Roach's Sporting Goods, Cambridge, MA

Jul 8, 2005
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On the Mass. Ave, near the Porter Square T stop (towards Arlington).
Big store; nice atmosphere. The guys are helpful but won't bother you if you're still looking.
Their selection was pretty large, but not exhaustive. They seemed to have about 10 new and 20 used .22 pistols, for example. They have 3 long walls of long guns and about 4 display cases of handguns. Lots of fishing/camping equipment as well.
I don't know enough about pricing to say whether their prices were reasonable or not. The small stuff I bought there was reasonably priced.

1957 Mass Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
617 876 5816
Yeah, I was really tempted to make a quip like 'this must be the place where Senator Kerry get's all his "sporting" supplies.' But that's sort of unfair to guys who seem to be trying to make an honest living. They have it hard enough trying to sell guns to Cambridgians. They probably don't need the extra snark :) .
I think that Roach's was there before they had zoning in Cambridge!! Thus, the city grudgingly puts up with them. No doubt they would never be allowed to move or expand in Cambridge, but the city fathers probably can't do anything about the "status quo".

It can be an interesting store to rummage thru. Very cramped, lots of stuff in little space. I never found their prices to be very good, but given their "cost of doing business" in Cambridge they probably aren't unreasonable.
I was shopping in Somerville today and on the way home thru Arlington I decided to stop at Roach's and give them a look. It's been years since I've been in there and yes, the floors still creak when you walk, I was all set to buy an Hungarian FEG 9mm, when I spotted this mint classic S&W Model 59 in original box with manual,paperwork,cleaning kit and extra mag still wrapped in wax paper. Pistol is in 99.9% condition and doesn't appear to have been fired much at all. :D

Anyways this one came home with me. [lol]

Nice find. What kind of bucks?

This was the first LE favorite for hi-cap 9mm semi-auto. Lots of LE bought them as personal carry (to/from work) guns. Carried a lot, fired very little is the most probable history for it.

I have a used 39-2 that I bought in 1979 that had a similar history. I have small hands so I could never get them around the 59's grip comfortably.

I do suggest that you stay away from steel-cased ammo with that gun. Probably has a narrow feed-ramp like my 39-2 and thus doesn't handle steel-cased ammo! See my posts on Wolf 9mm and you'll get the whole scoop on this problem. My 39-2 handled UMC, Federal, PMC and handloads just fine, so it never was finicky on brass-cased ammo (and the steel-case issue was confirmed for me by S&W tech supt).

Good luck with the gun.

Like you, I had one of these back in the early 80's when they first came out and have always like the 1st generation S&W's...I also could never get use to the grip angle on these, almost had to turn the pistol sideways to reach the slide release with my thumb.

Considering the condition of the gun, I thought $499. was a good deal.
Probably could have got it cheaper,but I wasn't in the mood for haggling.

Got to talking with the owner and he agrees that the City fathers in Cambridge are not happy with them owning a gun shop in their town, but there ain't much the city can do about it. [lol] And they have no intention of closing shop!

Given that it is an old, "unapproved" gun that will never get EOPS/AG blessing, "in state" and all, that is a very good price and in collectible condition. Enjoy your find!

He, he, nothing like being "in your face" to the a**h***s running the PRC! [lol] I really hope the place stays open another 100 years!!
I went there today...++++++

Not only did they treat me like a grown-up, they were pleasant and offered to show me anything I wanted and spent a lot of time talking. There was nobody else there, but still...some places ignore you no matter what..
It was a very pleasant gun shop's one block west of the Porter Square T station on the red line. I thought they had the best overall selection of handguns of any place I've been to. I can't really speak to the prices.

There is a somewhat off-putting sign at the entrance to the gun section that says nobody can come in without an LTC and must be over age of 18. But I expect that is a small concession to the Cambridge nanny morons. I wish I had found them a long time ago. Thanks for the post! :D
I've never gone in, thought it's less than 2 miles from my place. Patrick bought some .45acp there and it was a good $2 more per box than what we would have paid Carl.
I might have to stop in the next time I'm taking a train into town for a Sox game. I usually park at Quincy Adams and take the train in. I'm sure that I can just get off at a stop on the red line, and then go to the game after. Will just have to leave a little earlier.
I haven't been there in years as I thought they closed up! Lots of stuff in a small place. Forget about finding a parking space. Good selection but very high prices as I remember. My buddy and i wanted to each buy a Browning over/under 12 gauge shotgun (in the early '90's), they would only dicount each $25.00. Come on $25.00 on a $1200.00 shotgun?? We both walked out and they lost 2 sales and customers. [cry]
Bought a cool one there today

I had been looking for another SA (besides Ruger) in .357 and found one at a good price. Not a great price, but a good one. The important thing is that it was a gun I had been looking for.

What I really like about Roach's is when you walk in they greet you like you are an adult and a customer and ask if they can show you anything. Some of the other popular stores around here either ignore you or you just can't get past the "favored customers" to get any real service.

Roach's selection, while a little higher in price, is better than most in the area.

I give it a B+.

BTW parking is no big deal. Just park over in the shopping center one block east.

I've got to hand it to any gun store who can not only survive being in MA, but Cambridge to boot! :D
Re: Bought a cool one there today

News Shooter said:
BTW parking is no big deal. Just park over in the shopping center one block east.

