Panic + Pandemic + Gun Show = Fun? Or…How to Navigate Gun Shows in 2020

gun show

Ah, the good-old days. (AP Photo/Matt York)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of Presidential debates, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of… well you get the picture. As I write this, the nation is reeling from two major developments. The first being the performances of the political candidates in the first debate, and the second being that POTUS just tested positive for the Chinavirus contagion that’s swept the globe.

We’ve got just four weeks to go until the election and with things starting to open up again, there will be a whole lotta gun shows between now and then. They can be good places to find things that otherwise may not available in your neck of the woods. Here’s how to navigate them during a time of plague.

First a couple of previous posts that could be useful to first-timers: one on gun shows for beginners and a gun show etiquette guide.

The old school gun shows that were mash-ups of gun-related yard sales and flea markets are, by and large, no more. What you will see most often nowadays are the occasional collectors table amid a sea of federally licensed firearm retailers.

Gun Show

Yes, all of these photos were taken when masks were only for Halloween and sellers’ tables were full of firearms and ammo. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Shows set up in small places like a national guard armory, VFW, Knights of Columbus halls or in huge exhibit and event spaces like an expo or civic center. Sometimes they’re even a fairgrounds or livestock grounds owned by a city or county depending on the the area. I’ve worked some small and large shows and even walked around some of the larger ones as a spectator. The largest gun show in the nation in Tulsa is on my bucket list to visit when I have more free time and the world becomes more normalized again. Assuming it does.

Now that 2020 has changed the game for a lot of lives and businesses, a more up-to-date version of how to visit a gun show is in order.

In the old world, you’d touch and feel up everything that interested you and roam around at your leisure. That’s not such a good idea anymore. Here’s how things are working now.

Nearly every large venue is limiting occupancy and requiring masks. They’re also checking your temperature at the door.

Just like (most) airlines are blocking out middle seats, venues are requiring exhibitors and attendees alike to wear masks and follow distancing guidelines. If you don’t have a mask, get one or be prepared to buy one at the door.

If you don’t comply, I have heard of law enforcement working the shows are getting called over the PA to haul someone out the front door. Some venues aren’t messing around and taking this very seriously. Don’t poke the bear, play by the rules and everyone will be happy.

Also keep in mind that the lines to get inside a venue now can wrap around the building or extend deep into the parking lot in this super-heated gun-buying market. The line to get in the last gun show I attended in town was reminiscent of the line at Costco at 6 AM for people lining up trying to get toilet paper.

What you are looking for is often what everyone else is looking for. 

Right now, 9mm, .380 .5.56 and lots and lots of other items are out of stock everywhere. The beauty of a gun show is that it creates a marketplace where readers like you can shop at literally dozens of vendors under one roof. It brings people and products together, and although you might not like the prices, it beats the alternative.

Gun Show loophole universal background checks

Kitchen table FFL’s who only sell at gun shows sometimes have inventory you won’t see at your local gun store. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

With gun stores looking very much like a Soviet Union supermarkets with grim faces all around and mostly empty shelves, a lot of weekend warrior gun and ammo dealers are setting up at gun shows and selling what they can when they can. A lot of home-based FFL’s only sell at gun shows, so there’s a chance they may have something in inventory that didn’t sell out yet since people tend to flock to the big box stores before they get to the kitchen table FFL’s.

Make a list of what you’re looking for and be smart about your shopping. Don’t dawdle or gawk unnecessarily. Try not to touch things unnecessarily. Get in and get out. It’s a smart way to do things nowadays.

Bring your own pen.

Nobody wants to use someone’s pen that’s been used by Lord knows how many people. Retailers still have to do paperwork at a gun show, unlike what you’ve read on the internet or heard on TV. The gun show is an extension of licensed premises and all the state and federal laws still have to be followed. There are some folks who think a gun show is some magical firearm law-free zone where anything goes. That’s not the case at all.

Bring your own pen and try to fill out the 4473 right the first time. Read it carefully and the quicker you can fill it out, the faster you can get out of the show with your gun and back home.

Problem areas on the form: nobody remembers to answer question 10A, question 12 d 2 is typically wrong, and country of citizenship is often forgotten and overlooked.

