gunshow

Reader MixedMartialArmist wrote in our comment section:

Personally, I am done with gun shows. Fini. No mas. Used to be (it makes me sound and feel old) that you went to a show to meet friends, make conecctions, get great deals. Since the Last Panic it seems to have changed. For the worse. Some vendors are asking MSRP (which is their choice) for new wares. As though they have no idea the internet exists. Used weapons are tagged at new gun prices.
Too many vendors are rude, arrogant, and in too big a hurry to just get the money. The privates dealers/FFLs are the worst . . .

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I understand on the used wares. Buy low, sell high. Bicker and haggle are not in vogue any more. The vendor tends to play real hard ball and can be insulting if buying your used gun or taking it on trade. There is the occasional vendor that is welcoming, pleasant, and very helpful.

Punch line: I have worked at these shows. I know both sides of the coin. It turns my stomach to listen to “stupid dick” stories about “this guy wanted…” or “the blonde with the knockers that…” from venodrs on break.

A customer is what makes the business suvive, no matter what the business. Treat them well, the success of the business takes care of itself.
One final note. WTF is up with ammo prices at gun shows?!? Again, they act as though the internet does not exsist (sometimes w/ free shipping!) and high prices are what you should be paying. My LGS does well getting my $$. Great service, great selection, great pricing, welcoming attitude. The free market system chugs along. Caveat emptor!

Which leads to our question…do you still go to gun shows?

97 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Do You Go To Gun Shows?

    • Same here! I went to one once – about five years ago.
      All the prices were stupidly overinflated. They were asking more for used guns than my local retailers ask for new ones. Bull crap! I don’t need to waste my time with idiots like that.

      Maybe I am missing something. Are you suppose to haggle with them big-time? Are you suppose to offer them half of their asking price, like you might do with street vendors in Mexican tourist locations?

      I’ve got way too many other good options in my area. Not only do I have several good gun shops to choose from, there are also hardware stores, sporting good stores, department stores, and pawn shops selling guns and ammo in my area. Beside that there is something called the internet.

  1. I enjoy browsing the aisle of a gun show like most women enjoy a stroll at the mall. I don’t need to buy anything. Seeing all that freedom in one place just makes me smile.

  2. It can be a good place to find police trade in firearms and inspect them yourself rather than banking on the description online.

  3. Well yeah, it’s fun to look around. Nobody’s forcing me to buy or sell anything so there’s no need to whine about the opportunity to do so.

  4. i just dont see how they are worth it anymore. with everything being as much or more than internet prices, there is no point in paying a cover charge then buying a over priced item. i go and take the kids sometimes just to look and eat the food. i dont remember the last time i bought something at a gun show.

  5. I haven’t been impressed with most gun shows I’ve been to the past alfew years. The post firearmageddon gun shows are over priced and nothing different than I can get for cheap at a LGS. I feel like I am at a Gander mountain looking at prices. Sometimes I do find odds and ends I can find anywhere else, but that is rare.

  6. I have in the past. I won;t waste my time now.
    Quickly I learned, as with computer shows in the 90’s, there were no real deals to be had and most vendors are jerkoffs.

  7. Dan, you have hit the nail on the head. I only go to the OGCA because it’s a members only show and most people there are polite. But the gun prices for used are same as new. All other guns shows at county fair grounds or Bill Goodman shows have become just flea markets with impolite attitudes. Those shows are not enjoyable anymore.

  8. The gun shows here have pretty good prices on ammo. Problem is after you factor in the 15+ buck admission fee it’s almost not worth it. I have had some luck at gun shows but its usually a bunch of guys charging 50% over market price and cheap chinese red dots. I still go there to sell my guns when I need to though.

  9. No, unless I can carry my loaded pistol.

    I live in Texas and am licensed to carry a handgun. I can almost always find a business that does not restrict my ability to defend myself and mine as I see best.

    O. Lee James, III
    Captain, US Army Retired

  10. If I want to pay new prices on used guns, or MSRP+ on new ones, I can just go to Gander Mountain and save myself the $10 entrance fee. If it were free to get in, or if I lived somewhere that didn’t have dozens of local gun stores to peruse, I might reconsider. But as it is, I don’t see any point in wading into a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd and paying for the privilege to do so.

