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Most gun stores do a fairly good job of maintaining basic gun safety in situations where adhering to the the four rules can be, well, a challenge. Still, with so many people handling heaters in an uncontrolled, sometimes chaotic environment, not everyone is going to check every gun they touch to make sure it’s clear. And if you can get out of there without being layered at least a half dozen times, count yourself lucky. Handing a customer a loaded gun out of the display case, as in the video above, is a special level of fail, though. What’s the worst bit of gun handling you’ve seen at a local gun store?

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    • Reminds me of this post from someone a few years back:

      One time in an airport I saw a 300 lb, 50 something old woman in a pink tube-top with yellow tight pants and green 5 inch high-heels. —-Now some nights I don’t sleep so well.

  1. One of the worst things I’ve seen on this blog is the word “ever” spelled as “every”.


  2. Not gun handling per se, but related.

    I went to buy a shotgun at one of the LGSs, a Benelli M2. To put it back in its retail box, you need to unscrew the end of the magazine and partially disassemble the shotgun. No problem.

    At least, until the salesperson trying to do it, did it carelessly; the sling mount on the end of the magazine cap drew a nice, long, waving, silvery line up along the barrel as it was launched out by the spring and forced in by his hand.

    No replacement barrels in stock; “none available anywhere in the country”; oh, a discount? How about $10 off? No thanks; I asked, then demanded, they cancel the sale (they refused at first because “now it’s used”) and left.

    • I saw the same thing with a Glock 42. Was looking at one and commented to the salesperson that it is too big fro the back pocket. He told me, I carry it back there all the time. Puts the naked pistol and put it in the back pocket to prove it. I ask about the holster and he comments, “don’t need one”. Yikes

    • Maybe he was making sure there was no barrel bulges or excessive corrosion on a used gun he was buying. Maybe he didn’t want to hassle you in dismantling it.

    • I will usually have a flashlight in the chamber when i do that. Even do it on new guns to see the rifling type.

  3. Worst thing I ever saw at a gun store was a fat, nerdy, know-it-all salesman at Cabela’s laying down his “vast” gun knowledge to a young woman who was looking for a small .380 defensive carry gun. She left empty-handed because he wasn’t concerned about listening to her.

    As he draped himself over the sales counter, he also happened to be continually dry firing a P938 that he had nonchalantly pointed at my wife and I while we were talking to a different sales guy.

  4. Never seen a gun store clerk hand someone a loaded gun. Since the 80s at least, most keep the mags separate from the guns and many keep the action tied back for their own protection. The cop shares some responsibility for not checking though. Competent gun handlers go to great lengths to verify the gun is safe.

    Ironically, prog authoritarians claim that only police can be trusted with guns, and here’s a cop who could have killed somebody. (Reminds me of the video of the DEA agent doing the gun safety bit in front of a class of kids who said he was the only person capable of safely handling the gun — right before shooting his own foot.) Of course these same progs will also tell you that the cops shouldn’t be allowed to have guns since shooting suspects from protected groups is inherently racist, regardless of the situation.

    The worst thing I’ve ever seen at a gun shop or show is people pointing unloaded weapons at other people while checking out the sights, which violates the safe direction policy even if the gun is empty.

    • “The cop shares some responsibility for not checking though.”

      The cop shares equally 100 percent of the blame along with the clerk who handed it to him.

      Not him half, him 100 percent.

      • I agree. as a gun salesman i was appalled at what went on in the video. whenever we pull a gun out we always open the action and then hand it to the customer keeping it pointed in a safe direction and always away from others. my main question is why the hell was the gun loaded? even though we sometimes have the mag in the gun (usually with pistols), there still no reason for it to be loaded. if u want to show someone how to load use snap caps.

        • $hlt happens. Maybe it was a used gun being sold on consignment and nobody checked it, or two folks were working accepting it and each thought the other checked it.