You didn’t hear that from me.

Be ready for your background check to take a while.

We’ve discussed this off and on, due to the volume of transactions, but the national and state background check systems are swamped with transactions. We’ve seen checks take days to process versus the minutes or hours they used to. Every day is like like Black Friday on steroids.

If the retailer is local, grab one of their cards, pay them, and tell them you’ll pick up your gun at the end of the show when things calm down. Or maybe even later in the week. That makes things easier for everyone. Don’t dawdle and spend hours wandering around the building waiting for your background check to be completed. Write it up, pick it up later, or when things aren’t as busy.

gun show california nevada undercover agents

No current ID, no gun. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Most shows will let you back in later in the day or even the next day for free if you tell them you’re coming back for a pickup and you’re holding a receipt. If you head in the last 20 minutes before the show closes, often that’s the slowest time where there won’t be a line.

Don’t plan on making a purchase at 3:00 PM on a Sunday when the show closes at 4:00 PM and expect magic to happen in one hour. Get your shopping done early so you don’t get caught in the fray of closing time and dealers packing up, some of them from out of town.

Make sure you bring a current ID.

Some things haven’t changed at all, pandemic or not. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to deny someone a sale on a technicality. I want you to get your gun and your stuff and go home and enjoy it. But the only way that can happen is if you have a current valid ID. No current ID means no gun. No gun means no sale for me and lots of aggravation for you.

Search engines are your friend. 

It doesn’t hurt to price check things once in a while. If you’re making a shopping list, your favorite search engine can check some big vendors for features, pricing, etc ahead of time. Information is king at a gun show and very valuable. Doing your homework ahead of time makes you a more educated and sharper consumer, less likely to be swayed by the lies from some snake oil salesmen or some poorly educated sales weasel just looking out for their bottom line.

There’s still plenty of beef jerky.

If that’s your thing — and it seems there are metric tons of it sold at every gun show, there’s still plenty of the salty, chewy treat floating around at the shows. Grab a package on your way out and work on that for a while.

Prepare, do your homework, make your list, check it twice, put your mask on, get in and shop, and get home. Not exactly rocket surgery.

Follow these tips and you’ll have a better 2020 gun show experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Roger says:

    I enjoy gun shows for the “lots of dealers in one place” factor. Its been years since I went to one expecting to find a deal on anything. Even the second hand dealers and surplus guys here in Virginia sell at the high end of the market. Any new gun is marked MSRP and ammo prices (even before the pandemic and dempanic) arent any better. If you’re looking for a deal stay away from gun shows in Virginia.

    1. avatar 4808 N says:

      Yep, do your research beforehand and know the price range of what your looking for.

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

      “I enjoy gun shows for the “lots of dealers in one place” factor.”

      In a buyer’s market, I agree, and I enjoy gun shows then.

      Now? No fucking way, unless I was desperate, and thank God I’m not…

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        I’ve gone to one gun show in my life, and it was terrible. Dealers were asking basically full msrp new prices for USED guns.

        No thanks.

        I’ll just go hang out at my favorite local gun store where I’m on a first name basis with the owner and staff. They have good prices on new guns and I’ve found tons of bargains on used and/or consignment guns. They don’t play the silly mask game, and even defied our POS governor when he ordered all gun stores to close last spring.

        They are good people, and I am happy to give them my business.

        Fortunately, I am well supplied in terms of gums and ammo, so I am not desperate to buy anything right now.

        No way I would go to a gun show these days

  2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

    Hank,

    I typically like your submissions for their clarity, accuracy and humor.

    Your comment regarding which questions are frequently answered incorrectly or not at all does not contain valid question numbers for the new Form 4473…most of the dealers in my area have transitioned to the new form because they ran out of the older ones (obsolete as of 11/01/2020) in the current buying frenzy and BATFe is only shipping the new versions .

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      I thought that was a little strange too…

      I tried to look up the old forms, and AFAICT 10a was ethnicity (10 is street address now)… not sure how people could skip that but whatever. What was question 12 d 2?

