What do you look for when buying a used gun? It’s not just the look and feel of a piece. And it certainly isn’t just the name or brand. With a used gun, multiple people and gun traders may have owned it before. The gun shop may have inspected it, but they do miss things sometimes. With these step-by-step tips on what to look for when buying a used weapon, you will be ready to find the best deal without getting screwed. Take a look below to see the steps on what to look for when buying a used gun.
Buying Used Guns | How To Shop Gun Blue Book Value Prices
1. Check the used gun for rust.
One of the first things to look for is rust. It is something to be wary of. You don’t want tons of rust but if it has a tiny amount and it doesn’t really matter to you that much, then go for it (However, if there is rust you can probably get a discount). Say no to heavy rusting or pitting.
2. Check your used gun sights.
Make sure your sights are not loose. Push on them and make sure there is no movement. There are used handguns that have the sights come off with just a touch.
3. Check the used gun’s firing pin.
Make sure the firing pin block is there. If it is not present, this makes the gun unsafe. It can fire if the hammer flies forward; this is especially true if you drop it. If it is, make sure the firing pin block is working correctly.
4. Make sure your used gun is safe.
Make sure the gun engages in a half cock and give it a push. Do the same when you cock it and make sure it doesn’t slip off. Give it a good push. If the gun has a de-cocker, make sure that the de-cocker is working correctly. Make sure the firing pin block doesn’t raise when you do that, and that the firing pin is moving out of the way.
5. Check to see if the firing pin works on the used gun.
Make sure the firing pin works. Have the clerk lend you a pen, stick it down the barrel, pull the trigger and watch it fly out.
6. Examine the screws of the used gun.
Make sure all the screws in the gun are not stripped out. If you need to replace something and the screws are stripped, you’re also screwed.
7. Inspect the rails of the used gun.
If it has rails, make sure they have nice, cleanly-machined edges. You don’t want them to be all banged up and not have something fit when you get the firearm home.
8. Examine your stakes on the used gun.
Check anywhere that there are pins. If they were staked, make sure that they are still secure. People will take the slide apart and break the staking. They are staked for a reason.
9. Field strip the used gun.
Be sure to field strip the gun. If a gun shop won’t let you field strip a used gun I would consider going somewhere else. Detail stripping – probably won’t happen. Make sure the recoil spring is intact and that there are no links missing or cut and modified, and of course, no rust.
10. Check the barrel.
On the barrel, look for wear. Wear marks on the barrel is common and can happen from little use. Look for major wear issues. Look at the feed ramps and make sure there are no divots or gouges, Dremel marks, or machining. Those will lead to unreliability. Check the rifling. If the previous owner used steal cleaning rods it could have messed up the barrel.
11. Examine the receiver of the used gun.
Check the receiver for pins and make sure no one gouged it. Also, make sure that all the pins are there.
Striker Fire Guns
Here’s what you should do when inspecting a used striker fire gun for purchase.
1. Check the slide of the striker fire gun.
On striker fire guns, if you are supposed to pull the trigger to get the slide off, be sure to check that it doesn’t come off without pulling the trigger. If it does, this could mean your striker engagement is messed up.
2. Check the tension of the striker fire gun.
Check for tension on the striker and that your firing pin block is working. Push it to be sure it has spring tension.
You can also check out this full video on buying used pistols by TCArmory:
Before you actually go into a gun shop you are going to want to check on prices for the gun that you want. There are many different resources available to check this, such as Blue Book of Gun Values, Guns America or Gun Broker. For Gun Broker, I like to go to search for the gun I want and then check the completed auctions. This will give me a good idea of what the gun actually costs in today’s market. The information is as up to date as the last auction for that gun. Now that you have a way to know what the price ranges should be on any gun, you’ll be able to tell what to look for in a good or bad used gun.
Did you find this article useful in buying used guns and bluebook prices? Let us know in the comments section below what your thoughts are!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2015 and has been updated for quality and relevancy