Why NOT to support the local gun dealer.


January 19, 2003, 10:17 PM
Everyone seems to think that it is important to support the local gun dealer just because he is "local". I don't see it that way and here is a list of reasons why NOT to support the local gun store.

This list only pertains to gun shops in my experience. Some people seem to have found a gun shop that won't fall into these catagories. If you have found such a gun store, you are lucky and you SHOULD support him!

1. Prices are WAY too high. If he is going to gouge me then
**** him!

2. The attitude is often condesending and hostile.

3. Bad service. They own the store (most of the time) so they feel like they are the king and you should kiss their ***.

4. Dishonesty is rampant. If they think they can pull something over on you, they will.

5. Expertise is often lacking just as much as at the chain stores.

6. We should buy guns from major chain stores because they will sell more guns if it is profitable. The more major chain stores there are selling guns, the cheaper and more plentiful they will become. People used to buy their guns from places like Sears and Montgomery Wards so it is nothing new.

7. It would force them to be competitive in price and service.

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January 19, 2003, 10:26 PM
Find a different shop and don't kid yourself that wal-mart won't try to screw you the first chance they get.:rolleyes:

Mike Irwin
January 19, 2003, 10:35 PM
Nice rant, but you need to understand some economics of the situation before you write off all local dealers.

Local dealers frequently CAN'T match the prices offered by the chain stores because the chains have unit purchasing power. You're going to get a LOT better deal when you buy something in units of hundreds, or thousands, than if you buy a couple at a time.

What you do get at the chain store, though, is frequently a slack jawed doofus who 20 minutes before you strolled in was trying to sell tires while someone else was on break.

The hostile attitude certainly is a reason not to patronize a shop, but the simple economics may not be.

January 19, 2003, 10:38 PM
No chain stores for me, but then again I always try to buy used guns, that is where the real values are.

January 19, 2003, 10:45 PM
Here's food for thought..
Open up a small shop of your own and run it yourelf,five to six days a week,with no "bennys".
Learn to bite your tongue when some yahoo comes in and tells you how high you are and how cheap the "marts" are.
It doesn't matter what kind of shop or store it is,'cause the public is the same in all kinds of stores.
NO,the cusomer is NOT always right...they seldom are...but they're still the cusomer.
ONly then will you gain true understanding,Grasshopper.

If you think a small-ish reatailer of any kind is getting rich,think agian.We're lucky to just get by.

MikeC. retailer for twenty years.

January 19, 2003, 10:45 PM
Gunshops are not immune from the same ignorance and arrogance that you encounter in many small businesses. Some people just don't have the personality for customer service.

A guy I know owns one of the local gunshops. It's a good business and he provides good service. Naturally, regulars (like me ;) ) get a little better service than the walk-ins. But from what he tells me, gunshop owners also take a lot of grief. In most places they have been "rezoned" to the edge of town and away for "decent" businesses. Most small gunshops are self-insured. In other words, they don't HAVE insurance. Primarily because they can't afford it. The premiums for a "gun business" are outrageous, assuming they can get coverage at all. If they lose their inventory, well that's just too bad for them; nobody is going to bail them out. So they spend extra money on security systems and "part-time" police protection.

I agree that some owners should take classes in common courtesy, but I don't begrudge them the few extra bucks they charge for a gun or the somewhat higher prices they charge on ammo and accessories. There's simply no way they can compete with Wally world or the internet distributors.

I support the locals because they're also soldiers in the RKBA fight. Walmart isn't, and neither are a lot of the internet sellers. When was the last time you saw anything other than a politically correct hunting rifle or shotgun at Walmart? Do you think that Sears and Montgomery Wards stopped selling guns because people stopped buying them? Hardly. To them, guns and gear are just products they sell. The revenue they earn from guns and related gear is probably overshadowed by the band-aid and light bulb count. They'll drop the line as soon as Rosie O'Donut and the soccer moms show up with the evening news crew (i.e. Kmart).

