I want to support my local shop but......


June 27, 2009, 04:53 PM
I like to mix things up by buying things from the internet, gun shows, and my local gun shop. I've had times where I could have gotten something a bit cheaper online but I paid a bit extra to help support my local business.

I find I'm faced with a dilemma. All the local shops, including my favorite, an old time basement shop, have priced themselves out of my market. For example I can order a Saiga 12 for around $500-550 online. My local shop has it for $759! This seems to be across the board for guns, ammo, and accessories.

I know that prices in general have risen dramatically but the hike at the local level seems particularly bad. I left my shop empty handed and I'm not sure when of if I'll return. I'd hate to see these places go the way of the dinosaur but I don't see how they'll continue operating if they drive out all there regulars.

I guess this post is more of a rant/vent but I feel the hobby as a whole has taken a serious downturn and I fear it might be permanent.

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June 27, 2009, 05:33 PM
Maybe try printing off a copy of those prices, especially if from more than one supplier, and see if he'll match, or get close (when you factor shipping/transfer). If not, let him know you'll be buying this one online. Next time, do the same thing......if he doesn't know how to compete, or can't, then that becomes his problem, not yours

June 27, 2009, 06:03 PM
I've always found my local guy to be pretty accommodating when I ask him like this:

"I'd really rather buy this gun from you. I know its hard competing with Internet pricing, but I found the exact same model online for $200 less than you're asking. Now, I want you to make money on the deal, but are you able to get any closer to that price?"

In all cases, he's come down. Not to the internet price--and I wouldn't want him to. Otherwise he's probably not going to be open long--but I get a better price than I would have.

June 27, 2009, 06:09 PM
I'm a capitalist. I believe that supply and demand should dictate fair price. Maybe he needs to be shown that A: there are better options than his; and B: well-informed consumers like yourself are willing to shop elsewhere if he can't be competitive.

June 27, 2009, 06:19 PM
I've found there is better selection online. Not just current models, but older as well. I see a few from time to time I have a bit of interest in at local shops, but I haven't bought a new gun in one in maybe 3 or 4 years.

June 27, 2009, 07:53 PM
He is making pure profit on the transfer from online. That's support enough for me if he can't match the price out the door for the online gun. Also, he is probably competing against sale's tax. You can save alot on an expensive gun purchasing online with just this.

June 27, 2009, 09:00 PM
There's a place near me where they were selling an M&P 9mm for $699.99. I asked the owner if that was the lowest he would go on it and he said "If you can't afford it, we accept credit cards". :uhoh: I'm serious. I didn't even know what to say. It would be nice to have a good shop nearby. Too bad.

Oh, and their transfer fee is $60. Really.

June 27, 2009, 09:55 PM
The local shop I frequent has decent prices on new equipment. Generally, they are the lowest price around. Problem is, I look for good deals on used wheelguns. Haven't found one in a loooong time. The prices on their used equipment has risen dramatically.

June 28, 2009, 02:56 AM
I tend to be like PhilA. I like the owner of my local gun shop. He's a retired firefighter and nice guy. I stop there 3-4 times a week and hang out. Many of us local gun nuts do. He goes out of his way to help you in everyway he can. I make a habit of traveling to Gander Mountain or other large retail outlets to actually handle some of the firearms/scopes that I am interested in to see if I like them hands on. If it is not a limited /hard to get item I will usually go back home and give him a shot at getting close in price. Perhaps this is a bit unfair to the larger stores but they get plenty of my money also. A difference of $20.00 to $40.00 bucks is not that big a deal to me. I am a local businessman and I try to shop local if I can. Plus, he keeps a gunsmith on hand which really helps me with my older firearms. At least he smiles at me when he takes my money...perhaps a bit too much! :) And even when I do not buy anything I have noticed he thanks me for stopping in to see and talk to him.

June 28, 2009, 03:24 AM
"...local shops..." Anything they have in stock must be paid for, either COD or with credit terms from a distributor. Plus they don't get a volume sales discount. They can't afford to buy, in bulk, for anything.
In any case, on-line dealers rarely have anything in stock or in a warehouse. They order whatever, when they get an order and the item is shipped directly from a distributor. Very few manufacturers sell directly to a retailer. On-line or otherwise. And on-line prices do not include shipping or any transfer fees involved.
Buying ammo or components on-line is nuts. Shipping and hazmat fees will negate any cost savings.
Assorted government interference makes a difference too.

