Gun Store Etiquette – A Few Do’s and Don’ts From a Gun Dealer

gun store etiquette

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We went around the virtual table this weekend at TTAG HQ as we discussed the works of Sartre, Dickinson and Emily Post over some brown spirits and cigars and one thing that came up that we thought would be a great article would be proper etiquette in a gun store.

Of course, every store is going to vary slightly but the human condition is the same in all 50 states and I’ve seen my fair share of great customers and not-so-great ones so there’s plenty of material to work with.

Let’s start with the basics. The NRA has three basic firearm rules, and you have to break two of them for something bad to happen. And if you follow #1, any damage you do by violating #2 or #3 would be minimized.

  • ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction.
  • ALWAYS keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot.
  • ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.

Seems pretty simple, but the problem is some folks, especially those newer to the gun culture, seem intent on pointing a gun at the closest thing possible – which is usually the person behind the counter.

You may know that a gun is unloaded, but no one likes to me muzzled. Please be aware of where you’re pointing that pistol you’re holding…for everyone’s safety and comfort.

DO: Follow the NRA’s three rules and don’t point a gun at the help or anyone else in the store. Yes, we clear them before we hand them over to you, but still, it’s a bad habit.

DON’T: Wave the a gun around that you’re examining, lasering people around you in the gun store.

Depending on where you are, firearm thefts from gun stores can be a very real thing. For that reason, some retailers have a policy that only a single gun comes out of the case to be displayed at any one time to prevent thefts. This can make things a little difficult if you’re comparing things side-by-side, but it’s usually for the best.

Timing is supposed to be everything, and that means, during certain times of the year (Christmas, Hunting Season, Fathers Day, etc.) we get really busy. We really do want to give you as much attention as possible and a good experience. We don’t want you to have to wait for a half hour or more for service.

So…

DO: Try to plan your purchases around the most hectic times and get them done well in advance or after they’re over.

DON’T: Show up in the middle of a holiday shopping frenzy expecting to get a gun and get out of the store in 15 minutes.

Also worthy of note: We know everyone wants to get home after work. Lots of customers want to pick up their guns between the hours of 5:30 and 6:00 PM, about the time many dealers close.

That presents a few issues, because if you’re in a state with a high regulatory burden, getting all the paperwork completed and closed out in 30 minutes might not be possible.

DO: Plan ahead, allow enough time, and take any mandatory waiting periods into account.

DON’T: Walk into a gun store five minutes before closing time and make your gun store employees work late. That’s not very nice.

On the topic of nice, there’s a right way to do things and a wrong way to do things regarding price and discounts when you’re navigating a brick and mortar store vs. the internet world. Price is a concern for everyone. You work hard for your money, so you should spend it wisely.

I’ve had some really great people ask for a discount and some really rude people ask for them, too. There are a few notable stories that I recall and this one is my favorite.

One day a woman walked in and wanted to get her husband a gun. It was going to be a present for their anniversary.

Now, we as licensees, have been asked by ATF to monitor diversionary tactics, straw purchases, etc. So when we’re satisfied that a gun is being purchased as a present and it’s lawful, we’re in the clear. When we’re thinking that a gun is being purchased by party B because party A can’t get past the Gun Control Act of 1968, that’s a different discussion.

This customer was on a budget and wanted to get him a gun, holster, some ammo and some range time. Her text messages back and forth from her husband dropping hints gave us enough to work with, but everything she wanted to buy came up to about $1150. Her budget was only about $1000.

I told her we could play with the ammo and the holster and try to save a few bucks, and if she could pay with cash or check that would save us the interchange fees from the merchant processor. This got us down to about $1065, but that was still a little more than she wanted to pay.

I did some calculations.

A: I don’t make money when I sell someone one gun. I make money when I sell someone a lifetime of guns.

B: The woman was buying her husband a gun as a present. The guy had won the wife lottery! Who am I to stand in the way of a beautiful thing?

C: If it feels good, it will be repeated. Adolescence taught us all that. Working with customers breeds loyalty.

Getting her on budget wouldn’t break my bottom line so I made a deal and got the transaction done. She was very satisfied about getting the package put together. A few weeks later, I got a very nice message on the machine from her husband and he was very happy that we treated her right and he enjoyed his new gun.

