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The producers of this local news report on the Fort Lauderdale gun show missed the memo from the antis at Americans for Responsible Solutions: bloody shirt waving is a no-no. Showing pictures of Floridians carting off bloody survivors of The Pulse nightclub massacre increases the average Joe’s desire for armed self-defense. As the news channel itself reports!

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallHow about you? Have recent events — including the prospect of a second Clinton administration — inspired you to spend some shekels a local gun show? If so, what did you buy (before the boat accident)? Or are you done with the whole genre, saving your money for an LGS or online-sourced purchase, or a shoot-shop-buy event like upcoming Texas Firearms Festival?

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  1. Eight dollars admission, plus can’t carry my gun loaded–one promoter here even forbids bringing in a loaded mag, no real selection of guns, the ammo selection also sucks, any gun purchased (if there were any worth buying that can’t be had at an LGS) requires a background check in CO.

    All this adds up to: No.

    Twenty years ago gun shows were worthwhile. Today, they’re crap, and only some of that is due to laws.

    • I’m relatively new to the shooting sports hobby, so I don’t know what gun shows were like 20 years ago. I can honestly say, however, that I’ve never been to a gun show where I wasn’t disappointed. No apparent good deals on firearms, ammo is priced at-or-above MSRP, and the optics and accessories are chinese crap. Most of the dealers/table owners were kind of jerks too, honestly.

      I’m really lucky to have at least two great local guns stores (LGS) within 20 minutes of my home and place of business. Either one of them has better selection, better prices, and better crowds than any gun show I’ve been to. I’ll stick to the LGS, thanks.

    • I have gone to gun shows since the 80s, and always found them to be a fun afternoon. However, i went to the FGS Tampa show two weeks ago, and I think it may have been my last one.

      Pros? I was able to buy a Bi-tone Springfield XDS .45 for $496 out the door, which is considerably less than even Internet prices. I got my pocket knife sharpened for free, and picked up some Civil Defense ammo I can’t find in stores.

      Cons? Ammunition prices on bulk ammo are more expensive than Wal-Mart or Rural King. It seems like gun stores are also bringing in uninformed salespeople just as gun show staff, so they can’t answer a question properly. But the worst? THE CROWDS. I’m not a big guy, and I had to squeeze sideways through aisles to get by. Of course, the fact that morbidly obese people in Rascal scooters think(I know, I know, this is ‘ablist’) a massively crowded gun show is a place for them doesn’t help. I felt something poking me IN THE ASS only to turn around and see a 300 pound person with an AR-15 placed in his scooter basket ramming me with a RIFLE.

      Nope. Internet orders for me from now on.

  2. Don’t go to gun shows. Been buying lots of reloading components mostly lately. Oh also a rifle concealment bag and maintenance stuff. Not much worried about terrorism or mass violence, yet.

      • More like a rifle backpack bug out bag (SBR, suppressor, cleaning and maint stuff, 6 magazines) that doesn’t look exactly like a rifle bag (to someone who never shopped for rifle bags). Nothing that would keep if from getting stolen or noticed by cops though.

  3. no. for the same reason I do not go to strip clubs. It cost too much money to take one home to have some fun.

  4. My last gun show was in Dec 2012–after Sandy Hook. Not interested in getting ripped off for overpriced ammunition and less selection than what most LGS carry (or better yet–can order). Things may have improved, but I moved on.

  5. I don’t have enough shekels to make a panic purchase, honestly. Too focused on my degree right now anyway. At least I’m gaining valuable knowledge. I expect I could manufacture a fair bit of arms solomente if needed if the feces ever hits any cooling devices.

  6. I search high and low at every gun show hoping to find one of those gun show loopholes I’ve been reading about.

    The closest I’ve come was a display of Leupolds. Man, was I disappointed.

  7. Nope.

    Required to disarm + Admission fee + Same old vendors (none of which are good at “selling”) + Prices range from “meh” to totally outrageous (a guy wanted 600 bucks for a pair of run of the mill Mosins) = Just not worth it anymore.

