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  1. #1
    OwensDad is offline Junior Member
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    new to guns - are gun shows good places to buy?

    Hello everyone;

    New to this site and I just spent a lot of time reading all the great information on here; thanks so much to everybody, this place rocks

    I have very little experience with handguns, but have fired a lot of rounds with my Swiss Army Sig assault rifle. However, that was 11 years ago.......
    Recently, I felt that urge to shoot and I went to a local indoor range in my area; now I am totally hooked and am looking to buy my first handgun.

    I have held many guns by now, along with quite a bit of research on-line and in store, and have narrowed down the choices in my budget to the following at this point (in no particular order):

    Walther P99: loved how it felt in my hands, but could not find a rental anywhere close, so I haven't actually shot one. Only thing I did not like at all is the mag release.

    S&W MP 9mm: feels excellent in the hand as well, but also could not shoot it.

    SA XD 9mm: also feels very well in the hand and I shot the .45 version and was fairly accurate with it (given that I had not shot for 11 years )

    Beretta PX4 9mm: felt great in the hand as well but also could not find a rental. I am a bit worried about the unproven design, but I guess the same could be said for the XD and the MP.


    All that said, it looks like I will have to buy a gun without actually shooting it before. Other than the feel in ones hand, what else should I be looking for in such a situation?

    Also, there is a Gun Show in Orange County next weekend; are prices typically better at these shows or is there little to no difference to the local stores?

    Thank you so much for having me and for any/all help you can provide.

    God Bless!

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  3. #2
    Shipwreck's Avatar
    Shipwreck is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    Well, a lot of people are thrown for a loop on the P99 mag release initially. HK handguns use similiar mag releases. The trick is to use your trigger finger. Don't try to use your thumb, like on a traditional mag release.

    As for the gun show - it really kinda depends on your area and the size of the show. Tiny gun shows suck. Here in Tx, the large ones have awesome deals on new guns. There is a local one that just plain sucks, though. I wanted my money back it was so bad.

    So, I make the 90 min drive to the Houston shows. They are great.

    Many others complain online about crappy gunshows all the time. So, you'll just have to go to one and see what its like in your area. It seems to be regional as to whether or not the shows are worth it or not.

  4. #3
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    I heard two views to this.

    1. Gun shows are great for shopping. Tell each vendor you are in the market for a 9mm pistol and you have narrowed your choices to x, y and z. Many vendors will willingly talk to you about the details of each candidate pistol in hopes of making a sale. Do this at each table then come back for a second round making your bids. Most vendors are keen to this and will know you came around already and will likely skip the initial bidding stages and go right to their bottom line price. Still, don't hesitate to counter-offer.

    2. Gun shows are great if you know exactly what you are going to buy and you know its current market value at the regular sporting and hunting goods stores. Gun shows will save you around $50 off local store prices.

    I bought my Taurus PT-145 at a gun show. I scanned all the tables and found a spread of prices. I went to the cheapest guy and bought his at the price on the tag. Could I have done better? Probably. But I know I suck at haggling so I didn't even try. I bought my first gun at a regular store, and my second from a private party on a message board.

    Good luck.

  5. #4
    Wandering Man's Avatar
    Wandering Man is offline GM HGF Gold Member
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    Wink

    Welcome to the fourm. Sounds like you are off to a good start.

    Enjoy the hunt.

    WM
    Never argue with drunks or crazy people.

  6. #5
    OwensDad is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all very much!

    If it is a fact that I can only expect to save around $50, I might as well skip the show. After parking and admission for myself and the wife (who can't wait for me to buy a gun ), I'll only save about $15, which I promptly would have to spend on a babysitter for the little guy......

    Look forward to posting some pics of whatever I'll buy soon!

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwensDad View Post
    ...All that said, it looks like I will have to buy a gun without actually shooting it before. Other than the feel in ones hand, what else should I be looking for in such a situation?
    ...God Bless!
    A big No-No, in my honest opinion. Since you're in So Cal, I recommend stopping by the LAX firing range. They have the largest selection around. Contact them, or your local range to see if they carry the guns on your list to test out.

    Personally, if you're investing into a firearm that you're relying your life on...I'd get one not only for grip comfort, but for familiarity of firing it. The best advice I can give you is to shoot 50 rounds out of your selection, and see which one is best, i.e. good grip, get a bull's eye on the target, etc.

    As for gun shows, I'd only recommend purchasing accessories such as ammo, targets, holsters, etc. that's it.

    Welcome and good luck on your choice.
    Last edited by GlockamaniaŽ; 01-29-2007 at 07:00 PM.

  8. #7
    Shipwreck's Avatar
    Shipwreck is offline HGF Forum Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by OwensDad View Post
    Thank you all very much!

    If it is a fact that I can only expect to save around $50, I might as well skip the show. After parking and admission for myself and the wife (who can't wait for me to buy a gun ), I'll only save about $15, which I promptly would have to spend on a babysitter for the little guy......

    Look forward to posting some pics of whatever I'll buy soon!
    Well, that is true - If I am going anyway, or looking for something rare (a P99 is rare around here w/o going to a gun show) - I go. Its fun. Plus, U can pick up dozens of guns and hold them and look.

    But yes - when I want something, and the local shop has their very item for $30-$40 more than a show. It isn't worth it to go for just that 1 item sometimes...

  9. #8
    Dreadnought's Avatar
    Dreadnought is offline Member
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    Having only been to one gun show and finding nothing interesting to me, I can't comment on them.

    Though, I will say the PX4's operational design has been around for a while and quite well proven in the Cougar. The whole rotating barrel design is very durable and reliable.

  10. #9
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Senior Member
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    Welcome from down in the swamp.
    So far as gun shows go you can save a bundle sometimes. Go to one that has at lease two large vendors and price one against the other. I saved almost $200 from local shop prices on one gun I bought. On the guns you got listed about $50 to $75 under local dealers is about as best you can do around here. Good luck.

  11. #10
    Lawnman380's Avatar
    Lawnman380 is offline Supporting Member
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    Suncoast Gun Shows here in Florida have some good savings. I have compared to online prices and have paid same or lower. You have to haggle a little , they will come down from sticker!!!!

  12. #11
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Catch them at about 4pm on Sunday evening and prices are about as low as they are going to be. I also like to look at the private dealers as once in awhile you will fine an old gun for a real good price. I like the old S&W,Colts, and Rugers.

  13. #12
    Mousegunner's Avatar
    Mousegunner is offline Junior Member
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    Knowledge is king...

    If you really know your guns and your prices, then you MIGHT be able to find bargains. But knowledge is king.

    But gun shows are fun, in and of themselves. I like to go and enjoy the sights even when I don't intend to buy anything.

    Another thought: gunshows may get outlawed someday. Enjoy 'em while you can.

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