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Old September 29, 2013, 11:06 PM   #1
monkeyfist
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What "etiquette" do I need at gun store?

I'll be buying my first gun soon.
What do I need to know when buying a gun at a store? Can I rack the slide? Should I dry fire it? What exactly am I looking for? Just how it feels in my hand? Do I go through all the controls and the motions of firing the gun?
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Old September 29, 2013, 11:40 PM   #2
RodTheWrench
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Best thing to do is ask permission for each of those. But first, if the salesperson hands the gun across the counter without clearing it, go somewhere else.
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Old September 29, 2013, 11:42 PM   #3
Koda94
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Quote:
I'll be buying my first gun soon.
What do I need to know when buying a gun at a store?
dont sweep anyone with the muzzle


Quote:
Can I rack the slide?
yes

Quote:
Should I dry fire it?
ask permission first

Quote:
What exactly am I looking for?
depends on why you are buying a gun?

Quote:
Just how it feels in my hand?
yes, this is a good start....

Quote:
Do I go through all the controls and the motions of firing the gun?
yes, go through all the controls. See your first 3 questions as far as going through the motions of firing the gun, talk with the sales person about this...
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Old September 29, 2013, 11:46 PM   #4
Koda94
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But first, if the salesperson hands the gun across the counter without clearing it, go somewhere else.
^^this

I'll add to this its good etiquette to always check the chamber everytime the gun changes hands, even at a gun store. I dont trust anyone that tells me "its empty I just checked..."
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:01 AM   #5
RodTheWrench
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I would submit that if you're not sure what you want (is that what you meant?) the best thing to do is rent several guns at your local range and have an experienced shooter walk you through each of them. Keep an open mind, figure out what you want, do your research, then go buy it.

My $0.02
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:05 AM   #6
Lost Sheep
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Thanks for asking our advice.

Just off the top of my head,

A) follow assiduously the rules of firearms handling

There are several different versions, but they assert the same principles
here is one site http://thefiringline.com/Misc/safetyrules.html

Here is my personal version:
RULE I: Treat all firearms as if they are loaded and capable of sending a bullet out the muzzle. Unless they are disassembled or with the action open and personally checked by you with no interruption in possession or attention.

RULE II: Never let the gun point at anything you are not willing to put a bullet through, destroy or kill. I recognize that all guns are pointed somewhere ALL THE TIME. Be aware of where (and what) that is, ALL THE TIME. If you ask yourself what the muzzle pointed at during your handling and you cannot answer, you are not paying attention well enough. -OK, that may be extreme, but you get the idea, I hope.

RULE III: Keep your finger off the trigger until the gun is pointed/aimed at an object you intend to put a bullet into.

RULE IV: Be sure of your intended target and what is beyond it before pinting the gun (or pulling the trigger, especially).

My version is a bit more complex than most, but that is just my style.

B) Before doing anything, announce your intention and ask permission to do what you intend to do. The respect shown to the store will earn you the respect of the store.

C) If you are not INTIMATELY and CERTAINLY familiar with the operation of a firearm, ask for a store employee to show you the operation of dis-assembly. It would be polite if you asked even if you know the operation and/or dis-assembly. After all, the clerk does not know what you know and will respect you more if you ask.

D) When handling any firearm and pointing it to check the pointability, sight picture, etc., be particularly observant of where you are pointing it. I usually pick a corner of the room significantly ABOVE the heads of any visible people.

(edit #2) Or, better yet, as Theohazard does, ask the store to recommend an aiming point.

E) Mechanical risks to the firearm (perceived or real, no matter) Do not open or close any revolver action unless you do it gently (such can bend the crane). Do not let any semi-auto close on an empty chamber under full return (recoil) spring power (a round in the chamber cushions the impact). Do not dry fire any firearm unless the store says it is OK (dry firing some actions can damage the mechanism (or may be perceived to put the mechanism at risk) or may appear to violate firearms handling rule #1. If you have personally verified that the firearm is empty and the store is OK with it, go ahead and dry fire. If not, don't.

