Monday, August 8, 2016

Gun Show Tips

Gun shows are a true part of Americana. They can be exciting and fun. But if you are actually going to buy something, know these few tips to help you navigate the uniqueness of a gun show. I just went to one last weekend and bought a great holster.
(1) Have a plan. Your plan could be to take the wife or son and fondle a few firearms so you know what feels good so you can order online. It could be to find a particular gun that is hard to find in your local gun shop. It could be to spend no more than X number of dollars. It could be to find a holster or an optic or some accessory. It could be to find a deal on bulk ammo. Maybe it’s just to window shop and enjoy a few hours among fine folks with similar interests.
(2) If your plan is to buy something, stick to the plan. If you are looking for a specific gun, don’t buy something cool that you were not looking for. If your only plan is to spend a certain amount, don’t over-spend. Stay within your budget.
(3) Do your homework. If you have specific items in mind, research prices online so you know if the price at the gun show is a good one. Nothing stinks more than buying something locally only to find out you could have gotten it (or something better) online for less. If you have something specific in mind, make a list of those items and the online prices and take the list to the show.
(4) Don’t buy from the first dealer you see. Be patient. In most cases, the tables closest to the door are the most expensive, and the prices at those tables will reflect that. The further you get from the door, the better the deals will be. When/if you find what you want, keep looking and you may find a better deal elsewhere. If you don’t, then go back and buy. Also, if you see it, it’s a price you can live with, and it’s what you came for, buy it. If you think about it too much it may be gone. I went 4 tables down, decided I did wan that 1911, went back and it was sold! Don’t rush into anything, but if you know it’s what you want and it’s the right price, it’s time to buy.
(5) Take a notepad and something to write with. If you find something you want, make a note of where you found it and the price then keep shopping. It will make it easier to find the table with the best price once you’ve checked out everything in the show. But don’t wait too long if it’s a one-of-a-kind item.
(6) Take cash or debit cards. Most gun show dealers aren’t going to take a credit card. Some do though.
(7) If you take a wad of cash, be careful not to flash it every time you make a small purchase. Waving money around just makes you a target.
(8) Break cash down into gun money and fun money. Use fun money for jerky, t-shirts, and accessories, and gun money for the high dollar stuff. If you have something specific in mind, set aside enough gun money to cover it. That way you won’t find out too late that you don’t have enough for the thing you really wanted. This will be harder to keep track of if you use debit cards so keep a running tab (using the notepad mentioned in #5).
(9) If you are a concealed carry permit holder you might want to check with the gun show company in advance to see what their policy is about concealed weapons. More than likely loaded weapons will not be permitted and you will be required to check your gun at the door.
(10) If you plan to buy a gun, make sure you have the permits required by your state. Each state, and sometime town or city, may have different laws and rules. Learn them and abide by them.
(11) If you are bringing a gun to sell, I’d recommend only selling only to FFL dealers who have booths at the show. Private buyers can be ify. Protect yourself.
(12) If you decide to sell to a private party, do it in the showroom and not outside in the parking lot. Make sure you have a record of the make, model, and serial number of the weapon, the name, address, and drivers license number of the person you sold it to. Know the laws of your state regarding private sales. If you get all that info and complete the sale, keep it forever. You want a paper trail proving you sold that weapon and to whom. I’ve heard anecdotes of people selling to private parties at gun shows only to have the police investigators show up at their door months later because the gun was used in a crime. Protect yourself.
(13) Most importantly, have fun. Gun shows are nothing like you may expect. They are an amazing slice of Americana. People young and old, men and women, white collar, blue collar, people of all races come together in a shared celebration of our Second Amendment rights. Even if you go home empty-handed, you won’t regret it.
I love gun shows! They are fun and exciting for me. But then again I love the smell of a shooting range so I’m a little nuts. There are many things to discover at guns shows and to top it off, there are guns! Yes!
Semper Paratus
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