I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say I do not enjoy going out of my comfort zone. I am not the type of individual who strives to try new things. However, this year, I made a New Year’s resolution to start doing things that made me uncomfortable or nervous. And what better way to put myself to the test than by going to a store I have never been to before? Specifically, a gun shop! 

My First Trip to a Gun Shop

Honestly, it’s not what I expected to come out of my promise to myself, but it is a great start. I need to expand my horizons on gun knowledge, and a gun shop seemed like the perfect place. And boy, did I feel out of my element.

I will not lie. Going in, my limited knowledge of firearms made it impossible to point out what each firearm was in the massive arsenal on the wall. I had fears of judgment, being made fun of, or feeling like I did not belong.

However, I can say with full confidence that stepping into Huron Valley Guns surpassed my expectations by far. 

First Reaction 

When I first stepped into the building, my breath was taken away. It was full of historical décor and a huge arsenal of firearms only a gun fanatic can dream of. Likewise, there was an indoor gun range, a gunsmith, and even a restaurant. 

(Photo by Andy Grossman)

Imagine my surprise upon entering the building and seeing a barber shop nestled in the corner. I had never heard of a gun shop having an entire area to meet your hair grooming needs. And it was hard not to laugh at the sight of American flag aprons being swung across customers as the sound of clippers clipped. All, with a bunch of firearms, circling the background of the shop. 

Rows and rows of guns, almost begging for attention, made me want to take a step back in hesitation. It was a lot for my eyes to take in. Not to mention, the aisle of products was confusing if you did not know what you were doing.

Nonstop questions flooded my head. Would the employees be able to sense my anxiety? Could they tell I had no idea what I was doing here? Could they see my nerves?

The author checks out accessories in the gun shop.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

Confidence From the Founding Fathers

Then I saw it—the mural of George Washington on the wall. Equipped with an American flag behind him and an eagle at full wingspan next to him walking through a blazing fire, the Constitution remained clutched in his hand.

It was a mere historic mural. But I felt like it gave me the spark of confidence I needed in that moment. Nothing like American pride to get the blood flowing and confidence moving.

As I ventured deeper into the shop, friendly faces welcomed me. Immediately, you could tell that the employees weren’t the overbearing type. We can all think of a store where the employees are like hungry piranhas, and you are fresh blood. Those types of stores made me want to hightail it out of there and never return. 

Friendly, Helpful Gun Shop Staff

At Huron Valley Guns, they offered space and were polite, respectful, and eager to offer any help I needed. Sales associate Garry did me the honor of showing me around and giving me a tour of the gun area. I had never been to a gun store before and wanted to see what it was about.

The author speaks with gun shop staff.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

I do not pretend to know everything. With that comes learning to ask questions and not being afraid to do so. I stand by the saying, “There are no dumb questions.”

So, I often find myself trying to grasp whatever information I can by asking whatever questions I can. I ask “dumb” questions all the time and I am proud of it. If you never ask, you will never know. That said, I was not afraid to ask any questions, and they were all happily answered. 

I was not laughed at, mocked, or scolded because I was not highly educated on firearms. Even if the question seemed like simple common knowledge, it was still answered without any hassle. There was no judgment, and I felt like I could be myself. 

Finding Answers

Garry showed me around, and I asked about his favorite type of gun (If he answered that question, we would be there all day). Likewise, I asked about the most popular handgun people are currently buying—it turned out to be the SIG P365. We also had a conversation about both men and women coming in here and not knowing what they were doing.

It is no secret the gun industry is a male-dominated sport. So, it was nice to hear that both genders sometimes have no clue what they are doing. I suddenly did not feel like I had to fight for my spot to belong. I already had a spot; I just did not know it. 

The store had a large selection of pistols.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

Garry confessed that he himself doesn’t know everything. At times, he claimed, if he doesn’t know something, he is not afraid to ask another associate.

That is the way to show a customer you are honest and genuine. You are not pretending or faking your knowledge to make a quick sale. You are still human, and humans do not know everything. 

No Gun Shop Cliques

I appreciated the honesty and wish everyone was more like that in their approach. It’s not a hidden secret that some individuals in the gun industry are not as accepting as they should be. This is especially true in certain gun shops.

I like to think of the gun industry as one giant club, and within the club, you have cliques. Unfortunately, some cliques are just downright rude and think they are better than everyone else.

They turn their noses up to the people who are just trying to learn. Likewise, they think if you do not already know everything, you do not belong in this industry. For some reason, people think knowledge gives them a reason to be rude and standoffish. 

The author got to handle many different firearms.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

These cliques are distasteful and pointless and leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. 

I cannot tell you how disheartening it would be to enter a store with excitement to learn and leave feeling belittled for the attempt. Especially if it is because I am a newbie or a woman they think is wasting her time. If a situation like that happened, I would probably never step foot in a gun store again. 

Huron Valley Guns went above and beyond to show me that not all gun shops are like that. They left a good, lasting impression on how you should be treated at a gun shop. No matter who you are. 

Handling Firearms

The fear of not belonging vanished as I ventured around the shop, asking questions about certain firearms and being shown lots of cool guns. The shop was set up by the types of guns (shotguns, rifles, handguns, etc.). From there, they were categorized by brand.

A wall of AR-15s are just part of the arsenal.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

It was not as difficult or overwhelming as it looked when I first stepped foot in the store. Once I had the layout down, it was not as daunting as it originally seemed.

I also learned the proper way to handle firearms between the customer and employee. Always clear the magazines to be safe and let the other person know it is ammo-free. The sales associate will clear the firearm and hand it to you. In return, you will do the same to check that it is clear. It’s kind of like a weird handshake only a gun owner can understand.

I would avoid having grabby hands and allow the sales associate to make the first move. Be polite, and they will reward you with the same respect. No one wants to be made uncomfortable when handling firearms. 

The author handled many different firearm platforms during her visit to the gun shop.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

To the Beginners

Going to a gun shop was a great way to get information and recommendations on where to start. Truthfully, gun shops and all that inhabit them are the encyclopedias of the firearm industry. Most are equipped with all the gun information you could dream of. 

Nervous about going to a gun shop and having them belittle you? A quick Google or Yelp review could save you the trouble. I would not be afraid to walk out and take your business elsewhere. That type of negativity is not worth your time or energy.

Their vile attitudes do not accurately display how welcoming the gun community is. It is not tolerated or accepted as far as I am concerned. 

I recommend you come prepared with some questions. Or you can do what I did and wing it. I was upfront while explaining that I had never been in a gun shop before and wanted to see what it was all about. In return, I received the grand tour, heard a lot of opinions on firearms, and learned the appropriate demeanor to have upon entering a shop.

The gun shop staff walked the author through many aspects of gun ownership, including suppressors.
(Photo by Andy Grossman)

I even got to witness firsthand the process of purchasing a firearm. It was not as grueling as I thought it would be. I learned a lot in the short time I was there, and I count that as a win. 

I stepped into the store with little confidence and left feeling like a brand-new woman. It was clear I did not have to fight for my spot to belong…I was already accepted.

For more information, please visit HuronValleyGuns.com.

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