The gun store often is filled with a predictable cast of characters.
Photo by Andy Grossman
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I have personally been a part of the firearms industry for more than 10 years now. But let me make something very clear: Although I work in this industry, I do not know everything about guns. I learn something new pretty much every day. I actually didn’t grow up around guns at all. My parents wanted nothing to do with firearms, and my grandpa didn’t hunt. I jumped headfirst into firearms out of necessity. I looked down the business end of a Glock while working in Detroit one day and had no way to defend myself. That is when I decided it was time to head to the gun shop and get a handgun.

Gun Shop People

When I first walked into gun shops for the first time 12 years ago, I found a whole different breed of dumbass. It was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward experiences of my life. I was hoping to learn something by going to these shops, and instead I was belittled and made very uncomfortable. After one of these gun shop incidents, I walked out so angry I actually decided to get my own Federal Firearms License (FFL) to sell guns myself and become an instructor. Two years later, I got my FFL and became a certified instructor.

To this day, I still hate the know-it-alls (who don’t actually know very much) lurking around every corner. So, to make your life easier, I’ve compiled a list of these fools so they’re easier to spot the next time you’re in a gun shop.

The Torn Douche

Gun Shop People, Torn Douche

 

I call this person the Torn Douche because he likes to spill his disgusting opinions all over everyone. He is the gremlin who will trash any gun that he doesn’t know anything about or that he doesn’t personally like. Exaggerations such as “That gun is trash,” or “That gun will fail,” are some of his common phrases. He refuses to educate himself on all the brands and styles of guns, so everything is “junk” to him except the two guns in each category he personally likes.

The Torn Douche will never listen to a customer’s wants and needs, and only pushes his moronic opinions on every soul he encounters. Oftentimes, this creature doesn’t have a clue he is even doing this, but he is.

The Fanboy

The fanboy is the groupie of the gun world.

The Fanboy is the groupie of the firearms world. He follows the company he loves through thick and thin. Even if a new gun has issues, he will defend it. He is obsessed with anything the company he loves produces, and no other company makes anything of quality. He is the brand loyalist who will try to steer you in the direction of that specific brand. No matter what you are looking for, he will compare it to his brand and talk about its superiority. The Fanboy is often easy to spot right away just by looking at the way he dresses. His particular brand will be all over him—shirts, hats, patches, keychains, lanyards, stickers and even tattoos.

The Old-Timer

The old guy is just that, the elder statesman, most likely holding something wood and blue, and a 1911.

This one is pretty self-explanatory. The Old-Timer is the old, gray-haired guy behind the counter of your local shop. He is normally dressed like a homeless guy with a flashy 1911 in a big, thick leather holster on his hip. These old-school gun guys are actually pretty knowledgeable, as long as that “knowledge” pertains to metal guns. They refuse to acknowledge polymer-framed guns and will only steer you toward revolvers and 1911s. Most Old-Timers won’t even allow a plastic grip panel to touch their metal guns and normally don’t want to talk to younger gun buyers who come into the gun shop.

The Macho Man

The macho man is tactical and cool, and he loves his accessories.

That’s right brotha, Macho Man will show you some guns. I mean, as long as you are the right build, you have a “Y” chromosome and look like you served in the military recently. The Macho Man normally wants to talk only to other Macho Men. He will also steer you toward as many “tactical” accessories he can.

He also won’t have any real-world experience. He’ll know a friend who knows a guy who has a cousin, etc. That cousin, a Navy SEAL, told him a story once; so now Macho Man knows it all and has experienced everything. This character continuously spews a whole bunch of information about ballistics and penetration that he read online. The Macho Man usually suffers from ’roid rage, so you’d better just agree with what he says, or you might end up being choked out or thrown over the top rope.

The Scary Virgin

While he may look unassuming, the scary virgin is full of know-it-all knowledge.

This cute little guy works behind the counter at a big-box store. He puts on his shirt and name tag in the mirror every day, pumping himself up to “Eye of the Tiger” while getting ready to sell some guns. The Scary Virgin is like a skunk, cute and innocent but full of bile that he is ready to unload on unsuspecting new gun buyers.

This know-it-all has done countless hours of research on the “innerweb” and listened very closely to every person he talks to and believes everything he has heard. The Scary Virgin normally doesn’t have a concealed-carry permit, has very limited trigger time and usually likes to show customers gimmicky gun accessories. You’ll hear him call magazines “clips.” He also likes to point guns at people and hand firearms over the counter without ever doing a safety check. That’s what makes him scary.

