Whittaker Guns (courtesy Chandler West for mountainworkshops.org)

TTAG has a lot of firearms industry types reading the site. Rest assured, we never sell your info to third parties. But we do talk about you to these for-profit gun guys. During a recent chinwag I discussed our readers’ psychology with a man whose brand means over-priced military-born products—even though they [now] sell competitively-priced products specifically fashioned for the civilian market. “We have loads of market research,” he said. “But we still don’t know how gun buyers (that’s you!) decide to purchase a particular gun. How they move through all the information out there to the point where they’re actually ready to buy a new gun.” Care to share?

130 Responses to Question of the Day: How Do You Buy A Gun?

  1. If I see something I want and it’s a sub $500 piece I generally get it. If it’s expensive the process is much longer. I’ve had a boner for the SCAR 16s for forever, and I was almost ready to pull the trigger last year but the buying frenzy set me back. With the new 10″ barrels being out and prices dropping I’ll probably hop on one Q1 2014.

    I don’t know what goes through anyone else’s heads when they make these decisions, but for me it’s just acknowledging that whatever I buy is going to be a ‘toy’. I have a reliable carbine and handgun, and that’s all I really need for the coming zombie apocalypse/home defense in the way of guns. I love having toys, but I also have a lot of hobbies that I get to far more often than I shoot.

    I dunno… does that answer the original question?

  2. Umm, 5 years ago I would pick what I wanted based on hunting/affordability. 3 years ago I would buy what ever tactical toy I wanted. 10 months ago I was buying based on ammo availability. Now I am back to affordability, which means it better be a good deal in a caliber I already own.

  3. There are many ways to buy a gun…

    – Go to a gun show and anyone will sell you one with no background check.

    – Just get online and buy one from Amazon and they’ll ship it to your door (no background check required)

    /sarc

    • Amazon? What a sucker! I buy on armslist, and I always bring my drug dealer club and mass murderers R us member cards to whatever shady alley we conduct the exchange in for the 10% discount.

    • You guys are amatuers. I tell Eric Holder that I promise to deliver the van load of guns and goodies to Mexico. I take my cut out of the stock.

    • I just pick up my full auto machine guns at the gas station on my way home, it’s easy. Sometimes I get a few grenades and a rocket launcher too. Now if I didn’t have to pay 3.50 a gallon I could get that zip gun I always wanted.

  4. When I get a hankerin’ for a new gun I read the worst reviews first (because glowing reviews usually can’t be trusted) and look for common complaints, recalls, etc.

    If someone reports their gun malfunctioning in a big way from the factory and a less-than-stellar experience with the company’s customer service department I do even more research.

    If I find out that’s common with that company, I do not buy the gun.

    Call it the Cynic’s Guide To Buying A Gun, if you like.

    Or the pessimist’s.

    So make sure you have your **** together and treat your customers right if you want my business.

    • Ditto on the customer service. Usually looking for a company that will at least stand behind the product, anything with a warranty is a plus. I usually don’t drop spur of the moment cash on anything I can’t return if issues arise.

      • You just have to watch your sources. There have been some sources that play the protection racket. “Pay for adverts or memberships and we’ll protect you from wrongful bad reviews.” Those sources will filter good reviews faster, more often, and more thoroughly than they will even consider looking at a bad review, even if it is a known bad review by a competitor,

    • This. I have $zero to throw away, so I want to feel confident that what I buy will work the right way for a long time. Also, it’s cheaper (and better?) to shoot it stock, instead of modifying it, so I prefer a gun company that sells enough versions that I can buy exactly what I want and leave it that way (excepting the sights). For example, Ruger mark iii.

  5. Because of the total absolute BS laws in my state, I start with a simple question: “Does it, or will the distributor allow me to get it with 10 round magazine” If the answer is yes, then I continue, if the answer is no, I move on to the next. Shockingly, the criminals in my state do not start with the same question.

    • But for real, though, I do sorta like Michael B. said above.

      I usually buy based on need I perceive, or to fill a “hole” in my collection (e.g. “I don’t have a deer rifle” or “I need a more concealable EDC gun”).

      So I research that class of gun, and try to figure out which ones fill my requirements the best. (One of my not-insignificant requirements is “Do I like it?”) As part of this step, I shoot everything I can in that class of gun, via friends, rentals, loaners, etc.

      Once I’ve narrowed it down a bit, then I do what Michael B. said above. I go looking for bad reviews. I look for ones that give substantive reasons why they dislike that particular gun, and I look for common threads. As an example, a common thread among reviews of the SIG Mosquito is its finicky ammo preferences. If I find stuff like that, I decide whether it’s something I can live with or not, and proceed accordingly.

      Only after I’ve narrowed my options down to one (two at most) do I go price-shopping, and thence on to the actual purchase.

      • This is me, too.

        I have a feeling that, as a general rule, gun buyers are some of the most well-researched and informed consumers around.

        Half the fun for me is the research. I’m the same way with my backpacking gear also.

        If I didn’t like getting in to the minutiae of a hobby, I’d have three guns instead of thirteen.

      • Exact reason I didn’t go with the Sig. Got the Ruger Mark III because I figured I could deal with “great gun but a pain to disassemble.”

        • For what it’s worth, I’ve never for a second regretted my decision to buy the Mosquito.

      • I also want to add that the time expended on the last step may equal or even exceed the time expended on all the previous steps. Sometimes I just don’t have the money to get what I want. Sometimes I’m not just ready. But I’ll research the hell out of a gun and “add it to the list” and then buy it whenever the stars align. Sometimes something better even comes along in the meantime.

        • Yes. I looked for years for one I should have never sold. Whenever I saw one, it was way over priced, or worse, I’d see one priced great and I was broke.
          The stars aligned a couple years ago and I got my Ruger 44 mag deerslayer.
          Patience…

      • This post plus the rest in this section from Matt in FL is how I and my friends buy a gun as well.

        With the internet leveling the information field for consumers of just about anything, well-researched and informed buying is the norm and a firearm or gun-related manufacturer better have their shit lined up if they want to attract dollars, especially mine. It still amazes me when people continue to buy Kimber products or Remington bolt guns, for example, when there’s a mountain of freely avaiable data about X companies customer service, parts available, and user experiences with their guns.

        Granted, each individual has a different threshold for what constitutes a gun worth buying and keeping, but some guidelines for me and mine are:

        1. Internet research, even if just done casually, can turn up a general impression of a firearm in little to no time. Of course you can’t trust everything you read online, and the source of each user’s report (an m4carbine.net review will be different in nature and focus than one from arfcom, for example) should be factored into the data, but you can still get the gist.
        2. Your first iteration of a certain model will not be what I buy, ever, with the exception of a handful of companies. 90% of companies beta-test their designs on the rubes who are first-purchasers, and I don’t have the time or patience to deal with design flaws you could have discovered if you’d simply tested it for another 6 months. I’ll let them deal with shipping the gun back and forth from FFL to manufacturer over and over while the try to tweak their firearm to working order.
        3. Don’t ever trust gun store employees or gun magazines. I don’t give a shit about the ad copy space you bought, you should consider it wasted dollars and instead invest in a video camera and a third party lab to test the salient features of your gun. Then put that up on Youtube along with sending out a couple of sample guns to different blogs of note or Youtube reviewers of note – like Vuurwapen Blog, Military Arms Channel, and of course, TTAG. If your gun eats crap and fails badly, then be responsive and fix it, and communicate the whole time, and I will bet that hordes of people will view you as a stand up company and be willing to give you their dollars.

        • This. I read a lot and give most weight to independent reviews from writers who have earned my trust by taking time to test the weapons in the field for more than just one range tryout period. And give feedback on maker attention to fixes and support to the gun community. I dont buy a lot of guns and prefer to just have one for the specific purpose so I dont mind paying more for quality and spend the rest on ammo and training. Examples of makers I favor per the above would be Noveske Magpul and Id say Keltec if they ever got production support.

          But I would guess I am in the minority based on comments about safe queens etc.

          I am surprised the gun makers dont know the process better. I have read more women are buying guns but not sure where that comes from…I would guess retail stores as that is what I observe about women I know best.