I’m not suggesting that you flirt with the gun dealer if you’re a woman, but we’re more inclined to discount if we know you’re looking to do something special for an important occasion. If we were on the other end, we’d like that sort of gesture, too!

DO: Be polite and clear about your goals/budget. If the store does you a favor, try to repay them in the future with referrals and future business. I’m happy to do things when I can if it’s workable and you make it easy.

DON’T: Be the guy that hikes up his pants and says, “I can get this from Optics Planet for $125 less, but they don’t have any in stock.” That’s when I will shoot right back with, “Well then, it sounds like you can’t get it from Optics Planet then, can you?”

Last but not least, make sure your life is together before you come in and want to buy a gun. If you have pending legal issues or suspect you might run into a background check approval problem, talk to your dealer before you fill out any paperwork so we can see what’s what.

If you fill out form 4473 and you make a false statement, we are required by law to retain that form – and the government has the option to use that against you.

DO: Be honest with the dealer and tell them what’s going on and what any potential issues are BEFORE putting pen to paper.

DON’T: Think you can fool the computer. I have had the local LE agency call me and tell me to stall for time because they were sending a unit over to arrest the person on the other side of the counter for being a convicted felon trying to buy a gun.

Being polite, reasonable and having a current photo ID can make our lives as regulated retailers a lot easier. Not only is it easier for us, but you’ll have a better experience if you’re in a pleasant mood, too.

One last thing – we opened the discussion talking about muzzle discipline and keeping firearms pointed in safe direction. Keep magazine discipline in mind too. Ejecting steel mags with steel base plates without regard to the direction that they’ll fly can mar the finish of some of the other guns on the counter.

DO: Be aware of the muzzle of the gun you’re holding and the path the magazines will take when you eject one. Please try to not let them hit the floor.

DON’T: Eject a steel magazine with a steel base pad directly onto the slide of that new Wilson Supergrade that’s in front of you, too.

Please. And thank you.

comments

  1. avatar mbogo says:

    The converse to the above:
    – make eye contact with the prospective customer when they enter your field of view
    – stop chatting with your co-workers and ask the prospective customer if you can help them
    – do not offer your opinion unless asked to do so
    – do not bullshit the prospective customer
    – do not denigrate any products you offer

    1. avatar Mike H says:

      I’d also add: Don’t ridicule a product a customer is asking about that isn’t in stock. Not only will you absolutely lose a sale, but the customer will walk away confident that the person behind the counter is a holier-than-thou blathering fool. That shop has also lost a customer because that demeanor leaves the impression that the salesperson/owner thinks anyone asking about >insert product< was an idiot to ask after it to begin with. Be professional. Selling guns doesn't make you an expert.

      1. avatar Philip D says:

        Right on target, Mike. A local gun shop and range, one I used to frequent and one that’s closest to me, has lost all my business, both the shop and the range, based on their arrogant attitudes. Apparently, they know more about every aspect of shooting than I (who has been shooting since I was 8 years old, many decades ago) especially if I’m interested in something they don’t have in stock. I took my wife there for some shopping for a handgun and some accessories; they belittled her over some basic questions she asked. We just walked; they lost the sale of 3 handguns. I’ll bet that experience is not all that unusual.

    2. avatar Conelrad says:

      That last point is one I’ve seen so often and I really just don’t get it. A store owner that literally insults his own merchandise. I don’t believe I’ve seen that in any other field. “Oh you don’t want to buy that, that’s a pile of shit. What YOU want is one of THESE!”… so just why in the hell do you sell that in your store then??? I thought the goal of running a buisness is to make money by selling products?

      1. avatar Mike says:

        I’m…I’m not the only one!?!? I thought it was just me! I have *never* understood that mentality from anyone behind the counter and it drives me up the wall every time I hear it.

      2. avatar Snake Plisskin says:

        I’ve heard the same thing from one of the ‘counter-critters’ and it was regarding how “crummy Walther is”. “When a customer has a problem with a Walther we just refer them to Walther”….Really??

