Some people are reluctant to buy used guns.

Though they’re generally less expensive than new firearms, used gun purchases come with a bit of a higher risk. However, if gun owners are willing to put in the extra effort for safely and responsibly buying used guns, the rewards can be great.

To help you out, here are 6 hacks for buying used guns that will help the process be less intimidating and risky.

1. Buy from Reputable Seller

Today, used guns can be purchased at retailers, gun shows and online. Retailers and gun shows are the safest means of buying used guns, as these sellers are most likely licensed.

In addition, buyers can inspect the guns in person to assess its condition and value. Buyers might even be able to negotiate the asking price.
Buying online is riskier, particularly if the sale is not through a dealer’s website. The gun can’t be assessed in person before purchase and with an unknown seller, the gun might have a criminal history. Pricing can be more competitive online, but unrealistic deals for used guns should always be a red flag.

Remember: If it looks too good to be true, it is.

2. Look Closely at Condition

Condition is key in determining a good deal from a bad deal when buying a used gun. Gun condition is important to a gun’s value, and all aspects of a used gun should be examined for operation and safety before buying.

Used guns should not be purchased if they have cracks or rust. Dents are also a sign the gun is not in good condition. Sellers should expect that buyers will want to fire the gun to verify it works properly and that there are no unexpected operational problems.

Another aspect of condition that should be examined when buying a used gun is whether any after-market parts have been installed. These parts might have been added incorrectly, which would affect the gun’s condition and performance.

Firearms, new or used, are an investment, and buyers should be as thorough as possible in checking condition before purchasing.

3. Consult Reviews

It’s also helpful to consult reviews when buying a used gun. Potential buyers can search online to see if current owners are satisfied with the particular make and model they’re considering for purchase.

Reviews are often written by knowledgeable gun enthusiasts who are thorough in their assessments of firearms. This can provide information about a used gun before it’s bought.

It’s also possible in some cases to consult reviews of used-gun sellers. Potential buyers might have to invest a little more time in researching sellers, but information often comes up quickly in online searches. Any reviews of sellers will provide information as to their reputation and business practices.

4. Availability of Parts

When purchasing used firearms, potential buyers should research if parts are readily available in case replacement is required. Finding parts for old or obscure guns can be difficult and expensive.

This is especially true for rifles. Therefore, it’s best to buy used guns that come from major manufacturers, and recent models at that.

5. Professional Safety Check

The used-gun market can be an excellent means to purchase durable and reliable firearms for a much cheaper cost than new models. However, many used-gun buyers are not at a professional level when assessing the safety of a pre-owned firearm.

One way to ensure a used gun is safe for purchase is to get it checked by a qualified gunsmith. Their inspection goes beyond just noticing the wear and tear of a used gun.

They can assess proper operation and any safety or accuracy issues. There is a cost for this service, but it’s minimal considering the peace of mind it can bring in knowing the used gun is a safe and quality purchase.

6. Legal Implications

Just as there are federal and state laws regulating purchases of new guns, there are legal implications for purchasing used guns – especially at the local level. Be aware a federal firearms license is required for guns being shipped or purchased out of state, including pre-owned firearms.

Individual state laws also apply when purchasing used guns. Some states require background checks for any purchased firearm, whereas others impose heavy restrictions on weapons transfer.

The best way to check legal implications when purchasing a used gun is to research federal and state firearm statutes and consult local law enforcement for guidance.


Buying a used gun can be an intimidating experience, as there’s no doubt used-gun purchases are riskier than new-gun purchases.

However, many used-gun sellers are honest, sincere and ready to offer a good deal. It’s up to the buyer to use good judgment when selecting a seller, thoroughly inspecting the firearm and assessing its safety.

These 6 hacks are just some of the valuable suggestions for how to safely and responsibly purchase a used gun. Be sure to do your own research if you decide to make a used-gun purchase.

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