If this is your first Gun show or you are new to the sport, you might find them intimidating places. They are usually filled with a lot of people; they can be loud and are attended by many different people. However, they are also a great place to meet other firearm enthusiast and experts. As well as check out some pretty cool guns.
Respect the posted signs. If they tell you to check in a gun you’ve brought to sell or trade at the front gate, do it. If a gun seller’s sign says, “for display only” or “please ask before handling,” pay attention. Nothing will anger a vendor faster than ignoring their signs.
Remember the four universal rules of safe gun handling:
Bring Cash! Not only will you need it to pay the entrance fee. Many sellers do not accept credit cards. The saying “Cash is King” is present at a gun show as well.
If you believe that you will be purchasing a firearm, you will need to bring either a gun sock or a lightweight case along with you. You will need it to transport the firearm home. You may otherwise be forced to buy one there to transport the gun home legally.
Barter. But don’t be insulting with your offer. 10 to 15 percent under sticker price is a great place to start. If the seller has to have a certain price for the firearm, they will let you know. Some gun dealers are interested in trades, too; should you have a firearm you’d like to sell or upgrade from, bring it with.
If you have questions ask. If you found a firearm you’re interested in, ask the seller some questions. Ask the seller about how they came to acquire it (they may be able to shed light on the gun’s life with its previous owner, if it’s a used piece), if they’ve had any experience with this type of firearm and if they like it, if they know of any issues with it or others of the same make and model, etc. These folks sell guns for a living, and though they may be most interested in making money, they’re typically well-informed and knowledgeable.
Bring your own bore light, if you are interested in purchasing a used gun. Use it to check for corrosion in the firearm’s barrel (often referred to as pitting). Check the gun’s action or timing for function. Look for cracks, bulges, missing parts, and rust.
Some Other Useful Tips
Find A Discounted Or Free Way Into The Show Beforehand.
Most shows promote beforehand offering discounts and free passes. Do a little homework and locate these if you can. Local sporting goods stores are usually a good place to start; they often have coupons on the counter.
Do Research Beforehand
Browse the listings on armslist.com. It’s a great way to see real prices in your area. In fact, it is so easy to browse on your phone, that you can do it right there on the show floor.
For those who have attended gun shows, what other advice do you have for a first-time attendee?