As the ranks of female firearm owners grows, so does the interaction between female consumers and those who sell them firearms. This can be a great opportunity for women to develop good relationships while helping other women increase their skill sets related to firearms and their use. One of the best ways to do that is to develop friendships.
A few weeks ago, my local FFL came to work with me on the range. Cheryl and her sons run their small business bait shop and FFL. They are a great asset to our community. Not only do they hold Hunter Safety classes, they operate the sort of shop where a person can stop in to consign their firearm, utilize FFL transfer or gunsmithing services, and buy the small things they need for a day on the range or fishing trip. After years of visiting them for all our transfers, Cheryl felt comfortable enough to ask if I would help her with pistol shooting. This type of relationship is so important because, generally, FFLs are the ones imparting knowledge to the customer. As a customer, it was great to finally be able to share my knowledge with her.
Most FFLs are housed inside a business that does more than simply transfer firearms. Many are sporting good stores, gunsmiths, or outfitters and retail shops. We can stop in at ours when something arrives and when I have a timeline for writing, she is quick to alert me when a package arrives. It’s professional support in my work, and truly valued.
Cheryl’s husband, Tom, had been her shooting coach. Sadly, for all those who knew and loved him, his earthly trek ended in 2020. Since then, Cheryl and I have shared so much in conversation that I was happy she asked me to work together on pistol shooting skills.
In a time where FFLs must be cautious about their interactions with clientele (due to ever-changing requirements put on them, and real concerns, like straw purchases), I’m happy that she knows our family well. It’s a truly small town atmosphere and connection that we have built.
The opportunities that arise during the shopping experience at an FFL are not to be overlooked.
There is opportunity for the FFL to share other products or services that their business offers. Additionally, the FFL can educate the consumer by offering information and options about products, as well as the law and ensuring that their customers are well-informed.
For the consumer, it’s a great opportunity to develop a trusted relationship with their local FFL and to learn about the firearm they are purchasing as well as the laws surrounding it.
You might even encounter someone working at an FFL that you, the consumer, can educate. Some shops have employees running the counter, completing paperwork and engaging with customers, but might be less interested in firearms. Talking with them about why a particular firearm is appealing can help them understand whether they stock items that consumers are looking for, or if they don’t have the items consumers want.
One way we’ve taken advantage of opportunities with our FFL is by sharing the work we each do. I share information about the firearms we are transferring—especially when it’s a firearm for review—making sure she sees the latest and greatest that I can talk about. She shares why and how the forms have changed, yet again, to make sure our paperwork is always spot on. This communication not only builds her knowledge about guns, our competitive shooting activities and my writing, and my knowledge of boxes I need to check.
The opportunity that arises each time you work with women who sometimes might just be doing paperwork and have zero interest in shooting a particular gun, is a great juncture to help them learn, and help our industry expand the knowledgebase of information held by all. It also can open the doors to conversations, interests and opportunities that are right in front of you. And sometimes, you might just make a new friend.