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View Full Version : First Gun Show, First Gun - How Not to get Ripped Off


BobMD
07-23-2009, 3:32 PM
Hi CalGun fans,

I moved to the Peninsula/Bay Area a few years ago and saw an ad posted for a gun show in San Jose this weekend. Last year I took a basic firearm safety course (about 6 hours including some shooting time). Anyway, I am thinking of buying my first handgun, but I am leary of buying used or buying at all from a gun show. Can you give me some tips on how not to get ripped off?

Thanks,
-Bob

RECCE556
07-23-2009, 3:44 PM
Go to a gun range that rents handguns, try some out and find the one that you like (shootability, ergonomics, etc). That is the most important thing. Then, research that handgun and see what the average selling price is so you have a rough price in your head before you head to the gun show. Also know what the gun is supposed to come with. A popular gun show "trick" is to strip a mag from the "package" but they charge your more than retail for the gun. As always, caveat emptor.

For the most part, CA gun shows now SUCK (ah, I still remember the good ol' days of the Great Western show at Pomona). Nearly everything is overpriced or it's not gun related (beef jerky and beenie babies) but you can occasionally find deals. "Used" guns can be a great thing in terms of deals but you should really know what you're looking at (and what to look for) so you can make a good decision on it but that usually only comes from experience.

Rekrab
07-23-2009, 3:44 PM
From what I've seen you're probably not going to get a stellar deal from a gun show.

And if you do buy from a gun show you still have to go to the gun shop you purchased from and pick it up there. Or, if they're not local to you, you'll have to have it shipped to a nearby FFL since the 10 day DROS is required even for sales at Gun Shows.

Before you buy, you should definitely visit a gun range and shoot as many of their rentals as possible. After figuring out what you like, start doing some research and price checking.

ST5MF
07-23-2009, 3:45 PM
Hi CalGun fans,

I moved to the Peninsula/Bay Area a few years ago and saw an ad posted for a gun show in San Jose this weekend. Last year I took a basic firearm safety course (about 6 hours including some shooting time). Anyway, I am thinking of buying my first handgun, but I am leary of buying used or buying at all from a gun show. Can you give me some tips on how not to get ripped off?

Thanks,
-Bob

Don't buy from a Gun Show! You are sure to get "ripped off" from any vendor there.

Do your research. Gunsamerica.com is as close to street value on guns (RE:By Model/Type) you will see. Look the models up there and add about $100 if you buy from a dealer in CA.

BobMD
07-23-2009, 3:53 PM
Wow, thanks for all the advice. Maybe I'll just go and check things out this weekend at the gun show, then buy something at a gun shop (if that's the proper phrase) in the next few weeks.

r.e which handgun to get, my main concerns are reliability and stopping power. Not sure what kind to get.

Rekrab
07-23-2009, 4:01 PM
Don't buy until you shoot some guns, that's my #1 piece of advice.

Look into your local gun ranges and check out some guns.

My preferences in guns will always be .40S&W and .45ACP. But those aren't for everyone! At the end of the day you should shoot whatever you shoot best with. You can shoot with a big .45ACP all you want, but if you can't shoot it accurately then it's no good.

Opus109
07-23-2009, 4:07 PM
My advice is to shoot some guns, find the one you want, and then look on this site for a CalGunner selling the one you want.

I've had very good experiences with purchasing or trading guns from/with CalGunners, and I honestly think it's unlikely that I'll ever purchase 'retail' from a gun shop again.

There are many factors to consider regarding the type of round you want to carry. 9mm is a decent starting point, due to its popularity, and ammo availability. Good luck!

8-Ball
07-23-2009, 4:11 PM
I bought new through gunbroker.com at very competitive prices... very satisfied...

FatOnCoke
07-23-2009, 4:19 PM
Buy NEW online at budsgunshop.com, gunbroker, or gunsamerica. Just find a local FFL that won't charge you sales tax on the transfer.

Don't go to gun shows. They are expensive plus you have to pay sales tax and most of them are out of town and you will have to find them for pickup.

Eroland7
07-23-2009, 4:31 PM
My best advice to you, would be to go with a friend that knows a lot about guns. He could make sure you dont get ripped off...