  11. I go the wannemacher twice a year. Been going since I was 14. I never have a problem finding deals.

    Yes there are vendors that massively overprice their goods at times. The thing is… they are retirees. They go to the show for fun, basically, and aren’t looking to move lots of product. They are looking to sell their guns at the price they are willing to part with them. Yes some of their stuff is rare. No i’m not going to buy it. Somebody might find it worth it – and that is who that vendor is waiting for.

    On the other hand. I swing by RedXarms, JSEsurplus, Sota arms, and SAA, who have been at every show in the last few years. I’ll comb through the 4000 or so tables, looking at what i’m searching for, or good prices on good guns. Yes I find them sometimes and scoop them up. Yes sometimes the dealers are aggressive, or don’t want you to touch their stuff, or literally brought crap for show and tell and not really for sale. I’ve brought pistols for sale myself to the show and watched shopping take itself in reverse and have dealers/vendors call me out and ask what I have and what i’m asking. Yes, when they do this they are 100% of the time looking to low-ball me and get a good gun at an amazing price and if they do it enough, it may work and make that strategy “worth” it. Anytime I bring a gun for sale i’m not looking to sell to a vendor – ever. I’ve found you just aren’t going to get a good deal. Sometimes you can get better on a trade, and the best price during a private sale between myself and a gun show goer either in the show, in the parking lot, or immediately upon parking, etc. Each show is an adventure. Just because you don’t like the price of some vendors, doesn’t mean you have to buy from them or sell your gun to them on the cheap.

    Also – I like to see an amazing number of guns from all over the world, from all through the times. That alone makes it worth it to me. Many times I go to the show and don’t even buy anything. But I always have a good time. The entrance fee normally has some amount that gets rolled into an NRA fund. Also, NRA folks are each entrance and if you sign up for membership, admission is free (which is what I do).

    • Yes, the Tulsa shows are a real treat, something every gun owner should get the chance to go to at least once in their life. I’ve met folks their from all over the world and seen guns ill likely never see again there. I look at the Wannenemacher shows as a chance to go to a firearm museum where you can purchase the exhibits.
      Most of what I can buy isn’t really museum quality, but when my son takes his $200 (I know, I overpaid) Western Field 35 20g ‘shotgun out at a trap competition, people flock around him to check out that neat old gun and forget, at least for a while, the Brownings, Berettas, and Benellis that are on so many other shoulders. We found that gun in Tulsa.

      The shows are often a great way to liquefy an unwanted gun, not necessarily to a dealer, but to another patron. You don’t have to accept a low-balled offer, but you can often sell or trade it at a fair price, especially if you have a neat gun. With the demise of the Facebook gunbroker at hand, face to face meetups like gunshows are once again a way to trade freely without undue oversight or inconvenience.

      As far as pricing is concerned, something is worth what you are willing to pay or sell it for.

  12. I go to people watch and interestingly have learned that vendors often have no one looking at their quality goods but lines forming at their cheap Chinese offerings.

  13. From 1987-2016 the changes in what goes on at gunshows is black and white. They are completely different from the experience I had as a teen/young adult. I would go with my father and his hunting & shooting buddies. The experience was one of haggling prices, bumping into old acquaintances, relaxing rummaging, scoring a good deal. Today the experience can be summed up in one word….. Disappointing.
    The last couple years of gunshows in my area of Western Massachusetts has seen an upswell of rediculous prices on new and used merchandise. The old venders are mostly all gone with FFL buissness and msrp internet sellers taking their place. I went this past year looking for pre-ban AR & glock 19 mags (we still live under the AWB) and they were selling for more than internet prices. I mentioned this to a couple vendors and received 3 answers ranging from mild condensation to outright rudeness. Also the ammo prices were right around internet prices when 15-20 years ago you could always come home with an ammo deal if nothing else!
    I used to go to gunshows 2-3x a year. Now, maybe once a year.

  14. I’ve gone to a few, but probably not in the future. I get charged a fee, and all the prices are outrageous. Vendors seem mostly unhelpful, and ungrateful. Worse is the CCW rules:
    “NO LOADED GUNS are allowed in the Gun & Knife Show. Ammunition MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE entering Gibraltar Trade Center IF you are taking a gun into the show. We will not allow firearms to be unloaded inside our buildings. No Exceptions”
    Let’s just say what they don’t know, will protect me.