        • PS: I would buy a handgun from an established maker, because then I know they will be around for awhile, and fix problems, and also more mainstream guns- knowing there will be aftermarket parts and support for improvements someday. Ruger, S&W, Sig, Glock, etc.

          Then I go get it at one of the better Local Gun Stores – someone who has taken time to educate me, ideally with a range and gunsmith associated with it, so I can try different models, and get tweaks done right, later.

          The extra $$$ is worth the insurance of knowing I can get it fixed by someone who knows what they are doing, and the help of sending it back, with the credibility and leverage of the seller relationship to the maker.

          I dont have the experience, time, or interest to build my own AR. Nothing against those who do- I just see the gun as a tool, and prefer to buy something thats already made to work, rather than try to save a few bucks or mod this piece or another, to make it perfect, and end up spending many times the amount fooling around with various add-on’s, like I have with the shotgun already.

  6. About once ever 2-3 months or so I go to a small or medium sized brick-and-mortar gun store in my area, do a NICS and give them cash and then take one or two home.

  7. I bought a Mossberg 590 because the Ramones had a song about it.
    More songs about guns and I’ll buy more guns.

  8. Most of my purchases are made when I visit my local gun shop and something “catches my eye”. Caliber is the first thing I look at (trying to consolidate). Then fit/finish. I decide on the spot. If I leave without it…..it’s doubtful that I’ll go back and get it later.

  9. I know some guys that buy guns based on what’s cool in Call of Duty.

    Some guys buy guns based on what they see in movies.

    Some buy guns based on what their friends tell them is cool.

    Some buy guns based on what the military uses.

    I buy guns either as an investment or for some specific practical use ie: hog hunting, CC or Home Defense.

    If shopping for an investment firearm I look at what is popular and rare. Limited editions are always a plus as are first runs. Second kind of cool is a factor here.

    For hunting I look for something light, with the right round for the range and type of beast I am shooting at. .50 Beo might seem like alot for a pig…until you use it.

    For CC and Home Defense I look for something proven reliable. The second kind of cool is less of a factor as is the question “Will this save my life or the lives of others…everytime?”.

    In general, I don’t really go crazy for rails or rail space. Flash lights are useful, but lasers are out. Something that is ambi is nice. I prefer firearms with good ergo, parts and ammo availability. It makes no sense to buy something you can’t afford to shoot.

  10. I have all the guns I need. Want. Now that’s a whole other thing. Since the recent news right here on TTAG that CA DOJ is allowing model 10-14 smiths that’s what I’m currently looking for.

    When I buy a new gun 2 main things factor in. Price and reputation. Why buy a 1600 dollar Benelli when a 250 dollar Mossberg will do the same job? Is the Benelli 7 times more durable, more accurate, superior to the Mossberg?

    I’m at a comfortable place in my life. I didn’t get there by being dazzled by flash and bling.

    • The Benelli M4 will get you laid, especially if it has the collapsible stock. Depending on the demographics of your local range, this may not be desirable though.

      • I’m also old enough to know that having product x does nothing towards getting you laid. If you want to increase your odds of sex, spend the 250 on the Mossberg and take the remaining 1400 down to the stroll.

  11. I start by determining the purpose of the next gun to be purchased. Is it for concealed carry, home defense, car gun, just a range toy, etc.?

    Then I think about the caliber and action I want. Do I want DA/SA, SAO, DAO? A caliber I already have or a new one?

    Then I see what’s out there and find options I like within the price I’m willing to pay.

    Then I look at reviews here, YouTube, and other places, and try to find anyone I know that has the guns I’m looking at.

    Then I try to find a range where I can rent some of the ones I’m looking at and try them out.

    Then I make my decision and make my purchase.

    Then later I usually go back and buy some of the other top runners. 🙂

    Or sometimes I just go “ooh! shiny! want!”

  12. Mostly go to the local range, see what others are shooting, ask them questions about their firearms, and then seeing if the range has one I can rent (or if the person I was asking will let me put some ammo through theirs). I have seen many a pretty firearm that just wasn’t a good fit for me or the missus.

  13. Here is my process:
    1- Define purpose (generally one of 3 areas- Hunting, CCW, or Range Toy)
    2- Select Caliber- .45 for 2 legs, typically .30-06 for 4 legs
    3. Research manufacturer websites for offerings meeting criteria (rank those I’m familiar with higher)
    4. Look for best street price, buds etc.
    5. Eliminate those out of my earning bracket
    6. Comb Youtube, primarily hickok45 for gun reviews
    7. Look at mfg specific forums (XDtalk etc.) since those complaining will be vocal here. Also TTAG reviews if applicable.
    8. Trim out those with bad reps
    9. Try to shoot one, no good ranges here but I travel often for business and have a few on standby in selected locales I frequent. If none available for rental, fondle it at the display counter like a middle school dance participant.

    There is my mental template, fresh on my mind as I am in the process of finding a carry gun for the lady.

    • This plus:
      If my local shop has it for $25-50 range I buy there. My reasoning is I’ve fondled their goods and I go there when things get tight.

      • I agree if the store is locally owned. I’m willing to spend the extra few dollars to support local business.

        A certain big box store, not so much. 75% of their counter staff are useless and can recite the ad copy and no more. Not to mention the $70 dollar FFL fee they charge for guns not bought there. Unless their price is spot on with shipping and FFL fee from a more reasonable store factored in, I will fondle their large selection and buy elsewhere.

    • If I were a gun company, I’d care a lot about what Hickok45 says about me. I hands-down trust only a handful of people, and when it comes to handguns, he’s one.

      • Same here, I only listen or pay attention to what a few other people have to say other than what my own research tells me.

  14. I prtetty much do not buy from local gun shops anymore. Sales people with little or no information and the generally higher prices have taken the toll on me and i pretty much buy online only.

    I am a voracious reader. If something new comes out, I read all about it, learn what the philosophy of use is behind the development and then attempt to relate it to my own situation and make a decision based on my own experience and knowledge.

    But, I am also an instructor and work as an RSO at a large outdoor range so I can see what drives most customers’ belief of their own wants, needs and desires and that unfortunately is ‘tacticool’. Dirty Harry made the S&W Model 29 a legend for all time. When i was a young cop in the early seventies, most handguns could be bought for around $250.00 but you couldn’t find a model 29 at all and if you did, it was well above $600.00

    When the Washington sniper was finally caught and his weapon was identified as a Bushmaster AR15, the want, need, desire for the Bushmaster exploded. it was not even near a Tier 1 firearm but that didn’t matter.

    Want to sell a lot of a specific firearm? Get a movie written around it or at least featured in a movie or have some homicidal sociopath use one in a spree killing.

    You need to sell to the lowest common denominator when it comes to experienced customers and wave something bright and shiny to attract them.

  15. I tend to drool over new and/or exotic models that I read about online. After finding a way to pay for the weapon, as well as justify the expenditure on the importance scale of other priorities (anywhere from a month to six months), I will start browsing the local gun shops, Armslist, and gun shows if they are local. In the end it is a 50/50 chance I buy something at all, and mostly it tends to be something else that was on the shelf that was cheaper, I forgot about, or just liked better than my intended choice. At this point it is a very slow process to build a decent collection, but I have not regretted any purchases. I also tend to lean towards used and private sale, so I am kinda dependent on fellow gun owners to buy and get bored with the new toys so I get them second hand.

  16. I have a hard time justifying anything over $500. Everything I buy is usually pretty well thought out and serves a particular set of requirements/rolls. Most everything I have is multifunction.

  17. I see what some of the experienced and respected members on M4C have to say. Find the cheapest online retailer that has it and have it shipped to my FFL. I never buy from local gun shops. Done.

  18. I like user reviews, as TTAG has and links them. I don’t like the obviously sponsored reviews, which TTAG also has. I really dislike the advertorial/infomercial type of post however, and sadly we see those here too.

    I check out youtube a lot, but I learn to read and listen between the lines as a lot of the bigger channels are sponsored in some way. They’ll rave about something, but you can pick up where something is ‘less satisfactory’.

