The Basics of Gun Show Etiquette From Someone Who Runs One

Gun Show Miami

Buyers examine pistols and long guns at a Miami gun show. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By Marlon Knapp

My compadres who work with me at the Chisholm Trail Antique Gun Association check-in table have asked me to compile a short tutorial on gun show etiquette. We understand you’re excited about going to the gun show and we are excited to see you.

Those of us who work gun shows (not necessarily the sellers) have unique opportunities to interact with people, including some who might not normally visit a traditional gun shop, those who are regular patrons, and those who are visiting their first gun show and are new to the shooting sports.

No matter the experience level, though, people sometimes make mistakes, which, when firearms are involved, are deadly serious. Here are a few helpful tips from this side of the table.

Preparation for the show

If you’re going to celebrate the Second Amendment and be surrounded by like-minded people, guns and gear that you might want to purchase, please do a few things beforehand.

Plan to arrive as early as possible. Being early allows you the luxury of taking your time and enjoying yourself safely. Know the ticket price. Also, plan to take enough money with you for whatever you plan to buy (or for that impulse purchase). Most sellers take credit cards, but many vendors don’t.

You’ll find both private sellers and federally licensed FFL dealers at gun shows. They’re required to comply with federal law and state laws. Be sure to bring your ID for any required background check.

Even if you aren’t planning to buy any goodies at the show, be sure to take enough cash for the entry fee, food and drinks. Remember, the price of drinks and food at any event will be significantly higher than it is at your local convenience store.

Find out what rules the show you are attending may have. Is it OK to take photographs there? Are private sales among attendees allowed inside the show? Can you bring in outside food or drinks? This is especially important if you have health issues.

Does the show permit concealed or open carry? Either way, always remember the four universal rules of safe gun handling. They apply both at the check-in table and when you’re on the floor examining or dry firing guns.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

Here are a few things to know about the rules we have at the Chisholm Trail gun show, and they’re similar to the rules at most gun shows you’re likely to attend . . .

Concealed firearms: YES

If you are planning to purchase something for your daily carry gun that will require you to unholster it, please bring it unloaded and not concealed on your person. Drawing a firearm from a holster from concealment at the check-in table or on the floor can cause unwanted concern and attention from the vendors or possibly law enforcement officers in attendance.

Concealed firearms are just that – concealed. Don’t pull yours out at the check-in table. If you do, we will remove the magazine, zip tie the firearm and keep any loose ammunition.

No, you will not get the ammunition back; having thousands of people come through the doors each day, we don’t have the resources to catalogue and return your particular loose ammo when you leave.

gun show miami

You’ll find both private sellers and federally licensed dealers at gun shows. Be sure to ask vendors before you handle or dry fire their guns. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Open carry firearms: YES

Again, they must be unloaded. And again, we will confiscate any ammunition found in the firearm.

We will zip tie your openly carried firearm to ensure and render it safe. These are our rules and they aren’t up for debate or negotiation. Even event staff and vendors who open carry are required to follow this rule.

Firearms to sell, trade, find accessories for, or get values/repair estimates: YES

As above, make sure the firearm(s) are completely unloaded. Use a chamber flag or have the action open, please.

You can find that obscure item or just buy a new gun at your local gun show. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Loose ammunition or loaded magazines: NO*

Only ammunition brought in the original box or aftermarket plastic cartridge box is allowed.

* We allow loaded magazines in properly concealed firearms and loaded spare magazines (also concealed). Ammo in visible firearms and ammunition to be confiscated.

How to approach the check-in table with a firearm: action open, magazine empty and removed (when possible)

Finally, please keep the firearm pointed in a safe direction at all times. Do not muzzle other attendees or gun show staff. This is a major source of aggravation and incredibly dangerous.

It happens too often, and the offender always says, “But I know it’s unloaded.” That’s fine and dandy, but we on the business end of the muzzle do not know that until we actually check the firearm and render it safe (see above).

At least once every day (sometimes more) during the show, someone at the check-in table will he handed a loaded firearm.

Recently, as a patron passed his handgun over to me for inspection, he muzzled me directly in the chest with his finger on the trigger. When I removed the magazine, it was unloaded. When I opened the chamber a live 9mm round popped out onto the table.

Had he been startled and had a little too much pressure on that trigger, I might not be writing this. And no, you don’t get that round back. It now belongs to me. The loss of a single round of ammunition is a rather small price to pay for violating multiple rules of safe gun handling.

In short, follow the four rules of gun safety as well as your local gun show’s rules and a good time will be had by all. Roam the floor, haggle with sellers, buy some beef jerky and have a good time.

And let’s be careful out there.

 

Marlon is owner of Knapp Weaponry in Wichita, Kansas. He discovered the shooting sports and firearms at the ripe old age of four, thanks in part to his Uncle Rich, a Nebraska State Highway Patrolman, and Nebraska Game Warden. Marlon is former military and a current NRA and Kansas certified firearms instructor.

comments

  1. avatar rt66paul says:

    These are common sense rules and should be taught in schools.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      What happened to my comment here? There was nothing that should have flagged it for scrutiny or removal, according to guidance provided to me in the past by TTAG. And I’ve been posting comments all day from this same PC and IP address. What gives? This has been happening more frequently (and to others who have voiced the same problem), with no clarification as to why…

      1. There aren’t any comments pending approval.

        1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Something odd is going on. At least once a week, one of my comments is posted and then quickly disappears upon the next refresh. Been going on for at least several weeks. I recall a conversation between other users a few months ago in which the same thing was happening to them.

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Haz. It was likely me. For a while I thought I was banned and had to work around to post a comment. It happened a couple of times in a short space of time.

      2. avatar Splain says:

        And Etiquette for Sellers at Gun Shows…

        1. Charge retail or more. Remember, your stuff is worth more because its yours.

        2. Be grouchy with customers. It adds that refreshing level of toxic masculinity missing from daily life.

        3. Act surprised, shocked even when a potential customer makes an offer less than your asking price. See rule 1.

        4. Be pushy and desperate. It helps the sale.

        5. Be angry about politics, and drop insults as much as possible. It keeps people on their toes.

        This is a brief list. Please add your own gun show seller’s etiquette.

        Thanks for playing.

        1. avatar mrlyle says:

          Always lean back in your chair and look bored. Better yet, talk to guy running table next door and completely ignore potential buyers

        2. avatar Napresto says:

          Make sure to answer every customer question as if it’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever heard.

          Also make sure you label whatever you’re selling as “rare,” even if it’s a well-worn Glock 19. “Rust” is just another way to say “patina.”

        3. avatar Noxious says:

          Make sure to leave your table unattended as much as possible. Force the customer find you after bothering all the nearby sellers looking for who owns the stuff.