    • Ah yes, Gibraltar…. the home of the biggest worst indoor fleamarket (gun show) I’ve ever been to. One of the worst experiences I’ve ever had with a firearms dealer and other customers was in that place. I’m pretty sure that particular vendor had paid people to steer folks towards his table; “Hey, I overheard you’re looking for ______? There’s a table right over there that has great prices on _______!”
      Upon arrival at said table, l was fairly interrogated about my bonafides as a milsurp collector, before even being allowed to talk prices.
      But the best part was wanting to look at an SMLE; “Well, what are YOU planning on doing with it?” (implying I wanted to molest it), and then asking if the hang tag was correct ($400). “No, they’re $600, I haven’t changed the one that came on the rifle when I bought it”.
      Really?? I laughed in his face and walked away.

    • I went to Gibralter recently looking for a few items, worst one yet. Prices too high, nothing I needed or wanted, the only thing I found not overpriced was a Ruger American Ranch in .223.

  15. Everything it comes to my area. I have the opposite issue that you seem to experience. All of my local dealers charge absurd prices ($600-700 for a GLOCK®?!? ?) They also seem to have an attitude. The local gun show general rivals internet prices and most* of the dealers are very helpful.

  16. I live in Tulsa area and they have one of the largest gun shows in the country. Its a huge venue but still so crowded it makes it difficult to enjoy. But it is a good place to see, feel and touch a lot of guns that you can’t find in the local gun shops. Before going I am well versed on value and cost of what I might be interested in so if I find a good deal I get it, if not I have had a chance to see and touch what interest me and then might purchase online at better price. I would never buy from first dealer I see with what I like, the price can vary 25-30% from one end of the building to the other.

    • That’s the Wannemacher, and it isn’t “one of the largest” – it is the largest. I agree it definitely gets packed in there.

  17. I always like seeing something new. I like being able to (even get in line to) hold a new firearm or accessory that I have only heard about our seen in magazines. I even enjoy not finding anything I haven’t seen before. In Tulsa, OK, we have Wannamacher’s, http://www.tulsaarmsshow.com/home.html, it is really something you should have on your firearm bucket list. We have several other ‘smaller’ shows here, and they sometimes have ‘crafts’ / beef jerky/ and other non-firearm related stuff, but sometimes you take your significant other to the show, and she’s not as big a gun-nut as you, so it’s nice to have something to break up the monotony and allow you to drag them through every row.
    I marvel at the people who show up at the gun show to just ‘display’ guns. Hoorah, BRAVO guys, keep at it, it’s all crazy interesting on one level or another.
    The only thing I really hate about gun shows is that most of the local gun stores are closed so that they can either attend or exhibit at the show.

    SO YES, DO THE GUN SHOWS. The freak show swap meet in the parking lot is worth the price of admission.

  18. I’ll go if one of my buddies wants to go but other than that no. I don’t buy anything since I can get stuff at a greatly reduced cost from the LEO/mil discount that several manufacturers offer.

    If I need something used or harder to find I’ll hit up my LGS, I’ve spent so much money in there that they usually give me a good price.

  19. It is usually a male bonding trip with my other Fudd friends, plus a chance to see off brand wares that you would otherwise hear about.

  20. The ones down in South Florida are OK, depending on which one you go to. Shoot Straight has a lock on most of the vendors, which has been causing some controversy due to non-compete agreements (i.e. if you are at the Shoot Straight show, you can’t sell at another show in the area) but I do tend to go for the ammunition and also you get a chance to browse/handle firearms which might not be at your LGS.

  21. I go as entertainment. Some people like going to movies. Some people like going to NASCAR races. Some people like softcore gay porn… er, I mean football. I like going to gun shows. To each their own, I say.

  22. I’d rather spend my entry fee on ammo and enjoy my weekend without “terrorist hunting permit” stickers

  23. I’ve gone to a couple in the last few years, mainly so my daughter could see what they were like and especially to immunize her against the anti-2A propaganda machine. Fun outings but I can’t imagine actually buying anything serious at one.

  24. I went to the Wannemacher in NOV 2015, with a buddy, and he bought his first firearm. An “AK.” haha. 😀

    IOINC AKM247.

    Later in the show I steered him clear of some somewhat expensive cheap plastic AK mags and over to another booth with brand new steel mags at a decent price. Later I gave him a box of ammo out of my stock. Some all brass Fiocchi. Had a great time. I don’t remember a show there where I had a bad time.

        • The old IO’s had quality problems. The new IO’s are great in my opinion. The fit and finish was better than many of my AK’s. The trigger was superior to all mine, including the G2 I have in one of mine. But we all got opinions.

