For most of you, a trip to the gun shop is like a child’s trip to Disney; You don’t ever want to leave. With these trips come unwritten rules of how to conduct yourself while browsing the fine selection of firearms and accessories. Remember that each employee at the shop speaks with many people a day, a lot of whom are new to firearms. Knowing and abiding by these unwritten rules will ensure a smooth, safe and respectful transaction.
1. Look at one firearm at a time
I have been in a gun shop multiple times and witnessed a customer doing the following: “Let me look at that one, that one right there, this one over here, oh and definitely that one!” While it may be beneficial to compare them side by side, it is recommended to have just one on the counter at any given time.
2. Never cover anyone with the muzzle
As per the 4 Rules of Gun Safety, the gun is always loaded. Being in a gun shop does not make this rule any less irrelevant. When handling any firearm ANYWHERE, never let the muzzle cover anything you aren’t willing to destroy.
3. Don’t dry fire or ‘slam’ the slide without asking
I know you want to play with your potential purchase, believe me I understand! 9 times out of 10, if you want to dry fire or release the slide with the slide release, the employee will say ‘go ahead’. It’s always a good idea to ask first though, because after all, it’s their property until they sell it to you. You may also be unaware that dry-firing the firearm in your hand is actually bad for that particular firearm. Please, ask first.
4. If you’re trading in a gun, bring it in it’s case
Instead of walking up to the counter with a firearm in your hands, put it in it’s case and let the employee take it out and safety check it. This seems like common sense to me, but I’ve seen it done the other way numerous times. We’re dealing with firearms here, not jeans you’re looking to return at Wally World.
5. Always, without exception, safety check a firearm as soon as you pick it up
I don’t care if the employee just showed you it’s clear. As soon as you pick up a firearm ANYWHERE, the first thing you should be doing is a safety check. This policy does not change in a gun shop.
6. Know about the firearms you’re interested in purchasing
Do some research online before you go to the gun shop. You probably have an idea of what you’re looking to get, so check them out before you go see them. Even the best employee may not know all the answers to every single product they carry. It’s a good idea to be informed ahead of time to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking at.
7. Have your permit with you
If you’re in a state that requires you to have a permit to own a firearm, HAVE IT WITH YOU. Chances are, the gun shop can’t even let you touch a firearm without seeing your permit. Do everyone a favor and bring it with you and present it at the counter.
8. Haggling is generally ok, but don’t go overboard
If you find a firearm on BudsGunShop.com for $500 and your dealer is selling it for $589, asking for a few bucks off isn’t a bad idea. Asking them to price match however, might not be your best option. Remember that the online purchase may have other fees such as shipping, and they generally don’t have as much overhead as your dealer. He needs to keep his doors open, so haggle respectively.
9. Don’t talk about anything illegal
I’m not even going to explain this. Just…don’t do it.
10. Be respectful and courteous
Gun Shop employees see a lot of people everyday, and many are new to firearms and don’t follow the rules. I hear of ‘angry’ employees all the time, and my feeling is that they come across this way sometimes because they have people all day long doing everything on this list. Give them a break by knowing the proper Gun Shop Etiquette.