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Ever regretted going to a LGS?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by igotta40, Jan 5, 2023.

  1. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Member

    May 5, 2005
    Garrettsville, Oh.
    Was visiting my folks several years ago, saw a sign for "Something-or-other Sports - Guns and Ammo"
    So I went in.
    And was fairly tossed out on my ear when I asked about anything that wasn't high end shotgun. No rifle powders, no bullets, no primers except #209, you get the idea.
    Mini30SS and igotta40 like this.
  2. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    W. PA
    Your Amtrack analogy doesn't hold water. How can a train with a passenger in every seat lose more money than the same train with only one passenger? Amtrack loses money because Americans have better alternatives to travel than by train, and the existing train network/service doesn't encourage ridership. In fact, all forms of transportation require some form of government subsidy. I see no connection between the two.

    As for a business making money I have no problem with that and would be saddened if all brick and mortar shops went away. But if I buy guns from you, I'd hope that you would help me out with a fair price on a transfer occasionally, especially face-to-face deals. I don't expect anyone to lose money on a transfer, but $60 isn't equilibrium when some of the competition presently charges $25 or $30. Maybe gouging was too strong of a term, but I won't be visiting that shop any time soon.
  3. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

    Oct 2, 2016
    OH! Trap/Skeet shooters can be more elitist than I am. I remember showing up to a trap club with my dad in his 20 yr-old Chevy S10 with our 1930s and 50s era field grade Winchesters. We parked in a lot that was nothing but Mercedes and Lexus and shot alongside guys with $4k guns. It was like that episode where the Clampetts go to the Beverly Hills Skeet Club with Drysdale. I got the same vibe from the trap club up here. (still shooting the same 1950s era Winchester and still driving an old truck) I don't even bother with it.
    Seedy Character likes this.
  4. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

    Oct 2, 2016
    Mathematically, you're correct. I was trying to illustrate a point that, no matter how many passengers they carry, they still lose money because they're constantly operating in the red.

    The connection is the simple concept of operating at a loss. If the LGS does a a transfer for less than it costs in labor, insurance, etc., then, without subsidy from somewhere (higher prices on other goods/other guns) it will eventually go out of business.

    TINSTAAFL. There is no such thing as a free lunch. For the LGS to "help you out," he has to make up that loss somewhere, from you or someone else. Continual "helping out" will eventually lead to bankruptcy. The most logical here is the LGS is eating it on the guns they sell. More likely ammo as that is easier to mark up.

    If other LGS are charging $25, then you should be doing business there. If enough of you do business there, and not at the LGS with $60 transfer fees, then that shop will see traffic and revenue drop and make changes accordingly. Or it will go out of business. Either way, you've done your part. Voting with your dollars is essential to a free market.
    Seedy Character and Mini30SS like this.
  5. Old Sandman 71

    Old Sandman 71 Member

    Sep 28, 2012
    Range USA just south of Akron.
    A newer place with plenty of black guns, high ceilings, bright lights and everything tactical. I went in looking for hearing protection, just simple ear muffs. When I walked up to the register with my $14 pair, a $20 bill in hand, I was told that I need to produce my drivers license to complete the sale. Company policy of course. I looked at the sales team at the register rather blankly I’m sure, said “no thanks” returned the muffs to the hook from whence they came, shook the dust from my sandals and left.
    ballman6711, 1KPerDay and Scout21 like this.
  6. igotta40

    igotta40 Member

    Jun 7, 2011
    texasgunclub.com opened recently in my area. I don’t have to concern myself with regretting a visit there, because I visited their website. Whether for amusement, or an eye opening experience, have a look. No spoiler alerts.
  7. arsterling180

    arsterling180 Member

    Jan 18, 2022
    Yeah I’m at a loss here. They make themselves sound like the bad ass state of the art. Ammo prices on the shop area seem a little high. Transfer fee is definitely pricey, but this place really seems to push rentals and range time. Uhh a lot indoor ranges pass on bimetal jacket because those can cause sparks. Range time seems reasonable and they have a location with an indoor 50 yard range. What’s offensive about this place?
    igotta40 likes this.
  8. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