        Jeez…I’ve got a PPQ, owned a PPS, and several older WW2 era pieces. The PPQ and PPS have been trouble free through many thousands of rounds. Go figure..

    3. avatar SoBe says:

      Along those lines, don’t insist to the customer that what he/she really wants/needs is a Glock in spite of the customer asking to see a CZ/SIG/Walther/Colt/Beretta/SW/…
      I do own my obligatory Glock, like everyone else, but if I ask to see the new SIG, I want to see the new SIG!

      1. avatar Dan in Detroit says:

        I don’t own an obligatory Glock.
        I’ve owned glocks. Now I don’t. I may get another. gen4 seems to work better for me than my gens 2 and 3 did… but i’m in no hurry to get another obligatory Glock when there are so many more Walthers waiting for a good home.

    4. avatar Warrior Spirit says:

      I agree with mbogo. Additionally, don’t criticize any brand. Not all gun shop owners are as educated as they think. I asked for a Browning HiPower. He told me, “You don’t want a Browning. Browning doesn’t make any guns.” Guess what? That owner didn’t sell me any guns either, Browning or any others. That gun shop is out of business now.

  2. avatar Stev says:

    I would encourage the consumers to walk away from jerks. The LGS by my friend’s place really does not treat people well. We found a different store, and the problem solved itself.

    1. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

      I wish we had a “like” button for this one.

  3. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

    Never ask to see “a phased plasma rifle in the 40-watt range.”

    Trust me on this one.

    1. avatar Bubba5 says:

      Interested if you ever said that to lgs guy at the counter? I figure most guys over 30 are gonna give you the correct response.

      1. avatar Ardent says:

        I have, and they do.

      2. avatar Dave G. says:

        @ Bubba5: Okay. I’m WELL over 30, but what is the correct response???

    2. avatar Toni says:

      lol though i could see me asking that to a LGS owner i knew with a big grin on my face before getting serious especially in front of a customer who is being a dick.
      I just have a very cheeky sense of humor

  4. avatar Mark C says:

    When I was growing up my grandfather (a hunter who didn’t own a handgun) told me to treat any gun I touched as loaded. This was 50 years ago when I was 17 and I still follow that advice as well as the rule above.

  5. avatar Shire-man says:

    As a customer I’ve seen more jerks behind the counter than over it but at my job behind a counter I’ve definitely seen more jerks over it than behind it so I can relate.

    Recently I had an old timer freak on me for dry firing even after I asked if he would mind. Must be some ancient Fudd holdover from days long gone. Another clerk politely stepped in with a “Hey, Paul how about I take over here and you go on break.” The only thing worse than a Fudd behind the counter is Tacticool Joe always prepping for a war he’ll never be in.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      Shire-man: Just curious — where do you usually shop? I’m always on the lookout for a good shop up here. Thanks.

      1. avatar Shire-man says:

        Going up the states spine I’ve had good experiences with Shooter’s Outpost, Tacticool jackassery from Riley’s, great service from Skip’s albeit a little pricey, standoffish leave-me-alone from Abe’s, angry Fudds at Frank’s, silent straight business from Littlefield’s, great service from Village up in Whitefield.

        I think that covers every shop I’ve been to so far. Due to location I hit Skip’s more than any other. I’ve heard good things about Goodhue Marine and Wicked Weaponry but I havn’t made it out to either yet.

        1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

          Thanks for the feedback.

          I was underwhelmed with Shooters Outpost. I bought a “new” S&W revolver and it was dirty and had erosion on the top strap. I do go there for Dillon parts when I need them in a hurry.

          I’ve bought a couple of guns from Riley’s and Abes’ without a problem.

          I thought that Skip’s and Goodhue’s were a bit pricey.

          Franks has been closed for a while. I tried checking them out last year and they’re just fishing gear.

          Wicked Weaponry is a bit too AR-focused for my tastes.

          I’m near Laconia and have shot at Belmont Firearms, but haven’t bought from him.

          I’ve gotten several items from GunBroker and do the transfer at Average Joe’s in Belmont. I’m usually looking for older stuff that I wish that could have gotten when I was younger and most shops just don’t have “classic” stuff.

