Archive for the ‘Small Business’ Category

shoe-shopping

Now, you may be thinking, “Shoe Shopping??? I thought this was a gun blog.” Don’t worry. It is. However, I discovered an amazing connection between these two apparent opposites. Shoes and guns are astoundingly similar in a one key area: it’s nearly impossible for somebody else to pick out the perfect one for you. 

A Woman’s Advice


shoe-shopping (1)As the only full-time lady working behind the counter at Autrey’s, I am asked all the time: “What’s a good gun for my wife?” Nearly everyday, I hear one of the many variations of this question. Sometimes, the question comes from another lady assuming that she’ll like whatever gun I like, simply because we are both female. The false premise behind these questions is this idea that there is a specific gun or a specific type of gun that is ideal for women. To refute this, I offer up the suggestion that there is one specific car that is ideal for every man. Silly, right? Same thing with guns. Each person, man or woman, must find which gun feels right to them, which gun they shoot well, and which gun they can afford. Individual preferences rule the day when it comes to gun-buying. While I can suggest general things to consider (weight, recoil, size, etc…), these generalities in no way assure success. I can no more tell a husband which gun his wife will like any more than I can tell him which shoe to buy her. And I pity the man who would ask me to pick out his wife’s shoes. 

gun-shopWhoever will be using the gun needs to hold it, feel it, make sure they can operate it, and, if possible, shoot it. From my experience, I say shooting the gun you are interested in buying, or a gun similar to it, is vital to long-term enjoyment of said firearm. For example, those little, light-weight guns everybody loves to market to women are some of the most uncomfortable guns I have ever shot. For the women out there: just because it is small, cute and you like the way it feels in your hand, does not mean you will like shooting it. Those little things pack quite a kick.

Whenever possible, shoot before buying. Going back to the shoe analogy, buying a gun without shooting it is like buying shoes without trying them on. The shoe may be the right size, style and color but still be completely miserable to wear. A gun may meet all your other criteria but still be a literal pain to shoot. (At which point, you have to decide if you will get it and put up with the pain or find something more comfortable.) 

 

Trying on a Gun:

Right grip1. Fit: For best results, the gun must fit the user. The trigger should be a comfortable reach for their finger, not too close and not too far. The operational buttons (slide lock, magazine release, safety, etc…) should be easily accessed and operated. For semi-automatic users, the user must be able to rack the slide. Some guns are harder to rack than others, so don’t give up on semiautomatics completely if you struggle with the first one you try.

2. Feel: This is the intangible aspect of gun-buying. There are some guns that just feel right in your hand. The contour of the grip, the weight, the texture, and the overall size of the gun greatly influence the feel of the gun but only you can determine what feels right.

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-13699884503. Fun: As a general guideline, I believe a gun should be enjoyable to shoot. I readily admit that concessions to comfort must be made when situations demand a small carry gun as the only option. However, people tend to do things that are fun and not do things that are not fun. With that principle in mind, I will sometimes suggest the buyer might also consider investing in a more enjoyable gun at some point in the future. This will encourage range time and practice. At a minimum, the user must be able to safely operate and control the firearm while shooting; enjoyment is an important, but secondary consideration.

 

Concluding Thoughts

969572_364713273655812_1015285563_nI do not want to discourage people from asking me, or other women, for recommendations on firearms, but I do want to expose the mythical “Good gun for a lady.”  There is no such thing. Some guns are preferred more by women than men, but your woman may not like any of them. Buying a gun, especially for the first time, is a very personal decision. Such a decision can, when encouraged, truly reveal a person’s individuality. So, I urge all you to never pick out another person’s gun (unless they gave you very clear and precise directions or it’s a collector’s piece), for they may end up not liking anything you thought they would like. I recently encouraged a friend to look at a couple of handguns I thought he would really like. He ended up putting his hand on a completely different one and that was it. That was the one he wanted and no other would do. It just felt right. He would have been very unhappy with my choices and I am just very glad I didn’t get him one of the ones I recommended. So live and learn… and Try on a Gun!