          Get cranker as time goes on and your sales are slow. Blame Obama for everything.

          Claim your Chinese Magpul crap is real.

        4. avatar Dodge says:

          Don’t forget to tell every customer that all your guns have a low round count.

        5. avatar Karl says:

          Customers:
          Don’t shower or use deodorant.
          Stand in front of a table and BS about things unrelated to the guns with other customers.

          Sellers:
          Glare at the sellers who are there to move product. Charge new street price for very used guns. Put up little signs telling people to never handle the guns until after they buy ’em.

          Oh, and my personal favorite: leave a gun with a pricetag on it on the table and then when a customer tells you to wrap it up look surprised and tell him it’s not for sale because another guy is driving down from an hour away to look at it. Who saw it at the last show. And didn’t buy it then.

        6. avatar Merle 0 says:

          Karl, that is quite true. Gun shows can be a real wal mart like experience. Especially the conversations you overhear. The last one I went to, as I was leaving, this young couple was standing by a table full of Ak mags, and the guy just couldn’t stop talking about his dick, trying to impress this girl. It wasn’t working and she started fondling a knife. I decided to hasten my exit as I overheard her finally say “if you don’t shut the hell up about your pecker I’m gonna cut it off!” I kept moving. Not sure how that one ended and I don’t care to know.

        7. avatar Big Bill says:

          Put out lots of guns without any price tag or info. That way, when you’re busy shooting the bull with someone, people who might want to buy something will just pass you by, leaving you more time to shoot the bull. After all, that’s why you’re there, right? If it isn’t, why does it look that way?

        8. avatar Chris in VA says:

          I would add “sell cheap Chinese junk if you don’t have overpriced firearms to sell” to the list. I stopped going to gun shows after about a dozen consecutive negative experiences.

  2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    Eat me. This includes rt66. Not all gun shows are like this, believe it or not.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      Are you referring to their desire to unnecessarily draw and handle OC sidearms so they can ‘confiscate’ your property (self defense ammunition)?

      Yeah, that’s a hard pass from me on setting foot in the place,

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        I’d love to see someone try and defend themselves against a theft charge by saying “we don’t have the resources to catalogue and return your items”

  3. avatar James Campbell says:

    Wow, unreal.
    Come out to a Real Texas Gun Show, where 2nd A rights are respected, and locals understand the reality that guns are NOT the root cause of what the left defines as “gun violence”.
    How about Ace Hardware requiring gas tanks be drained and spark plugs forfeited before a Stihl chainsaw can be carried in for service. You know, we need to reduce the risk of “chainsaw violence”

    1. avatar Gun Smoker says:

      ‘I need to know what James Campbell thinks about this issue’!

      …said no one, ever!

      1. avatar Manly Man says:

        Hey, “Gun Smoker”…

        Are you looking to smoke, or be smoked, big guy? 🙂

      2. avatar James Campbell says:

        Hey “gun smoker”, if I wanted to hear from an assholes, I would just fart.

        1. avatar Gun Smoker says:

          …or lid get real close to your boyfriend’s while tossing his salad.

        2. avatar James Campbell says:

          So quick with the homosexual responses there “gun smoker”. I guess it’s just where your mind is at.

    2. avatar Wedge259 says:

      Along with the author, I’m a resident of Wichita, and any gun shop in town will be happy for your business regardless of if you are open carrying and they will not ask you to disarm. Gunshows are totally different and have always been this way here. The venue managers have to accommodate the lowest common denominator, which unfortunately can be quite low. Plenty of people go to gun shows who might not otherwise go to a gun shop, and you will see wild amounts of muzzling, dry firing without permission, and general disrespect for firearms and the four rules. So I totally understand the “no ammo” rule. I’ve never had any ammo “confiscated” because I’ll take it back to my car before I do that. Also, if you’re a serious gun owner, than you know most ND’s occur when holstering or unholstering. That’s just an added risk if someone open carries a loaded gun and decides that they want to trade/sell it. There have also been several instances in the past few years of ND’s at gun shows, so most of the rules I see as common sense and something I’d want in place as a patron. There’s just too much handling of guns by people of questionable… intelligence around firearms to not have it in my opinion.

      1. avatar Sam Hill says:

        What the hell is ND? I got D=discharge. AD accidental clap.

        1. avatar godsend1 says:

          ND= negligent discharge.

    3. avatar Merle 0 says:

      Yep. I quit going to gun shows after the last one I went to in 2013. Absolute trash. 20$ to get in. Almost every gun show I’ve gone to since the mid 00s is anti carrying. With metal detectors, pat downs, and LE. It wasn’t like that in the 90s and no one ever got shot. At some point gun shows became anti 2A. In the last one I went to most of the guns were overpriced crap, and there was tons of other trash there also priced to not sell. No one in attendance was buying anything. No one was falling for it. This one seller had a wall full of M1 garands but none of them were for sale. Like he just brought them to show them off. Ooh look at me and how many garands I have. His tables were full of airsoft grade tacticool garbage. Not impressed. That’s when I looked around and realized I was an idiot just for coming to this garbage heap full of other idiots. Will never go to one again.

      1. avatar Dazed says:

        I’ve seen that M1 Garand guy! He had RACKS and racks of them. Just transporting them must be a hassle. No idea why he was there except to show them off, none were for sale. Maybe he expects people to bring more to him? He didn’t seem to be going around looking to buy more.

        1. avatar Merle 0 says:

          Right. I’m glad someone else remembers him. Yeah I really don’t understand his logic other then bragging. He has no intent to sell and no intent to buy. Maybe he expects his vast garand collection will impress someone to buy his other stuff.

      2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        I thought I was the only one who was unimpressed with a gun show. I’ve been to two. One was a big county fairgrounds thing, the other a small VFW hall. Everything was old. Everyone was old. It was more of a show-and-tell. That anti-carry rule is funny; hypocrites.

      3. avatar Chris in VA says:

        I sort of thought I was the only one that thought this way. In the 90s, when I was younger, there seemed to be a lot of really nice used guns at gun shows. This seems to have been replaced with all of that cheap garbage and items not at all related to firearms.

  4. avatar Timothy Toroian says:

    I’ve been to gun show where you are asked about weapons on your person, they want to see it, watch you unload it and then use a cable tie to make sure the cylinder won’t close or the magazine won’t enter and/or a round won’t chamber.
    Safety rules are nice everywhere. And Dalton said in Road House, “Be nice”.

    1. avatar Geoff "Run, Bloomie, run!" PR says:

      “And Dalton said in Road House, “Be nice”.”

