Old painting of Moses holding the Ten Commandments above his head

10 Rules You’ll Want to Consider at Your Local Gun Show

  • Joey Upper

Most of us within the gun industry have been to more than our fair share of gun shows — they’re fun, a great way to pick up that one thing your spouse doesn’t want you to spend money on, and they’re a great way to network with other enthusiasts in the community.

I imagine that most of you have a pretty good idea already what to look for (and what not to look for) when you hit that showroom floor. That being said, recent tragedies among my friends (including one nervously asking me if a Kel-Tec PMR-30 was worth more than $600)  have led me to create a list of rules — dos and don’ts at your local gun show.

Don’t think of it as “Joey’s Ten Commandments,” rather just consider it “Joey’s Ten Things You Might Want to Consider.”

Please feel free to treat this with a grain of salt. There is, of course, an exception to any rule, and only Sith deal in absolutes.

Without any further ado, let’s dive in:

  1. If you’ve got a gun show that is running over multiple days, go on the last day — if you can, go during the last couple of hours.
    If you’ve got a gun show that’s a one-day affair (I don’t think I have been to one that short-lived personally) definitely go during the last couple of hours. It’s the same rule as a yard sale. Deals get made when the reality of lugging a gun home comes closer and closer.
  2. If you’re coming in with a firearm you intend to sell, either don’t sell to a gun shop or be prepared to accept a whole heck of a lot less than you want for it.
    It’s nothing against gun shops — they just have to make a living! Of course, with any private transactions please consult your local laws so you know that what you are doing is well on the right side of the law.
  3. Know your state laws. Period.
    Same goes for city and/or county laws.
  4. If you’re coming in with a firearm of any kind, you’ll almost certainly be asked to check it. Make sure it is unloaded before you go in.
    Checked it? Good. Check it again.
  5. When you enter, take a moment and breathe.
    Some of the worst transactions made in a gun show are made because people allow themselves to become overly-hyped by all the firearms around them. I can’t blame them — but you want to be a cool customer.
  6. Before making a purchase, look at every single table at the show.
    It might take 30 minutes — it generally takes me about two hours, but I’m pokey. It can save you loads of money, and gives you time to think about your haggling strategy. Plus. Guns are fun.
  7. Use extreme caution when purchasing a new firearm from a gun show.
    Very often, guns will be marked up much higher than in your local gun store or online. Come into the show having done your research on the firearm(s) you want.
  8. Haggle with sellers on used inventory.
    The sweeping majority of gun shop owners will mark up their second-hand wares in anticipation of an offer below their list price. Don’t be rude — just get the best you can for your money. They’re doing the same — it’s the wonder of the haggle!
  9. Do not allow yourself to compromise on a piece of gear that you had your heart set on before you got in just because you want to have left the show with something. Be patient –you’ll be so much happier. That off-brand scope isn’t likely to be the exact same as what you had your heart set on, even it’s perfectly good in its own right!
  10. Someone will be selling jerky. Sample that jerky.
    It will be excellent.

Now, I’m not the be-all, end-all in firearms authority. This might surprise you, but I’m not even the second to the be-all, end-all in the firearms community. So, I want to hear from you: what should be added to this list? What do you disagree with? Please share this on Facebook and Twitter and let us know!

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