Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Budget Pistols: Buying Used

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In our last post, we discussed choosing concealed carry handguns for a new shooter. One subject we touched on was budgeting for a pistol. Firearms, as a general rule, are not inexpensive. High quality firearms can command prices that exceed $1,000. This places many firearms outside of the average person's budget. What do you do when the pistol that "works" for you is one that is too expensive? One solution we mentioned was buying used. The problem is, not all used firearms are the bargains that they seem.

When buying a used firearm, you don't ever truly know how well that handgun was cared for by its previous owner. As such, without having a used firearm inspected by a gunsmith (which I highly encourage anyone buying a used firearm to do), you never know whether you're picking up a bargain, or buying someone else's "problem". One exception to this however is factory refurbished or certified pre-owned firearms.

A number of manufacturers have "certified" used pistol programs. These pistols are thoroughly inspected, tested, and then certified by factory armorers before being offered for sale. One of the best programs like this that I know of is Sig Sauer's Certified Pre-Owned program. Sig Sauer regularly buys back used law enforcement firearms when departments are upgrading.

Glock also offers factory refurbished handguns from time to time. As with Sig Sauer, Glock has their pistols inspected by factory armorers and replaces any worn parts before certifying the firearms for resale. Both manufacturers offer 1 year warranties on their refurbished and Certified Pre-Owned handguns.

Law enforcement trade-ins are the most common firearms that make their way through factory refurbishing. Many of these firearms are barely used at all, only fired a few times a year for practice and qualification. Currently, many departments are moving towards replacing their standard issue firearms with new Smith and Wesson M&P pistols. These new pistols are inexpensive already, and can be picked up brand new for less than $400 in many cases. But the real bargains are the pistols being traded in by these departments. Many are trading Sig Sauer 229 and 226 pistols, along with many Beretta 92 and Glock handguns. These factory refurbished Glocks can be had for $400 to $459, nearly $100 off the price of a brand new model. Beretta 92 models have been seen selling for less than $350. The used Sig Sauer handguns are sometimes priced even better, often retailing for as much as 50% less than a new model.

When purchasing a handgun, the price tag can present a serious hurdle. Many people simply don't care for the low budget pistols available on the market, and yet cannot afford a higher quality pistol. Buying a used handgun allows a lower entry level price point for those who desire a high-end model. Just remember - go for factory refurbished or Certified Pre-Owned models, or insist on having a gunsmith inspect any potential purchase.

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