      …until it’s time to not be nice…

  5. avatar Defens says:

    Nice article explaining the process at the author’s particular gun show. The one’s I’ve gone to have different rules – ours don’t allow any loaded firearms, concealed or otherwise.

    I am interested in attending a show where I can purchase a cute, female, like-minded individual, along with some guns and gear!

    1. avatar Someone says:

      Therein lies your problem – you think that women are for sale. It’s not impossible to meet one that fits your description in gun show. But don’t try to buy her. 😋

      1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

        All women and men are bought. You may not be aware of the price or currency, but that doesn’t mean every relationship is not a transaction.

    2. avatar BoG 2.0 says:

      “I am interested in attending a show where I can purchase a cute, female, like-minded individual, along with some guns and gear!”

      If you haven’t been able to afford one yet, you likely never will…;-)>

    3. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

      Gun shows should be like tech and car shows – booth babes! Race queens! LOL If you can’t buy what they’re selling, at least maybe you can get a phone number.

  6. avatar Southern Cross says:

    Know your prices beforehand so you know what is a good deal or not.

    Ask before you handle firearms and specifically ask if you want to dry fire. And don’t disrespect the vendors wares.

    If you need paperwork, have it done before the show.

  7. avatar heywood says:

    never any tutorial for the average dickhead that works these hootenanies

  8. avatar former water walker says:

    Meh…I have no plans on going to any “gun” shows. My wife and I have setup at literally hundreds of antique shows,flea markets and in-between markets in the last 25years. Be personable and don’t be a self-absorbed prick and you gunguys might sell. Gun sellers aren’t special. Years ago I went to gunshows and most of the idiot’s selling acted like it was a privilege to sell your crap above retail. And sell me bad ammo I couldn’t return😖

  9. avatar Biatec says:

    Why zip tie them and unload them?

    1. avatar Geoff "Run, Bloomie, run!" PR says:

      Zip-tying through the action keeps a live round from inadvertently being chambered and potentially negligently fired…

      1. avatar Biatec says:

        Seems silly to me. NG can happen anywhere and often it’s the type of person to do a NG would skirt the rules to begin with. Not always but often.

        This cultural shift around liability on everyone else needs to go away.

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      I have attended two different gun shows where there was an “accidental” discharge.
      That’s why.
      I find it strange that you couldn’t figure that out by yourself.
      Another show, a seller was trying to sell a product that reduced internal friction. He handed me a pistol so I could see how slick it was. First thing I did was check to make sure it was not loaded; he said I was the *first* person to do that; they all accepted the gun, racked it, and dry fired it without even checking to see if there was a mag in it. Now, I didn’t know if he was exaggerating a little, so I stepped aside and watched. He was right. No one checked the gun.
      That’s why.

  10. avatar Hannibal says:

    “Again, they must be unloaded. And again, we will confiscate any ammunition found in the firearm…”

    I like that you’re self-righteous about committing theft.

    1. avatar LifeSavor says:

      Hannibal,

      You called it, exactly.

  11. avatar LifeSavor says:

    I no longer go to the local gun show at Ag Hall. They put a zip tie through my fire magazine well so that I can carry my concealed weapon. Really? You sell guns and gun ‘stuff’ but do not allow basic second amendment rights in the hall. Why are you in this business?

    So, we have plenty of gun shops here in the Lehigh Valley. They don’t disarm me when I walk through the door. They are interesting to visit and staffed with knowledgable, friendly folk who take time to help.

    No need for the gun show that distrusts its customers.

    1. avatar Geoff "Run, Bloomie, run!" PR says:

      ” They put a zip tie through my fire magazine well so that I can carry my concealed weapon. Really?”

      Really.

      That bullshit is there because there have been dumb shits that have touched off a live round in the exhibit hall. By people who were erroneously convinced that “They knew what they were doing.” *Boom*. Wrong!

      And when you have a room packed with that many people, bullets in flight can maim or kill…

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        We don’t have that with CC weapons but we do with anything that’s not CC. With OC they’ll give you the option to go back to your car and leave the ammo or lose it.

        Same basic reason. Used to be that you could go to a gun show in the Denver area and most of the people had the basic idea of “Don’t point gun at other person” down fairly well. Now we have a load of Cali transplants seeing things for the first time and going apeshit like a virgin sailor in a Thai whorehouse.

        There’s also something overlooked here, which is that there has been talk on the internet by antis of going around with live ammo and putting it in guns specifically to try to cause an ND. That’s the kind of thing that makes organizers and promoters very, very nervous and probably a little overzealous about safety. In fact, IIRC, someone got arrested a year or two ago for going around doing just this.

        It’s also already an issue without the malicious behavior. People get shot at gun shows with what I would call an “alarming regularity” (mainly because I’d like to think maybe it ever happened like… I dunno, twice?) due to improper handling of “unloaded” guns. I believe it was ThinkProgress that back around 2012 or so, ran banner headlines for-fucking-ever about five or six people getting shot at gun shows in a single week.

        1. avatar Mike B in WI says:

          Strych9,

          You are correct. I have a friend who was working the gun counter at our local Gander Mountain a couple of years ago who had a “customer” try to slip a live round in a handgun while my friend was not looking.
          Fortunately my friend saw him.

        2. avatar Geoff "Run, Bloomie, run!" PR says:

          {Putting live ammo in guns at gunshows}

          “In fact, IIRC, someone got arrested a year or two ago for going around doing just this.”

          Holy shit!

          I would have no problem whatsoever making doing that on purpose attempted murder, and a terrorist act.

          A terrorist act since the purpose of doing that is to instill fear in the public about guns…

  12. avatar Chad says:

    Gun shows are dead or dying. The promoters and sellers killed it. Why would any rational person pay to park, pay an outrageous price to enter, and be insulted by Fudd booth holders on trades and price. For the most part my lgs beats the prices of gunshows by a lot and I don’t have to hear a taser crackle every 3 seconds. Nor do I have to wade past beanie babies, beef jerky, or some idiot that was a top secret deltasealranger secret squirrel. So ding dong the gunshow is dead and y’all killed it.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      They died a long time ago here in CA. The last one I went to was back in 2008, before CA went full Leftard and passed all the laws that banned pretty much everything. Bought a nice rifle there from a private seller and walked out with it with my privacy intact…can’t do that anymore.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Yes. When Mosin Nagants could be had for 50 bucks and an sks could be had for under 100 and both were considered C&R which meant a simple form and then cash and carry Got an Ishapore 7.62 Lee Enfield for 125 out the door.

        Those days are long gone in CA and so is my gun show attendance.

