Tips for buying a used gun

You learn something new every day - today one of the things I learned is that there is a blue book of gun values! I’ve known about Kelly Blue Book for buying a car for eons, but I never knew there was something like that for guns!

Tom McHale talks about it in his latest blog post:

What other resources do you check when purchasing a used firearm?


I have too many “trust” issues to buy a used gun from an individual because I would not know that guns history. The used guns I have bought have been from brick and mortar stores that had gunsmith’s who had worked them over, and made sure they were in good working order, had their serial # ran to make sure they weren’t stolen and had a ballistics check done on them.

1 Like

I buy all my guns from brink and mortar stores. For what I’m willing to pay for a used gun, I watch what they actually sell for in places like GunBroker, then add the cost of taxes, and shipping, and transfer fees. Usually, my gun dealer has his stuff priced right in the ballpark of that figure. Even if he is a little higher, it’s less hassle to buy from him, than buying online. I have a handful, of people that I would buy form as a private sale. They will let me shoot the gun, inspect it myself, even go with me to a gunsmith to have it inspected. Otherwise, I’ll just buy new.

1 Like

What I’m not understanding is there is a gun shop a very large place that I will not name that actually seems to price used merchandise for as much or in some cases for more money than many establishments price new guns for I don’t understand why they do this tactic. What I’m having in mind is that possibly they’re catering to Chicago Cook Co patrons or possibly going to a straw buyers for Chicago bangers.


I don’t mind buying new or used. You simply need to be aware of what you are getting into much like the purchase of a used car or anything else. There are very few hand guns that I cannot strip down to component parts in a few secords to visualize the internals. Let’s face it most used guns “may” have been worn lots and used little. Others are safe queens. Very few out there are “worn out”. A quality gun is a quality gun and a piece of trash will always be a piece of trash. 99% of the time a basic function check and disassembly will tell you everything you need to know. In one instance I purposely bought a Colt 1911 that had the ramp wayyyyy undercut and the hammer and sear were boogered by a shade tree gun plumber. I bought a new barrel, pieces parts and fitted them myself and made a very nice heirloom “pass on piece” that I gave to my Dad for a little under $400 total. I bought a Ruger GP 100 for a song and paid more than the man asked because it was superficially beat to hell but 100% functional with less than 50 rounds fired, it just needed new grips and a polish job. The result was a bomb proof toolbox gun.




interesting thing different about california before I left (13 years ago…) they’d required an FFL dealer to hand hold the deal between seller and buyer… with multi day cooling off period too; of course… in that way a serial number check was completed. (Heck, in Cali, many of the modern guns also had at least three rounds fired before they left factory and filed with the state, factory, and purchaser. I don’t know if a ballistics check has become required since.)