Even if the store says dry firing is OK, I usually put my thumb or a piece of wood (pencil, popscicle stick or something similar in front of the hammer to absorb the impact. This allows me to feel the trigger/sear release without steel-on-steel impact where (when firing actual ammunition) it is usually steel on brass or mild steel (less shock)

Personal observation:

Almost EVERYONE knows not to do the "wrist flip" closure of a swing-open revolver. Fewer consider that the same crane-bending forces apply when opening a revolver.

I was in a gun store and brought my revolver in because I was interested in getting some new grips for it. I offered it (in a hardshell case and with no grips installed) to the clerk to verify it was unloaded. He picked it up, pressed hard on the side of the cylinder with two fingers and released the cylinder release, flipping the cylinder open with a GREAT deal of force.

I was aghast.

I will NEVER let that clerk handle another of my firearms again, under any circumstances. And I am a forgiving person.

Do not give any gun store reason to distrust your gun handling skills or knowledge as that clerk gave to me. (Note: This particular gun store is one of the most respected in my town, and I regard the staff as highly knowledgeable in gun handling and loading. The departure from proper gun etiquette surprised the heck out of me.)



That you ask how to properly conduct yourself speak volumes about your maturity, earnestness and respect for firearms and your fellow man. Kudos to you, sir. You have my respect and best wishes.

Lost Sheep

edit: I started composing this post before any of the other posts arrived. Sorry if I repeated any of the prior advice.

Last edited by Lost Sheep; September 30, 2013 at 12:29 AM.
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:06 AM   #7
Theohazard
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OP, just ask the person behind the counter. They'll appreciate you asking, trust me on that.

I work at a gun shop. Sadly, I'm used to people casually putting their finger on the trigger and pointing the gun at me as soon as I clear it and hand it to them. I'm also used to customers pulling out their own guns, claiming they're unloaded, and when I insist on checking it myself I find a round in the chamber. Heck, most gun store employees have even had more than one instance of a customer who pulls out their own loaded gun and absentmindedly points it at us. It's happened to me several times only in the last year. I even had a coworker who had a customer pull out a Glock and try to show him a problem with the rail-mounted flashlight by casually pointing the gun right at my co-worker's face with a finger on the trigger. When my co-worker finally got the gun away from the customer, he found it was fully loaded with a round in the chamber.

OP, what I'm trying to say is that you're way ahead of the curve simply because you're already thinking about proper gun store etiquette. But now that you ask, here are some basic rules we'd love to have more customers follow after we hand them a gun:

1) Don't point the gun at anyone.

2) Keep your finger off the trigger unless you're aimed in.

3) Don't aim the gun at anything until you ask which direction they want customers to point the gun (at our shop we want all customers pointing at the small targets at the top of the wall behind the counter).

4) Ask before dry-firing the gun.

5) Ask before disassembling the gun.

6) Don't slam the slide home on a semi-auto; ride it home gently.

7) Don't flick your wrist to close the cylinder on a revolver; close it gently with your other hand.

8) Don't talk about breaking laws.

That's all I can think of at the moment. But like I said, you're WAY ahead simply because you're actually thinking about proper etiquette. Just relax and ask the salesperson any questions you might have about proper etiquette; he or she will be pleasantly surprised you actually asked.
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:07 AM   #8
JohnKSa
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Follow the safety rules.

Keep in mind that it's their gun which means that you need to ask them before you do anything with it. That applies to operating the action, dryfiring it, and obviously to disassembling it.
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Old September 30, 2013, 03:01 AM   #9
ClydeFrog
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Range guns...

