Top 10 Tips For A Successful Gun Store Visit

Shopping with the President can help

Shopping with the President can help

While many gun stores are going full-auto retail and implementing 20th century ideas like greeting customers, being polite, and hiring helpful sales staff, you’re going to run into the occasional old school shop run by Clem, Bodean, and Clem’s other brother Clem. Here are a few helpful tips to get you through the experience with a bare minimum of angst and/or gunfire.

1. Don’t acknowledge anyone when you walk in the door. If this makes you really uncomfortable, you can give the briefest hint of a nod in the general direction of Clem, Bodean, and Clem. Don’t work yourself into a hissy about being rude – they won’t acknowledge you either. Under no circumstance should you brightly say “Hello! How are you today? Boy, it sure is hot outside isn’t it!”

2. Stuff your right cheek full of Red Man. Not Copenhagen – that’s for sissies and you’ll be exposed as a rookie poseur right away. If you have not done The Red Man before, practice in advance as uncontrollable nausea can result. If it’s a nice store with real floors, bring the styrofoam coffee cup you used at breakfast for your porta-spitoon. If the shop has a coffee maker, you can top off with a little joe while you browse. Careful, that’s week old coffee there.

3. Don’t remove your John Deere hat when entering the store. You are wearing one aren’t you?

4. If you want to look at a particular gun in the case, but are unfamiliar with the make and model, use the mouth full of Red Man to your advantage. Throw a little extra self-imposed unintelligibility into your request to see the gun. It’s OK, Clem will assume you know what you’re talking about as you have a wad of Red Man ‘sploding your cheek and a John Deere hat. After some practice, your request should sound something like this: “Cun ahhh hole thus mrggumpghphtt rahfull?” (Or ‘puhstull‘ as required)

5. When handing a rifle, aim it at the ceiling and look knowingly over the sights or through the scope as appropriate. Although you may be tempted, don’t try to gain street cred by saying something like “I kilt a buck with one like this last month.” You may be holding something like a Ruger 10/22 or Winchester 9410 and exposed as a rookie poseur. Just nod your head a lot, make grumbly noises, and hand it back when you’re done.

6. Keep your finger off the trigger. Yeah, we know, it’s meant for pullin’, but resist if you can. It’s especially bad form with rifles.

7. Whenever you look at a price tag, shake your head a bit and say “They sure are proud of this one, aren’t they?”

8. Make sure you don’t inadvertently aim at Clem or Bodean. It’s bad form and one or both will almost certainly return the favor.

9. If you do end up buying a gun, and still don’t know what type of ammo you need to go with it, just add some more Red Man and say something like “Gimme 3 boxes too.” Keeping it generic will make Clem assume you know what you’re talking about.

10. Last but certainly not least, don’t dress like a Mall Ninja for the occasion. It’s not as cool as you think.

As an extra bonus tip, if you want some extra-special service, see if you can accompany the President on his next visit to a gun store.


  1. says

    Funny stuff, and too true. The sad thing is that often even if you ask to see the gun and call it exactly what it is usually the guy behind the counter reaches for the wrong one. “Can I take a look at that Smith and Wesson 1911SC…No, not the M&P, the 1911SC…No, not the EMP, the SC…the Commander size? You know, the one with the 4.75″ barrel?” Sigh. “Middle shelf, third from your right…YOUR right, not mine. Yes, that one. Thank you. Oh, those jammed all the time back in ‘Nam…good thing this ain’t ‘Nam, huh?”

    I’ve tried being polite. I’ve tried knowledgeable conversation. I’ve tried nodding and casually agreeing with any nonsense I hear. I’ve even tried frequent visits that included a purchase with each visit. Still the same old contempt, so I just started giving it right back.

      • says

        Your logic is flawed, and it brgins into question your ability to properly use research methods. The absence of a person with a gun to stop the Westroads shooter cannot logically be used as evidence that guns can help stop such violent attacks. Unless you can prove that a person was kept from bringing in a gun to Westroads, your hypothesis is mere speculation. Again, the absence of a fact (a person with a gun could have stopped the shooter)cannot be used to make a leap in logic that had something taken place, i.e., a person with a gun could have stopped the shooter, the shooting would not have taken place. In simpler terms, the fact that guns are banned from Westroads is no evidence whatsoever that if guns were allowed in Westroads, the shooting would have been any less likely whatsoever. Your logic is flawed, presumably because to support your thesis, you need to make such unsupported leaps in logic that are pure nonsense. More guns are bad. Less guns are good. In this case, security should have had guns, and they should have had the courage to stop someone who they saw with a huge bulge in his jacket, which they admit to have seen prior to the shooting. And I also see no reason why it took dispatchers two minutes to call out an officer after getting the 9-11 call for the shooting. That seems like a very very slow dispatch time.

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