    Aug 11, 2004
    on Puget Sound
    So can anyone reading through this thread honestly say that they enjoy the experience of spending time at the gun counter of their local big box retailer over the experience of spending a like amount of time in a decent local gun shop?
    D.B. Cooper and Mini30SS like this.
  9. TTv2

    TTv2 Member

    Mar 31, 2016
    The only big box retailer that I've ever had decent interactions with at the counter was Dick's and the guy behind the counter was cross eyed. This was back in the dark days of 2014 when rimfire ammo was consistently out of stock like how primers are today. Dude let me know the upcoming black friday sale they were going to have bricks of .22 for $25.

    The major problem I have with big box retailers is there's not many around me and those that are have a poor selection for guns, similar to the brick and mortar LGS, but at least the small LGS near me have varied consignment guns. When all the big box places have is the most generic, cheap .22's, AR's, and Remington/Mossberg pump shotguns, I have no interest in going as I can get those anytime from anywhere else. Even if they did have guns I was interested in at good prices, the knowledge of how long it usually takes the dolts behind the counter to figure out how to do a background check would keep me away.

    Sorry, but 1 hour long waits for a background check don't interest me.
  10. JEBruns

    JEBruns Member

    Oct 13, 2021
    NW Arkansas
    Yeah, I can. Most of the folks that man the gun counter at our local Bass Pro store are affable and knowledgeable. As are most of the folks at the LGS's near us. I don't value one over the other, and have bought guns from pretty much all of them.

    Bass Pro has a wide selection of in stock guns generally too, along with the Gun Library and their used guns. Always fun to look.
  11. Mark_Mark

    Mark_Mark Contributing Member

    Jan 9, 2021
    Love shooting trap! I show up in my old Prius whip out my $140 walmart 870 Express. Get the sniffs from them high end dudes. Then Shoot 24/25 birds from very low ready! LOL!

    Yes, I do own 2 Beretta Shotguns! lol
    ballman6711 and 1KPerDay like this.
  12. JDeere

    JDeere Member

    May 31, 2020
    Well yes I have one big box store and it's Academy. I became friends with the Manager because I am always in there. During the ammo shortage days I had it out with an overzealous sales person. I wont go into details but I made a complaint to corporate and got a fantastic response. I look at what they have when I go in there and the counter guys are always nice and ask if they can help. I never buy anything because all they stock is plastic and mostly striker fired pistols.
    My 2 LGS are nice and always helpful. I buy from the one that has what I need. They both have competitive prices. One does transfers and the other will only do so if it's something they cannot get. If it's produced they can get it if it's in stock at a warehouse. One takes in trades and consignments and I have found some nice deals there. 25 buck transfers all day. They have to cover the cost of messing with it. I have seen LGS in the past who priced transfers high because they actually did not want to mess with them. ymmv
  13. 270OKIE

    270OKIE Contributing Member

    Oct 11, 2020
    Oof, me and dad have matching bright green and tan (separate color shirts, lol) polo shirts we wear at gun shows... So maybe we need to wear milsurp bdus?
  14. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

    Sep 6, 2021
    I go to the "big box" (Academy) much more than the LGS. LGS is well stocked and carries lots of specialty items, plus reloading. (Why I go there)
    They are higher priced, but I don't have to wait a week for an online delivery.
    The biggest difference between box and LGS, sales staff! Academy, I can browse all I want, go to counter if I want help. LGS, is high pressure, what can I sell you, what do you want? I just tell them PRIMERS, finally gets to all of them and I can look. Ask to see a gun, they put 4473 on counter, then the gun.
    Buy very little from BPS, but I go there everytime I am in the City. (2 hrs away).