By Ruth Goodman

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I am declaring it official. The gun-buying panic is over. The mad rush to arms following the Sandy Hook tragedy (and the politicians’ attempts to exploit it) has finally come to an end. In case you were out of the country or otherwise occupied during the last two years, let me bring you up to speed. The gun industry was already experiencing high activity thanks to the reelection of our current president when tragedy struck in Newtown, Connecticut. Immediately following the reports of a school shooting AR’s began flying off the shelves.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

While this picture is not of our store (we did not think to take pictures of our empty racks and shelves), it is remarkably similar to what happened to us.

Most of our inventory of Modern Sporting Rifles was gone within a week, all of it was gone within a few weeks. (On our busiest day, we went from a regular staff of 5 to 9 and still had customers lined up to the door.) Once all the AR’s were gone, attention turned to handguns. Self-defense purposed handguns became impossible to keep in stock. The rapid rise in handgun purchasing led to ammo shortages in nearly all the popular calibers. For most calibers, the supply quickly caught up with demand and the shortage ceased to be a problem many months, if not a year, ago. The notable exception to that is .22 ammo. In our store, the .22 ammo shortage began around the same time the rest of the calibers were catching up with demand and has continued on from that time. The most bizarre thing to many of us in the industry, is how long it has taken .22 ammo to catch up. A full year later and we still have a very limited supply of .22 and impose strict limits on how many boxes a customer can purchase. 

However, as we entered Spring we noted a marked slow-down in our store. As we talk with others from around the country, we are hearing of the return of the normal “summer slow season.” Gun stores and industry reps for national companies are reporting an industry-wide slow-down of purchases and firearms activity (with the exception of states that recently enacted increasingly infringing gun laws). I believe this slow season feels much slower to many, because it stands in stark contrast to the record making sales of the last two years. We have been so busy for so long, that record busy became the new normal. Stores increased staffing and ordered more product, producers ramped up production, etc… 

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Now that pre-chaos norms have reinstated themselves, this is the perfect opportunity for us all to rest and catch our breath. It’s a chance to look up from the daily activities and see the bigger picture. How many of the recent gun-buyers were first time buyers that now need training, supplies, and support? How can we as an industry meet those needs? Women are steadily increasing their presence in the firearms world. What can we do to encourage and support that growth? Have the local demographics changed in the last two years? Should a store focus more on building their online presence or on their brick-and-mortar functionality? There are countless questions we, as an industry, can ask ourselves at this time. Now is the chance for each of us to really sit down and evaluate ourselves as a store, an industry member, a service provider, and a member of the community. 

Let us all make the most of this time and catch our breath. 

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 I would like to take this opportunity to request a small token of consideration. Before you enter our store please ask yourself this question: will I need to handle my currently loaded firearm at any point during the course of business in the store? If the answer is yes, for the love of humanity, please unload your firearm before you enter the building. Those of us behind the counter and your fellow customers are loved by friends and family alike. Out of respect for them and us, please do not handle a loaded firearm while surrounded by so many lives. Life is a precious gift, highly valued by most of us. Please do not treat the value of all the lives around you so lightly as to draw a loaded firearm in a store. While you may feel completely confident in your capabilities of handling a firearm, please understand we have guns pointed and waved in our direction all the time (1st NRA Safety Rule broken). Frequently, those guns are loaded and the finger is on the trigger (2nd and 3rd Safety rule broken). Forgive us for reacting strongly but we have numerous examples of negligent discharges permanently embedded in our range and therefore do not trust anyone with a loaded gun in their hand. Even employees do not handle a loaded firearm in the storeroom. To do so violates all safety rules. We understand it is your Constitutional right to carry. Truly, we do. Rare is the gun store employee that does not support the 2nd Amendment. However, please realize by handling a firearm in an unsafe manner you are providing fodder to the anti-gun crowd and thus damaging the pro-2nd Amendment efforts.

