It is probably not a surprise that as a “gun guy” I visit lots of firearm stores. I actually make it sort of a hobby.
I visit stores see how they differ, how they are the same, what they are selling, and how the staff interact with customers.
As a firearm instructor I get to hear from new shooters about their experiences, and feel I have a good frame of reference in what makes a successful gun store. I have a model of the “perfect” gun store in my head that I hope to create someday.
I tell you that so you can imagine my pleasure as well as a tiny twinge of envy when I met John McConnell Owner of Clarksville Guns and Archery.
I saw that his new store has marked off all of the boxes in my mental perfect gun store checklist.
My Perfect Gun Store
- Knowledgeable sales staff with real world experience from a broad range of shooting sports, but customer focused, friendly, and humble.
- Devotion to growing and maintaining the firearm tradition through youth outreach
- Solid Firearm training program
- Experienced and skilled gunsmith that does more than just replace parts
- Good selection including ammunition in hard to find calibers
I met John through his gunsmith, because they were looking to schedule an instructor course for his sales staff. Clarksville Gun and Archery put the time and effort into getting its sales staff trained as NRA Pistol Instructors; this is very rare and shows a level of commitment that speaks volumes about the store. I was very impressed about the caliber of his staff.
The sales staff includes former military, law enforcement, competitive shooters, and hunter safety educators with decades of experience. Each one brings a new perspective and insight into helping the customer find the perfect firearm to solve their needs.
Clarksville Gun and Archery devotes time and resources to engage the youth, they work with the Hunter Education program, teach archery courses, firearm maintenance courses, and are working on building an indoor range to accommodate even more training activities.
Their gunsmith has more time in the firearm industry than some of us do on the planet, for the past 30 years Mr. Morgan has been involved in some part of the industry. He has worked in full scale firearm manufacturing plants, law enforcement, and competitive shooting environments.
Personally my experience with him is top notch. Have a broken, relatively rare, but unfortunately worthless firearm. However, this $50 pistol holds sentimental value to me,. Not only did he know about the gun, hew was aware of the reason behind the problem, and a way to modify a part from a different make and model to repair it. Other gunsmiths in the Middle Tennessee Region did not want to take the time to discuss the repair, told me they could not find the parts, could not repair it, or that “it wasn’t worth it”.
This store is packed with items; they have many things that you rarely see outside a catalog. As a Barrett Firearms High Caliber Dealer they have several Barrett .50 caliber rifles in stock. I saw a lever action mare’s leg, and a couple other cool guns that I am trying to convince the wife I need for “training aids”. John explained to me his philosophy in stocking rare ammo so that they always have what the customer is looking for. I loved looking at the long rows of ammo, and appreciated the end cap with .9mm .45acp, .223 and .308 in one easy to access location.
I don’t and didn’t receive anything for writing this, It was my idea and I asked John if he minded me passing on my thoughts to you. I just want to support such a great store with such outstanding staff. If you are in the Clarksville TN area you need to check them out online at Clarksville Guns and Archery where they proudly announce they are a “different kind of gun store” where they do not have any “Gun Shop Commandos”.