    I think a company should just not be afraid and send their stuff out even to reviewers who have burned their stuff down. It shows balls and willingness to learn. Stand behind your product and take it like it is.

  19. I find some of the worst advice comes from YouTube gun channels. There are only a few providing reliable advice and those primarily focus on rifles.

  20. My process followed pretty much in order:
    1) Determine what exactly it is that I want and proceed to research
    2) Rely on word of mouth reviews from people I know with experience/insight; this might be good enough and I may not move onto step 3.
    3) Look to reviews from reputable online sources. This may complete my research and I may not move onto step 4.
    4) This all be damned, this is cool and I want it no matter what. This step may supersede all other steps in certain hard on for circumstances.

  21. Think of what im looking for, caliber, weight, length, revolver, pistol, etc.
    Check out some reviews on line
    Watch Utube videos
    Find on at a local shop and get a feel for it, or something similar
    Test fire if possible
    Ask people who have used it
    Gauge the price of the gun, mags, and ammo
    Buy

    One thing these companies should really start doing is the 360 model viewer on their websites. It can give away some crucial details you have missed.

  22. Thinking back, I start with the looks. If a gun doesn’t look cool, it doesn’t make my research list.
    For example, I have never held a Glock or fired one, never even considered it because it just doesn’t look cool.

    I do own a Walther PPS, several Springfields xdm/xds, and FNH handguns and carbines, and S&Ws all selected based on tons of research.
    All research is done online, reviewing documented reviews and video reviews.

    • Too true. Despite the massive installed user base I can’t get over the looks of the Mk III. I will probably get a Buckmark at some point.

  23. First, I’ve got a bucket list, so I’m always keeping an eye out at different retailers.
    There’s a pawn shop close to home that I stop by about every other week for the above list or to see if something tickles my fancy. There’s only a few items left on this list.

    Second, if I have a need coming up, I look for reviews on the different makes. Often times, price will dictate here, but not always. In the last case, I was looking for a very specific rifle for my safari. The brand I wanted didn’t have BUIS, so I went with the next in line.

    Third, I really try to have ready cash on hand for those texts or emails from friends who know of a gun for sale. Those happen all too often.

    Last are the spur of the moment buys. I go to gun shows every other month and just cruise the aisles to see if anything calls out to me.

    I’m fortunate to have a pretty forgiving wife. That said, a cool uncle of mine once told me “a man’s always got to have a stash the wife knows nothing about”.

  24. It depends. It’s usually a three-step process.

    #1. Does it fill a need?
    #2. Does it fill a want?
    #3. Is there a place to shoot it?

    I own three .22 rifles and three handguns. Two of the .22 rifles are for my kids. One is for me.

    Of the three handguns, my Beretta 92 was purchased for home defense. My Kel Tec is for carry and my .45 is a WW II Army reproduction and just a range toy.

    My days of buying cool guns just two own and look at are over. I got rid of all of the sexy modern guns and went back to wood and steel. I don’t hunt. I have no illusions about fighting zombies, aliens or the gub’ment. I just want to plink at cans with my sons, defend my home and protect myself if attacked on the street.

    I have considered adding a Springfield XDs to my collection, but I didn’t: mainly because it didn’t do anything that my Kel Tec couldn’t.

    So what would it take me to buy another gun? Either a major change in my hobbies, like deciding to take up Skeet or a major change in environmental threat. If my neighborhood went downhill I may consider a shotgun or lever gun but there isn’t much else that would get me to change.

  25. I’m a total value shopper. Sure, there are lots of cool guns out there, but I want bang for the buck, not the other way around.

    I also want guns that are common in use and have readily available parts and ammo. I don’t buy fancy caliber hunting rifles just because of the possibility that I might be able to squeeze a few extra yards out of my shot. I don’t buy expensive handguns because they have cool OD Green receivers and such.

    I buy guns because they are tools. Tools I love and think are cool, but tools none the less. I want guns that will last a long time and get my moneys worth out of them. I want them in calibers that are easy to find.

    When I do make buying decisions I take the above factors into consideration, then I go do my research. I start by reading reviews on places like TTAG. Then I read customer reviews at places like Buds Guns. I watch You tube videos from guys like Hickock. Occasionally if I’m really not sure I try to see if a local range has a rental. I shop around at different stores and handle multiple guns in the category I’m looking at. I go home and sleep on it before making a decision. Then if the price is right, if the gun fits my needs, if the choice is something doesn’t make wonder if it’s the “right” gun… I buy it.

    I don’t think I make many spur of the moment gun buying decisions, unless it’s just such a great deal, or it’s something I’ve been waiting around to get a chance to buy (Like a Sub 2000 I’m wanting). The choices to buy is deliberate and not really affected by the marketing ads in American Rifleman or the commercials on Outdoor TV. It is influenced by research, handling, and the need for a specific tool to fill a role.

    Now once I have the guns for all the roles I want them for my buying OODA loop may turn to something more akin to a three year old in a candy shop, but we’ll see.

  26. Generally speaking, out of need….

    I’ve only been a gun owner for 4 years.

    The first one I bought shortly after I moved to Northern Michigan (It’s a whole ‘nother country, eh). Single shot 12 gauge, sold by a guy I work with. The deal was done next door to the plant in the parking lot of the local ball field due to our shop’s self imposed gun free zone. Let the anti’s get ahold of that….

    After that I bought a .22LR. I wanted to shoot more, I wanted to learn more about guns in general, and .22LR was cheap and readily available…oh how I miss those days.

    I bought a .30-30 for a deer rifle, again availability of ammo played a big factor in that specific choice. And in a completely vain way, I wanted me a lever gun…

    I bought a Remmy 870 because I was tired of only getting one shot off per flock of ducks. Ironic because since then I haven’t seen a flock of ducks….

    When I wanted to buy a pistol it was also a completely vain choice…1911. Because. 1911. That one price played the biggest factor. I was actually going to buy a 1911 .22 because the gun was cheap as was the ammo. I had to convince the wife to let me run up the charge card for a .45.

    Those are all of the ones I’m willing to talk about 🙂

    In most of the cases, except the first, the primary choice was based on need. “I need a gun that will do X.” If I look at why that SPECIFIC gun for that role, it was mostly influenced by name and price.

    I asked around and the 336 is an extremely popular deer rifle up here, several friends have 3rd generation rifles that still function flawlessly (I didn’t know about Marlin’s problems when I bought mine). The 870 is the 870; been around forever and a solid platform. And, like I said, 1911.

    Price is always a big factor (hopefully soon to change with my forthcoming, better paying position). My gun budget is exactly zero. In fact, some of the guns on that list I’m still paying interest on. So getting something reliable at a good price is a concern for me, and so far they’ve all been flawless (even when I had to take a punch and hammer to get the bolt out of the Marlin….don’t ask….)

  27. I buy police surplus, refinish them, and then trade them for the things that I really want.
    I NEVER buy new guns and I NEVER shoot factory loaded ammo. I suppose that I am not the ideal customer in the eye of the firearm manufacturer.

    Do the same thing with cars too.

  28. Some of it depends on its ultimate use (hunting, CCW, or just adding to the collection). In any situation, I’m looking for reliability, reliability, reliability. If it falls under the third category, then factors like ergonomics, general looks, and coolness factor may come into the equation. However, for all three, I will generally read reviews, and with the advent of youtube, I’ll watch a couple of reviews. After all that, I have to find a physical specimen to find out if it feels right in my hands.

  29. Price is important to me. I’d like to own and carry a Sig M11-A1 or a Colt New Agent but the price is too steep. Sometimes things are too rich for my blood and especially if they might vanish to an evidence locker one day. I’ll pay five or six hundred but I’ll rarely go above eight (and those are special circumstances).

    Reputation and reliability are also important. I want to know that it’ll work the first time, every time. I’m unlikely to ever own a Kel-Tec but I’ll buy a Beretta or Glock any day. I’ll search the ‘net for reviews and Youtube for videos from people I trust. I will likely sit through a Nutnfancy video at least once because he will be brutally honest. If the gun dealer wants my money they need to let reviewers discuss the good and the bad honestly.

