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“In the wake of the Great Recession, the stigma attached to certain consumer behavior has fallen away,” reports. “What some people once thought of as lowbrow, they now accept — even consider a frugal badge of honor. And it’s not just about Goodwill. Americans, even those with jobs, are shopping for brands, buying at stores and eating at restaurants they shunned previously. They are trying to get more for their money.” Does that hold true for feeding your firearms Jones? Have you gone downmarket, signed-off on SIG for a killer Kel-Tec? Bought used guns whereas you would have purchased new? There are plenty of bargain basement ballistic solutions out there. Did you get you some?

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  1. Hmm… interesting question. My personal budget is around $500 or thereabouts… Ruger SR's can be had for around $425 out-the-door. Less if you shop around.

    What constitutes bargain basement? Less than $300? $200, perhaps? Some folks I know refuse to pay more than $450 for a polymer framed pistol, downmarket or not?

    It's all relative?

  2. I'll take a used SIG over a new Kel-Tec any day of the week, just the same as I would take a used Nissan over a new Kia. Of course, the truth of the matter is that this is all relative – a SIG with 25k rounds through her, or a Nissan with 250k miles may be more of a headache then they're worth. I buy used and trade used all they time. Just like the used car market, the used gun market can be a place to get some fantastic deals. Unfortunately (or fortunately), some people are scared of the thought of a "used gun". Once you know how to properly check a used pistol, revolver, shotgun, or rifle, it simply becomes a matter of getting the best deal. There are a few guns in which I paid a "new price" for (although far from MSRP), my new XDm-45 for example. It will be a long time coming before these start popping up in the "used bin" in sufficient frequency so I went ahead and bought it new. I'm still looking for an OD or FDE XDm (40 or 9) with stainless slide. I recently purchased a early model (AAH serial#) S&W 586 with perfect factory grips and finish for $380. I found a PPK knock-off for $100 so I bought it because it was interesting.

  3. A quality, well-cared for gun should last multiple lifetimes. No shame in buying used, it's like buying a "pre-owned" Rolex. That being said my most recent purchase was a NIB 10/22 Compact. I have been searching for a used one for two years, they just don't seem to come up. The store I got the 10/22 at finally had two, but they were 30 y.o. and had nasty refinish on the stocks, and they wanted $170+ for them.

  4. Not me, I was a cheap bastard long before it was cool. I have been buying a lot of ammo at Cheaper Than Dirt, though. They've got killer prices on Russian ammo.

    As a side note, wasn't it Marx that said "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them?" If anythijng it seems like the ex-Soviets are the ones who are keen to sell ammo to us at bargain prices. And while that would be understandable if it was in their own calibers – 7.62 x 39, 5.45, 9mm Makarov, etc (understandable because it could be they are just selling off their old stock) the Russkis seem to be quite keen to tool up their factories to make new ammo in calibers that only fit our decadent Western guns: 7.62 NATO (A/K/A .308 Win), 5.56, 9mm Parabellum, etc.

  5. I'm trying to think of the last new gun that I bought myself.

    By new, I mean I am the first owner.

    Hmmmmm…………….nope……..nope……….nope, that one was used, too………….um…….nope……ah…………let's see here.

    I think the last gun that I bought absolutely new, as in I was the first and only owner at the time, it would have to have been 11 years ago.

    Now, I did buy a new pistol four years ago, but that one was for my wife, and it was absolutely new, so that one is hers.

    But for me? It's got to be 11 years ago.

    And I have bought a whole lot of guns since then.

    I hardly ever buy new guns. Almost every single gun I own was used when I got it.

  6. Any suggestions for buying a used gun? I am new at this, and am very interested in building my collection at the best price possible. Thanks.

    • Suggestions for buying depends on what you're buying… Check timing and lockup on a revolver, tear apart the slide on a semi, etc. If you go to a used gun shop that wont let you do it in the open, ask to take the firearm to a back room or office area. I will give props to my local gun shop, AJI Sporting Goods in Apache Junction, AZ. They always let me manhandle and disassemble everything. They always offer bore lights and rags too! To me, this clearly indicates that they have nothing to hide. I'm sure if I did have a problem, Jeff (the owner) would certainly fix it!

      • Check back soon, I think I'll do a write-up on how to buy used! Lately, I've been finding some great deals on guns that I swear were barely shot! That M586 I just bought didn't have the recall performed, had no scratches by the plate screws (indicating that someone tore into it), and had great timing. I helped a buddy of mine pick out a nice CZ75 and I bet that pistol had less than 200 rounds through the whole gun. Semi-Autos are pretty easy to detect usage – barrel and barrel lugs, slide and frame contact points, magazine well, etc. Check back soon, article to come…

  7. Andy – buying used does entail some risk. However, most gun shops will trade in both new and used guns. Avoid pawn shops (until you know more) and be wary of private sellers. A gun shop will most likely not sell you an unsafe or broken gun. Stick to name brand guns (colt, ruger, S&W, etc.) and you should be good. Every now and then you might come up with a lemon, but those are the risks.

    As for me, I haven't bought new or used in over 5 years (except for my kid). Instead, I buy ammo when possible and handload when not.

  8. I have never been a slave to name brands. I own name brand guns that were a pain in the butt (Colt 1911) and "off brand" guns that are a pleasure (Kel Tec PF9).

    I don't trust used guns because you never know the real condition. To me its like buying a used car. Don't let the finish fool you. Its what's inside that counts. You don't know if the last owner decided he was going to play gunsmith that day and when it didn't work out, (my buddy's immaculate S+W revolver) just sell it. I might buy used from a friend. I have also been tempted in pawn shops (Webley MkVI), but I didn't buy.

    I guess what I'm saying is that I don't need anything expensive, I just need what works.

  9. I've had way more luck with used guns than new. At one point, I kept getting lemon new guns, one after the other, over and over again. My worst buy being a Colt Commander that was machined so badly that the slide shook as it fired to the point it needed the most powerful spring I could find to function at all as the slide didn't move fast enough to shove a round in most of the time. A trip to Colt just scratched it up, and a local gunsmith looked at it and said it was "pitiful". I sold it at a slight loss to a Colt fanatic, and I don't know what happened after that. It was, even with inflation, the most expensive gun I've ever bought, but a couple have come close. Even my AMT was better than the Colt was, and it was pretty bad itself. I've bought several guns for less than half what the Colt did that were dead reliable, just not as pretty, and not gun snob material.

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