Does anyone work in a gun shop?


PDA






CTGunner
June 30, 2010, 10:55 PM
What has your experience been like working in a gun shop? Is it as 'fun' as you thought it would be when you started or does it eventually turn into a grind just like many other jobs. When your shop hires, what kind of people/experience do you look for?

If you enjoyed reading about "Does anyone work in a gun shop?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
kingpin008
June 30, 2010, 11:36 PM
I'm pretty sure I remember Bikerdoc (a member here, obviously) mentioning that he works part-time at a shop. You might want to PM him and ask, if he doesn't comment here first.

Echo9
July 1, 2010, 12:44 AM
I wouldn't say I work in a "shop," per se -- but I do work on the gun counter at a pretty big retail chain. I'm surrounded by guns and ammo all day, pretty much every day.

Yes, it becomes a grind as you said, to a certain extent. Especially where I work, where we have to deal with a lot of corporate BS. Even though my job is my hobby, I still have to drag my ass out of bed in the morning, punch in on time, deal with rude/ignorant/stupid/ customers, and I don't get paid enough.

But I'm around guns all day. I've been doing it for around a year now, and that portion of it hasn't stopped being fun. I get to handle guns all the time -- including the ones with price tags I couldn't begin to pay. At least I get to fondle them. I get to handle new stuff when it hits the market. I can take stuff apart to see how it works. And of course, I'm always around like-minded people who I get along with. You razz each other and you learn a lot from each other. Not to mention I help newbies every single day. That's always cool.

It's still fun.

mnrivrat
July 1, 2010, 03:31 AM
It's a business first. That means a lot of the work is the same as in other retail stores, selling retail items.

Most time is spent stocking shelves, scrubbing floors, cleaning show cases, taking out the garbage, etc. Most employees are not hired for their knowledge of firearms, they are hired in hopes that they will be there when they are suppose to be there, do the work required with a proper attitude, and that they have a good degree of work ethics.

Most privately owned stores have the owner and perhaps one other person who has good gun knowledge. An employee who is strongly opinionated on what is the "best" realy is not of good value as a sales person. Those that have a good personality and present options well, are of more value.

A person who likes firearms may or may not find a job in a gun shop a rewarding situation. You can be around guns by going to your local shop and hanging around for awhile. Go often if you want to keep up with the inventory. If you work there, you won't get to simply sit and fondle firearms while chatting with customers. That is only a part of the day, even for those who are assigned to be primarily in gun sales.

You are also not going to get paid any more than if you work at other stores, selling groceries to gift cards.

PS: Yes , I work in a gun shop

Superlite27
July 1, 2010, 09:00 AM
Reading the title of this thread, it is hard to determine whether it is rhetorical or not.

I have rarely seen anyone working in a gun shop.

They mostly just stand around and BS when they are not fabricating new lies to replace the old, worn out ones.

Taurus 617 CCW
July 1, 2010, 09:23 AM
I have rarely seen anyone working in a gun shop.

They mostly just stand around and BS when they are not fabricating new lies to replace the old, worn out ones.

That is so true! I call it top that story. I started in retail firearms (Nosler's pro shop) and graduated to the gunsmithing in a lesser known AR-15 machine shop. Both ends have their pluses and minuses but I don't have to deal with nearly as much corporate bull as I used to. There's also an advantage to working for a small company. They are less formal in the corporate sense and more flexible. I really enjoyed my time at Nosler and did fondle many guns but I enjoy my job better in gunsmithing.

As mnrivrat just said it's a business first. A lot of the work is the same regardless of the product sold. If you have a Big 5 sporting goods in your area, that is a good example. Corporate to the max. The common underlying theme that I have noticed between different corporate retail establishments is micromanagement. That is why I left retail.

bannockburn
July 1, 2010, 09:44 AM
Years ago I worked for a rather large family owned gun shop. To be hired, it helped if someone in the family knew you; either as an aquaintance, friend of a friend, etc., and you definitely needed a background in firearms, along with everything else gun related. If we didn't carry it in the store, we would try to find it for you. Of course there was all the usual work to be done besides working behind the counter. Stocking the shelves, ordering new merchandise, general housekeeping were all part of the job. And even though we were paid just a little more than minimum wage, it still was fun working there. Since I only worked there part time while going to college, it never became a drag or boring or tiresome. I would have to say it was the best part-time job I ever had.

jdh
July 1, 2010, 09:45 AM
I could get a lot more work done if I didn't have to spend time baby sitting the lookie-loos who are at the gun shop to hide from their wives.

