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How to buy a USED semi-automatic pistol

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How to Buy a Used Handgun

There are some real bargains in the used bin at some gun dealers…If you know what to look for.

by Scott Smith

One of the best ways to buy a firearm for personal use is to buy one that was previously owned. Don't laugh. Most of the handguns I purchased when I was in my twenties and thirties were pre-owned, and they are still putting rounds down range.

Generally speaking most used firearms are in good shape. Many have actually rarely or even never been fired. Firearms tend to be impulse purchases by people looking for protection, and they aren't likely to take said weapon to the range.

When shopping for a used gun, the first thing you need to do is define the mission of said gun. Will this be a duty weapon, are you collecting the weapon, or are you going to rebuild it into a full custom piece.

Condition of the Gun

Used handguns are often more worn than used long guns. Therefore, it's a good idea to establish criteria for judging them before you go shopping.

I classify used handguns in several categories: worthy of rebuild, beater or what we call a "truck gun" here in western Pennsylvania, and last is a gun that's near mint or cared for so well that it's suitable for daily carry or for use as an off-duty firearm.

Generally, it's not a good idea to carry a used gun on duty, but let's discuss that more in a minute. For now, let's look at the categories...

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