Author Topic: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?  (Read 3209 times)

Offline ant

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Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« on: November 14, 2012, 06:53:18 PM »
Hey everyone,

My first TSP post!

I'm fairly new to guns.  I've already taken a beginner's handgun class.  I've also been shooting at the range several times.  I am looking to get something for HD as well as practicing.  I'm still undecided between getting a handgun or a shotgun first.  (I've tried out a few different pistols and keep coming back to the Glock.)  There are plenty of "first gun" questions on this forum, with a lot of great advice, so I'm not necessarily asking about that -- just giving folks context.  (Although I'm willing to hear anyone's advice on that matter).

What I'm curious about are gun shows.  There are a couple coming into the area between now and Christmas.  I'm planning on going to at least one, but wondering what to expect.  Do you folks have any advice for a newbie?  Is it the kind of place I might be able to get a good deal?  Is it even the kind of place where someone should get their first gun?  How do I avoid getting "taken" if I were to look at something used? 

Also my teenage daughter's interested in going.  Is it a "family-friendly" kind of experience?

Thanks in advance!

BTW, as required by my county, I've already gotten a pistol purchase permit. 

Offline joeinwv

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 07:35:27 PM »
Walk around and look at a lot of cool stuff. See if anything looks interesting. Yes, you can get good deals. Or bad deals.

Typically family friendly.

The big advantage you have is your phone. If you see something cool, search gunbroker and see what they are selling for online.

Last show here I got a CVA muzzleloader for $325 that Cabelas sells for $599

Offline Bolomark

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 07:55:22 PM »
 family friendly here in Washington.
prices. if your buying new. ours here have been running a little high on prices but you can still get a deal.
know your price range on what you want to spend.also check out the price guides for the model you are looking for.
great place to look around at all the different styles. also good for holsters, ammo, accessories bags and Knives.i usually pick up ammo cans.
always ask before holding a gun.(courtesy)
here they get busy real early.
do you have to be a member? have a concealed carry lic.?ect.

Offline FromScratchWoman

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 08:08:17 PM »
Don't bring "extra" money or your credit/debit card easy to get carried away once that first backround check clears I've seen folks act like a kid in a candy store, like joeinwv said the internet is your friend prices are rarely firm at a gun show haggle with them find what they are selling on line for a price you can afford and show them.. may not get them to go as low as what you find online but you could get a chunk knocked off, also if more than one is coming you may just leave all forms of currency at home for the first one check things out how they feel so on and so forth do your homework and walk into the second show with a goal and confidence..less likely to get taken that way IMHO that's my .02 worth..

Offline soupbone

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2012, 08:46:03 PM »
"Also my teenage daughter's interested in going.  Is it a "family-friendly" kind of experience?"

IF she is well behaved, polite, sticks WITH YOU, asks to see or touch, etc., they can be very friendly. If she acts like a semi-housebroken animal, then not so. If this is your first gun show, make sure to take your wife also. She will play a critical role in HOLDING YOUR WALLET for you. This may keep you from wasting money. Don't ask me how I know that. Also, you don't have to buy the first <whatever> you see.

My advice is to get the handgun first. You already have the permit, and if there is any kind of panic starting, handguns may be unavailable or priced out of your market. If you have decided on a Glock, for example, read everything you can about the gun, including what their going price is. Know what the variations are, the weaknesses of the gun are, what a worn (but still serviceable) gun looks like, etc., etc. If you can, take a more experienced friend with you, this would be to your advantages.

Just remember, "let the buyer beware". A lady friend of mine was once offered $100 for her M-1 Garand - "see, it has 'NM' stamped on it - that means 'new manufacture', so it isn't as valuable..."  She is a competitive shooter, and was looking for parts for her M-1 National Match, a sophisticated target rifle. Needless to say, words were exchanged.

My advice, though, for someone new to guns, is to start with a quality .22LR revolver. Plenty of practice at a cheap price, and usable for HD, though not ideal, when you use the proper ammunition. A decent Smith & Wesson Kit Gun will set you back @$400, but you will have something your daughter will use to teach HER kids to shoot. New, that same gun will set you back @$700 - $800, so a good used gun might be the better way to go, not even considering that the older (pinned barrel) Smiths were better guns. Semi-auto .22s can be finicky as to ammo, and magazines have a habit of getting lost or damaged over the generations.

Good luck, and remember, you don't HAVE to buy anything at this gun show.


Offline ant

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2012, 08:58:16 PM »
This is all excellent advice from everyone.  I also appreciate how quickly everyone has responded.  Thank you!


Offline Cooter Brown

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 04:04:35 AM »
If you think you may buy, have 2 or 3 possibilities in mind before you go. Check the prices for said choices on Buds and maybe Galley of Guns. Then walk the whole show and check the prices on your favorites from every vendor. There's usually couple of vendors that are above market, and several that are at. If you're lucky, you'll find 1 or 2 that have really good deals.

If you're buying used, you may have to shop a bit harder.

If you think you may want to get your carry permit, I wouldn't take the class at the show.


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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2012, 09:29:07 PM »
I would suggest knowing the prices of your local gun shops too. Remember anything online will cost you S&H and transfer fees. Most places charge more for Internet sale transfers than whatever NICS or equivalent state check they have to do because they are not profiting otherwise. Also, the last few shows I have been at have had seriously inflated prices and people were paying it! Likely the buy-guns-before-Obama-bans-them is still in full swing so expect to see marked-up pricing -- I refuse to believe this is "new normal" pricing yet...  :-\ Might have more luck haggling at a shop where there is less pressure to sell to the crowd.

 Also don't whip out the smartphone and compare pricing right in front of the seller.... That's a quick way to start off on the wrong foot.

Offline bdhutier

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Re: Advice for a newbie at his first Gun Show?
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2012, 09:46:16 PM »
I'm on board with what most people are saying.  I only go if I have something specific in mind, and I'm ready to buy.  Around here, prices are high, and haggling usually won't help much, so being well informed is the key. 

Know what the weapon costs in the real world (what the average person is willing to pay, not "what it's worth"), know what you are willing to pay to walk out the door with it, and know the common breakage/wear points to thoroughly inspect it.  I can't tell you how many well used guns I've seen which were more expensive than a brand new one...  ::)