  3. avatar former water walker says:

    How to “navigate” gunshows? I don’t go to them anymore…and I went in a non-panic time. Not since 2012. No plans to mosey on to one.

    1. avatar Ron says:

      Yeah I haven’t been to a gun show since 2013 and don’t plan on going back. The glory days of Gun shows are long gone.

      1. avatar Jerms says:

        They should go ahead and just rename them “Beef Jerky Shows”

        1. avatar Wedge259 says:

          The one I went to last weekend was a “hawking CBD snake oil” show.

  4. avatar Lunknard says:

    When masks are no longer required, I would enjoy going to a gun show. Under current conditions I am not paying admission to be required to wear a mask for hours on end.

    There are 8 gun shops within a 30 minute drive. None are requiring masks. If I want to spend a day gun-shopping, it is easy to do so.

    Still, when we are done with the paranoia, I am all in for a big gun show.

    1. avatar Grumpy Old Guy says:

      This is what I don’t understand. There are no shortage of people telling us we can carry a full sized 1911 or a plastic fantastic with a good belt, all day, no issues. Even though we know it is a real PITA at times. Yet a little mask is dictating what you do? That is BS, mask may or may not help, maybe the government is over-reaching, but if that is the price of admission it does not rate consideration. I love gun shows because they are an open demonstration of our love and respect of our 2A rights. I do like to window shop and do a lot more looking than buying but it is the right to buy and own the I love.

      1. avatar Lunknard says:

        GOG,

        I get your point: the mask requires a trivial effort compared to carrying a firearm and a spare magazine. Point taken. However, I hate wearing a mask; it is uncomfortable and the mandate is an erosion of Liberty, a courtsey to government run amuck.

        You may see it differently and I respect your view.

        1. avatar Grumpy Old Guy says:

          Respect my view? – you are definitely not a Democrat 🙂

          Seriously, everyone hates wearing the mask especially when we know they are not very effective and its mostly for show. Just not the tall pole in the tent IMO, being able to buy and sell arms with minimal government intervention is much more important.

        2. avatar Montana Actual says:

          Do what everyone else does, say no, and keep walking. I’ve been offered masks, been told they are required, etc etc… I just say “no thanks”, or “that’s okay” and I keep walking. Never been stopped once. I see more and more non mask wearers daily. When the infection rate jumps well beyond .003% – same with the kill ratio, well beyond .003%, and we’ll talk. Ever wonder why NOBODY shows you percentages? That’s why. Do the math. The us has roughly 350 million people – rounded up!, with a rounded up number or 8 million “infected”. That is .0023. Out of those 8 million “infected”, again, rounding up – 230k have died. That equates to .0023 ALSO!

          Crazy, right? And you wonder why they don’t show you percentages? So instead of avoiding places because they tell you they require a mask, simply ignore it, and say no when they try. If they pursue, which very few will now due to the confrontations it caused early on (and rightfully so), then simply leave. State these numbers as you are leaving, calmly and quietly. Remind them COVID has a 99% cure ratio and less than 1% has been infected, with far less than 1% deaths. If you were to look at age numbers, that number would shock you even more, because most deaths are from elderly people who are “at risk” if they catch a “common cold”.

      2. avatar Ron says:

        The mask thing isn’t about the virus anymore, it’s about submission and domination.

        That sounds strange, but it’s true.

        Those that demand mask wearing want you to do it because they enjoy the gratification they get, from forcing you do something you don’t want to do.

        I’ve been watching this phenomenon since the start. I’m not trying to brag but I’m a very observant person and people’s behavior isn’t just an it rest of mine it’s actually part of my job.

        The argument, *now*, not in March or April, the argument *now*, is being pushed by those who literally get off on control of others.

        It’s kind of similar to how the left tried to claim that left wing riots and protests didn’t spread Covid but right wing protests did, because left wingers are smarter and more superior to those on the right. They even tried to claim the riots decreased the spread of Covid. None of this stuff going on anymore has anything to do with a virus and everything to do with manipulation.

