Are Gun Shows Still A Good Place To Shop?

This was taken at SHOT Show last year or the year before since I couldn't find an actual picture from a gun show. I figured a picture of the high point prototype would be perfect for this post.

I've been starting to see more signs for gun shows over the past couple of months, and there was even one held here in my area a few weeks back. And of course, if you look around YouTube, you can see the guntubers walking around these shows, laughing at all the “deals” to be had.

So, I guess this begs the question, then: Are gun shows still a good place to shop?

The answer to this question, would be that it depends. What does it depend on? Let's take a look.

Your willingness to find deals:

I'm sure there are still some deals to be found at the local gun shows. And, even though you will be able to find some ammo at the gun shows, it won't be affordable. Oftentimes, by the time the ammo gets to the gun show it has passed through several different hands.

This happens even more now as the ammo manufacturers are requiring several thousands of dollars worth of product to be ordered just to make that order.

Those little mom and pop shops cannot usually afford that big of an order, so they may be forced to buy retail just so they can have some ammo to sell.

I'm in no way saying this is good. When they buy retail to resell, they're basically taking more affordable ammo away from people to resell at a higher price. That's not cool. I do want to say that they don't all do this, but some do and to me it is unacceptable.

Each time it trades hands the price goes up a little as each party has to make some money in order to justify selling it. By the time the ammo gets to you it might be way more than you should pay.

Then again, I'm a firm believer that having more ammunition is better than having less so you have to figure out what it's worth for you to buy.

Outside of ammunition, there are still likely some “deals” to be had but you'll have a harder time finding them because more people are looking. And while you'll be paying more for a part or even a whole gun, I believe having these things is necessary.

And if there was one thing you should be buying right now that still has ample stock, it's magazines. Buy them now before you regret it.

Bigger Crowds:

The state of things right now dictates that you'll have more competition looking for the same stuff. While there are building capacity restrictions put in place right now due to what I've started to call the Cerveza Sickness, and they only let so many people in at a time, there are more people trying to find stuff at good prices.

This means that you'll be standing in line for longer, just to get inside and maybe get the scraps other people who were in first got to already. Anything that may have been deemed to be a good deal won't be unless you are one of the first to enter the gun show.

This may just mean that you wasted your time trying to find some stuff and all you came out with was a germ.


This may not be a big deal to you but I personally hate being sick. And if there is one thing I know for certain it's that a thousand people walking around one room is a germ factory.

I was a germ-o-phobe before it was the cool thing to be. I was that guy walking around the past seven or so SHOT Shows, applying anti-bacterial gel after each handshake and going into the restroom to wash my hands each time I'd pass one.

People thought I was nuts, until they ended up with the crud themselves.

After you get the SHOT Show crud one time, you'd get why I'm like that. Last time I got it I was sick for more than a month after and vowed to never get it again.

Granted, I'm not a facemask guy because I enjoy oxygen, but I generally don't like being around people.

The point is that being in a big room with that many people ups your risk for the Cerveza sickness everyone has been talking about for nearly a year as well as all the other stuff people have seemingly forgotten about like the stomach bug or influenza.


Are gun shows still worth going to? Maybe, maybe not. Only you can guess that one for yourself. For me they're not worth it but I generally don't like being around large groups of people, anyway. What do you think?

Let us know in the comments below.

About Joshua Gillem

Josh is a lifelong practitioner and student of the gun. He grew up shooting/hunting with his dad, and was given his first gun, a 12 gauge shotgun, when just a small boy. After high school, he joined the Marines where his love for firearms blossomed as he qualified with an M16A2, an M9, and a 240G. Josh has been writing about firearms and tactics for several years, owns the blog Gunners Den, is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, and believes that each individual person has the right to self-defense by any means necessary. Currently residing in gun-friendly NC, he carries a concealed gun on a daily basis, even in his own house.


  1. Dee Dee on January 27, 2021 at 7:21 pm

    Thank you for your column.

    I appreciate the gun shows. If you are looking for a firearm, going to a gun show may be the only place you can even look at a gun you’re interested in. The ranges around here do not have any guns for rent right now — to test a firearm to help make a decision.

    Gun shows are the only place I have found to procure ammo, too. I agree, most of the ammo available at the shows are almost criminally overpriced. But sometimes it’s possible to find an honest vendor who doesn’t gouge as much as the rest. It is an unfortunate state of reality right now.

    Finally, I like the shows for the ability to look at stuff I don’t necessarily know exists. And I do like to support the small mom & pop vendors. I cannot even imagine how much work it is for the vendors to go from show to show, set up, break down, etc. I am grateful they are there. Also, I will ALWAYS purchase locally if I can opposed to purchasing stuff from faceless operations like Amazon or that put small businessmen out of business. In addition to supporting small businesses, my purchases cannot be tracked online.

    I personally hate crowds also. I am not a germaphobe. Perhaps I don’t get sick because I am not a germaphobe so maybe my body has the opportunity to deal with exposure to bugs and build up an immunity. I could be a bubble boy which only creates a weak immune system that cannot deal with anything — or I can live normally realizing that most bugs cannot be avoided indefinitely.

    I am very grateful for gun shows and the vendors who make them happen.

    • Joshua Gillem on January 27, 2021 at 7:51 pm

      Thanks for the comment, and good luck with your gun shows! Not all of us are blessed with immune systems that work from birth which is why I am the way I am, for my wife. If she ends up with an illness that is just a cold for me it puts her in the hospital.

  2. DEFENDER on January 28, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    I respect your “personal” decision not to participate – something we all have to decide – individually.

    For me – and I am old 70+ and have serious underlying conditions – so it is a Risk –
    But I want access to as many sources as possible for what may be coming.
    So I always wear a mask – Everywhere. Even at Competitions I still shoot every Sat.

    With the Dems now in charge is there any doubt about it getting worse ?

    I have been to many shows and find most of the people there to be of
    good character. And know several vendors – most all of good character.
    ie Patriots
    ie The Good outweighs the Bad.

    Looking Forward:
    I fear it is going to take a Lot of us – with guns and ammo – much like when this country
    started and freed itself from tyranny when this country was born.

    More to come ?
    Has anyone thought what it will do if DC Becomes the 51st state ??
    The Dems are pushing this.
    Then they will have a super majority in the Senate – like the House.
    ie 2 more Senators
    ie Tyranny again.

    So I fear – Dark days ahead.

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