If you could run a gun show, what would you do different?

ChrisNH

NES Member
Rating - 100%
16   0   0
Joined
Sep 17, 2013
Messages
212
Likes
53
1. Provide an FFL to do transfers for walk in sales, probably a popular choice for INTERSTATE sales.
2. Sell tables to ONLY gun related vendors, No t-shirts, beef jerky, beanie babies, FLEA MARKET CRAP!
3. Provide a safe location for customers to put down items and continue shopping, like lockers at a train station
4. Pay insurance for vendors to drive inside building
I have a lot more ideas, but it costs a lot of money to run a gun show, believe me I've tried.
 

Green_Manelishi

NES Member
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Apr 23, 2006
Messages
310
Likes
32
Location
Too far west of Alba, wrong side of the Jordan.
If you look like, sound like, or are dressed like what the anti-gunners believe all gun owners are, you will not be allowed to attend.
If you are armed, under NO circumstances will you be allowed to remove it from concealment and from the holster. Anyone who does so will immediately be reported and escorted out.
 

LuvDog

NES Member
Rating - 100%
35   0   0
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,465
Likes
1,693
Location
Metrowest
Multiple entry lines

Discounted children ticket

Lower price general admission ticket. $11/$12 to get in makes it almost not worth going... add $12 on to a purchase of a holster or belt or something and it makes it cheaper for me to order online and pay shipping.
 

greencobra

NES Member
Rating - 100%
23   0   0
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
15,083
Likes
6,541
1. Sell the tickets online, show up with a ticket and get in no waiting line.

2. Women get in free

3. Over 65 get in 1/2 price
#1 is a good idea

i'd tweak 2 & 3 a bit

#2 women get in for 1/2 price

#3 seniors get in free
 

MachineHead

NES Member
Rating - 100%
65   0   0
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Messages
8,259
Likes
3,403
Location
Central MA
-Paying admission in cash at the door is still a great idea for privacy reasons.
-An alternative is having the ability to buy tickets at a local firearms store for convenience.
 

greencobra

NES Member
Rating - 100%
23   0   0
Joined
Jul 2, 2011
Messages
15,083
Likes
6,541
-Paying admission in cash at the door is still a great idea for privacy reasons.
yep, but then what does eveyone do....they go to the free raffle table and fill out a card to enter with name, address, tel # and email addy. so much for privacy. [hmmm]
 
  • Like
Reactions: jpm

KBCraig

NES Member
Rating - 0%
0   0   0
Joined
Dec 29, 2009
Messages
9,854
Likes
4,423
Location
Granite State of Mind
1. Provide an FFL to do transfers for walk in sales, probably a popular choice for INTERSTATE sales.
2. Sell tables to ONLY gun related vendors, No t-shirts, beef jerky, beanie babies, FLEA MARKET CRAP!
3. Provide a safe location for customers to put down items and continue shopping, like lockers at a train station
4. Pay insurance for vendors to drive inside building
I have a lot more ideas, but it costs a lot of money to run a gun show, believe me I've tried.
1: Leave that to customer demand. Most states don't restrict FTF sales, and interstate sales are already handled just fine.
2: I would sort gun (and related) vendors into one area, and segregate the beef jerky, t-shirt, and "Welds Aluminum!!!!" tables into a separate area.
3: Won't happen. There's a reason that public lockers are no longer found in bus stations or airports: any yahoo can drop a bomb in one and then walk away.
4: I'm not sure what this means, but if it means more vendors, I'm for it.

The best possible improvement for gun show? A Fudd debunking table, where the dealer claiming his 7.62 Navy Garand was used at the Battle of Belleau Wood, should have to put up or shut up.
 

Kevin_NH

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
7,628
Likes
1,403
Location
WNW of MHT
  1. Priority table rentals to vendors who sell bulk/cheap ammo. I want every customer to at least go home with a case of 22
  2. All items for sale must be marked with a price. You can write "$10 - Make an offer!" but you must display a starting price
  3. Keep a waitlist of local gunsmiths, knifemakers, beltmakers, grip fabricators, etc. If I can't sell out the venue 3 weeks before the event, makers get a deal on a table, but:
    1. Can only show custom items (so they aren't competing with guys who paid full price for their table) and
    2. Must run their table from opening on Saturday until close-of-day Sunday. Failure to cover 100% of show hours means losing your spot on the list for the next show.
2. Sell tables to ONLY gun related vendors, No t-shirts, beef jerky, beanie babies, FLEA MARKET CRAP!
I'd go the opposite route -- I wouldn't rent any venue which forbids the beef jerky vendors, then I would actively recruit the jerky and T-shirt guys and segregate them all on the far corner opposite the entrance, ensuring maximum foot traffic for the serious vendors.
 