Sincerely,

Gun Store Employee

 

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Some stores post up this sign whereas we choose to ask nicely.

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I came across an intriguing question the other day. Why do people buy guns? It got me thinking; what is the motivation for people to buy guns today? Is it just for fun? Is it for defense? Just to have for “just in case”? Why was there such a surge in gun buying over the last few years?

From what I see on a daily basis, I’ve deduced there are typically 4 main reasons a person will purchase a firearm:

1. Self Defense1348599034949gun

2. Sport (hunting, competitive shooting, etc…) th

3. Investment (collecting)guncollection3

4. The Love of Firearms

What is a Self-Defense Gun?

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A competition gun

Of the four reasons, numbers 1 and 4 are the most common in our store. While recreational firearm use, collecting and simply enjoying firearms are certainly valuable components of the firearms industry overall, I find the majority of our customers are looking for self-defense firearms. What is a self-defense gun? I define a self-defense gun as a firearm specifically designed to aid the user in utilizing it effectively, efficiently, simply and quickly in an immediate threat situation. Self-defense firearms do not need a lot of the bells and whistles that most competitive firearms have. Normally, they aren’t covered in camo like most hunting firearms. Nor are they as finely stylized, refined and expensive as a collector’s piece. Keep in mind however, there can always be some crossover between these different subsections of the firearm industry. I have used my carry gun in shooting competitions and history is full of people defending their lives with their hunting rifles. I find, however, a gun specifically designed for a purpose will fulfill that purpose far more effectively and efficiently than a gun designed for another purpose. For example, the long-barreled hunting shotguns are great in the field but would be awkward as a home defense gun. I can just picture knocking over a lamp as I swing to face the door. Home defense shotguns typically have 18.5 inch barrels to avoid just that scenario.

 Reasons for Buying a Self Defense Firearm

As I dig deeper into my customer’s motivation for buying a self-defense type of firearm I typically encounter one of the following concerns:

Fear or an Awakened Sense of Vulnerability

criminalThis is, by far, the most common reason I hear. “My neighbor down the street was broken into… I have to walk a distance to get to my car at night… Our country appears to be on the verge of societal collapse and I want something to defend my family.” At the root of each reason is the innate desire to defend one’s person and loved ones. Frequently, that instinct has been dormant for years, only to be awakened by a violent encroachment into a person’s sense of normalcy. Many customers come in fresh from that defining moment, others wait and expand their knowledge before coming into our store. Some think about it for a long time and others go immediately and purchase a defensive tool. While I label this motivation as “Fear,” many others would label it as: “Preparation,” “Doing Your Duty,” “Precaution,” “Planning Ahead,” etc… I label it as “Fear” simply because that is the way it is most often presented to me, in the eyes of my customers.

freedom slaverySupporting the Constitution

Some of our customers feel it is their constitutional duty to own a firearm. With key voices in government speaking in terms that threatened the very possibility of firearm ownership last year, countless thousands purchased firearms as a peaceful protest. To many Americans, the ability to own arms is what separates free citizens from subjects, masters from slaves, and differentiates a free people from an enslaved nation.

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A Sad Awakening

While I find it intellectually stimulating to analyze the motivations of our customers, the results sadden me. The predominance of fear and vulnerability as a motivation for purchasing firearms is an indictment of the state of our country. When so many of its citizens are feeling so threatened by both street thugs and government actions that their only perceived recourse is to take up arms, a country is far farther down the proverbial slope then we all realize. Yes, firearms are, among other things, a great equalizer of force, an invaluable tool, and a worthy investment. After all, a gun is the quickest way to empower a 120 pound women to ward off a couple 250 pound thugs. Yet, what kind of society have we become that we knowingly allow such thugs to walk the streets? The thin veneer of peaceful society is wearing through and many people are waking up to realize it. These are the ones walking through our doors.

