Reader BP Dealer writes:
By no means is this intended to be the end-all-be-all to firearm purchasing, merely a few quick points I wish somebody had pointed out to me earlier on.
1. Know your item and the law
Do some online research regarding going prices and comparable equipment, as well as legalities (i.e. req’d age for shotgun vs. rifle vs. handgun ownership). An excellent research tool for prices and availability that I use is SlickGuns.com, a site of “deals posted by users.” Excellent sources for legalities are the online dealers themselves (such as Bud’s Gun Shop, GrabAGun) . . .
2. Know the difference between online dealers vs local dealers
The only real advantages to buying locally are A) getting something now (as opposed to an online dealer which will typically be a week or more), and B) supporting your local merchant (via increased revenue) and city/state (via taxes, something out of state online dealers aren’t required to charge). Buying from a reputable online dealer, you can rest assured they know the legal ins/outs of their trade, don’t let a local dealer salesman persuade you otherwise. If there are questions left nagging in the back of your mind, contact the online dealers and ask the question, even if it feels like a dumb one. Odds are, they are asked the same question a hundred times daily.
3. Be prepared to bargain locally
If a gun sells for $500 at an online dealer, the amount I would consider spending locally would be about $550 out the door. Why the extra $50? Taxes! Figure that buying from an online dealer is going to cost you right around $50 for the necessary local FFL transfer (typically about $30) and potential shipping charges (if any). Most folks won’t need a firearm right now, and can afford the trade-off of waiting a couple extra days for a cheaper total cost.
4. Be prepared to walk away
I’ve had salesmen use the “this is the last one I’ll be able to get for months”, and “everybody is after this one” etc., ad nauseam. Why is the item still here then and not sold? Don’t listen to the story they are telling you. They want you emotionally invested so you aren’t thinking logically, operating on emotional “want” instead of logical “need”. You don’t need anything except for food, shelter, and water. Which brings me to my next point….
5. Don’t get emotionally invested
Don’t get anxious or spun-up about the purchase. Have fun shopping! We should all be enjoying the freedom of firearms (safely, of course) without the anxiety of money and work being tied in. Most dealer salesmen seemingly have no passion for the 2A industry or community, and it only hurts our cause supporting them with your dollars.
Bottom line: they are your dollars, dollars you traded your finite time and energy for. Enjoy the freedom of doing whatever you want with those dollars. I prefer to get more bang for my buck (pun intended again).
Enjoy your freedoms responsibly, hard-earned as they are by our people in uniform.