newbee’s seating location. This I don’t understand as a shooter myself I don’t really want to think about cleaning that gun after having it soiled and the barrel clogged after putting it somewhere it does not belong. Once again, You now have a Clerk and a Newbee both scared , shaking and sometimes teary eyed. And once again, little or no safety training. What do you think a customer in a large sporting goods store thinks about shooters after seeing what had just transpired.
    #3 ) The EXPERIENCED SHOOTER SYNDROME : This is when an experienced shooter makes a safety violation . And does it while on the line. And tis is one I was involved in ,the reason being , my 11 year old was shooting trap and a 60 + year old man changed shooting posts with his gun closed and pointing at your 11 year old sons back. YES ,a closed gun pointed at your sons back as an experienced 60+ year old shooter changes position. As Always I was behind my son as he shot, about 30 yards back, and watched that closed gun on the line pointing at the middle of my sons back. WHAT DO YOU DO ? YELL and Scream at him? Startle him and possibly have him hit the trigger ? Run at him, startling him ,and try and push the gun off into a safe direction hoping it does not fire until it is in a safe direction ? I chose to get there as quickly and quietly as possible , put myself between the EXPERIENCED SHOOTER and My SON . In doing so I did it Politely ,put my hand on the shooters hand and said as I slowly moved the gun barrel down range and said to him ” Could you do me a favor”, he replied sure , I then said to him ” could you when you change positions please do me a favor and change posts with your gun open and empty , It a safety Rule” . ” It made to keep everyone safe.” What happened next was , well unbelievable . The EXPERIENCED SHOOTER LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, ^ WORDS THAT I HATE TO HEAR . This 60 + year old guy looked at me and sad ^ words that I hate to hear. He said ” I HAVE BEEN SHOOTING FOR YEARS ” , and ” I WILL MOVE HOW EVER THE HELL I WANT TO” . At which still in a calm low voice said to him , ” Please just keep you gun open and empty as you change posts. I just don’t want to see anyone get hurt and also it is in the rules and is there to protect us all ” . Well the next thing I know it turned it to the Psycho Shooter from hell. This Guy standing on the firing line took his gun and started opening it and then slamming it closed ,over and over again as he started screaming at me those 6 HATED WORDS ” I HAVE BEEN SHOOTING FOR YEARS AND I WILL OPEN AND CLOSE MY GUN WHEN EVER I WANT AND WHERE EVER I WANT” , AS HE CONTINUED OPENING AND SLAMMING CLOSED HIS SINGLE BARREL SHOTGUN. I will be honest as he was slamming that gun open and shut I was hoping it would break in half, but I was disappointed it did not break. And Honestly I still stayed calm, as i pulled my son off the line and away from ‘THE EXPERIENCED SHOOTER” .
    When the shooter finished his squad , and came inside the clubhouse, me still calm, was confronted , BY ” THE EXPERIENCED SHOOTER ” . HE CAME RIGHT UP IN MY FACE AND STARTED SCREAMING AT ME , those hated words ” I have been shooting for years” . And you ever tell me I have done something wrong again I will 1) knock your teeth down your throat , and then as I have seen many times before, THREATENED TO SHOVE HIS GUN UP INTO ME WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE. OK , Now it is personal, still staying calm as he was in my face, I asked him to back up , he just screamed at me more , and threatened to once again knock my teeth down my throat ,and putting the gun where I would not be able to sit down. It was at that point I went into his face looked at him , said to him you see that spot on the floor , and I pointed. I then said ” That is the spot you are going to hit , because now I am pissed and when you hit that spot on the floor , you are not going to get up and when you finally do get up you are going to find your teeth missing. And you are going to need a Proctologist , because he is going to have to go in and pull all your teeth out of your ASS ,when I knock them so far down your throat ,that is the only way you will ever see your teeth again when he pulls them out of your ass. That kind of ended it as he then shut up and backed off. And the only thing I am sorry about is that my 11 year old son heard me say what I said in the Club House. The only thing that really upset me was one guy there , as I stood there made a comment to me that I am going to chase away shooters talking to them the guy the way I did.My only comment was if I chase anyone away ,it is because it is unsafe.AND THIS PART IS KARMA , OR AS MY WIFE SAY’S IS GODS JUSTICE. THE FOLLOWING INCIDENT IS TRUE, WITH GOD AS MY WITNESS, THIS DID HAPPEN.About 4 weeks later , a shooter on the line, changing positions, with his gun closed ,turned and walked to the GUY who had said “I was going to chase people away for raising my voice at that shooter in the Club House . THE GUY WHO SAID THAT WAS TEACHING THAT SHOOTER 4 WEEKS LATER WHEN HE DID CHANGE POSTS WITH HIS GUN CLOSED AND LOADED , THE GUN FIRED , HIT THE CONCRETE PAD , BOUNCED UP AND HIT THE GUY BETWEEN THE LEGS , HITTING HIM WHERE NO MAN EVER WANTS TO BE SHOT , ESPECIALLY WITH A SHOTGUN , IN HIS PRIVATE PARTS. I SWEAR to you this is the truth.
    # 4) The ” CALM INSTRUCTION METHOD ” As more and more people get into shooting sports , and they are NEWBEES , you are going to have safety mistakes made. Many are done due to inexperience ,and all shooters will make mistakes. If you go up to someone , And when I do I always say ” can I ask you for a favor , you will always get the same answer ” SURE ” . I never embarrass them, I talk to them in a polite matter , tell them what they did. Many times others never hear what I say. But I do explain what they did. And what could have happened. If they are new I will always volunteer to go on the line with them and work with them if they want. Many do and appreciate someone coming to them and telling them and offering to help and teach them. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. It is how we are. We are not perfect ,although we strive to be . DON’T YELL AT A SHOOTER TALK WITH THEM, TELL THEM WHAT THEY DID , WHAT IS EXPECTED OF THEM. WHAT CAN HAPPEN IF THEY VIOLATE THE SAFETY RULES . YELLING AND THREATS ONLY HELP TO ALIENATE THEM AND YOURSELVES IN THE SITUATION AND WILL SCARE AWAY A SHOOTER WHO TRULY DID NOT MEAN TO MAKE A MISTAKE . AND THEY WILL IN THE END APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DID FOR THEM AND WILL REMEMBER YOU AS SOMEONE WHO DOES CARE ABOUT SHOOTING SPORTS. AND HOPE YOU NEVER HEAR THE WORDS ” I HAVE BEEN SHOOTING FOR YEARS ” . AND NONE OF US WANTS TO HAVE OUR GUNS PUT IN A PLACE WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE . JUST BECAUSE ITS DAMN HARD TO SIT DOWN AND TO CLEAN THE GUN IN THE END.

