Big Box or local gun store?


Big Bad Bob
May 16, 2011, 09:35 AM
Do you guys prefer to shop at the big box retailers, Gander, Dicks, Bass Pro, Sportsmens Warehouse etc? or shop at a local gun store if you have one around you?

Recently I have made a personal decision that if I can help it, I am going to support my local gun and shooting supplies store. *Disclaimer I do NOT work for a gun retailer of any form.

I have a great one near my house, the guys are well stocked, compeitive priced, and very knowledgeable and friendly. Don't get me wrong I love capitalism and the American way, but I cant help not wanting to help out the guys who take the risk to open a small business and support the second amendment. Not the big box doesn't, but I like supporting them.

What do you think?

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May 16, 2011, 09:43 AM
I prefer local. It's always easier to handle any issues that may arise.

May 16, 2011, 09:44 AM
The one local store in my town charges 30-50% more for the same guns. Heck, they want $319.99 for a Maverick 88! I can literally buy two at Academy for that price! My rule of thumb is 15%; I will buy from the small shop if the gun is up to 15% more than the price at Academy or other big box stores.

That said, my last 3 purchases have been at big box stores...

Oh, and I'm sure you're about to get told to "use the search" by a dozen people.

May 16, 2011, 09:47 AM
I buy about 98% from one local dealer.

The rest come from Wal-Mart.

May 16, 2011, 09:49 AM
I will buy from the small shop if the gun is up to 15% more than the price at Academy or other big box stores.


All I have here is a Dick's Sporting Goods and Gander Mountain. Both are always about %20+ more than the LGS and the LGS is about %15 more than online.

May 16, 2011, 09:52 AM
LGS is hit or miss depending on what one. We have a gunsmith in my town I will never talk to again but then we have a local place about 30 minutes away (for my location we call that local) that I was willing to overpay for a gun a little bit just because I like them then in the middle there is a pawn shop where you have to know your prices but sometimes they have some good deals. I usually troll the dicks/GM/dunhams ads in the sunday paper and if I see something then I will go pickup what's on sale.

Carl N. Brown
May 16, 2011, 10:02 AM
Local gun shop owner advised me if I wanted a good deal on new Marlin 336 to buy WalMart. He also gave my son a very good deal on a used 336C on consignment and closed shop and went with us to the range to testfire it. So whenever possible and economical, I take business to him rather than Dick's or WalMart.

A few of the local gun shops are also Class 3 "cop shops" (police equipment suppliers) with impressive arrays of Title II historical NFA collectibles; it is more interesting to shop or browse there than at the "big box" sporting goods stores, even if all I buy is Hoppes#9.

May 16, 2011, 10:04 AM
Locally only!

Most of the chain stores I've dealt with in the past, the person behind the counter only qualification for being there is that they own a gun.

Most have little to no knowledge per-say and when you have a problem with a firearm that you purchase from them they may or may not have a gunsmith, and generally they're limited to what they can do, generally needing to send the firearm to some store contracted smith which may take weeks or even months before you see your firearm again.

No, I don't mind paying a little extra if necessary for the service that a local store provides.

May 16, 2011, 10:19 AM
90% of the time I'll say I buy at the local shop and I spend the vast majority of my time in those shops. I only really go into big box stores if I plan on purchasing something and all gun related purchases (ammo, cleaning supplies, accessories) I buy local. The corporate atmosphere of all the big box stores is nothing compared to the atmosphere of the local shops, after you buy a few guns there you're like family and you get to know those people. If I ever get to the point where money isn't that big of an issue I'll make all of my purchases local.

May 16, 2011, 10:36 AM
+1 AZ
Help the little guys!! Its great to go into the local shop, if they are honest folks like we have down here. They are more likely to help you get a gun that fits rather than just make a sale. They also usually have some good stories too. :)

May 16, 2011, 10:38 AM
I always try and support my local retailer no matter what the product is. Often I will pay a little more to support the locals, yet that being said I also have to take into consideration selection, service, and price.

May 16, 2011, 10:42 AM
The main LGS at which I shop is not hurting for sales at all. I shop at Gander Mtn. Bass Pro, Dick's and several LGS. If the price is the same, I go to the LGS as they will likely have better customer service. If the prices are cheaper at the bigger stores I go there.

I like to have a variety of options. While Gander Mountain is usually more expensive than Bass Pro or the LGS (Bass Pro and the LGS are almost identical on most items) I did get a pair of $150 Irish Setter boots there for $90

May 16, 2011, 10:44 AM
Guess that's why I like the south. Guys at the local big box store gun counters are gun guys...

May 16, 2011, 10:51 AM
The majority of my purchases are at local small stores.

May 16, 2011, 10:52 AM
My local dealer is a total jerk and I wouldn't darken his door if he was the only guy in the world to have what I wanted. Last time I was in there I was looking at .22 rifles. He started complaining about how I was getting fingerprints on them! Fixed that for him. I walked out and drove 90 miles to the big-box store and bought the rifle for a better price. There is another small store, in a nearby town about 20 miles away. I usually check with him and have bought several guns there but sadly he doesn't have much.

