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Old August 29, 2012, 01:05 PM   #1
freebird72
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Gun Store Etiquette

I was just wondering what your views are on handling handguns(or any gun) while in a gun store. When I ask to see a gun I assume I am allowed to work the actions and everything except for dry firing. Is this reasonable? I have never had any owner/staff say otherwise.

Also, how do you aim the gun while in the store? I know the gun is unloaded(after checking), but I still feel weird pointing the gun anywhere. I always point the gun up or down, but no matter which way I turn I am either in the direction of the staff or customers.

On a side note, how to do the the owners/staff handle less than knowing customers? I can not tell you how many times I have seen people ask to see a semi-auto and then drop the magazine on the ground and act if its no big deal.

I was just curious on everyone's opinion on these matters.

Last edited by freebird72; August 29, 2012 at 01:15 PM.
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Old August 29, 2012, 01:13 PM   #2
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I always ask before cycling the action in any way. Don't slap the cylinder shut on a revolver, and if you're releasing the action on a semiauto, don't let it slam shut.

Ask before dry-firing. It's not a problem, and few dealers mind anymore, but it's a measure of courtesy that does get noticed.

Watch your muzzle at all times, and don't handle ammunition while handling the gun.

Really, it can be summed up with "don't be afraid to ask."
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Old August 29, 2012, 01:15 PM   #3
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Agree, ask about dry firing. Otherwise, first thing I do is make sure it's unloaded. Drop mag, lock slide back, then do whatever else. Revolvers, just open cylinder, if clear, then proceed.
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Old August 29, 2012, 01:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Really, it can be summed up with "don't be afraid to ask."
Only thing I would add is to "always" index or keep you finger out of the trigger. ...

I'm sure most of us could list all the don'ts as I have seen to much disrespect for the owner as well as the firearm. I actually saw a dealer, yank a handgun out of a customer and told him to get away from his table. ....

Be Safe !!!
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Old August 29, 2012, 03:39 PM   #5
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In any gun store I've been in, a semi-auto is racked, checked, and locked open by the sales drone before being handed to a customer. Since they've already cycled it, I assume it's okay for me to do so. I dry fire with my thumb under the hammer to cushion the drop -- I don't need to hear how the hammer falls, I'm interested in how the trigger feels.

What ISN'T polite is to trip the slide stop and let the slide slam closed with no round in the action. Yes, it's a safety check, but should be done only after asking and receiving permission.

As to where to point a gun in a store -- the floor is my usual choice.
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Old August 29, 2012, 03:50 PM   #6
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I dry fire with my thumb under the hammer to cushion the drop...
I find that a cheap plastic ballpoint pen works equally well and hurts less.
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Old August 29, 2012, 03:57 PM   #7
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All of the above....and common sense.

If they don't mind if I dry fire it ....aim it up at a spot high up on the wall - well over everyone's head.
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Old August 29, 2012, 04:51 PM   #8
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At gun stores and gun shows, I keep my hands at my side or in my pockets. I look with my eyes. In fact, I refuse to handle any gun unless I'm actually interested in possibly purchasing it. If I need to handle a gun, I ask politely to pick it up or look at it. If I want to work the action, I ask permission. If someone would prefer that I not work the action, I respectfully obey their wishes and if I decide I'm really interested, I'll even haggle price a little first before insisting to rack the slide and examine the gun more thoroughly - I've NEVER had any problem with doing this.

If I cock the gun, assuming it has a hammer, I never let the hammer just drop - I'll ease it down, or cushion it, usually with a finger. I try to hold the gun in a way not to smudge it up too much.

I don't dress like a goon when I go to gun stores or even gun shows. I try to look casual, but business-like.

If I find a gun I really like, I let the person selling the gun know that I really like it. For example, I recently purchased a Colt Mustang 1st Edition - it was truly nice, extremely low SN example. I had no problem telling the seller what I really thought of that Colt Mustang. People aren't idiots, they know what their guns are worth. If you are nice and respectful, you can generally get a fair deal.

I stopped looking for "bargains" years ago. I'm not saying there aren't any, but those that find true bargains are probably expending 100 times more time than I'm willing to spend looking for one. All I want is a fair deal. In time, if you know what you are doing, "fair deals" turn into really good buys.

Last edited by Skans; August 29, 2012 at 04:57 PM.
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Old August 29, 2012, 04:59 PM   #9
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I dry fire with my thumb under the hammer to cushion the drop

That can damage the sear, at least on a 1911.
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Old August 29, 2012, 05:38 PM   #10
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Instruct the dolt behind the counter in what ways you want him to handle the gun. Check if empty, check safety, dry fire, do poses with it. Then you can really see what YOU will look like with the gun.

