The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: General Handgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 6, 2011, 06:09 PM   #1
Libertad
Member
 
Join Date: December 30, 2010
Location: MI
Posts: 36
Tips for buying used?

I went searching through the old TFL posts looking for a good thread on how to buy a used handgun. A few good ones certainly exist, but they're all getting pretty old (thread was active in 2001 for example) and I'm wondering how things have changed in the 10 or so years since then.
To avoid simply re-hashing the things said in those good threads, allow me to present 2 hypothetical scenarios for you:
1) What are some "red flag" word(s) you look for in a used gun description? What are things you particularly LIKE to see in the description?

2) You've just bought a used gun online because your LGS has a sparse and uninspiring used selection. You worked out a 3-day inspection period with the seller, and the gun arrived this morning. That is: what will you do in the next 3 days to ensure you got a quality used gun and not a lemon?

Thanks a lot, all.
Libertad is offline  
Old February 6, 2011, 06:23 PM   #2
tang75081
Member
 
Join Date: October 3, 2010
Location: Texas
Posts: 36
I just recently bought a used g36 from a local gun shop that I usually go to for shooting. Usually, from what they told me, they would do a function test to see if it works properly. Since I owned glocks in the past I pretty much know what to look for. Mainly to see how dirty the gun is, and some wear marks. I noticed some wear marks outside the barrel. I just got done putting 125 rounds and avoided some of the complaints that other owners had and it worked great.

I've never bought a used gun online before, just new ones from buds. Since there is a Cheaper Than Dirt around my area I just go to that one.
tang75081 is offline  
Old February 6, 2011, 06:24 PM   #3
BlkHawk73
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 14, 1999
Location: Maine
Posts: 744
Quote:
1) What are some "red flag" word(s) you look for in a used gun description? What are things you particularly LIKE to see in the description?
For me it's more about the red flag words I don't like seeing.

Red flag words for me are:

Custom - Could mean many things but often it's simply something minor that the seller sees as worthy of a excessive price increase. Not all aftermarket parts nor gunsmithing is worthy of price increase. Some reduces value. Know what you're buying.

Quote:
2) You've just bought a used gun online because your LGS has a sparse and uninspiring used selection. You worked out a 3-day inspection period with the seller, and the gun arrived this morning. That is: what will you do in the next 3 days to ensure you got a quality used gun and not a lemon?
Do your homework and buy from reputable sellers. Plenty of feedback for good and bad transactions tanks to the internet forums. If a deal is too good to be true, well... Once you have the gun, look in over completely, externally and internally. Know what you bought.

See the common denominator? Know the make and model you're buying so that you'll know what to look for and what to be careful about.
__________________
Shoot safe, shoot often
BlkHawk73 is offline  
Old February 6, 2011, 07:20 PM   #4
TXAZ
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 5, 2010
Location: TEXAS!
Posts: 1,449
Red Flags

Quote:
Originally Posted by Libertad
1) What are some "red flag" word(s) you look for in a used gun description? What are things you particularly LIKE to see in the description?
For me, the red flags can be a price too low or too high compared to comps, someone who won't meet face to face if local or face to face with a friend elsewhere, or won't provide drivers license / other proof of identity and ownership, won't provide the serial number in advance (and I prefer a clear picture of the serial number vs. just the number sent). If 'they have another buyer' ready to buy so there's a short fuse and I need to rush them a check, then I suggest they go ahead and sell it.

Another concerning flag is "picture may not represent actual item being sold" or blurry pictures / "sorry crappy camera / I'm no photographer" or don't have a camera / no picture available comments. Wild claims as to who owned / held / was shot with a particular weapon, with no credible provenance or documentation lessens the stature of the seller in my mind.

+1 to BlackHawk, "KNOW WHAT YOU'RE BUYING." That means models, price range, typical operation and issues, caveats, etc. While I feel most sellers online are honest, there are enough 'pigs in a poke' out there to justify significant caution when dealing with unknown parties or items.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Libertad
2) You've just bought a used gun online because your LGS has a sparse and uninspiring used selection. You worked out a 3-day inspection period with the seller, and the gun arrived this morning. That is: what will you do in the next 3 days to ensure you got a quality used gun and not a lemon?
For most Zonies, it's extremely unlikely that such a gun doesn't exist in the Phoenix / Arizona area. But, if this was my only option, upon arrival, I'd take a good look at it mechanically, then field strip it and inspect for any issues and smoothness of action. I'd also submit the serial # to the local PD to ensure it wasn't stolen or otherwise questionable.