  25. Used to go to quite a few many years ago. Once upon a time good prices and deals to be found.

    Now, gun shows seem to have gone ‘backpage’ on their retardedly-high prices on G&A. ‘Buy this glock for $50 over MSRP!”, “Buy this junk-gun AR for 50% more than its worth”.

    And the .22LR ammo sellers and their $100 boxes of 550 rounds…

    Now I might get dragged to a show once a year, usually because friends want to do do the crawl. And a few times so my boys can get their 2A booster shots. 😉

  26. At one time, my son was working local gun shows selling holsters for someone. So, my husband and I went to a lot of gun shows in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. But, buying guns? Nope, we’d buy from our local gun shop, at a better price. We did buy some cleaning supplies we weren’t seeing in the shops. There is one merchant that has a great selection of magazines, got a couple for a gun I own. So, we went for the hard to find stuff.

    It is a great place to “window shop”. Saw my first Ed Brown. Saw my first Dan Wesson Guardian. Price for the Dan Wesson? M.S.R.P. Was told I would pay more if I didn’t buy it at the gun show, and came into the shop, in a couple of days. Not that I was seriously buying, he just tossed that info out. Ummmm, wonder why that vendor didn’t see my cell phone in my back pocket?

  27. I personally only setup at the two shows a year put on by the local gun club I am a member of.
    I am seriously considering not selling at future gun shows for economic reasons.

    For a retailer, the costs associated with selling at a gun show include:
    Paying for the tables
    Paying employees to work the show on their normal days off
    Transportation costs for the merchandise
    Extra time spent on ensuring paperwork correctly identifies firearm sales conducted away from the licensed premises
    Lost revenue from damage of merchandise by “tire kickers” mishandling and by unattended children knocking merchandise off the tables

    The cost for setting up and running multiple tables at a gun show has more than doubled in the past five years and I am expected to cater to people who want to treat our new firearms as if they are at a garage sale. While it is expected that a buyer will ask if the price marked is the lowest price possible, asking a retailer if they will take $150 for a new firearm with an MSR of over $500 (and for sale at $400) is ridiculous.

  28. I still go to the gun shows. I have found many good deals to be had but you have to look hard for them. Many times it’s the hunt for those good deals that is the fun part. Don’t want so sell me a gun at a good price, well there are 100 other dealers here looking for my money. Also very few dealers in my area cater to my eccentric taste for Mil-surplus and vintage firearms. The best show I have been too recently was at The Iowa state fairgrounds just before the Iowa Caucus in Iowa. Why was it the best show? The people watching was fascinating with all the national and international press attending. You had media people trying to exploit the “gun show loophole” international press that had never seen so many guns in one place in their lives asking all kinds of questions. I was just a happy fly on the wall.

  29. Depends on the entrance fee. & dollars and below I’ll go. I’ve rarely ever bought any actual guns, typically I find Magazines and when building an AR an LPK or two. Gun wise I’ve only ever picked up Surplus guns at good prices.

    What really annoys me when I pay entrance to a GUN show is the people selling candle warmers, back massagers, a variety of pyramid style scams. I expect to see holsters, knives, hunting stuff, all related to guns at least a little. Not some energy drink scam trying to recruit me to sell for them.

  30. The gun shows near me in upstate NY are garbage, but I’m not sure if that’s the fault of our laws or not. They can’t sell “assault weapons” and their ammo prices are high (possibly because internet ammo sales are illegal here). The guns they do sell are either way overpriced, or look like they’ve been left outside for a decade. My LGS has better selection, better prices, helpful clerks, and guns that have been maintained. Wally world has ok ammo prices. With those options, why bother paying admission to go to a glorified garage sale?

  31. I’ll go maybe once every other year, when the alternative is going to the gem & jewelry show my wife is attending in the next arena over. I’ve only ever seen full price firearms and way overpriced ammunition, so I’ve never bought anything there.

  32. Been a couple of times and had the same thought I did trying to haggle over a gun or a camera at a pawn shop-

    – They can’t be serious asking these prices, what’s really going on here? Is at a front for something else?

  33. Went once. I’m not paying to look at a bunch of overpriced merchandise with sellers that know nothing about their own products. You can get a much better experience just walking into any of the local gun shops.