          But this is why I teach newbies– even if God Himself hands you a weapon and tells you its unloaded, you check it yourself. Its not about trusting the other guy, its about a habit pattern that will keep you out of trouble if you follow it religiously. Complacency kills—

        • If I hand someone a gun and inform him that it is unloaded, if he does not check it himself, I will correct him. It is not insulting to me for him to check it himself, I understand that common sense makes it *mandatory* that anyone handling a firearm check for himself whether it is unloaded.

    • That is a really crappy gun shop. Slides tied back, what is the point of even having them on display. And as for people point the guns at others, the salespeople should put a stop to it. Usually asking nicely fixes it

  5. Fortunately I’ve had lots of luck. But the best was at my store we have guns out for fondling with locks on em. (Cabelas of course) some deep south fella with his wife grabs a shotgun and basically stuffs the muzzle in her face and says “hey honey! Check this out!” And she says “cool!” They’re giggling like school girls.
    I wonder how they made it to adult hood without killing themselves.

  6. I mentioned it before in another post but the worse thing I ever saw was a Mini 14 ranch rifle pointed in my direction and the gun shop employee racking the bolt back and forth while saying there was a round stuck in it.
    I quickly scuttled to the side to get out of the way and watched him now looking down the barrel. At which time I left. And no I have not been back, First and only time at that shop. The vib I was getting anyways was mostly tacticool wares which are’nt for me.

  7. I removed the bolt from a bolt action rifle and put my eye right over the muzzle so I could inspect the bore near the muzzle end. This upsets people.

    • I do this with semi auto used guns. I usually visually and physically check it, then have the clerk at counter do it as well. That way I have a witness

    • Worrying about that takes a real lack of understanding reality. Like worrying about looking down the barrel of an AR when the lower and the bolt are lying on the table. The difference is that without the bolt, it is not a gun, just don’t be pointing it at people who do not know the bolt is removed.

    • What’s the problem? The bolt has been removed. This is common to check barrel from the breach end to check for throat erosion and the condition of the back half of the barrel, and then to check the muzzle crown and the front half of the barrel. Some shops get a bit antsy if you start sticking barrel gauges into the muzzle.

  8. 18-year old (maybe) kid who worked at the store racking the handguns, pointing them towards the window that faced the street, and pulling the triggers.

  9. One of the larger outdoor chains, an employee with a customer out in the retail aisles, with the customer’s pistol out, shoving it into holsters to see which one it would fit.

  10. Guy goes into Cabelas.
    Guy takes his loaded gun out of his OC holster in the holster aisle
    Guy proceeds to use the loaded gun to try the fit of other holsters
    Cabelas store staff comes over to him, asks what he’s doing
    Yada Yada Yada
    Cabelas staff asks him to leave the store and not return – ever

    But, wait, there’s more

    Guy takes to a state based gun forum to launch into an attack on Cabelas being anti-OC
    Gets the forum natives all worked up
    Operations manager from that Cabelas joins the thread and adds the missing part about guy gun taking his gun from his holster.
    Guy still says Cabelas is anti-OC
    Cabelas manager offers to show the video of the incident to the forum moderators, who take up the offer
    Two days later the guy is banned from the forum and the moderators make a very pro Cabelas statement about not being an ass when open carrying and not taking a load gun out of the holster in a store to check holster fit. Cabelas is more than happy if you take the holsters to counter and use one of their unloaded guns in that’s in the case.

  11. Annoying -was looking at a 22lr pistol. Asked the salesman about the trigger. He racked it and said “dry fire it”. I asked are you sure? He said yes. I dry fires it only to have another salesman tell at me. First salesman doesn’t say a thing. Never been back.

  12. Lots of gun store workers hand the firearm to you by the muzzle. Any range worth its salt though checks any gun they hand you before they give it to you. Even if they do, I always check the chamber.

    • And at the LGS my wife and I go to, the last time she was handed a gun after the counter guy checked it, she re-racked it to verify for herself. The counter guy said “thank you.”