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gun-shop

“I’m thinking of buying my wife a gun for Christmas.” is the opening statement I heard today and  expect to hear often over the next few weeks. Concerned husbands, anxious for their wife’s protection, are searching for that elusive “good gun for a lady” and see Christmas as the perfect opportunity to buy her something she may or may not be interested in. Before you lay down $400+ on her new gun, please take the following concerns under consideration. This is the mental questionnaire I run through when a customer asks for advice on choosing a firearm.

Purpose:

First and foremost, you must determine the intended purpose of the firearm. Will the gun be used for a self-defense carry gun, home protection, competitive shooting, hunting, just having fun on the range or as a collection piece? Certain features should be prioritized based on which purpose you intend to use the firearm for.

sefl-defense-at-home

Carry Gun: Typically, light-weight is the priority for a daily carry firearm.

Home Protection: When buying for home protection, weight is less relevant as the gun will only be handled for short durations. The user’s comfort and confidence with the firearm take priority. Home protection guns tend to weigh more, to make the shooting experience more pleasant.

Competitive Shooting: Accuracy, and all that affects accuracy, are what matters most to a competitive shooter. Barrel length, quality, trigger weight, overall weight, etc… are all taken into consideration.

Hunting: Type of game and style of hunting affect your choice of hunting firearm.

Fun Range gun: A gun you are just going to take to the range to have fun is probably going to be something that fits the user’s hand well, has enough weight to balance out the recoil and the user is comfortable manipulating.

Collecting: Collectors typically know exactly what they are looking for. Good luck to you if you are trying to buy for one of these.

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When buying a gun, the trick is to find the right compromise of features that works for you. For example, Smith & Wesson Airweights and Ruger LCPs are great for carrying all day, but are so light-weight the recoil is quite uncomfortable. Knowing this fact, I still decided the low-weight was a high enough priority for my carry weapon that I purchased the Smith & Wesson 442 revolver. Do I enjoy shooting it? No. But I can carry it all day with barely a second thought as to the weight, I can carry it in more locations on my body, and it is more reliable than my semi-automatic. Overall, I made an informed decision to put up with the kick in exchange for a comfortable carry gun.

Intended frequency of use:

I ask our customers how often they intend to practice with their firearm in order to narrow the choices down. A revolver is renowned for its ability to sit in a drawer for years and still function flawlessly when called upon. In the same scenario, I’ve seen a semi-auto jam after the first shot. Springs can lose their tension over years of inactivity and the semi-auto design relies heavily on springs. For this reason, whenever a customer says they want a gun for “just in case” and they don’t really want to come shoot it much, I unilaterally direct them towards a revolver. Revolvers are mechanically simpler and more reliable. Buying a small semi-automatic for your wife to stick in her purse but never practice with is asking for trouble.

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Comfort:
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1911

The way the gun feels in the hand and how it feels when shooting are key components in a user’s overall satisfaction with a firearm. This is where the gun buying process becomes quite subjective. The only person who can determine if the gun fits right is the user. There are some guns that just feel good to hold and there are others that are less comfortable to hold. Determining the right fit requires the user to come in and pick up lots of different guns to get a feel for what feels good and what doesn’t feel good to them.

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Small guns = tight springs = hard to rack the slide.

In terms of recoil, weight is your friend. The heavier the gun is, the less recoil your hands have to absorb and the more fun the gun is to shoot. Guys, do me a favor, please do NOT buy your wife that “cute, little .380 ACP.” Those little things have much more recoil than you think. I, personally, would rather shoot a .45 ACP 1911 any day over one of them. Just because they are small does not mean they are good for your wife to start with. Just the opposite in fact. I find beginners do much better starting with heavy firearms and progressing down to light-weight carry guns.