        Which again, manipulation too, is about submission and domination…

        1. avatar Montana Actual says:

          Do what everyone else does, say no, and keep walking. I’ve been offered masks, been told they are required, etc etc… I just say “no thanks”, or “that’s okay” and I keep walking. Never been stopped once. I see more and more non mask wearers daily. When the infection rate jumps well beyond .003% – same with the kill ratio, well beyond .003%, and we’ll talk. Ever wonder why NOBODY shows you percentages? That’s why. Do the math. The us has roughly 350 million people – rounded up!, with a rounded up number or 8 million “infected”. That is .0023. Out of those 8 million “infected”, again, rounding up – 230k have died. That equates to .0023 ALSO!

          Crazy, right? And you wonder why they don’t show you percentages? So instead of avoiding places because they tell you they require a mask, simply ignore it, and say no when they try. If they pursue, which very few will now due to the confrontations it caused early on (and rightfully so), then simply leave. State these numbers as you are leaving, calmly and quietly. Remind them COVID has a 99% cure ratio and less than 1% has been infected, with far less than 1% deaths. If you were to look at age numbers, that number would shock you even more, because most deaths are from elderly people who are “at risk” if they catch a “common cold”.

          A repost, but the more people see it the better.

        2. avatar Ron says:

          Right on. Can’t blame you for trying to get the word out.

        3. avatar Art out West says:

          Ron is right,

          “The mask thing isn’t about the virus anymore, it’s about submission and domination.”

          We don’t have to play along

      3. avatar RidgeRunner says:

        I don’t like masks because of the “mandate” aspect, but I does seem they might have helped ease this thing a little. Hey, if that’s what it takes to go into Lowe’s or Tractor Supply, my wife and I wear ’em. No biggie. But any local independent business I go in around here nobody is wearing a mask. When in BumFuq, I do as BumFuqians.
        And I often do strap on a 1911, not a problem, either.

  5. avatar Debbie W. says:

    As noted in a prior post, everything at the show I attended was overpriced. Had to wear a mask for admittance. Many people took theirs off once inside, security said nothing. Nice size crowd with all sorts of people. Moneybags doing the buying.
    Even if you have to cough up credit card fees, shipping, etc. it may be cheaper shopping online depending on what you want.

  6. avatar S.Crock says:

    Gun shows are terrible! Especially during a pandemic. I went this weekend and it was just poverty pony ARs for $1,200 and Taurus pistols for $400. Oh and 5.56 and 9mm was about a dollar per round. And crappy one size fits all holsters and Trump hats made in China. Hard pass. Frequent local gun and pawn shops if you want guns and ammo.

  7. avatar Jeff says:

    Gun shows died for me when they started to prevent collectors from bringing in their guns that they don’t want anymore. Prices were sometimes good and you could always find a deal that was fair. Now gun shows are for FFL’s that bring in overpriced new and used guns. You are better off getting what you want on the internet from a volume dealer or at something like gunbroker where I just purchased two guns that will be the last purchases for my collection, I am getting long in the tooth and in ten years or so they will go to my son.

    1. avatar George WashingtonGl says:

      Seems you need to make sure you put that collection to good use in a hurry!
      Plus, you never know what tomorrow might bring and you’ll need to use your ARSENAL for its intended purpose 😉
      Unless of course, it’s intended purpose is to collect dust/ investment…

  8. avatar The other Larry in Texas says:

    I went to one in Pasadena, TX a week or two ago. The building was not that big, and it was packed full of people. The aisles were narrow and there were numerous traffic jams. I left after a half hour.

  9. avatar Stev says:

    We have a decent sized local gun show that takes place 10-12x/year. Prices are rarely good, but it’s a good place to see and hold several guns in a short span of time.

  10. avatar will says:

    Don’t waste your time pay for parking pay to get in then look at 9mm and 5.56 for a dollar per round the vendors have been trying to sell for the past 4 months yep those boxes of green tip are still there for 18.95 a box and hope they stay there for that price.I think the vendors will have to start selling at normal prices soon once they pay for tables, food , gas and hotels it starts to cut into profits when nobody is buying.Time will tell.

  11. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    I haven’t been to a local GS in years. Even before this mess it was nothing but dealers with their current stock at $10.00 a peek for what I can see for free Monday. One week or so ago a friend went. He called me and said he had bought the only interesting, reasonably priced thing there. A Chris Reeves knife. He said, “Stay home.” I did.

