Gun shows are exciting events. There are row after row of dealers at each show, and they all have something different to sell. There are opportunities to walk away with absolutely great deals, and there are ways to walk out of a show feeling completely screwed. For the best experience at a gun show, there are a few things to remember.
First, you must treat everything at every dealer’s table with respect. If they have a “Don’t touch without permission” sign, do not touch it. Some of the things that these collectors and dealers have are very old or very expensive. If you start playing with their $1,000 dollar Single Action Army or their katana that was in World War II without asking, you will probably be asked to leave their table right away. They do not want their things broken by someone they are not sure can pay for them, so act accordingly.
Be sure to see everything at the show before you buy something or make any sort of deal. The gun that you found for $700 at one table might be the same model as a $600 gun across the exhibition hall. You might be interested in a medal from World War II at one table only to find something you want much more a few tables over. Get the full picture of what is at the show before you start dropping money unless you have plenty of money to throw down. This means getting the best prices, finding used guns and militaria of the highest quality, and getting the best offer on anything you may have brought. You will not be happy if you just bought a gun that has began to rust just to find the same gun that is in good shape because you did not look hard enough. If you are trying to sell a few used guns, do not settle with a price you are not happy with if you have not had multiple offers. Walk out happy.
If you are trying to sell a gun or some other item that someone may want and you do not have a table, you can simply carry it around. Dealers are often looking to buy things for their inventories, and people walking the aisles may be interested as well. If someone asks about a price, have a good idea of what it is really worth. Something too high will get people to laugh at you. Also, do not throw out insultingly low prices if you are trying to haggle with someone when buying. That can make them end any chance of a deal right there in some cases.
Lastly, be friendly and have fun. Most gun show dealers are very friendly and helpful people. If you regularly go to the show in your town, you will probably run into the same dealers, and building a relationship with them can be to your benefit. If you are having trouble determining if a particular antique medal that one collector is selling is real or not, if you have a good relationship with another dealer, they may be able and willing to help you. Not only this, but you may make some good friends and learn more than you would have ever known otherwise.