Wickedcoolname

NES Member
Rating - 100%
1   0   0
Joined
Dec 9, 2016
Messages
1,305
Likes
1,563
Location
North Central Mass
There should be 1 table with $25,000.00 Winchesters and 17 tables of beef jerky, 12 tables full of bumper stickers and belt buckles, 614 cardboard boxes full of old holsters that only fit left handed metric capguns, 3 tables full of $2.00 pot metal knives with paracord handles, and one leftover Harley skag with one tit in a leather vest and the other one dragging on the ground while she walks around with her cross eyed pit bull with an anchor chain leash. Oh yeah, and one almost reasonably priced gun that the owner has second thoughts about selling.
Wait.....that's every gun show since 1992.
 

Greg

NES Member
Rating - 100%
24   0   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
10,566
Likes
5,491
Location
Last seen chewing the bark off a tree
1. Sell the tickets online, show up with a ticket and get in no waiting line.

2. Women get in free

3. Over 65 get in 1/2 price
2&3 are nonsense,why should women get in free,or seniors half price ?

Kids under 10 sure.

Woman want to be equal,so you have to start somewhere #equaladmissionforequalfun .Seems half the people at those shows are guys over 65 that just go to where the food is,sit down and eat a hotdog and drink coffee and talk about lawn tractors for 3 hours.So you take the seniors admission out of the equation,how you gonna pay the organizer who pays the venue ?

What I would do..well you kinda have to let the jerky guys and beanie babies in to fill the place so you aren't forking over anything out of pocket.

1) I would have no dealer to dealer sales before the doors open,hard to control,but that's what I would like.

2) Food trucks in the parking lot

3) Refundable admission if over $200 is spent,comes from a table fee pool...so might discourage the old timers with 90 year old boxes of Remington shotgun shells that they been lugging from show to show for the past 20 years from showing up.

4) No fat basement dwellers living in moms basement that decide to go to a gunshow in between levels of Call of Duty wearing plate carriers allowed in the door.Sorry if that was an NES'er that I saw,but you looked like a complete fool.

5) No Nazi shit,and it's not even that Im a Jew(i'm not,I hate bagels),or pretending to be offended for them like a SJW for Jews.or how gun owners are portrayed as white supremacists nazis,I don;t give a damn about either of those things...We kicked their fcking asses and they killed a lot of our guys and I don't want to see their shit logos and be reminded of how many good men we lost over there by some passive aggressive nazi fcks hiding behind history to display a nazi flag"for sale".But freedom and Capitalism will usually win out over my opinion,but if I controlled the shows....Hell,i don't even like being reminded how many Jews were exterminated when the descendants of those same Jews are voting for people to take away their rights to protect themselves..

Ok,3 Treehouse beers and I'm done.
 

scaler1967

NES Member
Rating - 100%
2   0   0
Joined
Nov 6, 2017
Messages
210
Likes
156
Location
NH
Once inside the venue, I'd have a portal through which a person could go back in time to 1986 when the shows didn't suck. No goddamn jerky and hot sauce vendors, no fat smelly bastards peddling knives and "survival rations" while their tatted up skank girlfriend flits about wearing a sidearm that's 2 sizes too big, and pants that are 2 sizes too small for her rotund ass. (And I like women with meat on their bones!!!!).
 

mac1911

NES Member
Rating - 100%
65   0   0
Joined
Dec 26, 2008
Messages
26,561
Likes
3,967
We need to get the "SHOW" out of gun show.
Needs to be a gun and supplies SALE
I don't mind jerky or food as long as it's good.
The Nazi stuff I could not care "less. Its history and that entire free speech thing.
Its not the venue's fault if there's fleamarket type tables there.
It shows a lack of vendors willing to attend or just a lack of vendors period. I also see many vendors missing the mark and just not meeting consumers demands.
There are vendors that I really believe don't need to make money at these snows. Must be a write off for them.
Now the things I would do
Drop the entrance fee across the board , no discounts.
Also for the love of sanity make if $5 or $10 makes for change easier. Kids under 18 free they can't buy much of anything anyway and if helps introduce more to the sport that's good
Parking , I'm not going if the parking lot only holds 30 cars or so
My biggest peev is shitty food.
VENDORS:
If you have a shop with in the area please make sure your prices at the show are not more than at your shop.
I have not been to show since the last one at Plymouth ma
Cash was hardly king. Only " deal" I got was on 20 found AR mags , listed at $40 ea. Waved $100 in one hand held up 5 fingers in the other...got the nod. I made some decent offers for cash in hand .....even offered $700 on a HRA M1 that was a GI bring back from WWII.
 