      We like this (woman owned) store a lot.

    • You might like this. Long ago and far away (Minot, ND, early ’80s), on nuclear alert, when we were called to the aircraft to test our response, the last person to board the aircraft, once the engines were started and we were preparing to taxi to the runway, was our assigned guard, part of our crew. Usually a kid, often in subfreezing/subzero weather, his procedure, as taught by Strategic Air Command, was to drop the mag, clear the chamber and lock the bolt back, then hand the gun up the vertical stairs to the crewmember above, *butt first*, if you make a mistake it will be you that is shot.

      You military guys will understand this: one particularly cold, windy, and nasty night, our guard was almost up the ladder when he dropped the mag (gloves for -30F don’t grip well). As soon as we determined it was an exercise, I cleared him to go after it. It had hit the pavement and busted open, scattering 30 rounds of 5.56 hither and yon. He found 29. The kid was almost in tears, his life was over if he came back missing a round, apparently being drawn and quartered and boiled in oil would only be the beginning of his troubles. Once we had completed the exercise requirements, I released other members of the crew to assist in the search, everybody broke out their flashlights and combed the ramp in subzero weather until somebody found it, after about 30 minutes, when we had just about finished getting the airplane ready for its next response. He looked shocked that all those officers and zebras were out on that frigid ramp trying to save his ass, I think some of his attitudes were adjusted that night.

  13. *knock on wood with a sledgehammer* I’ve never been muzzled while shopping. The store I frequent most has a showroom setup which provides plenty of space for me to steer clear of other patrons. No guns behind the counter leaves minimal chance of some goober employee passing a firearm to me bore first. However, I collect old war horse guns and militaria, and have heard enough historical bullshit passed on as truth to fill a thousand dump trucks.

  14. Heard about this one secondhand: a customer walks up to the clerk, pulls out a pistol, waves it in their general direction while pulling the trigger, and says, “There’s something wrong with my gun. I can’t get it to fire….see?”

  15. I’ve been muzzled by other customers, I usually just leave. Worst thing I have seen an employee do was a guy at a dunhams trying to sell a Sig mosquitoe to a young woman that wanted a self defense and carry gun.

    • It is not hard for the sales people to fix that. They just need to ask the customers to do otherwise. You would be surprised how many people actually appreciated it when you teach them proper etiquette.

  16. Didn’t see it, but heard about it, gun store employees complaining about how screwed up their customers are and how much smarter they are.

  17. Worst thing was at a gun store/indoor range near Orlando 10 years ago. Guy behind counter shot a silenced 22 at a phone book on the floor.

  18. Not sure if it was the worst or best thing I ever heard, but at Gander Mountain I heard two employees talking. One of them said to the other, “It’s not really a good idea to try to contradict a customer about a gun they are looking at. Most of the time they know more than we do.”

  19. My wife(face palm)… She grabbed a shotgun off a rack and put the end of the barrel in my face… Rightfully, i flipped out and shoved the gun away. And she was pissed at me the rest of the day(she didnt understand what she did wrong at the time)

  20. Saw a fella trying to sell a rifle. Store clerk asked “How long has this been in your closet?” Guy says huh, what, what do you mean. Clerk says “There’s rust all inside the barrel like it’s been kept in a damp closed environment. Closet-like. When it wasn’t cleaned after use last time all that gunk just sucked up the moisture and now you’ve got rust.”

    Oh, says the guy. So how much can I sell it for?

    “Maybe something to someone who wants to replace the barrel. I can’t buy it” says the clerk.

    Eh, there’s a gun show next week the guy mutters. Someone will buy it.

    Horrible in so many ways.

  21. Some clown dry firing a broken revolver for 20 minutes. It wasn’t advancing the cylinder but for some reason he kept pulling the trigger while the clerk did paperwork on returning it. I finally walked over and asked him what he thought he was doing and he asked why. I told him he was unnerving everyone playing with his toy and needed to put it down. The clerk finally took control and possession of the gun before it got any uglier.

