Walking into most local gun stores is a homecoming of sorts for gun aficionados. While nights with friends around a campfire are rare and drugstore lunch counter coffee klatches a thing of the past, there is still a communal and nostalgic atmosphere in the local gun store or “LGS,” as they’re often referred to on internet forums.
One reason most local gun stores have that homey feel is the presence of one or more canine companions. They may belong to store personnel or frequent visitors. They may be large or small, purebred or “fence jumper.” They may snooze quietly in the corner, or greet everyone with a slobbery hello. Others stay alert yet calm at their owner’s side, ready for whatever is next—whether that be greeting a friendly face or providing a deterrent to robbery. Regardless, the presence of a gun store dog has a special way of reminding us that, for at least a moment in time, all is right with the world.
Here are a few of the gun store dogs who’ve brightened my days.
Buster (Roswell, New Mexico)
Buster is a little dog with big presence. Described by his owner as “half Jack Russell, half chick magnet,” he accompanies his human dad to the gun stores in Chaves County, New Mexico. I caught up with them at Blount’s Firearms, where he duly greeted everyone and even joined in on a howling contest. You can thank me later for not including audio of his human encouragement.
Sasha (Carlsbad, New Mexico)
Most anyone who’s visited Courtesy Sporting & Pawn has met Sasha the Vizsla, who was just a pup when she joined the business 12 years ago. Sasha’s kind owner, Sam, is a shop employee who took her in after her first owner, also a gun counter salesman, passed away. Lots of love has been given to Sasha and she gives it right back to anyone with a kind eye and treats—especially treats. She may be gray in the face now, but Sasha stays fit doing excited laps around the store’s interior.
Kalba and Cano (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
Custom Cartridge Company is a gun store in a semi-industrial section of the city. Kalba, of mixed origins, has been the shop’s mainstay, providing companionship, security, and when given the okay by her doting “mom,” friendship to customers. Her stablemate Cano (“Sugar” in Spanish) was rescued in the neighborhood and is learning the tricks of the trade. Both these handsome dogs are multi-talented and showed off their tricks during my visit to the store.
Jacks and Whiskey (Hobbs, New Mexico)
Walking into Gunn’s Guns can be a little intimidating at first for people who are timid around dogs. One of the store’s hefty canine characters makes sure to inspect each customer, almost TSA-style. But if you’re friendly, it doesn’t take long to have about 70 pounds of friendship following you as you browse the shop. These big guys are the pride and joy of Manola Gunn, who takes similar pride in being one of just two female gun store proprietors in the region.
Jacks (short for Jackson) is a Belgian Malinois. His shop title is Chief of Customer Inspections.
Whiskey, a pit bull/husky cross, is an understudy to Jacks. He is especially talented at distracting casual customers with silly antics while their companions buy themselves gifts at the counter.
Making gun and gear shopping even better
Gun store dogs are found in all shapes and sizes. They range from outgoing to lazy; youthful to old. Each contributes to the sense of community gun owners associate with their LGS. Do you have a favorite gun store dog?