This is going to help a few folks out there. Some of us like to read reviews people leave online about their gun buying experiences. There are good ones and bad ones. Remember, there are always three sides to every story. I have been in this business for almost 25 years, and I believe that your experience has a lot to do with how you interact with the employee of the shop. Here are some tips for the first-time gun buyer, or the seasoned buyer.
Tip 1. Be up front and truthful. If you are just looking, that’s fine, but tell us that. Know how much you want to spend. Everyone has a budget. Let us know what it is. Don’t say “oh just let me see something”, then we show you something that costs $1,100 and you almost pass out and say, “I can’t afford that, I was thinking in the $300 to $400 neighborhood”.
Tip 2. Do some research. If you are a first-time buyer, take a lesson first. Have an idea of what you are doing and what you want. There can be 200 different handguns in display cases, just like there can be 200 cars on a lot. You have an idea of what you want when you go car shopping, do the same when you walk into a gun shop. This will save everyone some time.
Tip 3. If you ask for “our” help after we spend an hour with you, don’t say “well my friend told me to buy this, or my son who is a cop said this is what I want”; if that’s the case, then buy it. Evidently, they know more than us.
Tip 4. Good guns aren’t cheap and cheap guns aren’t good.
Tip 5. Don’t bring 5 of your friends to help you if you are the only one buying. One is fine if you need “support”, the other 4 will just confuse everyone including us.
Tip 6. Know your background and if you can even pass a background check. Don’t act surprised when we tell you that you didn’t pass.
Tip 7. The “Discount Dan”. If we can discount the price we will, if we can’t then we can’t. Not all retailers buy firearms at the same cost. Big box stores order tractor trailers full of one item so they may offer a better price on that item then the small shop. You will probably be dealing with an unexperienced 18-year-old kid as well. Same for online, yes it may be cheaper, but you will be missing out on the knowledge and experience from a salesperson in a good shop.
These are just some of the “tips” that I can pass onto you when you go into a gun shop to make a purchase or look around. Just because you read a negative or one star review about a business does not mean that what they are saying was the truth.