San Francisco’s Last Gun Shop

San Francisco's Last Gun Shop Sheriff Jim Wilson

A few days ago, I had a chance to visit the good folks at San Francisco’s last gun shop. I had a nice visit with general manager Steven Alcairo and his staff and learned some interesting San Francisco history, too.

The gun shop was opened by Bob Chow in the mid-1950’s. Chow was an Olympic shooter and world renowned pistolsmith. To my knowledge, Chow was the first one to attach a Colt Python barrel to a Smith & Wesson revolver, creating the Smython that was quite popular with such sixgunners as Bill Jordan and Jimmy Clark. Of course, Chow was best known for tuning the 1911 pistol and he built them up for competition shooters and lawmen alike.

About 1988, Andy Takahashi bought the store and has run it ever since, but not without some major hurdles that have been placed in his way. A few years ago some of the store’s permits were set to expire and the San Francisco zoning commission simply stalled and wouldn’t renew them. A number of groups in the city joined in the controversy, some for and some against the renewal of the permits. One of the citizens who was most against having any sort of gun shop in the city even told Steven Alcairo that they ought to move to Texas. That’s the reason that, today, you will see a Texas flag hanging from the ceiling of the shop.

Needless to say, Mr. Takahashi and Alcairo were able to get the permits issued and the store continued operation. I have to say that it is an amazing and brave thing to operate a gun store in what is one of the most anti-gun cities in America.

Today, you will find High Bridge Arms located, as it has always been, at 3185 Mission Street, right in the heart of San Francisco. The staff is very knowledgeable and friendly and you can bet that the Second Amendment is spoken loud and clear at High Bridge Arms. These folks are brave Americans who deserve our encouragement and support. So stop by High Bridge Arms whenever you are in San Francisco or drop them a line of encouragement at An American tradition is alive and well in the City By The Bay.

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82 Responses to San Francisco’s Last Gun Shop

  1. David says:

    1. Reason is: The Big Chains are taking over the Guns Sales Retailers Stores! 1.Calballes Out Door Store :2 Brass Pro Stores 3. Dicks Sporting Goods : 3. Gander Mountain Stores; too! They will put about 0.90 % of the Smaller Gun Stores out of Business to true!!!

    • Russ says:

      Dicks is no longer handling guns. To me, they are no longer a sporting goods store.

      • Bob Cabrera says:

        That is the reason they are also known as Pussy’s . One of the most recent companies to state their anti-2nd Amendment stance. I personally will never make another purchase from the chain.

  2. S Fong says:

    I cannot believe they are still there! I had the honor of meeting Bob Chow as I grew up in the city. It left a memorable impression on me to this day and I firmly believe that responsible owning and using a firearm involves not only ensuring that your equipment is fully functional 100% of the time but also that it is of quality, which means not a junk gun and different than meaning “high-end.” Glad to see they are still going strong.

  3. They are still here in SF. I bought an AR-15 lower receiver from them a few months ago. It was a bit overpriced, but I like the idea of having a gun shop in The City.

    The only weird thing was that when I picked up my lower, there were a couple of SFPD officers in the store behind the counter. I thought they were doing some kind of auction. It turns out they were just shopping and one of them gave me a lengthy cop-like lecture about measuring the headspace and using the right torque on the barrel when I assembled my AR. Apparently he felt the same way I do about the CA AW law as I do.

    The store is on the same block as a pot club, a lesbian dive bar (which I highly recommend) and a Planned Parenthood clinic. I’m sure that would make any right-wing gun nut piss themselves, but as a good San Francisco liberal, I refer to this wonderfully misshapen block of real estate as “Freedom Triangle”. It is the last bit of the city where real freedom hasn’t been regulated out of existence.

  4. Russ says:

    I competed in matches with Bob Chow in the late ’60s and early ’70s. He was a genuinely nice person.

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