If you are new to firearms, Id rent or borrow a few range guns & shoot a few times first. The firearms will quickly lose the "scary" factor or be "intimidating". New or entry level gun owners often feel like the firearm is a living, breathing being that will somehow; "go off" or be "unsafe".
You must learn to safely operate & fire the weapon before you go out as a CCW license holder or use it for hunting/defense/match-target.
As noted, keep the firearm muzzle(the end part) away from anyone or anything(other than downrange at the target).
Get into the safety habit of opening/checking the action every time you handle a firearm or if you pass it to the sales clerk or your friend/family member.
If the firearm has a magazine, remove it. Look down the magazine well & the firearm's chamber(barrel) to insure no rounds are "hiding" .
It's quick & easy to be distracted or stressed but still do it.
If a weapon has a manual safety put that on too but don't rely on safety levers or controls. Firearms, just like any mechanical device can have parts that break or fail. Learn what to do & how to check a weapon before you use it.
Id add that you should also get in the habit of doing "function checks" or safety inspections before you carry any firearm or use it for hunting/target shooting/defense/etc.
There might be a obstruction in the firearm's barrel or a problem with the ammunition. Or a small part may break or not work. It's your job to check the weapon you are going to use or carry. Not the range master, cadre/instructor/gun shop employee.
Read & understand the firearm's owner's manual/directions. Macho Mike may look cool on YouTube pulling out guns & nailing targets 100 yards away but you need learn the basics and be a safe, responsible shooter.
Remember: the safe way, is the right way.

Clyde
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Old September 30, 2013, 04:09 AM   #10
Nathan
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Koda pretty much nailed it.

As for fit to your, first hold with one hand and squire your grip quick with the other. How easy and consistent is that? How did the trigger finger line up?

With the gun in firing grip, is it easy to shift around with the other hand?

Raise the gun to a safe target spot on the wall. Are the sights aligned quick or do they "bounce" more than a comparable gun?

Last, with permission, pull the trigger while watching the sights. How do the move from gun to gun? Can you keep them aligned through the pull?

Last, renting for range time is best.
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Old September 30, 2013, 04:20 AM   #11
Revoltella
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Quote:
But first, if the salesperson hands the gun across the counter without clearing it, go somewhere else.
Pffft. If the guy behind the counter doesn't clear it before handing it to you, clear it yourself as soon as it's in your hands. In fact, unless it's handed to you open, even if he did just clear it, do it again yourself.
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Old September 30, 2013, 06:50 AM   #12
bedbugbilly
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I once had a clerk hand me a semi across the counter - muzzle first without ever checking that it was clear. That was when I lost all of my manners and made it very clear that he had no way of knowing whether it was a loaded weapon, etc., etc. As it turned out, his boss was watching the entire episode - he came over and chewed him out after I finished and took over for he clerk. He actually thanked me for helping to "train" his clerk.

Just be courteous and you'll be fine. If I'm going to purchase a handgun - semi or revolver - most experienced clerks expect you to cycle the slide, test the timeing on a revolver, etc. I just ask first - after all - it's not my handgun at that point. If you are a first time buyer . . . even though you've don your research . . . tell 'em. Usually a knowledgeable clerk will go out of their way to not only demonstrate but allow you to do the same in regards to cycling, checking timing, etc.

Good luck in your search - you'll do just fine.
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Old September 30, 2013, 07:50 AM   #13
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I think it is a great question. The first time in a new environment is almost always intimidating, even if you are familiar with what's going on. To the uninitiated a gun store is a lot like a gym-everyone there appears to know exactly what they are doing (not usually the case). Doing your research ahead of time is will make the process safer and more fun.

As usual, the information given here will help to make your experience a good one. Whether you are a seasoned veteran or a complete novice this site is a great place to learn and talk about guns. Good luck and enjoy!
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Old September 30, 2013, 08:40 AM   #14
surferdaddy
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My father would always remove his rings before handling a handgun. I've always followed suit and once got a thank you and a small discount applied to my purchase.
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Old September 30, 2013, 08:55 AM   #15
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Here's what you're looking for: http://www.corneredcat.com/article/c...-on-a-handgun/

pax
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Old September 30, 2013, 11:47 AM   #16
James K
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A few points from my own experience.

