Your Guide to Gun Store Etiquette
Knowing how to behave in a gun shop can put your mind at ease when purchasing your first firearm
Your first time in a gun shop can be an intimidating experience. However, you might be surprised to learn that about 40% of all sales in 2020 were to first-time buyers, according to estimates by firearm manufacturers and trade groups. No matter how new you are to firearm ownership, you're far from alone in considering purchasing your first gun. Trust that the staff in these shops deal with inexperienced buyers every day.
Still, it's a good idea to keep a few things in mind to make sure your first gun purchase goes as smoothly as possible.
Here's a look at how new gun owners should act when entering a gun store for the first time.
Be gentle with the inventory
Most items in a gun shop are pretty expensive, so you'll want to be careful with them. As a general rule, it's a good idea to act as if you're handling an expensive piece of merchandise from an electronics store because these guns have similar values. An entry-level 9-millimeter handgun often costs between $500 and $650.
Asking the staff what you can and can't do is a good rule of thumb because they know what's safe for you, the other customers, and the merchandise.
Treat everyone with respect
It's perfectly acceptable to ask questions and have a chat with the people behind the counter; that's why they're there. However, make sure you respect their time and pay attention to their answers, especially if you have minimal experience with firearms.
Follow the safety rules
Every gun store will have safety rules that you must follow while on the premises. The rules depend on the store, but you always avoid pointing the gun you are handling at staff or other customers. If you want to sight the gun at something to test it out, be sure you never aim it at another person.
When in doubt, ask a staff member where you can point the firearm while examining it. Generally, they'll direct you toward a back wall that's away from where anyone is standing.
As a matter of practice, treat every gun as if it is loaded at all times. Even if an employee has shown you an empty chamber, you never want to treat the firearm like a toy. Accidental shootings often occur when the person holding the gun assumes it isn't loaded.
Listen to the staff
If the staff inside a gun shop ask you to do something or tell you that something isn't permitted, listen to them. They're just trying to do their jobs, and there could be all kinds of liability on their end if you don't follow instructions.
Legal and responsible gun owners do everything in their power to protect everyone's Second Amendment rights. It's also important to remember that laws vary by state. Just because you've never heard of a law a staff member is trying to enforce doesn't mean it isn't valid.
Accessories you’ll need
Whether you're taking a gun to a shop for repair or trade or plan to bring a new gun home with you, having a case is a good idea. The laws vary by state, but you may not be able to transport a firearm in your vehicle in some locations unless it's locked in a case in the trunk.
Even if the laws permit you to open-carry anywhere in the state, you should never approach a gun store while brandishing a firearm. If you have a gun, bring it to the shop in a case. When you plan to buy a gun, bring a case or ask if they have them for purchase.
The shooting range
Some gun shops have an on-site shooting range where you may be able to test firearms before purchasing them. You should ask about the protocol for using the range to see if it's possible to give it a try with one of the guns you’re considering.
Keep in mind that the retailer is unlikely to provide you with instruction at the range during your visit. You should sign up for a basic firearms training course if you're looking to learn how to shoot or handle a firearm.
Of course, if this sounds like a bit much, you can always purchase a firearm through an online retailer. Buying a gun from a trusted online source like Ammunition Depot ensures you won't have to spend as much time at the gun store and allows you to make your decision from the comfort of your own home. Remember, though, you will still need to pick up your gun at a gun store with a Federal Firearms License (FFL).
Ammunition Depot is an online gun store that can ensure the entire buying process works for you. We carry both firearms and ammunition while putting our focus on providing the best possible customer experience. Visit our eCommerce store to see what we currently have in stock.