January 19, 2003, 10:47 PM
I pretty much only get things from the local dealer if either A) it's not readily available (and convienient) from another source , B) it's not priced any higher than the same thing from an online source plus shipping, and / or C) it's one of those little tschaochka's that everyone needs and is priced pretty much the same everywhere (certain cleaning rods, patches, gun-scrubber).

I usually get most of my stuff online. I'm sure not going to pay anymore Maryland State taxes if I can help it, (although paying taxes for gun-related items seems pretty appropriate in this workers parardise).


January 19, 2003, 11:20 PM
Before you either praise or comdemn your local gun dealer, go to your local community college and take economics 101 and business 101.

At that point you will have a basis for praising or condemning your locak dealer intelligently. You will never look at dealers the same way again.

January 19, 2003, 11:43 PM
The reason I tend not to go to my local dealers is the BS they put me through.

I'm in PRK and they're is a whole lot of crap I have to go through mandated by the state when I purchase a gun and it doesn't help that every gun dealer I go to have their own made up laws, that go up and beyond federal and state laws.

I've had employees/owners flat out lie to my face, tell me x was illegal and that I should buy this or that instead, look it up and they're wrong. :cuss:

Don't even ask what they charge for transfers. :fire:

January 20, 2003, 12:58 AM
I've pretty much posted the same rant on occasion-(got pretty much the same response ;) )

If shops owners are rude and prices way out of whack don't go there, they don't want your money. Don't know what it is in the gun business but a lot fo shops seem to end up a hangout for 9-12 guys and they wonder why in the hell your invading there turf uninvited if you try to walk in and buy something:confused:

I have made friends with at least one shop in town after visiting for over a year. Bought something everytime I walked in, even if it was just a cleaning brush. There prices are high but now when I look at something I get the "real" price. Though admit this leaves me with something of bad taste in my mouth. Reminds me of the sign I saw at a gunshow table "I just screwed the last 5 guys to pass the savings on to you!"

January 20, 2003, 01:35 AM
"Don't know what it is in the gun business but a lot fo shops seem to end up a hangout for 9-12 guys and they wonder why in the hell your invading there turf uninvited if you try to walk in and buy something "

So true!

I have walked into a gun store and received almost dirty looks. They were yacking and I was not going to "bother" them with my petty afairs of buying a gun from them.

The fact is, there are 3-4 gun larger stores around me and they all have a major problem. It they are polite and well manered then the prices are too high, if they have decent prices then the customer service sucks!

I really beleive that someone could make a killing if they opened up a large well run gun store with good prices and polite help. It would be even better if they opened up a chain of top notch gun stores so they could buy in bulk like the Marts! Hey! That is a pretty good idea. A gun store franchise.:)

January 20, 2003, 01:51 AM
Guess I'm lucky. I've got a great gun shop that generally equals the final price I could get something for on the net, and it's staffed by knowledgeable people. It's also been in business for more than the 33 years I've been going there.

Of course, I seem to get great service wherever I go for whatever reason. Maybe it's my attitude.... :D

January 20, 2003, 03:03 AM
My thoughts (I've owned a retail business for several years, which does fairly well):

1. Rude equals contempt for customers. It's beyond a don't do. It's literally saying "I want to go out of business".

2. Supporting a guy because he's local based on this criteria alone isn't wise. He earns your business, you don't earn his. That's capitalism. The guy in the next state might not be local, but he might really value you as a customer. Who deserves your money? I have friends out of state, I don't value them less because they're not local.

3. Any business can beat a large retailer, but it hurts to do it and takes gumption - something small businesses don't or can't do. Example, a local guy buys up tons of accessories, and instead of matching internet prices he beats them by being friendly and knowledgeable (the customer appreciates this), throws in goodies (which are cheap, and the customer appreciates), and offers service after the sale (which keeps customers coming back). He can charge more and get away with it, but few dealers understand that business in the e-conomy demand this level of participation. (ask me how I know this!)

