Support Your Local Gunstore!


March 27, 2005, 03:02 AM
I manage a gunstore, I have for 15 years. Sometimes, people imagine I resent gun shows. It's not true. The store I manage is in a rarely used mall. The local club is sponsoring a gunshow in our mall in three weeks. We'll enjoy one of our most busy weekends. And you know what? We'll come out looking good.

Our prices are decent, and our service is our signiture. Here's my comment. If you save $20 on a $300 gun, good for you. If you have a problem with it, don't bring it to me. You can find me any day of the week, with at least two employees at anytime during regular hours. If you gotta problem, my shop will help you. You're employing real business people, who pay real wages and taxes. No, I won't "Eat the taxes." You pay tax to the state, not to me. But you know where to find me, I'm not a truck driver who doesn't want to know your problems.

I run a business selling products you enjoy. WalMart sells 870 Express Remingtons cheaper than I buy them. But I bore sight your scope, which I just mounted professionally upon your prized rifle. I aligned your scope rings, to ensure they were parallel. WalMard doesn't do that. We do it as a free service.

So if you didn't find this thread humorous, I invite you to examine yourself. Smile. Those of us behind the counter are entitled to a humorous story or two!

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March 27, 2005, 03:38 AM
I am a gunsmith in my rural part of Missouri and I order in some firearms, and am working on stocking some too. People in my area are so keen on getting the lowest price that they forget the service after the sale. They think that price is the holy grail rather than having product support.

I have talked to an archery pro shop not too far from my shop that has people bring in their bows and muzzleloaders to have the owner fix or set up their Wal-Mart purchases. He does it out of kindness and to win new customers, but he doesn't gain much. With reason, he is mildly irked by customers who expect him to service items they purchased elsewhere.

The independent retailers can't compete directly on price as the biggest stores and the discount chains will trump them there. Service, service and service are what give the local gun shops an edge. However, the quality of said service is what makes or breaks the business.

March 27, 2005, 06:47 AM
I was at my favorite gunstore yesterday to pick up my new Para Ord .45LDA and to have them install a recoil reducer snd muzzle brake on my .300 WinMag. In the last 12 months I have purchased 4 guns from them plus all my ammo.
I never (repeat, never) buy guns or ammo from discount stores. You are correct, we need to support our local gun stores.

Highland Ranger
March 27, 2005, 07:05 AM
Here's another thought; buy from stores whose primary business is guns.

The big box stores can decide via some corporate policy that it isn't politically correct to have guns in the store anymore . . . . who will you buy from then when all the little guys are gone?

For those of you in other parts of the country, mainly of the Walmarts in NJ no longer carry firearms . . . .

30 cal slob
March 27, 2005, 07:26 AM
Last I checked, Wally-World wasn't stocking MP-5's. ;)

March 27, 2005, 07:30 AM
Exactly Husker! I'll gladly pay a bit more $ to my gun shop ranther than the local big box store. I realize some models, the LGS can't compete with ($150 10/22's) but I'll do as much as I possibly can with my local shop. I get what I want for guns and stuff and he gets some income. May not always be a lot, but better him than some corporate giant. Like said so many times before, who'll sell guns when they're all gone and PC takes tehm from Walmart?
I will not deal with those shop owners than constantly deride the boxstores. Those that spout off lies about thier "sub-par products" (that's why they're lower prices) and have NOTHING positive to say about them. You want my business, don't smoke screen me. Also won't deal with any greedy dealers trying to take advantage of a cusomer's lack of knowledge of a gun. You lie to them will you lie to me too? Pass! I've got a dealer I can trust as a person and one that I can trust wil find me what I want at a fair price while still making a fair profit himself. Wanna be my dealer - be fair!

March 27, 2005, 07:37 AM
I agree. If you buy a gun from Walrusmart, and you have a problem with it, you take it back to them and they have not the slightest idea about what to do, OTOH, buy at your local gun dealer and you have service and repair for a little extra, sometimes no charge. I refuse to purchase a firearm at walrusworld, I support my local Gunshops. :) :) :)

March 27, 2005, 07:45 AM
Couple of points on the other side: If the gun store owner, or employee/s, are fairly skilled, or more important are gunsmiths, then Its certainly worth paying more to buy guns from them

However, in my neck of the woods most of those in the gun store know less about weapons than I do..and that ain't saying too much. If I buy a handgun, and it malfunctions, what happens? I send it back to the factory rather than have an unskilled store worker mess with it. At best, they might send it for me.

If I can buy that same handgun from someone on the internet at $100 less, then simple economics dictate thats the route I have to take. If it malfunctions, I send it back to the factory. Recently I bought two new guns: Tarus Mll Pro 145 and Tarus 24/7 shipped thru an FFL and in my hands for $289, and $349. You can do your own price comparisons.

Bear in mind, I'm not talking just a few bucks here, but some serious money.

I will patronize the local gun stores to buy ammo, reloading supplies, and other stuff. I do feel for the small business man trying to make living, but I too have an obligation to my family in these times of scarce cash.

March 27, 2005, 07:52 AM
If you buy a new gun, and it has a problem, and you take it to your local gunstore and let "Bubba" tinker with it behind the counter, you might have just voided your warranty.

I am glad and impressed that there are a few gun store owners out there who can trouble shoot and repair new firearms. I have never met one I would trust to do that.

I've never been in a gun store where "customer service" was a reason to shop there.

March 27, 2005, 07:59 AM
There is a local shop closest to my house that I support even though his prices are high on alot of things. The service there is unmatched. He is happy to bs with you all day and be go there just to hang out. I broke a MKII that I purchased there by my own stupidity and he fixed it for free including the parts. I was so impressed I came back later that day an bought a bunch of accessories and ammo from him. The other advantage of this guy is if you are selling on consignment, he can likely move it for a higher price than gun is actually worth.

There are somethings however, that I will continue to buy at Walmart. WWB is not carried buy any of the local shops and I cannot afford to be in this hobby without cheap practice ammo. I buy all of my defensive ammo from gun shops despite the fact that the box stores are slightly cheaper. I must confess to being guilty of buying one gun from Gander Mountain but their service is better than alot of gun stores. Also, they are different in that they have gunsmiths on site to fixe what breaks. Had I bought the gun I bought at Gander at my local shop, I would have paid 75% more. I have bought all my accessories for the gun with the local guy.

March 27, 2005, 08:06 AM
Not only do I support my local gun shop, I tell everyone I know to do it as well. If they close up shop, we're in deep do-do.

March 27, 2005, 08:07 AM
Some very good points made here. I would be overjoyed if there was a somewhat local gun store that stocked handguns, both new and used since I am a big S&W wheelgun fanatic. It is great to be able to look at something before buying! I've bought my share of used shotguns and rifles as well as optics, ammo and accessories from dealers in MN and also SD, and I totally agree the small guy should be supported, but yes, be fair to me and I will be back!! As for the Wal-Fart gun buys--the first encounter I had was upsetting enough to make it my last, and I made no purchase. I do buy ammo there occasionally, simply because the dealers here do not stock all of what I need.

March 27, 2005, 08:30 AM
In the past year and a half, my local gun shop has sold us my Weatherby, my wife's Benelli. and Friday my wife put a S&W 640 on lay-away until she gets her purchase permit. That is as much support as I can afford.

PS. It looks like my wife is getting ahead, I got to get that Sig! ;)

March 27, 2005, 08:54 AM
My most frequent purchase, like most of us, is ammo. My preferred gunshop sells it for about $2.00 more than Walmat or Dicks. I consider the extra cost a payment for all the free advice I get from them. And the advice is actually worth much more. As a prior post said "service, service, service." That's what you don't get cheap.

One more thought; Walmart won't offer an origional Colt Trooper to replace a gun you sold long ago and miss owning.

March 27, 2005, 10:14 AM
I forgot to mention in my other post that the owner of the gunstore where I do all my business is a school trained, expert gunsmith. Only problem is he has so much gunsmithing work that if you have to have a gun repaired there may be a two to three month wait.

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 10:20 AM
Not to mention the Wally gets you in there to sell you lots of other stuuf to make their money. They ususally sell shotties below their cost right before bird season. Further you might want something that isn't plain vanilla, for that you need your local ffl who can order your heart's desire.

The Freeholder
March 27, 2005, 10:40 AM
I have yet to go to a local gunstore (defined as being within an hour drive of my home) where I was treated worth a damn on anything approaching a regular basis.

A couple of war stories:

Go in one time, just looking, and I'm treated with respect, my questions are answered, everything you could ask for. Go in 2 weeks later, ready to drop a grand on a rifle, and I can't even get an acknowledgement I exist. Leave angry, buy the same rifle at a gunshow for $200 less, and never go back.

Go to a gunstore/range (more than 1 hour drive, btw) to buy some ammo and shoot. The owner wants to argue with me about "Why do you need one of 'those' guns?". (Yes, I was toting an e-e-evil black rifle.) Left without the ammo and without shooting, and never went back.

(I get this one a lot around here, even at the store owned by a member of my club. I call it "Guns are only for hunting". :fire: )

No, it doesn't take much to lose my business. I'm in the customer service business (in a way), so I take poor service rather...poorly.