June 28, 2009, 09:06 AM
The gunshop can also buy online from that same source. As long as they weren't too greedy, they could make money.

It makes sense to buy online. You wouldn't have to pay shipping, or sales tax, and find a low transfer fee for a FFL. Much better to do that than say, pay Cabela's an additional $100-$150 plus tax for a handgun than for what you could purchase online.

If they can't compete, that's because they were deliberately pricing themselves out of competition.

June 28, 2009, 09:36 AM
I don't mind chipping in a couple of extra bucks for the local guys, but it's not my goal to put his kids through college either. Good service and a smile counts for something, but how many hours of work are you willing to put in for a "nice guy"?

So far I've purchased all my guns locally. but they really could have gone either way. If there were a better FFL transfer facilitator around I probably would have gone online. Most accessories I do just order off the net.

June 28, 2009, 09:47 AM
I try to buy local whenever I can. Unfortunately, I have not found anybody particularly interested in helping me find anything but brand new gear for top dollar prices, or else 50 dollars per gun transfer fee. tell me WHY would i spend 50 PER GUN when i could spend 30 on a C&R license and buy as many as i want for the next 3 years? Soon as they figure out that they are NOT the only game in town anymore, I would love to do business with them.

June 28, 2009, 09:49 AM
Go where the bargains are. I'm not married to any local shop so if I find it cheaper online it gets bought online. Do I feel guilty paying them $20 to transfer me something I had shipped to them off the internet when they have the exact same thing on their shelf for way more money? Hell no.

As far as accessories go the internet ALWAYS has a better selection than can be found locally.

June 28, 2009, 10:11 AM
He is making pure profit on the transfer from online.

You know this how? Are you forgetting phone lines, electricity, etc.

That's support enough for me if he can't match the price out the door for the online gun.

Why should he? Online dealers many times don't have the same costs associated with a retail store.

Also, he is probably competing against sale's tax. You can save alot on an expensive gun purchasing online with just this.

No argument here.

Just remember, if he has a range attached to the shop and he closes down, so does the range. You can buy just about anything online, but there is such a thing as service, which you probably won't get a lot of online.

June 28, 2009, 10:35 AM
Maybe try printing off a copy of those prices, especially if from more than one supplier, and see if he'll match, .......

Tried the above and the comeback by the shop owner was, "If you can't afford to buy from me, you can't afford guns as a hobby" This guy charged $10 transfers for years and has just raised it to $40 to $50, depending on how he feels. I believe we will see most of our local shops fail because of their poor business practices and outrageous prices.

I can beat all local gun shop prices, including shipping and the FFL, on-line every day of the week.

Mike J
June 28, 2009, 10:49 AM
I don't buy anything from the shop closest to me I can find anywhere else. The last time I was in there he wanted over 400 dollars for a Kel Tec P-11. I went in once & looked around-when I turned to leave one of the countermen asked me if I was interested in anything. I told him from what I could tell that day he was 50 dollars higher than the other local shops in the area (about 10 miles away) on everything. The mans reply was that if I talked to the owner he would probably come down 50 on anything. Why should I have to haggle just to get the going rate? If I'm going to hassle with haggling I want it to be for a deal not just to get treated decent. This is why I try to avoid that shop.

June 28, 2009, 10:59 AM
The mans reply was that if I talked to the owner he would probably come down 50 on anything. Why should I have to haggle just to get the going rate? If I'm going to hassle with haggling I want it to be for a deal not just to get treated decent. This is why I try to avoid that shop.

Because the next 10 customers he sells to may not haggle. That's an extra $500 the shop makes that week which could be the difference on whether he stays in business or not.

Besides, it's not like they're selling much ammo these days to help subsidize the gun prices.

June 28, 2009, 11:33 AM
No matter how much or how little you support your local business if they cant compete they will fail. But there is a caveat. There is a market for a local business of some kind for some reason even if their sole job is to do FFL transfers from all the online buyers. The market will work itself out. If all the local businesses go down the hole then there will be no one to do FFL transfers. Then there will be a spot in the market again for a local business. See how that works. Fun isnt it.