Previous Knowledge/Experience:

basic-gun-safety-course-for-one-two-or-four-people-1369988450Has the potential user ever received any formal instruction in firearms? I ask this question mostly to determine the user’s level of safety awareness. Formal firearm classes are great for drilling the gun safety rules into heads and habits. In general, I recommend taking classes before the firearm purchase; not only to make sure our customers and everybody around them stays safe with the new gun but classes also makes the user a much more informed consumer. For the gift-buyer, previous experience with firearms can also give you clues as to which type of firearm the person is comfortable with and enjoys shooting.

Budget:

“You get what you pay for.” This is true for most things in life and especially firearms. That cheap pawn shop gun was cheap for a reason. I have seen such guns literally fall apart on the range. You really do get what you pay for. I understand money being tight, and seeking to find the best bang for your buck, but please save up a little longer or do something to get a little extra money to go towards the firearm purchase. It is much better to have a reliable firearm that your life can depend on than a few extra dollars in the bank.

Physical Limitations:

How_to_Rack_the_slide_03Firearms are mechanical devices and each has a series of manipulations that must be accomplished in order for the device to function properly. Hand, wrist and arm strength are vital. The user must be able to rack the slide on a semi-automatic or pull the heavy trigger of a revolver. Frequently, when a person is not able to do one they can do the other. Occasionally, they struggle with both. At that point, I may suggest, using two fingers to pull the revolver trigger, trying out a .22 caliber firearm or a semi-automatic with an easier slide. If they are still incapable of operating the firearm, I typically suggest they get OC Spray instead of a firearm.

Stopping Power:

woman_with_gunMuch is said about the acclaimed stopping power of this round or that round. As I’ve researched it and looked at the statistics, I’ve come to realize what you are carrying is less important than that you are carrying. Many, many bad guys are stopped by .22s. There is something called a psychological stop. Basically, it boils down to the fact that people don’t want to get shot.  Typically, bad guys are looking for an easy victim and shooting them suddenly converts you from “easy victim” to “more trouble than it’s worth.” Yes, there are those times when the bad guy is shot multiple times with .45 ACP rounds and keeps coming, however, the large majority of bad guys are cowards looking for easy prey. Odds are in your favor that you will not encounter that zombie-bad guy that just keeps coming, and if you do, good shot placement will help you more than missing with a larger caliber. My conclusion: carry what you can shoot well. If you can shoot a .45 ACP well, carry a .45. If you can only shoot a .22 LR well, then carry a .22.

Concluding Thoughts

Before you buy that gun you think will be perfect for your loved one, make sure its designed purpose lines up with its intended use. Do your best to accurately estimate how often they will be using the gun. Try to avoid buying a complicated gun for a novice. Keep it Simple. Be sure to consider any physical limitations they may have. Balance the pro’s and con’s of each firearm to ensure a good match of user and firearm is made. A mismatch may make the user uncomfortable, insecure, and mistrustful of guns in general.

A little tip for all you gift-buyers out there, we see a much higher rate of success when the intended user is involved in the decision-making process. If you can successfully buy her a pair of shoes then you stand a pretty good chance with buying her a gun. If not, please bring the intended user in with you. Only she will know what feels right to her.

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For those unfamiliar with our store, Ben Autrey’s vision of a local, well-stocked, knowledgable gun store was birthed 10 years ago, this November. As it tends to happen, after birth came growth, and with growth, cramming. Sometimes it’s cramming too-big feet into too-small shoes, but in our case it was cramming product into every conceivable inch available. Realizing there was no room left in the shoe, we went looking for more room. It just so happened, there was lots of room right next door. So I am pleased to announce this vision of excellence, known as Autrey’s Armory, has escaped the too-small trappings of before and is spreading its wings in a brand new 5000 sq. foot showroom!!! Hip hip, hooray!! and all that. While it certainly is a time of excitement and anticipation, I also find myself pondering the financial security in such an investment. The ability to buy nearly anything without leaving the comfort of your couch is certainly hard to compete with. Small businesses have it rough these days (and the government sure isn’t making it any easier on them). While I am merely a humble employee of a small business, I am concerned for the brick-and-mortar shops of today. How do they compete with online stores or big box retailers? How have some thrived, like Autrey’s, while others have withered up and closed doors?  What makes a customer prefer to shop at a small business over all the other options? While I haven’t found all the answers, I believe I have found some. I simply looked at the pros and cons of each option.