Last edited:

Rob Boudrie

NES Member
Rating - 100%
4   0   0
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
33,997
Likes
10,378
Food trucks in the parking lot
This would almost certainly be a contractually prohibited by the venue. It's akin to bringing your own food to a restaurant.
I have a lot more ideas, but it costs a lot of money to run a gun show, believe me I've tried.
The hard part is building up a big enough name to get a metric s-load of vendors to show up. If you can do that, you will do well.

When I was in high school, I helped as a porter at a very large antique show. The promoter's goal was to have the table fees pay for the venue, and keep the gate as profit. That can probably work, but only if you fill the place.
 

Kevin_NH

NES Member
Rating - 100%
9   0   0
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
7,628
Likes
1,403
Location
WNW of MHT
Once inside the venue, I'd have a portal through which a person could go back in time to 1986 when the shows didn't suck. No goddamn jerky and hot sauce vendors...
I suspect you'd have found "Rambo knives" at every single show since '82.

I'm not old enough to have any memories of gun shows prior to 1986. First show I attended had two competing jerky vendors and the obligatory tables full of Pakistani "stainless", but small batch hot sauce wasn't a thing yet.

Count me in for the portal, just lock in the arrival date no later than April 9, 1986.
 
Last edited:
Rating - 100%
14   0   0
Joined
Mar 31, 2006
Messages
5,820
Likes
1,280
Location
Central Mass
OK, 24 posts about shows by people who (other than Boudrie) were probably not there. Marlborough had a pretty good turn-out yesterday and there were actually some things for sale at market prices. There was a better representation of women than in past years and I only smelled one person who had obvious issues and that was as I was leaving. We had ample interest in our introduction to USPSA class this year and expect it to be fully booked. I see lots of shooters that I know and enjoy speaking with.
 
Rating - 100%
5   0   0
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
1,046
Likes
56
Location
Nu Mung Ba
Unfortunately the shows keep shrinking, and given the current political climate in the not too distant future we will be saying "Remember when there used to be Gun Shows in Mass?"
 

MisterHappy

NES Member
Rating - 100%
15   0   0
Joined
Jul 28, 2009
Messages
20,370
Likes
5,084
Location
On the 16 yard line, shootin' for the Lewis!
I truly don't get the piling on of hatin' over the local gun shows. Truly.

I've been on both sides of the table.

Don't like the atmosphere? Don't go.
Think that dealers should have their inventory at 50% of what they have in the store? Don't go.

When I had a table, in the space of ten minutes I had several people look at a Brown Bess. One guy said the frizzen was too smooth; another that it was too rough. One guy said the trigger was too heavy. Several people thought the price I had on it was "Way too high" (not an issue, I would have been happy to take it home). Then a guy says, "Great. I'll take it!" hands me asking, and did a small happy dance.

I had 1917 Enfield, that I priced at blue-sky retail, plus some. Because, as above, I would have been happy to take it home. Several dealers told me that I had it priced too high. 2 hours before close, on Sunday, guy walks in, and pays the tagged price. One of the dealers that told me I was asking too much, said that he'd have to adjust his pricing [laugh].

If you think the vendors are a PITA, try renting a table! [shocked][rofl]
 

Greg

NES Member
Rating - 100%
24   0   0
Joined
Feb 26, 2005
Messages
10,566
Likes
5,491
Location
Last seen chewing the bark off a tree
OK, 24 posts about shows by people who (other than Boudrie) were probably not there. Marlborough had a pretty good turn-out yesterday and there were actually some things for sale at market prices. There was a better representation of women than in past years and I only smelled one person who had obvious issues and that was as I was leaving. We had ample interest in our introduction to USPSA class this year and expect it to be fully booked. I see lots of shooters that I know and enjoy speaking with.
I go to Marlborough show every year,it's the only show I go to now because it is close to home.

Personally,as an attendee I don't care about how many people got interested in USPSA or how many women were there..I am there(as are the overwhelmingly vast majority of people that go to a gun show) to shop and buy things cheaper than,or close to what I can get it for anywhere else or stuff that local shops do not have.

Probably won't go to the next show because there aren't any deals I am interested in.If a dealer wants to sell me their shit,they need to price it accordingly,not treat the general public as suckers...Dealers are just hoping for suckers to come by that have no idea on the prices of stuff and walk out with a battle pack of Portuguese 308 surplus for $1.00 a round.
 

LuvDog

NES Member
Rating - 100%
35   0   0
Joined
Jan 24, 2012
Messages
4,465
Likes
1,693
Location
Metrowest
I know the vendors aren't going there to give away stuff, but there are different ways to go about making money and covering your fees.

Since it's a great opportunity for sellers to gain some new customers, why not try to gain some by offering discounted prices. It's a target rich environment for vendors.

And if they go with the approach of lots of sales with less profit, they can still come out ahead... versus only a few sales with high profit per sale.
 
Top Bottom