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  1. #1
    j.soberano is offline Junior Member
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    Your thoughts on buying from gun show?

    Hello all! I'm new to handguns and am currently in the market for my first pistol (an HK P2000 if you were wondering).

    Being quite ignorant on the subject (but very eager to learn), I would like to know how all of you feel about purchasing firearms at a gun show versus a local shop or budsgunshop.com.

    I read the excellent post from submoa on buying used (Used pistol "should ask" questions?) and found that very educational. However, I failed to uncover any particular thread that specifically addressed my question.

    Advice and insights much appreciated.

    -- JS

    PS Fear not. I'm also inquiring about basic firearms classes in my area. Definitely something that I want to get right on the first try!

  2. #2
    kev74's Avatar
    kev74 is offline Member
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    I would suggest that you familiarize yourself with what you are looking at, since you won't have too much recourse if the seller misrepresents what he is selling. In other words, do your homework since you won't be able to bring it back.

    Also, make sure you get a receipt or a bill of sale.

  3. #3
    Todd is offline Banned
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    I am not a fan of gun shows at all, and now refuse to go. The admission costs are ridiculous, I find the selection at our local show horrible, and the saying, "Too many freaks, not enough circuses" comes to mind every time I go to one. I also find, for the most part, the prices are higher than if you were to buy from Bud's (or another on-line retailer) or a local shop. But people don't do their homework and buy at shows all the time because they assume they are getting a good deal just because it's a gun show. I'm not saying it's impossible to get a deal, but you have to know what you want and what it should cost, or you're going to be taken for a ride, because IMO, a lot of the people that run the booths are far from honest. Last show I went to I was looking to buy my XD9SC. Depending on the size of the dealer, the prices were generally $30 to $75 dollars higher than they should have been. Needless to say, I ordered on-line, and even after the FFL fees, came out ahead.

  4. #4
    JeffWard's Avatar
    JeffWard is offline Senior Member
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    +1 to above...

    Also:

    1) Many shops offer a "cash price" cheaper than the one on the tag. Wheel and deal with each area shop before you go, and get a price, ON A BUSINESS CARD, signed by the manager, good until...
    2) Consider the price of the gun, and shipping, AND FFL transfer fees if shopping on-line.
    3) Find out if your local shop will be AT the coming gun show. They will often have gun show pricing less than shop pricing.

    Now... Go to the show, with price quotes in your pocket, so you won't be tempted.

    Buy with confidence. Don't feel bad if you found one cheaper later. It happens.

    That said, I've bought 5-7 guns in the past few years, all at the same two affiliated shops/ranges where I am a member. They know me. I feel if I need their help with the gun in the future, they will hopefully be there.

    It's good to have a familiar dealer if you have problems, but how much is it worth??? Your call.

    Have fun!
    JeffWard

  5. #5
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    I'm with Todd. Gun shows basically suck. By the time you pay to park and pay to get in, you've usually lost whatever you might save on a gun. The sole exception is a purchase from the private sellers who often wander gun shows looking to sell a gun or two.

    Sometimes ammo deals are good, but in my experience here in AZ, you can get equivalent prices by shopping for pistol and shotgun ammo at Wal-Mart and buying rifle ammo online.

    And you have to put up with the ever-present tables of fake Nazi memorabilia, the wandering mall ninjas, the guys hawking smelly jerky, and the disgusting rest rooms.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  6. #6
    kev74's Avatar
    kev74 is offline Member
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    I disagree.

    For the $5 admission (& free parking) I get to look at and handle a bigger selection of stuff / crap than any of my local retailers have in stock. I might not buy anything, but its a nice place to look.

    The freaks and weirdoes are a bonus... like going to a zoo without cages!

  7. #7
    toolboxluis is offline Junior Member
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    my own personal accounts i have gone to a few gun shows and found out it is cheaper to buy ammo and parts for you gun or rifle than it is to buy in a gun store or online (but that is some time not all ways) but i did get my 2 AR-15 from the last gun show that i went to and got a great deal for both of them and 8 p mag and 6 t/s all from the same company
    but that happen becose i talk to the owner personally

    but 99.99% of all my guns i get at a local gun shop that i go to and i get great deals from them all the time


    my suggestion is try both and see what kind of deals they give you
    but its up to you !!!

