I've long thought of doing a series here on Carteach0, featuring local gun shops and their owners. I thought it would be interesting to read about how they started in the business, some of their experiences, and their thoughts on where their business is heading.
Today that notion came back to me after a visit to my 'favorite' store.... and I guess I have to re-think the plan a little. Driving along, all the local shops I've haunted came up for review..... and somehow most were found wanting in one way or another.
That brings forth a question: What do YOU look for when you choose a shop to do business with? What pleases you.... and what turns you away?
As for Carteach... perhaps it's a just a general negative nature, but the shops local to me are not shining at just this moment.
The closest (and I won't name any of these....) gun store is an interesting place that's been around a long, long time. It's on a main highway, and not more than ten minutes from the house. Their stock is light, but decent, with enough turnover to make stopping in every month or so of value. The thing is.... I am aware of a few instances where their moral judgment and mine differ... to put it gently. The owner of the store was quite proud to tell me how he had bought an original WWII Colt 1911 in it's original military holster and belt rig from an old timer who clearly didn't know what he had..... for 1/10th it's real value. He laughed when he related how the old guy had come in a few days later and tried to get it back. That... grated.... bad.
The next shop out... while a decent business and has always been a place to find unique mil-surps (finding a Johnson on the their rack is run of the mill!)..... has had a dwindling stock for months now, and seems to be winding down business. While stopping there on passing is certainly worth the time, I would be hesitant to put something on layaway, for fear the store front would be empty a week later.
Moving further from the secret Carteach0 headquarters cave, there is another shop which is darn well stocked in every sense of the word, but has usually given 'Ol Carteach a feeling of 'attitude'. Their used rack is thick with interesting long arms, and their pistol cases sport the latest and greatest right alongside some oldies but goodies. The back room is fully stocked with reloading gear and supplies, and that is a rare thing these days. That said, their prices are generally set above suggested retail. I suspect this may have something to do with the $200 shooting glasses the 'pistol expert' wears behind the counter, and the financing thereof. I've stood by while he told a new lady shooter she 'needed' a .357 snubby as a first pistol.... and bit my tongue bloody while keeping my mouth shut.
My (till now) favorite gun shop... about 25 minutes from home... is a nice place. Decent shop with a good stock, both new and used, and enough related gear to keep most people happy. It seems to be a family run place, and boasts a well equipped in-house gunsmith with an excellent reputation locally. The 'Smith has asked me to look at one of his custom rifles and write about it here on the blog, and I was inclined to do, and honored he asked. The thing is, I have been having some firearms shipped to and from their shop (so I can test/review them). Today on the way home, I added up what that has cost me... and realized I have dropped a significant chunk of change there on nothing more than 'fees', with nothing really to show for it. Now, I know they need to make money to stay in business, and I don't begrudge them that at all.... but maybe the stack-o-guns I have bought there in the past could have counted for something. I haven't an easy answer..... but am left with no real desire to hurry back soon.
There's other shops I can range to, and will, yet the questions come to mind.... and so I lay them before my learned and wise readers.
What do you look for in a gun shop? What experience tends to make you loyal to a business? What drives you away?
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