Negative Gunshow Commentary Feedback

Not everyone agrees with me about needing a new Gun Show Promoter.  Here is a guy that just isn’t getting what I was driving at.  He’s one of the crotchety dealers I must have seen selling overpriced guns that don’t meet a fraction of the value being asked:

It is possible to overdo it. However, sales are better, and shows last longer, if there’s a certain amount of merchandise for spouses and kids. The “All we allow is guns” shows suck dead donkeys, and are run by humorless losers who clearly doubt their masculinity.

My tables are right next to the guy roasting the fresh almonds and fudge. It draws traffic like nobody’s business, and also means more money for the show, not the fairgrounds food concessionaire, who sells better than average but still overpriced crap.

Why should dealers bother sticking to guns when you’re going to bitch just as much about their product? “Waah, waah, they didn’t have what I liked, and some of them don’t share my expertise or taste!” You want the gold nuggets, you have to put up with the moss-covered sandstone. That’s how the game is played.

And if you don’t like beef jerky, you’re just not a man. Not to mention raping a sterling with a wuss-length barrel and an EoTech. Grow up, Mall Ninja.

Here’s a thought: Why don’t you stop going if you don’t like it?

You want to know who’s killing the shows? Look in a mirror.

Really?  So your only real defense regarding all the Junk was that it was bringing more traffic pass your table?  So people were not going to your booth… but just by it so they could get to the snacks.  So, if people are going to the Almonds and Fudge booth – why are you not selling Almonds and Fudge?  Because you obviously don’t think people are going to these things to see GUNS.  Guess what… They are.  That’s the draw.  That is why people are paying the 10 bucks to get in.  To see guns.  Guys want to see cool firearms and have a chance to buy them.  This is why you see mostly guys, and not mothers with kids in tow pushing shopping carts. It’s called a Gun Show for crying out loud.  How thick do you have to be to not get that?  It’s not the Fudge and Almond show.  People paid money to see guns.

You are not getting what I was talking about… Let me use smaller words and I’ll talk slower and louder.  I want the Gun Show to be a Gun Show.  Well, actually, I would like it to be a Consumer Oriented version and not a Dealer Oriented version of the SHOT Show.  Well, you probably don’t know what that even is as they don’t have Crystal Figurines and Indian Princes Fantasy Art.  So let me break it down to you… Shooting… Hunting… Outdoor… Trade.  Basically everything having to do with those key things… Outside shooting and hunting.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy beef jerky.  I even enjoyed the almonds.  And I got a wonderful Strussel for all the Crusader Guys.  We all agree, it was good.  Not exactly fresh, but it was good.  But that’s not what I went to the gun show for.  Oh, I like good food.  I am surprised that no one has done a BACON Booth.  Candied bacon, BBQ bacon, Spicy bacon… I mean, if you don’t like bacon, you probably prostitute yourself in downtown San Fran working a glory-hole to satisfy that void in your soul for not being a real Gun Show Guy according to your own failed logic.    But that’s not what I am talking about.

I want to see something better than a Junk and Food Show.  I’m talking a real gun show where the draw isn’t the bloody almonds and fudge.  But everything having to do with the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoors trade.   Get it?   Apparently not. That’s because you are entrenched in the stagnant lameness that is a gun show and are offended at the idea of change.  You are afraid that if they don’t have Fudge, no one would go to your dusty old table.  I can understand that.