  22. Clerk at Academy Sports pointed an M&P at my son, who I pulled out of the way, and then at me. When I jumped clear, he responded, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.” I responded, “If you point that gun at me or my child again, I’m going to jump over the court an beat your ass.” He pointed it down after that.

  23. Clerk at Academy Sports pointed an M&P at my son, who I pulled out of the way, and then at me. When I jumped clear, he responded, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.” I responded, “If you point that gun at me or my child again, I’m going to jump over the counter and beat your ass.” He pointed it down after that.

  24. Funny Cabelas gets mentioned so much. Little spanglish boy pulled out a loaded 1911(out of his backside) and waves it around saying “this is what you need!”. No-the old fudds behind the counter didn’t notice. Yep-Cabelas. And straw purchase. Women dropping her 38 snubbie as she threw money in a Salvation Army kettle. The worst? Lunatic racist owner at Glenwood,Illinois gun range/store screaming at everyone walking through the door. “What do you want?!?” AS well as releasing his large GS. Google it-I’ve never seen so many negative reviews.

  25. I saw a shotgun pulled from a carry bag with patches of rust all over the gun. I think it was a semi-auto shotgun because this happened a long time ago (1990s), and they were legal at the time. The owner then complained to the shop about the cheap steel used in the construction.

    The gun was stored in the bag after the last use and it had been very humid over the last few months. I told my friend this is why we use dehumidifiers in our safes.

    And rusted out barrels from people thinking “non-corrosive” ammunition means not having to clean the gun. Atmospheric moisture plus powder and primer residues on steel equals rust. Stainless barrels are more resistant but will still corrode if not cleaned.

  26. I’ve been pretty lucky I guess, usually I haven’t seen stupidity, I’ve heard it from customers or sales people.

    The only stupid thing I’ve seen is two guys get into a fist fight in the parking lot of another store. One guy loses and loses pretty badly. He storms into the gun store bleeding and beaten and asked to buy a pistol and a box of ammo. The sales guy and I know each other, so I know he’s not going to sell this guy anything, but he is gonna give the guy a hard time.

    “What would you like?” asks the guy behind the counter. “Any gun that will put holes in that mother%$#@er out there!” yells the bleeding guy while pointing out the window.

    I about fell over laughing. I know I shouldn’t have but that response was just so damn perfect. Needless to say, there was no sale.

  27. Full Manufactuer’s Suggested Retail Price.
    The sight of it always sends me running to next weekend’s Gun Show.

  28. Employee got one of those Laserlyte Laser Trainer Cartridges. Put it in his gun so every trigger pull gives a little burst of light. Started “shooting” other employees and customers. Pointing his gun at them and pulling the trigger. I picked up my purchase, and before leaving, told the owner I was never coming back to that store. Never did.

  29. It was the first trip to a particular gun store. I announced that I was new in town and looking for a home gun shop. A salesman showed off his newly-arrived WW2 era Luger. The pistol was awesome, complete with artistic filigree on most surfaces. However, he muzzled me repeatedly during the process. I immediately left and never went back and never will.

  30. avatar Brian needs help and has no one to turn to and they are coming after his elderly parents also HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHA

    Back when the Muslim Communist was newly inaugurated and it was common knowledge that there was going to be a gun ban, LGS in McCully on Oahu (You know the one if you live here). LGS FLOODED with cops. Cops running around the store with rifles from behind the counter like out of control kids. One goes up to the window and aims it at something outside. Same store had a “Vector Arms” 5.56 something that was supposed to look like a MP5, but bigger. And with a receiver welded together like a homemade bike. And a fake suppressor welded on to make “legal” barrel length.

    Runner up for worst experience – Ask to see Taurus Judge for giggles. Cop standing next to me. Sales guy looks over to glowering cop and shrugs apologetically before handing over pistol. Sorry to want to purchase gun. I am disobedient to caste.

