Gun shows are not what they used to be. There was a time when I could walk in with a cheap gun and walk out with a gem and only a slight dent in my wallet. Nowadays, everyone has a priceless hunk of junk, a table full of useless gadgets, or a misleading line to the naive guy carrying a family heirloom worth thousands.
Here’s a collection of some of the one-liners I’ve heard over the years, all authentic, with many of them liberally edited for clarity.
- “This here is all ya need,” said a merchant to a buyer-victim as he pointed out the value of a 150 round magazine for a worthless pistol.
- “It’s three times the cost on the internet,” said a merchant to a buyer-victim about a useless survival gadget that the victim was hedging on buying.
- “I just cleaned out a drawer of stuff I didn’t need and want to get rid of it,” said I to a merchant-victim as we traded my junk even up for a very nice knife that I didn’t need and apparently neither did he.
- “Marge, what’s the shelf life of them there peas, a hunnert years?” said a merchant to his wife in the hearing of a buyer-victim-prepper ready to buy the eternal legumes.
- “I can help you carry concealed more comfortably,” said a merchant to me as I hastened my pace by his table and abruptly told him that I don’t carry, to which he replied, “Then I can’t help you,” to which I answered over my shoulder, “No, you can’t,” as I walked out of earshot of his next comment.
- “I don’t recognize that name brand, ma’am. Nor the rampant colt logo inexplicably stamped on the barrel of that there cheap nickel plated .45 Long, uh, what’s that say… cult, cott, oolt? Yeah, that might’ve weakened the barrel a bit. Oh, it’s probably worth $50 now. Here ya go,” says the shyster gun dealer to the old widow woman trying to get a little money for her late husband’s priceless 1st issue Colt Single Action Army .45 Colt (there’s no such thing as a .45 Long Colt), which has been in the box and never cocked for some 80+ years. Heck, I’ll give her $75.
- “Yeah, I just bought this here rifle from that there guy over thar fer $500. Hey where’d he go? Anyway, it’s gotta be worth at least $800. I mean, it’s been 10 minutes and it’s probably vintage by now. Be careful, Herb, holdin’ it. Some of the parts have a tendency ta fall off.”
- “What? These old reloadin’ dies? They’re just used .357’s. I have no idea what the B&D means after the 357, mebby short for ‘bad’,” said the pawn shop owner to me as I ripped the rear pocket off my pants retrieving my wallet to toss him the asking price of $15 for a set of $180 RCBS-branded .357/.44 Bain & Davis reloading dies that are in perfect condition, and which I happily use today for a rifle and a handgun in that great wildcat caliber.
- “Someone’s tinkered with the action,” said a cantankerous, deceitful dealer as he handed back my Colt Python which, as we all know, has a buttery-smooth action that does NOT need tinkered with. But somewhere through the past years I still managed to trade it off. Silly me, many times over.
- Gun show dealer to me: “Whatcha carryin’?” Me: “A custom-built Interarms Virginian Dragoon in .45 Colt.” Dealer: “Is it for sale?” Me: “No.” Dealer: “Then why are you carryin’ it?” Me: “Because this is a show.”
- Another gun show dealer to me: “Whatcha carryin’?” Me: “A custom-built Interarms Virginian Dragoon in .45 Colt.” Dealer: “Long Colt?” Me: “No, there’s no such thing.” Dealer: “Oh, so it’s a rare caliber.” Me: “No, you idiot. 45 Colt is as common as flies on a dead opossum.” Dealer: “Is it for sale?” Me: “For the right price.” Dealer: “Can I see it?” Me: “Sure.” Dealer: “Let’s see… gold plated trigger and hammer, engraved frame, matte blued barrel and cylinder, exquisitely timed, nice woodwork, beautiful color cased hardened frame. I’ll give you a hunnert dollars for it or your pick of any of the trashy, beat up guns I have on my table.” Me: “That sounds fair enough, but this sheep’s skin lined suede leather flap holster is part of the deal since it’s made for the long Colt.” Dealer: “How much is that?” Me: “$700. Plus a hunnert for the gun. That’ll be $800, and I’m not interested in any trade.” Dealer: “Harmph! You think I’m crazy? Me: “No, like I said before, you’re just an idiot.”
- “Whatcha got in the sack?” a sleazy-looking dealer asked as I walked up to his table. “Hotdogs and cotton candy,” said I. “Yer not suppose ta bring that kinda stuff in hyar,” retorted the sleazed one. “Do you trade stuff for stuff?” asked I. “Depends on whatcha have,” the squinty-eyed grubworm cautiously announced as he ponderously eyed my sack of goods. “All these Safariland holsters, knives, scopes, tools, and expensive jewelry I’ve got in this bag,” I declared as I coolly opened the pack. “I thoughts you sed you had hotdogs an’ cotton candy in thar,” the dirty luster blurted out as he wiped the saliva from his tobacco-stained whiskers. “No,” said I as I turned to leave, “I’m not supposed to bring that kind of stuff in here.”
- Another “Whatcha got in the sack?” says a totally incompetent gun handler-alleged-dealer. “A Grendel P-10 .380ACP,” I reply. It’s a vintage gun that any firearm enthusiast would recognize. “Never heared of it,” says the possibly illiterate shyster. “Can I sees it?” “Yes, you may,” I correct. He holds it in a stupor, then dry-fires it. I grab it back. Grendels should never be dry-fired. In fact, no gun should be dry-fired. And if you must do so, you should always ask permission of the owner. Stupidity runs rampant in the aisles of many a gun show. I kept my gun. Still have it.