  12. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    Even BC (Before Covid) there wasn’t much at gun shows. It was 1/3 junk and nothing to do with guns.
    I can’t even imagine how sparse it is now.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      “1/3 junk and nothing to do with guns”

      No joke, up until a couple years ago all the shows at Portland Expo had a giant booth for a bathroom remodeler.

      It wasn’t a *bad* show (I rarely missed 2 in a row), but that was always a head scratcher.

    2. avatar Mortimer Plimpton says:

      So true: 1/3 junk and 2/3 bad tactical advice from “Mall Ninja” types claiming past experiences that they “…simply cannot discuss in a public place”. Most guns at the shows here in CO are covered in dust and cigarette ash and appear to have been handled for years – yet sold as new. No smiling either – this only exposes you as a neophyte (so, I smile, a lot). I once asked a guy if they sold “beef jerky edible underwear”, and he actually got up and asked his dad, who sheepishly came over and apologized that they did not at this time, but to check back. This query broke the ice with them – and they ended up being quite nice folks – WTH??? It’s often creepy and fun like that, but mostly just a “used car / bad-end-of-town” / pawn shop kind of experience leaving you wanting a bath, a beer, and a home cooked meal. I’m at the stage in my life where I don’t need a good deal, and I would rather see my local mom/pop gun store get the money. Hey – the movie Bruno with Sachsa Baron Cohen has a pretty funny gun show scene!

    3. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      I’ve made some good purchases at gun shows; I picked up a Sig P250 in .45 that I still like for $300 five or six years ago, NIB. I got a used Ruger Alaskan .44 for $650 in perfect condition, price those now. And I bought my wife a Smith .380 BG that she ended up not wanting (in my pocket now), so I bought her a Ruger LCR .38 the next day at the same show, both NIB, each for about three bills.
      That was all about seven or eight years ago, they had STACKS of boxes of guns, scores laid out everywhere, people walking around with ARs and AKs slung over their backs, selling on site. Tennessee State Fair Grounds, Bill Goodman’s Gun & Knife Show, “call a buddy, bring a friend.” Haven’t been in the last few, but still buying.

  13. avatar 401kcashout says:

    Going to a gun show now…..BAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAAHHAHAHAH

    I think that was the best joke I heard all day.

    Anyone that goes. I guarantee you regret your decision as soon as you arrive.

  14. avatar Hannibal says:

    Around me gun shows have been largely useless for years if you’re looking for guns or ammo at reasonable prices. You can find plenty of ‘prepper’ gear and wwii nazi stuff though. Some companies that do custom stuff would show up. Components used to be okay… probably not anymore.

    I think the internet has taken away a lot of the point of having these shows. It’s a shame because it’s nice to be able to actually feel a gun but prices are so jacked up now that I don’t see the allure. But I guess if you’re bone-dry and feel a real NEED to get something…

  15. avatar Roger J says:

    I was at the gun show in Ft Myers Sat. and there was a line at 10am at the largest dealer (and promoter of the shows) that was 40 to 50 yards long of people waiting to fill out the 4473’s. It was stunning. The big crowds from the NY/DC/Boston/Philly corridor haven’t even arrived yet. They love FL because they voted for all the A-holes who took their 2nd rights. So they shoot here.

  16. avatar Ron says:

    “…the world becomes more *normalized* again..”

    I don’t mean to be bearer of bad news.. but “normalization” Will be the worst part of all this.

    “And now the situation in Czechoslovakia is normalized!” – Leonid Brezhnev

    1. avatar Morgan Lively says:

      The world will be back to the way it was before. If it has to happen by force, we have the constitutional right to do so.

      “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

  17. avatar No one of Consequence says:

    As noted above, generally, at big gun shows the prices aren’t great. (Think that electronics shop back in the town you grew up in, that always had SALE TODAY ONLY!!! signs in the window.)

    In our small town, we have – or had until COVIDtopia hit – a local promoter putting on a couple of small shows per year. I like smaller ones better than larger ones; you occasionally find a private seller with something unusual that that you’ve been keeping an eye out for – that’s why I go. Prices on the common stuff isn’t usually any better, but for me that’s not the point anyway.