    Thought the purpose was to bring vendors together in one place to create competition and bring prices down? Instead just seams like they all agree to set prices and that’s where they stay. Even price negotiation has negligible results anymore. And all the collectors that show up at gun shows around here are hocking the same old stuff at prices that won’t budge. All the ammo vendors seem to be totally clueless that the internet exists and their prices don’t even compete even when you consider shipping costs for online retailers.

    Just ridiculous. Somehow the shows stay crowded though.

    • Hell, so many of the vendors scoff at you for daring even attempt to horse-trade with them. Mosins seem to be particularly high these days. I get that they’re Mosins and fewer good pieces are available lately, and I really do think they’re a great gun, but come on, it’s a Mosin…$600/pair?

    • Go to every gun show in Winston Salem, NC–huge selection of firearms & ammo & accessories–very competitive prices; the aggressive vendors write orders ALL day long without hardly a break–if you go on Saturday, you also get in free on Sunday (I go both days)–has been well worth for me

      • I’m with Junkman. The shows at Will Rogers in Fort Worth always have much better selection than any of the LGSs I’ve found. I always see something new and interesting (to me at least). Are the prices better? Meh, not always. But if the LGS ain’t got what you’re looking for… Do you have to pay for parking? Yeah ok, that DOES irk me a bit but waddayagonnado?

        Now, here’s my main reason for going: I consider it entertainment. Some people like to sit in a dark theater and watch movies. Some people like to sit in a stadium/arena and watch baseball/football/basketball etc. I like wandering around gun shows grokking guns… oh, and there are the “friends” I’ve made of some of the regular vendors with whom I like to chat. So, if you’re at a Will Rogers gun show in Fort worth, on Sunday, and see a bald head with salt and pepper (mostly salt) Van Dyke beard rocking reading glasses on a string, say “Hey Timmy!” ‘cuz it’s likely me.

  8. I’ve more or less quit going to them. I’ve been to a couple the last year or two, but for the most part it’s because my buds are going and it’s something to do. My expectations are low enough to not even qualify as expectations when I do go. In my NOTW, sellers are just too off the mark with the prices that they are asking (as are private sales asking prices as well). I understand it’s an election year and the antis are howling at the moon, but the climate seems to me to be the same as several years ago. I almost think that a lot of the sellers at these shows are just hoping to take advantage of a lack of knowledge amongst new, first time and uninformed buyers, who think just because it’s a GS then the deals are really good there. Ammo can be had for cheaper elsewhere.

    Of course, I’m fine saying all of this because I’m fortunate enough to be at a point where any gun purchase is simply because I want it, and don’t have to have it. Could be that I’m a little out of touch. You never know about GS though, there could always be that little gem, in the back of the floor on a rickety card table that some maw-n-paw shop could be selling for cheap.

    • I completely agree on the first time buyer concept. There are no GS in my town any more so I have to travel to the “city” and listening to vendors scare the hell out of people with home invasion/rape stories is sickening. So is watching someone paying $450 for a Taurus revolver they could have got on the net for $250.

  9. Nope. Not looking for anything exotic. Went to a few several years ago and found nothing. Plus it’s 1 and 3 day waits in Illinois and Indiana. Literally NO private sellers in Illinois either. And I’ve found what I want locally(folks practically tripping over themselves to sell me stuff).

  10. I usually hit one big show a year, mostly out of tradition at this point. I mostly go to the small, local shows. $5 to get in, goes directly to the (for example) VFW chapter hosting, and most of the sellers are parting out private collections. Even the professional vendors are frequently selling one or two collections on consignment. I admit I rarely find anything to take home with me, but it’s fun to look.

    Last actual purchases I can think of were a pair of Case marked WWII aircrew survival machetes and a marking-intact Arisaka type 99. New guns, ammunition, I can shop online for the best price, doesn’t bother me. Used, surplus, C&R type things, I want to lay my hands on before paying up.

  11. I love doing the gun shows here I usually get stuff for market price or below and then don’t pay hazmat on it. Gun pricing is super miss, I will say the one that made me laugh was the guy with the $300 Jennings 9. If you look you can get some bargains too though.

  12. I like to go to 2 or 3 a year, but I rarely buy a gun from a gun show. I like to get my hands on a gun I have been looking at online before I make my final decision. But my gun show is fairly large at around 2400 tables.

    But I prefer Boat shows, to see what my guns are going to have an accident in.