Its going to be the same thing for GM and Chrysler. Its bad now but the market will fill the void. I am a victim of the market right now. I have had my degree and looking for a full time job for over 3 years now. Im just limping by from low paying job to low paying job until the market improves and I get one.

Derek Zeanah
June 28, 2009, 11:55 AM
The more I deal with local businesses, the more I feel for those in retail. Retail is hard, especially in the era of the Internet. I know with camera shops it's not at all uncommon to have a potential customer come in and consume 30 minutes of a salesperson's time to figure out what camera/printer they want to buy, then go online and buy there because it costs $30 less. I don't doubt that gun shop customers do the same sort of thing.

Think about all the money invested in inventory, the interest that needs to be paid on the loans used to buy that inventory (10% is more common than you would expect, and lots of small businesses pay more than that), insurance, rent, employee payroll, and all the rest that needs to come out of the markup on your merchandise. If you can get people to pay that markup then you're covering your costs, but not making a profit.

That's the business model, and they're competing against companies whose business model is "I'll buy guns in bulk and sell them for 10% above my cost, and I'll sell thousands of guns every month and make a ton of money on this." Local gun shops simply aren't competitive, except for the expertise and advice they can offer. And that's not really a competitive advantage in today's world -- would you rather take the advice of a minimum wage employee on which 1911 to buy, or come here and ask the community? Lots of gunshop employees are experts, but most seem to be something less than knowledgeable. Mix that with the likelihood that on many guns the gunshop's cost is pretty close to what customers can get some place like Gunbroker, and it's that much harder.

I feel for local gunshops. Like many small businesses, I wonder if they're making less money than they could in some other business (or as en employee of someone else) in exchange for all kinds of risk, headaches, and stress. It's even worse when you think of all the people who come in and expect you to sell a gun at or near cost (because you can't get the deals that internet-based retailers get, but this is what the customer sees as "fair") and call you names when you can't.

You couldn't talk me into opening a gun shop in a town of 50-100,000. There are too many better opportunities out there. And don't take this as a jab against people who pursue something they love as a business opportunity -- I've spent over a decade pursuing a love of mine commercially -- it's just that as someone who's been there and is now gaining a better perspective on business I see the disadvantages.

June 28, 2009, 11:59 AM
It just depends. I've gotten some good used deals from the local store (Durys in San Antonio) and they guarantee their guns for life. I've used that guarantee on a used gun. I've bought some new guns when the price was in a reasonable range and the gun wasn't a common item and I didn't want to fool around. But $200 is worth going elsewhere. $20 isn't.

However, they are a nice store without an attitude. I always wonder if guys are masochistic to put up with the attitude, posturing and high prices at a couple of the other 'big' shops around here.

June 28, 2009, 01:11 PM
I have never purchased a gun online. I may never purchase a gun online. I like to support local businesses. I haven't purchased a gun in a while because I haven't found a deal that I couldn't pass up. From what I have seen, there doesn't seem to be a lot of online deals once you include shipping and transfer fees, so, why bother. I' would rather keep my money in my community.

And, as for all of the internet know-it-alls that set behind their monitors claiming the local guys can kiss their collective butts because they may be $50 higher than an online retailer, I say to you that the local guys don't like to deal with you anyway. I work at a locally owned retail shop (not guns) and when you guys come in I can't wait for you to leave. Our store provides knowledge and support. If you are just price shopping, then hit the net and knock yourself out.

June 28, 2009, 01:34 PM
I support the shop that treats me the most decently and has competitive prices. One place treated me like a stranger even though it was a local store and I bought maybe 10 guns there. They not only lost me as a customer but many people I speak with. The store I now deal with has prices comparable to the net which means it is possible to sell guns and be fair.

June 28, 2009, 01:56 PM
My local gunshop is run by crooks. I called and asked the price on some stuff, and then when I went there - 'Oh we don't know who said that.'

I only use it because its close and not worse than any of the others.