        1. avatar SoCalJack says:

          The ones at Ventura Co Fairgrounds are still worth going to. Typically spend $100. Sellers and buyers, all friendly knowledgable in gun and knife laws. It’s still a great way to get a feel of our CA gun culture talking to folks face-to-face. The funny thing is a lot of folks there are wearing their 2A/III%/USA/Mil/LE t-shirts, it’s like, am I not in the state of CA. They say no CCW but I have carried the past few years, no wands or pad downs yet.

        2. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          The Ventura Fairgrounds Show was the last one I was talking about above. Nice time with my adult son. Shortly after that, when Gov. Moonbeam took the helm in Sacramento, the restrictions started coming down the pipe. Those I know who went there a couple of years ago said it’s a shell of its former self, especially now that all transactions – even ammo sales and private gun sales – are tracked and de facto registered. Not for me.

    2. avatar LKB says:

      Gun shows are indeed a dying bred. However, while some promoters and sellers have accelerated the decline (as has hostility from local governments), the real reason they are dying off is the Internet.

      PSA, Brownells, Primary Arms, Bud’s, Midway, Optics Planet, etc. now provide just about all of the new stuff that we used to go to gun shows to shop for, and their prices almost always beat what you’ll find at a gun show.

      Ammo? Ammoseek will find you your best deals instantly, even for obscure calibers/loadings.

      Used / collectible guns (to buy or sell)? Gunbroker and Armslist (or Rock Island Auction for very high end stuff)

      Used / milsurp parts for old guns? Numrich

      Tactikool / sekrit squirrel gear? Websites abound

      And, of course, your LGS is also facing stiff competition from all of the above, and so their prices now have to be more competitive for them to survive.

      In short, what can you get at gun shows that you can’t probably get cheaper online (or at your LGS)? Very little. And shopping online doesn’t require you to pay parking, entry fees, and ridiculous prices for lousy snacks.

      Will I still visit gun shows? Sure (especially larger ones), but that’s more for nostalga / entertainment value then any serious expectancy of scoring a bargain.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        What you say is all true. I do miss the gun shows here in CA, tho, for the cash sales and privacy, as compared to buying online. But California, so….

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        The internet is also why the LGS’s around here do a banging business in trade guns. People buy something off the net and find out they hate it then they turn around and sell it instantly. I see “used” guns all the time that have had, at max, a cylinder/mag through them and went straight to a store to be sold.

        Like shoes, unless you know exactly what you want, you kinda wanna at least pick up a gun before you buy it.

        Shoes, cars, guns, motorcycles, tools… some things I want to get my hands on before I make a decision.

        1. avatar jwm says:

          Exactly.

        2. avatar BoG 2.0 says:

          “People buy something off the net and find out they hate it then they turn around and sell it instantly. I see “used” guns all the time that have had, at max, a cylinder/mag through them and went straight to a store to be sold. ”

          and bless their souls for providing us with a good supply of barely used firearms at rock-bottom prices!

        3. avatar LKB says:

          True, which was why the gone-but-not-forgotten Texas Firearms Festival was so very cool. Queue up at each manufacturer’s bay, shoot everything (entry fee included your ammo), circle back and shoot the ones you liked best again, repeat until you find the one you really like/want/can afford, and then buy it right there (usually at better prices than you could find online, because you typically were buying straight from the mfgr.).

          Oh well. Like the now-closed Best of the West range where it was held, it was fun while it lasted.

      3. avatar Mark H says:

        Reloading supplies, specifically Powder/Primers.

        At the bigger shows here I can save enough of powder and primers to (barely) make up the cost of entry, and the outragous entry fees are still lower than paying HAZMAT.

        Other than that, most things are well overpriced.

        1. avatar LKB says:

          Very good point. HAZMAT shipping is outrageous.

  13. avatar Mike says:

    Gun show? You mean the place they charge you to get into that sells racist knickknacks, Chinese knockoff parts at 4x the price you could buy them online if you wanted that junk, and every single firearm is extremely overpriced? Oh and if you try to haggle you get a “No way buddy, I know what I got. This is super rare!” when there’s 15 of them listed online for a quarter of the price.

    1. avatar Napresto says:

      Racist Knicknacks… yep, what is the deal with this? I understand selling actual historical artifacts, but I have seen swastika throw pillows at some of these shows. Who buys this garbage? Who sells it? Some people are seriously awful.

      Brave 1st amendment defenders incoming in 3… 2… 1…

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        Who buys this garbage?

        Maybe ex-Congresswoman Katie Hill, to go with her Iron Cross groin tattoo?

      2. avatar Chunk says:

        Who buys it? Anyone who buys a swastika throw-pillow is a Nazi.

        1. avatar Hans says:

          “Who buys it? Anyone who buys a swastika throw-pillow is a Nazi.”

          Chunk, I purchased one for my Davenport which will match the other
          side which has the hammer & sickle. Now I am sure dat my guest
          will feel secure that the Davenport is fair and balanced.

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      Mike, I can agree with most of that.
      But every single firearm is extremely overpriced? Not at all. I managed to pick up a three-screw (1974 vintage) Single Six for about $300 final price. It took some dealing, including buying another cheap gun (serendipitous find), selling it for more than twice what I paid for it, and talking the Single Six seller down a good bit by pointing out faults. It can be done.
      But there are things a potential buyer must do; these include having some idea of what you’re looking for, and reasonable prices for those items. Be prepared to find something you weren’t looking for but find you really want; know how to use your phone to find a reasonable value for it, and go from there. You may not be able to buy it for a reasonable price, so be prepared to either overpay or be disappointed. Life is like that.
      And above all: have fun. If you can’t do that, don’t go.

  14. avatar GS650G says:

    Havent been to a so called gun show in years. Ridiculous crowded expensive place with undercover cops all over. I found a mag for a rifle made 50 years ago and haven’t been to one since

  15. avatar Prndll says:

    If you don’t like the rules
    Don’t go there

    Same thing applies to my home

  16. avatar WI Patriot says:

    I quit going to gun “shows” a cpl yrs back, vendors started believing and acting like they were doing attendees a “favor” by being there, and the prices were atrocious, and in some cases, more than MSRP…

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      I too quit going to gun shows years ago. It used to be gun guys selling/trading interesting things. I mostly looked for no longer available factory firearms and accessories. Once bought a heavy bipod for an HK 91 for $80. They were going for $300 in Shotgun News at the time. Now regional gun/pawn shops empty there shelves for a weekend. Mostly ARs and Tubberware pistols. For retail+. And $10 for the privilege of seeing what I can see for free Monday. No longer interested. Except the Tulsa Gun Show. On my bucket list.

  17. avatar thomaspaine says:

    Most of the shows I attend disarm all the morons who march in there with loaded firearms.

    No loaded firearms are allowed either concealed or open carry , none. If you do not like it you are shown the door and told not to come back.