    • That seller not knowing their merchandise thing can work to your advantage. A few years ago my dad managed to pick up an early Astra for less than half what you’d find one for online, because the seller mostly dealt in modern firearms and had no idea what he had.

  34. I still go to them occasionally, but just to window shop. I’ve never really found any deals (got into the game right as Sandy Hook happened) so that isn’t my aim. The last one I went to was for the purpose of selling some guns I wasn’t using anymore.

  35. I go to one big show a year and probably three or four little (VFW and similar) ones. The little shows tend to be closer, the entrance money is going to whoever is hosting it, and most tables are private collections which are more likely to have the surplus, antiques, and fixer-uppers I’m interested in. The big show is just more of a tradition at this point (weekend after Thanksgiving, my dad and I have gone almost every year for the last twenty years or so).

    If I’m looking for something specific, I’ll almost never find it. If I have the means and desire to buy something, as long as I’m not too specific, I’ll usually find something I feel worth the price.

  36. If I want to pay full boat retail and be disrespected to boot, I’ll go to Bass Pro. At least BP doesn’t charge me at the door.

  37. Think of them as the place you go before ordering from Amazon. Or your local dealer who will discount that shop-worn pistola 10% as a courtesy instead of offering you a curse like the guy at the show did. Ugly hat, too. The M&p Shield Performance Center in 9mm I bought on sale (later) at Cabelas in Allen TX was a lot cheaper than the standard unadorned flavor at the show. Nice surprise!
    So there.,

  38. No. What the OP said, plus too many knuckle and neck tats. Did both sides of the tables in the ’80s, but it’s different now.

  39. I think this cuts both ways, plenty of people out there who think their used Glock has somehow increased in value since they bought it. Not all guns are “investments”, and the customer is NOT always right, in fact barring another banic most guns are worth significantly less the moment you walk out the shop door.

  40. Couldn’t agree with you more. At least here in Michigan this seems to be the repeated theme over and over again. I’ve stopped going

  41. We go, mostly shopping for ideas for accessories that we may want to get later. Although, The Big Reno Show is a fun show. More of the collectables come out for that one.

  42. I go to two or three shows a years. Never buy anything. I just use it as a way to handle firearms I may be interested in, then buy them online. But it does actually seem like over the past 3 or 4 months prices have gotten better and at least somewhat competitive to an online retailer like Buds. After Sandy Hook and up through about the end of 2015, the prices and attitude were just as described. Terrible.

    The local gun store/shooting range is still bad though for pricing and attitude. You can’t even negotiate with them. “Pay MSRP or go somewhere else.” “OK, well given I can get a $750 gun for 100 bucks less online, including transfer at my local FFL, with no tax and free shipping and all I have to do is wait a week or two for my e-check to clear, I will gladly do that. Have a nice day.”

  43. I think I missed the train on gun shows. Had plans to go to the one at Cow Palace, but that was years before the panic. Not even sure if CA even has gun shows any longer. Even if we do, I seriously doubt I’d wander the aisles until finding a nice K31 and a case of surplus 7.5 for a cool price, like I used to imagine.

  44. i often go and sometimes set-up at local shows. If someone is looking for modern, tacticool firearms, the internet is a better place to shop.

    I like more pedestrian guns for recreation (old 22s, revolvers, lever actions, etc) so i often see things that pique my interest.

    My wife and kids pick at me and say that I would rather educate folks than make deals. I try to tell someone what something is worth even I can’t afford it or want it. At one show I made a guy an offer and told him the gun was worth $100 more but not to me. He came back 2 hours later and took my offer after he was offered half that other vendors. Sometimes honesty has it’s rewards.

  45. I have all but stopped attending.If I do go its to browse and pick up cheap fungibles or something. This is the West Palm Beach FL Gun Show by the way.

    First problem. They charge 10 bucks just to walk in the door hurting anything I’m trying to save.
    Second. Does not feel like a show anymore. Feels like I am at a state fair with a bunch of carnival barkers selling crap. The prices are high. I can get a cheaper price at a store right up the street or online anytime i want. Speaking of which that local shop just up the block pulled out of the show because of the cost and now runs sales the same weekend as the show. They are killing it.
    Third. Seems like a lot of nasty unprofessional people have moved in. I don’t remember that from when I was a kid. Looks like a lot of wannabes, tactical pawn brokers(Skull Tattoos and piercings) and angry people have moved in selling everything from magic healing rocks to 30 dollar a quart eyeglass cleaner. More like a flea market then a gun show,
    Last time I was at the gun show one of the vendors got pissed at me. I wanted a gun and we agreed on a price. When I told him I did not have a concealed permit he got very angry and said he could not sell to me and it was illegal to sell me the gun. Yes really. What was I trying to buy you ask? An Enfield Jungle Carbine in .303 British. Yup you know the gun used in many gangsta drivebys. In full disclosure he got more pissed when I asked him what law he was following, that I was a Marine Vet (first gulf war) former cop and current attorney. Oh I asked him how he could be anti 2nd Amendment and be there at the show selling guns.