June 28, 2009, 02:21 PM
Derek hit the nail square on the head, with a sledgehammer! The Internet is doing the same thing to small businesses that WalMart's been doing for years, crushing them. The small businessman just can't compete against the giants that can buy in huge quantities and have little overhead costs. You can't expect a small shop to match a price you found online, he'd essentially be giving it away for free. In most cases it would actually cost him money to match the online price, because of the costs he's already incurred to have that item on-hand.

I buy things online that I can't find locally, but if I CAN find it locally, I'll buy it there and spend the extra few bucks. The local guy deserves to have a decent quality of life too, especially if he's providing things I want/need. Gotta keep in mind that most self-employed businessmen don't have decent health insurance and retirement benefits for themselves AND their families, if any at all. Yet they're still trying to provide something the local community wants/needs. They deserve a chance.

Case in point - there's a tiny local shop that sells used guns and reloading supplies. He's a little higher than online, but I don't have to pay shipping and I can walk out the door with the item in-hand. I don't have to wait, and I can look it over first. But he certainly can't carry the inventory that Midway does. If he has it, I can get it for pretty much the same price as from Midway, after factoring in their atrocious shipping costs and my time waiting for it. If my purchase is less than $25, Midway hits me with a $3 "handling fee", the local guy doesn't. That means a lot to me.

But, there damn sure ARE a lot of sorry, crooked, cheating s.o.b.'s in local businesses that I WON'T do business with! I'm certainly not going to issue a blanket statement to always buy from every local guy! But if an man is honest and decent, and tries to be fair and tries to get close to the lower online price, he'll get my business. If he's a dick, bye-bye.

June 28, 2009, 02:21 PM
No matter how much or how little you support your local business if they cant compete they will fail.

And should! I love it when folks gripe about the big retailers driving the locals out of business. But, then they shop there, and contribute to the situation. The big boys (online or bricks and mortar) wouldn't be in business if they weren't more efficient at delivering what people wanted. If you're local shop can't differentiate itself in some way they should be gone.

June 28, 2009, 02:31 PM
Three of my last four purchases were from online dealers.

My local shop either doesn't have it, or is priced way too high and won't come close to the price. They have managed to get me some guns for what I could get them online for, but that was before the obamessiah got elected.

I also use someone besides my local dealer as my FFL for Transfers, as the local dealer charges $50/Transfer.


June 28, 2009, 02:32 PM
if you want to support your local shop then support them... I choose not to buy guns online for many reasons but chiefly because I want to see my local shop succeed... not to mention in the end after all shipping and insurance costs the savings (in most cases) just arent worth the risk of throwing my account information out for all to see or sending a money order to someone I have no reason to trust. Call me paranoid or call me old fashioned, but as soon as WE allow our local small shops to go out of business, somehow I doubt the online prices will stay low.
after all, they are only low to compete. What happens when the competition goes out of business?

June 28, 2009, 02:33 PM
I don't see where local dealers HAVE to charge so much more than online sales.

What I mean is I buy about 80 percent of all my guns from my local dealer because his prices are very fair compared to online. When he has Ruger LCPs in stock, he charges 279. When he gets plain jane used XDs in stock, they are around 400-450. When he gets used AKs, they are around 320-up. Last week I just bought a used Yugo fixed stock AK from him for 325. And he is a local dealer.

I go to other dealers in my area and they are WAYY more expensive than this guy. One shop is near my house and I like it and go into it for fun but I have never bought anything from them. Just too expensive.

So why can't all dealers be like my dealer who sells almost all his stuff for very reasonable prices including ammo. His 7.62x39 is 6.50 a box right now because of the ammo issues.

June 28, 2009, 02:38 PM
The dealers around me who succeed do so because they either offer something that you cannot buy over the Internet (range time at their indoor range, gunsmithing on premises, and so forth) or they adopt the Internet as their business front (less inventory and more transfers and special orders).

June 28, 2009, 03:42 PM
A bunch of dealers sell in their shops AND online with great success. Look at how many auctions on gunbroker come from a store with a storefront. Tons. I wonder how many guns per year Bud's gun shop sells. I'll bet it's far more than any mom and pop store I've ever walked into.

Anyone can compete in this business if they try hard enough. If they want to be lazy and charge more than everyone else does for items, they will eventually lose business over it. That's just how it works.