  8. #8
    hideit's Avatar
    hideit is offline Senior Member
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    In ohio the process is the same as a gun shop.
    Buy it, wait on the computer bkg check, and walk out.


    I'm glad in Sharonville Ohio the Bill Goodman's Gun Shows have free pkg, and small fee to get in.

    I have bought 2 new guns at the gun show and they were cheaper than the commercial gun shops.

    i like them because you can often find certain guns that the local shop does not have.

    I don't like to buy used guns except at a gun shop that stands behind the gun. In fact I have never bought a used gun.

  9. #9
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post
    I don't like to buy used guns except at a gun shop that stands behind the gun. In fact I have never bought a used gun.
    Three of the five pistols I currently own were bought used, as were two of my three rifles, and my lone shotgun. All work fine. It's not a big deal if you know what to look for.
    Employed by Galco Gunleather - www.galcogunleather.com / Veteran OEF VIII

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  10. #10
    bill5074 is offline Member
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    Gun shows in my area are not all that bad, but you have to be careful and know what you are buying. Do some homework and be prepared if you go. You can get totally screwed in alot of cases, so it is BUYER BEWARE. As some of the other guys said you can get just as good a deal on the internet through a private party. Check with your local gun or sportsmans club to see if any of their members have any goodies for sale. Sometimes you can get a good deal that way. Good Luck!!!!!!

  11. #11
    j.soberano is offline Junior Member
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    I appreciate the input of all. You've basically confirmed my suspicions regarding the proposed venture. Nevertheless, it is always good to have the counsel of the experienced.

    Given what I have heard, I will most likely go to the show to see what's out there. Buying will likely wait since the supposed "deal" that I'll be getting may end up to be a very costly mistake. At the very least, it'll be a new experience and I'll get to handle a number of handguns.

    Besides, I like staying local since I'll know where to go to if I run into problems post-purchase. Always good to have a pulse on things.

    Thanks again!

  12. #12
    Baldy's Avatar
    Baldy is offline Senior Member
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    Gun shows here are free parking and $5 to get in. I have bought new and used at them. Best advice I can give you is know the gun you are going for and all pricing. I saved a $120 on a pistol I wanted a few years back by playing one big vendor against the other and knowing the pricing on that pistol at all the shops. Nothing wrong with buying used if you know the guns mechanic's and how to check them out. There is always a few shady dealers and I only see freaks and mall ninja's at the Orlando show.

  13. #13
    Bisley's Avatar
    Bisley is offline Senior Member
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    I've had good luck buying/trading at gun shows.

    There are many more bad deals than good, and there are always quite a few booths that obviously depend on the ignorance of the buyer to make a sale. But there are also usually a few reputable dealers who will make good deals, occasionally.

    If I 'm looking for something in particular, I will research it online - find the best price, add shipping and FFL fees, and try to get close to that price, with taxes included. Many dealers will take an out-the-door offer that is pretty close to that price, on a new gun.

    With used guns, I've found that it is easier to trade than to buy for cash, because the seller is not quite as 'locked in' on the price he wants. If you have something he likes, you can usually find a middle ground, unless he is just holding out till a sucker comes along.

  14. #14
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is online now Senior Member
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    Well, having just been to a gun show over the weekend, I'm pretty well pleased. I bought a mint Ruger Single Six .22 for $200!

    But gun shows give you the chance to meet individuals who are wanting to unload some good stuff for cash. Certainly you must know what is good, what you want, and if the purchase does go sour, how to sweeten it up. Most guns can be put into reasonable shooting order with a simple parts replacement. And parts are available through Brownell's or Gun Parts Corporation. Even if manuals are not to be found, most guns are simple enough to dismantle with a little thought and broken parts replaced.

    I have bought several Smith & Wessons walking around gun shows.

    Let me re-phrase that: I have bought several Smith & Wessons from individuals walking around gun shows. Each of these turned out to be bargains, 50% to 75% less than what dealers were asking. And, they fit right into my shooting program.

    Bob Wright

  15. #15
    Marcus99 is offline Member
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    I've been to a dozen or so gun shows over the last 4-5 years, namely two that happen every year around the same time, sometimes there is a third but that gets cancelled every other year.