If your hands are hot and sweaty, dry them before handling any gun - even the "plastic" ones have steel parts that rust. Some folks have "poison" hands that are especially damaging to steel; if you are one of those, be extra careful. When you are done looking, don't wipe down the gun with your handkerchief or on your clothing; return the gun to the clerk who will (should) have a special cloth for the purpose.

If you have gotten an OK to try the trigger pull, try to check it while stopping the hammer from dropping. If you want to dry fire, ask about that specifically.

Do not field strip the gun unless there is a good reason and you have obtained permission to do so. And unless you know how. If you break anything, be ready and willing to pay for the damage.

When done looking, check the gun again, and hand it to the clerk. Don't leave it on the counter where someone else could grab it and run. The clerk entrusted YOU with the store's property, don't betray that trust.

Again, DO NOT point the gun at anyone, especially me; I hate the screaming when I break someone's arm.

Jim
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Old September 30, 2013, 12:39 PM   #17
steelbird
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When I'm "just looking" I always let the clerk know this, as a courtesy. I don't want to waste the clerk's time. I agree with, and follow the same etiquite as the other posters have mentioned, especially the safety protocols and permission to try the functions of the gun.
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Old September 30, 2013, 02:22 PM   #18
RodTheWrench
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Quote: "Again, DO NOT point the gun at anyone, especially me; I hate the screaming when I break someone's arm."

Me too!
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Old September 30, 2013, 03:41 PM   #19
C5rider
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Quote:
you're way ahead of the curve simply because you're already thinking about proper gun store etiquette
I think it bears repeating. GOOD on you for thinking to ask!

Take your time, ask questions and LISTEN. You'll soon be able to determine those who speak from experience and those who speak to be heard. Have a great shopping experience.
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Old September 30, 2013, 04:35 PM   #20
Kev
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And don't place your hands all over the glass display case..
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Old September 30, 2013, 06:13 PM   #21
FireForged
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I look at it like this... The firearm belongs to them until I buy it. I ask for permission to do just about anything other than simply holding it. Personally I don't care if the clerk clears the weapon, I will check it myself no matter if he clears it or not. I am certainly not going to walk out of a store simply because the clerk doesn't clear the weapon in front of me, that's just a little dramatic.
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Old September 30, 2013, 10:30 PM   #22
BuckRub
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If you're thinking seriously about buying it then yes check to make sure empty first and rack it and dry fire it. Make sure you know what the trigger feels like because after you hand over the money don't think you don't like the trigger and they'll hand your money back. If it doesn't feel right for any reason or they say something go do business elsewhere.
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Old October 1, 2013, 12:49 AM   #23
ClydeFrog
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Semi-auto pistols....

Id add that the mark of a well made or well engineered semi-auto carry pistol(defense) is if you hit the mag release & the magazine pops out swiftly.
A good duty pistol should have mags that drop free with or without ammunition.
In a lethal force event, you want to watch the bad guys or adversaries as much as possible. You shouldn't need to tug or pull out a empty(spent) magazine.
If the pistol has a ambi-mag release, check that the controls work on both sides.
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Old October 1, 2013, 03:37 PM   #24
lee n. field
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Quote:
I'll be buying my first gun soon.
What do I need to know when buying a gun at a store?
Don't point it at anyone.

Quote:
Can I rack the slide?
ask first

Quote:
Should I dry fire it?
yes, but ask first.

Quote:
What exactly am I looking for? Just how it feels in my hand?
That's one thing.

Quote:
Do I go through all the controls and the motions of firing the gun?
Is there a basic class you can take somewhere?
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Last edited by lee n. field; October 4, 2013 at 08:45 AM.
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Old October 4, 2013, 12:04 AM   #25
skeeter
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Some etiquette that should be demonstrated in any dealings in this world will do. You would never point a gun at anyone and that means the guy behind the counter, ask questions respectfully, and drop any attitude. Ask before you handle a firearm and use common sense.
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