My Gun Store Experiences

Discussion in 'Weapons and Tactics' started by Roaming East, Jul 11, 2017.

  1. Roaming East Green Belt

    Roaming East
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    As some of you know, i work at gun store here in the South Eastern US. Its an interesting job that allows me to meet some pretty interesting cats, play with some pretty interesting toys, and of course gets me sweet sweet deals on guns id otherwise never have the cash to get. so lets just talk about the job eh?

    1- Its Not All Fun and Games: A lot actually goes into working around firearms, not the least of which is regulatory stuff like constant gun checks and accountability. The ATF round these parts stipulate that we maintain up to date numbers on the firearms we have on site twice a day, at opening and closing, and matching serial numbers to our data base can be a time consuming endeavor when you're scanning and hand counting up to 2000 individual firearms. Shift begins at 7 am? expect to be in the storage at 6. get off at 10? wont leave for home til past 11. thats every single day. and Woe to Those that miscount because thats an automatic REDO. The ATF dont play when it comes to missing guns.

    2- Customers Are Your Best Friends and Worse Enemies: Not gonna lie, most of the aggravation from the job is customer related. You got your typical assortment of guns store guys like
    -The underage kid who wants to touch everything and ask basic questions about the 'cool guns' (AR's...)
    -The old timer whose retired and just comes to shoot the shit (these cats tend to be cool and always have good stories
    -The old timer whose retired and just comes to talk politics (these guys are pretty obnoxious)
    -The guy who comes in all the time but never actually buys anything
    -The guy that comes in all the time and ALWAYS BUYS SOMETHING
    -First time gun buyers looking for help/advice
    -Mall ninjas

    You'd be surprised how often its assumed that I, or any other employee, have less knowledge about both the products we sell, and the laws that govern them than any particular customer. I get it all the time, from guys who think 9mm parabellum and 9mm luger arent interchangeable to the dudes who think my stoeger coach guns are illegal cause they are 'sawed off's. Trust me. The amount of knowledge that you are tested on in order to work a gun counter and actually SELL firearms would be distressing. We have to know both Federal and State and Local laws like the back of our hands in addition to various odd situations that can and WILL pop up.

    3- Your Good Clothes Will Get Destroyed: Every firearm we get in the start comes packed in a box, wrapped in thick plastic with preservative grease on it. This grease stains like a motherfucker and smells...less than pleasant. Upon receipt of a new gun, we will unpack it, verify the serial number, input it into our computer logs, update our ATF inventory, dissassemble said firearm, clean it of packing grease, oil and lube it, reassemble and either place it back in the box for storage or mount it on the wall for display. We do this for EVERY gun and if we happen to get 20+ guns in that day? well, get your ass to work a little earlier lol. We rotate our cleaning so that all the guns are dusted, cleaned, and re oiled once a month.

    4- Non-standard Boxes are the Devils Play Things: Im looking at you benelli and Beretta. Virtually every manufacturer has settled on a default box design that maximizes internal space and decreases external dimensions while displaying firearm data in pretty much the same configuration on the box. Except for the Italians. Their S/N's and Barcodes and shipping codes are all mixed the fuck up with the gun info boxes being a mismatch of italian code and english short hand. When i Get a Browning that shit says something like A5. 28in BBL, Walnut. Or a Remington will say VERSAMAX 26in BBL MO BRK UP. Boom, its the model, barrel length and furniture. Not Benelli. We'll get some non-sense like SBEAN 25/28SYN/CM/5 Which looks like shit until you figure out by memory wtf it is, in this case a super black eagle 2, 28 in barrel Camo, Mossy oak, type 5 (shadow grass).

    5- A Surprising Amount of Shit is Made Overseas Now: Fun fact, when we are selling a gun, my system will ask for the serial number, and manufacturer to cross reference the gun im trying to sell to remove it from my system. Key word, MANUFACTURER. So that Winchester SXP? hahaha, NOT a winchester manufactured gun. Its made in Turkey by Instanbul Silyah. That Stevens 320? Sun City China. That other Stevens, the 555 O/U? lol, Turkey again. Mossberg 22's? Brazil, some models of Savages, mostly their rimfires? Canada. It's pretty frustrating for the new guys to try to remember when each model firearm is made when a classic logo like COLT or WINCHESTER or REMINGTON is stamped all over it yet the system doesnt recognize it under those brand headings. The more you know.

    6-Guns Hold Their Value Well...IF: It's true, guns are a good investment if you take care of them because good guns will almost never depreciate very much, and true classics like original Model 70's etc, INCREASE in value. That being said, dont try to trade us a firearm that has 'custom work' on it, and expect a good return. You bring me a used Gen 3 GLOCK of any caliber? ill give you 300 up front no questions assuming it doesnt look like you fed it into a wood chipper. Hell, some of the harder to get ones will net you more, like 450 for a used Gen 3 Glock 20. But if you bring some POS that has slide cuts and cutom drop in triggers and special barrels? 150-200....MAYBE. Here's the thing, when you chop shop a Glock and add a bunch of shit, you basically void its warranty, secondly, what YOU thought made it cool/better isnt necessarily what someone else thinks, so you decrease the market size that i can resale that pistol and thus its value to me. Same goes for bubba'd CR weapons. Nice nazi stamped K98 with excellent bore you got there. too bad you hacked the stock, and drilled the receiver so you could toss a POS scope on there. 100 bucks best offer. Mosin Nagant? i got 50 in the back, ill give you 30 bucks. Oh its a sniper model with 25 hashmarks cut into the stock? got official paper work? no? 15 bucks. Your grandpappies Browning Auto 5 with rust on the barrel and dented crown? 100 bucks. Pro-tip. If YOU wouldnt buy it, knowing nothing of its history, neither will anyone else. thats why you should keep your guns in good condition, you may need to sell them some day.