    Anyway, its a shame because I wanted to bring the kids and sort of give them that experience like I remember. Talk some WWII history, look at memorabilia, maybe have my son pick up and hold (and hound me till Christmas) his first rabbit gun and top off with a overpriced chilly dog.

    Such is life. Times are a changing. In the end I think the show is hurting for money and is filling those tables with whoever will pay.

  46. Don’t go to as many shows as I used to, but still go to a couple of carefully selected shows a year, and had good luck so far picking up parts for repair kits and the occasional gun deal.

  47. Nope, for the same reasons I stopped going to rock & gem shows; “regular” vendors who have mediocre wares with exorbitant prices, elitist vendors who treat attendees like ignorant rubes, and elitist attendees who think other show-goers are ignorant rubes who need lectures on whatever it is they’re considering for purchase. If I’m looking for a Mauser or SKS to sporterize, I don’t take kindly to some guy standing nearby (or the vendor himself) to start berating me on destroying a piece of history.

  48. I go to gun shows to get my hands on a gun I’ve been looking at buying.
    Not to buy a gun, but just to see if I like how it feels in my hands.

  49. Nope. I went to a few 5 years ago and bought bad ammo(cheap). I have moderately good memories going to gun shows with my dad in the 60’s. I’m also a longtime antique dealer and have sold at hundreds of shows. I know how to deal. The vast majority of “dealers” didn’t seem to want my business at gun shows. So they don’t get it. Also when I was getting into gun ownership several years ago I was mightily turned off by the red-neck crazy types I ran into in Crown Point,Indiana(I was there for an auction on the same grounds and wandered into the gun show next door).

    • I was mightily turned off by the redneck crazy types
      Such as the Nazi and Confederate paraphernalia vendors.

  50. every now and again I find a cool tool or doodad someone is selling.. usually a younger vet trying to get to market with a sandbox invention.. I found this cool Skeleton fish thing that is used with paracord to act as a slip knot.. and another young vet selling multi pocketed ballistic nylon pouches made in the USA, which I still carry in my go bag, and I got what I considered was a great deal on some AR500 plate target steel, a little flirting with the sales girl and we both thought we got the better deal over the other. I saved shipping and tax by paying cash over Internet. I like the cheap gun tshirts, again cash avoids tax, and no shipping. I’ve been going to shows off and on since I was about 13, so figure almost 40 years. not once have I considered purchasing a gun there, new or used. it’s for the odd stuff I just like to see. I go because I’ve always gone, and $20 with parking is just a day wandering the tables and memories of my childhood.

  51. I live in the DC area and there are several large shows in the region. I enjoy the shows, mostly for the opportunity to handle guns I cant find at the LGS. Most of the local stores are great for finding whatever the newest or hottest AR is, but if your looking for a shotty or any non-tacticool anything, you go to the shows or online. Mostly I shop the shows and buy online because the prices at the shows are ridiculous, the very high end of retail. Ammo has started to come down to almost normal levels, but its still cheaper to buy online even with shipping included.

    • In the past I have gotten a a couple of good deals at The Nation’s Gun Show but they were all from a couple of LGS who just sold their wares at in store prices. I have seen the full range of prices there from retail to internet price. You can’t generalize about what you are going to pay at a show. I agree that ammo prices are outrageous. I have seen Golden Bullets at $50 per brick when Dicks had them in stock for half the price at the same time. On the other hand I have purchased Remington 10mm ball for less than the internet price at the TNGS.

  52. I haven’t been to one in three or four years.

    I have gotten good deals at them in the past, especially when I lived in Ohio. These days, not so much. Since there are few deals (here in Colorado at least) it’s not worth the hassle. I mean I have to drive in to Denver, find parking, pay the entrance fee, then fight my way through a good sized crowd to see if there’s anything worth buying among the overpriced guns and straight out tacticool-garbage.