Ledgehammer
July 1, 2010, 11:27 AM
Wow - I'm surprised to find out they're not paid commision also. I agree there are a few guys at my lgs that don't know their ass from a hole in the ground, but there are also a few that a very knowledgeable and saved me a lot of frustration over the Years. That's why I go back to them. I don't waste time with the other guys anymore. When they ask if I need help - I give them the old just looking until somebody else us available.

dbb1776
July 1, 2010, 11:35 AM
JDH, I am a lookei-loo! And proud of it.
I do usually by something, cleaning brush, solvent, something.
Sometimes even a gun.
To anyone who works in any gun store I say thank you for your attention that you pay to people like me.
Remember JDH, lookie-loos are customers too.

CoRoMo
July 1, 2010, 11:44 AM
Back in college, I thought it would be a kick to work at a liquor store. For some reason, I thought it was going to be like a party or something. But in reality, I couldn't take it for more than three days. Being required to question the legality and honesty of each and every customer who wanted to patronize the business, was a big part of the misery I experienced. I couldn't stand it. The gun biz is a little like that too. The upside is that you don't have to serve people who are so obviously suffering from a horrible affliction to the product you're selling.

rmfnla
July 1, 2010, 02:01 PM
I was the gunsmith for a couple of shops in Miami many years ago and I loved it! I also helped out in sales and on the range when needed; loved it all.

Both shops were "fun" places to work, and the second one had three indoor ranges and reloaded for them so we all got alot of shooting in. (I was a great shot back then; it's amazing what shooting 500 round a week will do for your skills!)

The only real downside, at least to me, was the money (or lack thereof).

Doing what you love is important, but so is beinag able to pay the bills...

natman
July 1, 2010, 04:03 PM
Being required to question the legality and honesty of each and every customer who wanted to patronize the business, was a big part of the misery I experienced. I couldn't stand it. The gun biz is a little like that too.

A little like that? It's a LOT like that. I have to ask everybody who buys a gun if they are a convicted felon, mentally unsound and the actual purchaser and get them to swear under penalty of perjury that they're telling the truth.

I hear a lot of gun clerk horror stories, but one thing the owner of the shop I work in did right was instead of hiring kids to work the gun counter, he hired the only other group that would do the work for the paltry wages; retirees who wanted an excuse to get out of the house a few days each week. This meant that the guys behind the counter have a LOT of experience and really know their guns. When I interviewed my boss asked Hunting or Fishing and expected you to be an expert in one or the other. He did hire a few young guys with little experience, but they ended up manning the cash register all day.

For every gun clerk story I can tell you ten about customers who thought they knew what they were talking about but didn't.

It's fun dealing with the customers who listen to your advice and talking with the minority who really know what they were talking about. It's really fun when customers bring in their nice guns to show off. It's not so fun when you have to deal with the customer who blames you because the cheap gun you tried to talk him out ordering doesn't work or when you have to toss out the bum who's wandered into the store and fallen asleep behind the Filson clothing rack. There's a lot of just plain retail involved too, replenishing stock, ringing up sales, vacuuming the floors.

I had a similar job once in a motorcycle shop during my motorcycle years and loved it too. Whether the job becomes a grind is largely dependent on you.

FLAvalanche
July 1, 2010, 04:26 PM
If you think the lies in a gun store are bad you should try working in a bait and tackle shop...

Bubbles
July 1, 2010, 05:07 PM
If you're a "gun person" you'll have more fun working as (or for) a gunsmith versus retail, as there's more hands-on time with the firearms.

throdgrain
July 1, 2010, 05:07 PM
Ive had motorcycles all my life, a biker of 30 years or more.

I worked in a bike shop for 13 years, and the last few years almost sucked the life out of it for me. I expect it's the same in a gun shop.

Oh, and you should hear the lies told in bikes shops too lol :D

rmfnla
July 1, 2010, 06:24 PM
If you're a "gun person" you'll have more fun working as (or for) a gunsmith versus retail, as there's more hands-on time with the firearms.
Very true.

Plus, by default you become the "expert" in the shop, although maybe that was because I was more of a gun nut than anyone else there.