There is one gun & pawn store I do go to on a frequent basis. I bought a pistol there a while back, was treated like a valued customer (acknowledged when I came in, was asked nicely to wait while they finished the current task, questions answered, given a fair price, etc.). I usually go by once every month or two, and I always buy something, even if it's just a brick of .22. I want to see them stay in business, even if they're 1 1/2 hours from home.

I also frequent a couple who live around the corner from me that sell reloading supplies. Nice people, trying to get a business going. Their prices are fair, and even if I can buy it a little cheaper somewhere else, I buy from them if at all possible.

I know that the gun store business is hard, and everyone expects you to give it away. I get the same in my line of work. Those of you who can keep a good attitude in the face of the average PITA customer and still give good customer service, I honor you, and I'd be honored to do business with you. Unfortunately, you're a dying breed.

Old Fud
March 27, 2005, 11:26 AM
My first reaction is "WHAT service?"

I have shopped/bought in 5 different gun stores in the SF Bay area. All were willing (if I was patient and persistent enough) to take my money for purchase and not one damned thing more.

Two of them have signs posted that any problems are between you and the manufacturer -- they will charge a fee for mailing services.
I had a problem with an SA Loaded 1911 purchase and the dealer wrote on the return form "Customer complains that - - - ", and charged me $45 for shipping/handling. (I've been told since then that SA would have picked up the mailing fee -- I didn't check that out --- I just have not set foot in that store since.)

However, I found a store in the area -- ONE -- where the dealer is up-front honest with you about everything, searches for a wholesaler who will allow him to give me best price possible, goes the extra steps to insure you are happy, and tosses in a box of ammo "just cuz" on your way out the door.

His store is small. He has little inventory.
I order my guns through him. I will be ordering Ammo likewise.

One is all you need.
But you also need that one.


March 27, 2005, 12:15 PM
What Old Fud said...

In OKC I've not found a gunshop yet that does real customer service after the fact. And the sign he mentions is common.

As an example I bought a NIB Bushmaster XM15E2S. It failed right out of the box and within 2 days I brought it back to H&H where I bought it. Never having had a firearm fail right out of the box in the last 30 years and being - it seems now - quite naive I fully expected them just to exchange the thing on the spot.

ROFLMAO - the reaction I got was totally unexpected by me. Not our problem. Send it back to BM. Nothing I said or did made any difference they woudn't take it back. Their gunsmith (who's a pretty good one wouldn't even look at it). They did send it back to BM for me (charged me shipping though). That took 3 weeks though since they only did one shipment a month (which they failed to tell me). I was not a happy camper at the time.

Come to find out later that that policy is pretty standard among gunshops - in OKC anyway.

I don't mind paying for repairs and gunsmithing for custom work but GEEEEEEEZ! When something fails right out of the box?

A rock and a hard place - the shop's got all the power! Not a situation I like. Which is why now most of my gun business (purchases and gunsmithing) goes to a local kitchen table FFL (yes there are a few still around).

I reload my own ammo (except for 9mm which is real cheap at Academy) and order everything else from Midway USA or Brownells.

To hell with local gunstores - they and their owners can all burn there for all I care.

March 27, 2005, 12:31 PM
Yeah , I try to support a real gunshop when I can although I find it impossible to support my local shops when there is a $50 difference on a Marlin 17V rifle between the local shop ($229) and the department store ($179) down the road.

I know , I know , "Wal Mart buys in huge volumes and can sell them cheaper than the gun store can buy them" Yeah , ok , if this were the case on this particular rifle then other non-local real gun shops would not have been selling them at $189 at the time. So in the end I bought from an actual gunshop who was not out to make a killing and each and every sale. Still saved $40 over the local dealer.

March 27, 2005, 12:38 PM
I support my local gun store as often as I can. That being said:

I'm a 22 year old male. It seems that I have never had a good experience at these types of stores. I am a clean cut guy, I don't ask stupid questions, and I am also safe in handling the weapons.

However these older gun shop workers feel like i'm not worth their time. If i'm even able to get someone to help me, they just PUT DOWN whatever brand I am asking to look at, no matter if it's a Glock, Springfield, Beretta, there is ALWAYS something better than the POS that i'm inquiring about.

Just my 2 cents...

March 27, 2005, 12:52 PM
Yo 30-06...which part of NC ya live in?? I might be able to point ya in the right direction...If your in G-boro your hosed unless your an LEO or very well heeled

I guess I am lucky...The local gunshop I frequent is owned by a competant gunsmith...Not only will he tell ya what he will work on, he will tell ya what he CANT work on, instead of messing up your weapon...He is opinionated though, and him being from Texas makes sure he has an opinion on pretty much everything.. :eek:

I buy most of my firearms from him, and have always been treated w/respect...ahh he also sells my holster's for me as well, but he needs to push them alot more, I gotta get me an Arsenal AK in 5.45 :D

March 27, 2005, 01:00 PM
Here's my free advice, based on trying to support six different local gun shops over the past few days... If you can't stop standing around doing nothing (or talking to your friends), don't put everything behind the counter. There's this expression, "May I help you?" that can really boost sales. And if you're going to go into the back room to make fun of customers, close the door so they can't hear you. I understand these gun stores feel everyone owes them a living, but I at least expect them to give me the items I'm trying to buy before I give them my money... Oh well, they're no worse than any of the gun stores in the four other states I've lived in. Ahh, I feel better now. :)

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 01:23 PM
We have some here that are good and som that are REALLY PROUD of their guns. I support the good ones. Well used to support, my town is 50 miles from the nearest guns that aren't at a big box store. I get customers who want me to order them specific things. That's fine, I also get dead beats who want me to front for their order so they can change their mind. Or who want to give me checks that i am pretty sure will bounce. Or take up hours with stupid questions or looking at stuff that you know they aren't going to buy. It cuts both ways.

I'd encourage you to shop around, find a place where you can get to know folks and them know you. Support thse folks and the market will take care of the bad ones.

March 27, 2005, 02:17 PM
I understand these gun stores feel everyone owes them a living

interesting comment

i can see both sides the big box stores vs the small shop. i dont think that they feel everyone owes them a living but are trying to show how much more you get with the small shop as far as service.

me since im cheap i buy where i can get the cheapest price.

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 02:41 PM
I see both sides, but am encouraging folks to look at the market like any other. You aren't going to get high end or service or even used guns at BB stores. Both have their place.

But if the guy at the gun store is grumpy once in a while, maybe cut him a break.

March 27, 2005, 03:13 PM
i do all my gun purchases (not many im only 20) and reloading supply purchases from a local gunshop/archery shop that me and my dad go to exclusively. i cant bring myself to buy ammo there, thats where i draw the line. 6 bucks a box for wolf 223 is just ridiculous, he could buy em from dick's and mark em up a dollar and still only charge 4. . .

we go there cause hes a family friend and a good guy. he also knows his stuff. havent had a problem with any of our stuff, and im more comfortable dealing directly with the factory anyway. i try to boycott walmart and a lot of other bigstores totally though the only one i really can do it for is walmart. they just conflict with too many of my personal beliefs for me to shop there.

lol not that my not shopping there really breaks their heart anyway :p

March 27, 2005, 03:35 PM
If the bad service, bad attitudes and top-dollar prices were the exception, I'd certainly give them a break. I do look at the gun business like I do any other, especially wrt customer service. Not necessarily any worse than any other industry, but definitely nothing like the way I was brought up to treat customers. (Uh-oh, "grumpy old man" alert! :) ) I hear plenty of talk about how I should pay top dollar to a gun store and how I shouldn't ask them to do jack for me, because they "provide service" and are "running a business". What service? And sorry to have customers trying to buy stuff intrude on your business. Well, I guess they're doing okay, cause I know they prefer to stand around talking about how many guns they sold here and how many they sold there rather than sell one to the guy leaning on the case right in front of them...

March 27, 2005, 03:54 PM
sometimes things are NOT equal. So, I have worked out a kind of formula to see where I spend my money for guns and ammo.

Since I live in a rural part of my state there is really only one "local" gun store in the area and he simply cannot compete with the "big boys" in the big city. But, he does give fair deals, is knowledgeable, and is as honest as can be.

So, what I do is to price out what it actually costs me to travel to the city to buy the gun of my choice (with gas prices what they are now that is getting to be more and more), add in the price of lunch/dinner for my wife and I and that has usually come within $10 or $20 of what I have to pay at my local store. So, more often than not I have stayed home. Works for me. Now if I just want to go in and shoot the bull the "big boys" just don't seem to have the time or inclination to do that - ever. My local always seems to have time - and that's worth a lot.

March 27, 2005, 03:59 PM

Looking at your location, I've been in your store when I was TDY to Omaha last winter, There was a gun show upstairs and a pet show downstairs. Nice store and I agree with you on keeping the local economy afloat.


Old Dog
March 27, 2005, 04:03 PM
I'm sorta torn on this issue. On the one hand, I've always believed in supporting my local businesses and, in particular, the small businessman.

On the other hand, over the years, I've found fewer and fewer local gunshops I feel comfortable in supporting.

I don't mind paying a premium for good service. But paying the premium without getting the good service (or having the store stand behind what they sell should any problems with newly purchased merchandise develop) is just stupid.