4. If you can't make your money on guns, make it elsewhere. A gun store I know sells knives, and cheap. They do more knife sales than gun sales - because it's a cash cow for them. They sell them on the internet, at shows and in their store. It allows them to cover the gun section financially, and with accessories and ammo, the loss and risk on guns are minimized. This is called (write this down dealers) diversification.

5. If it's really so bad, pack up your toys and go home. Retail is a tough biz, but I don't complain about my living. I do it because I love it through and through. If the people who grace your counter are really so bad, really so stupid and the deals they seek are beyond your imagination to deliver, then quit and do us all a favor. Every customer I have is my best friend. Even if I think them rude or ill-informed, they will be treated with respect and courtesy, because my livelihood depends on it. If I couldn't stand them any longer, I'd just get a different job.

I empathize with the small business man, and I support any underdog when there's a reason to, but I don't give my money to anyone who doesn't give me something in return, even if it's as simple as a smile, a nice conversation or a good deal.

THAT's business 101.

January 20, 2003, 07:33 AM
Gun dealers and car dealers,
I hate to have to haggle to get a real price but if I don't I will get worked over. I bought A 20 gauge from a place for $300. When I wanted to trade it for something else later they would only offer a C-note for it. I thought to myself " you're going to *make love to* me like that and I don't even get a kiss?" So I keep the gun in my safe and buy my stuff somewhere else. 200 bucks on a 300 dollar gun seems like a huge profit margin. I'm all for supporting local gunshops but some of them see customers as sheep to be fleeced. pete

January 20, 2003, 08:33 AM
Bad customer service is just that, bad customer service. I don't shop anywhere that doesn't have at least decent customer service, and that includes gun shops. I do, however, give first dibs on any guns I buy to a local dealer (www.armthepopulace.com), because he is very supportive of RKBA, is very polite, and does FFL transfers for a flat $15 (most FFL's around here want to charge exhorbitant fees to do an FFL transfer, which only costs them the price of a stamp). So, he gets my business first. If he can't get something in, then I go somewhere else, but I'd rather support someone that supports my rights than support someone who could care less.

Also, gun shops are known for buying guns at the lowest prices, if I'm selling a gun, that's my option of last resort.

January 20, 2003, 08:38 AM
Dealing with the Wally Worlds of the world get you exposed to and outraged by their ridiculous "policies" handed down by corporate weenies.

Can't buy ammo/guns after some arbitrary time, shut down ammo/gun sales during some far-away civil strife, having to be escorted to the registers and doors with your purchases after you've spontaneously morphed into Charles Manson, ridiculous cop-killer bullet commentaries by peer-advanced Bevis & Buttheads, horrific ocular Spandex assaults.

The best deals, and the best and most polite customers and dealers I ever see are at the gun shows.

January 20, 2003, 08:40 AM
Any gun dealer is perfectly capable of offering low prices and doing volume sales. Dr. David Avery, Bachman Pawn and Gun, CDNN (all in Texas), Outdoor America (OKC), and Birmingham Pistol Wholesale (Alabama) all come to mind. These are all large dealers, acutally distributors, who offer firearms at excellent prices. If your local dealer is undercapitalized and is not able to run his operation efficiently to be able to compete, that is not the customers problem. It isn't your job to finance a weak company. Shop for price and go to a volume dealer. If you have a guy who has an FFL business that he operates on the side that will give you a good deal then use him. I knew Fred Baker back in the 70's when he was running his FFL out of his garage and doing gun shows. Today he owns FBF Inc., a large distributorship, and sold, but still runs, his retail operation Outdoor America in Oklahoma City and they have the best prices in the area if not the state.

Don Gwinn
January 20, 2003, 08:57 AM
I bought A 20 gauge from a place for $300. When I wanted to trade it for something else later they would only offer a C-note for it. I thought to myself " you're going to *make love to* me like that and I don't even get a kiss?" So I keep the gun in my safe and buy my stuff somewhere else. 200 bucks on a 300 dollar gun seems like a huge profit margin.
Let me get this straight. You purchased a new shotgun for $300. Later, you wanted to trade your now used shotgun in for another item, and they only offered $100. Therefore, they're crooks who were trying to fleece you, because they were somehow getting "$200 profit margin." For this to be true, you'd have to believe the following:

1. A used gun is worth roughly as much as the same gun new.

2. The trade value of a used item is roughly the same as the retail value of a new item. In other words, Number One is true and trade value is the same thing as retail value.

