View Full Version : Gander Mountain - Where do they find these guys?!

Bo Hunter
September 8, 2005, 07:35 AM
So, I went to Gander Mountain on my quest to find my first handgun. I started at the used end of the gun counter, and did a quick scan all the way around to the other side, where there happened to be a sales clerk.

The goal of this trip was to handle a few guns, and feel the differences between the grips and how they pointed. I was really surprised at the selection of handguns they had available. I got to see many that I'd been wondering about.

In front of the clerk, where I happened to end up, were the Kel-Tec's and Bersa's. So I asked to see the Kel-Tec P11. He starts out with the usual $5/hr 'Lets figure this guy out' salesmans questions.

"So, you are looking for a cheap gun?"

"No, I'm looking for a reliable carry gun."

"Well, the most important thing is that you take it with you. The best carry gun we have in here is this little Kel-Tec P32. This thing will take down anything you run across in the woods. I've got one! It will take down Coyotes, Racoons"

"Well, I'm focused more on People. You've got one? How accurate is it at say 7 yards?" I hold up my hands and form about a 8-10" circle. "Will it shoot at least about like this?" I personally don't expect much from these tiny short barreled autos in the way of accuracy. They serve a purpose - so be it.

"7 YARDS?! I shoot mine at 30! Heck, you can shoot that thing 50 yards!"

Trying to contain both my laughter, and the smart @$$ comments that are racing to my tongue, I simply say "Really? Thats pretty good!" Perhaps I'm confused? I have a Browning Buckmark in .22 that can shoot 50 yards, but thats scoped with a 5.5" bull barrel. I've shot a couple other handguns at longer distances, and that seems pretty far fetched for a gun like that...

He went on to tell me that I didn't need to carry those "big guns" like 9mm - that .32 Auto would do everything I needed it to.

I ended up looking at everything from Sigs and Glocks, to Para Ordnance .45's. I think he felt a little stupid, for assuming I was looking for something small & cheap. Of course, I do dress down and put on my "dumb face" whenever I go talk to a salesman - it allows me to see if they really know what they are talking about. Everytime I looked at a more expensive gun in larger calibers he came back with the famous "Well, that one there would treat you really good!"

While it was very helpful to see all of the guns available, I really wonder where they get these people. Seriously... These guys never know who is on the other side of the counter. I dunno, I guess it just rubbed me the wrong way. I can't stand sales people that peddle BS. More than likely, I will purchase my gun elsewhere due to this interaction.... It did give me my chuckle for the day...

September 8, 2005, 07:53 AM
I feel your pain. You should see my restraint when I hear the stupidity at IncompetentUSA (you figure out the real name ;) ) and hear the crap that sales people give to customers.

Best idea, find someone you trust who is knowledgeable and ask for some thoughts. Then, do your own research. This is not an answer to picking the right gun, but just about anything.

Bo Hunter
September 8, 2005, 07:57 AM
Its unfortunate, because its one of the few places around here that I can actually go SEE a gun. It seems the places that have good employees, can't afford the overhead of inventory... I'd love to patronize the place that actually has the guns in stock, but I'd also like to patronize the places that have sales staff that know how to talk to people, and know the business... Its a catch 22...

September 8, 2005, 07:59 AM
We have a Ganders....

I look there and then go to a local gun shop which is pretty competitive with Gander.

September 8, 2005, 08:02 AM
This thread should be titled "Funny Gun Shop Stories" because that's what it's going to turn into. To demonstrate my point, I will share the following.

I have always, and will always prefer revolvers. It's a matter of personal taste, and it's not going to change. I was in my gun shop looking for a small carry gun, I was thinking an Airweight S&W or a Ruger SP101. I go in, and tell the guy "I'm looking for a .38 Special revolver, 2-3 inches of barrel, with a bobbed hammer." I wanted a companion for my Ruger GP100, but had never held the little Smiths or the SP101.

So, I'm in the store, I tell that to the counter guy. He says "You don't want a revolver, they don't carry enough ammo. How about a sub-compact .45 ACP Glock?"

Ahab sez "No thanks, I'm looking for a .38 Special wheelgun, or maybe even a .32 HR Magnum. I've already got a Ruger GP100, and I want a companion for it."