  6. avatar Richard Hurtz says:

    Customers need to know proper etiquette, but dealers need to learn how to provide good customer service. I’ve walked out of gun shops ready to spend my hard-earned cash only to walk out because the sales associate was rude, arrogant and ignorant about certain firearms. Now I purchase the majority of my firearms from online retailers.

  7. avatar ozzalloO says:

    I looked at the title and I said, “Fuck, this again?”

    1. avatar Swarf says:

      And again, and again until you get it right.

      1. avatar Clark Kent says:

        Don’t hold your breath…

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      At least these are more useful than the ” sucks” snarkicles*.

      * snark article; when the term catches on remember you heard it here first

  8. avatar Leslie says:

    Seems to me the Second set of rules is a contradiction (i.e. Hectic Times) and (i.e. Holiday Shopping). Seem to me both are one and the same…

  9. avatar Bill says:

    I was looking at revolvers on one place and overheard another customer say the most stupid shit for about five minutes, and I just stared at him, he was serious.

  10. avatar FedUp says:

    Is it poor customer etiquette to immediately point a handgun at two other customers the very instant the counterman hands it to you?

    Or is it poor etiquette to shoot yourself with it and blame the counterman?

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      The real crime is considering a Bersa Thunder as a duty gun. /s

      There was fail at every level of that transaction. I wouldn’t shop at that store on a bet.

    2. avatar Owen says:

      That didn’t look loaded to me. Looked more like he got bit by the slide when it didn’t lock back.

    3. avatar enuf says:

      Wow, what a maroon!!!

      Every gun I have ever looked at in a gun shop I checked and cleared the action myself. Doesn’t matter if it is in a store, on a range or in your buddy’s living room, when someone hands you gun you point it in a safe direction, remove magazine, check chamber.

    4. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

      The customer was an idiot, but the moron behind the counter was more of an idiot for not clearing the weapon before handing it to the customer…

  11. avatar Michael in AK says:

    Dealers-either let me dry fire the gun or get some snap caps. I won’t buy if I can’t try the trigger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. avatar BradP says:

      That’s crazy talk! You probably expect to test drive a new car before you buy it too don’t you?

    2. avatar Stev says:

      I have never been offered the opportunity to dry fire or use snapcaps. Only to rent a gun and use the range if they have one available.

      1. avatar Michael in AK says:

        Even at places that don’t have ranges????

        1. avatar Stev says:

          Not that come to mind, no. It’s a shame.

    3. avatar BlakeW5 says:

      Exactly. Stores with “trigger lock has to stay on policies” don’t get my money. I understand it’s a cover-your-ass legally policy for larger chain stores but it’s still ridiculous. Don’t expect me to plop down cash for a $500+ piece of mechanics with no return policy is I can’t make sure it works to my satisfaction.

  12. avatar BradP says:

    LOL, another article by the same guy that disparaged kitchen table FFLs.
    Get your LGS house in order and then, maybe, people will start using you again.

  13. avatar Nanashi says:

    “Follow the NRA’s three rules ”

    The NRA taking credit for Cooper’s rules is really emblematic of how the NRA takes credit for something it had nothing to do with, isn’t it?

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      The NRA had NOTHING to do with writing this article you nagging troll.

  14. avatar BK says:

    I dislike the NRA’s three rules. Specifically, I dislike “ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.”

    I much prefer “treat all guns as if they are loaded” and the rest of Cooper’s four rules of gun safety: Never point at something you’re not willing to destroy, Finger off trigger, Always loaded, Be sure of target and what is behind.

    I sorta get what NRA is going for. One less rule is one less thing to forget (and you could argue “know your target” is covered by keeping it pointed in a safe direction), and starting all three with “always” is theoretically an easy way to remember them. But I still think the Four are better rules to live by. As mentioned above the NRA tweaked them just enough to be less helpful.

    1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

      BK: IIRC from my instructor course, the NRA focus in on sporting use. So, most sports-persons _would_ keep their sporting arms unloaded until ready.