June 28, 2009, 04:34 PM
I don't mind paying a little more for something local, but my local gun dealer also knows that he cant keep every type gun that every one of his locals like in stock. He does not get mad when people order items on-line, he usually makes fun of one or two of them, people don't realize that the 50 dollar cheaper gun on-line actually cost them about the same or a little more because of the shipping and transfer.

Its always good to be on one of your local FFL's good side, I have called on Tuesday morning and asked him to put something back I saw over the weekend and he will and I have called him in the middle of the week when I was 200 miles from home, gave him a description of the gun I wanted and within 2 weeks it was waiting on me, I didn't have to give him a credit card (he doesn't take those) or any cash down. Can you do that with your on-line retailer or mega outdoor store?

Yes the prices are going up but his last ammo shipment was not much higher than his previous ones around 2-4 dollars a box higher, that not bad considering how much it went up last year.

June 28, 2009, 07:35 PM
After reading this thread I started to think about my purchases over the last couple of years. I have never purchased a gun online, but that is because one store won't do a transfer, another charges $100 (not kidding), and the guy I like to use lives pretty far away (but only charges $15).

There are a couple of guns I would like but haven't purchased because they would be WAY overpriced at my local store and I just haven't been willing to purchase online. A RIA Tactical 1911 is a perfect example. My local store sold the GI model for over $500, I can only imagine what they would charge for the tactical.

I guess I will just go without. Each time I have used the $15 transfer guy it was part of a combined order with someone else. I might break down and order a RIA Tactical and stripped 1911 frame through SARCO and just make the drive out of town for the transfer.

I always try to support my local shop... but sometimes it is just too much of a gap.

June 28, 2009, 08:07 PM
Speaking of supporting local gun shops. I was on the way home last Sunday and saw a shop on the way home. I went in to see if they had anything I could use i.e. powder, bullets, primers, etc. The owner (Ron Hess on Tidewater Drive, Norfolk Va. was a total jerk. I put up with it because he had what I wanted and the other shops in the area didn't. I purchased some 160 Nosler Partitions, IMR 4350 and 4320 powder, and 200 Winchester lg rifle primers. Once he saw that I was there to spend $$$$ he tried to joke around with me. I paid for my merchandise I was outta there never to return. Throughout the whole ordeal I maintained my composure and didn't reduce myself to his level. Before I go through that again I'll just do without.

June 28, 2009, 08:21 PM
Ammo is usually the only thing I buy at local shops (if they're nice).

June 28, 2009, 10:11 PM
I'm sure their overhead has a LOT to do with their pricing. A nice shop in an expensive building will more likely have higher prices because of higher rent, utilities, etc. Where I grew up in Oklahoma, the best gun shops were the ones located in the country on an old farm in a converted outbuilding. Those are hard to find now.

June 28, 2009, 10:35 PM
Personally, I go for price. If the firearm is the exact same model, I see no reason to support a shop that does not have the business sense to be competitive, nor will I waste MY time in begging a shop to be competitive. Price and convienence is what drives my purchases. Shops and the auction sites have outpriced themselves. Except for the one or two fun pieces I want to get and shoot, I bought all my personal pieces back when it was an honest deal for the most part. One of my best methods for gaining various firearms is a local ad in the local paper of "I will buy your legal firearm, call me with what you have and your price wanted. <phone>" Then if it is something I want, I set up a face to face. If not, I just pass on the phone. Most pieces, I get for close to 1/3 market price. I have acquired very nice pieces this way. Do I feel guilty, no, do I resell some, yes. Most of my parts pieces have been had this way. I do it all legal, get ID, signature on a sales receipt, video at the counter in the shop. I even hold the piece for 10 days while I allow my local district police station (2nd district, Cleveland) to run it for theft. If it is stolen, I have a deal with the county DA to rec my purchase price back in exchange for the piece and details of the purchase. If it is clean, I either sell it or keep it or ????? The only way I can legally sell pieces are at Gun Shows, auction sites, forums or face to face outside of Cleveland, as Cleveland does not allow people to buy firearms in the city limits from a retail shop.


June 28, 2009, 10:43 PM
I'm loyal to a local shop in town. We have three shops here.