PH/CIB
July 1, 2010, 10:02 PM
I worked part time at Scheels in the Gun Dept for almost two years after I retired from my job with the State as a Veteran's Rep.

I really liked it, the guys in the Gun Dept. were very knowledgeable, we did not have to do any cash register work, and Gun Customer Service handled most all the paperwork and the call to the Feds for approval or disapproval of the transaction, and they handled the customers who were denied. We did do some stock and inventory work and we tided up the place before we left for the evening, but they had professional janitors to do the heavy cleaning and also stock workers, so most of the time was spent visiting with customers about guns and talking about hunting and fishing, and we handled new and used guns, so a lot of the old classic firearms came in and sometimes one of us would buy them after the store purchased them. There was also a nice store employee discount. We handled everything from your basic handgun or rifle or shotgun, like the Remington 870, to high end handgun, rifles and shotguns, like JP AR15's, Winchester 21's and pre 64 model 70's, old Browning Superposed, Colt Pythons, old Smiths, Wilson Combats, Fox, Lc Smith etc.

We got a small commission on our sales but there was not pressure to produce a certain volume of sales. The full timers got paid more than the part timers and the full timers got benefits, and some of them who had a base of customers coming back asking for them made a decent salary as did the department managers.

I finally quit on my own because believe it or not they were giving me too many hours, and every other weekend, but I still enjoy going back and visiting with the guys

jdh
July 1, 2010, 10:26 PM
dbb1776,

I'm not talking about the guy who comes in for some supplies and sees something in the case that he wants to take a closer look.

I'm talking about the guy who comes in at the same time every day, takes up station on any available place to park, wants to talk for hours on end, has to fondle and drool on every new item in the display case, until he gets a call on his cell that usually consist of him saying little up to the time he says "Yes dear", hangs up, then announces that he has to go now. He never buys a thing just comes in to have someone, besides his wife, to talk to.

For an example.

bsctov
July 1, 2010, 10:40 PM
I remember buying my first shotgun at a major retail chain which will remain nameless...And the gun at the counter told me that I can under NO circumstances use Slugs of any kind in a smoothbore 12 gauge *Rolls eyes*

dbb1776
July 1, 2010, 11:05 PM
I understand JDH. I usually let it be known that I am just poking around. If I see something interesting ,I want to look at it. If it is busy and I have know intention of buying anything I don't waste the clerks' time.

jscott
July 2, 2010, 12:31 AM
CoRoMo wrote:

The upside is that you don't have to serve people who are so obviously suffering from a horrible affliction to the product you're selling.

Are you talking about guns here or your experience working in the liquor store? ...cause the guys in the gun shop think I have an incurable affliction for the product they are selling.

earlthegoat2
July 2, 2010, 01:03 AM
I have off and on. Still do consignments for a store to sell items on GB for them.

Its is piss poor money and dealing with "gun people" is a pain for the most part. Everyone has their own opinion and will hear nothing else. (from both sides of the counter)

Really though I only ever did it so I could get first dibs on some really neat guns and get them at a discount.

The most valuable experience I got from it though was learning to like cool, old, and more unique guns. I would never own a Glock or any other plastic fantastic. No ARs. Only used older guns made of real metal with no warning labels. Guns made they way they should be now.

For the most part though I made not like the ho hum run of the mill they made a bazillion of these things and buy more of the more obscure and rare stuff.

Oh yeah, all you who like the new plastic toys, I am judging you!!!;)

plainsbilly
July 2, 2010, 02:30 AM
I have worked for 3months now at the gun counter of a local sporting goods store. ( for local residents the one next to cheryvale mall in rockford ;)) I run the firearms ,hunting ,fishing ,camping and hiking section. I spend 1/2 my day general retail work 1/3 at the gun counter with gawkers that want to play with things they cant afford , 1/6 of my day with real gun people and the other 1/6 of my day doing paperwork for the 1 in 12 customers that actually buy or put a gun on layaway

bikerdoc
July 2, 2010, 07:32 AM
Not that I am definatve word but here are my toughts.

I am 62, retired and work P/T in a gun shop.

Is it fun, Yes. But it is a real job with rules and paperwork that must be perfect.

I Dont do it for the money.

My boss only hires people he knows as customers, tends to like retired military or police officers. older guys with real world gun handling experience.

