Shop Reviews

We will be posting reviews of local gun shops with our members’ experiences. Our goal is to provide information about what kind of experience can be expected at each shop, so that you can make an informed opinion about which ones you might feel the most comfortable at.

14 Blanca Lane
Watsonville, CA 95076
Phone: (831) 722-6945
Fax: 831-722-8387

Numerous visits starting this year. I’ve seen 0 signs of affiliation with the NRA inside the shop. Two of the main sales guys are Latino. Always very helpful and easy to talk to as a first time gun buyer. They’ve taken COVID very seriously (indoor range still shut down). They are an official Glock dealership, and have a wide variety of Glocks and others, including CZs, to rent and try out when their range is open.

Elite Armory
3636 Castro Valley Blvd. #1
Castro Valley, CA 94546
Phone: (510) 538-1686 (not answering calls–they will also call you from a different number)

when i went to elite armory in castro valley, it was staffed by nonwhites (notably one indigenous person) though no Black people, the same both times actually, and there were a couple Black gun owners that went there, though customers were still mostly white. it does seem like local cops stop there for lunch as theres a clearly middle-class restaurant in the same lot–when i went the second time there was a line of cop cars in the parking lot. i went because id heard it was Black-owned, but i found out that wasnt confirmed and so i didnt get the chance to confirm it either. id also heard they at one time had a thin blue line sticker in their window, which i didnt see, so im not sure where the staff stands on the whole abolishing police/maybe having racial equity at some point issue. it could go either way. i didnt see nra stuff either. or any ideological decorations.i didnt go in my preferred gender so i didnt get gendered correctly, but i also didnt try. the area feels really powerwashed culturally so i just kind of expect reactionary behavior and didnt go as myself at all. i got no reaction from my “defend equality” trans patch, but the amount of cis people who even recognize what the trans flag is, let alone put two and two together, is a tiny fraction of people. so, you know.

they only let so many people in the store at a time, and periodically come out with a tablet to put you on an electronic waiting list, which theyll ask for your phone number for (dont knock or pull on the door–they have cameras but also theres a steady enough stream of people that theyll take stock of the line when a customer leaves). depending on how long the people ahead of you take, and when you get there, it could take between ten minutes and half an hour to get on the list, and the same to get in. chances of you getting inside if you get there later are slim, and they stop doing transfers at 5:30. and it gets HOT out there. bring water and a book just in case. you wont really have time to get food nearby either as the timing is just enough to not give me confidence so pack something.their transfer fee was about what id expect for a shop–$125. i only went to do a transfer, so i didnt really look at other things, but they have a small selection of handguns, some revolvers and some semiauto, a few tacticool ca-legal ar pistols (i think) on the wall and a rack of hunting rifles to the side. they do sell ammo but im not sure what their supply is–i know they dont have 12ga and they probably dont have 9mm. they dont have much in the way of other stuff, tactical or cleaning or otherwise. they do sell soft cases to carry your long gun out if you dont have one, but no hard cases.overall the experience was decidedly neutral, though i feel this was only possible because im still able to pass in my assigned gender and because people still afford me the benefits of whiteness. if this isnt your experience, then i strongly suggest bringing someone with some amount of social power to the area.

J&R Sports
2558 Old First St
Livermore, CA 94550
Phone: (925) 443-9691

They’re pretty chill. I was there about two weeks ago as they’re open on Sundays and didn’t have a line etc. It’s Livermore, everyone is white and probably conservative so keep that in mind. They weren’t rude to me or the friend I brought (we’re both queer women) but I also am super aggressive about establishing how much I know about guns like the minute I walk into a store so I rarely get misogynistic treatment – buyer beware!

Paul Maxwell (FFL)

I do my transfers with Paul Maxwell who seems to be a laid back older white guy with an FFL in Benicia. He’s a diver professionally and transfers out of one of the rooms in his suburban house. He’s not the quickest with getting your appointment setup for pickup and whatnot, but he’s working around his work schedule and life, but his transfers are $75 IIRC and every transfer I’ve done with him has gone smoothly and with a chill vibe. He’s never brought up politics (unlike my last FFL) and doesn’t have any weird stickers or flags around his place. He generally has the air of a collector and hobbyist who uses his FFL so he can buy cool stuff for himself and make a few bucks on the side. He’s always asking me if I’m thinking of selling anything.