One shop won't order anything and charges $45 per transfer. One shop has everything, but has the worst prices, and charges $35 per transfer.

The last shop does transfers for $15 each, orders anything I ask for, at internet-like pricing. He has a decent selection of used long guns and pistols and will run down what you are looking for used for the price you are willing to pay.

So, I do all my transfers at shop #3 and I keep an eye on the used case for something I might want. I order new through him on ocassion and try to make a few ammo and target purchases there too.

June 28, 2009, 11:00 PM
I see no reason to support a shop that does not have the business sense to be competitive

When it comes to internet pricing this attitude makes me want to:banghead:.
Maybe I live close to shops that don't sell their new stock at much more than you can buy it for on the internet after shipping/transfer fees. For instance I go into my local shop and find XD9s for $489 and Glock G26s for $499. Doesn't seem like gouging to me, I'm just not looking for those guns. But, if there are folks that think that that is gouging, then you need to open up a local shop and see if you can make it by selling guns at what you want to personally buy them for.

The retail business I'm in stays in business because we are a brick and mortar store. We can't sell many of our products for what they go for on the internet because we pay more for them than some of these guys are selling the same product for. We are a $3-$4 million a year operation. One of the stores on the net is a billion and a half a year business. They get special deals - we don't. We offer help and support with the products we sell. That's what sets us apart. So, the next time you take that smarmy attitude about your local guys not competing, remember that they may not be there one day to offer you anything.

June 29, 2009, 12:51 AM
Because of buying power; profit margins; etc... I expect my local gun shop to be a little higher. But I normally put a limit of 20%. I.e. If a gun can cost me $500 on the internet; I can accept and appreciate a local gun shop going as high as $599 for the gun. I consider local tax to be a wash with Shipping and handling; so I don't even consider that as extra. But when the local gun shop wants to go higher than 20%, I let them know. And the best way to let them know is by using their FFL transfer. Most dealers allow transfers. They charge about $20-$30. So, when you see the gun you want for $500 and the dealer wants $650; tell them that is a lot more than you are willing to pay. Ask them if they would mind you buying a gun and having it sent to them for transfer. They'll say yes. But they won't really like it. They will make $20-$30 for filling out 10 minutes of paperwork. OR; they could make $50-$100 profit selling you a gun. Let them Suggest that maybe they can lower their price. If in fact they aren't getting the gun for $500 like you saw on the internet, then they should be questioning their OWN buying practices. If I was the merchant, I would be asking the customer; "Where did you find it at that price?" Then, I'd be thanking the customer for finding me a new source at a much better price. The problem is; many gun stores might know something about guns, but many don't know crap about business. They have their 2-3 sources that they buy all their guns, ammo, magazine, holsters, etc... from. They don't have the business sense or internet skills to go out and do better. HELP the local shop buy at a better price. I've even had some thank me to the point that they ordered 5 of an item I wanted that was much cheaper than they were selling it from normally. it was half price. In turn for them getting a new reliable source at a better price, they sold me what I wanted when it came it; "AT COST". So that was even cheaper than me ordering online because I didn't have to pay shipping. USE YOUR KNOWLEDGE to be a partner with your gun store instead of trying to get them to compete with the online stores.

June 29, 2009, 12:59 AM
I'm searching for a Bond Arms derringer. The local Gander Mountain has it right there, in stock, but $60 over MSRP, and about $100 over internet prices. But they have it. When you add in shipping, and some real exorbitant transfer fees, much internet savings is eaten up.
Here's a hint. On a whim, I went to a NICE local pawnshop. They are gun dealers, but mostly for pawning. However, they can get me anything I want. Their policy is 10% over their price plus shipping. No credit cards. 1/2 due at order, the other 1/2 due at pick up. That's where I'm going.
Gun shops have a seller's market right now, and some are acting like it. The big retail outlets like Gander Mountain have enough floor traffic that they'll sell regardless of price, the rich guys will walk through and take what they want without pricing.
Go to Gunbroker, and see who the FFL's are in your local area. Then call them. You WILL be surprised!

June 29, 2009, 01:17 AM
I had two Bonds, one in 9mm the other in 22mag. I'm going to be polite and say that though both derringers were stolen, I have no regrets in losing them. They cost about $120 each three years ago.