    Im gonna cut it off for right now, ironically i have to go to work, if anybody wants me to continue this or just has any questions or comments let me know!
     
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  2. RhinoRush Company Veteran

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    Are the mossberg 500s still manufactured in America?
     
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  3. Gregolian .45 ACP

    Gregolian
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    On avg how hard is it to find Mosin's that haven't been sent through a fucking wood chipper/look like a bear used it for a chew toy?

    Another question for you sir. I have a store here in town that does gunsmith work in the back and I feel like every time I go in to say have a gun cerakoted or minor repairs done that I don't feel comfortable doing myself the wait time feels a bit nuts. Like, 2-3 weeks to get a handguard off and make sure the gas block is properly set again with a set screw and shit time nuts.

    I've noticed that there seems to be the owner and like 2 employees but the owner is the only guy in the back working on these different projects. In your position, if that's how it was for your shop would you appreciate someone offering to say help do the more basic stuff in the back part time or would that just fuck up the flow for him?
     
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  4. Cubo de Sangre Gold Belt

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    Thanks TS. Please keep the info/stories coming. I don't even have a gun store near me. :(
     
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  5. Mungoose Purple Belt

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    I know this was directed at TS, but I'm a bit of a C&R nut. I've been seeing a lot of nice Mosins on Armslist, including Finnish Mosins. Problem is they are about twice the price they were a few years ago. A friend of mine recently traded a very nice standard Ishevsk 91/30 towards a Chinese paratrooper.
     
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  6. RerouteToRemain Red Belt

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    Didn't your closest shop get rustled over you just doing transfers and telling him the prices are too high?
     
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  7. Cubo de Sangre Gold Belt

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    Haha. Great memory! I forgot about that place (which is about 50 minutes from home) since I got blacklisted.
     
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  8. RerouteToRemain Red Belt

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    Yeah I don't remember the exact story but remember thinking it was funny a shop got that rustled.

    Honestly I'm surprised some shops are still successful. I can usually find stuff online for $100-200+ less and you don't have to pay tax on top of it.
     
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  9. Cubo de Sangre Gold Belt

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    Dude at the shop wanted something like $2300 for a Tavor and I politely declined. He said it was a fine rifle (I guess still trying to make the sale). I said "I know, but I can get one for under $1800 online". Then he flipped his wig. :D


    So there's a question for TS. How do you handle online prices being superior and people coming in to check out guns in person but then shopping the internet for a better deal?

    https://gun.deals/
     
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  10. RerouteToRemain Red Belt

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    That's right, pretty funny. I get its gotta be tough for business but in that scenario you are talking about a $800 difference after tax.

    Yup that site^, wiki arms(gun.deals uses them as well) and gunbroker are pretty much what I use. Rainier arms (with apex) is the only other I use with any kind of regularity.

    I think your question falls into his #2 worst enemy section lol
     
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  11. Cubo de Sangre Gold Belt

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    Yeah, GET would amount to $92, which is more than shipping and transfer. Homie didn't even try to negotiate a lower price with me.

    Ha! For sure somewhere in section #2.
     
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  12. rob mafia Green Belt

    rob mafia
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    weird. in pa, most of the gun shops seem to only hire mall ninjas who don't really know shit.
     
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  13. Roaming East Green Belt

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    Yes they are. The Maverick series maintains its price point by sourcing materials from mexico and sending them to the US for assembly. The 500 is still all American.

    a good Mosin isnt rare but it isnt super common either. I actually restore Mosins as a hobby and with about 20 bucks and 3 days worth of light work, you can get even the shabbiest looking Mosin pretty good looking again.
    as far as gun smithing. a good, credentialed gunsmith is worth his weight in gold and rare to find. Youre lucky if you have in a 100 mile radius and most of them are retired armorers from the military. So the demand for them is high, and time they can devote finite. We have a certified armorer and 1911 smith whose backlist is literally hitting about 2 months now.

    Gun store overhead means we'll never be able to beat an online price, BUT, we will handle any transfer for a small fee of 40 bucks and the background check fee ($2). We dont mind having people order online because those same folks tend to buy ammo from us pretty regularly and once you establish a good customer relationship they keep on coming. turning away business like that is just nuts.
     
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  14. Protectandserve Brown Belt

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    One thing I won't miss of working,a gun counter is people constantly poitning guns at me...
     
