Gun Handling Etiquette and
Questions to Ask in a Gun Shop
By Ginger Hallberg
So it's your first time in a gun shop, or maybe you've visited once or twice; but you really aren’t sure about the etiquette of handling firearms. Remembering a few of these suggestions will put the staff at ease and help insure you have a positive and informative experience.
First thing is to always follow the Universal Firearm Safety Rules:
1. ALWAYS treat all guns as LOADED.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to shoot.
3. Keep your finger indexed above the trigger guard
unless your sights are on target and you have decided to fire.
4. Be sure of your target and what is behind and beyond it.
If you have your own firearm and have questions or even concerns about it, make sure it's in a case when you bring it into the shop. (Walking into any business with a gun in your hand is likely to cause unnecessary excitement and is just generally considered rude!) Leave the gun in the case while you talk to the staff and let them know why you brought it in. At that point you can just hand the case to the staff and let them take the gun out, check its status and help you with your inquiry.
When asking questions don't be shy, no matter if you feel like it's a silly question. We have all been newbies at one time and we are all still learning everyday. If you're not sure what you want out of a firearm, ask the staff for suggestions. (See article: “Most Popular Handguns For Women”). It helps to know, or have a good idea what you want to use the handgun for. Range practice only? Concealed carry? Have a budget in mind, which includes caliber choice and the price of ammo.
If you're looking for a concealed carry option, make sure you ask about holsters and for ideas about how best to conceal your handgun. Ask the staff how they carry concealed. (Also see our concealed carry article "Choosing a Holster" - coming soon!)
More Questions to ask:
- What are the differences in firing actions and what does that mean for shooting?
- Can I easily change the sights on the gun if I don't like them?
- Is it okay for me to dry fire and if so, where?
- How do I properly grip the firearm?
- Are accessories easy to find for this particular firearm (such as magazines)?
- How can I secure this gun when I’m not carrying it?
- How do I clean my gun and what should I use to clean it?
- What kind of options do I have for range bags?
- What's the best recommendation for good ear-pro? What else do I need?
- Can I try out this gun before I purchase it?
- Do you offer classes, or can you recommend where to take safety and defensive classes?
There are many firearms to choose from. Your visit to a gun shop will have best results if you come prepared with your questions and a plan for what you want to look for. The staff may ask you questions to help you in the process; but when you have some general ideas in advance, the staff can help you find what best suits you and your shooting interests.