So you’re gonna purchase a firearm…now what?
Here are a few basic rules when shopping for a firearm that will help you find the firearm you like while also making the process go as smooth as possible.
- Do Your Homework and Make the Trip to the Gun Store Purpose Driven
So many times customers come to my counter and have no idea about the brand, type, caliber or purpose of the firearm they want to buy. Gun’s are tools. No more. No less. They should be treated as such. Narrow down what tool you want for which task.
Is this going to to be for Every Day Carry? Do you have a carry conceal permit? Do you plan on carrying inside the waistband or outside the waist band? Do you plan on training and shooting a lot with it? Are you familiar with the type of firearm you want?
Research these things and narrow down what specific purpose you want this firearm to serve you. Perhaps you want a hunting rifle. What are you hunting? What time of year will you be using this rifle? At what distance will you be taking your shot? etc…etc…
Having a basic idea of what exactly you want this firearm to do for you will greatly enhance you shopping experience and make it much easier for both you as the consumer and for me, the salesman.
2. There is a Difference in quality and Brands.
Look, we get it, you’ve ran 5 “clips” through your Taurus millennium G2. Good for you. Save that noise for someone who cares. At the gun counter, we don’t. There is a reason Glock generally costs 300-400$ more than Taurus. They are better built and much higher quality firearms.
Oh, what’s this, you have a DPMS oracle AR-15 with an NC Star 30 color illumination optic on it with a Bipod and a UTG laser? You must have been an operator at one time in your life. Again, there is a reason that rifle is only 500$: it is poorly made with low quality control and isn’t dependable. For Christ’s sake please don’t lolly gag at the counter trying to laud your P.O.S. Call of Duty Clone while denigrating the Daniel Defense m4 behind me for 1500$. They don’t compare in the least and the more you talk the dumber you sound and will eventually annoy me to the point of moving on to another customer.
Bottom line: better gear and high quality RELIABLE firearms aren’t cheap…neither is your life so don’t just go highpoint or Taurus because it’s cheaper…it may get you killed when you need your firearm to perform.
3. Save the Chest Beating and War Stories for Campfires and Your Therapist
So you shot a penny at 3000 yards with your AR and consistently shoot sub-MOA at 500 with xm855 ammo on a 4x scope…you’re adorable and please just stop talking. Look, we get it, firearms are exciting but save the chest beating and conflation for the campfire. At the gun counter we don’t care and like I always say: “I can smell a lie like a fart in a car.”
Here’s a little tip: Firearms salesmen and saleswoman don’t get paid diddly. We aren’t in it for the money. We are in it because we love what we do. We live, eat and breathe firearms. We shoot regularly. We study our gear deeply. We train frequently. We know our shit, are constantly working to improve our knowledge and striving to be better both on and off the range. Don’t waste our time with flat out lies trying to build yourself up then get butthurt when we begin to call you on your bs. Just save that noise for another time.
4. Booger Hooks and Bang Switches
Okay kids, gather around for this one. There are four basic rules of marksmanship:
1. Treat EVERY firearm as if it is loaded at ALL TIMES.
2. Never point a firearm at anything you are not willing to kill or destroy.
3. ALWAYS know your target and what lies beyond it.
4. NEVER TOUCH THE TRIGGER UNLESS YOU WANT TO DISCHARGE A ROUND.
As a firearms salesman I can tell you first hand 99% of all people who come to a fireams counter disregard these golden rules the second they begin shopping for a firearm. I literally get muzzle swept hundreds of times daily! C’mon people, IT IS A GUN! It doesn’t matter “if it’s unloaded” or “hey man I know what I’m doing.” For Pete’s sake keep that booger hook off the bang switch! For those who don’t know what trigger discipline is here you go: KEEPING YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER.
When you ask to see a firearm, inspect it muzzle down in a safe clear direction, make sure it clear and after doing so look it over without your finger on the trigger and don’t point it at anyone. When you are done hand it back muzzle down to the salesperson safely and slowly, doing this will show the salesperson that you are protocol driven and are serious about finding the right firearm for you.
5. Ask Questions
There is nothing wrong with the statement “I don’t know.” Nothing whatsoever. If you don’t know, ask. You’ve never owned a firearm before? Say so. You aren’t sure between the difference single action and double action? Ask. What’s the difference between 5.56 and .223? Just ask. Generally firearms salespeople are more than happy, if not ecstatic, to share information and awareness to new shooters. You’re joining the club and we want to ensure you have all the information and tools you need.
Many times I have been asked some rather difficult questions from customers and I simply didn’t have an answer. I humbly say “I don’t know, but lets find out together,” and the search for an answer begins. This honesty has taken me far at the counter and likewise it will be reciprocated in kind when you, the customer asks.
Keep these tips in mind and I promise your experience shopping for a firearm will be a smooth, exciting and fun process.