    Both have a place.
    1KPerDay likes this.
  15. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

    Jan 19, 2006
    Happy Valley, UT
    I had to argue with a kid for 10 minutes at a local great clips and eventually get the manager to give special permission to get a haircut without giving them my phone number and email address. I just want a haircut. I would like to pay for it without giving you my personal information. There has to be a way we can do this.

    my favorite LGS has gone the way of the dodo. It was a pawn shop that had a lot of good music/PA stuff as well as a good selection of all kinds of guns at good prices. The owner was a curmudgeon and rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, but I’d joke around with him and he seemed to like it. He wouldn’t budge on prices but they were only making like $20 over wholesale so I stopped asking for a deal and just paid. I wish they were still around.

    a couple good shops still exist, with fairly good variety, fair prices, and non-annoying staff and practices. And then there’s Cabelas. Hoooo boy it’s an interminable ordeal to buy a gun from them since the Bass Pro sale. You take a number and wait an hour for some attention from the staff. They don’t know anything you want to know. They won’t let you dry fire anything without taking you to the back and holding the gun for you pointing it into a bullet trap and you can try the trigger ONCE if you are going to buy it. They make you use a glitchy annoying tablet system to fill out the 4473. And more crap/info that isn’t required. And then you wait another hour or two (not kidding) for them to do a background check.

    I’ve given up trying to buy guns from them but their prices are so high it’s no big loss. They even make you fill out paperwork when you buy a cap and ball revolver. (Not a 4473).

    Luckily we have CAL Ranch and Scheels and Sportman’s Warehouse fairly close, and all are waaaaay better to deal with.

    For online FFL transfers I’m lucky enough to have a part time FFL that just does it pretty much for his friends and himself, who charges $15 to receive and transfer and he accepts from non FFLs. I give him $25 and my sincere thanks every time.
  16. D.B. Cooper

    D.B. Cooper Member

    Oct 2, 2016
    There is. Your phone number is (your area code) 867-5309. Works every time.
  17. Anchorite

    Anchorite Member

    Dec 15, 2018
    Between Blackacre and the Grid
    I have done this for years. I bet that person hates all the text alerts and is probably on some no-fly/cruise/travel ban list by now.
  18. jmohme

    jmohme Member

    Feb 17, 2014
    I guess I should consider myself lucky.
    The local gun shop here is a good little family owned shop. I only go in occasionally since I am on the road so much, but when I do, the owners know me by name, are always friendly and helpful.
    When I am looking for something that they do not have, they usually find it quickly and don't go nuts on the pricing. If they can't get it. they tell me, no BS.
  19. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Feb 27, 2009
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Well, the only way to keep an LGS open is to sell the "accessory" stuff. Things that have an actual mark-up and profit margin.
    Firearms (and ammo in the last decade) have so little sustainable mark-up that al the retailers are functionally "at cost."

    This is easily missed by both customer and retailer. Which is the only explanation I have for some of either group I have experienced.

    And, in some fairness to this thread, there are a number of places I've ever overnighted the once--like Akron--and will likely never will again.

    And, until very recently, like the last decade or so, there's been scant point in visiting stores out of my state, even whine my required travels carry me away.
    dcloco likes this.
  20. Tinker-S

    Tinker-S Member

    Jan 29, 2022
    Same here.
    I went to the local Cabela's, and the customer service was not what I expected of a well known store. So, I called them to give them my opinion, and I gave them specifics on how the sales persons would attend certain segment of the population, and totally ignored my "excuse me, do you have a minute to show me a gun on the gun rack?".
    I am a fan of the store, and I visit almost every week, and the customer service is better now. But I think it also has to do with me going to the store one day while wearing my work clothes. I could not believe it! Everybody wanted to "help" me out. I was disappointed, but I know how the game is played. To be fair, this is the behavior I expect from any kind of business. Restaurants, hotels, fast food stores, you name it. And it varies from state to state.
    My local store is the gun club that I am member of, and it is sweet!
  21. bubbaturbo

    bubbaturbo Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    I've seen this before, i.e. gun stores only make money on accessories and very little on guns. Sorry but I believe that is incorrect. I've been in more than one store where I seldom if ever see accessories being sold. They're selling guns though. And I sometimes know what they paid for guns versus what they sell them for. Gun stores make most of their money off selling guns.
    Seedy Character and .308 Norma like this.
  22. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

    May 31, 2008
    Had a similar situation. Great Clips was giving out coupons for free haircuts on Veteran's Day. I don't normally go there but figured I'd give it a try.

