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Not only is a great deal of this “How to Buy A Gun” video in slow-motion, it takes an Internet age for the NRA to get to the meat of the matter. “For me, buying a gun is months and months of research,” Hunter Jon “No Relation” Hickok reveals. I’m not sure he’s typical in that regard, but I’m certainly down with his assertion that “test driving” a gun is ideal. You know: try-before-you-buy. As some 3k people will do at the Texas Firearms Festival.

desantis blue logo no back 4 smallWhere was I? Oh right. How you buy a gun? How much pre-purchase research is required, where do you do it, how much influence does your local gun store have on your decision, and do you test fire a gun before buying it? And just for fun, tell us about any examples of buyer’s remorse.

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  1. Gotta be able to hold the weapon in my hands, usually try to rent/borrow first.

    Lay-away is good for making purchases, most of any buyers remorse is on price, and you won’t usually see a price dip over 90 days.

    • I’m a huge fan of layaway. I don’t worry about debt, interest, or credit hits. Allows me to pull $20 here, $10 there, and just pay weekly. A lot of places around here do a lot longer than 90 days, so you never have to worry about missing a payment and losing all of the money you put down.

  2. I’ve been mulling whether to buy a few different guns for a couple years now. Get over about $100 for a single purchase and I get leery about spending the money. So, I research, and read online, and I might look at it in the store. Some day, I may buy one of them. Maybe.

    • Sounds similar to my approach. Being immune to the want/need to be the “first on the block” with any new design/model is great; I can (and do) take my time, watch the reviews, run searches for problems, and generally let other folks fill the beta-tester role. When I finally pick one up, there is usually no surprises, just solid predictable performance, and often I can find a used model for cheap, allowing more money to go to ammo/accessories.

  3. If it’s something I intend to compete with or carry for defense I take months, shoot it a lot, read about it a lot.

    If it’s something I want for no other reason than ‘murica I’ll check around for any obvious failing in reviews and forums then look for the best price and just buy it. Usually takes a few days.

  4. The most serious remorse I have had is after buying something a couple hundred bucks cheaper than what I really wanted to save a bit. I won’t ever do that again.

    • Years ago I owned, and loved, a Ruger P-85. Then the Army put the Beretta 92 into service and I thought that it must be a swell gun, so I went out and bought the Taurus version of that pistol, I forget the model.

      My next trip to the range I discovered that no matter what I did the ergonomics of that pistol absolutely prevented me from firing with any degree of accuracy or consistency. And it was not me that was the problem because at that same session I was hitting dead on and consistent with the P-85.

      Sold the beast, and the P-85, and upgraded to my EDC Ruger SR9c. Sometimes a pistol just doesn’t work for a particular person, I was never able to master the M1911 in the Army, either.

      Good advice, borrow or rent the pistol before you plunk down your cash. You won’t be sorry.

  5. Depends, I’m always at my local gun shop, always seeing what’s new, usually I have some idea of what I want when I make my purchase, and usually end up with something better, for example, was going to get a dpms Oracle ar15, for $100 more I got a s&w m&p 15 sport2, much better in many ways and I’m happy so far, the one buyers remorse buy I have had, i wanted something lighter and more concealable than my xd service .45, i looked at a s&w sd40ve, it was lighter, smaller and I could afford it with cash in my pocket, it was junk from the first shot, sent it to to manufacturer, came back with the same problems, traded it within a week for a sccy cpx-2 9mm, best trade ever. I usually read a lot of reviews on whatever I find interest in before deciding, and I’ll also talk to my “gun nut” brother-in-law, don’t always agree with him, but he generally has hands on experience and good reasons for a yay or nay.

    • Yeah, kinda the same: with a (very) limited gun budget, I need to be especially picky; to the point that I need to consider how many different uses/applications a new gun will fulfill.
      Not to give y’all too big a head, but TTAG has become my go-to source for information to help me make those decisions.

  6. I buy all my guns from a guy named “Slick” who works in the parking lot behind the local strip club. His prices are insane.

    • I also like how Slick always fills-in all the paperwork, complies with all the atf registration requirements, certifies legality, “files” the serial #s (literally), and pays registration fees on his own, without me having to sign anything.