  111. I owned and operated a gun shop in a small town in Pennsylvania from 1980 to 1992. I sold and average of about 400 -600 firearms a year with a 5-12% profit margin. The only behavior that really bothered me was when I would sell a firearm with a minimum of profit and the purchaser would ask if I would throw in a box of shells, a holster or a sling and the hardware, and a carry case. Gun buyers remember that many firearms are sold at great discounts and there is just not enough profit to throw in all the accesories that are available. While this did not happen often and I would explain to people the profit margin they usually would say “OK I had no idea”. A very few would act like that was not true and I knew I would not change their mind so I tried to treat them with respct even though I thought they were clueless. I evn had a fire department ask me to donate 15 guns for their raffle. Needless to say that is a lot to ask of a small shop. As a gun buyer I have experienced the rude clerk and they can make a what can be an exciting purchase a pain in the butt. When they act like that I just think of some of the people I met when I was on the other side of the counter and remember evryone can have a bad day.

  112. I own 2 Gun & Repair Shops in northern New England. We see people of all kinds and all walks of life. We understand some people coming into our shops don’t know everything and may be new to shooting but it is still your responsibility to do some basic research on firearms safety. You cannot expect to come into any gun shop and have the clerk give you a complete lesson on safety and how to shoot. Owning a firearm is huge responsibility and show the clerk you are a responsible buyer by at least knowing the basics. Remember…this clerk is not only showing you the firearm but he is sizing you up to make sure he feels he can sell you a gun and go home at the end of the day feeling comfortable that you will appropriately handle the gun and not hurt yourself or someone else.