    Most States have laws prohibiting the sale of weapons in the parking lot or even in the lobby as it only gives more ammunition to the anti-gun fanatics and prowling hostile news reporters that are just waiting to broadcast an “undercover” video of how easy it is to buy guns if you are a criminal and of course with no paperwork.

    All guns are checked at the door to make sure they are unloaded and then wire tied through the chamber if possible.

    Dealers are required to have all guns wire tied as well as it was found they violated the rules more than the man on the street coming into the show. We had one dealer leave a loaded gun on the table that was fired off by a customer who was not intelligent enough to even check it before he pulled the trigger. Two morons at the same table, the dealer and the customer.

    Many customers do not ask to look at guns but simply pick them up and then abuse them in a hundred different ways by dry firing them without permission and even attempting to strip them down with parts flying all over the floor. Then they walk off without even asking the price of the gun.

    I have seen many customers pick a gun up off a table and then just let it free fall back on the table and sometimes even bounce off on to the floor. Respect someone else’s property its not yours to destroy. Just because your guns look like they were drug by a rope through the parking lot does not mean that other people do take very good care of their guns.

    Many patrons ruin the finish on guns by gouging them with wedding rings. Take them off before going into a gun show you do not have the right to damage other peoples guns.

    Many patrons are such idiots they pick guns up that are tied together dragging a pile of guns across the table and again it happens because they never asked if they could handle the guns.

    Many customers start violent verbal agreements with dealers by accusing them of being crooks, charging too much or telling them they should sell them for half of what they are worth. They seem to think that if they cannot afford a weapon then the dealer should give them one practically for free. Use a damn blue book before running off your mouth that the price is too high. Its ok to negotiate a price but do so in a civilized manner without offending the dealer. A simple phrase of “Are you firm on that price” is usually polite enough not “Are you out of your fking mind”. I saw on jerk even walking around with a “laugh box” he would ask the price and when told the asking price he would hit the button on the laugh box and then walk away.

    If you attend a gun show be aware that there will be many people at most shows packed together in closely packed isles so for Christ sake take a damn bath before you go there. Many times I have almost passed out when unbathed people have stood at my table.

    If you are carrying a gun around for sale do not pile your belongings on someones table and then talk to a potential customer while blocking other customers from shopping at the dealers table, the price of admission does not give you unlimited rights.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      thomas, you make some very good points. Although, I can’t say I’ve seen any of the rude behavior you described. However, as I said before, it has been years. When I went, it went like this. I see something I like. I bend over and look at item and price. If I’m still interested. “May I look at this?” Not interested. Thank you. I move along. Interested. “What would you take? Cash money.” Let the haggling begin. Used to be half the fun of the gun show. Now, “How much would you take for this? Cash money.” Seller “Price is on the tag. Buy or move along.” No thanks. Exceptions, of course.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        I’ll have to say I’ve been a seller more than a buyer at gun shows. I have changed the way I do business over the years. I found that most people want to haggle so i pit prices on them at 20% more than i really want. This give me wiggle room for trades (which is what i prefer anyway).

        Since I have prices posted on all my guns. Here’s how it normally goes.
        “What’s the lowest you will take? I say a price lower than on the gun. They immediately say “I wouldn’t give more than $###.”

        So now I say “my asking price is on the gun, now it’s your turn to make an offer”, if they remain steadfast in trying to get me to offer a lower price, they aren’t buying the gun.

        I will always haggle….I just dont like wasting my time.

        Serious buyers (like Gaadsen Flag) understand the game. But a lot of folks are trying for a fire-sale price. Since it’s not my day job, it is for fun. I never really make money, I just exchange guns.

        1. avatar Merle 0 says:

          I think a big problem is Americans generally don’t know how to haggle. There’s very little in American life that requires haggling, unfortunately, because it’s a time honored capitalist tradition. There’s a way to do it without being an offensive jerk, which is what I normally see people do. Having been to foreign countries where it’s not only common, but expected, I’ve learned how to do it, (Wether selling or buying) but even then most Americans seemingly get offended that I would dare haggle, or get confused.

        2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Don’t bring foreign countries into this. Many of their practices is to, say, hire a contractor to perform a $5,000 job, the job gets done, then the scum doesn’t want to pay that and haggle it down. “Job not worth five thousand, I give you three thousand.”

          No, shitbag, give me five thousand or I’ll see you in court.

          Do not glorify these aholes.

          Same thing with prices. This is what I’m selling this for. Buy it or don’t.

        3. avatar Merle 0 says:

          Danny I didn’t say their way was superior. Obviously haggling is totally inappropriate for certain transactions. But for a venue like a gun show, flea market, farmers market, car lot ect.. its perfectly fine.

        4. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Yeah, not buying your excuse. You wrote, “Having been to foreign countries where it’s not only common, but expected”

          F’ them and their culture. We’re not talking $500,000 properties where the market is somewhat fluid, you’re bragging about haggling over a flea market item that costs a few dollars?

          You must be so proud of yourself. Do you high five your spouse when you buy a $0.25 item for $0.10 at a garage sale?

          My point is you are glorifying a culture whose nature is to lie, and you are expected to know that they are lying and call them on it.

        5. avatar Big Bill says:

          I’ve tried to teach sellers how to haggle, and some treat it as if I’m trying to steal the gruel from their children’s mouths.
          Usually, I don’t ask what the seller is willing to take; if there’s a price tag, that’s his asking price; if no price is visible, I ask. Then, the haggling begins by me offering less. If the seller just stands there, or says he can’t do that, I politely say he can make a counter offer. If he won’t, we’re done haggling. I can pay, or leave. (I usually leave, after saying thanks.) Or, if I’m still interested, I’ll strike up a conversation, not necessarily about guns. If he’s not busy, he’ll join in, and we eventually get back to the gun. Sometimes, the price comes down, sometimes not. It’s supposed to be fun.
          But yeah, I’ve seen a lot of dicks, both sellers and buyers. And guys who drag their wife/girlfriend who obviously isn’t interested, and lets all and sundry know it. That’s not fun.

        6. avatar Merle 0 says:

          Danny please explain to me which culture I was seeking to “glorify”.

  18. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I go to gun shows to see what I like, what works for me, what fits, cloth type on backpacks/camo, etc.

    Then I can go home and save a bunch of money by buying online.

    1. avatar SouthAl says:

      Same here. But, I do come across a good deal about every 2 or 3 shows and will pick it up. Prices start to get more reasonable, and sellers more interested in selling, on the last day. $45 AR lowers out the door are hard for me to pass up.

