Indy Gun Shop Series: Don’s Guns

This is the first installment in what will be a continuing series on Indianapolis area gun shops and ranges.  A pretty decent number of my readers are from around here, and I’ve had more than a couple of emails from people asking me which range I go to, where do I buy my guns, etc.   So I figured I’d go around town, check out the few places I hadn’t been, as well as refresh my memory on some of the places I have been.

I’ll start off the series with a review of Indianapolis most notorious gun shop, Don’s Guns.  If you’re from here, you’ve probably seen maybe one or two of Don’s disturbing TV commercials, which have been described as “Col. Sanders with an Uzi” by more than one or two people.

In case you hadn’t guessed, Don’s is not going to get a positive review from me, in fact he’s not even going to get a link to his website.  In addition to being kind of creepy and weird, Don’s Guns fails pretty much all the objective grading criteria I’ve set up as well.

  • Location: Don’s is in a bad location.  It’s located on the corner of 38th St. and Lafayette Rd, which if this were a comic book would probably referred to as “Crime Alley”, and I would half expect to see Batman busting criminal heads.  While relatively easy to get to from the interstate, the area that Don’s is in does not inspire confidence.
  • Selection: This is the one area where Don’s does shine; in that his selection of firearms for sale is actually one of the largest in the state, and most likely large enough to back up his claim of largest showroom in Indiana.  The problem though is that his selection, although large, is not terribly diverse.
  • Pricing: Unfortunately for the above, Don’s fails at pricing, because in addition to having the largest showroom, he has also has some of the highest prices I’ve ever seen.  To put it succinctly, I am likely to get a better deal by going to a big box store like Gander Mountain than I would at Don’s.
  • Range: Don’s Guns does have a fifty foot indoor range, which they claim is safe for rifles up to .50 BMG, as well as properly ventilated enough to fire blackpowder indoors.  In my visits to Don’s, I have not seen fit to test either of these claims, as the overall condition of their range at the time did not lend me the greatest feeling of confidence.
  • Staff: The staff isn’t exactly what I’d call creme of the crop; as incidents like this linkare somewhat common at Don’s.  If you click the link, you’ll read about an ND that occurred at Don’s, where two of the employees failed to check to see if an AK47 clone was unloaded before working on it.  That’s a stupid, dangerous mistake.  On a personal note, I distinctly remember being muzzle swept numerous times during my visits to Don’s.  Sadly, it wasn’t a negligent customer playing around, rather it was store employees not being mindful of their surroundings.
  • Intangibles: It’s hard to put a finger on this last bit, hence the “intangibles” title.  When you walk into Don’s, you get an undeniably skeezy feel about the place, there is a certain vibe of unprofessional behavior and a lack of proper safety.

I can’t in good conscience recommend Don’s Guns to anyone.  It’s the kind of gun shop that people like Paul Helmke are proud to tout as “irresponsible gun dealers”.  Don’s has had more guns sold there linked to crime than any other gun shop in Indiana.  I don’t understand why the BATFE hassles good guys like Red’s Trading Post, and leaves places like Don’s Guns alone.

Bottom Line: Don’t go to Don’s.  Bad location, high prices, and an unsafe staff more than outweigh the benefit of a large selection.

Next time:Now that we’ve gotten the worst of the worst out of the way, our next installment of the Indy Gun Shop Series will cover one of the good guys.  In the next installment, we’ll be looking at Plainfield Shooting Supplies.

7 comments for “Indy Gun Shop Series: Don’s Guns

  1. January 28, 2008 at 09:48

    “Skeezy,” eh? That must be one of those highly technical gun terms I’ve never heard before. :p

  2. January 28, 2008 at 10:43

    There are definititely skeevy ranges and shops out there, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily doing anything unlawful. Close proximity to crime areas will generally drive your “crime gun” count up even if you’re not doing anything wrong.

  3. Rob K
    January 28, 2008 at 11:28

    I’ve been in there once. All the non-gun stuff they sell reminded me of the vendors you see at county fairs and carnivals — stupid useless junk that twelve-year-old boys think is cool. When I was a little kid, that was a much better area. My mom used to take us shopping at Lafayette Square Mall. I’ve eaten in the building Don’s guns is in now, when it was a Hardy’s.

    Don is certainly no friend to gun-rights either. I’ve seen interviews with him where he almost outright supported an “assault weapon” ban but acted like he had no choice about selling them since they’re legal.

  4. January 28, 2008 at 12:04

    This is a great idea.

    I’m going to start doing reviews of the shops around here. I’ve mentioned some of them from time to time but never done formal “reviews” of them and there are a few of the more obscure pawn shops that sell guns that I’ve never been to.

    OK, so I’ve got the Hampton Roads area, Caleb’s got Indy. Who else is in? We could conceivably have reviews of the gun shops in every major metro area in the country covered if we get enough gun bloggers to play.

    Thanks for the great idea…I’ll be sure to give you credit for it when I start my “Hampton Roads gun shops” posts.

  5. Tam
    January 28, 2008 at 12:27

    Don’s is bad medicine. I’m 2.5 states away, and I’ve heard plenty of horror stories, both IRL and off the ‘net.

  6. January 29, 2008 at 13:06

    I could do reviews of MA gun shops. Yes, they *do* exist…

  7. red
    January 31, 2008 at 08:57

    I’ve never stepped foot into the 38th St Don’s. I used to shoot at the 96th St range though. It wasn’t surprising to come in and see more ND holes in the walls each week. Best gun shopping in Indy is Bradis.

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