22popnsplat
07-23-2009, 4:34 PM
Go to a gun range that rents handguns, try some out and find the one that you like (shootability, ergonomics, etc). That is the most important thing. Then, research that handgun and see what the average selling price is so you have a rough price in your head before you head to the gun show. Also know what the gun is supposed to come with. A popular gun show "trick" is to strip a mag from the "package" but they charge your more than retail for the gun. As always, caveat emptor.

For the most part, CA gun shows now SUCK (ah, I still remember the good ol' days of the Great Western show at Pomona). Nearly everything is overpriced or it's not gun related (beef jerky and beenie babies) but you can occasionally find deals. "Used" guns can be a great thing in terms of deals but you should really know what you're looking at (and what to look for) so you can make a good decision on it but that usually only comes from experience.

Above is some sound advice , The guns show is a fun place to look but not often the best place to buy . I have bought several guns from the online action sites , If you use the advanced search feture and are regestired you can often view completed auctions and see what items actually sell for . Alot of sellers going in asking high prices and the item never even sells .Know what you want and then price shop it .
Buying on the auction sites I look for FFL dealers that will accept a credit card , I have never been burned this way .
Good luck

bondmid003
07-23-2009, 5:51 PM
Before you buy anything on Gunbroker, make sure you check with your local gunshops about their transfer fee. Some here in San Diego charge upwards of $100 to do the paperwork, clearly because they are trying to stick it to you for not buying the gun through them

CSACANNONEER
07-23-2009, 6:22 PM
I'd suggest that you find a reputable local shop to buy your first gun at. You might pay a little more but, you are not going to end up with a lemon from some guy who lives hours or even states away from you. Another option would be to find a couple of knowledgable members on this forum and go to a gunshow with them. Right now, you should feel like a 16 year old girl walking onto a used car lot alone. Don't put yourself in that position! Also, don't just get one person's opinion on what's right for you. Listen to several people and then decide for yourself. Good Luck!

movie zombie
07-23-2009, 6:41 PM
I'd suggest that you find a reputable local shop to buy your first gun at. You might pay a little more but, you are not going to end up with a lemon from some guy who lives hours or even states away from you. .......Listen to several people and then decide for yourself. Good Luck!

good advice.

rent guns at several different ranges. buy new from a gunshop first and then move on to buying used, online or from other calgunners.

support the effort by attending gunshows for supplies and as you gain experience, you might luck onto a gun deal....it has happened.

mz

Acorn556
07-23-2009, 7:23 PM
go to the gun show. dry fire a bunch of guns, talk to the people about why its the best thing out there, waste their time then leave with information. I've had gun dealers tell me "Gun show. Good for me bad for you" and don't even look for AR related stuff right now. Even with Obama focused on the healthcare bill people are still overcharging at gun shows.

jazman
07-23-2009, 7:52 PM
I agree, don't buy at a show. There are plenty of good shops around to check out guns, but many are overpriced. Trying guns at an indoor range like Reeds is a good plan, see what you like. Once you know what you want, it's a great idea to buy it here from another Cal Gunner. If you are close to Santa Clara a great FFL to transfer for you is Roger's Relics. They don't care if you buy it locally, on line, whatever, it's all the same price. Nice folks too. You may want to post where you are located a bit closer, someone may volunteer to take you shooting and show you the ropes a bit.

cousinkix1953
07-23-2009, 8:19 PM
From what I've seen you're probably not going to get a stellar deal from a gun show.

And if you do buy from a gun show you still have to go to the gun shop you purchased from and pick it up there. Or, if they're not local to you, you'll have to have it shipped to a nearby FFL since the 10 day DROS is required even for sales at Gun Shows.

Before you buy, you should definitely visit a gun range and shoot as many of their rentals as possible. After figuring out what you like, start doing some research and price checking.
I haven't been to a gun show for several years. It's just too much hassle and paperwork to be bothered with any more. I used to get old C&R stuff from private parties in the 80s; but I'm not sure they'll let you do that any more either.

I don't like beef jerky. Beanie Babies don't turn me on, and I don't want an over priced German helmet with phony black/green Waffen SS decals, that never existed at the time either...

bondmid003
07-23-2009, 8:34 PM
I actually found a pretty good deal on a new P226R .40 at the Crossroads of the West gun show recently. I paid 100-150 less then what gun stores in town were quoting me

That being said there were alot of ripoffs there, plus there really weren't that many guns there, mostly accessories and non gun related junk

Greg-Dawg
07-23-2009, 8:41 PM
My best advice to you, would be to go with a friend that knows a lot about guns. He could make sure you dont get ripped off...