When I've just bought a $1200 pistol from a gunshop and then, a week later, the same shop wants to charge me $40 for an transfer, I'm offended. When I want to trade in a NIB pistol and although I'm a frequent store customer, am offered a pittance that represents $250 less than I know the shop's gonna try and sell my pistol for ... I'm offended. I just can't find too many gunshops that understand customer service these days.

I've witnessed -- regrettably, a lot -- of gender, age and racial discrimination in gunshops. I've seen females, young men with earrings or baggy pants or young minority males totally ignored or rudely treated by gunshop clerks in my area. Evidently, the gals aren't taken seriously as gunowners/gunbuyers and the males must be taken for gang members.

As a clean-cut white male (now looking 40ish), I tend to get decent service, but still hear far too much bias toward or against one brand of firearm or another by the guys behind the counter. I also hear too much crap recited as gospel to other customers by gunshop clerks. I see first-time gun buyers getting turned off by poor service or less-than-neutral opinions of gunshop clerks.

Fortunately, there are three gunshops around my region that do offer good service -- unfortunately, they're all separated either by lots of water or 50 miles or so ... Sadly, there are other gunshops in my area that simply don't seem that interested in my business or anyone else's.

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 04:11 PM
I concur with every point and all could also be said of your small hardware store. I trust the market place to sort this out.

The Freeholder
March 27, 2005, 04:24 PM
Yo 30-06...which part of NC ya live in?? I might be able to point ya in the right direction...If your in G-boro your hosed unless your an LEO or very well heeled

My friend, you've hit the nail squarely on the head. The nearest large city to me is a split between Winston Salem and Greensboro.

When I first moved here, we had a small gun store in a strip mall run by a couple of local LEOs. The first gun I ever bought was from them. Nice guys. No BS, fair dealing. Of course, they went under eventually. :cuss:

I usually get the best deals at gun shows where dealers from the western part of the state set up. Given what we all know about gun shows, that makes a real statement....

March 27, 2005, 04:25 PM
OLD DOG, I can relate to what you're saying. I have posted in the past my support for my local gun shop. I did 90% of my business with him over the past 8 years. I have bought new, used and traded firearms with him. But customer service has begun to seriously decline. By that I mean, he derides and makes sarcastic comments to me, and about other customers in a personal way. I do not care to hear about his personal opinions of somebodys life or religious preferences, or marital problems. Its a shame that he uses his shop as a new platform for his judgement of the reat of the community and world, and don't feel like listening to his stuff, just so I can get a firearms transfer done. I have begun to take my business 80miles down the road, to another guy, who is also a gunsmith. Just another side of the story.

March 27, 2005, 04:59 PM
Same local dealer in my area has the attitude of a horses behind. I won't walk in his store for any reason. Much less buy something.

Boss Spearman
March 27, 2005, 05:01 PM
Every gun I own except one was purchased from small gun shops. In fact, I purchased two this week from the same small shop.

March 27, 2005, 05:18 PM
I frequented one of the more "popular" gun shops in Orlando twice, and each time I was less than impressed by the empolyees. I was checking out the Kel-Tec P32 and P3-AT and got the distinct impression that they were looking down their noses at me because I wasn't buying a "real" gun.

Since then I have found a little mom and pop gun/bait and tackle shop over in Titusville that I much prefer doing business with. Nice folk, straight answers and they they don't mind just shooting the breeze with you.

They'll get my business from now on.

March 27, 2005, 05:39 PM
One of the arguments I read a lot about supporting your local gunstore is that if we don't then there won't be a local gunstore anymore.


This is America where capitalism is KING!

If all the local shops go down and Walmart or Academy or whomever doesn't sell what we want the big C guarantees that someone will and they'll do it at a price the market will bear.

All local gunshops won't die. Just the dumb ones.

As I've pointed out in more than one post on THR:


March 27, 2005, 05:43 PM
The people in my gun store were rude to me and they are overpriced. I think I will take my business elsewhere. :(

March 27, 2005, 06:04 PM
A lot of independent gun shops are on the ropes. Wally World sells 870's and ammo for less than what the independent can buy them for. And I've been told that those 870's and the ammunition isn't the same quality as what's being sold by the independents.

How many Galyans, Dick's, Sportsmens Warehouse or Gander Mountains have indoor ranges? It's a million-dollar investment.

How many times have these huge corporations stopped selling Evil Black Rifles, handguns, or even ammo? All it takes is one push of the Politically Correct button and they cave.

A friend of mine owns a shop here in town with an indoor range. A couple of weeks ago a guy came in to shoot. He asked the guy where he bought his gun. Sportsmens Warehouse. My friend asked him why he didn't go shoot it there. Obvious answer, to which my friend just smiled.

Bear Gulch
March 27, 2005, 06:31 PM
Monkey the guns that Wallys sells are the exact same quality. Some shops will tell you that the guns they carry are better, howash! Wally can buy in such quantity that they get good prices. They also sell under cost knowing that they make their money back geting you to buy all your other stuff there as well.

March 27, 2005, 06:45 PM
My friend asked him why he didn't go shoot it there

This sounds like the exact condescending/ belligerent attitude that every one is complaining about.

The customer is king, if you don't like it then you will go out of business.

Harry Paget Flashman
March 27, 2005, 07:02 PM
My favorite local gun store has always been able to get me anything I've wanted. He goes the extra mile in customer service. He doesn't stock much but does a lot of special orders, catalog sales and internet buys/transfers. I prefer shopping on the internet, it's better stocked than most of the local stores. He charges me $25 for transfers on catalog and internet sales that I use my credit card on and a minimal mark-up for guns I want and he finds.

The owner is 54, two years younger than me, and just got back from a year in Iraq with his National Guard unit. While he was gone Hurricane Ivan blew the roof off his business.

Just yesterday I had him order a Sig 232 for me. He gave it to me for $60 less than the catalog MSRP and threw in 80 rounds of loose ammo he had behind the counter.

I occasionally buy from Wal-Mart or Sports Academy when they have unbeatable deals (e.g. Winchester 1300 20ga for $100 or Charles Daly 20ga camo pump for $130) but my local gun shop gets the bulk of my business because he's a great guy, has good service and fair prices.

March 27, 2005, 07:36 PM
For some areas of the country we have city has three gunshops. I have purchased items from all three. One shop has a new indoor range and a very good staff.

So you can purchase firearms from them and ammo from ChinaMart (good prices on 45ACP WW or BlazerBrass.) And our local Academy has the best price on 9mm, lower than ChinaMart.

And, in Texas there is a gunshow someplace, almost every weekend.
I try to spread my business the local shops and watch the $$$ for ammo, etc.

Ps...go to Collectors in can pay high prices and also receive a good amount of attitude (great place to browse.)
be safe....

March 27, 2005, 08:23 PM
A friend of mine owns a shop here in town with an indoor range. A couple of weeks ago a guy came in to shoot. He asked the guy where he bought his gun. Sportsmens Warehouse. My friend asked him why he didn't go shoot it there. Obvious answer, to which my friend just smiled.

Maybe he could put a rule in that you're only allowed to shoot on his range with guns purchased at his store. With that attitude, he'll recoup his million dollar investment in no time. :)

March 28, 2005, 12:03 AM
GoRon: "The customer is king, if you don't like it then you will go out of business."

Absolutely. And my friend doesn't treat customers like pieces of meat.

Example: there's two real gun stores in my city. My friend's, and Shop X.

A long-time customer of Shop X came in near the end of the day, and was just itching to buy. Cash in hand, the whole nine yards.

Come closing time, the owners of Shop X shouted, "closing time! Everybody out!" as though it was a biker bar.

Customer goes to my friend's shop. It's closing time there, too, except that my friend doesn't treat people like cattle. He kept the store open for another hour as the customer handled this gun, that rifle, asked questions, then finally made a decision.

He bought $1800 in guns and accessories.

Titus: "Maybe he could put a rule in that you're only allowed to shoot on his range with guns purchased at his store. With that attitude, he'll recoup his million dollar investment in no time."

Don't know if you're being facetious or not, but I know where my friend is coming from. He bought a shop with an existing range, put hundreds of thousands of dollars into complying with the EPA, then went further.

The lighting is brilliant. He's put lights in the bays so us old-timers can actually see the sights on our guns. He's going to be installing one of those programable silhouette target systems that has the targets turn away, come to you, or go back...the FBI stuff you see in the movies.

He's putting spotting scopes in every bay. He's given each bay a locker for gear and clothing.

And my friend is just getting started.

There's another shop owner in the Southwest who's looking to build a new range with a Hogan's Alley, pop-up targets, a machine gun range, and every bell and whistle you can imagine. The cost will be over $9 million. He needs investors, and I'll bet he'll get them. That kind of facility will draw customers.

And then there's the husband-and-wife stores in the middle of the Midwest who keep loyal customers by offering up a hot cup of coffee, maybe taking that 870 behind the shop and seeing how it patterns with different loads, and doing everything they can to keep that customer happy.

Cabella's? Dick's? Sportsmens Warehouse? They don't care about anything but the bottom line.

The anti-gunners' strategy has always been to divide us: convince the wing shooters that the Evil Black Rifle owners are a burden to the duck-hunting crowd; convince the IPSC and IDPA shooters that the 1994 ban on magazines didn't have anything to do with pistols (gee, what a surprise when IPSC had to change their rules!); convince deer hunters that they don't have to be concerned about anyone but them.