All that assumes that the gun was in precisely the same condition when you wanted to trade it as it was when you bought it new, of course. This is the sort of nonsense that makes gun dealers into grouchy old coots. That dealer may or may not have been getting more than he deserved (I can't tell without seeing the gun.) But from the looks of it he wasn't screwing anybody, least of all you. I wasn't old enough to have to work the counter when dad had his shop, but I've had the fun of explaining to people over and over why the Ford Mustang they bought last year is worth half as much on trade now that it has 88,000 miles on it and needs tires. :rolleyes:

January 20, 2003, 09:04 AM
My personal favorite are the business majors who rant: "I saw Blastomatic 2000s advertised for $350 in Shotgun News and would you believe that Joe Blow's Gun Emporium has the gall to have one priced at $389.95 in their showcase! What a leech!"

Hey, Karl Marx, those lights cost money. :rolleyes:

January 20, 2003, 10:23 AM
I worked in retail for 3 years. Not at a gun shop, but a place that sold similaly priced items and would also take trade ins.

We had a "formula" so to speak of how new items were priced, used items were priced, how much the customer was given in trade, etc.

What these places are probably not doing is keeping the clientel knowledgable about their business practices. I'm not talking about explaining the entire business practice, but explain the reason for markup on new and used and why you are pricing things the way they are priced. Most of the people that "poo-poo' the way local shop A does business might get a better understanding.


A/V reciever from brand X sells for $500 new(store's price, not MSRP)

Customer brings in same receiver, which is 6 months old. Item works fine, but is in less than perfect condition. Sales guy/gal inspects item and gives trade price of $250.
Customer freaks out, "Your trying to rip me off!"
Sales person calmly explains:

A. I already have 10 used receiver X
B. The item in question has exterior damage
C. The sell price for said item in near perfect condition is $400, you item will be sold for $300
D. If I were to sell your item for $400, it would cost the store $100 to order and replace the damages, which leaves the store $50 in the hole.

The store that I worked in had a business plan of making most of their money on used items and by selling a lot of them(volume). The markup on new items was less as they could not buy in large volume.

If this type of explanation were given strategically at the gun shops, then there woulf be a lot less angry customers at times. Just MHO.

January 20, 2003, 10:49 AM
To the next customer that wants a better price than the sales price, I'll say: "I'll give you 40% off the price if you let me calculate the price with the same margines as the store next door that sells door locks. The price was $350 but with 40% OFF it is now $1142. Now which price do you want?" :D

K. :)

January 20, 2003, 11:14 AM
To many people here think there is some huge mark-up on firearms. If firearms had the same mark-up as jewelry or furniture then you would have something to complain about.
The people that go to the local gunshop to handle firearms then buy them off the internet to save $30 are just plain cheap.

January 20, 2003, 11:54 AM
Yeah, and when you have a problem with something, or just need to ask a question, go ask the kid at Wally World. Let's just hope he knows the difference between a .30-30 and a .30-06...

January 20, 2003, 12:11 PM
Here in the S.F. bay area(North bay) the gun stores are getting fewer and fewer.
Theres one here in town that also has an indoor range.As someone previously posted,
whenever I go in,theres always 2-3 "buds" hanging out. All the while during the transaction
theres a 3-way conversation going on! Add to the mix the phone is always ringing with more "buds"
who want to yak.A 5 minute sale takes 10-15 minutes!
Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm bothering them.
HELLO mister store owner,I'M the one with the money!



January 20, 2003, 12:15 PM
"The people that go to the local gunshop to handle firearms then buy them off the internet to save $30 are just plain cheap."

Or worse. But to try and be nice I'll agree with plain cheap.