    Also, it has to be something I find visually appealing. The only reason I’ve never looked at the Smith M&Ps is because they’re less attractive to me then their older 3rd Gen pistols.

  30. My entire gun collection began after watching Utube vids. I also read reviews and try to narrow my wants down to what I really could use in my shooting environment.
    I try to buy nearby, but I usually end up online and gunbroker has been my resource for the majority of my purchases. I just received my Keltec PMR 30 from an online retailer after every brick and mortar source I visited refused to put me on a list. Poor attitude has been the rule at many of my local gun dealers.

  31. Right now, I look at what “need” needs to be filled. Home defense, SHTF, EDC, etc. I’ll look at what guns fit a specific need and research from there. Naturally there’s some personal preference on how the gun looks (I definitely like the look of old-school wood and blued steel more than the all-black tactical), and cost is a big factor in the equation as well. There’s really only 1 gun that I want specifically for the “I want it” factor, and that would be an inox Beretta 92.

    When I picked up my first handgun earlier this year, I went to my LGS and checked out what they had in a full-sized 9mm (Need: home defense/range time). I compared what they had available and what was most comfortable. I then went home and researched the pistols I liked to see if it was a good deal, if it was reliable, if there were any issues, and general reviews. I went back 2 or 3 times before I finally filled out the 4473 and brought it home (they are now my preferred LGS since they were so helpful and cool to talk to).

    Same kind of process when I was looking for a .22 rifle (Need: range time, plinking, newbie introduction). First and fore-most I wanted something that could use shorts, longs, or LR’s because of ammo availability (height of the panic when .22LR was non-existent). Next was action-type, where lever-action seemed to have the most models that took the different ammo sizes. My LGS had a couple Henry’s on the rack, but then a Browning BL22 showed up that caught my interest and eventually came home with me (guy laughingly said I should just buy it since I checked it out so often, which is what I was planning on doing that day anyway).

    Right now, I’m looking at the SHTF need – which for me has basically come down to AR vs AK. Well, at this point it’s just AK (world-proven reliability, wood vs. tactical, cost – both weapon platform and ammo), but at this time I’m looking at building vs. buying. Sure, an AR is easier to build, but I’ve already got the big tools and skills necessary for the AK because of the old-car hobby…

  32. I look at online retailers that have stores near me, and when I find something that looks interesting in my price range I do google searches on the product to get reviews. If the product is not massively panned, and has at least ‘mixed’ reviews or better I will usually get it, if I still want it after doing all the research.

  33. I buy thing that fit a niche I see. Squirrels, 22. Deer, half my arsenal. Pistols, things I can shoot accurately. Would like to hunt elk, have a couple rifles for that.

    Accuracy is the only meteric I use for retention. I can accruately shoot anything in the safe. Can’t hit with it, down the road it goes.

    Probably not the model buyer you are looking for.

    • I’m a lot like Paul. I want accuracy foremost, with relability a close second. My first handgun was a Ruger Single Six that I bought for plinking back in 1976 (cost just over $100 new). My first long gun was a Marlin .22LR bolt action also bought for plinking and shooting ground hogs (aka woodchucks) in NJ. Both have excellent accuracy and I still own ’em. I’d say that 95% of my collection was bought with a specific purpose in mind, some for hunting, some for competition, some for plinking, and maybe 2 guns that are range toys. Since I’m in my late 50’s, I used to read a half dozen or more gun magazines a month. Always checked out the reviews, what is new, what the various writers were using for their competitions, hunting trips, etc. I also always bought a copy of The Shooter’s Bible and Gun Digest annual every year. This was before Al Gore invented the interwebs. I haven’t bought a new gun in over a decade, but realized about a year ago, that I do not have a semi-auto centerfire rifle other than my M1 Garand. The garand is nice, and I enjoy shooting it, but the 8 round capacity is very limiting. So I have been reading on line about the AR vs. AK debates, and what other possible platforms are out there. This would be my “poop hit the ventilator and bad things happening in the neighborhood” gun. So right now, I’m looking at various rifles and carbines that have decent accuracy, extreme reliability, weigh less than 10 pounds fully loaded and optioned up, from a manufacturer that stands behind their product. Once I’ve got it down to maybe 2 or 3 models at the most, then I want to go to a store and hold it in my hands. I’m “old school” and want to see and feel and smell the product first hand. I’ve designed and worked around close tolerance machinery for over 35 years, and I can feel quality in my hands, and see it with my eyes. Pride in craftsmanship shows. Like the difference between a $4 bottle of wine from a discount store, and the wine made at the monastary down the road. After all of that, then I’ll plop my hard earned $$$$ on the counter.

  34. I only buy proven designs and/or well researched pieces, and I consider myself a budget gunner. I like “different” stuff, but only if it is quality. My AK variant is a Norinco Hunter, for example. Milled, takes full size mags, smooth action, 20″ barrel, accurate and fun for $350 right before things got stupid. My most expensive pieces are my CZ pistols, a matte stainless 75 and a 75D compact. I dig 3rd gen Smiths if the price is right, like my rough but ready 5904 and my near perfect 457. All used but the compact CZ, all great shooters and dead reliable.

  35. Well lately I’ve found a new appreciation for used, classic guns. So now I hop on Armslist and browse or go to my LGS and check the back racks I used to ignore. Just picked up a Savage model 99 that I found at by chance. Paid cash. Not something that can do anything better than anything else I already have, but I like the Americana associated with it.

  36. I keep a list of “wanted items”. An item makes the list if:

    1) It fills a percieved gap in purpose or personal experience (i.e. purpose: don’t have SHTF carbine; i.e. personal experience: never owned a single-action revolver.)

    2) I think it is sexy.

    3) I can afford it.

    Then, I let the list just sit. I know myself well enough to know I suffer from “flavor of the day” syndrome. I save myself impulse purchases that way. It also keeps me from being too lusty of things outside my means (i.e. Volquartsen Evolution at $3800 sure is sexy, but was quickly removed from list).

    If a gun stays on my list for a while, then I’ll shop. Online for price ballparks, then try and find a local outlet. I allow myself 1 to 2 purchases a year. Nearer to 1 now, as my list is getting shorter and accessories/ammo takes up more of the budget. But as they say in the bicyling word: “The right number of bikes to have is ALWAYS “N +1”, where “N” = the number of bikes you currently have…

  37. Having only purchased 4, I’m a relative newbie. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy to demo guns as it is to demo skis (manufacturers should perhaps take a cue from the ski industry here), so I relied entirely on the experiences of others – which means:

    1. Wait until a gun has been out and established a track record before considering
    2. Let early adopters be your guinea pig
    3. Read everything on the whole internet about the gun
    4. Watch every youtube video about the gun
    5. Cultivate friends who have LOTS of guns and ask their opinion
    6. Pay your money and take your chances

    Fortunately there’s not a big premium loss from “driving one off the lot” so if you buy it right (at a chunky discount from list) you won’t take a big hit if things don’t work out as you expected.

  38. Since the recent laws that were signed in by Governor Moonbeam, most people in California are now going to Nevada, Arizona, or Texas for guns and ammo. (We’re not allowed bullets with lead, ya know.) The Elites haven’t put up police check points on the roadways-yet- so we are sorta safe driving back with our bounty.

  39. I want to be able to handle the gun. Weight, balance, and rattle are a big deal to me. The review of the gun from my favorite LGS is considered. I have done enough business to have forged an honest repore with him. I will talk to others who have had experience with the gun as well. Usually my local shooting club or range helps. Finally I consider what role the gun will have in the collection. Finally the reputation of the manufacturer and customer service are considered. Price is determined according to the merits of the gun. You buy a gun that is less quality than you paid for and you regret it every time. A quality gun has a quality price that goes with it.

  40. 1) good deal on a used gun regardless of source (legal obviously)
    2) read reviews here or elsewhere that convinced me that I needed another toy
    3) historically significant design
    4) “i always wanted one of these, and have not bought anything this month”
    5) Need a specific platform that I don’t have yet.
    6) Bored, need a new toy to research, buy stuff for
    7) Time to upgrade to a higher quality version of what I already own
    8) looks cool
    9) “everyone has one, so I need one too”

  41. Lots of online research. Forum reviews are pretty unbiased. You can usually differentiate between “new” gun guy reviews, “experienced” gun guy reviews, honest reviews and biased reviews.
    Youtube reviews. Same thing as for forum reviews.