    Many shops are multifaceted. Many clerks also have the responsibility of doing paperwork for previous firearms sales, repairs, cleaning, restocking, pricing, inventory. All people in the firearms business share one thing. We enjoy firearms. We understand that you want to handle all the new products but don’t abuse time. Silence your cell phone or at least ignore texts and calls. One way to lose the attention and respect of a clerk (or people in general) is to answer a text message or make someone wait while you take a call mid conversation. If you truly do not have any intention of buying a certain gun but would like to handle it be straight forward with the clerk. “I am not really in the market to buy a gun today but I have heard a lot about that new Smith and Wesson handgun. I understand you are busy but do you mind if I take a quick look at it?” Most clerks with appreciate the honestly and should allow you to handle the firearm and might even join in on great conversation about their opinion of it. If there is one thing that gun owners and enthusiasts are good at it is picking apart and critiquing new products.

    And number one…always remember… SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY!

    Happy Shopping and Happy Shooting.

  113. I recently started buying and collecting guns. I went to our local gun store and purchased about 6-7 guns from them within a two month period. I also took my concealed weapons class there. I had a great expeience there and got to know all of the employees on a first name basis. I was always courteous and respectful and asked lots of questions since I was a newbie. Everything was going well and I thought that I had found my home and would not need to go to another gun store. However, one day I went to the store about 15 minutes before closing since I work late. I had already done all my research and knew exactly what I wanted. At first they said they might not be able to sell me the gun because it was so late and I guess they just wanted to close early. Finally they relented and I started to do the paperwork. However, at the last second they refused to sell me the gun because it “obviously was not for me”. Seriously??? I am petite and female but come on that’s ridiculous. I was a loyal customer and had spent a few thousand dollars there. They even charged me for the background check but just would not let me buy the gun. I keep every single gun I have ever purchased and have not even resold a single one of them. They just wanted to close early and get me out of the store so they could go home. Needless to say, I took my business to another gun store and refuse to ever go back there even if they have lower prices. They lost out on a great customer. I’ve continued collecting and now have almost 20 guns (all of which I keep and practice with regularly). That’s a great deal of lost revenue for them just because they couldn’t be bothered to stay open another 20 minutes to finish all of my paperwork.

  114. What irritates me to no end is when I go to a gun store and I find out I know more about the gun I’m looking at than the person working behind the counter. This happens at my local Cabelas… A lot!

  115. Good article. Thanks for publishing it. I own a small custom ammo factory & gun store.

    My primary piece of advice is to be polite enough to listen to those working there as they introduce themselves and talk about their shop and your needs. For example, we are not your normal gun store, as our main focus is on custom ammo. However, for anyone serious about buying guns, we’re happy to help you, by appointment, for new guns only, after you’ve done a bit of research and clarified your wants and needs, so that we can help you appropriately. This eliminates those killing time and amusing themselves, and makes sure our time is well spent, and your needs are well met.

    Do NOT play with your cell phone for texts or calls while there. If you want my time and attention, be courteous enough to give me your time and attention too.

    Please refrain from starting a political discussion. Please refrain from giving other customers your unsolicited advice. We have work to do; we aren’t a bar for gun folks to hang around and have lengthy conversations that are unrelated to our purpose in being there.

    Last, rules are rules. We don’t make them, but we have to follow them. I’m in an anti-gun state. When we suggest that you familiarize yourself with our state’s extensive gun laws, doing so indicates to me that you are responsible enough to own guns.

  116. I moved most of my gun sales and ammo sales to another shop after getting the eyeroll from one of the clerks at a gunstore in Kalamazoo. My money spends the same as everyone else. I was a Gunner’s Mate in the Navy and helped train the ship’s self defense force. I have seen people do everything but shoot the targets. I feel for the clerks but no f@#king eyerolls, Junior!

  117. The first time I went in a gun store,a guy was trying to sell a handgun to the store. The gun store did not want the gun but I walked up and asked to see it. BAD IDEA! So, for some good gun store etiquette,don’t do that.