The anti-gunners have failed to win legislatively. But they've spotted a new soft underbelly: corporate fear, and the fear of lawsuits.

The macho cry of "from my cold dead hands" rings out every single day here on this forum. But the anti-gunners don't have to kill you to win. They just need to eliminate the places where you can buy guns.

When I hear people say that they went into XYZ gunshop and really beat him out of a deal, I have to ask how that's different from a customer going into ZYX gunshop and paying more than fair price.

If the big corporate chains win out, we lose.

It's so simple.

But, is it worth you paying $10 more to support those shops who support your 2nd Amendment rights?

March 28, 2005, 11:09 AM
But, is it worth you paying $10 more to support those shops who support your 2nd Amendment rights?It is not always about price! As for RKBA - it's a foregone conclusion that a gun dealer dealing with the public supports RKBA - guns are his livelihood.

I've been to more than one business seminar that stressed that customers are really interested in value and consciously or subconsciously calculate it everytime they make a purchase.

Value is the whole package which includes price, before and after service, product quality, reliability and durability, and the personal relationship between the customer and the dealer.

All of those things add up to some amount of value in a customer's eyes. The customer buys where he gets the most value.

Interestingly enough that personal relationship or personal touch adds more value than most business people would imagine. Believe it or not something as simple as remembering a customer's name when he or she walks in the store is a huge plus. Having coffee and doughnuts present and available (ever been to a car dealership that didn't have that or one where the sales critter didn't try to get on a firstname basis) is a subtle way of making a customer feel more like a guest and less like a customer. A customer who feels like he's part of the group or inner circle is a happy camper as opposed to the customer who feels like an outsider who will end up going somewhere else if he has the choice.

I have stopped being surprised when at seminars or thru a customer simple things like the personal touch are given such a high priority.

Your typical gunstore lacks that personal touch (or even worse gives it to a select few and everyone else is an outsider) so they lose a great deal of value in the equation and when the customer adds it all up he ends up taking the price discount at Wally World or Academy because they provide more value. Better to be treated at least impartially at the chain store than like one is non-existant or worse like some sub-human form like happens at so many gunstores.

Why do gunstores treat customers like that? As many have said a lot of them are owned and operated by gunnies who decided to make their living with their hobby. They aren't business people nor do they understand the importance of good customer relations when it comes to that value calculation customers instinctively and often subconciously do.

What can be done to stop the local gunstores from dying (and I'm not convinced that's a bad thing - Darwin always wins)

Unless gun store owners stop being hobbyists and start being business men I'm pretty sure that Capitalism (the ultimate expression of Darwinism in the business world) will assure that their enterprises will die to eventually be replaced by some other form of business that will provide value to the customer. Whether the replacement is an improvement over what we have now remains to be seen.

March 28, 2005, 11:41 AM
I've been shooting and messing with guns for what's pushing 38 years now and I guarantee I know more than ANY hack behind the counter in this town.

Here's a little clue---DON'T SELL WHAT WALMART SELLS.

Price sells dude-----and I'd rather mount my scopes myself---thank you.

March 28, 2005, 11:52 AM
If you say so...............

March 28, 2005, 12:03 PM
Since then I have found a little mom and pop gun/bait and tackle shop over in Titusville that I much prefer doing business with. Nice folk, straight answers and they they don't mind just shooting the breeze with you.


Is that the little place just on the corner of Harrison and a little west of US1, south of 'downtown'? Been meaning to get in there but haven't had the chance. My wife and I are up there frequently to visit her parents. If not, where is the store you are referring to?


March 28, 2005, 12:14 PM
I thought I just did-----and I'm the one spending my hard earned dollar.

March 28, 2005, 12:20 PM
I've always supported my local gunshops. I'll have to say that the one thing that runs me out of some of them is the proprietor's attitude.

March 28, 2005, 12:27 PM
BeenGlockin', stop into South roads, check us out.

Control Group
March 28, 2005, 12:51 PM
The lighting is brilliant. He's put lights in the bays so us old-timers can actually see the sights on our guns. He's going to be installing one of those programable silhouette target systems that has the targets turn away, come to you, or go back...the FBI stuff you see in the movies.
You wouldn't happen to be talking about a pleasant little shop on 84th south of Lincoln, would you, Monkeyleg? If you are, I have to say Pete did the best job of introducing a newbie to handguns I could possibly have asked for, up to and including being more than personable. I'm not much of a people person, but he put me at ease faster than I would have believed.

As I think about it, I should make a point of stopping in at their range this week. Since area rates went to $15/hr, I've been driving out to Waukesha - I've been bringing guests on my dime, and I'm not exactly rolling in dough. But I'm going to be going out solo at least once this week, and they deserve my business.

March 28, 2005, 01:05 PM
There are a few gunstores in my area. One has nice people and good service, but charge sky-high prices. Another has good prices, but the manager is such an arrogant jerk I refuse to buy anything from him.

Then there's the store I keep going to. Their prices aren't the lowest, but they're fair and they treat me pretty well. I had a bad experience with one of their sales people, but overlooked it because all the others, especially the manager, have been really nice and try to be helpful. The manager also did a real good job explaining the actual implications of the AWB to the news. I was amazed to see the local news report actual truth regarding the ban.

The thing that really impressed me was my wife's report. She'd gone there to get me some ammo as a stocking stuffer for Christmas, and they helped her and treated her with respect despite her lack of knowledge regarding firearms. Treating my wife well goes a long way towards gaining my business.

March 28, 2005, 03:34 PM
Customer goes to my friend's shop. It's closing time there, too, except that my friend doesn't treat people like cattle. He kept the store open for another hour as the customer handled this gun, that rifle, asked questions, then finally made a decision.

This story impresses me more than the other one. As a customer, I hate to make someone stay past closing myself, but I guess if I left off $1,800, I'd feel a little better about it. :)

At lunch today, I asked myself if I should go to the gun store or Sports Authority to look for some stuff. I went to the gun store, and once again, items behind counter + employees having their own conversation = me spending my money somewhere else.

March 28, 2005, 03:45 PM
It's an empirical question. It all depends on the shop.

I have bought guns from decent shops at good prices. However, many of the local stores here are full of rude, gun store commandos. Some of the big stores are also. Some tables at the show - same dudes.

Have a good attitude and price - I'm yours. I might even spend a touch more $10-20 for attitude. I will not spend $100 more though.

I could list good and bad at stores, shows, big stores - It's about equal who has good folk and bad.

My last gun was from a private store - nice people. However, the next gun I want they have for $840. The big store has for $740.

March 28, 2005, 04:22 PM
I try to patronize the local gun stores when possible, but when I buy ammunition....$11/box (big store) $18/box (local gun store) for the same stuff..... :(

Eskimo Jim
March 28, 2005, 05:01 PM
I visit some gun shops and do my shopping there whenthey have what I want at a fair price.

Firearms I typically buy from shops rather than a box store 'cause the gun shop has what I want.

Ammunition range stuff I buy at a box store because a gun shop just doesn't price it competatively

Self defense/specialty hunting ammo comes from the gun store 'cause no one else has it

Accessories come from online, catalog or local shop depending on who has what I want at a fair price.


March 28, 2005, 05:24 PM
I tend to support my local shop...on the weapons that they carry

I also buy ammo there

Both are very competitively priced and I value being able to see the weapon.

On things that they don't carry, I go elsewhere...

They get most of my money...but in the end, they have to compete for my business...just like everyone else

March 28, 2005, 06:23 PM
Control Group, that's the place. And, yeah, $15 an hour is a lot. Both the Shooters Shop and Badger went to $15 after the insurance companies raised rates on the ranges. But Kevin (Shooters Shop owner) has spent a fortune on that range. I really notice the difference if I blow my nose after shooting, compared to other indoor ranges.

Omaha-BeenGlockin: "Don't sell what Wal-Mart sells."

Exactly. I talk to hundreds of gun shop owners, and the ones I think are going to make it are the ones who distance themselves from the discount stores. The Shooters Shop now buys 25% of all the pistols that Ed Brown makes, and the other stuff they have in their store you won't find at Wal-Mart or any other discount store.

A store in the middle of nowhere can't do a big business selling Ed Browns, but there's other ways to distinguish themselves: 90 day same-as-cash layaways, 90 day in-store warranty, free scope mounting/bore sighting, coffee and donuts, etc. There's a couple of rural stores on my site whose owners have set up an outdoor range that's free for their customers to use.

When I had my photo studio, I put every possible little extra in there I could think of. Pool table, video games, television, ten-speaker 400-watt stereo system, fruit bowls in the morning and beer in the get the idea.

Husker1911: check your private messages, please.

March 28, 2005, 06:26 PM
Shane333 wrote:
Treating my wife well goes a long way towards gaining my business.

I am blessed in that there are a lot of good gun stores nearby.

Shane333's quote about sums it up for me. A store that treats my wife well is a store I'm looking to make a purchase at. Ignore my wife or treat her poorly & I wouldn't p!ss on you if you were on fire.

If you're local to DFW, I'll give you my impression of any of the shops I have experience with.

Double Naught Spy
March 28, 2005, 09:01 PM
I would support my local gun shop if they didn't charge through the nose. Sure, they can do a few specialty things, but generally speaking, I don't need those specialty things. I need to buy guns and ammo and for what they charge, I couldn't shoot much.