    The only publication that I like for gun reviews is Gun-Tests magazine. Unbiased reviews. I combine these and that’ll help me decide whether or not I should get what I was interested in…………the reason I DON’T own a Marlin 1894 (FG quality) or an EAA Witness Hunter (customer service)!

  42. The first (and only so far) purchase was based on price mostly. The process consisted roughly of google around. Watch a bunch of people say “Holy crap the mosin is so cheap and not a total train wreck”. Convince wife. Make purchase. Home defense plan begun.

    Second planned purchase was similar process. Think hard about the features I want. Handgun. Cheap as possible ammo. Reasonable size hole in bad guy. Lots of other considerations obviously. Eventually settled on glock 19 because Glock 19. (saving up the pennies! Thinking used, but we’ll see). It’s hard to argue with the wealth of info out there on most guns. This site included.

  43. Easy! I see something I really, really want and I ask the wife, “Can I buy X? Please-oh-please-oh-please?”

    When she says, “No, we don’t have the money,” I begin to find amazingly creative ways of raising cash. To which she responds, “Great, we can replace those drafty windows with that money.” So we do that. Then I find other creative ways of funding what I want—uh, er, need. At which point I ask, “Now can I buy X?”

    Usually by the time I get enough to buy X, I don’t want it anymore; instead, I want Y. So I go to the wife and ask, “Can I buy Y? Please-oh-please-oh-please?”

    As a result, I have:
    1) A happy wife.
    2) New windows in about three-quarters of my house.
    3) Two guns.
    4) A motorcycle.

    (N.B.: If you don’t have that first one, then none of the rest are all that special.)

    • Agreed. 🙂

      I just put a small amount aside every month. Will take me forever to get the money for stuff, but wife can’t complain what I spend it on, since it’s not hurting anything.

      Maybe I should get more creative so I can buy her more stuff, haha.

  44. Honestly, I know my process is a bit odd (you’ll see what I mean shortly). FWIW, I already own a nice variety, so I don’t NEED anything in particular. When I decide that I indeed would like to purchase a new gun, I first off make the determination of what category I’d like (pistol, rifle, shotgun, other) and for what purpose (ccw, home defense, hunting) all of which are fairly common.

    Next, I set a personal goal that restricts my ability to purchase. For instance, I’d like to buy a .45 semi-auto pistol, but first I’d like to lose 10 lbs and keep it off for 3 months. This serves a couple purposes, one obviously being that it keeps me from buying on impulse, which gives me time to research. I’m also always looking for opportunities to better myself, so it always entails some sort of self improvement (exercise, lose weight, learn a new skill, volunteer, build good habits, etc) so no matter what I end up better off.

    This not only makes me happier, but helps improve the impression of firearms on my non gun toting friends. That’s one of the most important aspects of being an avid Pro-2A supporter, to give credence to alternative benefits to firearms.

    Next, I find places such as TTAG, The Firearm Blog, etc as a great resource not just for reviews, but even a starting point for lesser known brands and models. I browse through these (and other – aka hunting) forums to compile a list.

    I then talk to local experts, primarily friends who have far more experience with a myriad of platforms, which for me is my military buddies. This affords me first hand advice, and gives alternative views that I trust.

    A couple big considerations for me is whether it is manufactured in USA, and whether there is a lifetime warranty. I’m always leaning towards American made, so that helps. It isn’t a strict limitation, but one that weighs heavily.

    Price plays an important role. As I’ve said, I’ve got the basics covered, thus a firearm must be in my personal price range, which happens to be <$1000, stock. Additions I don't mind paying for separately, as I can acquire them later and as needed.

    Lastly, basic customer service not only from the manufacturer, but the distributor makes a HUGE impact on me. For instance, I went to Cabela's looking for a .32 pistol for my father-in-law. The kid behind the counter was maybe my age, but he was a prick when I asked him if they had any. Had he been professional, or perhaps pointed me to another avenue to pursue the pistol, then I'd be MORE apt to purchase from them. Truth be told, that one bad experience was enough to color my perception and I will not be buying from them anytime in the future.

    Overall, I'd say that durability, affordability, and availability will always be the biggest contributors to sales.

  45. Since this is advice for a manufacturer, he’s my .02.

    1. First decide what kind of gun are you looking to make. Pistol? Okay, what niche? Small and concealable, large capacity, ultra durable?

    2. Next, survey the landscape. Chances are you probably don’t have something revolutionary – rather it will (presumably) be an improvement over what’s on the market right now. Figure out where existing products have shortcomings or where there might be a niche that is unfilled.

    3. Build your gun to fill that need keeping in mind that it will be judged against similar competitors. Try to do something unique. For example, if you want to beat the Baby Glock, don’t simply build another double stack extra wide polymer gun. Try to find something the Glock does not do well and beat it.

    Let me offer a practical example. I’m in the market for a really compact CCW. My favorite so far is the Sig Sauer P938. The problem is that I’d prefer something other than a SAO gun with an external safety. The Sig is small and light and it has a reasonable ammo capacity of 6-7 rounds. When I carry, I carry a second mag in a pocket, so I don’t need a 13 round capacity. I like the slimness and weight of it. Its just about a perfect shooter too as the metal frame damps recoil just enough. I had a Ruger LC9 and it was no fun to shoot so I sold it.

    I looked at the Baby Glock and the S&W offerings. Neither tickle my fancy. The Sig P224 is too big and heavy for me. I bought a P290, but it just feels weird – it’s too top heavy. Plus, I just don’t like full DAO triggers. What would be perfect would be one of Sigs DA/SA triggers in the P938. Build a gun like that and I’ll buy it.

    That is how you sell to me and probably many others.

  46. I buy based on what I want at the time. Price rarely comes into play, because you generally get what you pay for. My last Benelli M2 w/ComforTech in Max 4 was bought NIB for 999.99 on GunBroker. It was by far the cheapest I could find it for. I’ll spend a bunch of money for what I want when it comes to guns, I just try to find a deal first.

  47. Step one what will it be used for? If hunting then hunting for what. If competition then for what sport (and at what level). If for personal defense then what is the envisioned use, home defense? Concealed carry? If CC then what time of year and perceived threat level. If antique collectible then where do I need to improve the collection and is the collection a financial investment or just because I want one.( an example there an early Winchester 1890 .22 RF slide action …. I want one as one of them was my first gun… But in fair to good shoot able condition they now push $900 and in collector grade can touch $5,000 I look at that and say the ” cheap ones” are not realy an investment. Then I look at my collection of plinkers pull out the old Weatherby XXII that I sold my own 1890 back in the late 60s to buy… And sigh and say to myself that I am better off with it and its scope with my ageing eyes….)
    So huge variables to parse before we even get to compairing makes and models .
    Once that process is done Which for me was when I decided to replace the lever action pistol cartridge rifle for my current sport of cowboy action shooting… I had been using a clapped out clone of Winchester 1892 in 38 special. I had bought cheap when I first dabbled in the sport…. But it no longer fit my costume or my desire to shoot black powder.
    So we decide we need a pistol cartridge leveraction rifle….
    What cartridge? .45 Colt
    Ok clone or antique… Clone as competition guns lead a hard life
    Which model…. Large choice. Here but the 1873 has the best support for the sport
    New or used…. New as the problems with the 92 have put me off used lots of moving parts in a lever action
    Ok which clone maker and importer. ( not the same thing some importers are more picky about things like quality control and after sale support) so do the ask the men that own them and get to examine and shoot what is available at matches over the course of a shooting season..
    Stock or slicked up for the sport( short stroke kits gun smithing mods etc) and if slicked up DIY or done by specialist gunsmith. In my case I went with a compitition ready rifle from the well known SASS smith LongHunter.
    So it can be a long process or on the other hand perhaps you have just cashed your pay check and stop by the local gun shop for 1000 large pistol primers and there on the wall is something that speaks to you at that moment and you buy it.
    That later way of buying a gun happend to me a lot when I was in my teens and twenties.