May 16, 2011, 10:56 AM
Almost all of my business goes to one shop (Eagle Guns in Concord, NC), which isn't terribly close, but has knowledgeable/helpful/honest folks and fair prices. To me, that is worth the drive. Most of the balance goes to another shop about the same distance away in the other direction, or one nearby that I recently discovered (but they are small and have a very limited selection in the store).

I often buy handloading supplies (mostly powder and primers) from BPS, but even then I prefer a local hardware store that actually has a better selection. I still order quite a bit from MidwayUSA, but I consider them to be a good bit better than the average "big box".


May 16, 2011, 10:56 AM
The nearest big box is 100 miles away. I have bought some supplies from them (Cabellas). Three pawn shops in town closest to me (half an hour). I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, however I'm grateful to have the internet to shop on.

May 16, 2011, 10:57 AM
Depends on what I'm buying. These days it's mostly ammo & pretty much .22lr / 12ga. Mostly buy bulk packs from Wal-Mart, as they are the closest to my home. For everything else, I go to Skip's, Riley's, Marshall's and Lewis Arms.

May 16, 2011, 11:00 AM
I am from a small city with one gun store, and used to shop there, but one day I found a good deal online, asked them to do the transfer, and was told their FFL fee would be 150 dollars, because "we also carry that gun." I never bought another gun from them.

Since I've gotten out here in Colorado, I haven't done a lot of shopping for guns, but there is an FFL I really like locally to do transfers with.

May 16, 2011, 11:06 AM
Most of my guns were purchased at LGS. I tend to gt my ammo and cleaning supplies at farm supply stores - there are many in central Illinois. Aftermarket products, especially the items that add to the coolness factor of my AR come from mail order.

May 16, 2011, 11:12 AM
I prefer to purchase my firearms from LGS and everything else either comes from local big box retailers or online.

May 16, 2011, 11:34 AM
I have been looking around Ft Worth about the last year for reloading supplies. No one has very much stock and the prices are very high. Cabelas about 20 miles away. They have a fairly decent supply of name brands but very high priced and powder only in 1# size for about$22.
I found a LGS in a town about 35 miles away this weekend that has a nice supply. However, 8# powder, $200. Primers $50 per carton. That is about 55% higher than ordering them and paying the HazMat and shipping.
Went to a gun show in Irving Saturday. Some powder, but it was also considerably higher than ordering. Ft Worth shows aren't allowed to have powder.

May 16, 2011, 11:41 AM
One of my many blessings in life is that I have a great LGS. Not only is the selection incredible BUT the prices are extremely competive. I have NEVER seen a box store selling a firearm for less money than them. In fact, their pricing is competive with online stores that usually just "drop ship" your order to you in a couple days.

Two weeks ago, I bought a MPA 30T just for a fun toy. It only cost me $7 more to buy it (and leave with it the same day) from my LGS than buying it from Bud's online. The Ruger Redhawk .44magnum, I just bought in January, actually cost me $31 LESS than it would have to buy it online. (Those price comparisions include a $25 FFL transfer.)

I tend to buy my practice ammo and Walmart because it is usually a $1.50-$3.00 per box (depending on caliber) cheaper than my LGS, which adds up when you buy several boxes
at a time. However, I do buy all my premium HP ammo from my LGS.

May 16, 2011, 11:44 AM
How do you compete with Buds selling a 357 S&W 360 for $458, new, with free shipping. Yes it's a close out but a new gun that is 2-300 everyware else. I use my local for half my stuff, but online for deals like this.

May 16, 2011, 11:50 AM
One thing that I notice with LGS is that they could be run better. I don't mean that they are not good people, or that they are unethical. Most of them got into the business in a round about way or through a love of guns and shooting.

What I mean is that they could learn more about running a business. In one local store:
- the posters are all 10-20 years old.
- the shelving is very loosely filled. He could easily have 3 times as much stock on his shelves.
- his few guns are on pieces of lined paper without a tag or any information about them. You have to ask what the gun is (if you don't know).
- he has no female employees in a town where a significant number of new gun owners are women.
- the used guns that he has are completely wornout and not very desirable.
- the place has a mildewy smell!

If you could generate more inventory turns he could lower his prices and/or make more profit.

May 16, 2011, 11:50 AM
i've bought all my firearms from local shops, when they had a good deal. That said i buy most of my ammo from big box stores because the two closest LGSs sell steel 9mm stuff for 19.99/50 and i can buy WWB for 21/100 from meijers or wallyworld.

May 16, 2011, 11:56 AM
I prefer to get guns at my local family-owned dealer. Even if he charges a little more, I still get better service and I know he can handle any problem that may come up down the road. However, he charges more for ammo so I buy that where ever I see a deal.

May 16, 2011, 01:17 PM
I always check local first....if local shop has what I want, I get it there....Added benefit is that the local guys are all vets, and I ALWAYS support vets trying to make it in business...

