I remember the first time I went to a gun shop solo. I was nervous, intimidated, and unsure of what I could touch or do or what I should say. I know it can be so nerve-racking, especially as a woman!
I partnered up with Sina from the Mass Firearms School in Holliston, Massachusetts to bring you some excellent tips on gun shop etiquette. Sina is the retail manager at the Mass Firearms Shop so he’s definitely seen a lot as far as customers go!
Here’s some advice he shared with us:
WHAT DO THE EMPLOYEES LOOK FOR?
Safety is the number one concern for the gun shop employee. They want to make sure you as the customer are safe, and that other customers are being safe. Sina shared that they know not everyone who comes in is an expert, but that they do expect good muzzle awareness (knowing where your gun is pointing at all times) and trigger discipline (keeping your finger off the trigger while handling the gun). He also stressed the importance of paying attention to your surroundings while in the gun shop, and not pointing the gun at others around you.
WHAT IF YOU’RE CARRYING A GUN, AND WANT TO TAKE IT OUT OF THE HOLSTER?
If you’re coming into the gun shop and want to take your gun out of its holster, whether it’s to show something to an employee, try a different holster, or get something repaired, DON’T UNHOLSTER YOUR GUN IN THE STORE! Ask the employees what to do. At MFS, they’re lucky enough to have a range on site so they can send you to the range to unload it, and bring it back in a case. Then, they’ll take it out of the case and verify that it’s unloaded. If you’re bringing a gun into the store and it’s NOT on your body, make sure it’s unloaded and in a case, and let the employee remove it for you.
HOW CAN A CUSTOMER HANDLE A GUN AT THE COUNTER?
If you’re in the market for a firearm, it’s a great idea to handle it before you purchase. You’re extra lucky if you can actually fire it beforehand, which is why I like MFS so much. They have a ton of guns you can try-before-you-buy. But while you’re at the counter and want to handle firearms, there are certain rules you should be following.
Fist off, the employee will verify that the firearm is clear before they hand it to you. They’ll hand it to you grip-first with the action open, so that you can also verify that it’s empty. Now that you both know it’s empty, that doesn’t mean you can forget all the basic gun safety rules! If you’re unsure where the safe direction is, please ask the employee. That way you’ll know where you can keep the muzzle pointed. Make sure your finger is staying off the trigger as you handle the firearm. If you want to dry-fire the firearm, it’s always a good idea to ask the employee first as some firearms should not be dry-fired. Once they give you the green light, make sure it’s pointed in a safe direction at all times. Racking the slide is also permitted as you’re handling the gun, but again, finger off the trigger!
WHEN IT’S TIME TO HAND THE FIREARM BACK…
Make sure to have the action open (slide back on a semi-automatic, cylinder open on a revolver). Grab the top of the slide and hand it back to them grip-first. They’ll verify that it’s empty before putting it away.
Wander around the shop with a gun in your hand! Chances are you’re not the only human being in the store, and no one likes having a gun pointed at them. If you’re handling a gun, stay at the counter with the firearm pointed in a safe direction the entire time.
Ask questions! The employees are there to help you. If you’re not sure what you can and cannot do, ask! They’ll appreciate that you asked rather than guessing and doing something that’s unsafe or harmful to others or to the firearms you’re handling.
I know it can be intimidating to go to a gun shop alone, but hopefully these tips will give you a bit more confidence to take that step and walk in! You’ll be glad you did 🙂
Here is a video talking about gun shop etiquette!