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LOCKED AND LOADED: T.J. Taylor, co-owner of All About Guns, carries merchandise ranging from antique firearms to the latest technology in guns and accessories.
Katelyn Egger | SBJ
LOCKED AND LOADED: T.J. Taylor, co-owner of All About Guns, carries merchandise ranging from antique firearms to the latest technology in guns and accessories.

Business Spotlight: Sharp Shooter

All About Guns aims to serve wide range of customers

Posted online

There are plenty of places to purchase guns and ammunition. All About Guns LLC co-owner T.J. Taylor believes his expertise gives him the edge.

“This is what I do every day, all day,” he says. “I research guns, I talk about guns, I look into guns and their laws and the new products.”

Tucked away around the south corner of the Plaza Shopping Center, All About Guns seems to specialize in the unexpected. One wall is lined with long guns – shotguns and rifles, including semiautomatics – and anyone can pick one up and peer down the barrel at a relaxed pace, without needing to have store personnel hand the firearms to them.

A long, glass case holds handguns, both new and vintage, with many of the latter offered on consignment. Taylor also buys used guns.

Taylor points out an 1892 French revolver that was brought home by a U.S. soldier after World War I and another, a Nazi SS officer’s sidearm, that was a soldier’s trophy from World War II. Civil War-era weapons also have moved through the store. The seller usually knows the provenance of the guns, but the markings on them explain their origin in a way that Taylor can easily read.

“That’s kind of what distinguishes us, is I know these little markings,” he says. “They tell the story.”

But not all of the merchandise in All About Guns is vintage; much of it is the latest technology. Taylor is gearing up for a trip to Las Vegas to attend this year’s SHOT Show – that is, the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, attended only by federal firearms license dealers.

“All the manufacturers have released all their new stuff for the year at SHOT Show, so that is the mecca,” he says. “We make those connections with those companies there. You get to meet the people in charge and get to have those one-on-one relationships.”

The store’s showroom is an eclectic mix of antique and cutting edge, plus little surprises, like shampoo to take into the field or a line of apparel. Cases, safes, scopes, straps, lights for mounting and other accessories also are on hand.

One product Taylor has a large and varied supply of is ammunition. With his knowledge of antique firearms, he can outfit just about any firearm – and he also can inspect it and determine if an older gun is safe to shoot.

Some ammunition is in short supply nationally. Taylor notes defense calibers are produced in greater amounts than hunting ammunition, and the latter can be especially difficult to purchase in the amounts some buyers want.

With his avid interest in guns, one might imagine Taylor growing up in a home where hunting and shooting were emphasized. That’s not the case, he says.

“Not even a little bit,” he says.

His employee, Cody Hall, didn’t grow up with guns, either.

“I didn’t get my first gun till I was 16,” Hall says.

While Taylor loves to hunt, Hall prefers target shooting.

“All my guns are fancy paper-punchers,” he says.

Taylor is taking a different approach in his own home, having taught his son to shoot at age 2 and his daughter at age 3. These days, his daughter is 10 and shoots competitively with Taylor. From the earliest age, gun safety has been a focus.

Taylor, who takes his role as an educator on firearms safety seriously, notes not all of his customers are as attuned to safety. It’s common for them to come into the store with loaded guns.

“Fifty percent of those don’t even know that it’s loaded – which is the scary part,” he says.

The shop has a classroom where customers can learn about concealed carry laws, practical shooting, defense training and, yes, firearms safety.

As he talks, Taylor is putting a night-vision scope on his own brand-new gun, a semiautomatic rifle with a carbon fiber handguard.

“This is my new hog gun, and I’m putting a thermal on it to be able to shoot hogs at night,” he says. “I can see a field mouse at 300 yards.”

Taylor is going to Oklahoma to hunt hogs in the wild. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation puts the population of the feral hogs, which are nonnative and, per ODWC, destructive, at 500,000 to 1.5 million.

A customer, Victor Padilla, approaches the cash register with his purchase, a semiautomatic rifle. Padilla says he’s not a collector, but his purchase means his personal holdings are a pistol, a hunting rifle, a shotgun and a semiautomatic.

“I’ve got one of everything now,” he says.

It’s his second purchase from All About Guns, and he characterizes the staff as helpful and friendly.

Padilla’s idea of everything doesn’t include some products Taylor will be able to offer when he gets his Class 3 firearms license, which he expects to have by June.

In Missouri, a Class 3 license allows the sale of machine guns, short-barreled shotguns, short-barreled rifles and suppressors.

But Taylor also enjoys equipping people with his more conventional products, which they can get to know best by handling to determine weight, balance and whether a gun feels right for the person holding it. With both consignments and new items on hand, the store’s stock is constantly changing.

“At All About Guns, we’re all about you – that’s our tagline,” he says. “Firearms can be scary. They are a dangerous weapon in the wrong hands or in the wrong situation, so we want you to use them safely and legally.”


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