      Fir the basic class, we weren’t allowed to use the term “weapon”, either. Too icky. 😉

    2. avatar Mack The Knife says:

      A gun kept for either home/personal defense is “in use” in that distinction regardless that it may never be fired or fired infrequently. On the other hand a hunting rifle or a range gun intended for use once or twice a month or longer between uses, stored in the safe(or however longterm) between uses is a gun that should be kept unloaded.
      Many people seem to have a hard time understanding this rule. I get that a lot in my classes with newbies and the “oh, I’ve been shooting all my life” students. Its good that the rules are the first in the curriculum. You know immediately who to put in the front row.
      BK, please take a seat up front.

      1. avatar BK says:

        I don’t mind them being unloaded. I just think it’s treating them as if they’re loaded is a slightly better rule to follow. And I’m always up for coming to class!

    3. avatar Zonefighter says:

      Cooper said “all guns are always loaded” and despised other people adding “treating as if” he considered that dumbing down the rule.

  15. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    A: I don’t make money when I sell someone one gun. I make money when I sell someone a lifetime of guns.

    What? Is this the “I lose money on every sale, but I make up for it in volume” strategy? I don’t think you’re supposed to use guns as a loss leader.

    1. avatar BlakeW5 says:

      I agree with the statement. Selling one gun, even potentially at a loss, earns you a customer for life if you judge the situation correctly.

      Gun stores run on a very tight profit margin. Friend said they may make $30-50 on the typical gun they sell. Means they have a large upfront investment in merchandise that may sit on the shelf for a longtime waiting on the right buyer. When you have loyal, repeat customers it’s quicker to move that inventory.

      I’m loyal to my chosen gunshop because they treat me well, not due to a lack of other options. Sometimes it’s as easy as knocking the cost of taxes off the final total. Or helping a customer find the right gun for them. One day went in looking for a G19 as it fit the size I was looking for. Walked out with a M&P 2.0 compact. I’m a smaller guy, so a mid/full size pistol I could finally reach all the control without shifting my strong hand, complete with a perfect feel sold me. I would’ve never considered S&W and would’ve walked out with a glock I would’ve been pleased with, but not entirely satisfied

  16. avatar david says:

    In Texas, we are getting enough new gun stores that the old standbys have to compete for business now. Some really beautiful and comfortable places to shop are staffed by smart, helpful people. This is the best way to get the old LGS to straighten up. As stated above, no transaction will happen when a gun seller badmouths a product missing from the display case.

    Try this; “We don’t carry that model, but it compares really well to this. Here, take this and some rounds of range ammo on the house. I bet you’ll love it.”

    They’ll either buy that gun within 30 minutes and/or tell all their friends how awesome it is shopping with you. You can sell a Taurus for $400 with customer service like that.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Why would anyone want any Taurus product for any price?

      1. avatar RocketScientist says:

        Because some people have different opinions and priorities than you? Is that OK?

  17. avatar Stateisevil says:

    Let’s be clear, most local gun stores suck and don’t have what I want. I buy online because the internet has what I want and has it for cheaper. I generally only buy high quality components and firearms. An example of a mediocre bolt action rifle would be a Ruger Precision Rifle. Now, you want me to pay $1299 for it? Ok, I went online and got it for $722. In fact, if it weren’t for 1. Hazmat Fees and 2. Unconstitutional/Useless/ “gun contro”, I’d never enter a gun store. Ever. Would much rather have access to a competent and quick gun smithing place.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      No doubt you also think Amazon is a wonderful thing. (it is not)

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        Uh… it’s not? Oh, please explain. I need to know why a store that beats most local stores and has things local stores do not, ships in 2 days, and has great prices, should be avoided. Is it some political reason?

        1. avatar Rick the Bear says:

          I guess that one’s view about Amazon depends on whether you’re a consumer or a competent seller. 8>)

    2. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Now THAT will show them! NOT!

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        If more people took the approach it would. How would it not? Maybe don’t ridicule someone for stating good reasons to shop buy from gun stores and instead find everything they need online for cheaper 90% of the time, then ship it to the gunsmith you want to work on it or pick it up from and work on it yourself, if it needs any work. Pretty straight forward to cut out the middle man, right?

  18. avatar former water walker says:

    Meh…if I’ve bought 8 guns from you treat me better.A LOT better. As someone who has bought & sold for 25 years(antiques) I VALUE regular customer’s. I’ve never bought gun stuff online but I may start. There’s several unnamed seller’s who dropped layaway. I doubt I’ll ever get anything other than magazine’s,ammo & accessories from you again. I deal in CASH-not credit…rant over. For now!