The other advantage of buying locally is that you get to see what you're buying and don't get stuck with the luck of the draw - or with what nobody else wanted half-way across the country so they sent it to you. You know, the misaligned sights, the mediocre stock or checkering job, the uneven finish, etc. Oh yeah, sure, you can send it back to them or the manufacturer if you like. Me, I'd rather spend the extra bucks and see what I'm getting before I pay for it. To each their own I guess.

I've always wondered about the ads on Gunsamerica that say "Like new in box except we fired a couple of test rounds." Does that mean they're sifting through the merchandise and selling the ones that don't shoot perfectly straight?


January 20, 2003, 12:20 PM
I have a shop about an hour away that has good service and excellent prices. I happily make that drive to see what is new (used to do it once a week when I had money... :( ) in his shop.

There is a shop closer to me that is at least a hundred dollars more expensive than all of the other shops in the area. Needless to say I have never bought a gun from them. :rolleyes:

I agree with supporting local businesses, but when it comes to getting a NIB USP Compact for $495 or a NIB Bushmaster for $625, I'll go to the internet, thank you.

I have gotten some of my best deals from gunshops though. :cool: The trick is to visit frequently and to be patient. ;)

January 20, 2003, 12:27 PM
I've seen both types of gun shops where I normally buy stuff. One place (where I had previously purchased some higher end stuff a few years back oddly enough) seems to think it is a bother to deal with customers. They are usually too busy playing cards right in front of the main display case and give a big sigh when you ask for assistance before someone puts their hand down to see what the trouble is. I now go to a shop a few miles down the street and do almost all of my business there. Prices are slightly higher than a gun show but lower than the first shop's but I get great service and a break or two on occassion.

Mass market department stores may offer lower cost for high volume mainstream items, but I find it difficult to persuade myself into ordering a higher end item like an Anschütz 2013 with a 2313 stock through Wal·Mart. I can just imagine the item arriving, the 18 year old senior high schooler clerk opening it up, incorrectly assembling it, dry firing it a few times, letting the other clerks try it out, dinging it up, putting it back in the box, and leave it for me to pick up. At the shop, I know it will not be opened until I get there.

January 20, 2003, 01:01 PM
I am lucky enough to have a great gun shop very near to where I live and they have good prices generally speaking and great customer service.

Bad buisness practices are bad buisness practices but people who order off the internet to save a few bucks are going to be disapointed when all the local shops go out of buisness. Walmart will not order you hand guns anymore. They will not take receipt of your les bear or act as a transfer dealer.

There used to be a bait shop near me ran by a nice older guy. He was in buisness for years and years before he died. People would come in for minow and he would often ask them where they got their bait bucket. If the Answer was "Ames" the reply was "why don't you get your :cuss: bate from them then" as he sent them on there way. Harsh way to make a point but a legitimate one.

Kentucky Rifle
January 20, 2003, 01:24 PM
..and a couple others also. I realize that I could purchase most things "on-line" for less. However, I *WANT my local gun shops to *STAY IN BUSINESS. Personally, all I require is a good attitude and an appreciation of my business. A fair price to *BOTH parties is what comes from this. They're glad to see me and I'm glad to see them. I have a great relationship with the local gunshops. I like friends, I like sleep.


January 20, 2003, 01:58 PM
Swingset: outstanding post!

There are a few local dealers who take excellent care of their customers, I go there often. They get the first opportunity for my business, and as I place a real value on the service offered, I look at more than simply the dollar sign when deciding whether to buy from them or not. (In No. CA, I favor Kerley's, Reeds, Bullets Bullets Bullets, Imbert & Smithers)

There are several who don't offer good service or knowledgeable people: I don't go there any more. They've also earned the business I bring to them.

I also buy from several places on the internet, primarily for availability. My local dealers couldn't possibly stock everything that Natchez does, so I have no qualms buying mail-order. Here again I value great service and reasonable prices (Natchez) over terrible service with great prices (Botach).

BTW: doing a transfer costs the dealer more than just a stamp if you place ANY value on your own time. :rolleyes:

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