Each one of the local guys I have nearby have sent CCW instruction business my way, and allow me to post business cards on their bulletin back-scratching.....

May 16, 2011, 01:55 PM
Over 90% of my hunting is with archery gear. since archery gear is so personal I have found it best to buy from a local shop since most of the pimple faced kids the box stores put behind the counter have no idea how to set someone up with gear, or how to steer them towards useful gear.

So I have gotten in the habit of buying all my stuff that I possibly can at a local supplier rather then the interweb or a big box store. However, sometimes they are the only ones who have what I want or need.

May 16, 2011, 02:10 PM
Hello friends and neighbors // Both ,Either depends who has the best price.

New firearms :
If the price is close I will go to the LGS.

Ammo :
Is Type then Price, once again dog eat dog. Online,BigChain or LGS.

A few small stores have opened near here that mostly sell their own reloads.
Decent price, will tailor make loads ... so far their .38 158gr LSWC loads are smokier than American Eagle but about as accurate.

Havent had them make me any yet but I'll start with some .44s soon and see how they do.

Used Firearms:
I frequent seven GS and Pawn/GS locally, they all know best price gets my money. Usually look everything over twice during the month then the third time try to buy. I also include GB and other sites, including this one in my search for firearms.

Some GS have quicker turn over than others. Take notes, if something sits around for months ask um if they are in the mood to pay bills or hold onto guns. (Soon you may figure out when their bills are due;)....sssh)

Enjoy the search, even though it is only half as fun as getting to shoot them.

May 16, 2011, 02:11 PM
To me, Sportsman's Warehouse is local. They are a local business, and after their restructuring, I understand that their Utah stores are about the only ones left. I split purchases between them and Impact, which is also local, but has at least one store in Idaho.

I suppose if I had a friend who needed a starter hunting rifle, no tricks on it, I would refer them to Walmart.

May 16, 2011, 02:42 PM
I was in that impact store once and I wouldn't go back there if they were the last store on earth.

guy behind the counter talking to customer on the the phone "B e care full when you come in, make sure well all know your gun is cleared because we all carry hot here" what the heck are they looking to shoot someone? I could understand telling them to bring the gun in a case or walk in with the bolt open or slide open or something like that, but to add in that we all carry hot here, seems a bit mall commando to me, sounded like the type of guy that was just looking for an excuse to pull his weapon.

May 16, 2011, 03:40 PM
I've only bought 1 gun from a big box type store,and that was a Marlin 795 back when they had the rebate.The only thing I get from Dicks,Sports Authority,Walmart,etc. is bulk ammo.
Just about everything else is at my LGS.

May 16, 2011, 07:37 PM
Impact cycles through a lot of floor employees. They don't pay them very much, and they don't seem to have a problem with them not being very knowledgable.

May 16, 2011, 08:53 PM
As with anything I purchase I always try to buy local. I go to church with the owner of one of our LGS, and another is a customer of mine. I work for a small business and know how it works. Given the choice I am almost always willing to pay a little more for the better service from a locally owned store.

On the other hand, I know that there are those of you who are not lucky enough to have any good LGS around. I feel sorry for you. We have two that will normally match or beat the prices from GM and soon Bass Pro. One of them has a MUCH larger selection than I've seen at any GM or BP.

May 16, 2011, 09:18 PM
When I was younger, pretty much everything came from a few local shops. Spent a good bit of time and more than a few $$$ at Hap's, Bucksport and Grundman's in Northern California.

There aren't really any places like those here in MT. There are one or two local shops that I visit occasionally, but they are kind of hit or miss in terms of inventory and pricing. I also visit Scheel's, Big R and Big Bear Sports for some stuff. Don't buy much from Wally World, not really my cup of tea.

May 17, 2011, 09:22 AM
I stay local as much as possible. They treat me right and give me fair prices. All but 2 of my new gun purchases in the last 2 1/2 yrs. have been from the same store. I'm even buying most of my ammo there, even though wally world is cheaper.

May 17, 2011, 10:22 AM
I think the first, last, and only gun I've purchased from a "big box" store was from OTASCO in or around 1980.

Ala Dan
May 17, 2011, 11:50 AM
by far and away, Local Gun Shop~! ;) :D :cool:

May 17, 2011, 11:58 AM
I deal with my local dealer The big stores No way . most help failed the Would you like fries with that order test . Some they even call gunsmiths .

May 17, 2011, 04:38 PM
Big box store have sales once in a while that may have what someone is looking for. My local general store sells all firearms at 10% over his cost. Better choice of ammo at big box stores with maybe a better deal than local but if wally word has the ammo I need they are cheaper. Soooo I guess I don't need a big box sporting goods store except to look around in.

The Lone Haranguer
May 17, 2011, 10:44 PM
It is entirely dependent on whether they have the product I want, at a decent price, with good service. I've purchased guns from small local gun shops and chain stores.

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