LOL - you only live once.
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Old August 29, 2012, 06:39 PM   #11
lee n. field
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Quote:
was just wondering what your views are on handling handguns(or any gun) while in a gun store. When I ask to see a gun I assume I am allowed to work the actions and everything except for dry firing. Is this reasonable? I have never had any owner/staff say otherwise.
"Ok to dry fire?"

It's reasonable, but I always ask before I do anything more than open the cylinder or pull the slide back.

I had a sales guy once refuse to let me take the slide off a Gen 4 Glock. <Sheesh!>

Quote:
Also, how do you aim the gun while in the store? I know the gun is unloaded(after checking), but I still feel weird pointing the gun anywhere. I always point the gun up or down, but no matter which way I turn I am either in the direction of the staff or customers.
Carefully pointing at nothing, like maybe the floor.
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:13 PM   #12
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Really, it can be summed up with "don't be afraid to ask."
That really does cover all your bases.

Dry firing won't hurt most guns but asking is the right thing to do.

As far as aiming the gun, some stores have a target on the wall for just that. Otherwise, I aim at the floor.
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:16 PM   #13
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RamItOne
Quote:
I dry fire with my thumb under the hammer to cushion the drop
That can damage the sear, at least on a 1911.
With all due respect ... no, it can't. It's impossible.

1911s are my carry weapon of choice. As long as the trigger is pulled fully to the rear, the tip of the sear is held completely clear of the hammer hooks. If the hammer hooks are going to hit the sear tip when I cushion the hammer fall, they'll hit the sear tip if I don't cushion the hammer fall.
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Old August 29, 2012, 07:50 PM   #14
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I always ask for permission to dry fire. No harm can come of asking. I usually point the pistol down at the floor to check the trigger, but if the store is not crowded, I sometimes raise the gun to a buck head on the wall at my usual LGS.
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:12 PM   #15
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I work at a gun store and by far the thing that annoys me the most is customers who immediately put their finger on the trigger as soon as I hand them a gun. In my first week working there, I had this couple who was shopping for a gun for the wife. Every time I handed them a gun, they would each put their finger on the trigger and casually point it at me. I was trying to be polite because I was new, so I suggested they both take one of our safety classes. The husband responded and said he didn't need one because he knew guns. Since then, I've just started telling people outright to please keep their finger straight and off the trigger and to point the gun in a safe direction (we have targets all along the top of the wall behind the counter that say "please point all firearms here"). A co-worker told me that when people ask what he does for a living he tells them, "I get guns pointed at me all day."
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:24 PM   #16
RamItOne
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1911s are my carry weapon of choice

And that clearly makes you the Internet guru

From what I've been told by several different people, one being a working gunsmith, you can risk hitting the half cock catch. If you keep the trigger fully depressed you can avoid that but why would the sales guy assume the joe blow customer is going to do it properly and would you want to buy said gun after the local mall ninja played around with it. Plenty of threads about dropping a hammer. On my iPhone too much work, not enough reward.
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:41 PM   #17
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And to answer the OP's question, at our shop it's fine if you work the action and drop the mag (just not on the floor), but don't slam the action home. Also always ask if you can dry-fire out of courtesy, that will give the salesman a perfect opportunity to tell you which way to point the gun without having to correct you. And I can't stand it when people decock the weapon using one hand. If you don't know if the weapon has a decocker, just ask first. If you know it doesn't, then please decock it by pinching the hammer between the thumb and forefinger of the support hand. That's a far safer decocking technique than the one-handed thumb method.

What it all boils down to is ask first if you have any questions. I know people, especially men who have a little gun experience, often feel embarrassed asking questions like how to decock a SIG. But we get questions like that all the time. I probably explain the difference between a revolver and a semi-auto several times a day. So if someone locks the slide back on an empty mag, I'm not going to look down on him if he asks me how to get it to go forward; chances are that's the third time that day I've showed someone how to do it.

(By the way, I'm not suggesting the OP or anyone else in this thread is a beginner and would ask those questions, I'm just pointing out that we get beginner questions all day long, so don't be afraid to ask the salesman anything.)
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:51 PM   #18
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On my iPhone too much work, not enough reward.
Not an excuse. The only way I could think of would be if the overtravel stop on the trigger was too tight, and the sear caught the half-cock notch.

None of the folks who've ever preached that to me have been able to prove it, even on one memorable occasion when I did have a diagram handy.
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Old August 29, 2012, 08:58 PM   #19
Nathan
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If putting a 1911 on half cock ruins the sear, I'm tossing mine in the river.

Normal 1911's have a sear which catches the sear in the middle, but the trigger is dictated by the outer edges of the sear.

Springfield half cock notched are different. I think they catch the sear on the front edge and the top edge. The middle edge between the primary and secondary surfaces dictates trigger quality. Please correct me if I'm wrong as I don't know anymore, I put a proper hammer in mine.

