The young man who waited on me at the gun store counter was polite and helpful. At my request, he broke out a used revolver from one of the cases, put a rubber mat under the gun and handed it over-a heavily used Colt revolver. It was a Police Positive Special and it was a much-traveled gun. I noted that he checked the gun to see if it was loaded and carefully avoided covering me with the muzzle-a professional. The young man pointed out the unusual lanyard ring and the department markings on the butt. He also mentioned that they hadn’t deciphered their origin. As it happened, I knew that “RHKP” meant Royal Honk Kong Police. Although I was looking for a fixed-sight, D-frame .38 Spl., this one had a little more service wear than I could live with, so I passed. The conversation was unremarkable, except for two things. First, the young man was yet to graduate from high school and was learning the retail trade. Second, he represented the 4th generation of a family that had run this particular shop for 50 years.
The store is called “Mark, Fore & Strike” and it has been serving the sportsmen of Reno, Nev., for five decades. I was pleasantly surprised with reader response when I wrote about a grand old gun emporium in downtown San Francisco. I believe that readers might also be interested in other gun shops that make gun shopping such a pleasant pastime. I don’t mean to suggest that there is something wrong with the monster stores like Cabela’s and Sportsmen’s Warehouse, all of which are alive and doing business in northern Nevada. But experiences like the one I just described are the kind of thing that brings me back to a business.
But it is not all. I’m pretty well focused on the one-handed guns, so I like stores that have plenty at which to look. Mark, Fore & Strike has been there long enough to be truly established. That means several hundred handguns on display at any time, including a lot of used handguns in good shooting condition. While my interests are usually narrow, other guys visit the store on north Kietzke Lane for the long guns, which are available in similar variety and quality. And I guess I have to mention that the right half of the store appeals to the fishermen out there. It is all there and the sales people know their products and are willing to help. The store has been there a long time, long enough to have some interesting history-like the time Reno PD SWAT had to visit with tear gas to root out a burglar. For the most part, it’s the Piccinini family running a business quite nicely. The brothers do the managing, Dad works the back and Grandma presides over the checkout counter. And, there’s one of the sons at the handgun counter, ready to show you old Colts and anything else that tags your fancy at Mark, Fore & Strike.