Buying a Gun From a Pawn Shop

February 14, 2020 - Guns & Other Firearms

As the co-founder of PawnGuru, I get tons of questions about how to buy a gun from a pawn shop.

If you’re interested in buying a gun, my biggest piece of advice is inspect thoroughly. No matter where you go, or how good the reputation is, it’s important to do your own due diligence.  I also recommend figuring out roughly what kind of gun you want before going in. If you’re struggling to do that research, just ask the shop – odds are the shop has an expert on guns, to help you find the right used gun. After you’ve done your research, take a look at some tips I have on how to buy a gun from a pawn shop.

1. Remember: you get what you pay for

There is no such thing as a perfect bargain when it comes to purchasing a used gun. A $100 gun will shoot poorly or lack the reliability of a more expensive, durable model. If someone sells you a top quality fun for a very low price, consider it suspicious. Of course, we recommend buying a used gun from a PawnGuru verified shop – where we know they’re playing fair and by the rules. Always be prepared to pay a fair price for a decent firearm.

2. Know the fair price

While there are plenty of books listing used gun prices, a gun is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it. The only reliable source for actual gun values are completed sales (check or check out my previous post that gives offer prices on guns that are commonly pawned or sold to pawn shops. This comes down mostly to how much the gun is worth to you.

3. Care about resale value? Stick to the brands

A Colt .45 automatic will hold true to its value, while a Spanish knock-off .45 auto won’t. You’ll have to pay more for the Colt .45 than the Saturday Night Special – but you can always recoup your money later if you decided to resell it. Names are good proxies for quality in the firearms industry. This path also puts you in the fat middle of options, as far as accessories and ammo go.

4. Be prepared to walk away

Buying any gun shouldn’t be an emotional purchase. They’re morally serious tools, dangerous and expensive . If the guy you are buying from just doesn’t rub you the right way, or the price seems unfair, than walk away.

5. Examine the firearm carefully

Always be sure to handle it with safe gun handling techniques. If you don’t know how, then I would advise you to take a beginner’s course on firearm handling – stat. Alternatively, a CCW course will give you the knowledge you need to own and wield a firearm as a responsible citizen.  Verify the gun is unloaded, maintain muzzle discipline, and no finger on trigger. If you want to break it down or dry fire it, ask for permission. Make sure the seller is also demonstrating safe handling. If not, be polite and walk away.

Jordan Birnholtz

Jordan Birnholtz is the cofounder of PawnGuru. An alumnus of the University of Michigan, Jordan started PawnGuru in 2015 with Jon Polter, David Stiebel, and Jessica Zahnd. When he's not working at PawnGuru, Jordan volunteers his time to support undergraduates in building socially-responsible businesses and organizations through Optimize, a program at the University of Michigan.

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