Personally, I want people to dry fire my 1911's as they would shoot them. If something breaks, I'll fix it. Better to break now than when I need it. Same goes for dropping the slide on an empty chamber. I know, blasfomy, . . .omg. . .what will it do to the lugs, sear, slide stop, etc. Well, fit properly on a working gun. . .nothing. Now if I'm holding some candy a$$ super duper 1" at 50 yd bullseye supreme 1911 with a 2 lb pivoting trigger, well that is different. I suspect most of these experts in fear are talking about a std rack grade 1911.

My guess is rack grade XD's and Glocks are fine with the same harsh treatment.

Now, on a 98% or higher collectable revolver, no dry firing, cylinder opening or turning. This is because a NIB blued(or any) revolver's condition is judged based on finish wear primarily. Every cylinder turn or open/close has high potential to wear a cocking line in the cylinder which is a drop in value. Even on a normal revolver, have the respect to limit your dry firing to 1 SA and 1 DA pull. NO PARTIAL PULLS. Also, request the owner open and close the cylinder for you. There is a way to slightly minimize wear. Again, on my guns, I only request no partial pulls and let me open and close the cylinder.

On rimfires, some will batter the firing pin, so request or supply a snap cap. some guys will say don't worry about it or no dry firing.

Don't dry fire black powder guns or dry fire onto thick leather. Generally, hammers are soft compared to nipples.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:00 PM   #20
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One more thing. If you're bringing in your own gun for whatever reason, it's best to bring it in a case of some sort, even if it's just an empty Kleenex box. And of course we prefer the firearm to be unloaded with the slide locked back/cylinder open, but even if it's not please let the salesman clear the weapon for you. The best way to do it is put the case on the counter and let the salesman do the rest.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:03 PM   #21
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Well all I know is you can try to cushion the hammer fall on a GLOCK all you want, but you can't damage the sear in those! More proof of its superiority. Its not even a debate with a glock.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:07 PM   #22
RamItOne
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Tom- Not an excuse

Don't want to let you down
Quick searching while waiting at some traffic lights.
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Pull the trigger allowing the hammer to free fall forward on the empty chamber. Do not "ease" the hammer down by holding or blocking it. Doing so can mar the sear tip which will result
in a substandard trigger pull.

Ref

http://www.kimberamerica.com/uploads...Fullsize45.pdf


All in all this thread is about gun shop etiquette, so just ask the guy, if he wants it done a certain way then do it that way.


The gunsmith told me about when I was handling his target 1911 with a 2# trigger. Perhaps the ones with a 5-6 pound pull may not be affected as much.

Last edited by RamItOne; August 29, 2012 at 09:30 PM.
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Old August 29, 2012, 09:34 PM   #23
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Instruct the dolt behind the counter in what ways you want him to handle the gun.
Quote:
In any gun store I've been in, a semi-auto is racked, checked, and locked open by the sales drone before being handed to a customer.
Nice.

Respectfully... You guys must be the unluckiest folks I know... where every gun shop sales person you encounter deserves such disrespect and disdain.
I fully understand if you have one or two bad apples that you always seem to get at your LGS... but please don't lump them all together into a generic "gunshop sales person" corner.
"Theohazard" seems to be a good example of a thoughtful and considerate sales person... you wouldn't belittle him because of his profession would you?

Generic rant on...

The sales people that work in gun shops are a cross section of America. White, black, brown etc... men and women, young and old, trying to earn a living.
Most are good, some bad. Most are knowledgeable, some not. Most who have been doing it for awhile are slightly paranoid of being shot by an ignorant customer... some have been.
Many are retired military... and many wounded in service to our country. Some are actual, real live "Rocket Scientists" who lost their jobs in the recent unpleasantness... and working in a gun shop at 1/10 their previous salary is what they could get.
The best thing is, you can just about guarantee that no matter their political leanings, they are all pro gun.

It costs nothing to show a bit of kindness and respect to someone who is working in, what can be, a dangerous environment.

OK... rant off.

_________________________________________

Regarding GS etiquette...

Some guns they will ask you not to manipulate or dry fire. For example, collector grade automatics such as last years Kimber color case hardened 1911, or a Freedom Arms revolver... where a ring on the cylinder can actually effect the value. Usually these guns will be zip-tied to prevent manipulation, but not always.

C
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Old August 30, 2012, 12:01 AM   #24
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Ask first!
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Old August 30, 2012, 12:12 AM   #25
481
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Since this is a thread about gun store etiquette and the issue of dry-firing a gun (after permission has been obtained, of course) has been mentioned a few times, I notice that most say when granted permission, they select a (presumably safe) spot on the floor, or in one post, the ceiling.

This brings to mind a question. Is this (ie: using these aiming points as a backstop) really considered to be a safe/acceptable practice?

I know that it is highly unlikely that after a weapon has been cleared, that a shot could be fired, but stranger things have happened. Are either of these options really acceptable?
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