    Once I lucked into a case of 7×57 mm ammo for free back in the 1960s and I walked into the shop and said ” give me a 7×57 anything!”
    In the case of the 1873 I took a full year of decisions testing and ordering to my spec waiting until I shot a match with the new gun.
    So nothing here that any maker can use for marketing.

    My advice to them. Build guns that don’t break and don’t jam ( support at the highest level both in speed and quality) and that can be kept looking good without the need of kid gloves and build your company on that reputation and you will be a company that will make money for a long time

  48. Well usually the number of options that the guy has in his trunk up at the park is pretty slim. So usually I just go with whatever has the most chrome and stainless on it, especially if it looks cool being pointed sideways?
    amidoingitwrong?

  49. Read reviews.
    Watch on you tube.
    Talk to others.
    See it. Handle it.
    Wait.
    Re-assess need.
    Learn about ammo reload/availability.
    Budget.
    Buy.

    Would love to see links that really play on you tube with detailed examples on shooting, cleaning, etc on a new model from the manufacturer – these would be cheap and appreciated.

  50. That is a great question. I have been looking to aquire a shotty for 3 gun. Part of the problem right now is availibility. I was waffeling about price. Should i buy the Benneli M2 and spend another $900 to get it up and running? Should i buy the Mossberg 930 JM Pro? Taking a chance if i get a good one or a bad one. Since all i can find are the 21 inch 930 JM Pro shotguns, I havent been too tempted. When i shot a lot of sporting clays the Beretta 390 was the best. I went through a lot of shotguns on my journey to the 390 and always liked Beretta 390s. Low and behold Beretta finally came out with a 3 gun model. Now i am looking for a 24 inch barrell 1301 Comp. I can find them on gun broker, but none locally. I really want to hold one before I buy it and would prefer to buy local. So the answer to the question… on the gun i am currently looking to aquire would be… brand loyalty. Hope i can find one soon. How about a review on the 1301 comp? hint hint.

  51. Every 6 months or so I visit a few LGS or Cabelas’s, GT Distributors, etc. and see what’s on the shelves.

    I watch the good gun/ammo reviews on YouTube. Hickok45 is one of my favorites.

    If I see something I like, and it’s under $1,000, I buy it. If it’s over that I call the wife and ask her. She usually says OK and knows that she’ll be getting a purse or earrings soon after I buy something.

    This doesn’t take into account my must have list (Garands, AK’s, FAL’s, historically significant firearms). Those I snatch up as long as the condition is fine and the price isn’t too bad.

  52. I make a list of guns that I want, then I cross off all of the ones that are illegal, then I sigh heavily and go to Walmart to buy a pellet gun, then I find out that all bb/pellet guns were recently banned by town ordinance.

    True story bro, I live in Massachusetts.

  53. Hmm. There’s how I claim I buy guns and how I actually do it.

    I like to say I research a bunch of stuff ahead of time, go to the gun show and buy from the cheapest one I find there. I check out forums I trust, model-specific forums, general gun review websites, YouTube and talk to my circle of shooter friends for opinions. When I am ready, I wait for the gun show to roll around and buy from the cheapest FFL at the show (eliminating that one shop whom I actively avoid).

    I say that, but it’s pretty much all lies. Looking back on my last few purchases, it really boils down to impulse. The last one was a stroll through the gun show with SWMBO and I casually pointed out a Kriss Vector. She liked it enough she said we should get it. Paperwork & credit card proceeded immediately afterwards. Prior to that, I saw a guy online selling his FS2000, and it looked interesting so I bought it. I spotted a Zombie Defense stripped lower that made me laugh, so out comes the credit card. It seems I am an impulse buyer, despite my protestations.

    I will say that I am leaning towards supporting innovation in the industry. I’m a fan of bullpups, new models, black plastic, weird grips and strange designs. The Kriss Vector is an interesting attempt at moving firearm design forward (I personally think it failed, but I appreciate the effort). The FS2000 and the P90 have their own innovations. The bullpup Ruger 10/22 conversions I own are partly because it make’s em bullpups and partly because I like encouraging people to innovate.

    And I agree with dutchroo: Get a wife who is into the hobby. It helps immeasurably.

  54. 1. I see it
    2. i want it
    3. i buy it
    4.i buy candy and flowers for the wife
    5. i tell her I promise this is it…..
    6. Repeat steps 1 thru 5….LOL

    • My independent research has show me:
      Less than $500 easier to be forgiveness
      greater than $500 better to ask permission.

  55. I have a few categories but mostly I am a terrible impulse buyer. Having said that, I haven’t regretted a purchase yet. For newer weapons I usually do some research before I go check it out in person. For instance, I did lots of research before I snagged my Mossberg 930 SPX as I wanted a good budget 3 gun setup and it fit the bill.

    Now here is how I approach a store.
    1. Milsurps – I love old military rifles and pistols. I troll the used sections of gun stores first looking for that gem!
    2. EBRs. I like to look at what EBRs are for sale even though I am not in the market for one. I finally saw a SCAR in person last week.
    3. CZ pistols. I have a CZ style pistol and want a new P09 of which I have done a lot of research on. CZ pistols are rare so I look each time I go to a gun store.
    4. Shotguns-Double barrels, not so much (sorry Uncle Joe) but tacticool, hunting and interesting guns are on the list.
    5. Other Handguns-I am not as into handguns are other people.
    6. Hunting rifles-I only need one and I’ve had it since I was 12 so I only look.
    7. If I am not passed out by now I stroll through the accessories.
    8. I then go back to interesting firearms and debate whether to purchase or not.

  56. Step 1… Can I afford this or will I have to eat ramen (if so for how long)… but seriously, name a price and then
    Step 2… Can I justify the purchase (does it have a purpose, or fill a need)
    Step 3… Is it to commemorate a personal milestone or reward?
    Step 4… What is it based on caliber, accessories, or purpose (ie: 1911 based platform, or other)
    Step 5… Look at overall costs (will i have to buy different ammo, more magazines, etc…)
    Step 6… Will I actually be able to use it or is it a safe queen, if safe queen return to step 1 and re-analyze…
    Step 7… Determine restrictions (CA-Roster/Off-Roster & AW Ban) and capabilities of FFL (can they transfer, SSE Req’s/Bullet Button)
    Step 8… Locate a seller or product (Ship to CA?)
    Step 9… Purchase/Transfer/Coordinate paperwork…

  57. As long as it is through a private transfer and functions, ill look at it. I prefer the ak over the ar though, even a $350 wasr is more reliable than a $10k les Baer AR.

  58. I make my decision based on price, reliability, and cost and availability of ammo. Resale value and availability of model specific accessories like holsters and magazines. Recently my biggest problem has been finding the guns I want. My local shops either cant get them in or they sell out as soon as they do.

  59. At first, I got sucked in because I “needed” a gun of type X (MSR, subcompact handgun, full size, etc)

    Then I looked around and picked a winner from that style that was within my budget. Based on reviews, capacity, price, reputable manufacturer, etc

    These days? If something new catches my interest I read reviews on it, and then decide if I want to take the chance or not. I am more willing to shell out cash to a company that has given me a trouble free experience so far, or to one with a similarly good reputation. I wait until I hear the horror stories from the others on smaller name groups (looking at you Keltec) and then pass.

  60. My shopping method:
    1 – What is the purpose that needs to be filled and is there alot of ammo/parts availability? (right now, i can only afford needs, not wants; owned my first gun just last year, so im fairly new to the gun scene)
    2 – Look at popular video/article reviews to see what’s out there. Hickok45 and Nutnfancy are usually my first two stops (yes… i do in fact enjoy nutnfancy’s videos. :P). TTAG is third. Google search reviews and forum findings after those.
    3 – After getting a list of potential firearms, i put important/relevant specs/features and notes into an excel spreadsheet and see where each firearms ranks in meeting my purpose and being affordable.
    4 – go to the nearest gun range to see if the firearm i want is there. Try it for the next 2-3 range trips. Prevents splurge purchasing, but more importantly I familiarize myself with the weapon, and reorganize spec/feature importance with the experience from the range.
    5 – go price researching, and have a goal / maximum price in mind, and if I come across it either through gun shows/online methods (gunbroker, etc), i buy.