June 29, 2009, 01:44 AM
Everyone is talking about internet this and that. What gun shop doesn't have a website running and trying to sell things online? Well, they are all out of business, so none. Every business takes every advantage possible. Selling anything online for a local business is not that uncommon. It is free advertising, and more business without the customer service involved in it.
Yea, I will support local businesses, instead of buying my first gun online, I shopped around and bought local. Do I feel bad getting eyes, ears, targets, and keeping all my shells for reloads? Not really, I have to save money somehow right?
I saw a Taurus 24/7 45 for 350.00 brand new at the local shop. That is a steal imo. They must not be able to get rid of it.

Kind of Blued
June 29, 2009, 03:27 AM
If a gun is more than about $600, I'll buy it online to save money.

If a gun is less than about $600, I'll buy it locally to save money.

Depending upon your state tax rate and your FFL's transfer fee cost, there is an exact point (to the cent) at which the two mediums are equal.

My reality is that my schedule keeps me busy from the time that gun stores open, to the time they close. Consequently, I buy most of my things online because I don't have the means to actually go visit a gun store.

On top of that, I'm a heartless capitalist that doesn't feel guilty that I'm not helping a semi-retired guy compete against a faceless superstore run by robots who bring the store's shelves to your couch at 1:24AM.

On top of THAT, the closest gun shop lists most things ABOVE MSRP.

June 29, 2009, 04:34 AM
I'm someone who will not buy anything unless I can see it in person first - which rules out pretty much any website or mail-order business that doesn't at least have a walk-in window and/or isn't within driving distance.

That said, I have a hard time buying from a little guy when his prices are twice as high as can be found at Wal-Mart, Aim, or even by hunting for deals at the shows. There are some that will cut you a fair deal, but there are others that are just flat-out overpriced.

(Anyone in the Cincinnati area, if you'd ever been out to Mark's Guns... you'd know what I'm talking about.)

June 29, 2009, 11:07 AM
"What gun shop doesn't have a website running and trying to sell things online? Well, they are all out of business, so none."

Just to prove you wrong. :) They've been working on their web site for years - slowly, oh so very slowly - because they have about as much business as they can handle already.

"Winchester 2008 Ammo Dealer of the Year"



June 29, 2009, 11:22 AM
All ways support your local dealers! Say for instance you buy a gun and need some sort of tech support, you know most internet dealers cant be reached as easy or if they even care. Secondly internet sales of guns will be one of the first things king obama will try to dismantle. In my area within 25 miles of my house there are about 6 different dealers that i can go to, one of those is my favorite and will work with me on pricing all the time. This store is Ron Joes sporting goods, in Ofallon, Il if your ever in the area. As for ammo one word of advice to everyone, RELOAD. The impending doom of the US 2010 budget will drive the price and availability of all products up especially ammo. Good luck to all and God bless.

June 29, 2009, 11:54 AM
I support the one shop in town that treats me with respect as a customer and makes an honest effort to make me happy.

He remembers what I'm interested in, and actually calls me when he sees a deal at a show or online. He is prompt with calling me when my guns come in, he doesn't try to bs me with any nonsense.

He will go online and show me the price he pays for what I want and gives me a small mark-up over his cost.

I've bought about 6 guns from him this year and did five transfers through him so far this year. When he can't find what I want he doesn't give me flack for ordering from others through his FFL.

He gives me a discount on his ammo prices as marked, he is friendly and considerate whenever I talk to him, no matter how many customers he has. We remind each other of upcoming gun shows and he doesn't moan and complain about my gun show purchases.

I have got him interested in starting to sell at gunbroker.com and we have discussed what I look for when purchasing online.

The other places in town don't know my name, even though they have seen me every month for years and I have bought guns &ammo from them. They do not want to order anything they don't stock, whether it is guns, ammo, or accessories. They refuse to do transfers on any weapon that they already carry. These guys don't deserve my business.

June 29, 2009, 11:56 AM
One more thought, "we can order that for you" is a sure way to get me to walk out the door.

I can order that for me.

June 29, 2009, 12:05 PM
Yeah, I can order that for me works though, because if I order it - I'm paying shipping and a transfer fee.

