Things you don't want to hear from a gun shop clerk

Marko has his list of things you don’t want to hear as someone that works in a gun shop.  In a fun bit of role reversal, here is a short list of things you don’t want to hear from that clerk behind the gun counter.

  • A little lady like you needs a snub nosed revolver
  • The Taurus Judge is a great defensive weapon (for any reason)
  • You don’t want to use buckshot in a house, use birdshot.
  • You don’t want to see Gun Y, you want to see Gun X because I think it’s better.
  • “10mm”

And the list goes on and on!  I think honestly the worst thing I ever overheard in a shop was a guy explaining to a customer how it was totally safe to fire 5.45 Russian through his AR because “the metric numbers convert to the same thing, .223”.


  1. Marko forgot when your running the buyer through the instant check and the voice on the other end of the line says, “Are the police there yet?”

    I had that happen when I worked part time at a shop on two occasions.

      1. They got one guy as he was walking out the door, He had 3 failures to appear.

        They got the other right in front of me, felon attempting to purchase. The dumbass had two felony DWI but claimed he did not know that he could not purchase a firearm. He had spent 7 years in the joint.

        1. I had one of those once. The Police showed up two and a half hours after that guy left. I think the dispatcher got in some trouble for that one.

  2. “Yeah that’s a nice gun, but you should really grab THIS version, it has a magazine disconnect and a thumb safety, so its SAFER!”

    “Those hollow points are nice, but what’s REALLY nice are these (Glaser Slugs/Extreme Shock/ Frangible), they work MUCH better”

    “Oh, if you’re going to carry that (modern Semi-auto or Revolver), you should never carry it with a round in the chamber!”

  3. A series of quotes from both sides of the counter:

    “A little girl like you doesn’t want a .45.”

    “You should try this youth’s 20 guage to learn to shoot shotgun so you don’t hurt yourself.”

    “Don’t worry, sweetie, you’ll learn someday.”

    1. How is recommending a youth 20 gauge a bad idea for a woman? “Hurt yourself” is a bit much, but my wife was honestly a little dangerous trying to run a too-long, too-heavy 12 gauge shotgun. She couldn’t get a good mount to her shoulder, and could not control where the gun went when she fired.

      While you *can* get a 12-gauge with a shorter stock, a 20 gauge youth model is often an excellent fit for women with a smaller stature.

      1. +1, also 20 gauge also has a diminished recoil, while still offering acceptable down-range ballistics for defensive use.

        That being said I urged my wife to selected a Beretta Auto-Loader in 12 for her shotgun just because I knew more pellets in the air would mean more broken clays. More hits would mean less frustration for her as she learned, and the gas operation on the gun mellows the recoil down a good bit.

        1. I suppose I should have gone into more detail on this particular conversation. I would not have had a problem with this recommendation if he had inquired further into my experience rather than just assuming I need a youth model 20 gauge. I had this conversation after shooting skeet and sporting clays competitively with 12, 16 and 20 gauge for 2 years.

          It’s important for gun store employees to find out WHO they are talking to and WHAT that WHO is looking for – rather than just making assumptions based on gender and age.

  4. “Do yourself a favor and don’t listen to ANYthing you read about on the Internet.”

  5. Very good!

    Might want to rethink the buck-shot vs. bird-shot concept. 00 buck is a super penatrator; deeper than many defensive handgun loads. Bird shot eliminates a lot of over penetration concerns and delivers a wicked wound across the living room. (Investigated several bird-shot shootings.) # 4 shot might be the best compromise.

    How about this one? “You can’t fire 5.56 ammo in a .223.”


    1. It depends on what standard you require. Going by the FBI standard of 9 inches of penetration, birdshot is not a reliable stopper. It can be fatal, and will deliver a nasty wound, but won’t reliably penetrate enough to hit something important.

      Imagine you’re facing a 300 lb dude at an angle on the stairs… is it still going to penetrate enough to stop him immediately?

      1. Maybe not one shot from a #4 or #6 load but I bet you TWO or more will. First rule of thumb is shoot until the threat is stopped not shoot once and wait to see if said monster drops. That is, of course, unless you’ve got a deathwish. -_^

  6. I agree.

    With ammo, everything is a compromise. More penetration = less tissue destruction. That’s the law of bullets. And, the FBI has a tendency lean toward more penetration.

    I can tell you from the gel testing I have done and the dead folks I’ve seen that #4 and even #7 shot at 10 to 15 feet can be lethal. Same goes for 00 buck.

    If you have no concerns for over penetration or if you are not worried about shooting through walls and hitting good guys, nothing wrong with 00.

