There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. The Gun Store in Las Vegas is the embodiment of “the wrong way,” as we’ve shown. Thankfully there’s a better option out there for those in Las Vegas who want to try out a machine gun: Discount Firearms + Ammo. . .
Located a convenient 10 minute walk from the Imperial Palace hotel on the north end of the strip (or about a $5 cab ride), Discount Firearms + Ammo (hereafter referred to as DFA because I’m lazy) runs a combination gun store and range. I got a chance to sit down with J. Chapin, one of the head guys at the store to discuss their operation.
According to J, DFA’s focus is on customer service instead of simply cranking people through and making the most money. While The Gun Store (hereafter referred to as TGS because I’m lazy) simply hands someone a gun and points them downrange, DFA takes the time to explain the concepts behind firearms safety and how guns work. They educate their customers on safe firearms handling instead of simply letting them check the box of firing a machine gun, giving them the tools to handle firearms in a responsible manner in the future.
That distinction holds true for a number of things DFA does differently than TGS, starting with the shop. Instead of a cramped bus stop, DFA’s front room looks like one of the nicest gun stores I’ve ever been in. It’s well lit, clean, and staffed by friendly and knowledgeable salespeople. With TGS the machine gun rental is a separate room from the main show floor, but for DFA machine gun rentals occupy just one section of their main counter. As J said, their focus was to make the experience just as good for the tourists looking to rent machine guns as it is for the locals to come in and buy guns.
That was another interesting thing that we talked about. According to J, most of the customers that come in the store to rent guns are tourists that are prohibited from buying guns or ammo for one reason or another, whether they’re foreign visitors who can’t own guns in their home countries or they’re out of state visitors who can’t buy guns across state lines. And while a good portion of their business comes from these foreign visitors, the owners of DFA wanted to make sure they didn’t forget about their local customers who buy guns and take concealed carry classes.
They had considering moving to a “take a number” system that allowed rental customers to tour the store while waiting to shoot. But as a measure designed to allow the salespeople to talk to those who actually are there to buy guns instead of those who just want to play with them, they opted to go with the serpentine line. However, the entire time I was there I didn’t see a single person in line.
Speaking of concealed carry classes, DFA holds classes for civilian CCW licenses twice a month (moving to weekly soon) for a packed room of 20 new shooters each class. In addition, they serve as a facility that trains and re-qualifies all of the armed security guards for the local businesses. So they’re big on training and safety, and partner with local suicide prevention groups to help prevent firearms related suicides.
In terms of variety, DFA has many of the same guns that you’d see at TGS — AKs, Thompsons, MP5s, but not too many of the “exotic” machine guns (if such a thing exists). They do have a pretty rocking belt fed m1919, but other than that what you see is more or less what you get. Which still isn’t bad, as these represent some of the most fun machine guns I’ve ever had the chance to fire. The big benefit comes when you realize that these guns are in service grade condition, that is they’re bright and shiny, well oiled, well maintained and above all clean. Much better than TGS’ offerings.
In terms of price there’s no one close. Instead of the ridiculous price gouging going on at TGS, according to J the prices at DFA let the customers experience the guns for more than just a few seconds of joy. It’s still not as cheap as if you owned the guns yourself, but it’s damned close.
How about the range? Well for starters it doesn’t feel like a dark alley. The range is well lit, uses digital target holders (which place the targets exactly where you tell them), and it’s big enough to accommodate 14 shooters at a time — more than TGS could. The range is longer too, pushing out to around 25 or 30 yards.
In short, I have no idea why anyone would ever go to The Gun Store over this place. Discount Firearms + Ammo has a better range, better employees, nicer guns, better prices, and is much closer to the strip. In short, it’s perfect.