    PROTIP of the day: Why is there a guy in hospital scrubs in my LGS with free reign to get behind the counter? And why does he show up at different stores, yet have the same behind the counter privileges? Federal Agent. But why would Feds have any reason to get involved with legal gun browsing or purchase? Good question.

    • avatar Brian needs help and has no one to turn to and they are coming after his elderly parents also HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHA

      Oh yeah, went back to same Makiki LGS and wanted to see fancy spaceman HALO shotgun, UTG or something, you know, one of those guns used in SCI-FI channel movies as future laser guns along with P90s and Tavors.

      Counter guy pulls it down and hands it to me with the muzzle to my face.

  31. Worst? Maybe not, but dumbest. Here in New Jersey, mag limit is 15 rounds (sigh). At a LGS, clerk handed me a Ruger SR9 with a clearly 17 round mag. When I questioned this, the owner started yelling at me as if I put the illegal mag in the gun. Lucky I wasn’t a state cop.

  32. Being told I couldn’t rent a gun unless I brought another person with me while I was literally open carrying in the store.

  33. I went to a gun store to inquire about a range finder I wanted to buy. Asked about the warranty on one particular model, and then couldn’t get a word in edge-wise for the next 10 minutes, but not for lack of trying. I just ended up walking out on the guy mid-sentence.

    I just wanted to buy a range finder, man.

  34. Couple is buying an AR at counter, I am in line behind them at the register, waiting to pay. Guy ringing them up is dispensing “wisdom” to them about the AR-pattern family of weapons, for example: the difference between 5.56 and .223 (which he got wrong), ways to avoid breaking “assault weapons” ban laws by only buying american made AR accessories (our state has no such ban), what type of ammo to buy (apparently ANY type of 5.56 ammo is guaranteed to feed reliably through an AR, and “all bullets are the same at that speed”, so any one will work for any applicaiton) etc. etc. etc. None of this was egregious, seen it all before. What WAS egregious was that as he talked, he’s idly playing with and manipulating the firearm. Sometimes showing off different features, showing how to load a magazine etc, but mainly just fiddling with it in his hands while he talks to them. Things got a little ugly when he was trying to show them how quickly you can bring the gun to bear and get a sight picture. In doing so sweeps me across the torso and head with the muzzle WHILE HIS FINGER IS ON THE TRIGGER INSIDE THE GUARD. This on a gun with a magazine inserted that I just watched him load, and (despite the three-card-monty routine he was doing with the gun’s controls) I’m pretty sure there’s a pill in the pipe as well. No idea what the status of the safety is but I certainly do not care. As he sweeps me and is about to sweep the couple, i grab the barrel and slam it down onto the counter with the muzzle pointing in a safe direction, away from ourselves and other customers. In the process I wrench the guy’s wrist and bloody his lip (from the stock getting jerked around, i didn’t hit him). He’s screaming bloody murder, his manager comes running out of the office. I calmly explain the situation. Guy defends himself with “but it wasn’t even loaded”, at which point I pick up the rifle, drop the mag, and run the charging handle to see a bright shiny round of federal 5.56 pop out. I look to his manager expecting to see him convinced. Nope. Defended his employee. “He served 8 years in the USMC and if he tells me he was handling that rifle safely, I’ll take his word for it over some asshole off the street”. Even suggested I was lucky he didn’t get the police involved for “assaulting” his employee. Needless to say I will never be shopping there again. Suggested the prospective AR-owners do the same.

  35. walking around the firing line in Denver when “BANG!”. First thing I think is “I can still feel my legs so what ever that was it didn’t hit me in the spine.” I spin around to see two jack asses behind the counter laughing it up. Apparently they fired a blank without so much as a word of warning (not that it would have made it okay). Gave them a piece of my mind and never darkened their door again.
    P.S. I wrote a long note to Cabelas about their egregious gun handling. They said they would speak to the counter staff and let me know what would be done about it. Never got anything back from them. So much gun handling fail.


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