    Was also asked for personal ID info, I told the lady she could put whatever she wanted in there, I wasn't giving her mine. She seemed a little flustered, but eventually she put something in. Unfortunately, was just a mediocre cut anyway.

    As far as transfer fees, I would think it would be a good deal for stores. Employees are already on the payroll, so that's a fixed cost, same for all other such expenses like rent, insurance, etc.

    The good part to me would be they could make a similar profit of a firearm sale without having to carry the expense of having the firearm sitting in the store, perhaps unsold for a long period of time.
    1KPerDay likes this.
  23. Remington1911

    Remington1911 Member

    Feb 23, 2022
    Generally I buy what few gun shops sell, like the other poster said, if you collect the gun show, or online auctions are where you are. And if you don't have an 03, you need a gun shop local.

    That said a few weeks ago the wife wanted a new carry gun. She has very weak grip strength so she wanted a Beretta Tomcat/bobcat whatever with the tip up barrel. Small, light, she shoots it well. We go to a new to us gun store and it was very busy, but the guy said be with you in a sec when we came in. Gave us a chance to look through the case and see one in 25acp. Bought it and some ammo. She likes it.

    Then she decides that 25acp is a bit expensive and it would be nice to have the 22LR version for some practice. She calls around and finds a store in KS, we are in MO. So we drive all the way over there and again that store is quite busy. One quite heavy guy is a bit of a jerk, seems like if the guy is heavy good chances are he is going to be a jerk. She looks at the 22, likes it and starts to do the transfer.....to the store we just left. No transfer fee, they have a relationship. Cool.

    There is a place in the world for a good store. It is not gone, and people do know about them and those places do a land office business. Good people make all the difference.
    ballman6711, igotta40 and 1KPerDay like this.
  24. Jimfern

    Jimfern Member

    May 23, 2008
    North Texas
    A long time ago, I was traveling by car and saw a place and decided to stop in and see what they had. I was wrapping up a call as I entered the empty (except me and the presumed owner) and he saw me on the phone and essentially shooed me out so I got back in my car and left.
    igotta40 likes this.
  25. Will Munny

    Will Munny Member

    Nov 12, 2021
    Truth be told, I don't know if I have ever had an experience at an LGS that was particularly good. Most that I have been to simply did not have what I was looking for or wanted more for it than I could buy it for elsewhere.

    Now, about economics and the LGS. To a degree, it is surprising the LGS has survived as well as it has to the present day. Across almost all of retail the mom and pop business model (stores with an owner that owns one or two locations) has been in decline since the 1950's. This is due to a variety of factors, some benign (better transportation leading to economies of scale, etc) and some less so (a shrinking middle class and a race to the bottom on price that puts most of the competitive advantage in the hands of large corporations). But by and large the main street of America that you would have seen in 1950, dotted with small stores, was replaced by the mall and chain store by 2000. But this trend seems to have been weaker for firearms. Partly this is due to large stores not selling firearms (Target for example has shunned them almost from the beginning), partly due to the differing economics involved (the race to the bottom in retail was always connected to declining American manufacturing and the importation of lower quality but lower priced goods from Asia, something which is far less of a factor with firearms due to federal regulations [As such, ironically, firearms are a good example of how regulation can protect and develop manufacturing in the US]), and partly because there is some cultural aspect to the LGS that makes them competitive in areas besides price.

    One other limitation of the LGS was very apparent in the last 2 years. When the ammo shortage started to thaw it was always big box stores that got it back first. Presumably this reflects greater buying power and priority for orders, but no LGS I went to had decent ammo selection until very recently, while big box stores had been there for some time.
    Remington1911 likes this.
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