    2. avatar Salty says:

      Touché. I go to bs with like minded folks and see what’s unusual. If you going for “deals” you’re gonna be disappointed
      Saw a supposed Manhattan project guard gun in a Remington 11 (a5 “clone”?) at wannenmachers for ……$65000 =] dunno if it was legit, or “worth” it

      1. avatar SoCalJack says:

        Same here. I’ll buy, but sometimes to get a good deal I’d offer to buy more than one item, I like to haggle. But to talk to like minded folks, and swap experiences and knowledge, that’s the primary reason I go. Plus, I always bring shooting buddies and/or family with me.

        1. avatar Salty says:

          Yes the haggling is so fun!! I forgot about that!!

          Basically it boils down to: enjoy life. The golden rule. Laugh have fun. Guys make it too serious sometimes

  19. avatar Texican says:

    It’s fun to go to gun shows to handle guns and see stuff you might not otherwise. And you used to be able to get good deals. But something happened. I call it the “Obama Effect” for lack of a better term. Prices went thru the roof after Newtown and Demokommies trying to ban everything and the sellers at gun shows haven’t gotten the message that he’s out of office and they need to adjust their pricing.

    1. avatar Hannibal says:

      They’re still sure that those AR lowers they bought at 200% retail are a great investment

  20. avatar Phil LA says:

    My favorite tables at gun shows are the ones with genuine leather gun belts, holsters and framed portraits of John Wayne.

    Also powder.

  21. avatar Salty says:

    I kinda do what I want. The ctag is kinda weak now that it’s at the other facility. Also, guys like to act like the rules of supply and demand don’t apply to them so sometimes I don’t act like rules of common civility apply to them. Meaning the flipper guys try to “steal” the guns from you, but then turn around and drop it in the table for over retail. When you offer less they get offended loooooooolz

  22. avatar Jim says:

    Why do all gun shows smell like dirty feet?

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Cosmoline? Really old wood gun stocks?

      1. avatar John in AK says:

        It’s not dirty feet. It’s the stale popcorn, rancid butter, old grease, elderly hot dogs, crusty buns, mustard-with-rubbery-skin, ketchup-with-rubbery-skin, relish-with-rubbery-skin, rubbery nachos-with-sticky-yellow-cheese-like-substance, and industrial-grade cotton candy, which have a combined smell reminiscent of a skid-row hotel, a homeless shelter, or a NYC subway train. Or a bear den. Used.

        It’s called ‘Eau de GunShow.”

        1. avatar Guesty McGuesterson says:

          Woohoo, you just sold me on it. Where’s the next gun show? 🙂

    2. avatar jwm says:

      The last gun shows I attended were at places like the Cow Palace, Alameda County fairgrounds, etc. Not single use venues. Lots of high volume events in old, poorly maintained buildings.

      It would surprise me if they didn’t smell bad.

  23. avatar enuf says:

    I used to love going to gun shows. Would spend hours at the bigger ones, or whatever time it took for the smaller ones. Bought used guns, gun parts, ammo, magazines, holsters and if there was a snack bar I always got something to eat and drink. Lots of good time spent just looking and chatting too! That went on for years.

    But promoters decided to make a killing. Massive parking fee, then a bigger entry fee. I didn’t mind so much them checking my gun was empty, though it struck me as rather odd that a gun show was a Gun Free Zone … but okay, I get it there’s a moron contingent out there.

    Still, $30 to park and enter, man that killed it for me. Telling me I could park for half price about six blocks away only pissed me off more.

    Then the sellers. …….
    Non-gun stuff like crazy!
    Chinese crap like crazy!
    Prices at retail and higher!

    Had a seller trying to convince me of a bullshit conspiracy theory as the reason I should buy from him, and him only, at his elevated price.

    I’d hear sellers complain about the promoters too. Every imaginable thing was an extra charge. You could buy more space for more tables but the additional entry ID’s to staff the tables did not come in that price. So each employee you added had to enter and pay as a regular customer to the show.

    I miss the gun shows of my youth. Those were fun and friendly. If I was driving by and saw a sign for one, I’d always pull in or come back later if I could. Because I knew I’d meet actual gun people.

    These days, it just ain’t worth my time and dollar$, it’s as simple as that.

  24. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I refuse to attend a gun show while unarmed.

    First of all, the firearms at a gun show are incredibly attractive items for a team of armed robbers. Having no way to protect myself if a team showed up would really suck.

    Second of all, shrewd criminals would KNOW that I am unarmed walking to/from my car and that there is a very good chance that I am carrying several hundred dollars which makes me a preferred robbery target.

    By the way that last reason is why I no longer go to professional sporting events. Muggers KNOW that you are unarmed going to/from the stadium. No way Jose.

  25. avatar Aerindel says:

    A good write up on all the reasons NOT to go to a gunshow.

    1. avatar Hans says:

      Aerindel, PLUS ONE!

      Excellents posts guys. I have always wanted to attend one
      but after reading the ATF & TSA rules, I have no interest
      anymore.

  26. avatar jros says:

    Most gun shows I’ve been to the last 10 years sucks.

    It’s just jerky and junky cheaperthandirt.com tier stuff.

  27. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Have witnessed ( heard the shot and/or seen 3 NDs at gun shows in my life lifetime).

    One was a Colt 25 brought in by a little old lady in Birmingham. The guy at the table where she was looking to trade for a revolver did not check it (I thought they checked them coming in – his words). He touched off a round into a rifle stock on his table.

    Another was a 243 rifle in Momtgomery. Guys with the table had been hunting with it and then zip tied it (loaded) and put it on the table. Potential customer took out a light in the auditorium. It was impressive.

    The last was an FFL dealer in Panama City, who looking at an attendee’s 1911 and touched off a round that traveled down an entire block of tables before escaping into the parking lot through the wall. I was at the table next to him ( away from the bullet path).

    After each incident you could have heard a gnat fart after the report of the gun. No one was injured (shitting yourself is not an injury). All were “asked” to leave immediately……and not come back.

    All could have been avoided if either the customer or purveyor had obeyed/observed the rules. Dont be that guy.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      So all three negligent discharges were by gun dealers, not by customers. LOL

      1. avatar Miner49er says:

        You seem to enjoy that you sick twisted Neanderthal. The stupid gun owners like you who attend gun shows are the ones who need regulating. Waving your guns around like some kind of fat red neck. The gun dealers are trying to be responsible while big, dumb, animals like you show up and trash the place and bash Obama and muslims. You stink up what could be responsible gun transactions with your racial hate.

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Miner, nice rant. I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter.

      2. avatar Specialist38 says:

        No. The 243 was touched off by a potential customer.

        That sumbitch is LOUD inside and pointed up. Lol.