Liars, thiefs, and storytellers need not apply.

Lookylou's and the lonely are welcome.

Remember we also sell ammo and that heavy stuff dont just jump on the self by itself, hence a few strong young guys are employed.

It is fun but it is a real job just like yours.

Ala Dan
July 2, 2010, 09:11 AM
Yes, I do work in a "Mom and Pop" gun shop; as a counter sales rep. Its
fun, but challenging at times; especially during the "busy season" of the
year, which here in central Alabama runs from around bow season on thru
turkey season. My employers prefer persons of good morale character, neat
and clean; HONEST, and with some experience either with firearms, hunting,
or fishing. Retail clothing sales is also helpful~! :scrutiny: ;) :D

Gaffer
July 2, 2010, 10:49 AM
Worked in the gun dept. of a large outdoor store for about 5 years. It was fun to be able to talk guns but the difference in customers is remarkable. Many are knowledgeable but more are novices and some are outright stupid. The ones who keep you tied up for their arcane questions are mind numbing. It was tough on the legs as we were not allow to sit down and with the hard floors it felt that my hips were in my arm pits. I did learn a lot about guns from all the interaction with the good customers and the smart sales reps. I bought a lot of used guns too that had been returned for perceived problems that were only excuses to return it. It was like any job, once the newness wore off the boredom set in and you longed to be elsewhere. All in all it was just OK!

rmfnla
July 2, 2010, 06:15 PM
CoRoMo wrote:



Are you talking about guns here or your experience working in the liquor store? ...cause the guys in the gun shop think I have an incurable affliction for the product they are selling.
Yeah, but that affliction isn't horrible!

onevoice
November 14, 2010, 02:54 PM
I have worked at Whittaker Guns for many years. As for if it is fun, it can be at times, but most of it is non-stop work and you don't really have time to have much fun. Working with family has some major down sides to it and I will warn anyone that is thinking about doing it, please think twice.......

52grain
November 14, 2010, 08:32 PM
Its is piss poor money and dealing with "gun people" is a pain for the most part.

Funny, I had an RSO tell me the same thing.

CraigC
November 14, 2010, 10:45 PM
I worked at one while I was still a student. Cure me of it. I liked being able to buy stuff at cost but to be honest, I'd rather pump gas for a living than deal with gunshop employees and customers. Too much ego and not enough of the real thing.

philpost
November 14, 2010, 10:51 PM
The Manager of my LGS/range has a never-ending amount of stories concerning time wasters, know-it-alls, and other fine folks who should not be around firearms. Some of which I've personally witnessed, like the sweet middle-aged lady who pulled out a loaded revolver with the hammer cocked, pointed it in his face, and asked how to unload it :what:

onevoice
November 15, 2010, 01:58 AM
I deal with people everyday that have no ideal how to work a firearm. You pretty much have to walk them through the basics (loading, unloading, operating, cleaning, and so on) just to make yourself feel better that they might not shoot themself when they get home. I think if you have to ask how to load and operate a firearm then you need to go to a beginners handgun class and learn the basics before buying one. Why buy a product you don't know how to use. If its for protection then you better know the inside and out of that weapon, I wouldn't carry anything I don't trust 100% or know anything about.

Bubba613
November 15, 2010, 06:17 AM
For every gun clerk story I can tell you ten about customers who thought they knew what they were talking about but didn't.
Nah, that never happens.

I would never hire someone who was ex military/ex police unless they had people skills. All the gun shop horror stories usually come because of people like that.
You have to like business and you have to like selling. The gun thing is secondary. I like to say we sell people, not guns.
Retail is a profession like any other. There are skills to be acquired and practiced. Most people don't appreciate this. Those are the ones who get kicked to the curb by idiot customers. They can easily develop a bad attitude and that's their fault, not the customers'. The public is the public. When you take a retail jobthat's what you sign up for. Not everyone is a poster on THR. But your job is to sell guns and products, even though they make it hard sometimes.

CraigC
November 15, 2010, 11:47 AM
You have to like business and you have to like selling. The gun thing is secondary.
I agree! It's almost always shooters who open up gunshops but shooters don't always make the best salesmen. I'll take a personable salesman who may not know everything but is courteous and friendly without an ego bulging out of every seam over a highly knowledgeable a-hole any day of the week.

If you enjoyed reading about "Does anyone work in a gun shop?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!