  7. No particular way, really. I love to handle them first, and fire them first if possible, but I do handle a lot of guns at gun shows, and I’ve tried a lot of things loaned to me by friends. I’ve bought from private sellers – only those known to me personally. I’ve bought two via an FFL, one of them “on line.” I’ve been given guns as gifts too. And that’s just the handguns. 🙂

    The only ‘remorse’ I have is for the three guns I’ve sold. I didn’t shoot them anymore, so figured I wouldn’t miss them and could use the money. Well, I had good use for the money, but I still kick myself sometimes for letting go of the last two.

    • Put my Ruger P95 on consignment with local gun store. It lingered for a long time.
      Finally decided to call and let them know was going to come by and pick it up. Put on hold, employee came back and told me “it just sold this past weekend”
      Picked up the check and when got home, went on gunbroker, found same model pistol, bought it. Will not sell a handgun again. My heirs no doubt will.

      • Funny how that works sometimes. The Ruger P95 is the only gun I don’t much regret selling. I bought it in the early days as an “investment.” Never could shoot it because my trigger fingers are too short. Wound up needing cash for property taxes and figured it was about time to recover the investment. I sold it for exactly what I’d paid for it years before. So, it was a repository rather than an investment, but I didn’t lose anything. Gained a little room for the XD .45 I bought a little later. Now THAT’S the gun I most regret selling. snif…

  8. I decide the kind or gun I want to buy and do research based on the best value rather than the very best gun. I’m not expert shooter so good will work as well for me as the “best”. That’s how I ended up buying a RIA 1911, SD9VE for my plastic 9mm, Ruger 22/45 semi-auto 22, Henry Lever Action 22, Taurus TCP, etc. I bought them all without shooting them and I have not been disappointed.

  9. My pResident’s economics policies have made gun-buying a fond memory. I still research, and pretend, purchases, but fortunately I still have my pre-retirement selection to shoot. While I don’t consider him worthwhile, my democrat governor has also added the unSAFE Act to discourage selling to finance/buy different guns, all in the “name of protecting us from ourselves, but never from his friends the criminals.”

  10. I rarely notice the flaws until after I buy it. Then I sell it at a large loss. I repeat this until I get one I like. Takes months and all my spending money.

    • If I had a nickel for every person I’ve known who actually did this….I’d run out and buy a new gun. Or two. And ammo, lots of ammo.

        • No, that’s far too harsh. I used “Indecisive shoppers” when I worked in a gunshop, but I think the owner used something like “Goose that lays the golden egg — every payday”.

    • Sell them on Gun Broker. People pay top dollar for other peoples’ rejects there. Probably won’t lose more then 10% off the new price.

  11. Well right now I’m currently working on making my own from scratch. Screw the FFL system… it’s nothing but a control mechanism for people that already obey the laws.

  12. I find a gun I like and look for the best price possible. I did just that when I bought my Ruger AR-556 yesterday at Cabelas on sale for $630 with 10% off that for a total of $566. The $34/10% I saved paid for a 100 rounds 5.56.

    Any maintenance tips before I shoot it? I’ve already sprayed CLP on the BCG.

  13. Ha. Funny stuff.

    I buy guns with money. Sometimes I have to liquidate something to get some thing new. This will usually be something I bought from someone that needed to sell something.

    I do have some old guns that I am on the lookout for. As years pass, they get less likely to find.

    The guys at the LGS always ask “what are you looking for?” I tell them ” the next one”

  14. I’ve been pondering Beretta 92fs for 550 at my LGS since I just turned 21 in august. Since this will be my first handgun I’ve beenjoyed also looking at g17 or g19 or even a cz75 but I haven’t made up my mind. would like to keep it under 800. any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • From the easy shootability, ease-of-maintenance, and even concealability standpoints, you’d be better off with either Glock first, or the CZ for a distant second (you don’t need two shooting modes; actually, no one does, IMO). Learn and live the safety rules every day, no matter what you buy. Shoot 500 rounds (minimum) through the pistol and make sure you can keep all your hits on a paper plate at 10 yards, at any speed, before deciding on any modifications.

      Good luck, be safe, and enjoy!

    • I have an M9 sitting next to me right now. I wish It was the decocker model rather than the DA with decocking safety. If I were in the market for a Beretta, I would go with a G model with the decocker only.