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Online

Pro’s:
  1. Convenience: One of the top reasons for shopping online is the convenience of simply clicking a mouse instead of getting in their car and driving somewhere.
  2. Price: Online products are typically cheaper than their retail counterparts (for multiple reasons) and the available savings are quite attractive to a lot of people.
  3. Selection: Hands down, selection online is better than in stores. There really is no way for local shops to beat the endless array of products available online.Xmas time
  4. Consumer Reviews: Reviews are a great way to approximate the experience of having the product in hand. As other people describe their interaction with the product and manufacturer, the customer is able to identify with the authors and determines if the product will work for him.
  5. Less Stress?: Some people find it less stressful to purchase items from the security of their home or office than travel out into retail stores. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I tend to agree. Other than that… meh.
Con’s:
  1. No Touching: You really don’t know what you are really getting when you buy online. It may be one big surprise when UPS or FedEx drops off that box.
  2. No Talking: On most sites there is little to no personal interaction. The websites that do incorporate some “live-person” interaction typically use one of the least personal means of communicating… chat.
  3. Privacy and Security: It goes without saying, shopping online puts your identify and financial accounts at risk. Effort must  be taken to secure your identity and finances.
  4. Not Supporting the Local Economy: Unless you are buying on a local store’s website, your money is not going to support your local economy. Your money may be going across the country or to other countries.

retailcashier

Major Retail Stores

Pro’s:
  1. RetailselectionSelection: While not on the same level as the internet, major retailers do offer great selection.
  2. Price: Because large retailers purchase in bulk, they are often able to get items at a lower cost. This enables them to sell items at a lower cost.
  3. Product in hand: For many people the ability to physically touch and see the item they are interested in is all the reason they need to drive to a store. Most people, myself included, want to see what an item really looks like, what it feels like, etc… before investing their hard-earned money. Unless you know someone who has that very item, going to your local store is about the only way to get your hands on it before you buy it.
  4. Related Items: Many large retailers do an excellent job of marketing related items. That is why the bike helmets are typically located near the bikes.
  5. Privacy: Unless the store uses some type of facial recognition software connected to their cameras or cell phone tracking, it is normally very easy to shop anonymously. None of the employees are likely to recognize you and most of the other customers aren’t paying attention to much else but their shopping. Pay with cash and people probably won’t even remember you were there (aside from the security cameras of course).
  6. Supporting Local Economy?: To some extent shopping at the big box store supports the local economy, but it also sends  local money off to unknown locations. It does pay the salaries of local employees, state and local taxes on the property, etc… But a certain percentage of every dollar spent at the store gets sent to the pay the overseas suppliers, transport costs, import taxes, etc… and to company headquarters to pay their salary.
Con’s
  1. Grocery_line_SkeletonCustomer Service: Big box retailers have the, typically well-earned, reputation of poor customer service. There are a few exceptions to the rule, but as a whole large stores simply do not have the heart that the small businesses have. Frequently, employees see so many people in one shift that everything becomes mechanical. The personal interaction and relationship is sacrificed to efficiency. Getting people in and out quickly becomes the goal. Generally, employee expertise is also limited.
  2. Long Lines: During peak seasons long lines can be exhausting. Christmas and Black Friday come to mind.
  3. Privacy: See above.
  4. Not Supporting the Local Economy: See Above