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      You bash a retailer, any retailer, for not having “layaway”? What you’re some idiot welfare Walmart shopper. Take your cash in and BUY ______.

  19. avatar KenW says:

    It’s not just us. I went into a local gun store one day and a customer hands the owner a ruger mini 14. Next thing I know he has it aimed towards me while explaining to the customer that you would be surprised how many guns come in that have one in the chamber. He is looking at the customer while doing this.
    Then he is looking suspiciously towards me as I had suddenly jumped out of the way.
    When I said well you know you had that aimed at me he looks at it, says it’s unloaded and laughs.
    I have not been back since.

  20. avatar Owen says:

    I buy from a local home based business. Has a great selection plus a website that I can order from then pickup so no shipping.

    I like to buy locally if possible. Saving a few $$ online does not help my community.

  21. avatar Texican says:

    As a gun store employee I understood newbies lack of safety awareness and came up with the following solution after being lasered for a few weeks. After chamber checking I’d hand them a handgun and invariably they’d point it at me. Sometimes they’d even follow my movements if I stepped to the side to keep from being muzzled! That’s when I’d explain the 4 rules. All guns are loaded. Don’t point a gun at something you’re not willing to destroy. Especially your gun salesman! The nervous laughter and apologies from them were great! And I usually sold them a gun.
    As far as the 4 Rules go, I taught them to my 6 year old daughter, took her to the range, and a week later she held the pistol and explained the rules to her mom without me coaching her.

    1. avatar Fully Involved says:

      If I had a gun store I’d probably have one of those classic handpainted pinstripe and goldleaf signs with the 4 rules on it. It would serve as excellent functional decor.

      Also, an old gun shop & range I did business with a while back had a big closed glass jar filled with various calibers of rounds. When I asked what that was, the clerk told me it was all the rounds in the guns he had been handed and assured by the customers that the gun was unloaded. Made me go 0.0 for sure and left a lasting impression on me.

  22. avatar Moltar says:

    I’m gonna write a book for FFLs that just deals with how to treat your customer. I’m gonna call it How To: Shut Up and Take My Freaking Money.

    1. Any firearm opinion you have keep it to yourself unless asked. Treat you gun opinion like a fart on your first date with Susy Rottencrotch and just hold it in.

    2. When customer asks a question DON’T be afraid to say you don’t know. Just please try to find an answer.

    3. Nobody cares who else you know that owns gun X. Again keep this in.

    4. Make sure you keep your display guns clean and free of excess oil.

    5. Go slow with the 4473 some of us need a little longer to write.

    6. Hurry up but don’t rush. Don’t rush me out the store just make sure everything is done promptly.

    7. Please do go over the features of the firearm or accessory I’m purchasing while we wait on the background check or the credit card machine.

    8. Don’t be a d*ck. Just don’t ok…

    9. Realize that customers can suck but not all of them will. It ain’t my fault Sally Suckemsilly was a freakin nightmare and treated your staff like crap please give me the courtesy of being somewhat polite.

    10. If you have a website please for the love of all that is holy keep it freakin updated! Nothing is more frustrating than realizing I just drove an hour to your shop only for you to not have the specific gun I came to you for in store.

    1. avatar Clark Kent says:

      Of course, YOU as a customer could not possibly have any issues. Grow up.

      1. avatar Moltar says:

        I walk in, I ask if they have the gun I want, I handle the display model, I inspect the one they are selling me, I get my ID ready, I fill out the paperwork fast as I can, I pay, and I leave. Whole time I say yes sir (or ma’am) no sir (or ma’am. I don’t ask for discounts and I generally don’t rush the staff. No I ain’t the perfect customer but I’m not a dick either. So if anything in my post offends you please take it to heart and fix it.

    2. avatar B.D. says:

      You wanna rub-n-tug at the end bruh?

  23. avatar Wiregrass says:

    I don’t think Optics Planet keeps anything in stock. I bought a Hogue AR stock from them and it took six weeks for delivery! They advertised a much lower price than the Hogue website, which is why I got suckered into the deal in the first place. Never again. What you said about wanting a customer for a lifetime is absolutely correct.