If the local shop is willing to order it for me at the same price or close to it - why not order it from the shop?

It saves hassles and you support a local gun shop.

June 29, 2009, 01:43 PM
I use my Local shop for 90% of my business. I do buy holsters, pocket knives, ect from E-bay, Amazon ect.

Wal-Mart gets most of my ammo business because the Local Shop can't compete on price or variety.

My shop charges $50.00 on Transfers. Plus my shop does 60 days same as cash with 30% down.

My Shop is Downings Guns and Family Treasures in Cleburne TX!

June 29, 2009, 02:13 PM
I think there are examples that go both ways. While the mad rush for guns has skewed things a little bit as of late, generally Gun Shows should offer good enough prices that it is somewhat difficult to order online and save much. If its a common item, most vendors at a show will be in the ballpark, or they would not waste there money buying a booth. I think I have bought around 20 guns so far this year. 2 from Local Dealers, 3 from Local Dealers via Gunbroker (two of our local dealers list there), 1 from a Gun Show, 2 Face to Face from individuals, and other 10 or so online from Buds and individuals. We have a $10 local transfer shop. The sad thing is transfers are so cheap even if you could find a place locally like Bud's the transfer is cheaper than sales tax.

On the flip side I have looked into getting a FFL for a weekend/transfer + hobby business and talking to other people I can see why its difficult. I have heard that often Bud's is cheaper than wholesale distributors on some items (Handguns often). I know Walmart is cheaper than Buds on rifles/shotguns and happy to custom order those for you, so maybe they are cheaper also. I heard from dealers on another board locally that buying Glocks through wholesale houses their cost is $405-420. Makes $499 not that bad. I can buy them from police supplier or direct from glock for $399 though. I know a small dealer ordering from Century Arms (AK stuff) there cost is more wholesale than what Classicarms sells for (ClassicArms buys from Century but has special pricing for $1m+ yearly). Its got to be a tough business.

June 30, 2009, 09:12 AM
I would like to support the local gun shops, but to me a $50 or more in savings is well worth waiting a few days. Most of the shops in my area of Florida have outrageous prices and most of all piss poor attitudes toward the customers. But worst yet are the sales people that spout pure BS about their products in an attempt to get you to buy. Case in point, I wanted to buy some .223 but the clerk stated they were out but, he had some 5.56 military loads that were better. I tried to explain to him the pressure difference in the two rounds and his come back was, "All guns of today can handle either round safely", which is not a true statement.... I'll wait for the UPS truck.

June 30, 2009, 09:55 AM
I buy locally if its within $100 or so of what i buy on line. I figure thats about $60 for shipping and transfer and $40 or so to support local business. But if its much higher than that, I just feel like I'm getting ripped off and will take my business elsewhere.
For example, I found a Savage 11G online for $415. I called my favorite local store (actually the only one run by polite people) and asked what it would be for me to get the gun from him, telling him I would buy it if he could get the price down to $550. he calls me a few days later and says I could get it from him for $569. I said no thank you and hung up the phone, because honestly that is just way too much of a difference for me to deal with.
If the local stores wont lower their prices they wont get my business, and honestly its just plain better for us consumers in the long run. With less money spent on a single gun purchase more money can be spent on ammo or other guns, and that means more money going to the firearm manufacturers' who give money to help our RKBA.

July 2, 2009, 09:15 PM
I support the shop that treats me the most decently and has competitive prices.

Not me. The customer is always right and if I am not treated as the customer should be, I go elsewhere.

I presently buy from a bait and tackle shop that treats steady customers very good with $10 transfers, real discounts on all weapons and ammo. My wife mentioned to the owner several months ago that she was in the market for a LCP. Yesterday he called and said he just got one in and would hold it for me. The going price for an LCP in my area is $375 to $400 plus 6.5 % tax and $30 to $50 xfer fee. My price out the door was $378.50 with a 100 rounds of ammo(2 boxes)There is no .380 FMJ or JHP to be had elsewhere and if there is they want $23-$30 per 50 round box. This guys primary business is deep sea fishing gear, rigged baits etc. He presently limits his gun sales to a very small group of steady customers and treats us as paying customers should be treated.

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