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  15. Roaming East Green Belt

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    I live here in Eastern VA. Lotta ex-military to hire from along with lots of government workers to cater too, so the knowledge pool available tends to be pretty deep. The hard thing to find, again, are guys who not only know how to work on, and improve firearms, but actually have the credentials to charge for it.

    A note on the online order thing:
    Gun stores operate as licensed dealers. In order to carry many brands of firearms and get that sweet sweet dealership at cost rate (meaning we buy individual firearms for seriously reduced price) we have to sell a certain amount of that companies firearms. That kind of puts you under the gun so to speak to make certain sales happen. For Glock for example...well im not allowed to tell you the per unit cost we pay, but in short, we need to sell roughly 10 a month to maintain that status, otherwise we lose that preferred dealer status, and end up buying our guns market rate. When you see gun stores with jacked up prices, its because they lost that dealer status and their overhead cost suddenly shot up. If you live in an area heavy with gun buyers, its great because you can offer stuff like free range time, and half off ammo sales constantly because you make your money back through savings in gun purchasing and the profit margin through MSRP lock.

    And that reminds me, a lot of gucci brands will maintain the value of their firearms by absolutely restricting the price we can sell them at. Hypothetically speaking, lets say we get a Sig at a dealer rate of 300 per gun. we could sell it at 600, undercut everyone on the planet and make bank. But then the manufacturer will cut our balls off, refuse to sell us anymore of them and we're proper fucked. So we HAVE to sell them at constant value of lets say 850. Sure we make more profit per unit but because we sell less units than we could, and everything beyond a certain mark is pure profit anyway, it kinda cost us money from time to time. Thats when those ammo sales start coming in.
     
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  16. wvboy Brown Belt

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    The gun stores around here vary in their environments. I have one close to me, but I refuse to go to it. There always seems to be a group of guys hanging out by the counter talking about the demise of America via Obama, Hillary, liberals, commies, blah, blah, blah. The first time I walked in their to by a Remington 700 the guy behind the counter told me to jump on the "deal" because the government was going to ban these guns because they can have a detachable mag. The gun has an internal box mag and no way to have a detachable without serious modification. At that point, I knew what I was dealing with. The final straw was when they posted the wouldn't do accept transfers from online purchases if they stock the firearm. There are a couple shops with cool guys and gals that work there, but there selection is often lacking.

    My question is what is your opinion on most, if not all gun stores, filling there floor space with generic slings and tacticool stuff, and not selling any hunting or sport shooting stuff? I just don't see a lot of people walking out of stores with $300 backpacks that are covered in molle, but there always seems to be guys hanging around the hunting clothes racks at my local big box store.
     
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  17. Roaming East Green Belt

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    Well, hunting items are generally an item that a gunstore will never be able to move successfully because the margin on them is super slim. your talking profits of a few bucks an item. Stores like Walmart will under sell us and get away with it because of the sheer volume they can stock and move. bringing in half a pallet of camo neoprenes and selling them doesnt net us enough money to warrant the cost of stocking it.
     
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  18. RerouteToRemain Red Belt

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    Most of the stores here (including very popular ones that move items like crazy) have prices barely under msrp but will have good sales ever couple months.

    Still don't ever beat online(or really even come close after tax). The gun shop I go to charges $10 ffl fee with ccw, $15 without.

    But seriously I'm surprised that retail does well with gun or ammo sales. Do you find most of your clientele to be older?
     
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  19. Roaming East Green Belt

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    We do pretty well because my store in particular maintains good all around stock, and because of the in-store bonus. Buy a guy here? 50% off all ammo and accessories. So its not unusual for someone to buy an AR-15 they could have got for 50-80 bucks cheaper online, just because when they go to buy those $219 dollar cans of 5.56, they are getting them half off. id say fully half of our FFL transfers come from Buds, whom generally undercuts us by 50 bucks, or AIM who sells things we generally dont, like boutique AK and AR receivers etc. Transfers dont break my bosses heart because it basically cost us NOTHING to do it. You come in, you give us $40 bucks, and then all we do is receive the firearm in the mail when it comes in. We of course administer paperwork but that doesnt cost us anything either.

    The majority of our clientele? eh, its pretty evenly distributed amongst the ages as far as white guys go. about 75% of our customer base is caucasian, with the another 20% being black, most of whom are over 35. the remainder will be your asians/hispanics. Given the demographics of this area it seems odd we dont see more blacks, and that the black folk we do see, are always older gentlemen and ladies.
     
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  20. RerouteToRemain Red Belt

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    The 50% off sounds like a really good incentive. If stores did that here it would definitely make it more interesting.

    For example of some prices I or friends have got that I can remember off the top of my head.

    P227 fde $699 shipped
    VP9 w/ night sights $499 shipped
    M&P Shield 40 or 9mm $299 shipped(before rebate price drop)
    Sig legion 226 sao $1039 shipped
    P229 stainless elite $839 shipped
    HK45 $799 shipped


    Ammo at stores here is outrageous without waiting for a sale. 50% off though would be a pretty good deal.

    Last time I bought .45 (Sellier and Bellot brass 230gr) it was $260 shipped from sportsmans guide.
     
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