    1. avatar Southern Cross says:

      It’s called “drop-shipping” where the site has no actual stock and contacts the supplier who sends the item straight to you. Frequently done with PC parts as the vendors don’t want to keep an inventory of expensive stuff that gets obsolete very quickly.

  24. avatar William Wall says:

    “If it feels good, it will be repeated. Adolescence taught us all that. ”

    My parents’ hot water bill will attest to that…

    1. avatar Someone says:

      When I saw your avatar, I have been wondering what caused your blindness. 😋

  25. avatar IAmNotTheHulk says:

    DW619 in NH very good store not alot there but great to deal with.

  26. avatar Scott says:

    The irony of a gun dealer trying to tell people how to act like they weren’t raised by particularly autistic raccoons.

  27. avatar Wood says:

    To this day I won’t look at Kimbers. A local store here would try to push them when I was asking about Springfield Armory 1911s. Bought my loaded SA elsewhere.

    As for rules, Cooper’s 4 are the way to go. All guns are always loaded. I have 4 of the Brownells vinyl coated wire pistol racks. The pistols on one rack are ALL loaded. All the time. And per Cooper, the rest are loaded too.

    I’ve been muzzled more by the schmuck behind the counter than anywhere else. While the FFL in the store might know his business, the counter jocks generally don’t. Some notable exceptions, including a fellow collector and retired sniper team leo.

  28. avatar Ralph says:

    DON’T: Be the guy that hikes up his pants and says, “I can get this from Optics Planet for $125 less, but they don’t have any in stock.”

    That’s when you should say, “Those guys are crooks. When I’m out of stock it’s $250 less.”

  29. avatar Richard D Cutie says:

    Do: treat your customers with respect. Just because you work in a gun store and are around guns all the time alot of people don’t and thier excitement when walking in one should be encouraged not treated as if they are retards as long as they are not being obnoxious fools. Way too many times I have seen a guy walk into a gun store happy to be there just to be treated like he’s a moron for asking about different firearms in the store.
    Dont: was in Dad’s Super Pawn in Gulfport Ms. With my young son about to buy him his 1st 22lr Cricket rifle and this “kid” behind the counter starts walking around with a S&W 357 spinning around on his finger over and over and doing it well so he’s obviously had practice. With at least 25-30 people in that store and nobody says shit to him while he’s muzzling everything in the store showing off his cowboy skills. I grabbed my boy by the hand and left explaining why and went elsewhere and bought the gun. So while this article tells customers how to act when they spend thier money to support these gun shops. How to act goes both ways guys. Best Regards

  30. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    One of our LGS has a sign about 10 feet above the counter. “Point Here”

    I know what I want when I walk into a LGS so I’m a pretty easy customer, but one thing just irks me.

    When it’s obvious that a customer has no intent on buying and keeps the clerks attention usually talking about some non-sense story they heard about Delta-Seal-OGA-Super-Para whatever.

    These types seem to hang around just to talk.

    1. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

      Every business has its tire kickers. Some occasionally do leave some of their money behind, some don’t. In my experience, most counter guys can navigate the gun buffs and clingons and take care of real customers.

  31. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Thanx for the tips. I appreciate it. , , , , Since most people are fondling 9 mm I do want them nuzzling me. Hopefully the damned thing goes off and I got me one hell of a lawsuit. Now Show Me The HiPoints.

  32. avatar B.D. says:

    Shop online, or build your own.

    Pretty simple work around for avoiding low wage people who think they are gun experts because they work at a counter.

  33. avatar Davis Thompson says:

    For employees: don’t put a Laserlyte cartridge in a pistol and start “shooting” fellow employees and customers with it.

  34. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

    Works both ways. Fudds and aholes are everywhere. Aholes and jerks seem to gravitate to jobs at LGS’s.
    Owners need to make business decisions about who the turn loose on customers and those employees need to respect the fact that if you treat us (customers) like shit, we will spend our money elsewhere.
    Gun stores can be “cliquey” and different customers get different treatment…these are the worst IMO.
    Here in downstate New Yorkistan our options are limited. We have some great LGS and we have some I wouldn’t call the fire department for if flames were coming out their windows.
    End of day we are all on this together. LGS and customers alike share the responsibility for positive experiences but the LGS needs to go the extra mile before they put a customer through any grief.

