Many years ago, when I was looking at purchasing my first gun, the thought didn’t even cross my mind to look at a used one. I wound up picking out a new Glock 19 Gen 3 from a local gun store for what I thought was a good deal. Shortly after, a friend of mine ended up buying a used one for almost $150 less and in near perfect condition. 

It was at that point that I quickly began exploring the used firearm market. Whether you’re a collector on the search for an antique gun or simply looking for a great deal, buying a used gun definitely has its advantages.

Saving Money

M&P 22 Compact
Used guns can be great value buys if you are looking for a plinker, like this M&P 22 Compact, which is meant to shoot a lot of affordable rounds and not just sit inside a safe anyway. (Photo: Ryan Domke/

One of the most obvious reasons to buy a used gun is to save money. Typically, but not always, I find that you can expect to save up to 20 percent on a used gun when compared to buying it new. Having that extra money to spend on ammunition and accessories is never a bad thing. If you want to shoot your shot (pun intended) for an even better deal, you can try to negotiate or, in the case of, “make an offer” on select guns.  

Finding a Specific Gun


Old collectible Flobert rifle
If you are looking for an old, unique, budget-friendly, or out-of-production gun, then used might be your best option. A gun like this old Flobert that is well over 100 years old will likely not show up new no matter how hard you look. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

Are you looking for a specific World War II gun? Are you looking for the gun you saw in a magazine 20 years ago? Older or discontinued models may leave you with no choice but to look at used firearms. 

RELATED: The Hunt for Old Guns – Who Collects Old Guns and Why?

A great example would be the original Colt Pythons, which were discontinued from 2005 to 2020. If you want to find one that was manufactured pre-2005, you can bet it will be used. I’d also like to add that not all used guns are old and vice versa, but the used market definitely can be a gold mine for older and hard-to-find guns.

Avoiding the ‘Break-In’ Period


Used Rifle on a the floor
There are guns that are hard to find new, and then there are guns that actually come with some extra perks because they are used. (Photo: Ryan Domke/

Some guns tend to experience a mix of malfunctions throughout the first several magazines, and then they seem to shoot flawlessly afterward. While I personally haven’t experienced many issues with this, I have heard from plenty of other shooters who have. When buying used, in most cases, the original owner will have already shot the gun. This can help to bypass those pesky issues during the first few range trips.

Quick & Dirty Tips for Buying Used


Used police trade-in Lar-15
This used police-trade-in Lar-15 came with upgraded parts and some added character, not to mention the fact that it was already designed to serve as a duty gun. (Photo: Paul Peterson/

While there are many things to consider when buying used, here are my top three: 

  • Buy From a Reputable Seller – I’ve heard horror stories of people receiving damaged guns, the wrong gun completely, or even not receiving any gun. People talk, and so do reviews. Make sure to pay attention to them both.
  • Inspect the Gun – Never buy a gun without seeing it first, whether it is through photos or in person. takes care of the mundane task of inspecting the gun for you through their Certified Used Program. Each gun goes through a 10+ point inspection that includes both the internal and external components. Certified guns will have the corresponding “Certified” stamp on the listing. 
  • Make Sure You Know the Return Policy – After you get a used gun home or delivered and have more time to inspect it, there’s always a chance you can find something wrong that you didn’t notice when purchasing. Understand the seller’s return policy (there should be one in place) just in case. Especially when buying online, you’ll want the peace of mind knowing that you’re covered. 

Regardless of if you buy a certified used, police trade-in, or non-certified gun through, you’ll have at least a three-day window after the physical transfer to start a return. With certified guns, you can return them within three days for any reason or seven days if there are malfunctions with proper use. With non-certified guns, you have three days to return them if there is a mechanical defect. Either way, that peace of mind comes with your purchase.  

Final Thoughts

Used guns can offer history, like this old Savage Model 1917, but they can also just be budget-friendly options for modern guns like the trusty Glock 19 or a slightly-used AR-15. (Photo: Paul Peterson)

Let’s be honest, it doesn’t always make sense to buy used. If the price is the exact same for both a used and new version of the same gun, I would go with the new one. However, if you can save money or find that gun that you’ve been searching long and hard for, buying it used can be a great option. 

In addition, sometimes used guns come with extra goodies from the previous owner, like upgraded sights, holsters, or extra magazines. In conclusion, don’t let the sole fact that a gun is used deter you from purchasing it. 

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