Finally, I'd take it to my favorite gun store w/ a range, and shoot it. If the range had a similar for rental, I'd rent one and note any differences in operation / feel. Based upon that I'd inform the seller of a go / no go.
But.... In general, I prefer to purchase used weapons face to face. There are just too many variables with a used weapon from a private seller at a distance, unless it's the only one available. I'd rather be less price sensitive than deal with a return / hassle similar to what many have dealt with with other sales sites such as ebay.

While there are some good deals out there in the used guns market on-line and in some of the rags, I tend to stay away from them as I feel there are too many variables.

Your mileage may / will vary. Good luck.
__________________
!أنا لست إرهابي
TXAZ is offline  
Old February 6, 2011, 11:22 PM   #5
vytoland
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: Illinois
Posts: 614
this may help...........

http://www.chuckhawks.com/used_handgun.htm
vytoland is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 03:23 AM   #6
Eagle0711
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 25, 2010
Posts: 782
Joe Blow buys a new Kimber. He doesn't read the owners manual, but shoots it with some stubby HPs and gets failures. He then puts it up for sale.

Or he knows more than the manufacturer, so he first gets his Dremmel tool out and does a " trigger job". He now wants to sell it.

Seriously, look the gun over carefully. Are screw heads buggered up and does it show evidence of being taken apart ect. Shoot it with Quality factory ammo such as Win. White Box if possible.

Is the gun tight,and its action smooth? You may get a good buy on a great gun.
Eagle0711 is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 05:05 AM   #7
Amin Parker
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 19, 2010
Posts: 1,118
I do not normally do this but when inspecting a new pistol i let the slide slam forward on an empty chamber to see if the hammer stays in the fully cocked position and does not follow the slide.

I then remove the barrel and inspect the bore, lugs and the barrel hood carefully. The barrel is then put into the slide, mated with the slide lugs and checked for fit. The firing pin hole is inspected to check for wear around it since all fired rounds usually wack that area very hard during shooting.

A full mag of snap caps are then hand cycled to verify extracter function after extracter has been examined for wear/damage. Slide rails are also carefully examined.

Once fully re assembled trigger reset is checked by pulling the trigger with the gun out of battery and then returned. I then release it slowly to see where it resets. The safety is then checked and checked and checked for function. This is serious.

The first warning sign is usually damaged screws and pins. If it looks like a monkey opened up the gun i walk away. On lots of pistols i see the rear sight moved to either left or right because the previous owner could not shoot straight and moved the sight to somehow help his shortcomings. This does not worry me too much but does tell me the gun was not shot a lot. Surely if he cannot shoot straight he must have given up on this hobby soon after buying the pistol.

Unlike in the States, the barrel, slide and frame have to be licenced if one is buying them separately. We therefore have to inspect our guns carefully. A licence for a single part can take 2 years or longer so we cannot afford to make a mistake.

Also, know which make/model pistol you are buying and do proper research. Lots of them have different characteristics which you should consider during an inspection.

Thats all i can think of now. I might take out one of mine and do an inspection and re write as im sure i might have overlooked one or two things.
__________________
Every shooter should know what it feels like to hit a Bowling Pin in the sweet spot and see that sucker fly.

Consider a CZ pistol before you decide.
Amin Parker is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 08:20 AM   #8
Libertad
Member
 
Join Date: December 30, 2010
Location: MI
Posts: 36
Thanks a lot everybody, this is really good advice. I've been researching my gun(s) in question for several months now, so I have a pretty good idea of how much they cost in my area/online. It sounds like most of you posting ITT seem to think it's worth paying the higher price to buy new adn/or in person? I can see the logic in that, even if my checkbook doesn't like it
Libertad is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 09:38 AM   #9
group17
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 11, 2009
Posts: 307
Maybe It's just my luck but I have been able to find like new used guns at multiple LGD in my area that have been real bargains. The best part is they all offer layaway so the one you want does not get sold.

The LGD around here give you a 30 days to bring them back should you have any problems. If it can't be fixed by them they allow you to use the money you spent on another weapon from their store.

I would not take a chance on internet used guns that I can't inspect.
group17 is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 09:54 AM   #10
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 7,908
I purchased almost all of my guns used. Here's what I look for:

1. Whether online or face to face, I look for near-mint condition guns. I'm simply not interested in any guns that have any significant degree of wear, even holster wear.

2. I look at feedback when buying online. I examine it pretty thoroughly to see how many actual guns (not just gun parts) the seller has satisfactorly sold.

3. I watch this board and Sturmgewehr.com for "bad eggs" and steer clear from them. For example, I wanted one of those Ciener .22 conversion kits for my AC556, but decided against it after reading so much negative info on the manufacturer (kits are apparently ok, though).