Sales guy says to me "Oh, okay, you're looking for a smaller caliber than the .45, how about a 9mm Glock?"

Me sez "Ummm...no, I'm really interested in that Ruger you've got in the case."

"You don't want that, it's only got 5 shots of .38 Special. Why have that when you could have 10+1 shots of 9mm?"

Me sez "Because I like revolvers?"

Sales guy sez "Do you like shooting museum pieces?"


I honestly haven't gone back to that shop, although I did buy the SP101 that day just to spite the guy.

September 8, 2005, 08:29 AM
Where do they find these guys?

Internet forums.

Boss Spearman
September 8, 2005, 09:28 AM
Wow, the guys at my local Gander Mountain are much better than that.

I have very good firearms discussions with them, and it usually concerns larger calibers.

September 8, 2005, 09:46 AM
""7 YARDS?! I shoot mine at 30! Heck, you can shoot that thing 50 yards!""

Last Friday I was hitting the medium-sized clays (3"?) on the berm 1 shot out of 3 at 35 yards with my P-32. I can't do it every time out, but that's my fault and not the gun's. It's taken me a good three years to get to this point. I don't recall ever hitting one of the itty-bitty clays, but I've come close a couple of times. The one's I miss I take out with the 28 ga. so they don't go to waste.

I also shoot match wadcutters through a S&W 442 at 50 yards, but I usually sit down and rest my forearms on my range bag when I do it. I might actually get good at this if the ammo wasn't $19 for a box of 50.

I've gotten so the only questions I ask in gun stores are "Do you have one in stock and how much?"


Te Anau
September 8, 2005, 10:04 AM
The P32 is an excellent gun,but the clerk should have been helpful in a different way.

September 8, 2005, 10:20 AM
I was in gander mountain one time, and just for the heck of it I walked by the handguns. I was only 18 so I didn't really think about handling them (since you have to be 21 to buy here in MN), just browsing. The clerk comes over and asks if I wanted to look at anything. So I looked around and said sure. I was looking at a couple revolvers and he did the same thing, brings over some 45 semi autos...the worst part was he asked me if I had cash on me and said, for 75 bucks on top of the price of the gun he'd sell it to me and take care of all of the legal stuff. pretty low if you ask me. they do have a big selection but the people who work behind the counter aren't the ones who should be there.

Bo Hunter
September 8, 2005, 10:23 AM
Last Friday I was hitting the medium-sized clays (3"?) on the berm 1 shot out of 3 at 35 yards with my P-32.

I guess I stand corrected.... I didn't think that little gun had even close to the potential to even waste ammo at 30 yards. Of the other 3 shots that missed the targets, how far off were they?

I still think the guy is full of crap. How's it shoot off hand at 30?

September 8, 2005, 10:38 AM
He went on to tell me that I didn't need to carry those "big guns" like 9mm - that .32 Auto would do everything I needed it to.

Hes right


September 8, 2005, 10:41 AM
The Gander Mountain here in Indianapolis has very knowledgable people working in their gun department. Their gunsmith is one of the most courteous and helpful people I have ever met.

I have several handguns, one of which is a Kel-Tek P3AT. It is a very capable pocket pistol at the normal 5-25 foot range that you would shoot this type of weapon. At 25' a 6" group is readily achievable. It is not "A Shooter" but is a defensive weapon that you can always have with you even in summer attire. After looking at a lot of small guns I found nothing better than the Kel-Tek as it is small, light and reliable. There are several higher quality guns out there but they are either too large or too heavy to carry every day when wearing a knit shirt, shorts, no socks and boat shoes which is normal attire for most of my retired friends. In the winter I can carry my 9MM Smith but not in the summer.

When I want to shoot for score I use a more appropriate pistol Like one of the Smith centerfires or a Ruger, Smith or Hammerli .22.


September 8, 2005, 11:38 AM
I think you guys are being a little hard on the clerk(s). Big deal, so he has a different outlook on a particular pistol or mode of carry. Maybe my approach is different than most but when I go to any gunshop, I have done the research or have enough experience to pretty much know what I want/need. I need the clerk more for letting me handle the guns or to discuss prices. I usually don't count on a clerk for advice or for having a high degree of expertise.