Small Businesses

Pro’s:
  1. small_business_ownersCustomer Service: A main reason many people buy local is the customer service they experience, both in regards to buying and returning items. Small businesses typically excel at providing personal assistance as customers research, examine and purchase items. Should anything go wrong with your item, purchasing from a local store gives you a person to speak with. A face you can remember and approach for help. Many times you find the employees to be a valuable resource as you explore your item of interest. The knowledge and expertise of such people add an intrinsic value to a local shop that is not replicable online. For example, one of the gentlemen in our shop is extremely well versed in old firearms. I’ve been astounded to hear him not only identify an unknown firearm by make and model but also go on to mention where it was manufactured and what type of machine was used to manufacture it. He is truly a wealth of knowledge. Small businesses frequently have a bit more flexibility in their pricing and some may negotiate deals with customers to ensure customer satisfaction. The first example that comes to mind is our store’s policy of mounting scopes for free with the purchase of a rifle or scope. With few exceptions, customer service is paramount in small businesses.
  2. Product in hand: In small stores you normally have more time to look at items and discuss them with the employees. Employees are typically well versed and are able to point out the features and benefits of the item. Many gun stores further satisfy a customer’s curiosity by supplying a wide variety of firearms for rent. When it comes to knowing if you are comfortable with a firearm, there is no substitute for actually firing the weapon. I wish I’d learned that lesson a few years ago. I bought an XD-40 as my carry gun on gunbroker.com. I read all the reviews I could find. I researched it up and down. But I never shot it. After years of poor shooting, I finally tried out an XD-9 and quickly traded in my 40. You just never know until you try it.

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    Customer or friend? … Why not both?

  3. Personal Relationship: Shopping at a local store provides an opportunity to develop personal relationships with the employees and owners. We have many regular customers that are more friends than customers.
  4. Privacy: It is much easier to protect your privacy and security when you shop at local Mom-and-Pop stores than online; especially if you pay with cash. (Unless you are buying a gun. Federal forms negate that benefit.) It is also highly unlikely to encounter the type of tracking and surveillance big box stores are now implementing at the local art supply store, boutique or coffee shop.
  5. Supporting Local Economy: Purchasing items at a local store inputs cash into a local business, enabling the owner to pay his employees, bills, vendors, utilities, buy groceries for his family, etc… directing nearly all his funds back into the local economy.
  6. Socializing: Many people simply enjoy going to the local store to look over the merchandise, talk with other customers and the person behind the counter. The trip to the store is no longer about buying ammo or a new holster, but about catching up on the latest industry news, information or gossip.
  7. use this2Finding related items: Local stores also tend to do a good job of carrying related items, thus enabling a customer to get all that he needs in one place.
  8. Short lines: lines are typically shorter and (excepting times of national gun buying panic) service is more prompt.
Con’s:
  1. Retail-Vertical-Price: Unfortunately, small businesses are not able to get items in bulk quantity and their prices typically reflect that. Small businesses typically have slightly higher prices than online or big box retailers. It’s just the nature of the beast.
  2. Selection: Again, simply because it is a small business, the selection in the store will not be as varied as what you can find online or at major retailers. Just look at holsters. There have got to be thousands (if not tens of thousands) of holster models. There is simply no way for a small business to carry a sample of every holster design available. It is just not going to happen. The best a store can do is carry the most popular models and special order the rest, if need be.
  3. Inconvenience: The store cannot come to you. You must leave the comfort of your home or office and travel to it.

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Which Will It Be?

Overall,  it seems most people do want that face-to-face, personal interaction that is inherent in small businesses. Many are tired of the brusque efficiency of big box retailers and unsatisfied with the cold simplicity of online shopping. We are social creatures that long for pleasant, enjoyable social interactions. Having a designated place to turn to for help is also a major point for small businesses. So, while I must confess I do shop online from time to time (typically for hard-to-find items), I do believe Ben’s vision is safe in the hands of our loyal customers, new customers, and the customers yet to discover us. Why? Because, overall, for me and many others, customer service, personal interaction, and building relationships trumps cheaper prices. (Besides, one thing I’ve learned working at a gun store: just because you found it cheaper online does not mean it will be cheaper by the time you take it home.)

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. And definitely let me know if I left out anything. Thank you for reading. Stay safe.

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