And you want to talk smack about the Sterling?  Really?  The 16 inch barrel is necessary because that classifies it as a rifle. A simple 9mm Rifle according to the State of Utah and the ATF… so we can have the folding stock and all that goodness with no special paperwork, no six month background processing and no $200 dollar tax stamp for a Class III gun.  (Do you even know what that is, Fudgy?) This allows any Citizen to legally and easily buy a Sterling as easy as it would be to buy your ruined, bubbafied, .303 Enfield for 380 bucks when it’s only worth 25.   The great thing about the Sterling – if you knew anything about it – is that the owner can then, in his own time and pleasure, process that paperwork on his own and then he could drop in an original short Sterling barrel, trigger parts and have a legal real honest to Rat Patrol looking British Sterling.  The Optics Mount, was done per customers request, and can be added or removed just as easy as the barrel.  For anyone clever enough to position his booth near the Fudge, or could field strip a 1911, could add or remove the mounts at whim.  And if you actually fired some guns once in awhile instead of letting them collect dust waiting for some Almond Muncher to glance at it – you would know that shooting and hitting is more effective with a good quality optical gun sight. Some customers have made note of that, and inquired about, and we provided it.  See, we want to give people what they want, not hoping someone is bored enough to look over your wares while waiting for their almonds.

Maybe you should open up a Bacon Booth.  But if you do, I get 20%. But I doubt you could pull it off, because you obviously lack vision and imagination.

(Actually, that’s a damn good idea.  “WORLD OF BACON”.  Hell, maybe I should open up that booth!)

46 thoughts on “Negative Gunshow Commentary Feedback”

  1. Why is he assuming that the spouses and kids need separate merchandise? Many spouses and kids want to look at the guns too!

  2. I want to see a gun show where there is lots of good bulk ammo to be had for a reasonable price. That way I can bring my wife and daughter along to help carry cases of ammo out to the truck.

  3. Instead of just BULK AMMO – how about a Rep from Hornady showing the reloading process, giving a seminar, and selling reloading kits at a Discount?
    How about a Rep from Nikon showing how to properly mount a scope and how to use the BDC reticle? And selling some decent scopes at a decent price?
    The only Optics vendor at the Crossroads of the West Gun Show was the guys selling cheap chinese knockoffs with no optical clarity at all.

    1. That would be my type of a gun show!!! Truck oem’s come to Truck shows, car manufacturers to the car shows I could go on and on with the boat shows, r.v. shows, etc. Why don’t we get the good stuff at gun shows?!

  4. Major vendors aren’t going to rep at a local third string gun show. It costs money for them with just about zero return. No different from gun manufacturers like colt, s&w, ruger, etc. It would be nice to see, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    As far as the quality of the offerings that’s not too surprising. There is always a group of vendors that show up at these shows with junk more suited to a swap meet than a professional business. They are looking for that no risk fleecing of the unwashed uninformed consumers. If they manage to sell one overpriced piece of crap they come out ahead.

    1. Actually, Reps will come out to the right venue. The Gun Shop I work at does an annual Factory Range Day where the Gun Companies have Reps that come out and bring guns to shoot and ammo to shoot with… They will send people.
      But you are right – they wont send them to a third string gun show sharing space next to a guy selling almonds and fudge.
      Which is why we need a new Gun Show Promoter that can bring in the Gun Companies and filter out the Riff Raff.

  5. I stopped going to gun shows. There weren’t any “deals” the last few times that I went. Add in the $70 in gas round trip and the $11 entry fee and the price of that bulk ammo went way up. Internet and local shopping for me thanks. Don’t forget that if you take the wife to a gun show then she will take you to Costco and spend your gun money first!

    1. And the more and more people like you that stop going, bring more and more people that are going for the Jerky and Fudge. So its no longer a Gun Show, but a Junk show.
      Seriously, Crossroads of the West needs to stop calling them Gun Shows.

  6. It’s called a “Gun Show” for a reason…it’s not Wal Mart. I also don’t get when someone resorts to “clever” put-downs & personal attacks to attempt to get their point across. It’s what a Democrat does when they know they are in the wrong and they don’t know what else to say to support their sinking ship.

  7. Jeeze, this guy is the embodiment of *almost* everything wrong with gunshows. Toss some Nazi memorabilia and a few copies of the Turner Diaries on his table and he’d be there.

  8. I’m with you here, really I am. But I just do not see it happening.

    I stopped going for the same reasons as many others: I can mail order just about anything at one of those places, I make my own beef jerky and I do not need a purse.