I've got to hand it to any gun store who can not only survive being in MA, but Cambridge to boot! :D

They have security people who watches cars comming and going into that shopping center parking lot, they WILL issue a ticket and/or TOW you [twisted] . I'm not making this up. Ask them at Roaches.
Maybe it's because they've started to recognize me, but a few days ago I spoke with a salesman at Roach's who was particularly helpful and pleasant to deal with. He was an older, heavier guy with thinning gray hair--just a down-to-earth, nice guy. Never had a problem with any of them, but that salesman's attitude will probably influence me to look to Roach's, first, for a serious purchase.

re: Parking down the street. I have seen security types roving the parking lot a Porter Square, so I bet they do ticket occasionally. There are two easy solutions. 1) Park in the lot and, when leaving the car, walk into the CVS through the door on the parking-lot side and OUT through the door on the street side. Then turn right (away from Harvard Square/Boston) and walk a block to Roaches. 2) Park behind the mall that is next to the big Porter Square parking lot (the flagship stores in that mall are a Pier 1 and a Pizzeria Unos). There's a lot of parking back there, and the walk is the same distance. (Third option, call Roach's and ask them about parking. They might have a legitimate parking lot somewhere, for all I know)
They don't have a lot. Parking is their #1 complaint.

I think all the guys there are awesome...I need to stop in there again sometime. Used to go all the time when I lived in Medford, now I just go to 4 Seasons, and Collectors

-Weer'd Beard
I stopped in on Saturday morning. Parking on the street was easy at 10AM.

They had a nice selection of handguns, probably 7-8 cabinets, 2-3 levels each, sorted by caliber. Very accomodating, willing to show me anything eventhough I stated I was just window shopping.

They had the largest selection of .25ACP pocket pistols I've seen anywhere (10-12 to choose from). A couple of cabinets of revolvers, and a seperate cabinet for cowboy action pistols. Prices seemed a little high (a box or two of ammo worth), but not outragous.

Not much in the way of long guns.

I came very close to buying one of those pocket pistols just to support this holdout in the midst of enemy territory... may still go back.

I've been doing business with them for over 30 years and they've always treated me fairly, been friendly, and would let you look around.
I called all over the state looking for a Browning Invector Plus choke in skeet
and no one had ANY invector + chokes. I finally remembered to call Roach's
and they said "Wait...I've got one right here in my hand for you". I popped
over and they have a great selection of chokes for Browning and Berettas in a
box by high-end shotguns. Just an FYI if you are looking for these chokes, as
all I could find anywhere else were Remington and Mossberg chokes.
I'm not a fan of their rule that you need an LTC/FID just to go into the gun section. Turned me off enough that once I get my LTC (hopefully within the next week or two) I will be visiting Four Seasons.

They also seem to think that the Mk. III 22/45 is not Mass compliant.
I've done business with Roach's since the 70s, and I've always been treated politely there. Charlie and Bill are both gone now, and the younguns are running the shop. They do a good job, but don't yet have the ability to interact with customers the way that the previous generation did.
I'm not a fan of their rule that you need an LTC/FID just to go into the gun section. Turned me off enough that once I get my LTC (hopefully within the next week or two) I will be visiting Four Seasons.
As I posted in another thread, that is the policy in most all gun stores in MA. It's not because they are trying to give you a hard time. It is because so many of the stores have been victims of overzealous regulators that they are very cautious. Once you get your LTC, I'm sure they will be more welcoming.
I went in to Roach's last week to see what the deal was, and my visit was both positive and negative. The gentlemen who assisted me was pleasant and attempted to be helpful, but as is the case more often than not, I got the distinct feeling that I knew more about guns than he did (not that I'm some brilliant know-it-all by any means). The store is fairly large, particularly for the city, and is well-stocked with both pistols and long guns. The pistols are arranged by caliber seperately in each case, and there is also a "collectors" case with some rarer guns (An HK, a couple of high-detail cowboy irons and so on)

I think we've all been spoiled with Carl's pricing and hospitality, and as a result, a lot of other store's pricing seems high. This place was by no means a rip-off, but I would say that the pricing on each gun was 10-12% higher than FS. Good selection of reloading supplies if you're into that, and ammo pricing was middle of the road. Ammo selection was fair at best however. They did have a great selection of minature "belly" guns (Berettas, Seecamp clones etc), and the pricing was reasonable on those.

Overall, I'd say the shop is worth a visit if you're in the area. Parking is a pain, but welcome to Boston.
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I agree with almost all of the previous review, but also want to mention that
it is the only shop that I have seen in the state with a decent selection of
higher end ($1000 and up) shotguns.

Right on Firtree,

I should have mentioned that as a point in the shop's favor. They have a classy wood case full of ornate, engraved and gold-adorned over and unders, side by sides and single barrel shotguns. Certainly not a bad shop, and clearly the only game in town in the city.

Thanks for reading!
I haven't been to that shop in twentyfive years(its just out of my way most times) but used to frequent it with my older brother and father as a kid in the early 60's and as a teenager when you could ride a bicycle or get on a public bus with BB or pellet gun and the entire world wouldn't collapse in fear.

They were there long before the city of Cambridge fell to communism and I'm glad they have prevailed against the many attacks on them to close them down. I've bought a couple of guns from them years ago and they(the elder owners) were great about ordering something you wanted.

Anyone remember Ivanhoe's in Watertown? We used to go there as grade school kids and look at the guns in the racks. I remember going there with my father to pick out my first gun at age 12. A Winchester single shot 12ga and that thing kicked like a mule....but I loved it.

The sorry state of affairs in this state today is depressing to say the least.
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