        And then glass powder floated and rained down……

      3. avatar FedUp says:

        The way I read it, the .243 ND was facilitated by a dealer but committed by a customer.

        I also hear of dealers NDing while setting up their tables before the show.
        Pull trigger to apply zip-tie…

  28. avatar strych9 says:

    Eh, gun shows are just something to do IMHO, like a Sunday drive or a flea market.

    They work best if you compile a list and keep it in your head of guns/other stuff you’d like and at what prices you’d consider them. Then if you find one at a good price, great. If not, oh well.

    At least around here a show is about the same price as a movie and, for the most part, a hell of a lot more entertaining. I just pack a cooler with lunch. If it’s a show I want to stay at I’ll have lunch in the parking lot. If not, the wife and I go do something else and have lunch.

    1. avatar Timothy says:

      I agree. It’s like going to a casino for me. I’m going to lose money, once I’ve reached the amount I’m willing to spend then it’s time to go. Cash to enter, cash to buy food, a list of guns or accessories that I’m looking for. Even if I don’t buy anything, walking around and seeing new things and people can be much like going to the movies.

  29. avatar The Rookie says:

    Having never been to a gun show, I confess I’m a little bit confused as to why concealed firearms can be carried loaded, but open carry ones can’t? Is it to eliminate potential confusion between carried weapons and stock for sale?

    Sorry if I’m being dense here. Been a very long day at the office and I’m a little bleary eyed at the moment.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Yeah, it’s for the confusion mostly but it also makes it less likely that someone says “Oooo can I see that?” or thinks you’re selling something because you’re carrying it around. I’ve had a bunch of people over the years ask to buy something I was carrying around (having just bought it). If you just bought it then it’s very likely not loaded. If it’s on your hip it likely is.

      Then there’s the issue that if you unload the gun to show it to someone now there are bullets out that could, in theory, get into another gun and then be set off. So there’s the same kind of idea as not cleaning or practicing dry fire/training in a room that has ammo unless it’s an actual range.

      Also some are held in venues that don’t allow OC, strange as that might sound.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      Good luck with a rule saying that concealed weapons can’t be loaded. Unless you set up actual security checkpoints with searches.

      Me sir? Well, shucks, I don’t have a license to carry and wouldn’t know what to do with one if I had it! Now don’t mind me checking out your IWB holsters over there…

      1. avatar that one guy says:

        Read it again, a little more closely.
        “Concealed firearms are just that – concealed. Don’t pull yours out at the check-in table. If you do, we will remove the magazine, zip tie the firearm and keep any loose ammunition.”

        Concealed guns, that are going to stay concealed for the duration, can be loaded. CC guns that you intend to pull and test fit in holsters or attach railtoys to cannot be loaded. OC guns cannot be loaded.

        Basically, every gun that can or will be seen inside the show will not have any bullets in it. Any gun that has bullets in it cannot and will not be seen.

        Don’t want the door staff to pocket your ammo? Don’t put it in a gun they’ll be looking at, and don’t show them the gun it’s in.

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Concealed guns, that are going to stay concealed for the duration, can be loaded.

          Gun shows knowingly allow loaded concealed handguns? Or are you saying that you have to lie to the gate and tell them you aren’t armed?

        2. avatar that one guy says:

          I don’t see anything in the original post that suggests that anyone is going to ask you about guns they can’t see, so you’d have no reason to lie about your concealed carry.

    3. avatar Big Bill says:

      In theory, if someone is carrying concealed (in a legal fashion), it’s nobody’s business.
      A concealed gun should not be shown unless it’s a situation where it needs to be shown; IOW, don’t tell anyone you have it. No harm, no foul. If you have it, and never touch it, it won’t go bang (unless you’ve done something really stupid).
      Even if you’re told at the door that all concealed guns must be empty, how do they know? If you’re doing it right, they will never know.

  30. avatar Blue says:

    All the gun shows in my area insist on you being disarmed to pay to get in their gun show. Screw that. How can you celebrate the Second Amendment inside while making sure that nobody coming in can celebrate theirs? I refuse to go to any gun show where my Second Amendment rights are abridged. It is hypocritical. Not only that, I typically don’t pay to go shopping. The vendors are paying for their booths and you are going to charge me? No thanks, I’ll stick with my local gun shop.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      ^ this, what Blue said

  31. avatar Wally1 says:

    I used to attend local gun shows, usually looking for Ruger #1 or #3, However the prices they were asking were so over the top, I could have a new one for less. Kind of fun just to do scans over all the tables to see if anything tickles my fancy, but I have had better luck at local gun shops with consignment firearms.

  32. avatar M1Lou says:

    I’m going to the gun show at Dulles today. It was pretty good last time. No parkings fees and only $11 to get in with a coupon.

  33. avatar Stev says:

    Our local monthly gun show is generally nice vendors with high prices. It’s a decent place to handle several different firearms under one roof, but that’s about it.

  34. avatar John McPherson says:

    As both a seller and attender at shows, I do wish parents would monitor small children, and that means under 21. Nothing like seeing a child holding a salty greasy bag of popcorn reaching for your prize Luger pistol. I do want the youth of today to have the experience, and I want their parents to teach them proper respect. I enjoy talking to the vast majority of people who stop at my table, and have a good deal for those who are polite. I have ask some to move along.

  35. avatar DamnYankee says:

    Gun shows, where gun owners are treated like the irresponsible criminals that the left claims we are. If the people who run these shows think that unloading our firearms BEFORE entering is a must, then they truly have no respect for or trust in us. I can go to ANY local gun store and carry loaded and try out products for my EDC. Ill continue to support local businesses before I do fat, racist rednecks who travel to sell significantly overpriced, commonly found firearms and accessories, that have ZERO respect for my right to carry.

  36. avatar jimmy james says:

    Worked GS’s for 10-15 yrs off and on. Had loaded guns pointed at me by other “vendors” but never by a customer. My partner was threatened by a customer once and he let it slide. I would not have let it slide and had the guy thrown out of the show. Had a customer “test fitting” loaded ammo in some POS single shot pistol I’m sure he illegally bought. Had people smoking around bottles of powder and boxes of primers. Been at 3 shows when guns were discharged. Been at several shows where someone grabbed a knife or gun and headed for the exits at warp speed. Was at one show when the po po put the bracelets on a guy waiting for his NICS check to go thru. I could go on and on. I dont work or go to gun shows anymore. Just like at the movie theater, most people dont know how to act in public. God knows what they do for a living or at home or at church. I own guns to protect myself from 50% of the people that attend gun shows. Here’s another etiquette rule: TAKE AN EFFING SHOWER AND USE SOAP!

  37. avatar IPSC Shooter says:

    Customer etiquette.