    Some examples of where I first came across guns that I have/desire:
    Conceal carry & Home carry – Glock’s heavy market presence (shows up in youtube, coworkers, friends, forums,… everywhere)
    Target practice – youtube, especially nutnfancy
    Conceal work carry – TTAG. coach guns are fun 😀
    Home defense – youtube, esp hickok45 videos

  61. I decide on my criteria for a firearm, and then I search for guns that meet that criteria. I read reviews, talk to people who own them, and if possible I fire them. If a gun has known reliability issues I won’t consider it. If a gun isn’t comfortable, I’ll keep looking. If the price of a reliable, comfortable gun is too high, I’ll look for it’s nearest competitor to see if that’ll work, or I search armslist and gunbroker for a better deal. If I still can’t afford it, I just sort of stare longingly for a moment and decide to keep saving, or buy something completely different. I don’t purchase substitutes that will make me feel disappointed every time I see someone with the gun I really wanted.

  62. while I am motivated by price/performance/value points, I shop first & foremost my 3 locally-owned gun shops. $20-50 difference is minor when I get good service & questions answered. It doesn’t hurt that they recognize & know me. There are firearms outside my price range, or outside my usage needs (CCW, HD, or range toy) that I don’t even consider. Most pistols considered are Glocks – I’ll admit to having gone over to the dark side, but do own & use other brands of pistols.

  63. How: With cash or credit card
    Where: Local gun dealer
    Which type: AR 15
    Why AR: Home defense and target practice
    Which Brand/Model: Stag 2TL
    Why Stag: Perfect fit at fair price for left handed shooter.

  64. Ok here’s me process.
    1) sell child or organ, rob a hooker, or beat down a leprechaun.

    2) see what anti gun folks are frothing over the most

    3) find weapon that has as many scary pieces as possible.

    4) purchase

    5) make even scarier by drawing flames and angry smilies on it.

    6) post this on TTAG.

    sarc off/

    Honestly I just buy what catches my eye.

  65. Over the course of time I have discovered I prefer S/D action in pistols/revolvers to double action only
    and like a longer barrel in both rather than snub nose barrels. Purchased Ruger LCR 38, now replaced with GP 100 3″ barrel..357 Sold Bersa .22 and replaced with Ruger SR .22, Sold Taurus DA 9mm, replaced with Ruger P95. Next purchase will be Ruger 3″ barrel SP101 .22.
    All current Rugers were purchased on line. Very happy with all the Rugers

  66. I have a list which i update as new items come on the market this list then gets modified based on online and youtube reviews of items as well as forums. Major focus for me is Reliability and ammo availability as well as cost to upgrade acessories etc. But I definately do my online research with regards to forums and youtube vid’s before I buy anything

  67. All of my purchases begin with an application in mind: I decide that I want a firearm to deal with a particular problem. That problem could be defending my family from a home invader in the dark. Or it could be wanting an extended season to hunt deer, etc. Then I begin research. I want to get an idea of the pros and cons of different types of firearms for my application. After weighing the pros and cons and choosing a specific type and caliber, I look to see if any manufacturers make that type and caliber of firearm. Next, I screen out firearms that I cannot afford or that are effectively not available. Then, I seek out actual customer reviews of any firearms that are available, affordable, and meet the needs of my application. Finally, armed with customer reviews, I actually find any firearms that made it that far in my process so I can touch and feel them. If two or more firearms are somewhat similarly priced, I obviously choose the one that fits and feels better and appears to be manufactured correctly (function, fit, and finish).

    Case in point. I wanted a handgun that could reliably drop deer out to at least 50 yards, and preferably 75 yards. According to my research, the only calibers that work for that application are .44 Magnum, .454 Casull, and some even larger calibers. Then my research indicated that .454 Casull and larger calibers generate brutal recoil. Furthermore, ammunition is expensive and hard to find. So I settled on .44 Magnum revolver with at least a 6 inch barrel. Now which one? The only practical choices that were readily available near my home were Ruger Super Redhawks, Smith and Wesson Model 629s, and Taurus Raging Bulls. Customer reviews indicated that all three revolvers were fine, reliable firearms and all three companies are reputable. So I handled all of them. All of them felt good in my hand. And fit and finish seemed to be excellent on all three. My final choice was the Taurus Raging Bull for three reasons. First, it’s single action and double action trigger was outstanding. Second, the Raging Bull has a ported barrel which helps reduce recoil. Third, it was about $200 less expensive than either the Ruger or Smith and Wesson. At that point the decision is pretty obvious.

  68. I buy my guns with cash. I see one I can afford, then I fill out a 4473, and then I hand them my money. I pick it up the next day, or after 3 days, depending on what I buy.

  69. I buy on a whim usually. I see an ad or try one out and then want one. Some of my guns I bought spur of the moment, like a ,222 rem that was cheap and a .38 Colt revolver that was priced right.
    I’ve went looking for an AK variant and ended up with an AR-10 instead. At least it was a .30 purchase.

  70. Well, first I had to have a cataract operation so I could see clearly for the first time in my life. Then I wanted to learn more, so I joined a small bore rifle club. I bought a long barrel CZ because it had a gold trigger. True story. Then came a deer rifle (Winchester 70), an SKS, and a Norinco Mauser copy .22, just for fun. I picked a Maverick 88 shotgun because it fit me and felt good. Price is a factor, but so is a good record of reliability, and fit for function. I can’t legally own a handgun in my state (non USA) but I enjoy my present guns and I’m not looking for others as yet.

  71. Has anyone here been to Whittaker’s (the picture at the top of the page)? If you have, it will eliminate any sensibility in your budget in regards to the selection and prices. The fact that Moonlight BBQ buffet is up the road is another reason to visit if your ever in the Owensborro, KY area.

    I would say my reasons to buy a gun are application and the store. Application is the variable, but the store can make a huge difference, though the higher priced stores seldom in my experience have given service that equals the increase in price when buying there. Sometimes the pricier places are the only ones with the firearms that I want, so I can go and get the feel of it. I try to buy where I handle them, I feel that is a fair business practice considering the dizzying array of items found online. If they are willing to carry it and have it available, that can make up the time and money for driving around to find a “better” price.

  72. Sure, I’ll bite. Especially if it helps gun makers provide useful tools to me at a bargain price!

    My thought process as a consumer:

    See pretty picture of firearm/have firearm recommended to me/use type of firearm at a range
    1.) Decide I need a type firearm.
    2.) Narrow by intended use.
    5.) Research first hand accounts on internet.
    3.) Decide on type of firearm and caliber.
    4.) Narrow by price point. If unavailable at budget level, research alternatives or save money.
    6.) Decide on model, manufacturer based on value per dollar I have to spend.
    7.) Decide whether to buy on internet with FFL or LGS based on availability (I always contact LGS first)
    8.) Purchase firearm.
    9.) Test firearm with no mercy. If firearms does not perform as needed/intended, sell firearm and start over. Carry chip on shoulder and whine on internet about type/manufacturer/model of failed firearm.
    10.) Configure firearm as necessary (holsters, ammo, optics, lasers, accessories)
    11.) Wax poetic on the internet about firearm. Take pictures with firearm. Irritate friends who don’t care to hear about how cool new firearm is. Make wife jealous of inanimate objects.
    12.) Start over

  73. My purchasing is based on wants and needs. I want a lot of things related to shooting so I target the needs first. For buying another rifle, I look at my usage criteria.

    1) Usage. Since service rifle shooting is my primary activity, this will influence my purchasing. Currently I am looking into a M1903 (preferably A3) Springfield and a M17 Enfield. For hunting, I have used my service rifles in the field but since this is a very infrequent activity I have learned to tolerate the minor inconveniences.

    2) Ammunition availability (or at least reloading components). In this factor is why I am considering a M17 over the P14. While I do have .303 ammunition and reloading components, in the long-term .30-06 cases and .308 projectiles are more easily available. All I need to get is a set of .30-06 dies.