I do give a good bit of business to a store in the next county and have purchased several guns there, but because of the price, not because of specialty offering, of which I don't know if they have any.

In order to support my local gun store, it has to support me. They fall short in that regard.

March 28, 2005, 11:03 PM
I'm lucky enough to live in a city where there are about 15 or 20 "local" gunshops, and my local Walmart and Academy both have very knowledgeable people behind the gun counter at all times.

I buy my ammo at WallyWorld and Academy. All of my gun purchases have been through the little guys.

March 28, 2005, 11:58 PM
I don't support gun stores because I am in the age group that they don't support. I am young and tend to research what I want on the internet. I knew what I wanted and went in there I saw a salesman in my age bracket and asked him to help me. I explained to him that I knew what I wanted and that it would be the easiest sale he has ever made. I told him what gun I wanted and he brought it out, I checked it over. It was a "ghetto" gun store, I think he expected me to put 25% down but I paid in full. Wisconsin has 48 hour wait. I go in two days later and look for the young guy who sold me the gun to pick it up from. Well I stand around while the employees talked about the last guys who just were on the range. I sat for 10 minutes, alone at the counter. They were more interested in their jokes then assisting me.

I walk around the store, while I am looking at holsters I hear the guy say, "Can I help you?" and I don't pay attention thinking he is talking to another customer. I look over and he says it again. I am 40 feet from the counter and he yells to me like I am supose to run over and be happy to be served. I tell him I am here to pick up my weapon and never went back.

The other range/store decided that 15 dollars an hour for range fees is reasonable(and treated me like some punk because I didn't know which of the 4 doors went to the range). There is one place that impressed me, but it is far away. I go there to shoot at the range and buy targets from him. I buy ammo at outdoor chain stores because I actually get good service. On the internet I could beat every price but I like good service.

In todays world, a gun shop cannot afford to treat anyone poorly. I will bad mouth the shop that treated me bad to anyone who will listen. I will tell everyone who is even thinking of buying a gun to go to the shop I like.

March 29, 2005, 01:10 AM
Bill2k1, would you please email me or PM me with the names of the stores you're talking about?

I try to provide a service to the shop owners I know, not just the ones on my site. One of my services is to let them know when they have a dissastified customer. Believe me, business owners want to know when somebody isn't happy. Bad news always gets more attention than good.

I won't reveal your name or anything else about you.

And, yeah, $15 an hour is a lot for range time. Don't blame it on Kevin or Mitch or Wally, though. Not many years back (ten, maybe more), there were several gun stores in Milwaukee, and most had ranges.

Thank former Mayor Norquist (who also shut down the process of getting Form 4's signed for Class III weapons), interim Mayor Marvin Pratt, and current Mayor Tom Barrett. All three anti-gun to the core.

Thanks to liberal pinheads like these, it's easier for a convicted prostitute or coke dealer to run girls or drugs out of a licensed tavern than it is for a store to sell guns.

March 29, 2005, 08:21 AM
Lease a building, buy air handling equipment, get permits, buy target and shooting bay equipment, pay the heat and light bills, buy insurance, pay business taxes, hire employees and of course we expect any gun ever manufactured available as a rental so you'd better get one or two of each and a big safe to keep them in at night.....and then we'll see if $15 still seems high for an hour.

I'll be the first to say that half the gun stores I've been in I've never gone back to because they are just plain unpleasant places....but let's be realistic about what it costs to be in business.

Control Group
March 29, 2005, 09:36 AM
logical: I understand everything you just said, but when you can drive an extra 30 minutes to pay $8.75 an hour for an indoor range, $15 does seem a bit high. I'm not saying - and I don't think Bill2k1 is saying - that $15 is, somehow, objectively too high for what we want to do. But it is demonstrably high compared to another range in the area.

Of course, the $15, as Monkeyleg pointed out, is due to King John (who I'm sure is fitting in real well down in Chicago) and his successors' complete gun unfriendliness. It's not that I blame the stores, it's just that when I bring a couple guests on my dime, it's the difference between $26.25 and $45. Now, is $45 a reasonable fee to pay? Sure. It's not that I feel like I'm getting ripped off, it just cuts down on how often I can do it. So when I can get by for less than $30, I do.

All that being said, when I go to the range by myself, I'll pay the extra $6 to support a shop that's always done right by me and is trying to stay solvent in a pretty unfriendly climate. But I can certainly understand if someone just says they'd rather pay $8.75 than $15 for an hour on the range.

March 29, 2005, 10:02 AM
I guess, but if that 30 minutes one way is 30 miles, I'll spend $9.00 in gas for my truck and an hour of my time to save $6.25 in range fees.

I'm not suggesting anybody pay more than they have to. I'm just disputing the suggestion that $15 is unreasonable. Chances are, the $8.75 guy is either not making money on the range if he really isolated his costs....or he has long since paid off the equipment.

Control Group
March 29, 2005, 10:33 AM
In that case, I agree. $15 is not, in itself, unreasonable. I say this because, if the only places I could shoot charged $15, then that's what I'd pay. The only reason $15 seems high is because it went up from $10 and $8 (depending on which range you went to) on March 1st of this year, and I can still get by for $8.75 if I get outside the city.

Sort of like when gas went from $1.10 to $2.05 in the course of a few months. $2.05 seemed pretty high (though still "reasonable," since we all kept buying it, after all) back then.

March 29, 2005, 10:50 AM
Logical makes a good point. Taking into account the overhead, $15/hour does seem reasonable. My only problem is that I usually only need 1/2 hour. My local range has great people, but someone decided that you can't rent the range by half hour intervals.

Yes, I'm poor and usually don't have a ton of ammo to burn. In 1/2 hour I'm finished shooting and ready to go home. If I had more money, I'd love to give my local gun stores and gun ranges more patronage.

March 29, 2005, 02:56 PM
This is the type of thing that will make me not support my local gun shop--it just happened to me:
dropped $900 at gun shop for a gun, some accessories for it, and scope base and rings for another gun which had also been purchased there within the month prior
I get asked if I would like the scope mounted...well ok, sure!
To my shock, a $15 charge was added to my final bill for THAT
Uhhh....take it off!!

March 29, 2005, 03:38 PM
logical: control group said it, I am not going to pay 15 dollars an hour when I can drive for almost the same ammount of time and shoot for 8.75. When I go to shoot I go with other people and that afternoon could easily get to 100 bucks for 3 of us to shoot, saving 6 bucks for 3 people is a big savings in my eyes. 6 bucks savings means I shoot twice as often then if I were to shoot at the 15 dollar ranges.

I am trying to find a local club to join, that way I will only have to go to indoor ranges when winter comes around.

March 29, 2005, 06:19 PM
Bill2K1, if you're looking for a club to join, I suggest you check out Schultz Rod and Gun Club. It's only $45 a year plus five hours of work (meetings count as work).

If $15 an hour seems like a lot, I just put a Connecticut shop on my site today that charges $12 per half hour and $22 per hour.

March 29, 2005, 06:41 PM
Monkeyleg: are you in Wisconsin? My friend is a member and offered to take me soon, I am looking forward to shooting outdoors. It wouldn't hurt to increase my trap skill too.

March 29, 2005, 06:43 PM
Husker, I will be sure to check out your store next time I run up to Offutt (where us retired Marines who live in Falls City get our health care).

Two gun shops in my town of 5,000. One has been in biz forever and is widely recognized as a major horse's patoot. Went in there once 25 yrs ago while in town visiting the in-laws and never considered going back. What a jerk! The other shop was recently opened by a retired LEO/National Guard guy who inherited the building. He's an avid shooter/hunter and only plans on running the shop for 5 yrs before totally retiring. We have lots of similarities in our backgrounds, and are developing a friendship...he wants to go to KC with me one Fri evening to see IPSC when we can match up our schedules. He's financially independent, so he's not fixated on raking-in every dime he can get. I've bought 3 guns from him in the past 18 months and have a RRA EBR on order through him.

My travels in the Marine Corps had me living all over the country, and all of my gun purchases were from local vendors (some at gunshows, but still from a small biz). I've never bought a gun from a box store.

March 30, 2005, 07:56 AM
I tried to support my local guns store but got screwed over. If I am going to get screwed might as well get screwed at a lower price.

March 30, 2005, 08:08 AM

Is that the little place just on the corner of Harrison and a little west of US1, south of 'downtown'? Been meaning to get in there but haven't had the chance. My wife and I are up there frequently to visit her parents. If not, where is the store you are referring to?


It's Indian River Sportsman. Just south of SR50 on US1 (maybe 1/2 mile or so). On the left hand side as your headed south. Look for a little convienance store gas station (forget the brand) in front of a little strip mall. IRS is in the corner of the mall.

They also have a very cool chocolate Lab named Nestle. :)

March 30, 2005, 10:30 AM
WalMart is a little too pansy here in SoCal to carry guns, but I would try to support the local gun stores even if they did. Given a choice between an equivilent product made/sold in Cali and one from elsewhere, I will go with the local product/retailer, in large part because I feel the need to support businesses who continue to stay in the firearms business in California.

That's my two cents.

March 30, 2005, 03:24 PM
Good thread ... it IS (mostly) about customer service. I am a 50+ white-bread grandpa, and have been a shooter off-and-on for about 40 years. When I go into a gun shop, I recognize that they want/need to make a profit, so I try not to waste their time, and I try to find something that I can buy each time to keep the cash flowing.