    I find that a gun show, particularly the big ones, are great places to look around and get an idea of what you want. That's how I got to liking the Beretta 92/96 series. But you said you already know what you want, that HK. Granted, I haven't looked for that gun, but I don't recall seeing many HK's and Walther's and such at gun shows, I think the people that buy those typically go into the store and get them since they cost more and don't have a "window shopper" clientele.

    And as numerous other of the older and more experienced members have said, it is somewhat risky. My grandfather always thought that the prices were higher and what others have said have only reinforced what he's said. The guys that sell at these gun shows come from all over. I know if I was in a market for a new handgun I probably wouldn't get it at a gun show, you want to have someone to hold responsible if the gun is a lemon.

    And as Mike stated, they're usually cramped, especially the smaller ones where they space the tables only a couple feet apart. Then there's the guys who sell Nazi shit on the ends which I think really draws from the image of gun shows. I don't think $7 is too bad an entrance fee though.

    If you want to find one, you might want to look into the company that sponsors a lot of them, at least they do the one's that I go to. They're called DiPrete Promotions, run by dipromo.

  16. #16
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is online now Senior Member
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    O.K. here's why I like gun shows:



    Last Saturday. $200.

    Bob Wright

  17. #17
    JagFarlane's Avatar
    JagFarlane is offline Member
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    Hmmmm, my experience has been a mix.

    When I was younger, I attended sportsman shows with Dad in NJ. The shows there were clean, well lit, plenty of space and great displays.

    However, recently I attended a show here in VA. What a difference that was! Not bad to get in, $7 admission fee and free parking. However, I was a bit concerned when their webpage noted that the ATF just loved to cause small issues at their show [they'd even gone so far as to get a letter from the agent in charge of the area promising that agents wouldn't harass people]. Ah well, decided to go anyways, of which to note, the ATF was not an issue at the show.
    Anyways, they had selected a venue that was on the outskirts of Richmond, the building itself had most definatly seen better days, and the parking lot, well...we won't go there. Walk inside to find the place cramped, not very well lit, strewn with, of course, the Nazi tables and smelly jerky tables.
    I, at the time, was seeking out a Beretta 92FS, and while I found plenty of Glocks and Taurus' to be seen, there was only a smattering of other companies. In fact, only one table had Berettas. It was at this table I found the M9 Navy edition, and fell in love with it. Spent quite a bit of time looking it over and such. Only to be ignored by the sales rep whom was more concerned with talking to any female whom even glanced at a gun at his table. The price was nice, but after being pretty much out and out ignored for probably around a half hour or so, while this guy, standing across from me ignored me [mind you, nice haircut, good collared shirt, clean good jeans] I just ended up leaving.
    -smirks- did eventually get that handgun though, local shop, which has been around for 60+ yrs, the owner works the counter just because he enjoys getting to talk guns [he makes a couple million a year from the store/range so doesn't need to work but enjoys it], and is currently running a nice sale on handguns, with no end date in sight [to quote one of the managers "Whenever Robert decides he wants to end the sale...which could be a couple more months"].

    Yea, I know, rambled story, but learned my lesson. I'm just more comfortable in the clean, well lit, nowhere near as crowded store that has no issues with you field stripping a gun, and don't mind if you come in on a weekday just to chat about guns.

  18. #18
    Bob Wright's Avatar
    Bob Wright is online now Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hideit View Post
    I don't like to buy used guns except at a gun shop that stands behind the gun. In fact I have never bought a used gun.
    Boy, I've found many bargains in used guns: My first gun as a kid was an old Colt New Service in .45 Colt, an ex-Mounties revolver originally in .455. Then, several old M1917 Colts in .45 ACP. Then a Colt Single Action Army .357 Magnum. Most recently I bought a pair of Ruger .357 Blaclkhawks, one of which became a .44 Special. More recently an old Ruger three-screw Super Blackhawk, and of course, last Saturday's Single Six. Most of these were bought at about half the cost of new guns. Somehow, just sticking money in my pocket and walking around for a little while attracts those who would wish to part with a finew old gun.

    Bob Wright

  19. #19
    Ram Rod's Avatar
    Ram Rod is offline Senior Member
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    In the past, I've come out good on buys and trades at gun shows. These days I go to gun shows mainly to buy accessories, ammo, reloading components, and get a good feel for the current market trends. Gun shows around these parts are still worth the $5-$6 admission. I went this past weekend matter of fact.

  20. #20
    ttomp is offline Junior Member
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    You can save some money.

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