  13. Most of the prices in the NC gun shows I’ve been too are pretty bad. One thing I did find though are some tools that I haven’t seen online and parts that I can usually get for a good price. I had to pass on a CZ-83 that was brand new in the box that was priced really well. I didn’t have the money to spend on it.

    In response to that video, I’m glad people like that moron vice mayor don’t get to decide what I get to own.

  14. I go to all the local shows. Mostly as a social event. Each club here puts one on at least annually and the entry fee is a very small contribution to the club. I remain fully armed when I go in, and nobody worries about it. The “professional” shows all require us to disarm, unfortunately, so I don’t attend any of them.

    Don’t really need any more guns, but you just never know when something insists on following you home. No problem with private sales here but, though most people want to buy, not sell, it happens. No “waiting periods” or other nonsense besides the NICS, if you insist on buying from the dealers, of course.

    The gun shows were turning into nothing much more than a place to buy/sell crafts and junk during the worst of the ammo panic, but a good variety of guns and lots of gun stuff is back now.

    That’s in Wyoming, in case you wondered. 🙂

  15. Overpriced guns that are all sold by dealers for less money in their shops the following week.

    Homemade jerky that is harder than a rock.

    Being forced to overhear plebeian conversations about firearms that have no basis in reality…. Nope. I don’t go to gun shows.

  16. I’ll pop into the Houston gun show maybe once every other year, just to pass the time whenever my wife’s attending the gem and jewelry show next door. I’ve never bought at a gun show, though.

    I don’t buy used, and especially not from somebody just passing through town. New guns there are always overpriced. No sense playing the haggling game when you can just go online and let market competition do it for you.

  17. I headed into one gun show about four years ago. When I got to the “no loaded guns” sign, I turned around and left (before paying the admission fee fortunately). It never occurred to me that the managers may have only been referring to the firearms on display/sale. I also never thought about switching to Israeli carry (loaded magazine and empty chamber) which would technically be an unloaded handgun … if the “no loaded guns” sign also applied to personal protection firearms.

    The presence of high value items (firearms) in a “gun-free” location makes that type of venue a PRIME target for an armed robbery. I refuse to go to such a place unarmed.

      • Last time I went to a GS, mid -90s, you couldn’t order much of anything on the ‘net, so it was kinda fun. But you were searched, any guns were safed with cable ties, no ammo was allowed in the building (!), and if BLM/rappers or whatever knew that, the place might actually be attacked! Except, of course, all such horrible events (displaying firearms and just EVERYTHING!) have been prohibited on city property, since, so not to worry. I’m not missing them.

  18. Upstate NY gun shows are total garbage. The used guns look like they were left outside for a couple of years then dragged behind a truck on the way to the show, and everything is marked up by at least 50% vs. what you would find at your LGS. And haggling? Good luck with that.

  19. The local range club hosts one per year, which is coming up soon.

    I’ve taken to going to it, mostly to socialize and to see what’s there. It’s a pretty small show, but sometimes folks in the area show up with some interesting things. The trick, as always, is agreeing on a price…

  20. I’ve been to several over the years and never found prices lower than the stores. Often, I see prices much higher, like a beat-up SW9VE for $350. Seriously, I think a dog had gnawed on the frame!

    I think I’ve decided I can do better at my LGS or online.

  21. I don’t understand how sellers would consistently overprice firearms at gun shows. It seems like a lot of hassle for the sellers to pack up everything in their vehicle, transport it to the show, unpack and display everything, then repack everything, transport it back home, and haul it into your home. And I have to believe that the sellers pay for space at those shows. You would think all of that would add up to the sellers wanting to actually sell in order to make something for all of their effort. Is that extra effort why sellers want to sell at a higher price? If so, what makes them think the public will actually pay a higher price when the gun show venue itself adds no value to the firearms for sale? (Why pay more at a gun show when you can purchase the same thing for less at your local gun store?)

    The only other explanation that I can imagine is that sellers and some buyers think that gun show sales are anonymous/untraceable which would be justification for paying a premium? But even that doesn’t make sense since I can simply walk into my local firearms store and purchase ammunition in cash which is untraceable. As for firearm purchases themselves, they are no more anonymous or traceable at a gun show than they are at a gun store — assuming that you purchase a firearm from an FFL at the gun show.