  7. Me: “Want other pistols do you sell besides Glocks?”

    Sales clerk: “No, you want a Glock, not a *insert name of other pistol here*. Glocks are more *pick one or more of the following: accurate, powerful, user-friendly, rust-resitant, compact, reliable, strong, loyal, trusty, thrifty, brave * than that type of pistol.”

    Look, I understand the need to make a sale, and I understand that you live, eat, breathe and crap firearms for 8 hours a day (or more) behind the counter, but maybe I have my own ideas about what kind of firearm I want.

    And yes, this did happen to me at a store in Tempe, AZ.

    1. Its still not a good idea, but the bullet is undersized for the bore. 5.60mm for the 5.45×39 and 5.70mm for the 5.56×45. It shouldn’t cause an overpressure and explode or anything.

      Would it even chanber? The 5.45 is a little bigger case than 5.56, probably depends on the chamber.

      1. I figured if one is actually stupid enough to try it..if it even worked it’d wear the hell out of the internals.

        Not to mention most, if not all, of 5.45 is steel cased. And the readily available stuff is corrosive.

  8. “You probably can’t handle a gun, have you seen our tactical bowie knife with an accessory rail for a weapon light/laser combo?”

  9. “When you move to Kentucky you’ll have to have a gun dealer ship your guns.”, right before he tried to sell the little lady a .38 snub.

    1. Pshh. Half the reason I moved to KY was that the Brady campaign rated it the 48th or 49th best state for gun rights.

    2. I had to had that happen when I bought a Browning Buckmark 20 minutes away as Bass Pro Shop (it was on sale) on the other side of the Ohio river in Indiana.
      It was so lame..all of the ‘savings’ I got from the sale was ate up from the shipping and FFL transfer I didn’t like having to wait a week to get a pistol I actually saw first hand at the store.

      Funny thing is? Can transport rifles over the border just fine…..heh.

  10. “This Taurus revolver is way more reliable than any modern autoloader.”

    “If you need more than X rounds, you’ve got bigger problems.”

    “A handgun is for fighting your way to a rifle.”
    (comment: Really? If I need my CCW at a movie theater you think I’m going to be fighting my way to a rifle?)

    “Have you heard about the new .45 GAP? They’re so popular that we can’t keep ammo on the shelves. Heh. Yeah, that’s the reason we don’t have ammo for it…”

  11. “That magazine is perfectly legal to own; the Assault Weapons Ban expired”.

    Yes, I had a gun shop commando tell me this. In MA. While I was looking at a LEO-marked magazine.

    (For those that don’t know, MA extended the Federal AWB all on its own thanks to Mitt Romney)

  12.’s an on-topic one:
    “Would you like fries with that?”

    I don’t want a mickyD’s dropout handling my firearm transaction.

  13. “here, try this .22” (as clerk hands me a VERY small .22 in pukey baby pink)

    “just get a Glock. everybody wants a Glock. anything else but a Glock is crap.”

  14. Gun shop guy: “You can just put a stock on this mini-uzi and it’ll be a lot more practical.”

    Me: That makes it a short-barreled rifle, and unless I tax-stamp it as such that’s a felony.”

    GSG: “Oh, well the feds send us all kinds of paperwork about the laws and whatnot, but who has time to read it?”

    Same GSG didn’t want me to handle a rifle he had listed at $1200 because “Every time you touch it it takes 2-3 bucks off the value.”
    He wouldn’t lend me a bore light to inspect said rifle because “If it doesn’t work we’ll take it back.” I didn’t have the patience to politely explain that I wasn’t going to spend that kind of money only to have to come back and argue with him if it didn’t work about whether I bought it broken or broke it myself.

  15. “I think honestly the worst thing I ever overheard in a shop was a guy explaining to a customer how it was totally safe to fire 5.45 Russian through his AR because “the metric numbers convert to the same thing, .223″.”

    Holy Mother of Christ!!!!! o.O IS That for real?? Did someone actually say that??? It’s the equivalent of an IT geek saying “delete System32, it’ll get you some extra free-space in your hard-drive”.

  16. I had a “things you don’t want to hear” experience just today. I went to a local gunshop looking for 9mm Cor-Bon Pow’rball, then standard Cor-Bon JHP’s when they didn’t have that. The owner keeps showing me a little plastic display of a bunch of recovered .40 hollow points with only the Speer bullet expanding. Really? No other hollow point on the market opens up *at all*? This guy’s a hell of a salesman, isn’t he? “Hi, I want a sig.” “Here’s a glock.” “…but I want a sig.” “No you don’t. Glocks are better. Look, I made a graph that says so.” I looked online and *surprise*, guess who’s my nearest Speer dealer. You can just tell me you don’t have what I want and that’s fine, but if you try to tell me I don’t know what I want, you have lost a customer.

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