City Arms
90 Eureka Dr Ste D
Pacifica, CA 94044
Phone: (650) 738 6896

I’ve been popping by from time to time over the last year. Haven’t been in since shelter in place startedA more libertarian than garden variety republican gun store in the peninsula. Rainbow gadsden flags have been displayed there along with a minimum of outright fascist propaganda. Although to be honest I’m in the habit of not looking around in gun stores like that. An employee had a thin blue lives shirt once while I was in there. They also had that trump-punisher skull anderson lower for months. The employees seemed to treat it like a joke to see who’d buy it but that shit is still cringe

Friendly, talkative, staff whenever I go in. Don’t get made to feel weird as a POC when I go in and I’ve seen POC regulars there with a close relationship to staff. Admittedly, I’m still cis-male, and being accepting to men of all colors is probably the lowest bar to clear on the bigotry litmus test. I went in looking for a shotgun back when I was newer to guns and a worker talked me into starting my first AR build instead. Good call on his part

They had some good ammo deals earlier this year—5.56 at under 50 cpr. Along with a good used selection of handguns and milsurp rifles. They pride themselves on not being Peninsula Guns & Tactical lol

Reed’s Indoor Range
1100 Duane Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95054
Phone: (408) 897-9870

I had 1 specific experience here that makes me want to give them a thumbs up. I was at the counter and the customer next to me started going off about the “radical left” and what not and one of the employees told him to “leave it at home”. After the customer left, the employee said to me “hate when people do that, they think everyone is going to agree with them but people of all type of politics come in here”. Aside from that, they’ve been very helpful and respectful to me (kinda a gun noob) and I’ve seen them be helpful to people that are not white men. Also right now if you go in and buy something they will give you a coupon for a free range session when they open.

Primo Tactical
1617 N Broadway
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
(650) 931-7653

TLDR: $50 transfers, super friendly, Chinese American, also lingerie shop, maybe vegan

I went in December 2019 to do a online transfer for a bolt action rifle. Their transfer cost is only $50 which was the cheapest I could find at the time. Not sure if it’s appointment only now. The hours were limited before and it looks like it’s only more so now. Cash only.

The owner’s name is Ronnie. He’s a former cop but was exceptionally friendly and approachable. I had to go in several times because my background check got delayed and each time he and his business partner or employee, Michelle, were both friendly and professional. My partner was with me one of the times and afterwards they pointed out she was wearing only underwear, something I hadn’t noticed even though I’d been filling out paperwork with her for several minutes- badass none the less. I would note that we’re in a same gender relationship and I didn’t pick up any hints of BS or weirdness. They have a fridge stocked with nicer soft drinks and would offer me to take something each time I left. Ronnie and I are also both Asian and we chatted about taiko drumming or something another as well.

The shop is located in downtown Walnut Creek, a stone’s throw from the city hall building at which there is free public parking in a small lot. The entrance is on the backside of a building through a nondescript door up a flight of a stairs. It’s a small shop with a small inventory. Ronnie told me he originally leased the space because saw it and thought clubhouse for my friends to play cards in before thinking of operating an FFL lol. It does have a relaxed vibe and casual decor. There’s a small couch to sit on after doing a lap around the store which only only took me a minute because it’s a pretty small room. I think they’re vegan because when texting they mention kindly refusing service for those purchasing firearms for hunting. They also had a stack of FLACOS stickers for the taking (delish little vegan taquito spot in Berkeley). And there’s an adjacent room with a pole, lingerie, and sex toys for sale! Only in the bay area amiright.

I didn’t notice any Blue Live Matter vomit at the time, mind you this was last year before that became even more mandatory for right bootlickers to rep. A quick look at their instagram definitely shows USA USA hubris and would probably piss me off if I actually had an insta to be able to see any of the posts fully.

They’ve got ammo but don’t do online ammo transfers. Ronnie did offer to special order any ammo I wanted through his distributors and charge a reasonable price. If you’re already purchasing a firearm there it might save you time/hassle of going elsewhere depending on what kind of deals you can or can’t find online. I was looking for bulk 6.5 CM at the time and found a good enough deal online to go transfer with Riddle Custom way out in Brentwood instead. (Great price, whatever experience, probably won’t go again. A neighbor called the cops on me but I digress. . . $5 per order, $5 storage fee per week after 1st week.

In summary I would recommend Primo Tactical especially if you’re in the east bay.