We have several gun shops here in metro Richmond and a few in the Petersburg area, plus the usual sports boxes and Wallyworld. I went into a Petersburg store last spring based on a recommendation; I took one tour through and would never go back. Prices were at least 20% above those in the Richmond shops, and other than one cursory “Can I help you?” the storekeeps made no offer to help me find anything or answer any questions.

Likewise, I don’t go into the shop that is six miles from my home. They do a lot of business in Civil War reenacting and hunting/fishing supply; but if you aren’t a reenactor, coming in for what they have on hand, or a good ole’ boy, you get the gimlet eye until you walk out the door. They will grudgingly answer a question or two, then find a reason to step away and leave you to your own devices. No welcome there.

The highest-profile area shop, about 45 miles from home, has an ample staff, a good selection of new and used firearms, plus hunting/fishing gear and supplies, but the staff can be divided into those who will treat an infrequent patron courteously, and those who don’t if you haven’t been a patron for 10 years or aren’t best-buds with the guy behind the counter. I’ve bought a revolver, ammo, holsters, and a rifle there over the years, but by dealing only with the guys who have been straightforward and aren’t condescending. (I don’t know whether they get any personal commissions from transactions, but it makes the point.)

The shop I gladly support is in Mechanicsville, about 40 miles away from my door. This establishment has good stock, knowledgeable staff, onsite gunsmithing, and what I think is the best sense of customer service in the area. A few years ago, I purchased there an Israeli-made .30 carbine—manufactured by Palestinian saboteur labor, I suspect, because it failed with the first round I put through it; the bolt jammed partway through cycling and the spent shell jammed in the breech. The guy I was shooting with guessed bad ammo; I took the carbine back to the shop, and after a few minutes’ work the smith showed me a faulty receiver that QC should have caught before the piece was boxed. The owner was apologetic and offered a couple of times to expedite a replacement order (no charge for the smithwork, either) – I said phooey on IAI and went with a Marlin 336C instead; it cost about the same and I haven’t had a lick of trouble with it.

I have been back several times since, to buy and to look at alternatives to the S&W 642 I’m carrying now. Each of the persons I’ve dealt with have patiently answered my questions, speculations, and concerns without blowing me off. In fact, on Monday I made a c/c holster purchase I might not otherwise have made because one of the salesmen made a point to greet me immediately and ask how he could help me. He also took 45+ minutes to answer my questions about S/A revolvers, showed me 9 different Ruger, Navy Arms and Freedom Arms pieces, told me about the local SASS competitions, and invited me to the next one. I was up-front and told him that it would be a year at least before I have the time and discretionary cash to get into CAS—but when I do, I will buy from that shop, because they’ve made me WANT to do business with them.

But if the difference between Wally’s price for a 50-box of .38 Special and a gun shop’s is 25% or more … that’s significant enough to influence the “buying decision.”

March 30, 2005, 04:07 PM
I'd like to patronize a small, local, gunshop too, but often the guys running it are arrogant jerks, conniving b@$t@rdS, or crooked liars . . . sometimes a combination of all three. One shop I used to do business with changed ownership, and after getting hosed by the new owners I never darkened their door again. Compared notes with folks at the range, and found I wasn't the only one shafted by these guys. Word is they're hurting, and have discontinued their gun show activity and have moved their efforts to Gunbroker. :rolleyes:

Recently made a purchase at Sportsman's Warehouse - they had a "5% off customer appreciation sale" going, and Discover Card had an additional "5% rebate" on all purchases at sporting goods stores, (And the starting price was a good $200+ less than a local "upscale" gun shop.) so I made out OK . . . and the salesman was both courteous and attentive. Attitude alone at the BIG chain store was miles beyond some "small" shops, at least in this instance.

Next time I need anything, care to guess which one I'll go to?

March 30, 2005, 04:42 PM
In Wilmington, NC there are no good gun shops, at least not as far as buying a new gun is concerned:

One big Gun & Pawn shop always has a huge selection, but always at skyrocket Pawn shop prices, they only sell guns to people who have no idea what guns are worth and/or they sell at a decent price to a few people who are in their buddy loop. All the avid collectors/shooters I know don't even go in there. I buy 20+ guns per year and I have never bought there, I go in to look all the time, I have never spent a penny in there in four years because everything they have including used guns, accessories, ammo, safes, etc. is just off the scale on price. When I can have a gun shipped and transferred from a dealer in another state for $425 that would cost me $525 in their shop after tax, I'll buy online and have it shipped in. I don't know how this place makes any money, stuff sits in there for years, maybe the DVD/lawnmower/TV pawns coupled with 1st time gun buyers keep them going.

The rest of the Pawn shops in town have used guns and a couple order new lower end stuff like Rossi revolvers and sell them at skyrocket prices.

We have a couple Wal-Marts and a Sporting Goods shop that sell basic hunting rifles and shotguns which I don't buy.

There is one Indoor Shooting Range/Shop where you can get a better price, they mainly have handguns, but still 15%-25% higher than buying online. They are the closest thing to a good gun shop we have. It is on the other side of town and I never go there.

We do have some one-two man operation gunsmith/sales shops that are great to hang out in and are great to work with, but they don't have much in stock, have no direct factory agreements, are not official dealers for anyone, so they can't get a good price on anything new. I have used these guys to buy new guns, but they have to order everything, so I have to go to the big Pawn shop to see one in person first, and I often pay 10% more after tax than I would have buying online, but I do it because I want to support the local gun business.

If you work at it and haggle you can get a good to decent deal on a used gun at just about any shop in town, so I don't have much gripe with used guns.

However, I wish a gun store would open up that concentrated on being full service with good customer service and volume of sales by trying to match or beat the prices other dealers sell for. As an example, if I ran a shop, I would rather sell 100 new guns per year at $50 profit each than sell 20 new guns per year at $150 profit. The extra traffic would sell even more guns, and more higher profit margin items such as used guns, accessories, ammo, gunsmithing, etc.

Maybe I just don't know Jack about the gun business, but something is wrong when I can buy a new gun from a dealer in another state, have it shipped, pay a local FFL $15 to transfer it and save $65 to $250 depending on the price of the gun.

March 30, 2005, 04:59 PM
Economics and the management of gun stores share little in common. A savvy businessman could run a gunshop and pull a profit, but the rewards are richer in just about every other industry. A gunshop owner is usually someone with little business sense but a love of the product.

March 30, 2005, 06:10 PM
I have genuinely tried to support the two local gunshops.

I am not looking to get my ass kissed, I know they don't manufacture the gun and aren't (always) responsible for it's fit, function or reliability. I am well aware that some of the counter jocks may have spent many years in the service (thanks to those of you who have ;)) and in their minds have a vast array of knowledge and experience.

I'm not a 'smith by a long shot, but I know (my) guns pretty well. I am positive I spend more time researching the details of the guns I have an interest in than ANY of the folks who work at either of the local gunshops.

I reload, have refinished a gun or two and have sent literally hundreds of thousands of rounds down range in my lifetime. I am clean cut, respectful and am aware these people are in business to make a profit.

I don't buy jack from either of the local shops anymore. They project the attitude that anyone, who isn't one of their cronies, sitting around spouting BS all afternoon or willing to believe any subterfuge they can puke as not just the gospel, but undisputable proof of their superiority, is nothing more than an unecessary PITA.

I witnessed one of the local shop owners giving some very condescending advice to a young lady looking for a home protection gun. She felt revolver would be a good choice and she had fired one and seemed to do well with it. OK great. The shop owner was trying to sell her a Ruger Blackhawk in 41 mag. It looked like it had been dragged behind a truck for about a mile on a gravel road... the 'sale' price was $425.

He told her the only other real option was a Kimber... you can't put a cost on the lives of your kids.. now can you ?

I stayed out of it as long as I could. I noticed she was holding a set of keys in her hand from a Ford. The shop was dead, except for myself, her and the legends that work there. I asked if she was the ower of the Ford outside (she was), and told her I bumped into her a little when pulling in, and asked her to come make sure nothing was damaged.

When we got outside, she noticed nobody was parked within 4 spaces of her and asked me if I was trying to ask her out (probably should have). I gave her a card from the only dealer I deal with (about 45 miles away) and explained maybe a Blackhawk wasn't the best first gun - especially for the asking price.

She thanked me and left. I left too.

I got a call from the shop I referred her to about a week later. The owner was very appreciative of my sending someone his way. Not too big of a deal, but he took the time to call and say thanks - certainly not necessary.

I dropped by there weekend before last and he handed me a couple of buckets of range brass and a 1000 pack of primers before I could even get thru the door as a 'finders fee'. The woman I gave the card to bought a used 4" Python for $350 including a little range time and a couple of boxes of 38 specials.

There are some great dealers left, but for every good, honest, hard-working dealer in my area, there are at least two that aren't worth a damn.

Maybe some of you have the luxury of a good dealer close to home. If so, consider yourself very lucky.

If given the choice of WallyWorld or anyone else or the two local shops, I will drive nearly 50 miles or buy from the 'net.

