Over the past year and a half, gun sales have skyrocketed higher than a SpaceX shuttle launch. Millions upon millions of new gun owners found themselves with their very first firearm, while the rest of us sat back and watched the madness ensue as gun and gear manufacturers struggled to keep up with the unprecedented demand. This demand began leaking over into the world of reloading, and components such as primers and powder became hard to come by at times. I decided to take advantage of this and go undercover at my local gun shop to see what exactly was going on “behind the scenes” and what folks were really asking when browsing the shelves.
My day of working “undercover” at the gun counter did not take me far from home, as I was welcomed with open arms by the fine employees of Long Island Gun Source. Now that I think about it, perhaps they were more excited to have someone else answer the phone for a change because it rang close to a hundred times that day! As the hours rolled by, a steady stream of customers filtered through the store. These customers ran the gamut when it came to demographics and we saw all ages, races, religions and more. This was particularly nice to see, since the stereotypical gun owner has long been portrayed as a middle-aged Caucasian man. What I found most interesting, though, was the wide array of questions that were being asked.
Do you have any shotguns that are good for home defense?
Home-defense and self-defense geared firearms are still high on everyone’s wish list … or at least those who missed the boat and were unable to get one last year due to the high demand and production delays. States where there are restrictions on handguns are seeing more demand than elsewhere for such an option.
When are you going to be getting more PC carbines in stock?
Gun owners find themselves flocking to Pistol Caliber Carbines, especially if they happen to already own, for example, a handgun chambered in 9 mm. This makes it an excellent option for home defense as well as an excellent option to use if you happen to be participating in various competitions.
Do you have any 9 mm? Buckshot? .38 Special? .22 LR?
I was happy to report to one customer that we did have in stock the .38 Spl. ammo he called about, but by the time he made it down to the shop later that day everything had sold out. If it is a round that makes sense for home-defense/self-defense or even a cheaper alternative to a preferred training round, consider yourself lucky if you can find some on the shelves!
If I buy all the parts to make an AR, can you guys build it for me?
Once you transfer the lower receiver through your local FFL, you can easily do the rest yourself at home, thus customizing it to fit your exact needs and save half the cost of buying a prebuilt option. There are a lot of great tools and companies to aid you along the way, so I always make it a point to tell people not to let inexperience scare them away from a fantastic learning opportunity.
"I was pleasantly surprised that I was treated no differently than my fellow coworkers."
My day at Long Island Gun Source was over before I knew it, and I left the shop that day still hearing the phone ring in my head, and I am fairly certain I muttered, “Do you have any small pistol primers in stock?” in my sleep that night. I went into this experience expecting to have more of a focus on how customers approached a female working the gun counter versus a male, but was pleasantly surprised that I was treated no differently than my fellow coworkers. Each customer who walked through the doors seemed much more interested in an employee’s knowledge and willingness to help versus their appearance.
This, in addition to everything else, brought a smile to my face. The next time you visit your local Federal Firearm License (FFL), be sure to thank the men and women behind the counters, as they are working countless hours answering a never-ending stream of phone calls and questions, and doing their best to assist every customer who comes their way with a smile.In the end we all have one very important thing in common: the Right To Keep and Bear Arms. New gun owners, we welcome you into our community!