The Art of The Gun Deal

Armslist, Tacswap, GunBroker, and our LGS… How to work a gun deal with proper etiquette.

Look at me readers.


Stare through the pages of the interwebz and look at me so I know that you are paying attention.

Have you found a gun somewhere that you wanted but did not want to pay the sticker price for? Of course you have. You figured you could save a few bucks, maybe a significant few, if you just asked about it.

Now… how did you ask the question?

  1. What is your best price?
  2. What is your bottom dollar?
  3. What is your absolute lowest price?

If any of those formats was how you asked the question of the selling party, I need you to get up and go find a mirror. Look deep into your own eyes in that mirror and repeat these words…

“Never again.”

Now slap yourself so you remember your oath.

Asking the seller to haggle against themselves is not haggling. It’s lazy, disrespectful, and a shit thing to do. If you have an offer in mind, make the offer. The seller has already told you what they want for what they are selling, it is on the price tag.

The gun deal process goes in these steps.

  1. Read the price tag and decide whether you will pay that or make an offer. If offer then proceed to step 2.
  2. Make an offer. Do so politely and realistically.
  3. They can make a counter offer, accept your offer, or decline your offer.

If you make a polite and reasonable offer it will likely be accepted. If you are polite but the offer is unacceptable they will likely offer a counter offer or state they cannot move on the price. You then have the opportunity to get the gun you want for the listed price or decline the purchase and have a nice day.

By asking the ‘bottom dollar’ question on the gun deal you are not dealing. You are telling the seller to eat their list price and make up another for you. You are not even offering the courtesy of an offer you thought about. Making an offer shows integrity, it shows intent, it means you are engaged in the transaction. Telling the seller to give you a new price because you’re… you? That’s a big no.

Now, that is not to say there are no situations in which asking for “your” price is wrong. There are plenty. Those situations are with people you have a relationship and rapport with. Your local gun store might cut you a consistent deal because you are a regular customer. Your friend might give you the friends and family discount on a new or used item you’d like. I’ve been the giver and recipient of both those circumstances.

There is, however, nothing more presumptuously rude than a total stranger demanding you retag your for sale item just for them. In the same vein, making a polite offer is the very essence of sales and should be expected.

You are adults. Man, woman, or attack helicopter the hell up and do the work of negotiation! Talk, deal, be polite.

This rant brought to you by being asked two dozen times to bottom dollar a few guns I’m selling.

It’s not fun when that ammo can is running on empty. Double check your stock and refill before your next class, match, range day, or just in case. Don’t let the visible bottom of an ammo can stop you from shooting the new gun you just got with the Art of the Gun Deal.

Keith Finch
Keith is the former Editor-in-Chief of GAT Marketing Agency, Inc. He got told there was a mountain of other things that needed doing, so he does those now and writes here when he can. A USMC Infantry Veteran and Small Arms and Artillery Technician, Keith covers the evolving training and technology from across the shooting industry. Teaching since 2009, he covers local concealed carry courses, intermediate and advanced rifle courses, handgun, red dot handgun, bullpups, AKs, and home defense courses for civilians, military client requests, and law enforcement client requests.