Gun shop etiquette is pretty straightforward, but some people can’t seem to get it. We all know one of “those guys.” The people who bring in rifles without a case, muzzle sweeps half the store while “inspecting” a firearm, or is generally a danger to employees or other customers.

Don’t be that guy.

Remember, just because you are at a gun store doesn’t mean you should forget about basic firearm safety. Each shop has its own rules of etiquette, which you should have already seen posted long before you reach the counter. While stores vary in terms of leniency, don’t be surprised if the store owner gives you a good tongue-lashing and escorts you off the premises if you break any of there rules.

It happens more often then you’d think. In this video, Top Guns gives a rundown on their experiences from the other side of the counter.

Image screenshot of video by Top Guns on YouTube

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20 thoughts on “Video: A Guide to Gun Shop Etiquette

  1. I was asst. manager at a full service shop in Northern Santa Barbara county for about 8 years and often experienced the same.
    We actually used to have many people walk in first and ask if it was OK to bring in a firearm they were either selling or needed our gunsmith to work on, and they were feeling strange about walking into a shop carrying a gun. Sometimes even when they had a case, but often they did not (usually not your usual firearms enthusiast when they did not have a case,lol)

    I would tell them yes, bring it in and you are OK so long as you keep the muzzle pointed up and not at anyone! And bring it straight to one of us (employees)

  2. Wow! Can’t believe there are that many careless gun owners out there. Wished they offered mandatory training in Highschools.

  3. I agree! It may be helpful instruct your audience in the correct way to introduce a firearm to a gun store attendant. For example unloaded and secured in a closed case.

    1. Indeed. How about a reply from Top Guns recommending good etiquette for bringing a firearm into a store for holster shopping, etc.? What I’ve done in the past is to unload out in the car, lock the action open and holster a pistol before taking into the store. What I wasn’t sure about (I’m thinking specifically about a time I was in a big box store, Academy Sports) was good etiquette for removing the gun from the holster to try out different holsters at the store. I felt a bit self-conscious when trying the pistol in holsters at the store, with other customers around me, as I had the action closed then to check for proper holster fit, and other customers had no way of knowing that I came in to the store with action open so I could see empty magazine and empty chamber before doing fit-checks. I’d be interested in hearing suggestions as to how to keep store staff and customers comfortable in such a situation. Note that the whole time I was handling the pistol in the store, I never put my finger anywhere even near the trigger or trigger guard.

  4. Absolutely correct “safety first people”. If you are looking parts and accessories for a weapon, take that weapon, unload it, clear it and case it before you take it out in public.

  5. I was shopping at a Cabela’s last night and an 18 year old kid with his father was checking out scopes and sighted down the counter up over everyone’s head. I watched this young kid bring down the rifle and point it right at me to see the way the scope work and then looked away very quickly when i shook my head at him. The first rule I learned was to treat every firearm as if it was loaded.

  6. I have Always Taken my Gun Into A gun store One, I Take It OFF, 2 Clear it and put a Chamber clear plug in then Put it in a box! Then I take it to a gun shop or store and buy my Holster’s or have it repaired or what ever…

  7. Exelent , handling and gun edicate . Is the holy grail, which supports our inherit rights to own / possess firearms in the US. God bless America.

  8. As an Instructor I am constantly amazed at the lack of use of Firearm safety rules in a firearm store. I am often handed a firearm (though checked) with magazine and/or action closed. I then get a deer in headlight look by the “clerk” when I bring this up and ask them to do it correctly. I have offered to train a great many stores so thee people are educated and few accept.

  9. I use to be a frequent shopper at Cabela’s for the majority of my firearm purchases. As an EDC I was always armed. On one occasion I needed to get some information from the counter person about my carry pistol. When we reached that part of the conversation I asked permission to show him my firearm. He said it was OK. I removed the gun from my holster, pointed it to the ground, removed the magazine and cleared the chamber, locking the slide back. I then pointed the muzzle to the ceiling and handed the weapon to the counter man. I was fully aware of my surroundings during this procedure making sure not to cover anyone or anything that I was not willing to destroy. SAFETY FIRST. The points made in this video are spot on and EVERYONE should know the condition of their firearms at ALL times.

  10. Excellent. Thank you for spreading the word. I don’t appreciate it when a customer sweeps me with the firearm the person behind the counter just handed them. It’s probably clear, because of where it came from; but, that’s still not a guarantee…

  11. I AM offended by the video. By the fella calling guns “weapons” over and over. He’s in a GUN Shop for shit sakes not at a military armory

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