Value is the main subject I want to address today for those looking to buy a gun, but aren’t aware that a good deal already exists. On the used market, you can find good pistols that have seen little to no use by their previous owners. Some of these guns such as HK, SIG, and some 1911s can go for a high price new in box, but can be found for less money after little to no rounds fired. With the proper knowledge of what to look for, a used gun can be a great value and deal for anyone.

The most common characteristic of used guns is that they have been shot very little.  This includes Police trade ins which are handled frequently but shot very little.  The typical gun owner doesn’t shoot very much.  This means you can get a gun that shoots like new for significant savings.

It is a stereotype that used guns are more suited for individuals who don’t have the money for a new gun. The title “USED” seems to reflect being almost worn out. I think people see the word and automatically think of the old worn out cars sitting in dealerships waiting to be bought, just to break down a week later. The first thing that used to pop into my head with used guns was “what is wrong with it?” This is a very common thought that people share, but in reality, most used guns have nothing functionally wrong with them. It is merely the fact that the owner did not really feel that they needed it anymore.

Now when looking at these guns there are a few things that I look for to see if the price is right. First thing I look for is if it comes with most of the original things you would get with a new gun. Now if this is a pistol, I would check to make sure the gun comes with the same amount of mags that you would get if you were to get it new. If it came with other pieces of gear, such as a holster or light, I like to see those come with it. If it doesn’t have these things with it, the price should reflect it generously. The price for the new gun is set for everything you get because everything costs something. If I am going to be getting a lightly used Glock with one magazine and the owner is asking $450, I will not even consider it because it’s only worth $300-$350 in good condition. I can get a Police surplus pistol for less and it too only comes with one magazine and no box.

Do your homework.  Read reviews. know how the gun you want works and how to take it apart.  Check common prices so you can spot a deal.  Don’t be in a hurry, there will be another deal tomorrow if this one doesn’t work out today.  Only buy it if you love it.

When you get face to face with your gun,  you need to  inspect the pistol for wear or damage. You should expect that it may not have been cleaned and also that it will show wear since it was used. I would look to make sure the previous owner didn’t polish anything. I would not buy a gun that has been modified in any way since I want a gun that is still in relatively good condition, not customized unnecessarily with a stippling job. If the warranty is transferrable with the gun, any modifications can instantly void the warranty. Warranties are invaluable if you intend to hold onto the gun and need repairs. The bill can be pretty steep for parts and repairs, with some charging from $65/hr-$80/hr just for the labor.

If you haven’t owned a used gun before, I can attest to my experience that they are a good value and typically come at the right price. Sometimes you can find a good deal on guns by getting several spare magazines, night sights, and a holster at the same price as a new gun. So before you go out to get a new gun, you may be interested in looking for a used one first. As long as you know what to look for, it should be relatively easy for you to find a good value on a lightly used pistol that you were wanting.

by David Donchess

David served in the USMC for a few years, deployed twice and got wounded. Retired and moved to Alaska. Has a passion for reviewing and testing guns and gear of all kinds. Enjoys working to dispel myths and show that you can train and practice in a realistic, safe, and practical way.

Image courtesy of contributor Peter Kim via