      I prefer CZs for my carry and competition guns. I have a few CZs at home. My 75 (non B) is safety only, my P01 and P09 are decockers, my 100 is DA only, and my 52 is safety and decocker but able to be carried cocked and locked. I carry the P01 and compete with the P09. So far no issues at all with them.

      • For some reason those 92Gs have been pretty hard to come by lately. 6 or 8 months ago they were thick as thieves.

    • All good choices. I’ve gotten away from Glock myself-just a personal preference. I love my 92 centurion i got in a trade and don’t see myself getting rid of it, but you never know. I’ve had my eye on CZ pistols for a while now and will pick one up at some point. What is the primary purpose of the gun? I ask because those are all duty sized and some carriers find they don’t like them.

    • I’ve come to really like the M9 that I picked up in the recent past. For ages I’d been running my Walther P99 and I really like the ergonomics on that, a lot. But after handling my cousin’s 92FS I new I wanted to get one some day. After ages on a polymer frame, holding the M9’s alloy grip felt . . . good. Felt right in the hand. Gave the pistol some heft which i liked. In any case, some day was more like 10-12 + years but I finally did it. After researching between the 92FS and the M9 I went with the M9. I actually really like the M9’s sights and it’s built off of the old frame with straight dust cover . . . more of the “classic” Beretta 92 profile of the 80’s.

      My M9 is now my favorite pistol to shoot. And yeah, ergos and fit and what not are a little dated but I love it for what it is.

      The first thing I did, however, was swap out the stock hammer spring for the factory “D” spring. Cost $8 for the spring and took about 10 minutes to do. Significantly improved the trigger. Do it. You’ll spend more time watching a youtube video on how it’s done than actually doing the swap.

  15. Months if not years of thinking,reading and sometimes shooting. Like my last purchase a KelTec KSG. I’d been interested in this shotgun since they came out. But the price was waaaayyyyy too high 900-1500 depending on where OR who had one. So I waited, and waited, and waited and read,and read. I told my buddy who runs a pawn shop if he got one in call me. He did.( my wife got the call, I was out to sea) price was right $650 so she bought it and surprised me. I think it’s a gen 2? Anyway, I’m thrilled with the KSG runs like a scalded dog. I feel like the wait was well worth it. My next purchase on the radar in a S&W Bodyguard .380 w/ laser, to replace my P3at for summer carry but that’s a ways off.

  16. These days any gun I buy is from a backyard/backdoor seller…I guess the PC phrase is “private sale.” I specifically look for guns made and (hopefully) sold before 1968. If it’s a “one owner” or “family” gun I am in heaven. I avoid all commercial sales because one thing the dealers won’t tell is something I learned while working at a military Rod and Gun Club in New Mexico…the BATFE come in for a “non-regulatory visit” ask to see your log and then “borrow” your copy machine. They are in and gone in 20 minutes. Guess what’s been happening the last 20+ years with those copies and that information.

  17. For something I plan on using for defense, it’s months of planning, research, and test drives.

    Very rarely do I make an impulse buy, since I value my testicles and do not wish my wife to remove them.

    I’m lucky to have access to mil/Pd discounts. It makes stuff a whole lot more affordable.

  18. I’m an impulse buyer mostly. A few of the modern guns I own I did a lot of research on, but my milsurps are buy on sight if I have the money. I’ve lost out on too many good guns because I wanted to think about a purchase for a few days. Two Enfield No4. Mk1s are my last two screw ups I let go.

  19. The only thing I’ve bought in the last 2 years is a pellet rifle. I’ve got more guns than I can shoot now. I doubt I’ll buy any more unless we get nationwide constitutional carry.

  20. I have a huge list of “guns I think are cool.” Occasionally I’ll go around GunBroker and put reasonably low bids on some of those guns if I find a good listing.

    Usually I’m out bid, but sometimes I get a pretty good deal. I don’t really buy new guns though.

    I curate the list by researching weird guns, especially ones that are divisive on the forums. I like to do my own verification. 🙂

    • “Do any gun stores take gold coins?”

      Your local Pawn & Gun, but you will be better off selling actual gold coin somewhere that pays spot on gold, like better coin shops.

