I still love going to gun shows. Here are some personal guidelines on how I approach gun shows:
1. I bring lots of cash
2. I never buy accessories, ammo, holsters, toys, food or junk, etc. at gun shows. I can find most of this stuff on Ebay, Gunbroker, Ammoman.com, and my Fridge. I buy guns at gun shows, and rarely anything else.
3. I have a mental list of about 10 guns that I am looking for. I will deviate from that list, but it really has to be something special, something that "dazzles" me.
4. I educate myself on values and don't pay attention to asking prices. I will offer a fair price on something I really want.
5. Wear sunglasses if you are attracted to shiny things. There are lots of shiny knives, and whatnots that will cause you to part with your money if you aren't careful. Ignore shiny things. Buy guns only at gun shows.
6. Buy low. What I mean by this is when the assault weapon ban thing starts heating up, don't buy military style guns, look instead at vintage and classic revolvers. When Pythons and SAA's are spiking in value, steer clear of them and look at something else that interests you.
7. Be flexible. This means look at all guns. You never know when you will find something you don't ordinarily collect (or shoot) that might be really neat to have. I recently found one of the first 50 Colt Mustangs ever made - sporting genuine ivory grips in 99% condition.
8. Don't over pay for a gun, but don't walk away over a difference of $50 on something valued at over $500. If its a good buy at $500, it's still an "ok" buy at $550, especially if you really cannot easily find another one.
9. I'm very nondescript in the way I dress - I look like I could be attending a tennis match, or taking the family to eat at a Pizza restaurant. Some might think I'm a cop - I don't get a lot of attention, and I like it that way.
10. I don't chit chat at all, unless I'm really interested in something, then I'll engage in a little "jawing". When I'm ready to purchase, I let the seller know that I really like the gun - I don't sit there and point out flaws. If I see something that turns me off on a gun, I will just walk away.
Some shows are productive; some aren't. The good thing about a show that's not "productive" is you get through sooner and you have all of your money still in your pocket!