    I’ve never been one to “window shop” so it’s just easier to deal with my LGS, drive to Cabela’s or BPS or buy something online.

  53. Yeah, I pretty much outgrew gun shows myself too. They mostly seem to pander to the Ninja’s and Newb’s. That’s why “they act as though the internet does not exsist (sometimes w/ free shipping!) and high prices are what you should be paying)” – because the newb’s don’t know any better.

    But there are always exceptions. Eagle Arms gun show in Oakes PA has 2000 tables, and there are some good booths, with dudes who make their own leather holsters for example. Or the Mag dude who has every old ass mag you may have ever needed. And if you want to target something specifically, it can be worth the $10 to walk around for the day and see if you can find a steal. I picked up a new Sub2000 Gen1 for $415 bucks once. I put my hand on it as soon as I saw it and before I got the guy’s attention there were 3 other people asking me if I was going to buy it. I did. As a general rule though I usually don’t buy guns at gun shows, but there are always exceptions like I said. But I do have to stifle back my chuckles sometimes at the newb’s that have no idea what they are doing or asking or about to buy, but I guess we were all that guy at one point.

  54. Yeah, but mostly just to fondle expensive guns. I enjoy it 🙂 I’ve found good deals on ammo, and one guy gave me a deal on Hexmags that was quite generous. I like my LGS better, though, because the prices and people are friendlier.

  55. Powder and primers only. Usually contact vendor ahead of time to see what he has available. Give him my list, he brings it and has it behind counter with my name on it. I pay the man, browse the chinese knives , bumper stickers, and may handle a gun or two that I am interested in and pick up my stuff on the way out. Eight bucks is cheaper than shipping and HAZMAT fees, and at the quantities I buy, need only go a couple of times a year.

  56. Went to a small show a few weeks ago and for a $5 entry bought a Chrony F1, a damn nice set of digital calipers, and something else I can’t remember for $65. Used the Chrony and it works perfectly. Hell yes I still go to gun shows. Seldom by a gun at one though.

  57. “Too many vendors are rude, arrogant…” I agree. But I still go. Often I walk away without buying anything, it doesn’t hurt me to look. Chances of winning lottery are small, but you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket.

  58. Haven’t been to one in years. A total waste of time. If there’s something I want, I can find it or order it from my lgs/ffl. If I want to sell one of my guns, I use Armslist. I don’t have any interest in wasting time looking at Remington 700 variants with cheap, crappy scopes and scratched stocks for stupidly crazy prices. The internet has leveled the playing field. Glocks are ubiquitous, and paying msrp for one is nuts. The last batch of .44 mag ammo I bought at a gun show in the 90’s was poorly loaded, and inconsistent. There are lots of ammo deals from online internet sellers.

  59. I know the internet prices, I love to haggle, and . . . I go on Sunday afternoon about 2 hours before closing, circle the room with pen and paper in hand making notes (sometimes seller along north wall has price of $350 while another across the way has it for $285, these guys don’t know the competition), then go to dealer who has what I want and start bargining. When we get close or I get tired, I pull out brand new hundreds for the next lower amount, say $200, and put them on the table with the question ” Are you going to take that gun home and carry it to another show (which I know you have done 3 times) or pick up these Franklins?” They whine, moan, shift from foot to foot and take the money 90% of the time. They make some money and I have a great fun afternoon.

  60. I go to my local (every other month) gun show, mostly to browse around or do some trading. As bad as prices may be, at least they have guns now, unlike the dark ages of the late 90’s, when all vendors carried were Beanie Babies and assorted favors of jerky.

    Also, in western Washington, the primary shows are operated by Washington Arms Collectors, which is also the primary pro-gun lobbying group in the state. Becoming a WAC member gets you free admission, and you’re helping to secure your gun rights. Win-win.

  61. I guess I will be the odd one out here but I found lots of deals on stuff at gun shows. Then again it wasn’t ever the common commercial stuff, generally the oddball stuff that no one knew what they had or they thought it was crap cause it wasn’t ‘Murican.

    Got a lot of good deals on Combloc mags and ammo.

    That being said the last show I went to was over a year ago and I found some good mags at internet prices without paying the shipping fee and being able to get them now instead of later.

    So I guess in the end it depends on what your tastes are.