  35. avatar strych9 says:

    The only real quibble I have is with “Walk into a gun store five minutes before closing time and make your gun store employees work late.”

    Working late is part of retail and service jobs. Don’t like it? Find a new job.

    5:55 is before 6:00, so if 6:00 is your closing time then they entered before you closed and they are due just the same service as the guy or gal who showed up an hour earlier. When I was younger I had people sit at a table and chat after closing at a restaurant for HOURS. Never once do you walk up and tell them to GTFO or try to hustle them. You do the rest of your side work, prep for them to leave and wait for them to leave in their own time. This will often earn you a nice fat tax-free cash tip. Not always, but often. Try to hurry them and you can kiss that extra $100 goodbye.

    People probably won’t jaw for literal hours in your gun store so treat the person right and you might get out at 6:30 or 7:00 a bit richer than you were at 6:00. Be a dick about them coming in during your fucking posted business hours and expect that they will probably not buy anything and even if they do certainly won’t make a habit of it.

    If you don’t like the business hours, change jobs or, if you own the store, change the hours of operation but DO NOT complain when someone follows all your little rules. They have the money and they followed the rules. If you want the money, STFU and provide the service you offer.

    Seriously, someone walks in within your business hours looking to hand you a pile of money and you complain about it? It’s not like they came in and took a steaming dump on your floor so WTH would you treat them like they did and try to shoo them out?

    You want repeat customers. Duh. Treat those late arrivals properly and some of them will realize you bent over backwards to help them out for half an hour after closing. Guess where those people are now more likely to spend money next time?

    1. avatar K says:

      One of my favorite LGS’s as their hours posted and that 45-60 minutes before they close is when they stop accepting new background checks so they can be done with all firearm sale at closing time. They will continue with all other sales during that time. Being honest and upfront before you even walk in is something I can respect, and I’m willing to bet that for customers they have a good history with that rule can be flexible.

  36. avatar Widdler says:

    Being a regular at your LGS helps a lot, been doing business with mine for years. Father/son shop and both good guys, first names and hand shakes when I walk in. Only three other places sell firearm in the area, and besides kitchen FFLs these guys have best prices in town.

  37. avatar Specialist38 says:

    If you close at 6, you are catering mostly to the unemployed.

    If you dont make money selling someone A gun…..you are in the wrong business.

    I dont see good gun handling from the folks behind the counter at most gun stores.

  38. avatar Arc says:

    A: I don’t make money when I sell someone one gun. I make money when I sell someone a lifetime of guns.

    C: If it feels good, it will be repeated. Adolescence taught us all that. Working with customers breeds loyalty.

    Its refreshing to see some people understand this. I keep a list of vendors that have worked with me and have treated me well over the years. I seek them out first then I’m buying something.

  39. avatar Guest says:

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  40. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    Dont tell the customer his LNIB Ruger Blackhawk is junk and only offer 250 bucks.

    Dont tell the customer he should clean his Glock better.

    Dont blow cig smoke into the customers face while you tell him Wolf ammo prices just went up.

    Dont charge 795.00 for a base model Kimber and not include a mag.

    Dont piss and moan about losing 3% on a credit card.

    Oh, and when some Democrat screeches about banning guns dont start charging 1$ a bullet and 1500.00 for a basic AR.

  41. I have always thought rule #3 was written poorly: “ALWAYS keep the gun unloaded until ready to use.”
    Reading this literally, one should never conceal or open carry a loaded firearm (much less a round in the chamber) or never keep a loaded firearm in a bedside safe or gun rack at home (for home defense purposes).

    I can understand the concern of gun store owners as there are so many idiots that can’t seem to understand the workings of their handgun but can manipulate the most complicated “smart phone” with their eyes closed.
    However, it does present an impossible public relations nightmare as we complain about “no gun zones” then we post signs at the heart of the gun movement (gun stores, the recent NRA Convention) prohibiting the carry of firearms.

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