    Does my mentality make these places worse? Possibly, but here in Philadelphia and the surrounding environs…only the gang bangers and the gun task force detectives seem to come out in force to buy (or try to buy) some nice Jimendez’ for 300 bucks, or the one guy carrying around his sporter POS with a sign wanting 4 figures for it. Ammo? Last one I went to at the National Guard Armory…had ONE bulk ammo dealer. ONE.

    Once I saw Masterpiece Arms in 45 with a silencer on it, for 1100 bucks (before tax stamp), though the dealer DID offer to help you fill out the paperwork! And he was set up next to the guy who apparently buys the things BudK won’t, so you could wait in line to see the ‘machine gun’ and buy yourself some low quality letter openers masquerading as knives.

    Yea. I’m bitter. I would love to go to a show such as you describe, but I think I may have better odds of winning the lottery I do not play.

    Crusader Promotions?

    1. You know… I am almost ready to do just that. Look at all the people that go to the NRA conventions and the people that come from around the world for SHOT SHOW.
      The idea has merit and would work. It just needs someone behind it with some more money that I have to make it happen.

  9. I still go to the shows, even the little local ones I call “Jerky and Fudge” shows, because sometimes you see something new, or different, or unusual, even if you can’t afford it. I’d like to see more guns. I’d like nonguns to be confined to one specific space. Most of all I’d like for the organizers to MAKE AISLES MORE THAN ONE PERSON WIDE. People will stand in the middle of an aisle and gawk, and not move, making it impossible to get anywhere- especially at the big shows like Tulsa or the Indy 1500. And I know there is always space to spare. Annoys the ever loving crap out of me. Im with you though on making the gun shows GUN SHOWS. With some knives, maybe.

    1. Knives go with guns like peanut butter and bananas. By the SHOT definition, knives are most welcome. Baked Bread, not so much.

  10. Up here in Anchorage the shows have really gone down hill. Not so much the junk and food that you guys are dealing with, but the guys with tables selling guns for MORE THAN RETAIL. I thought Gun Shows were for finding deals and rare stuff. Not here, not anymore.

  11. The Ogre said: ” Guys want to see cool firearms and have a chance to buy them.”

    I help a dealer buddy out at the shows up in Denver. He stocks the high end stuff everyone wants to gawk at, but they rarely if ever buy. Rarely buy is the key word. It is no surprise to me that the jerky folks are taking over because an honest gun dealer struggles to break even at these events.

    An example. FN SCAR. You could have scraped the drool off with a shovel. One dude tied me up for nearly an hour as he fingered it over and over. Would he buy? Nope. Another guy finger f’ed a Kahr for an hour while giving me crap about how it couldn’t be new because of a small ding in the grip panels caused by the morons tossing the inventory around like remaindered shoes at wally world. He interspersed those comments with one about how he used to be in the gun show biz and our prices were way too high. Then the jerk would comment that this was the Kahr he wanted and the only one in the show. Idiot. I persisted because I wanted to make the sale, but finally told him to buy or get lost.

    To tell the truth, I don’t know why my friend continues to bother. Shows have definitely gone to pot over the past ten years. He would be much better off economically by blowing them off -OR- getting rid of the good stuff he carries and carrying nothing but zip guns and kandy korn.

    :-(

  12. It looks like Mr. Fudge Lover is reading through these replies and distributing a few thumbs down now.

    1. That’s amusing. I wonder if he thinks the blog owner will remove his own posts if he keeps hitting the dreaded down thumb?

  13. Like JFM, I too live in Alaska, and the gun shows have gone downhill.
    But what disturbs me are my friends who live in the Lower 48 and frequently
    go to the many shows down there~~~and every single one of them make the same
    complaints of too few guns and too many trash-laden non-gun tables.