  62. Everyone, buyer and seller alike, think that their product is worth more than it is. At least as a general rule.

    I will go out on a limb about some (not all) dealer prices. For the guys who have a home based FFL or a small gun shop, do you think they can buy guns for as cheap as the giant online warehouse? I don’t think so.

    When Palmetto runs a “sale” on their Shield pistols…. That’s basically what I paid the distributor for them.

    I am a home based FFL, and I’ll never charge Gander Mtn or BP prices, but I can’t offer them up for BudsGunShop or PSA pricing much of the time because I simply can’t get that good a deal when I buy because I’m just a lowly little guy.

    You get some benefits to buying local, like inspecting the product in person or instant gratification on the purchase. You get some downsides too, like a slightly higher cost.

    Yes a ton of dealers and private sellers are awful people to work with, but before you blast everyone with a price higher than the last online deal you saw, remember they may be limited in what they can do.

  63. It’s good to hear from actually sellers on this thread (I am not one) because I think so many of you seem irate when some gun dealer is trying to, who’d have thought, make a profit. Do you expect to buy guns where the seller makes no profit? Also consider the entrance fee so many of you are ticked off about. What do you expect an owner of a venue to say? “Sure, you can use our sports arena that we have to maintain, heat, light, and pay taxes on for your gunshow. Oh and we’ll let you use it for free too!”
    By all means, express your opinion and spend your clams where you want but at least understand people on the other side of the table need to turn a buck too.

  64. The last time I went it felt more like an over priced flea market. Prices were ridiculous and a lot of the sellers seemed to have the attitude of not caring. It used to be you could haggle for price on used guns and find some really good deals. And it seems each vendor has the same inventory as the last one you just passed. Definately not fun. I will never go again.

  65. Going to a gun show is like going to a topless bar. You see a lot of things you’d like to play with and take home, but they’re all too expensive.

  66. I go to see new products that are not on local shelves. I buy from walking sellers, it does not take long for them to be offered only 40% of a used guns value and make a much better deal with another walker. I have a hard time not interceding between a walking seller and a table dealer low ball “last and final offer”.

    Ammo: factory stuff new or old is (not scarce) is .07 to .25 per round higher. Even the bulk reloaders sell it only a few cents below major factory offerings.

  67. I’ve been going to a lot of gun shows in the past couple of years, but only because I do volunteer work at my State’s pro-2a booth they setup each time. I can get in free for a few hours of advocacy and a chance to browse the wares while I’m there.

    I do admit though prices aren’t that competitive at gun shows, and I haven’t bought a firearms from there yet. I do occasionally find good deals on certain accessories, like 15 bucks for a pelican-like case in which the inventory was being liquidated. Sometimes I will find spare parts that I don’t want to get off the internet or can’t find at local stores either.

  68. Not in about 3 years. After working them for about 20 years I had enuff. I think there should be mandatory IQ tests administered to gain entry along with a mandatory shower and clothes washing (or burning). What ever happened to personal hygiene?

    • While 99% of the people are fine, there’s always one or two stinky MoFo’s walking the aisles. Same can be said for almost any place though. Still worth it for me though, I have purchased accessories at prices that beats any store or internet store. You just have to look through a lot of over priced stuff to find it.

  69. I go once or twice a year to browse and hit the occasional target of opportunity. I recently picked up a couple of Anderson AR lowers at $40 each – nothing fancy but you can build a serviceable rifle from them. The last really good deal I made on a long gun was a 1954 Enfield No 4 Mk 2 with bayonet for $75. Of course that was about 20 years ago.

    I can do pretty well on parts and magazines. I’ve bought some inexpensive no name nylon gear which has been okay.

    My biggest peeve is with the show promoters who advertise the show in the local paper as follows:

    “BUBBA’S GUN SHOW. HILLARY is personally coming TOMORROW to kick in your door, shoot your dog, and CONFISCATE ALL OF YOUR GUNS. This may be your LAST CHANCE to buy .22 ammunition at a dollar a round BEFORE ITS BANNED!!!!!!! STOCK UP NOW so that you can shoot those pesky BLACK HELICOPTERS out of the sky. Special sale on YANKEEDOGYOUDIE steel case ammunition used by ELITE Mongolian Yak commandos. The ATF plans to ban this ammunition tomorrow morning so this will be your last opportunity.”

    The wannabes, gang bangers and window lickers will haul that junk ELITE ammo out by the carload lots.

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