Safety Stan

Safety Stan probably needs a refresher course in safety, because he thinks he knows guns so well the rules don't apply to him.

This could be a gun shop attendant, a customer or simply a friend who won’t listen. A Safety Stan knows and understands the rules of gun safety. However, he doesn’t think they apply to him when handling a gun outside the range. He’ll often respond with “The gun is unloaded” when someone calls him out for his stupidity. You’ll see him pick up a gun and immediately wave it around, aimlessly racking the slide multiple times and pulling the trigger rapidly.

This dumbass likes to try to teach his friends to shoot. He also argues with instructors about proper grip and trigger pull. Often, he becomes famous, making the news when he cleans his gun at home and ends up shooting the neighbor. He can also be spotted easily when he flashes his non-holstered sidearm during a conversation about concealed carry. Safety Stan is one of the most dangerous to encounter among the know-it-alls.

The Round Shamer

The round shamer wants everyone to go big, usually too big.

The Round Shamer is one of the worst parasites one can encounter, especially if you’re a first-time gun buyer. This guy will always try to push you into using the largest possible round, instead of the round that works best for you. The Round Shamer won’t carry any round that doesn’t start with a “4.” He will argue until he is blue in the face that a .380 or a 9mm is not a viable option for personal defense, and that if you can’t carry a .45 ACP, you shouldn’t bother carrying at all. This is a guy to avoid at all costs.

The Pissed-Off Patriot

The pissed off patriot can do more harm than good, like open carrying ARs in front of soccer moms.

This guy normally isn’t a huge issue to anyone in his immediate vicinity, but he’s so aggressive with his beliefs about the Second Amendment that he normally ends up breaking a bunch of laws, thereby handing ammunition to the anti-gunners out there. The Pissed-Off Patriot normally means well and is usually a good dude who just refuses to acknowledge the fact that there are laws, even if they suck.

The Keyboard TrollThe keyboard troll is the lowest form of pond scum.

This is one of my favorites among the know-it-alls. The Keyboard Troll lives in his parents’ basement, where he trolls gun forums, looking for the perfect moment to strike. His assault on innocent people with real questions shows his ignorance, yet he will pursue his battle of terrible information until he is either banned from the group or everyone finally gets tired of arguing with him. This troll always has the last word in a social media debate because he doesn’t have a job and can just sit online all day. The Keyboard Troll rarely emerges out of the basement. He only does so to take some selfies at the range with some rental guns that he will never shoot because he doesn’t know how. This Keyboard Troll normally ends up being pretty much all of the know-it-alls mixed into one pile of skin, bones and gun-branded apparel.

The Great Salesman

The great salesman is a true asset to any gun shop.

I’ve covered a whole lot of negatives here, but it’s important to understand that not all gun folks fall into a negative stereotype. There are many Great Salesmen out there in gun shops everywhere. The Great Salesman is the friendly guy who isn’t afraid to come out from behind the counter. He helps every customer who walks through the doors of his gun shop without bias. He will sell customers exactly what they want, regardless of his own opinion of that product. The Great Salesman is often found in shops such as Gerbrand Defense in Waterford Township, Michigan—a small shop where the staff members are friendly and rarely give their personal opinions.

The Tactical Teacher

A tactical teacher can be a great influence in a gun store, helping weed past the bull.

This is one of the best gun folks to run into. The Tactical Teacher is always learning and spreading his knowledge to everyone he comes in contact with. These saints of the gun community are, unfortunately, a rare breed, but they’re out there. The Tactical Teacher will often show you multiple firearms when you’re looking to purchase a gun. He will educate you on all the features and actually pick guns that will work for you. The Tactical Teacher often has his favorite firearms, but he also recognizes every gun’s advantages and disadvantages. He will help every person who wants to be helped and normally loves making the know-it-alls look foolish.

Obviously, this was all written in fun. There is still time for you to change if you fall into one of these negative categories. It’s important to remember that we’re all united by one thing: our love of firearms. As gun owners, we must remember a time before we owned guns. We have to help those trying to get into shooting learn more and feel comfortable handling guns and walking into gun shops.

Whatever you do, don’t be one of the stuck-on-stupid know-it-alls on this list. Make sure you fall into one of the last two categories, being a useful part of the firearms community.

This article is from a past issue of Personal Defense World magazine. Grab your copy at OutdoorGroupStore.com. For digital editions, visit Amazon.

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