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Buying your first gun?

March 2, 2010

Overheard at the handgun counter last Tuesday:

Alex: “Can I see the Glock 17 and the 17 RTF?”
Clerk: “Which ones?”
Alex (pointing): “That one and that one.”
Clerk: “That’s a fourth generation.”
Alex (double-checking the large display on the counter describing the Gen4’s features, and noticing the curved slide serrations, different texture, lack of interchangeable backstrap, and lack of reversible mag release on the RTF model): “Are you sure that’s a fourth generation?”
Clerk: “Yes.”
Alex (speechless): ….

Minutes later, at the new shotgun rack:

Alex: “Oh, cool, you’ve got a Saiga.”
Clerk: ignoring Alex
Alex: “Can I please see the Saiga?”
Clerk: “Which one?”
Alex (pointing): “That one.”
Alex: “What is the magazine capacity of the magazines it comes with?”
Clerk: “It doesn’t come with a magazine.”
Alex: “It doesn’t come with a magazine?”
Clerk: “No, if it came with a magazine it would say so on the tag.”
Alex (speechless): ….

Folks, the people working behind the counter at gun stores carry a large amount of authority in their stores. I certainly don’t come to their workplace to make them look bad. I realize perfectly well that at some point in my education I, too, didn’t know the differences between the different Glock generations, or that the Saiga is a magazine-fed semi-automatic shotgun that had better come with one or more magazines to be of any practical use whatsoever.

However, just because the manager thinks someone is trustworthy enough to mind the gun counter for a while, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should believe a word this person says. Are they highly trained instructors, successful competitive shooters or highly knowledgeable hunters, or did they only receive on-the-job training from their colleagues who aren’t any of these things either?

Bottom line: Get some training and do your homework BEFORE parting with any money at your local gun store. And PLEASE double-check any information you may pick up while at your local gun store BEFORE you act on it.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. wouter permalink
    April 8, 2010 8:41 pm

    That sounds like (name deleted), those people are idiots.

  2. Alex permalink*
    April 9, 2010 8:12 pm


    You guessed correctly! But there is no need to call them out specifically. The same scenes are being acted out in gun stores throughout South Carolina.

    Another student of mine was legally robbed at another local gunstore. He listened to the salesman and bought a misearble, unreliable piece of junk for $350. I now use that gun as my “what kind of gun not to buy” example.

    As a special bonus, the manufacturer of this piece of junk finally ended up sending me a manual, for another gun entirely!

    This will be fodder for antoher blogpost, once I’ve done my taxes 😉

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