Maybe I should have higher expectations for the clerk behind the counter. I have encountered a few who seem to be very knowledgable but, like most clerks behind the counter selling any other kind of product (I mean, when's the last time you dealt with a car salesman who knew as much as you did about the vehicle you were interested in?), they seem to be in the minority.

If the guy is friendly and tries to be helpful, I'm o.k. with it. If he's opinionated (even if I disagree with him or believe he's totally wrong about whatever we're talking about), as long as he's not overbearing, I'm o.k. with that too. After all, as stated earlier, I already have a good idea as to what I want/need in the first place. And, every so often, even I learn something from the guy behind the counter :) ...

September 8, 2005, 02:40 PM
My main problem is there ammo is completely over-priced and they don't have their pistol ammo in a place where I can see what they have. I have to ask the clerk about all the different types of ammo they have. Its a waste of both mine and his/her time to ask about all the types of ammo they have. It would be like going to Wendy's or McDonald's with no menu at their drive-thru and have to spend 10min. just figuring out what they have and then making a decision.

September 8, 2005, 03:49 PM
My Gander is great. Though, I do not go there for answers. I don't expect they'll be able to answer more than a clerk at Walmart. But I treat any gun shop this way. I do research on my own, then I go there only to handle/browse, or to purchase - that's it.

Drunk Fat Man
September 8, 2005, 08:48 PM
Thats the same way I operate Trip20. I do the research first than usually rent those I'm thinking about buying at the local indoor range. Only after I know what I want do go to stores like Gander Mt.

Big Yac
September 9, 2005, 12:21 AM
our locla Gander Mtn is actually pretty good. I havent bought a gun there yet but I have been looking at a S&W 500 (they also have some of the better prices around here) and I always end up talking to the same guy, who is also a lover of big bore revolvers. Its a nice change to the guys that try to talk me out of such a big revolver.

September 9, 2005, 09:22 AM
"Of the other 3 shots that missed the targets, how far off were they?"

The 3/4ths that missed would have been on, oh, a paper plate - the big size, not the little size. It's not a target pistol... :D

I will admit to using my special P-32 accuracy grip. I move my left hand around a little so I can grip the sides of the trigger guard with the tips of my thumb and index finger (IOW I pinch the front of it and pull down - thumb on the left, index on the right) and still manage to wrap 3 fingers around my right hand.


September 9, 2005, 03:40 PM
Hello bo hunter I am from upstate new york and do not live too far away from that gander mountain.I know exactly what you mean those guys are a bunch of dingbats.There are a couple of knowledgable people behind the counter but you have to catch them on the right day.If your looking for a local dealer with a large inventory try franks guns on route 49 in marcy NY.He has a very small sign on his garage but I'm sure he could help you find the place,his # is in the book.Their also is a couple more in the are but not quite the inventory as franks or gander mt.

September 9, 2005, 05:11 PM
He starts out with the usual $5/hr 'Lets figure this guy out' salesmans questions. And for $5 an hour you are expecting what, Jack O'connor? :D

September 9, 2005, 05:18 PM
I have fired a Kel-Tec P3AT. If it didn't have a Hogue sleeve on it it would have flown out of my hands. The accuracy was horrible, the slide spring was very tight, and a pin kept falling out. I can't remeber what pin it was. However, if it could be maid into a reliable gun it would be nice to carry because it is so concealable.

September 9, 2005, 07:07 PM
I guess it goes the same with anything. I mean, I experience the same with buying a computer, tv, car, or a bike.

Something you will find that you know more than the sale's person and there are times when they know more about a product.

Most of the time you already know what you wanted. In this case just walk over to the counter, point at the one you want and say "do you have this one in stock". If YES, say.."how much, and I'll take one". DONE DEAL! Next stop, THE GUN RANGE.

My 2cent :D

September 9, 2005, 10:22 PM
We don't have a local Gander Mtn., but I have found that the younger guys working @ my local retail sporting goods store aren't too bad for the most part.

Gun show people, however, are a different story all together, they drive me nuts, at least some of them, who seem to assume that I don't know my head from my, well, you know...