  118. I few years back I attended a CWP class at a local range/gun store. The instructor was constantly overbearing, rude, and condescending to the participants. As a result, at the conclusion of the afternoon session all but a couple of people ran for the back door, heading directly for their cars. To this day, I drive past that store, and take my business elsewhere. It’s not only the people behind the sales counter, but the entire staff who can develop a long term customer, or chase business away. To me the saddest part of this experience is the thought of how many people have been lost to the shooting sports by this individuals actions.

  119. Gunshops need to understand that they are selling high priced items. They should train their sales staff to be polite and educate their customers. Many people are spending half a weeks pay on a firearm and some shop owners do not understand that. If you have a guy that comes in and looks allot eventually that guy will buy something. Remember the key to retail is getting them in the door and then keeping them coming back. You don’t do that with customer service people who are only concerned with making a sale and being rude if you are not there to buy immediately.

  120. i have a Taurus mod.617, 2″ 7 shot 357 mag. i cant find a good holster any where. my problem is the oversized cylinder. can anyone offer some good advise. shoot strait, shoot safe, and shoot often. thanks

  121. I am fairly new to the gun lifestyle and I always let the man/woman I am talking with (and potentially buying from) aware of this. I have no problem admitting I am unsure about certain components or accessories to whatever fire arm I am interested in. I have actually learned more by asking questions and listening respectfully than pretending I know everything.

    As for safety, I am all about it. I have family and family friends that were and are Marines. I learned this common practice from them. It should be common.

    Thank you CTD for the great post!

  122. I was recently a customer at a Cabela’s. I was asking the person at the gun counter some questions and noticed another customer pointing a handgun at me from the other end of the counter. Gladly his salesperson redirected his line of fire before I strangled him. Then I got flashed several times by people checking out laser sights, and was seeing spots the rest of the afternoon. The next thing about drove me over the edge. A guy on the other side of me started dry firing a new double action revolver, and then spinning the cylinder repeatedly. It wasn’t even my gun, and I felt like pasting him. It was an unpleasant session for me, and I felt sorry for the guys behind the counter that have to listen to, and deal with these D As all day long. My dad always taught me, “Safety First and Always” I couldn’t wait to vacate the store. C. Hanson

  123. Working behind the counter nothing irritates me more then the people that like to come in a fondle every gun in the cabinate with no intentions of buying even a box of ammo. Don’t ask to handle a firearms unless you might actually buy it or would like to compare it to another weapon which you are interested or have an interest in the future. A common courtesy a lot of times over looked is taking off rings to handle weapons, especially wood stocks, and high-polish bluing and stainless finishes. Rings can severely mar the firearms.

  124. The range/shop closest to my house missed out on a sale because of their attitude. If you were a regular, it was smiles and jokes, but as a newbie they expected you to ‘get to the point’.
    I later ended up at a shop quite a distance from my house, on a lark, and they spent time educating me about the different guns. I walked out with a new Glock 17.

  125. I worked in a gun shop early in my career before moving to Remington, S&W, Randall Firearms, PMC Ammo and now PCP Ammunition. I understand salesmen behind the counter who seem rude because they know so much and treat some customers like the customer is wasting their time. I also understand those sales people who go out of their way to educate and service the customer. When a salesman is rude, the customer needs to put that salesman on notice that he or she (the customer) is there to buy a product. The rude slaesman means well, but they just need a reality check from the customer.

  126. I like chatting with the hot gun chick at my local shop. She has been into guns for a few years – doesn’t know everything, but knows more than nothing. I bristle when I witness men coming in to the shop and treating her poorly just because she is female.

  127. Everytime I enter Cheaper than dirt to see a gun and/or ask questions they have been professional and helpful.
    Never had a problem with them and I doubt I ever will.

    ~Dennis Chevalier

  128. Good article, but it is not just gun stores where some consideration and politeness be should considered. I truly believe the general public is getting ruder in general. They are under the assumption that they are spending their money, and that gives them the right to act however they please toward the help.

    At the same time, stores have cut back on customer service with the mandatory minimum wage laws, and have given employees less training to handle the public, as well as cut back on more experienced and more expensive employees.

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