    1. Most “used” firearms have had less than 500 rounds thru them. They are a BEST BUY.

    2. The asking price on used guns is usually 3x what the dealer paid for it..

    3. The best time to buy is Sunday afternoon just as the packing up begins.

    4. Bring brand new $100 bills.

    5. For a $500 priced used gun, lay 3 new hundred dollar bills down. Ask the dealer which he prefers, the hundreds or packing the unsold gun up and carrying it to another show? He will whine, cry about his kids, jiggle around and . . . take the new bills in 80% of the offers.

    6. Do not feel sorry for the dealer. His kids will not starve and he did make a profit on the sale. He could have said no.

    7. What if the dealer does say “no”? Walk away slowly and browse. I have had many chase me to say “yes” when they see that I am no fool.

    1. avatar Hans says:

      Schooter, excellent strategy !!

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      Pretty funny. I’ve actually jackasses hand me 60% of what we agreed on for a sale.

      The they usually same something like “you know that’s a fair price”.

      That ends the business transaction and they dont get the gun even if they drag out the rest of the cash.

      I’m sure sure some folks price their stuff at near double what they expect to get ….. I dont.

      No 60 percent offer is going to be taken at my table. I let tons of people walk, away.

      People who are actually knowledgable and looking to buy something usually make an offer and purchase with 5 minutes of looking. Folks who continually come back lowballing are just looking for a fire sale so they can crow about a deal. I have a few people that walk to look for a better price and come back only to find a gun already sold. Everybody wants a deal….even when they find something they are looking for at a fair price.

      If you go to shows very often, you see the same guys lowballing at each one. I always figured they were going to try and sell it one of their friends for a tidy profit.

      Part of the fun……I guess.

    3. avatar Shawn F. says:

      Customer etiquette.

      *Most “used” firearms have had less than 500 rounds thru them. They are a BEST BUY.
      Very good point
      *The asking price on used guns is usually 3x what the dealer paid for it..
      Then they are way too high. You all seem to think that dealers get ‘smoking hot deals’ and you should get it for less than they paid. I offer to special order for 10% above cost plus theft (tax). I have to make some kind of money, don’t I? Don’t like it, don’t buy it, and don’s piss about it.
      *The best time to buy is Sunday afternoon just as the packing up begins.
      Good luck with that
      *Bring brand new $100 bills.
      Used ones no good?
      *For a $500 priced used gun, lay 3 new hundred dollar bills down. Ask the dealer which he prefers, the hundreds or packing the unsold gun up and carrying it to another show? He will whine, cry about his kids, jiggle around and . . . take the new bills in 80% of the offers.
      And you wonder why dealers will put such a high price on things……
      *Do not feel sorry for the dealer. His kids will not starve and he did make a profit on the sale. He could have said no.
      Sometimes yes, sometimes no. What you’re saying is their time is not as valuable as yours, and they’re a dick to think it is
      *What if the dealer does say “no”? Walk away slowly and browse. I have had many chase me to say “yes” when they see that I am no fool.
      In your own mind……

      1. avatar Old IPSC shooter says:

        Shawn. You need to read more closely. I am only talking about purchasing USED guns.

        1. avatar Shawn F. says:

          I did read it carefully, and then posted a comment on my own. If you did not sell it to the dealer, you are ‘assuming’ that they are charging ‘3x’ as much. I see people wander through all the time wanting retail for used guns, and become offended when a dealer offers them half of that. This past weekend I had a guy roll through with a Walther PPK/s in 7.62 (.32ACP) that he wanted $1k for……..WTFH? He also stated he had another in .380 that he wanted $700 for….a dealer offered $1200 for both, and the guy was offended. I talked with him a bit, and he was going off what people were asking for on Gun Broker……not what they sold for, what was being asked. Deals are out there, but again to broad stroke dealers as ‘greedy capitalists’ (not your words, but your attitude in words) is a disservice IMO.

        2. avatar Old IPSC Shooter says:

          Shawn. I speak from 30 years of experience buying almost all of my guns this way. I did not create that market opportunity, I learned it by observation ans a bit of homespun psychology.

  38. avatar Badger says:

    Most of the people bashing on the dealers here haven’t a clue. Prices are too high, selling for retail, blah blah blah. Y’all think we are making a killing on new guns. Margins are terrible in this business. The manufactures and distributors do just fine. We do all the work to *hope* to make 10%. Same people that buy online because it’s cheap and then when they have an issue take it to the LGS and expect us to bend over backwards to help them.

  39. avatar Arod529 says:

    Last few gun shows I went too I CC’d despite their rules. Most of the time they would just ask if I was armed. Of course I said no, and walked right in. I also got wanded once, went right over my 1911. Don’t know what happened, but not a sound and I walked right in then too. I like to think the guy working the entrance was pro 2a and purposely had the wand off, it did seem like he was doing a half ass job of it.

  40. avatar Shawn F. says:

    As a home based dealer, I frequent gun shows as a way to have fun, meet new people, and be around people in a setting I enjoy. I see a lot of bashing on here about dealers, FUDDs, etc., and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to paint all dealers at the shows as one thing is ludicrous at the best, idiotic at the worst.
    So as dealer I have to invest MY money into an item that may sit around for a while, or may sell the next moment: it’s a choice I make. I may buy a gun for $600 from another person, and put a price of $800 on it. I’m trying to
    A) make at least 10% off the sale,
    B) pay my expenses for the space, time, gas, etc.,
    I have to pay a fee to accept credit cards EVEN IF I DON’T TAKE ONE CARD PAYMENT!
    Take a payment via credit card, 3-5% charge to process it, and the ‘swipe/dip/type’ transaction fee.
    Each table costs $120-$150 for a weekend, and depending on how many you have, dang
    C) collect sales theft (tax) (for me 8.7%), and
    D) other misc expenses.
    You want to haggle with me, I have some room to haggle without breaking myself. All my overhead….but I want to make money, right? I’m not in it just for fun………

    So when I have someone come along and look at a beautiful rifle that is going for $1300 – $1500 on the auction site, and I have it listed for $1100, please don’t start with ‘What’s your free price?’ You want free? GTFO……Do some research….be at least understanding that you may be able to buy that lower receiver online for $79.99, but then you pay the shipping fee, the transfer fee, sales theft (tax) if you’re honest or the retailer charges you for the state. Please don’t complain that I have it listed for $90 OUT THE DOOR; no up-charge for credit/debit, no surprise theft (tax) tacked on.

    Are there jerks? Yup; always will be no matter where you go or do, but start with the benefit of the doubt before being a jerk yourself…….

  41. avatar Peter says:

    Good article! It’s surprising that people need to be reminded of some of these things. SMH!

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