+1. Excellent advice. If you don't know anyone, I'm sure a Calgunner in your neighborhood would be more than willing to help.

Tunis
07-23-2009, 9:04 PM
hey bob,

welcome aboard! if you already know what gun you want..price it out at several places to find out what the average going price is. if you don't know what you want yet, take the advice above about trying different guns at the range. i can get you in contact with my FFL if you know what you want, lmk?

btw, if you plan to attend the show, stop by and introduce yourself at my table! :thumbsup:

tunis

MiguelS
07-23-2009, 9:30 PM
I say just go and dont buy. Just see what is going on. Ther are many other shows coming anyhow.

You can buy used online and save lots of money...buy new from one of our vendors, like YZERNIE.

If you live in the San Jose area we can go to Reeds and rents some guns. I can also let you use my pistols.

I would honestly buy used.

Irvington Arms is a good place to shop.

I based my urchases on looks. I just enjoy the sigs. Home defense...well just buy powerfull ammo and aim at the head and heart.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm

glockwise2000
07-23-2009, 9:35 PM
May I suggest you to look at Buds Gun Shop after you have decided what you wanted for your first piece of independence. :). I have been to several Gun Shows here in SoCal and I haven't found anything interesting at all except for buying tons of reloaded ammo.

Usually, the difficulty of having firearms here in California makes the firearms a bit expensive. But if you look around the web, you will find that theres a lot of FFLs who are willing and eager to do business with us. This is just a suggestion.

glockwise2000
07-23-2009, 9:40 PM
Hi CalGun fans,

I moved to the Peninsula/Bay Area a few years ago and saw an ad posted for a gun show in San Jose this weekend. Last year I took a basic firearm safety course (about 6 hours including some shooting time). Anyway, I am thinking of buying my first handgun, but I am leary of buying used or buying at all from a gun show. Can you give me some tips on how not to get ripped off?

Thanks,
-Bob

Welcome to Calguns :clap:

Kid Stanislaus
07-23-2009, 9:55 PM
Know what you want to buy and know the MSRP. Anything above that price is most likely not a wise purchase.

sd1023x
07-23-2009, 10:23 PM
+1 for Budsgunshop, awesome prices. And gunbroker/gunsamerica is a good resource if your willing to navigate through some sellers BS.

Are you a shooter? Will you care for this pistol like your one and only? Are you trying to get into the sport? Or do you need something thats low maintenance and is ready to go bang everytime you pull the trigger? Those are serious considerations. Honestly, a .22 pistol is probably the best to learn on. But if you want one gun for HD, probably glock/XD is any caliber 9mm or above will do you right.

paul0660
07-23-2009, 10:47 PM
Don't buy until you shoot some guns

AMEN. Otherwise you will end up with half a dozen guns, if you can afford it, none of them the right one.

Bud's is cheap but my local FFL can get very close to their prices, and when I can I use him.

RolinThundr
07-24-2009, 1:30 AM
Hi CalGun fans,

I moved to the Peninsula/Bay Area a few years ago and saw an ad posted for a gun show in San Jose this weekend. Last year I took a basic firearm safety course (about 6 hours including some shooting time). Anyway, I am thinking of buying my first handgun, but I am leary of buying used or buying at all from a gun show. Can you give me some tips on how not to get ripped off?

Thanks,
-Bob

Gun shows in CA pretty much rip you off before you get in the door with parking and entrance fees.

cousinkix1953
07-24-2009, 5:17 AM
I say just go and dont buy. Just see what is going on. Ther are many other shows coming anyhow.

You can buy used online and save lots of money...buy new from one of our vendors, like YZERNIE.

If you live in the San Jose area we can go to Reeds and rents some guns. I can also let you use my pistols.

I would honestly buy used.

Irvington Arms is a good place to shop.

I based my purchases on looks. I just enjoy the sigs. Home defense...well just buy powerfull ammo and aim at the head and heart.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/ammo_by_anonymous.htm
Or you can go over to Markley's Indoor Range and rent some of their guns in Watsonville. Either place is not far if somebody lives in Santa Cruz or the Gilroy-Morgan Hill Areas. Gun stores didn't have their own shooting ranges, when I was a kid. Those .22 rifle shooting galleries at the BoardWalk were the closest thing to it. Otherwise you shot on a friend's private property or belonged to one of the clubs...