Screw unscrupulous, arrogant gunshops - local or not


March 30, 2005, 07:30 PM
The local "gunshop" that I favor is a farm and ranch supply store that also has a pretty good sporting goods (as in hunting and fishing - not tennis and golf) department. They have two stores and the original store always seems friendlier. At the newer and bigger one they are not rude but just a little indifferent. (Gee whiz, if I come in and look at guns you could at least try to sell one to me :p )

The guy who sold me my last two gun purchases was really helpful, and I told him so too. When buying a handgun he helped me find a holster to fit it, even taking them out of the package and trying the gun in it to make sure :)

I've been in a lot of the pawnshops too (which seem to sell mostly new guns :confused: ) and for the most part they are not very helpful. I guess I have too wide a range of interests in types of guns, because after I asked if he had X or Y, he suddenly had to go do something else :rolleyes: (whats wrong with liking lever guns and semi-automatics ????)

I used to work retail in a "general store" that also had guns and fishing gear, and I always tried to treat everybody well and help them as much as I could. I learned from some of the customers and some of them learned from me. I figured every "newbie" who bought (or even looked at) a gun was a future "gun nut" and the more guns in circulation the better. It's no sin to be learning something new. And yeah, a lot of guys just come in and look and drool, but then they buy something now and then too. It's just part of the business.

I think in general that most people (I know I do) like to not only get the thing that they want but also feel good about the people they are giving their money to.

March 30, 2005, 08:27 PM
I've noticed that 2 of our semi-local gunshop/ranges have competitive prices. The one always did, but it seems the other has only recently lowered his prices so he can sell more guns, and not try to make all his money off the range. It's nice to see the locals again trying to be competitive with the gun shows. When I bought my Kimber Ultra CDP, the first mentioned had one (in .40 caliber; blasphemy!) for a mere 40 bucks more than I paid later at the gun show. Had he had the proper caliber, I would have gladly gave him my business. This store is run by ex-cops, and they're all a great bunch of guys. 40 bucks is not much difference when you're talking near a thousand, but as I said, their prices have always been pretty good in comparison. I must confess that most of my guns have been bought at gun shows. Deals like my Colt Delta Elite ($425) were the norm at one time, but it seems that now the prices are getting tighter. Welp, so much the better. It's just less gun shows I have to attend, and more time I can spend at the ranges. :D

rock jock
March 30, 2005, 09:01 PM
Most of the gunstores that I have been to (probably 70%) including the largest gunstore in my area are run by and staffed by people that are decidedly NOT friendly, helpful, or knowledgeable. I wish they would go out of business quickly so that the good gunstores would propoer from their demise. However, gunstores sell a high price item to a select subset of the population and the gunstore owners know that, so they have a captive market. I used to think twice about Internet purchases, but not anymore.

March 30, 2005, 11:29 PM
While I understand the frustration of many posters with the lack of good customer service with your area independent gun stores and big box retailers, I would like to point out something that might be overlooked. You can go to gun shows and you can order firearms online, but what are you going to do when you need a local gunsmith to repair your firearm or need a local FFL licensee to handle receipt of your internet gun purchase?

I am not saying you should patronize a shop or store with terrible customer service. Nor am I saying you should pay the full manufacture's suggested retail price, or more, for your firearm. There are shops out there, like the one I am getting open, slowly, that try to provide wonderful customer service with a reasonable amount of products and services offered. However, if low prices are what drives most of you, and I say this without sarcasm or malice, I hope you are happy with the Wal-Marts and other big box stores or gun shows or internet sales/auction sites for the sources of your purchases.

I do hope that you understand that without enough return on the time and energy invested in a business, a business owner cannot operate. I also hope that you are able to repair your own firearms and know plenty of 01 FFL licensees to provide your transfers at low prices. At this moment I am having to think over what exactly I should provide to customers when they will evidently browbeat me on price regardless of how low the price is. I am not trying to be argumentative, I just want to respond with the image of customers I am receiving from many posters on this thread.

Think of it like this, if someone sells something for, say, $10 over wholesale for a firearm and only a $1 over wholesale per box of ammunition and a transfer fee of $5, are you going to expect a high level of customer service? Are you going to expect a gun store to help you after the sale if you have problems, or provide much assistance before the sale? With a higher profit margin the store can afford to provide better service. However, I am not saying that a gun store should make customers pay through the nose or treat them like worms either.

I know I am new here, but I have to respond with my view on the impression I am getting. If I am misunderstanding, please, explain where I am in error.

March 31, 2005, 12:15 AM
Hi UC,

Good points, but keep in mind the majority of us have tried to work with a local shop. The shops around here know (and don't mind telling you) they are the only game in town, implying they're the only choice.

One shop here charges $35 for a transfer and will try their best to charge you sales tax on the purchase price of the gun, even though they didn't sell it to you, just handled the transfer. The bastards get away with it more often than not. Most people don't know state sales tax statute.

The other shop in town charges 10% of the value you paid, or an arbitrary value of $100. Don't even think of getting a call to let you know your new gun has arrived, most of the time they take it out of the shipping box and you better damned well trust your seller. I have had three people (they didn't know each other as far as I know) tell me when their gun arrived it was missing mags, accessories a manual etc.. The locals just get their asses chapped when someone buys a gun from elsewhere.

I applaud you for having the gumption for opening a shop. I can tell from your comments that you seem to understand there is a fine line between good customer service and going broke. Agreed.

To me, the difference is attitude and the degree of honesty and plain old common courtesy you show customers. I can't speak for anyone else, but if I had a local shop to buy from that would realize a transfer takes all of 10 minutes or less and it DOES pull in other business, maybe I would feel differently.

The dealer I drive almost an hour to do business with has called me to let me know about something he ran across that he thought I might have an interest in. He even ordered a pistol for me once, thinking I would probably take it, He was right, a NIB stainless Commander Gold Cup.

He charges $10 for a transfer, calls as soon as FedEx (or UPS) delivers and you open the shipping box on the gun you bought.

I buy things from him on a regular basis. His new brass prices are about 15% higher than online sources, but everytime he has a bulk order going in to replenish his stock, I always get a call. I pay him when he orders the brass, he charges me 10% over his cost.

Before you think I have a history with this guy, or get any special treatment, I found out about him while I was bitchin' and moaning about the other two shops to a shooting buddy. A shooter just packing up to leave overheard me and came over and gave me the guys card. This was about 8 months ago.

The shop owner I buy from is a decent guy, works his ass off and genuinely tries to help when and where he can. He isn't the cheapest on everything by a long shot, but I don't know of anyone he has just told to piss off over $5-10 on a deal.

The two local shops have an indignant attitude to begin with and their prices are (both) at or above retail on everything. One of the bastards buys ammo from WallyWorld and marks it up. He doesn't even remove the price tag. Any time you ask which price is good (hoping maybe the lower one) 'that's old stock... hard to find... that's the last available... the FBI bought it all and we had to pay more for it'

OK... but UMC in 250 rnd bulk packs ? The stuff just came available packaged that way in this area recently. I can't say for certain, but I doubt the FBI uses UMC... you get the idea.

So, from my experience, local (or any) gunshop is only as good as the ethics and attitude of the owner.

Notwithstanding your very pertinent and well presented comments...

Screw unscrupulous, arrogant gunshops - local or not


March 31, 2005, 05:08 PM
Here's my most recent experiences with two of the local shops here in Boise, Idaho:

I was about to strip one of the grip screw bushings from a Colt Delta Elite, and took it into The Buckhorn Gun & Pawn because I knew there was a gunsmith there with GUN screwdrivers. Mike showed me what happened and what I needed to do to fix it properly. He ordered new screw bushings (I may have the wrong term here) and new screws for me, Locktited the bushings in the frame, replaced the grips & screws for me & called when it was ready. I walked in, and there's a guy trying to work a deal on selling his stainless Delta, and he & Matt (the owner) were haggling. I hung around, and if Matt hadn't bought it, I was prepared to follow him outside & do so.

So, they strike a deal, & I tell them "Don't put it in the case, I'll be back in the morning." I end up buying it and the third round I fire, the case ruptures, blows the magazine apart, and plasters me with powder. I take it in to The Buckhorn, and as we closely examine it together, it becomes obvious that someone has screwed up by over polishing the barrel's chamber & feedramp.

The Buckhorn replaced the barrel & bushing (with Ed Browns to boot!) & fit them to the pistol for me, and, at their insistence, at absolutely no charge. Had I struck the deal with the previous owner, I'd have been on the hook for the repairs. How's that for service?

Now, just yesterday, I'm on another forum and a guy is asking about increasing the handgun storage in his small safe. I told him that I use an Acorn door-mounted pistol rug with velcro attachable pockets. He asks me for a link or a phone number, which I can't find anywhere.

So, I call Cliff's Guns, Safes, & Reloading as they are the local distributor for Acorn. I explain to Cliff that I am trying to put this guy in touch with Acorn so he can find a distributor in his area and I ask him for their phone number (or if they have a website-they don't). He flat out refuses to give me their number! He said, and I quote, "Well, I'm not giving up my source. I buy direct from the manufacturer." I explain, AGAIN, that I'm trying to put another guy in touch with them and that I have no idea where he is, so Acorn can tell him if they have a distributor nearby. He then tells me, and again, I quote, "Well, just give him my phone number; I can ship anywhere in the country."