    Its supposed to be a GUN SHOW~~~a gun meet, if you will~~~where fellow gun
    enthusiasts get together to buy, sell, swap, or trade their passion: GUNS!!!
    Or at least gun-related items, such as optics, accessories, parts, etc…
    I would draw the line at pure sporting goods (like tents, stoves, sleeping bags)
    as this is supposed to be a GUN SHOW, not an outdoor sporting goods expo. Gun
    shows began as meets~~~a social event for collectors, hobbyists, and shooters of
    every sort and persuasion. Unfortunately, they have been allowed to morph into
    some sort of “carny” event that would make PT Barnum proud…Its all about money-
    money-money now, and no longer about guns.

    So put my vote in for GUNS. Ogre, I’m with you all the way except for the bacon.
    But if the local culinary establishments wish to ADVERTISE their addresses and
    offerings, I am sure there will be many folks whose appetites need to be whetted
    by their menus! And THAT is a good example of how local businesses can profit by a
    properly run gun show….

  14. I haven’t gone to a gun show in years for all of the aforementioned reasons.

    I think the era of the grand gunshows of my youth is lost in the past thanks to the fudgies, the price-gouging grouches and the Internet.

    Why put up with all that BS when I can peruse J&G or Buds Guns from my EZ Boy?

    Sure, I can’t smoke over the merchandise in person on the ‘Net but then again the fat old bastages who want $1k for a Mosin won’t let me either. I can go to the local flea market and get nauseated by the smell of funnel cakes, turkey jerky and my hillbilly cousins for free. Why drive for an hour and pay $10 (plus $5 to park) for the same nut kick when it’s only 10 minutes away on the bypass?

  15. What sarge712 said. Why should I drive and pay good money so some kid can spill his $7 pepsi on my shoes while I am trying to fight through the smelly people to get a look at the gun I’m interested in? I think to a large extent the internet has made gun shows obsolete. If Crusader Promotions made a gun show the way it’s supposed to be, that might be enough to make me go.

  16. Nice “counter-flame”!

    Reminds me of that book with Gov. Ogre and the demise of SLC. ;)

    Love the Sterling, by the way.

    Rock on, Ogre!

  17. Have to agree about the junky and overpriced guns. Any more, I go to the gun shows to look at knives, camping equipment, and gun/knife care products. The jerky I don’t mind; I usually have some in my pocket for nibbling while hiking or hunting.

  18. What you are really criticizing is how the free market in your area is working. The promoters are in business to make money. That means they sell space to the vendors and the vendors, in turn, sell what the customers will buy.

    Believe me, I can understand your frustration. I used to go the big gun show in Pomona, CA every year. I finally stopped bothering three or four years before the fairgrounds stopped them because I could no longer find what I wanted. I’m not interested in the latest “tactical” accessories for the AR or AK I don’t own. Nor do I care about a vest I can hang a bunch of 30 round magazine from. However, that was what the people who went there wanted to buy. I don’t blame the promoters or the vendors because, ultimately, the customers decide what will be sold.

    1. It ain’t a free market situation.

      The BATFE has been actively chasing anyone who sells guns regularly without an FFL, while refusing to let non-store-front folks have an FFL.

      Get rid of the non-FFL competition, and this sort of thing starts happening.

      They have gone from being an informal swap meet/gun flea market, to being just another retail venue.

  19. Hell, I’m a dealer and I can only get one table at the largest gun show in VA at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. Why? because there are guys there that do shoe polishing, waterless car-washes, jewelry, bad Chinese Crap, etc. Think Church Garage sale and you are close.

    The organizers don’t like it when you mention the flea market atmosphere has to go. :) They get outright offended, but that’s what I mention I here from customers running around.

    Lose the crap, bring in dealers and watch attendance soar.

  20. I have a buddy that sell insoles at gun shows, he also sells some guns too (pistol here shotgun there type stuff). He makes 900-1200 off the insole and maybe enough off the guns to pay for the booth. He says the guys that sell the “super Ion charged magnet bracelets” make more money than most gun shops.