4. I buy guns that can be fixed if there are any minor problems.

5. I don't use "examination periods" - I simply ask some pointed questions of the seller and make my decision - I've been more than pleased with every purchase to date.
Skans is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 11:06 PM   #11
DanWesson357
Member
 
Join Date: April 3, 2009
Location: Metro Detroit Area, Michigan
Posts: 67
Good information in this thread. Thanks a lot.
__________________
"If someone's personality changes when they carry a gun, they should leave it at home." - Catfishman
DanWesson357 is offline  
Old February 7, 2011, 11:29 PM   #12
hikingman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 8, 2004
Location: Indiana
Posts: 249
There are stores that with a good reputation-that won't attempt to stick you at the used counter.
Approximately 85-95% of new condition would be my choice.

My preference would be light holster wear, or 500 rounds or fewer through the barrel. Lots of times you can tell that it sat in the box or drawer and wasn't taken to the range or woods. You're going to save as compared to the cost of a new one, or keep looking. However, it's not like a used Stratocaster-where you might save 50% over the street price of a new one. Used modern guns in great shape really hold their value.
__________________
Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem. Ronald Reagan, 1985
hikingman is offline  
Old February 8, 2011, 12:09 AM   #13
Delaware_Dan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 15, 2008
Posts: 1,304
Red Flag words that would prevent me from buying a used gun: Custom, reloads, .40 S&W, Taurus. Who am I kidding, I wouldn't buy a(nother) new Taurus, let alone a used one.

What gun are you looking at?
__________________
To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities.

-Bruce Lee
Delaware_Dan is offline  
Old February 8, 2011, 12:54 PM   #14
Libertad
Member
 
Join Date: December 30, 2010
Location: MI
Posts: 36
Quote:
What gun are you looking at?
right now a Ruger GP-100 but I'f I knew what I was doing I'd look for a 3rd gen Smith & Wesson while I was at it
Libertad is offline  
Old February 8, 2011, 01:20 PM   #15
temmi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 13, 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 531
I would take it to a gunsmith... just that
temmi is offline  
Old February 9, 2011, 09:47 PM   #16
B.N.Real
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 22, 2008
Posts: 4,082
1.Buy a gun that is made by a company that is still in business today.

2.Buy from a gun store or someone you TOTALLY trust and know very,very well.

3.Do not spend more money on a used gun then you are willing to lose in that purchase outright.

4.Unless you buy from a very well known internet gun site that has a written return policy-which usually means you have to return it as soon as you inspect it at your FFL reciever and have them ship it back if you do not like it-do not buy any used guns off the internet.

5.Understand that any gun you buy-should you now like it-you will likely lose HALF of the value of that gun if you go to trade it in on another gun-and that means if you buy it today-shoot it today and hate it-and take it back to the gun shop-you just lost half what you paid for it in trade in.

6.Rimfire revolvers get abused often-buying them used requires that you check the back of the cylinder for ANY firing pin marks,cylinder wobble and the like.


7.It costs you nothing to simply spend some time and actually learn about the handgun you want to buy.

The internet is priceless for this.

And that learning process can save you thousands of dollars of heartache.

8.Once you get experience with guns and know what to look for in potentially bad ones-you can take chances but remember-most used gun purchases are no returns.

Most gun shops only have time to do a quick once over on any gun traded into them so they simply cannot guarantee you a troublefree used handgun.
B.N.Real is offline  
Old February 9, 2011, 11:02 PM   #17
Takeum
Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2011
Location: Memphis, Tn.
Posts: 26
Great advice guys.... Thanks for the headsup!
Takeum is offline  
Old February 10, 2011, 02:38 PM   #18
therewolf
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 8, 2011
Posts: 133
First, ANY statement like "it looks OK, but we never fired it". A USED gun, and

you NEVER fired it? Sell it to somebody who believes President Clinton never

inhaled at a party.

Second-No pictures, fuzzy pictures,etc.

Third-Avoid any gun with admitted functional problems. (Not for me.) You're
exposing yourself to a real problem if the gun gets worse quick, because you
were already advised of it's poor condition. Then you have no recourse for return service.

Fourth- If you're bidding online, DON'T AUTOBID. Somehow your

seller can/will find your "secret" maximum bid, and shill you right up

to it. Bid the way your competition does, 5$ at a time, and wait till the last

second to do it to wear them down, or win by time manipulation. Just KNOW

YOUR MAX BID and don't exceed it. You don't "win" if you pay more than you

expected to.
therewolf is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.11283 seconds with 9 queries