September 10, 2005, 07:01 AM
The local Gander Mountain has a large selection of new/used guns, all their ammo is where you can see it, and a gunsmith on site 3 or 4 days a week.
However, after pricing a few handguns that I was interested in, I found that the local gun shop actually had beter prices. That was a surprise to me, because I assumed that the big chain store would have the better price.
I try to support the local shop whenever I can. He is a lot closer than GM and with fuell @ $3.39 a gallon, and good prices why not.
The sucess of his shop is an advantage to me, and one can never have enough gun shops !!

September 10, 2005, 07:17 AM
My local Gander Mountain isn't too bad. Although, I will say that I lost some respect for one of the well-known shops in my area a few years back due to the following conversation:

Me: "I'm looking for a specific handgun. It's called an HS2000, made by a company named IM Metal."
Owner: "Hmmm... I don't think we have anything like that. What kind of a gun is it?"
Me: "It's a newer polymer framed handgun manufactured in Europe. It runs for about $299 at the other shops I've seen."
Owner: "Well, I know we don't have any in stock. We usually don't carry cheap guns like that."
Me: "The gun's gotten pretty good reviews from what I've read, and it seems to be a decent pistol when looking at it."
Owner: "One thing I can tell you is that you get what you pay for. With a $299 gun, you're not going to get much."
Me: "Okay.... thanks."

Of course, the HS2000 is nothing other than the Springfield Armory XD, after Springfield Armory acquired the rights to production. I WISH I would have bought one of these as the HS2000 at $299!

September 10, 2005, 12:37 PM
The salesman not only displayed his less than impressive firearms knowledge, but also bad business sense. An approach such as that is likely to simply tick the customer off and make him leave. It's better to sell something cheap than to sell nothing at all. As far as a Kel-Tec shooting at 30 or 50 yards, whether the gun is capable of it or not is neither here nor there because its sights won't let most of us hit anything at that distance anyway. Notice the guy said he shoots it at 30 yards but didn't say if he hits his target.

September 10, 2005, 02:19 PM
I would be willing to bet this was the Gander Mountain in Cicero,New York. If I am right, I had the same problem there myself . Let me guess ,the guy with all the earings in his ears?

September 10, 2005, 03:29 PM
What makes it bad is when a clerk is talking like he knows a particular gun when he really doesnt know ,I can still respect a guy if he's selling guns and you ask him a question and if he doesn't have the answer he simply say's i dont know. To many people try to come across as very gun educated but when they open their mouth they show their true colors.

September 10, 2005, 09:10 PM
I recently spent about an hour in the new Gander Mountain in Beaumont, TX. before wandering back to the gun section. Selection was pretty good and the young clerk ($5.00 an hour) was decent. There were two Kimber Ultra Compacts in the case and I was listening to him trying to sell one of them to a customer. There was a slight difference in color of the frames and the buyer noticed it immediately. When he asked the sales clerk about the difference in color, the clerk said that he did not know why it was different and they both scrutinized the gun a little closer. I asked to look at a loaded stainless Springfield that was in the case and the guy asked me if I knew anything about the 1911 style guns....I said that I knew just enough to keep me out of trouble. I told him that I overheard the conversation about the Kimber and suggested that he pull out the paperwork that came with the guns and that there might be some information about the differences. He did and low and behold one of them had an aluminum frame, per the paperwork. After holding them both it was evident in the difference in weight. They both thanked me and I walked away.
Not a bad experience overall. They had a gunsmith there that I chatted with on my way by that seemed to know his stuff. All in all it was not a bad experience.

Peter M. Eick
September 11, 2005, 11:15 AM
I had a simlar experience at a major store like you describe. The clerk was trying to steer me to plastic gun but I was only interested in the used revolvers. After putting up with his stupidity for a while I asked the following:

Me to Him "How old are you?"
Reply "19 sir" (he was polite at least)
Me "how long do you think I have been shooting?"
Reply "not sure sir"
Me "would you believe I have been shooting over 25 years, which is longer then you have been alive?"
Reply "umm yes I guess".
Me "lets consider this a second. When I got into shooting handguns, revolvers were king, there was now common plastic guns, semi autos were rare and the 10mm, 357 sig, 40 etc did not even exist yet."
Reply "umm, I guess"
Me "So lets continue this discussion, how many rounds do you shoot a year of centerfire?"
Reply "a few box's"
Me "is a box 50 rounds or 1000 rnd carton's"
Reply "50 rnds"
Me "hmm, last year I shot over 20,000 rnds of pistol"
Reply "uh"
Me "Lets sum up this conversation ok"
Reply "Ok"
Me, "You the sales person are trying to convince me the purchaser to buy a plastic gun right"
Reply "right"
Me "The purchaser has been shooting longer then you have been alive and has shot more in one year then you have in your life probably right"
Reply "right"
Me "So, might a smart salesperson, listen to the customer who asks to see a revolver and just do as they were asked"
Reply "yes"
Me "Sales is about reading your customers, understanding them and then providing what they want. You will get far more sales by listening more and talking less. Offer opinions when asked, not volunteered and try to read your customers better ok"
Reply "Ok"

September 11, 2005, 11:26 AM
thanks for the laugh!

September 11, 2005, 06:33 PM
I like to go into gander locally just to see how overpriced the guns are. gives me something amusing to occupy my time. Then i like to tell all the guys looking for their first handgun that gander mountain is wayyy overpriced on everything.

September 12, 2005, 10:09 PM
I'll agree that the sales people in the gun counter are young. I did have a pleasant experience though when I purchased my XD9 and yes they were higher than Academy,but they met and beat the price so I really can't complain.

In fact I called Academy to check price before going into Gander in Houston TX and they told me 462.00. Ganders was $7.00 more at 469. I told the gentlemen that it was 7 dollars cheaper across the street and he said,"Let me call them to check. When he returned he said a little bit of go you said they told you $462 but the told me $458.

I looked at him and said great because I knew they would match it and give me up to $50 dollars of the difference. So they took off $22 off the 458.00 price and I walked out of their happy for $447. Not a bad phone call to research a bit.

September 14, 2005, 05:42 PM
I have been into guns for the past 20 years, and i am no expert but i used to work in a gun store and if you think the guys behind the counter are bad just think about all the idiot customers you run into. Most customers are so ignorant about guns except i want a glock, or do you have the gun that was in this, or that movie?

September 14, 2005, 06:58 PM
Where is the Gander Mountain in Indianapolis? Is it worth going to? I'm only over a year into the gun scene and I've never heard of it. I go to www.bradisguns.com (the actual store is in the Greater Indy area in a small town called Camby) and they've been good to me every purchase.

Guns Is Are Da Good
September 14, 2005, 07:44 PM
I live in Indianapolis, the only gander mountain is around 86th street I believe. However, they have been building one on county line road and interstate 65 in Greenwood for some time now, and it is about to open. I have visited nearly every gun shop in the state. Bradis has some good employees, however, the problem with them is their merchindise is 99% used. And 90% of the time, they dont inform you of that. So while you think your getting this great deal, your buying a used gun without knowing it. For the most part, the Pop Guns on post road and washington has been the best for me. They also have an indoor shooting range. Never go to Don's guns. The most expensive, for the worst quality weapons. Its horrible there. And as for the sales people, what I love is when your trying to pick a gun and they'll spit somthing out like... "Sure, that gun has superb accuracy, and light kick, but when you need to fire at someone driving an M-1 Abrams tank, you got nothing. HOwever, such and such rounds, can fire through 4 walls, three people, and two tanks. However, when in non tank combat, it does little to penetrate cotton." Oh, you just got to love some of the scenerios theyse whacko's come up with in their little minds.

September 14, 2005, 08:31 PM
At Bradis there is an easy way to tell (but easy to over look) way of telling if their guns are used or not. Yellow tags with red borders = new. White tags = used. I've purchased all but two guns (counting the Springer 1911) used there at fantastic prices. Also, they will BEAT any price quoted to them. Every time I've asked, they've not even called the other places to verify. This calls the question of good old fashioned ethics and I have become a loyal customer because of it. They do have a lot of used, but I just see it as a way to buy what I want at an even cheaper price. Also, never pay the sticker price there (especially on slow days) because they'll knock 40 bucks off without even blinking. Peace!

September 18, 2005, 10:50 AM
I live in Minnesota and for the most part, the counter people at Gander have been pretty good. I just started shooting last year and early on I asked a lot of questions and did a lot of listening.