    3) Replacement components. In service shooting, replacing barrels is sometimes a necessity. Replacing a .30-caliber barrel is much easier than replacing a .303-caliber barrel. .30 barrels are more commonly available from more suppliers.

    4) To fix holes in my collection. I have representative examples of British, European, and Russian rifles. But I don’t have US rifles, and nor do I have a Lithgow SMLE (which is another hopeful addition).

  74. I live in Hawaii. If I can’t build it from an 80% lower then I don’t buy it because I refuse to jump through hoops and register my civil rights. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.

  75. Every one is different–my shopping process has varied wildly with each purchase. Here’s a few acquisition stories from my collection.

    My first purchase was a Beretta 92FS. I wanted it because it was fun to shoot in Rainbow Six: Vegas and I thought it would be fun for target practice and good to have just in case. I validated my “want” by reading about it and learning about its military pedigree, testing history, etc. I cemented the deal by visiting a LGS and handling one; I was hooked by the build quality and how it felt, and I bought it on the spot.

    Immediately after Newtown I saw ammo starting to disappear and the call to ban “assault weapons” heat up, and decided to get a .22 for plinking. I didn’t have a clue what was on the market and just started searching. I decided to grab something with “ban features” (over, say, a 10-22) in case that option might become unavailable soon. It was a nutnfancy review that pointed me toward a Sig 522 in the first place. Generally good online reviews and a closed-side magazine design sealed the deal. I found one at pre-panic prices online & jumped.

    TTAG introduced me to the Tavor. The article about the Tavor at SHOT suggested that everyone who laid hands on one loved it. I forgot all about it until I saw one at a LGS. I checked it out, but wasn’t particularly impressed. It didn’t seem to shoulder well, and it was pricy. When I got home I went back to the article and looked at some videos to see why everyone liked it so much. That’s when I learned about the 6-point hold and got to see all the engineering and ergonomics that make the Tavor a really interesting Bullpup design. Since they have been scarce online (so I was confident I could resell), and since I can share mags with my AR I decided to buy one and try it out. I fell in love, and am keeping it.

    My most recent purchase was a KSG. I was intrigued by the design from the first time a friend showed me a picture, and I spent the last 2-3 years researching and looking for one. I accepted that the KSG might be nothing more than a pricy range toy, so I was more willing to take a chance on quality & reliability than with other purchases. It was pure “gotta have it.” I set a personal spending limit of $1000 and waited patiently until I finally found one at that price. It turns out it’s really quite a nice gun (much better than my fears, the worst reviews and online speculation).

  76. I only like modern military firearms so that kind of narrows the choice for me; if it isn’t I don’t want it. With that criteria from there it breaks down to:

    1) Price
    2) Quality/Reliability- I always buy the best quality variant (Arsenal, Pre-ban AK’s/ LMT, BCM AR’s/etc) or the next one down if the price is unobtanium (Vector H&K clones, Polytech M14, etc.). Quality and reliability generally go hand-in-hand hence why I combined them from my buying doctrine. It hasn’t failed me.
    3) Availability – This in terms of mags, ammo, etc. Is it proprietary? If so is it affordable? This applies to ammo and mags. I don’t mind diversifying calibers; if anything the more diversity the better. That means I always have something to shoot if any one caliber becomes scarce.

    I pretty much have all the firearms I need at this point. However I will say this to certain manufacturers:

    IWI: IMPORT THE GALIL ACE!!!! Bring it in all of the three popular calibers. Make the 5.56 and .308 versions compatible with AR mags.

    Beretta: IMPORT THE SAKO RK-95!!!! YOU KNOW WHY!!!

  77. I look for quality at a good price.

    This means that I don’t buy many new guns any more. The only new stuff I’ve bought have been AR parts to build or augment AR’s. Everything else is older, quality guns. Sometimes I find old actions or clapped-out rifles. These become parts used in guns I build myself by adding new barrels, wood, etc.

    The gun industry isn’t much interested in hearing my views. Everything I value in a gun runs counter to the views of their MBA’s that run gun companies today.

  78. I never buy “version one” of anything. I’ll have the latest iPhone but not on the first day. I let the kinks get worked out. If they is a significant amount of internet chatter about problems, I pass. I kinda cover “segments” of the whole. 1911 .45? Check. Polymer 9mm? Check. .38 snubby? Check. AR-15? Check. I’ll hardly ever have more than 1-2 of a “segment”.

  79. Decide the category I want to buy next. (AR, upland shotgun, pocket pistol, etc)

    Search for a “top ten” list on Google for that category.

    Look for the professional blogger type articles, ignore the magazines and forums (for now)

    Compare multiples top tens looking for commonalities.

    I generally get a short list from that. Then I look at magazine articles online and look for points of consideration.

    That’s about 20% of the effort. The remaining 80% is forums after forums after forums.

    Then I get a really short list and try to find a range that rents them.

  80. I’m not really wealthy enough to just buy whatever. So price is a big consideration, but I still want quality. When I was looking for my first gun, I wanted something easy for home protection. Remington 870 was recommended by fellow at gun shop and it was under $500 so I got that. When looking for first pistol, Glock 19 fit kind of the same bill. I figured everyone on Earth couldn’t be wrong. Henry lever action .22 was under $400 and just a fun range toy, read a lot of reviews bashing Marlin fit & finish. Other guns later for similar reasons.

    When I buy a gun, I first check reviews on multiple websites and forums. I give no weight to “Gun Magazines” because they don’t write negative reviews. I want something easy to maintain, not super expensive, that has a good reputation for functioning without a lot of monkey business. The word “tactical” generally turns me off.

  81. 1figure out what I’m looking for
    2 read reviews
    3 make a handy spreadsheet to compare features, price, available accessories, etc
    4 rent/try out likely winners
    5 head back to the drawing board several times when I discover such important tidbits as: the thumb safety is too small or only works if you’re right handed, the grip is too wide even with the smallest backstrap, the sights are too hard to see, I have FTE issues with it(probably limp wristing, but it didn’t really fit my hands to begin with), etc.
    6 wait for the range to get that one pistol you’ve been eying online forever so you can finally try it out
    7 save up enough money to move out of the homeowner-designated gun-free zone you’re living in
    8 make purchase
    Note: item 7 can occur at any point in the process, but is highly recommended prior to item 8 for legal reasons and to preserve domestic tranquility.

  82. I look for whatever is in C.O.D. (that is actually real… Let’s not get into my search for the SMR) that has a civilian semi-automatic equivalent. I’m not against full auto, per se, just the inherent cost that comes with it. Once I find it and find a reasonable price I will be getting it from either budsgunshop.com, gunbroker.com, or my local gun shop if they have it.

  83. First things first. The firearm must be American made. Second by American owned companies.

    Why is that a big deal? You think Austria, Italy, Germany or Russia respects your rights under the second amendment? Do not make me laugh, if you think they do. You are just a dollar bill to these nations. If this cause was near and dear to them their own people would be free peoples, citizens not the serfs and subjects they truly are. The gun owning Americans are just a (big fat) buck and by product of their military and police sales.

    I’d rather buy from a firearm manufacturer from behind blue enemy lines than from across country lines or from another nation Cause they are still American and god bless em!

    Then I determine if the firearm serves a need or want. Does it complicate my situation? (Like exotic ammo or cause me to break my budget?)

    Handgun.
    Pistol or revolver?
    Longslide, full sized, subcompact, compact, deep cover mousegun?

    Shotgun.
    What gauge?
    Over under? Pump? Double barrel of fun?

    Rifle or carbine.
    Hunting? Lever action? Bolt action? Semi auto?

    TTAG has turned me onto server products like the awesome kyle belts for open carry or just carry in general. Or the belly band combined with my compact handgum when I can’t make my g/fs commiesocialistprogressive family nervous or worse her embarrassed in any social situation cause I’m not like them. (You know free…not sucking on the teat of the government, and love freedom, guns, and don’t vote Democrat ever.)

    The best these manufacturers of special and exotic stuff you didn’t know existed is to get to like minded folks on sites like this one and allow the writers to do an honest review of the product.

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