      A rough rule of thumb in the pawn biz in Florida is that they pay you 1/2 what what they will be paid by a refinery on your gold, and some will try to buy your four nines fine Krugerrand for half of what it’s worth, so call around and get as close to spot as you can…

    • I’ve almost always used a credit card but I knew I had the cash in my account to cover the purchase. I’m not going to go wandering around with a few grand in hundreds on me.

      Gun stores look at you like you’re a sketchball if you plunk down Benjamins on a $1000+ rifle and they get really sketched out if the money is covered in blood because some dipshit tried to rob you.

    • I’ve almost always used a credit card but I knew I had the cash in my account to cover the purchase. I’m not going to go wandering around with a few grand in hundreds on me.

      Gun stores look at you like you’re a sketchball if you plunk down Benjamins on a $1000+ rifle and they get really sketched out if the money is covered in blood because some dipshit tried to rob you.

      Saying “Don’t worry, it’s bad guy blood” doesn’t put them at ease the way an Amex card does.

  21. I use that new-fangled Internet thing to research potential new firearm purchases.

    I first check the manufacturers specifications. Then I look for reviews from people who have owned and fired them. Then I find one at a local gun store and evaluate it in my own hands. If I like it (including the price), I purchase it.

  22. When I first started out I bought guns that filled a certain niche and we’re cheap.

    Later on I had a list of certain guns I wanted due to want, historical value or niche. I kept that list in my head and when I found one at a good price, which I could afford, I bought it.

    At this point I really only have guns with historical value left on the list, with a few I just want because they’re cool, but those are the real pricy ones. Still haven’t seen a really good deal on a PSG-1.

  23. I can’t remember ever having had “buyer’s remorse”. As I’ve said before; all guns are good, some are just better than others.
    SELLER’s remorse, however, I’ve gotten a LOT of. In every way from selling a 99%, 4 inch Python for 300.00 to a beat up Single Six with a perfect WMR cylinder for 75.00. I really wish I could have kept them all…. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles, or IOWs, just the way it is.
    You can’t have EVERYTHING, because where would you put it? BTW, I also have the world’s largest collection of seashells. I keep it on beaches all over the world…. maybe you’ve seen it????

  24. Never had buyers remorse on any gun that I had bought–only sellers remorse for all of the great guns that I had stupidly sold many years ago and wish that I still had–pythons, diamondbacks, troopers, boas, etc !!! DMD

  25. I used to research more, but as California (where I am stuck until retirement) infringed more and more, I just bought pretty quickly including Off Roster guns with the Single-shot exemption until they killed that. I buy good names with good reputations for quality and good design and haven’t gone wrong yet. Now I won’t buy for a few years until I leave the state for good.
    That reminds me, need to buy all the ammo I expect to need for the next 4 years before I cannot mail order it any more after June 2018.

    • I understand completely. I’m in the same boat but a couple years behind you. Reload here mostly, but I understand that bullets (projectiles) are included in the bill that Moonbeam signed. Besides I live in a zipcode where I can’t order finished ammo online. Although I can order casings, bullets, primers, and powder to be delivered in one box. WTF! Can’t wait to migrate to free America.

  26. I buy guns the way I buy cars and telescopes. That is, do extensive research before making a decision. Last spring, I decided to switch from .45 ACP to 9 mm for lower recoil that would let me get back on target sooner. Since then, I have spent many hours reading reviews here and elsewhere and watching FULL30 and YouTube videos. I also hit gun shows and the two big local gun stores a few times to get my hands on various candidates. This process narrowed the field to two candidates. One was a ported S&W M&P 9L. The other was a Walther Q5 Match (ported 5″ PPQ). Picked up the M&P yesterday from one of the local stores. (The Q5 had a lighter trigger but a significantly higher bore axis.) I could have gotten it cheaper from Bud’s but the price difference was the local store’s reward for keeping one in stock for me to examine.

  27. It’s easier than buying a book or a fresh vegetable!*

    *Kidding, I’ve always used FFLs. Nothing against person to person sales, but for me it would be an even bigger PITA, making sure the item is good and all.

  28. Gun has to fit my hands, be accurate, and reliable.
    All of those things are a must.
    Printing is not a problem – Carry a Sig P226 OWB concealed with polo shirt with no problem.
    Tried a P229, but grips too short – gun has to fit.