(As an aside, even if you are a neophyte at something, if you listen with a discerning ear and some common sense, you can still weed out someone who is knowledgeable from someone who is full of s**t. But as we know, there's nobody here at TFL like that! ;) )

I ran across some GM folks who were serious shooters and passionate about guns. I ended up getting a good deal of excellent advice that served me well to this day.

September 18, 2005, 11:04 AM
Where is the Gander Mountain in Indianapolis? Is it worth going to? I'm only over a year into the gun scene and I've never heard of it. I go to www.bradisguns.com (the actual store is in the Greater Indy area in a small town called Camby) and they've been good to me every purchase.

They're building a new one in Greenwood just off the County Line Road exit (I-65) Also, Bradis is a cool place. I bought my K31 there for $90. They always seem to have something interesting. I don't get in as often as I'd like because I live in Columbus (IN).

September 18, 2005, 05:16 PM
Hey, cool. I am from Columbus and it is still my permenant address!

September 18, 2005, 08:58 PM
Maybe the ones in Minnesota are just better than the rest. I've been in 4 different MN shops and they were all quite good. Now you don't have the same level of experience in the "Hunting" department of the Gander Mountain that you would at a gun specialty shop, especially when it comes to handguns. People have always been helpful and generally knowledgable.

As far as price, they aren't that bad either. Just last week I decided I wanted a Buckmark. I checked on-line sources and several local shops. If you consider the shipping and FFL transfer fee the local Gander Mountain was $30 less than the best on-line deal I found and $20 cheaper than Cabelas (which is an hour drive away). If I need any gunsmithing work done I drive down to Ahlman's.

September 18, 2005, 09:05 PM
xrageofangelsx, have you ever been looked around in Columbus Pawn? They have a very good selection and the best prices in the area. I am a regular there and have been asked to identify guns for the staff before :o . Heck, we may have met each other before and not known it.

September 18, 2005, 09:10 PM
I wont deal with Columbus Pawn. I look young for my age (24) and no one will take me seriously in that shop, except for a mid 40-s very skinny gentlemen who showed me several guns. (I walked out of the Gold Nugget in Hope waving a roll of fresh 100 dollar bills telling them I would take my business elsewear for waiting for 25 MINUTES for someone to show me a gun in the left side of the store with no one else at the gun counter). That shop just seems sketchy to me and I don't think I would feel comfortable buying something from there and it had a problem, I am not sure they would service it. I think they use the "new" pistols a bit before selling them. I do not mean to sound so critical of the store, but I've had negative experiences with the store for the most part. Now is the part where someone criticizes me for being a "hot-headed impatient young fellow who doesn't deserve serve!" :p

September 18, 2005, 09:15 PM
The gentleman you spoke of is the most pleasant to deal with in the store. They take me pretty seriously because I've bought several things from them. I don't really worry about them servicing stuff because I'm careful about what I buy (mostly milsurp stuff) but I do understand your position and would probably feel the same way if treated in a similar fashion. Also, Poenix Guns will occasionally have an interesting item although the lady who usually runs it seems kind of nervous and treated me sucspiciously the first few times I stopped there. Also, there is a small shop (in a gentleman's converted garage I think) on U.S. 31 just north of Seymour. He always seems to have something interesting at a decent price and is very friendly.

September 18, 2005, 10:07 PM
The Seymour shop... is it Bite the Bullet? Trueblood owns it and is an honest man.

September 19, 2005, 10:24 AM
Yes, that's the one. Unfortunately Bob was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Happily, I think its gone into remission and he's recovering. I bought my Walther PP from him (at a good price I might add).

September 19, 2005, 10:26 AM
Columbus has a private indoor range over by the airport. I don't know of anyone that is a member, but you must be voted in and pay dues and the like. So, keep an ear open for that.

September 19, 2005, 10:36 AM
The range belongs to the Hoosier Hills Rifle and Pistol Club. They also have a 200 yd outdoor range in Gnawbone. A friend at work belongs to the club and informed me that they have high power matches and the like. I'm not really interested in the indoor range because you can't use jacketed bullets and muzzle velocity is limited to 900fps. I can't even shoot my .32acp there!