    1. He is learning.

      You don’t make money selling an occasional firearm.

      You make money selling $10 to $50 accessories.

      Bring moar gun accessories and ammo, people.

  21. So, is anyone with a legal length barrel and an optic a mall ninja? The military uses optics, are they mall ninjas? Carefull throwing that buzzword around, make sure you use it when it actually applies. Improving a weapon is good, such as the Crusader Sterling. Putting useless crap all over your rail addled bench queen is mall ninja material. Of course fudgey probably only heard “mall ninja” listening in on the conversations of the people standing in line for fudge or people talking about the crap he is selling.

  22. George, I think you’ve got a reasonable gripe. Thing is, having an internet fight over it is never going to do anything.
    Given the facts that: You have the expertise, you have the contacts, you know about retail gun sales and you have an incredible platform to promote from; why not start your own gun show?
    You also know a fair number of high-power folks who could help you over the rough bits.
    I have no idea what’s involved but if gun show/craft fair guys can pull it off, how tough can it be?
    I might be worth looking into at least. You’d get lots of support here, I’m sure.

    1. Cliff, the more I think about it, the more I’d love to do it… Seriously. But it would talk some investors to get the ball rolling. If I was a wealthy man, I would.

  23. The promoters aren’t interested in keeping out non-gun vendors. They are interested in filling tables. If they don’t have enough gun related vendors, what do you expect them to do?

    You want to bring out manufacturers like SHOT or your range day? It won’t happen. SHOT is where they sell to retailers. They don’t sell direct to customers. Your range day is them supporting their stocking retailer. They are helping you move their product. At a gun show they will have display guns that no one can buy – because they don’t sell directly to the public. At range day they just point at you and say “talk to him about purchasing one”. At a gun show, which of the FFLs there are they going to play favorites with, and which are they going to alienate?

    The fact is that a lot of the small FFLs who didn’t have a store front are gone. A lot of the small importers are gone. Mil-surp small arms parts aren’t being sold off like they used to be.

    At the same time, that rare piece that may show up locally once in a blue moon that you’ve been trying to get your hands on for years can be found online and in your hands in a couple of weeks.

    Fewer dealers, less market for odd pieces, and you wonder why promoters are filling tables with fudge and flea market merchandise?

    Does Basin Sports set up at gun shows? If not, why?

    1. Well, I am not Basin Sports, so I couldn’t answer that.
      But I just love it when guys say thinks can’t be done… Especially when they don’t know and ate just being pessimistic. Because factory reps are always going to events… That is what they do. But they wouldn’t go to an event like I’m talking about? Really? Because what happens is you get a few on board, and the other guys suddenly can’t afford not to go.
      If I had some funding, I could make it happen. Thats not even a doubt. You know why gunshows are 10 bucks now instead of 5? Because they have lost a lot of attendance. Sunday, at the last show was dead compared to Saturday. I remember when that didn’t used to be the case.

  24. There are a couple of non-gun things that I like at the local shows. For example, the military vehicle collectors club usually has a nice display where they drive in a few jeeps and the occasional truck or motorcycle. I also really liked the big remote control tanks they had driving around a couple years ago.

    I agree that we can do without the indian jewelry, beanie babies, and the guy selling cheap swords and Klingon bat’leths.

  25. None of you are even considering the cost side. The costs of these venues has gone up substantially. These gun shows aren’t being hosted at the local VFW or church anymore, they’re being held in purpose built exhibition spaces that have to turn a profit themselves as well.

    This dynamic isn’t restricted to gun shows. You’ll hear the same complaints with train shows (aka model railroading), and I don’t doubt other sorts of shows as well.

    One other problem is the Internet. Not just from the sales competition perspective, which has already been mentioned, but rather from the information perspective. You don’t go to the gun show to find out about the latest, you’ve already read about it ad nauseum for the last month on the ‘Net.

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