    Does anyone have any insights?

  22. Been going to local auctions lately instead of gun shows. Don’t miss the jerky or cheap Chinese knife sales tables at all.
    Going to an auction in Sulphur Springs, AR this Sunday where over 200 rifles, shotguns and pistols are going to be auctioned off. Always a deal to be had at a firearms auction (but no jerky)

    • The one and only firearm auction that I attended was awful … most if not all guns sold above retail at local gun stores. I purchased a handgun at a slight discount (maybe 10%) and that was a fluke.

      Given the fact that there were basically no bargains and the auction took almost an entire day, I vowed never to attend an auction again.

      • I went to an auction last year just to see how much it changed over the last few years. The in-person bidders were competing with online bidders, which made it difficult to get a bargain. Some stuff that required deep pockets went for maybe 10% under normal pricing, but really, it wasn’t much to get excited about.

  23. Back to the original question in this post, my only recent purchase in response to recent events was an extra box of .223 and an extra box of 9mm ammunition.

    I also recently purchased a few boxes of CCI .22 LR Mini-Mag (40 grain copper jacketed lead bullets) since I had not seen any for sale in the last FOUR YEARS. But that purchase was simply because I finally found some and not a response to recent events.

  24. I would like to go more often if the vendors brought more items that just the “Black Rifles”. Don’t get me wrong, I have one and would like to get another one someday but it seems that they are 50% of the rifles at the shows around here. I mean if I have seen 100, I have seen them all.

  25. “Required to disarm + Admission fee + Same old vendors (none of which are good at “selling”) + Prices range from “meh” to totally outrageous (a guy wanted 600 bucks for a pair of run of the mill Mosins) = Just not worth it anymore.”


  26. The first couple of gun shows I went to when I was younger were great. Bought my first gun at one of the big gun shows in FL, a H&K USP .40 cal. Unfortunately like many of the comments here state, I think most gun shows are completely out of touch with the reality of the Internet. Vendors are charging too much for ammo and guns that I can buy cheaper online or at my LGS. Not sure who is buying this over priced crap but there are few good deals at these anymore.

  27. Gun shows are illegal here in New Jersey. So nope. Guys get involved in your states to promote good gun legislation such as constitutional carry etc etc. we here behind enemy lines will fight the good fight but it is not easy and not cheap and will take time.

  28. Just went this past weekend. I really just go to have something to do for a little while on a Saturday morning. Admission is $5 so it’s cheaper than going to see a movie. I don’t normally go to purchase firearms but I do look for accessories that jump out and say “buy me!!”. Typically, I’ll try to buy at least 1 magazine for one of my pistols or for the Glock compatible Sub 2k.

    Sometimes it’s just nice to get out there and mingle with other people of the gun. Even if it’s not at the range.

  29. Around the St. Louis metro the gun shows are good for ammo, mags, and accessories. Sometimes.The guns tend to be above shop prices or way above shop prices. However, now and then, it happens… a seller hits the magic number dollar wise or comes close enough to haggle to the number! Picked up a worn but worthy S&W 64 that shoots where I’m pointin’ at my last show. Got some cheap .38 ammo as well, before I got the 64. Foreshadowing, perhaps? I still go… just in case.

  30. I went once ten years ago because my son wanted to go look. Sad to say, not much to see. There was a guy with a display of samurai swords–none for sale, and look don’t touch. Saw one M1 Carbine, and not much else. The guy in the corner selling cheap Chinese car stereos was probably selling more than anyone else. Never went back.

    These days, from what I’ve heard, the old guys who line up at Wally World at 6 for the ammo shipment that comes in at 7 sell what they monopolized for a 300% mark up (which is most of the .22LR in town). Thanks, but when .22s are almost as much as 9 mm, I’ll shoot 9 mm, which is abundance.

  31. I go to shows to look and touch but not to buy. It really helps to handle a several dozen different guns over a few hours without monopolizing a salesmen’s time at an LGS. When I decide what to buy, I go to the LGS because, if there is a problem after the sale, I won’t need a private detective to track them down.

