I talk with a lot of people who are interested in buying a handgun, but are wary of considering a used firearm. I’m not saying that you don’t need to be cautious, but there are some great deals on quality pistols and revolvers out there if you know what to look for.
First, the appearance of the firearm is important. Check for obvious signs of abuse or neglect by examining the guns finish. Check for rust, scratches, and discoloration. See if the gun has original parts or after market. This is most commonly done with the sights.
Used gun are classified as used once they leave a retailer. Even if they are never fired they are still used. In classifying quality of the used firearm the seller usually assigns a reference term such as “like new” meaning the gun has most likely been fired once or twice. Look for the word “unfired” this means exactly that, pristine condition. It is important to mention that firearms with a lot of added extras do not necessarily add value. Pricing is typically based on the original gun configurations.
A common myth to dispel that a worn handgun has been shot a lot. This is not necessarily true. Take for example the police trade ins. These guns are carried 40+ hours a week for years, however the vast majority of them have only been shot during the range qualifications shoots typically once or twice a year. So in reality these guns have been broken in but not much more and can give you years of shooting. Additionally, many used guns have not been cleaned prior to coming into the gun shop. This is also, not always a sign the gun has been abused or misused.
Ask for a bore light to inspect the barrel. A snap cap to check the action, trigger pull, slide operation for a semi auto or cylinder lock up for a revolver. Maybe ask to field strip the handgun to do a more thorough check.
Finally, the big question what is the price. As with any purchase of hundreds of dollars do your homework. There are many online gun sales and auction sites that can give you a good idea of what a firearm costs on the used market. With used guns most retailers are willing to negotiate on the price, but always be prepared to pay a fair price.
Follow these tips and your purchase of a used handgun can be a less intimidating venture. Also using a reputable retailer is an important element to ensuring you get a quality gun. If you have further questions on used handguns contact us at our store in Avondale or check out our online inventory at AZFirearms.com.