  29. I’ll usually hit YouTube if I don’t know about it already. Big channels, small channels, get a good idea of what everyone thinks, vs the guys getting paid to say nice things. Don’t have a lot of disposable income at one time, so layaway is my choice for most things. A couple months of just watching and reading a lot of things before I decide to burn a paycheck on something. If it is brand new, I’ll always wait 3-6 months to make sure the bugs get worked out, and that goes for everything.

  30. Biggest regrets are selling a shotgun my dad gave me so that I could buy a S&W Sigma .40, and not buying a Canik TP9SA sooner. I do some research before I buy, mostly price and reliability, but rarely ever have an opportunity to shoot before I buy. Probably 50/50 gun show/lgs. Online some but, delivered to FFL. Only one time from wally world. Holy smoke was that a PITA, but it was mis-marked by $100 in my favor.

    I’m pretty well set now but still looking to complete my mil-surp collection and pick up a few specific lever guns.

  31. Depends who has what I want at a favorable price. Could be LGS, small shop, gun show, private purchase. Having a NC CCW makes any gun purchase a smoother operation (if you have one of these you are squeaky clean). Except for a shotgun, I now only buy a Ruger because I know it will positively work correctly (Ruger does not make a pump shotgun). Sold off a bunch of real nice guns that were not Rugers because they simply did not perform. Ruger has spoiled me for most anything else, but I still comparison shop everything else in the same category, only to come back and buy a Ruger. Where I live we all have our own shooting ranges and get to shoot each others guns, which is handy for comparisons. Even though a S&W SW9VE was a lot cheaper than the Ruger SR series, I thought that it was a dreadful pile. Quality does cost more and it does not pay to go cheap; but on the same hand not the over-priced German stuff or the fancy stuff.

  32. I am very fortunate. I have two friends who own gun stores and a third who just opened one up as a hobby. He only has a couple of guns in stock. He charges a flat $20 for ffl services. I bought a 16′ PSA AR off him today, complete gun with Midwest rails, for $540 out the door. As for research, I peruse TTAG reviews, Guns and American Handgunner magazines, Hickok 45, etc.

  33. I’ve changed my entire collection over the last year. I decided to aim at having a winter carry in 9 & 40, a summer carry in the same and a house gun/range gun in both. This led to also adding a .22 auto & revolver and two .38’s (one 4″ & one 2″). Sold off 10 and bought 8. Now have Sigs, Springfields, Walthers, a Steyr and a Lionheart LH9n. Couldn’t be happier. Lots of research and a preference for DA/SA went into the move. However, my 9MM Steyr S9-A1 and my XDs .40 are a joy to shoot and my Sigs are fantastic. The real surprise is the Lionheart. I couldn’t ask for a better military-type handgun. The fit&finish, ergonomics and trigger are all the research said it would be. I’m satisfied at present with my handgun collection. Now rifles…

  34. Generally, when I make the mistake of walking into a gun store, I see something I like and buy it. Like, total impulse. That has gotten me so many guns I have trouble with storage, I am trying to restrain myself in the future.

  35. Check internet for reviews. Test drive/Rent at the local range. Purchase at LGS. I like to support my local peeps rather than shave it down to the absolute bottom dollar. Even if it is an older used piece, my local LGS will research it for me.

  36. I do research online, mostly. I pay attention to functionality and breakdown mostly, but other aspects such as capacity and aesthetics play a role. I prefer to buy locally, and get a feel for it to make a final decision. Brick and mortar is not my showroom, the internet is my showroom.

  37. Pistols – Need to handle and shoot it first. Usually from a range friend with one, or at a rental shop (we have some great ones in Vegas).

    Non-black rifles – Handle for ergonomics before purchasing, with some exceptions.

    Black-rifles: Buy stripped lower of choice. Build from parts. For ARs. AK variants…buy on impulse 😉

  38. According to Tumblr, by making 60 racist shitposts while at a Klan rally before invoking Milo Yianopolous 666 times and then paying 25 cents to a straight white guy to receive a machine gun in exchange for killing at least 9001 blacks, gays, and otherkin.

    According to real life: “Hello, I would like to purchase this firearm. Here are my money and valid ID. Pleasure to do business with you, now let’s get cracking on the paperwork.”

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