Acorn Industries will NOT sell directly to anyone IF there is a distributor nearby. I know, because when I first saw the pocket rug, I called them, & they told me to go to Cliff's, which I did. So, even if Cliff thought I was trying to buy direct and cut him out of a sale, he KNEW it wasn't going to happen; in fact, he should have realized that Acorn would have told me to go see him. There was absolutely no reason for him to be a jerk and not give me the phone number.

I drove over to his shop this morning, walked in & he looked up from his desk & asked "Whatcha lookin' for?" I ignored him, walked over to the rug, looked right there on the very front of the package where I knew the stinkin' phone number was, and dialed them up as I walked out of his store, very likely for the last time, and told them exactly what transpired yesterday afternoon.

Acorn was not too impressed with Cliff's actions. They did thank me at least three times for (A) taking the time to drive over to his shop to get their phone number, (B) for telling the guy online about & endorsing their product, and (C) for calling them to tell them about Cliff's idiotic stupidity (my words, not Acorn's).

Hmm, there's that service thing again, only this time, it was 180 degrees out of whack.


April 1, 2005, 04:58 AM
Ok, around me there are three local shops, one of which is at a nearby range.

Shop #1: Has coffee, can chat with the shopkeeper a little but he's generally pretty busy. Refer to all non-familiar people as "guy", which can be somewhat off-putting. The shopkeeper is an excellent gunsmith, has rebuilt a "gun in a bag" (my Ruger 10/22 trigger group exploded while cleaning -- he put it back together for $15, not bad) for me, etc. I've purchased over $2,000 worth of firearms there. If any of them break, they'll be going there for repairs. Alas, sometimes it's tough getting their attention to inquire about an item, the man's female assistant (wife? Can't tell.) knows very little about guns and just seems to be there for the hell of it. She can take rifles off the rack and hand them to me, but that's about it. Prices are a little high on firearms and sky-high on ammo. I'll buy guns from them, but I don't really feel terribly welcome as a customer -- I'm 22, they're ~60. For some reason they don't connect well with me.

Shop #2: Medium-sized shop, large selection of new and used firearms. Large amount of courteous staff, reasonable prices, willing to special order (I inquired about an SKS they didn't have and the guy called his wholesaler right then to order two more -- I like that. I felt bad buying the SKS from my friend a week later, but that's how it goes...), etc. They're always busy, so I don't really have much time to sit and chat. They're also a bit far away and have absurd prices on ammo -- $240 for 1,000 rounds of Wolf 7.62x39. I bought a case of the same ammo online for $88.

Shop #3 + Range: Limited selection of for-sale firearms, but can special-order stuff (never bought guns there, though I have a range membership). They always have time to chat for a few minutes, and they know me by sight. They offered me a Sprinfield 1911 for $30 above their cost and shipping and it'd come in with their next regular shipment, so it wouldn't be a "special order" and cost more. Very friendly, nice range, etc. Only problem: I bought a stainless steel cleaning rod for my .22 that I figured would accept .30 caliber jags. Unfortunately, it didn't. Being that I already had a segmented .22 rod and needed the stainless one for my .30 caliber rifles I took it back but without my receipt (still, the tube the rod came in was clearly marked as coming from their store with the price and UPC code). The .30 caliber rod was $1.20 cheaper -- they were willing to exchange the two rods on the spot, but refused to refund my $1.20 without a receipt. I pay $200 a year + targets for access to their range. You'd think they'd have a bit of trust and give me the $1.20. This particular clerk's attitude was very gruff. They won't be getting my business for any more accessories, though I may renew my membership there simply because it's the only good place to shoot pistols at.

The only time I've ever purchased stuff at a "big store" was doing a person-to-person transfer at Big 5. I felt dirty doing it, but they only charged $10 for the fee (plus the $25 DROS and $10 mandatory gun lock). All the above shops either refused to do it or wanted $50+.

I buy all my ammo from a reputable dealer at the gun shows (Miwall, for those who are familiar with them. Their 9mm reloads are great and I can't beat the price. Heck, they're $10 cheaper than Wolf for a thousand rounds and they're made locally.) Excellent deals on surplus and Wolf 7.62x39. Not a great selection of .30-06, but more than enough to satisfy me. When I need ammo and they're not in town, I buy from -- excellent customer service, prompt shipping, lowest prices I've ever seen (ammo + shipping = gun show prices, can't be beat! They even offer UPS Freight discounts so I could order by the pallet or truckload for very cheap.), etc. Great selection of all sorts of ammo.

I have no problem patronizing the local gun shops. I semi-jokingly ask "So, no discounts on this today?" -- sometimes they throw in a box of ammo or something -- I can't complain. However, when they treat me like crap (i.e. the range not giving me the $1.20 back -- I ended up keeping the .22 rod and buying the .30 caliber rod elsewhere), they lose my business. Treat me well, you've got a customer for life. Treat me poorly, you lose a customer for life.

Now I just need to join the local gun club at the range and they'll let me shoot pistol on weekends (normally no centerfire pistol, for whatever reason) and rifles during the day (normally their public hours are 7-10pm MWF). I believe it's $50/year, which is quite good.

Bah. I'm rambling. *shuts up*

John Ross
April 1, 2005, 11:04 AM
These threads pop up regularly and one thing I do not understand is the Independent-Shop-vs-Big-Chain theme that runs through them.

A gun shop owner is a FOOL if he stocks ANYTHING that Wal-Mart sells.

My favorite gun shop in St. Louis is Trail Creek Trading. I'm a dealer myself (focus on MGs and other rare, high-end stuff) and I still buy from Trail Creek. Bought a 629 Mountain Gun for $450 and two 41s (one a light barrel) for $1250 for the pair.

Interesting fact: Trail Creek is ACROSS THE STREET from Wal-Mart!

Yesterday, when I was in TC, I decided to go over to Wal-Mart and compare inventory.

Remington 700 ADL, 10/22, 94 in 30/30, 870, Marlin 22, plastic-stocked Weatherby, and a couple of other uninteresting-looking long guns that I didn't bother to identify.

Generic 9mm, .45, and field loads (and I suspect .22s)

Clay targets and a few other peripherals like cleaning kits and cheap glasses

No handguns at all and no used guns

Trail Creek:
An entire two-sided 10' long rack (out in the middle of the floor) of various milsurp rifles, almost every one under $100

About 100 long guns, new and used, from BP slug guns to old .52 rimfires to Rolling Blocks to Hi-Wall replicas to Sporting BARs to Marlin Guide Guns to Ruger #1s to .458 bolt guns to Browning Superposeds, Auto-5s, and Citoris to Benellis to Winchester 97s.

About 150 new and used handguns, from a pair of dueling pistols to $140 Makarov and CZ-52 milsurps to $200 9mm Stars to police trade-in Model 10s to Colt New Services to new and used Airweights to Colt and clone SAAs to Taurii, Sigs, Rugers of all types, Berettas, 1911s, Smiths including a 4" 500 and a .25 ACP Smith J-frame(!) with moon clips made up by Hamilton Bowen and pictured in his book, etc. etc. etc.

Ammo of all types from milsurp by the box or case to new mfg. steel-case Russian to Speer Gold Dot to Federal Hydra-Shok to Eley match .22rf to CB caps to buckshot to slugs (several types) to round balls for muzzleloaders in all sizes. Only thing not stocked was the Winchester white box available across the street.

Concealment and belt holsters of various types, spare mags for popular autos, targets, a variety of solvents, and other accessories. I don't think they sell reloading stuff as they don't have room (it's a small shop that uses ALL available space, but I may have missed it.)

All prices clearly marked on tags. I don't have the MSRPs of all guns memorized, but for every gun they had where I DO know the suggested retail price, like Smiths, their marked price was lower. The 4" 500 was $989, and they're still a little scarce.

Honestly, is this (successful) shop even in the same business as Wal-Mart? I don't see it. There may have been some item of inventory they shared, like a bottle of solvent or a pair of ear plugs, but I couldn't find it.

Wal-Mart sells to the person who wants a generic rifle or shotgun of new manufacture for hunting or plinking. That's it. Assume you're a hunter and guns are just needed tools for hunting. Further assume you are the first hunter in your family and no one left any guns to you. Once you have bought your 10/22, 94, 700, and 870 from Wal-Mart to hunt with, what are you going to do? Guns take forever to wear out, so you're done buying guns, at Wal-Mart or anywhere else. You're not likely to buy duplicate copies of these same exact plain-vanilla hunting guns.

But 80% of gunowners don't hunt. (This is a fact that the Democratic Party leadership has failed to grasp, but that is and has been a subject for another column.) Almost all non-hunting gunowners either just like guns and shooting, or are interested in self-protection, or both. A large number of hunters (I suspect at least half) also own guns for reasons other than taking game. It is this 90% of the market that will find Trail Creek much more interesting that the store across the street, once they've bought the cheap 870 or Model 94.

A gun shop owner is a FOOL if he stocks ANYTHING costing over $10 that Wal-Mart sells. Why is this concept so hard to grasp?

I'm turning this into a Ross in Range column.


April 1, 2005, 07:02 PM
Damn,I've never seen that kind of selection in a gun shop.I just go to gun shows.Thats where the selection is.And you never can tell what will come walking thru the door.Like the $200 20inch bbl. forged rcvr, Mak 91 I picked up a couple of weeks ago.

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