    And I get a chuckle seeing the guy who always has a table with an assortment of older rifles, all priced at 2-3 times bluebook. Sorry … not many people are going to pay for someone else’s fond memories. Either that, or this is his way of appeasing his wife, “I tried honey, but none of them sold…”

  18. avatar Morgan Lively says:

    On another note, if we all started wearing Trump 2020 masks, how long would it be until health officials say we don’t have to wear them anymore? I’m already tired of seeing the lines outside my Walmart. It’s looking more and more like a Soviet bloc bread line, and I can feel us slipping towards totalitarianism and a civil war. Not North vs. South, but America vs. Communism. Get out there and vote for candidates who preserve your rights!

  19. avatar IN Dave says:

    I approach gun shows this year the same way I have always approached them. Walk around looking for things that I have never seen before that way I can research them for a possible future buy. Or go with a purchase in mind and find that gun, so I’m able to handle it, then jump online and buy it for cheaper after shipping and transfer fee.

  20. avatar Montana Actual says:

    I went to find one thing: Hornady Critical Duty.

    I did, at $34 a box. Without a doubt the only carry ammo I have only fired one mag of and never plan to again. I love it though, and I picked up 6 boxes. Pretty much all my other carry ammo was SIG and Speer.

    All the FMJ was the most overpriced I have ever seen though. Well over $1 a round. I refuse to pay that much. So if I am getting ammo for those prices, it better be some of the best. For FMJ I hit the local shops once a week and grab what I can when I can. But the comments are correct, trying to navigate a gun show in 2020 is as risky as going to a public indoor range.

  21. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    How to “navigate” gunshows?
    There are not any with in reasonable driving distances, so no gun shows for me.

    1. avatar Broke_It says:

      You need to refer to the other article, “How to Navigate to a Gun Show”

  22. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Gun Shows are like candy stores for gun people! Young and old! Amazing to see all the 2A products. Not just guns. My first show has at the Hampton Coliseum in Virginia, back in the 90’s. The floor space was huge. There were hundreds of vendors. It was a great first impression.

    1. avatar Tim U says:

      The gun shows of old are gone. You’re living in the past.

      Gun shows are a waste of time these days. All you’re going to find is a mix of cheaply made Chinese “tactical gear” selling for too much money, or home based FFLs looking to sell their guns at msrp or above. I haven’t seen a deal at one in years. I have very little desire to return to one.

      Enjoy the memories; that’s all they are.

  23. avatar chumley says:

    I used to get good deals at gun shows, back in the 80’s. By the mid 90’s I quit going because of crooked dealers selling junk at inflated prices. I sold a beat up old .22 rifle to one for $15 because it didnt work. I told the guy everything that was wrong with it. I later saw a kid carrying it and asked him about it. He said he bought it for his dad for $110 and the dealer said nothing about it being broken. He went back and got his money back, but what if I hadn’t seen him before he left?
    Another time I bought a Winchester Ranger .357 for a fair price, and paid by check. The dealer flashed his deputy sheriff badge and accused me of writing a bad check, and then warned me what would happen if it bounced. Then guess what? The rifle was broken. Kept trying to feed two rounds at once. The gunsmith who fixed it told me that deputy was well known in gun circles for being a crook.
    No thanks. Gun people arent a family anymore. They are just more cut throats.
    As to all the mask and covid crap, just more reasons not to go at all.

  24. avatar chumley says:

    Addition to my last comment. Also, I saw a show at the local armory with signs all over saying anyone selling a gun in the parking lot or to a private individual will have the police called on them. What the hell? Why is it their business? This isn’t Massachusetts, its a free (sort of) state.
    On top of it all, any good deals are bought up by other vendors before the show even opens. The shooting public is left with overpriced crap.

    1. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

      I don’t know what the laws are up there.
      IMO “IF” they have rented the entire place they could have a leg to stand on but most armories only rent the floor so it’s doubtful the business has any say. The National Guard could possibly say something about it being state property though.
      They are doing that because of the ridiculous entry fees. A lot of folks don’t want to pay $20 to get in just to sell a gun they need money for right now. The sharks inside won’t give them what they want but private sales will.

