There is No Such Thing as a Bad Gun Customer

Eric at the Gunmart Blog
Eric at the Gunmart Blog

United States  –(  This video has been making the rounds lately and I have to say that it is just completely and totally the wrong approach.

Think about it in terms of any other retail establishment.

What if ______ put out a video about “problem customers” or “how to be a good customer” or “what customers need to keep in mind” when they come into their store?

Any customer of theirs (or potential future customer) who viewed the video would outraged, and rightfully so. From a business perspective, a “good customer” is anyone who wants to patronize your business. Period!!

This video is doing a powerful disservice to the gun culture and to all gun shops everywhere. There should not be an active campaign to establish barriers-to-entry into a gun shop. As a business, you are there to serve your customers… not just the ones who have the established level of knowledge that you feel is necessary. Those “problem customers” have money in their pocket that is just as green as the lifelong gun nuts who already have it all figured out.

If you are not willing to help them, they are going to take their money to someplace that will.

If any other retailer took the approach to their customers that gun shops do, they would be out of business really quick. Customers should not be lectured about how to behave or what your expectations of them are… you are in business to cater to your customers needs and wants. If their needs are not inline with what the business expected, then it falls on the business to make the necessary adjustments to fall inline with their customers. Not the other way around.

This also has nothing to do with the recent increase in gun sales that they equate it to in the video… This has always been the culture in gun shops, and it needs to change! If it really is true that you are too busy to attend to the staggering number of customers in your shop, then the solution is simple. Staff more people behind the gun counter. Stop using it as an excuse to continue treating customers like garbage and just solve the problem. Why in the hell would any business want a customer to walk out of the store with the money in their pocket that they were planning to spend? If it means staffing a few extra people to close more sales and eliminate the “five-deep at the counter“, then do it. Your bottom line will thank you at the end of the month.

These guys should be a case study in every Business 101 class out there. This video demonstrates a completely backwards mindset of how to effectively do business with your target market. Its completely the wrong approach for any business to take with their customers let alone in an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds and welcoming first time customers each and every day.

Instead of taking the time to film a video about “how to be a good customer“, they would have done far more good to educate gun shop owners and sales associates in the proper way to solve the disconnect that the old school gun shop culture has created with this new generation of gun buyers.

Eric at the Gunmart Blog – Eric is a gun blogger, firearms enthusiast, and sorry excuse for a hunter. He is also an AmmoLand Shoting Sports News Columnist. Leave him some comments on this article before you go. You can also follow Eric on Facebook, Twitter and at his blog, Gunmart. Visit:

  • 4 thoughts on “There is No Such Thing as a Bad Gun Customer

    1. Boom! A letter from the editor!

      Mr Huntington makes some good points, but I am that "good customer" and I can honestly say that friendly gun shop clerks are the exception – overwhelmingly.

      To be fair, they probably are confronted by a lot of know-it-all jerks. But I don't see why that makes them different from guys who work in auto repair shops or hardware store clerks, both of which, on average, seem to me a good deal more polite and helpful than gun store guys.

      This is an entrenched, cultural phenomenon peculiar to gun shops that many people have observed and it should be dealt with by the industry.

    2. Eric,

      Thanks for your comments. While I understand what you're saying about the responsibilities of gun store owers to cater to customer's needs, there is another side to the story. As the editor of American Handgunner, I find many of my readers are very new to the industry. As such, they don't always understand the gun culture, bring loaded guns into gun stores, haven't put any thought into the questions they want/need to ask and frankly, are often simply afraid to go into a gun store, often due to the rude reception they've gotten in the past. As someone who has worked behind the counter of several gun stores, I am as tired of the gun store commandos behind the counters as the rest of us, but I got quickly tired of the know-it-all customers to brought loaded guns into the stores (four times in one day was the record), customers who talked my customers out of buying guns and accessories or otherwise wasted our time as we tried to help paying customers. Yes, there are stupid questions, the customer is not always right and gun store owners are often their own worse enemies.

      And, just as you should know what your needs are when you take your car to your mechanic and understand their own challenges in running their business, the same applies to any business, including your visit to a gun store. Not every small family owned gun store can afford to hire more people in today's economy. Being understanding of the daily grind of being in business — any business — is part of getting good service. If you're a jerk, you'll likely storm out saying what crappy service you got. But if you're a "good customer'" (can you say, "polite, patient, etc.?) I'll bet any business will bend over backwards to be helpful.

      In today's world where a sense of entitlement seems to be rampant, a lesson in good manners and how to apply them is always in order.

      We'll be doing a "How to deliver good service to your clients" video down the road. Will dealers cry foul when we ask them to be patient with new buyers, stock a broad cross section of merchandise and handle guns safely?

      We'll see, won't we?

      I welcome any comments at [email protected]

      Roy Huntington

      Editor, American Handgunner Magazine

    3. Gun shop clerks are the rudest in the retail business, right after record shop clerks. Remember record shops?

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