    If you really want to buy at a show, first check prices on the web sites for Bud’s Gun Shop, Gunbroker and Armslist.

  32. We go occasionally, maybe once a year. They’re worth a little entertainment to see some of the guns we read about, or look at all the weird shit . . . and people. But buying a gun at a gun show is a non-starter. They will usually be at least 50 to 75% more than you can find them on-line. So find a few guns you’re interested in; go to a gun show to hold them, look at them, talk about them; and if you still want one buy it somewhere else.

  33. I’ve been to this gun show before. I think about a decade ago. Nothing special about it, though it is large. I’m pretty sure there is a three day or so wait on long guns purchased there. Or least when I went.

  34. My son and I go to all of the local ones. We might find a good deal on a gun every two years. I have found that there are 2 or 3 vendors that I like seeing regularly. For instance one who sells all AR parts at great prices-every time I go I end up with more rings, springs, and other small parts. The random conversations with other attendees are far more interesting than those with the vendors. Mostly, it is a great father and son afternoon.

  35. I do one or two a year looking for parts and accessories. I’ve found 7.5mm Swiss ammo a time or two at halfway reasonable prices. We have a couple of old timers who bring the same collection of rusty old stuff to every show in the hope they’ll find somebody crazy enough to pay $600 for a worn out Model 10 Smith with no finish. I am prepared if I find a bargain and in 20 years I may have found three or four really good deals on firearms that weren’t popular but were just something that I wanted. My last good deal was a 3″ barrel Charter Arms .22 mag revolver. Lots of holster wear but the action was tight and bore was good. It was worth the $100 asking price because “everybody knows” those Charters are junk and nobody wants a wheel gun these days. Besides it don’t say Glock. In my neck of the woods (OKC) there are occasional gems but you have to put up with a lot of BS and dodge the scooters and the tatted up wannabe gangsters.

  36. Been to the Will Rogers Fort Worth Gun Show, plus a few others in the D-FW area. Found magazines for my Sig in Ft. Worth that I couldn’t find on-line or at gun shop. It is the only one I know that cost for entry and parking, but it’s always been crowded when we go.

    Bought a just released new Colt 1911 at another gun show, only gun we’ve bought. Did we get a great deal? Nope. Are we happy, yes. Gun Stores didn’t have it Still don’t.. Other than that, we find cleaning supplies from a vendor we’ve gotten to know. Last show, spent $4.00. Did find a dealer with a gun I’ve been looking for, but not exactly right.

  37. Worked it plenty of times…. the venue is too small for the crowd. The owner of the gun show is the same owner of Shoot Straight, a chain of retail gun shops in Florida. The venue is city owned.

  38. Correction: the “worst gun massacre” in the United States occurred at the hands of the US Government, in 1890.
    From wikipedia: The Wounded Knee Massacre occurred on December 29, 1890, near Wounded Knee Creek on the Lakota Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota. The previous day, a detachment of the U.S. 7th Cavalry Regiment commanded by Major Samuel M. Whitside intercepted Spotted Elk’s band of Miniconjou Lakota and 38 Hunkpapa Lakota near Porcupine Butte and escorted them 5 miles (8.0 km) westward to Wounded Knee Creek, where they made camp. The remainder of the 7th Cavalry Regiment, led by Colonel James W. Forsyth, arrived and surrounded the encampment. The regiment was supported by a battery of four Hotchkiss mountain guns.
    On the morning of December 29, the troops went into the camp to disarm the Lakota. One version of events claims that during the process of disarming the Lakota, a deaf tribesman named Black Coyote was reluctant to give up his rifle, claiming he had paid a lot for it. A scuffle over the rifle escalated, and a shot was fired which resulted in the 7th Cavalry opening fire indiscriminately from all sides, killing men, women, and children, as well as some of their fellow soldiers. The Lakota warriors who still had weapons began shooting back at the attacking soldiers, who quickly suppressed the Lakota fire. The surviving Lakota fled, but cavalrymen pursued and killed many who were unarmed.
    By the time it was over, more than 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota had been killed and 51 were wounded (4 men and 47 women and children, some of whom died later); some estimates placed the number of dead at 300. Twenty-five soldiers also died, and 39 were wounded (6 of the wounded later died).

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