  25. avatar Joseph says:

    Gun shows used to be a place where most visitors and vendors were friendly and willing to make a deal. Now it’s just a bunch of vultures trying to drain every penny they can out of unsuspecting rookie buyers. People with any knowledge don’t fall for their bullshit and prices, even before the current hysteria. I quit going to them several years ago because they were no longer fun.

  26. avatar possum says:

    Six years ago Tulsa gunm show disappointed me,Id imagine it’s gotten worse. Rocklahoma sucked too. I’d like to go to a concert with no assigned seating and a gunm show that sells things “You dont see on the counter” America used to be really cool, used to be.

    1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

      Sadly, Possum, the future of GA shows is very much in doubt. That means the future of a helluva lot of venues, and festivals overall, is also in doubt, without massive change.
      Meanwhile, touring industry has lost $100 billion and no dedicated relief from US Gov.
      saveourstages.com

  27. avatar enuf says:

    Sorry to have to say it but gun shows around these parts are crap. Which is a sad thing, it did not use to be that way, gun shows use to be fun, deals to be found, good time spent.

    Now they are expensive to enter and often to park. Everything is FFL’s, few people selling their own stuff. All the complaints that have become so very commonplace. Endless Chinese junk, toys, jewelry, clothing, yes beef jerky too, over priced everything.

    I suppose if you are young enough to not remember what gun shows use to be like, that all this crapola just seems normal. Guess all I can say is sorry ya’ll missed the good times, but at least being young has its benefits.

  28. avatar Mark H says:

    The big shows here charge $15 to get in, and another 6 bucks to park. If one of the big component vendors is there, and if they have stock (and now that’s a big IF), then if you buy 10 lbs of powder and a couple cases of Primers then you kind of broke even.

    1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

      “…a couple of cases of Primers…” What area of the country do you live in that has cases of primers?

      At our last gun show two weeks ago even dealers only had a relatively few 100 ct. trays of primers…small rifle / pistol were very scarce.

      A private sale table had HST’S in the 50 rnd boxes for $38. His 12 boxes of HST 45 and 15 boxes of HST 9mm went FAST (he set a two box max per customer).

      1. avatar Mark H says:

        Phoenix, and they don’t. (which was part of my point)
        IF primers were in stock MIAWAL would have them at a fair enough price that it was worth the exorbidant entry fee.
        ($15-16 to get in and $6+ to park at the fairgrounds.)

  29. avatar Dave M says:

    My CCW lets pick the gun up as fast as I can fill out the 4473 and hand them the cash. Got 8 new guns so far this year, 2 more on list.

  30. avatar BeoBear says:

    I’ve been to the big Tulsa show many times, it’s chaotic insanity in a good way. It is extremely crowded though and to the point of being on the verge of being unnavigable. Most folks are in a hurry but considerate of others but there are plenty of those who push your limits. The ones that try to barrel their way through the crowd. The ones who reek of body odor and God knows what that stuff themselves into the crowd. The ones that stand in the way of everyone else and try to have a Saturday morning coffee shop conversation with the dealer who’s watching potential buyers walk away because they can’t get to him or her. Oh, and last but not least, the family with multiple kids and a stroller who cause the biggest ruckus of all. From trying to control all the little fingers from grabbing stuff off the tables, setting off the security cable alarms to arguing/crying/screaming when they don’t get their way. Then of course they have a baby in a stroller in what is the human equivalent to a packed cattle corral. It’s a frickin nightmare. Word to the wise….parents, save the little one’s gun show trips for smaller venues until they get older. You’ll both be happier.

    That said the Tulsa show is the only one I may ever go to again just because of the variety and spectacle. Once gun shows started charging movie theater prices just to get in and see if they have what you want I quit going. Haven’t been back in almost ten years. Few things more irritating than having to spend $12-20 (ten years ago) only to get in and find junk, over priced guns, beef jerky, candles and arts & crafts where normalcy used to reign. When entry prices hit $10 I was hesitant but now? Not a frickin chance.

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