Question of the Day: Finance Your Gun?


Wilson Combat makes some pricey pistols, as do a lot of manufacturers. Rifles too. And shotguns. And whenever we publish a review of a multi-thousand dollar firearm TTAG readers kvetch about the cost. “I could buy five GLOCKs and a small bass boat for that price!” Fair enough. I’m well aware that money doesn’t grow on trees. I’ve had my share of hard times. But there are ways to buy guns that make it less immediately expensive. Specifically, lay-away and financing. Have you ever availed yourself or these services? Would you? Or are you both politically and financially conservative?


  1. avatar Scrubula says:

    IMO if you have to finance your hobby you should reconsider that purchase.

    1. avatar TruthTellers says:

      This sums it up nicely.

      1. This is about those in the executive branch attempting or altering the intent or will of congress changing the gun law enacted by Congress. The intent of Congress are those making a LIVING buying and selling weapons Not an individual transaction. 28 USC Sec. 535 (a) (b) is the sole authority to determine misconduct by federal employees in the Executive Branch. Our elected officials Oath of Office to uphold the laws. Our elected officials to ensure the public complete confidence in government programs and operation. Ask you Congressman where to report misconduct in the executive branch google Office of Government Ethics where to report misconduct in the executive branch by federal employees.

    2. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

      Pretty much. If you can’t afford either a $500 or $3500 gun, don’t buy it. If you are thinking about financing it, that just means you can’t afford it. Either save up until you’re comfortable to spend that sort of money or get something cheaper (or don’t buy anything, duh).

    3. avatar Scrubula says:

      To clarify, if you’re really strapped for cash and want a gun for self defense, then finance might be a good idea. But financing a $3500 1911 seems wasteful to me.

      1. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

        I’m sure there are plenty of fine used or mil surp guns for $300 and less that one could save up for without too much trouble. If you’re thinking about financing anything above that price, especially a glitzy gun that you don’t need, that means you just can’t afford it and shouldn’t buy it. You have other priorities.

        1. avatar Scrubula says:

          If someone can only save up for a taurus and they want to finance for a glock, I can respect that decision.
          There are good milsurp guns out there but that does limit your options.

      2. avatar Anon in CT says:

        Yeah – Say if a guy or gal or limited means takes a job in a rough area of town and decides that they need to be armed for the daily commute, then I would understand it if they wanted to finance a Glock or other similarly priced SD pistol over a period of up to six months.

        The only other legitimate time I could see is if you desperately want to get something (or somethings) ahead of an imminent legislative change. Like how I should have grabbed a few more “assault weapons” in the spring of 2013.

    4. avatar Dev says:

      So I shouldn’t finance a boat, RV, ATV, motorcycle, etc. if I can’t pay for it all at once?

      1. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:


      2. avatar Bake says:

        No fun for you!

    5. avatar Cliff H says:

      Just to clarify at the get-go, if you have ever used a credit card to purchase a firearm you have probably “financed” a gun.

      1. avatar tdiinva (now in Wisconsin) says:

        Only if you failed to pay yne balance when it comes do. I put my ladt purchase on the card for the points and paid it off as soon as I got home.

    6. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunniess says:

      Financing maybe , lay away. It so sure. It’s free with my gun store of choice. I’m about to put a couple of silencers in lay away. You pay the down payment and tax stamp. They start paperwork. By the time the tax stamp gets there your paid off.

      They also slow me to order stuff on layaway. So I pay a couple hundred they order the product. If it takes time o big deal and I pay it off when It gets there.

    7. avatar MeRp says:

      This is the reason I haven’t made the jump onto my dream motorcycle yet.

  2. avatar pwrserge says:

    Nope, guns are tools. If I can’t afford what I want, I get what I need for now and get what I want later, when I can afford it. That’s why my first rifle was a Mosin and my first pistol was a TT-33 clone. Now I’m up to custom ARs and Sigs.

  3. avatar Don says:

    I tend to just rathole cash until I can make the purchase. If I found a deal on something I really wanted and the dealer would do a layaway plan, I might go for that. No financing, not even on a credit card.

    1. avatar 27 Words says:


      I have a certain $ amount allowance that I set aside each month from the paycheck that is for firearms/ammo. I just stash it away for however many months it takes to purchase what I want. I may use a credit card for the purchase itself, since I buy many of them on Gunbroker, but I always have the cash to immediately pay off that credit card.

    2. avatar LifeAbounds says:

      Long live the “rathole”…
      ‘Ner a better “life line”.

      The rathole is responsible for most of my ammo purchases these days.

    3. avatar Jon in CO says:

      I’ve done many layaway purchases. Most are impulse buys. I never have that much disposable income at one time, so it’s nice to put some money down on it and come back with the rest later on.

  4. avatar Kapeltam says:

    Layaway is a great way to reserve a firearm while you get the cash together. In my experience, most places will only hold a firearm for a few days at most unless you put it on layaway. I have used it several times to get firearms I didn’t immediately have the funds for.

    1. avatar 505markf says:

      Concur. I buy most of my guns on layaway. Fits purchases into my budget. I have two on layaway now, actually.

      Even my favorite local pawn shop does a nice 90-day layaway, and only $16.95 fee for firearm transfers.

      1. avatar Cuteandfuzzybunniess says:

        My FFL does 180 day layaway free with 10% or 20% down. I’ve never used it for that long though.

      2. avatar FreakinPeanuts says:

        I find that it’s easier to convince my wife that I need a new gun when I use the layaway option. With the shop I buy from mostly the more you spend the longer you can string it out, up to 9mths. I’ve never gone that expensive but its an option. I’ve always paid them off early. I’m not a fan of paying interest on loans if I have any other options available to me.

    2. avatar John L. says:

      Layaway is more of a savings plan than a financing plan, I think.

  5. avatar Randy Taylor says:

    Credit card mania. 27% is no big deal. 😀 😀 😀

    I actually buy them on my CC, but pay it off the next day. Nice way to accumulate mile and such.

  6. avatar TruthTellers says:

    There’s nothing wrong with extravagance if you can afford it, but we have to remember that it’s materialism that’s caused the market crashes going back hundreds of years. Why do bubbles burst? Because people realize there’s too much debt, not enough capital, etc. How do you get to those crashes? Because people spent too much money they couldn’t afford to begin with.

    It’s a vicious cycle and because we have fools who can’t control their urges to “have the best” or “have better than my neighbor” we suffer the consequences.

    If you want a pricey gun, think long and hard about it. If with that you can buy 5 Glocks, you should probably think about buying 3 Glocks instead and saving a little for the next fad pistol that arrives on the market.

    If Jesus didn’t need to have the best of everything, why do you?

  7. avatar Bob says:

    Wow, can you imagine this dumb scenario?…
    less than intelligent person buys a firearm on a loan… less than intelligent lender lends the money… borrower perhaps defaults… lender sends to collection… or worse, a repo-man… repo man shows up to repo(yeah, good luck with that job).

  8. avatar Art out West says:

    I wouldn’t recommend borrowing money for anything other than a house. Going into debt for a gun is just silly.

    There have been times when I’ve been at the gun store, and saw a great opportunity buy, but didn’t have sufficient cash on my person. I gave them a down payment to hold it for me (layaway) so that I could go get the cash to buy the gun. I generally buy guns with with cash in order to fly under the “wife radar”.

  9. avatar Vhyrus says:

    If you count my student loans, I already am financing my gun purchases.

    That’s right.. I take money that the government loans me and use it to buy guns. I call it the ‘Make Obama Cry’ plan.

    1. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      You sir…………have caused my first smile today. Buying guns using DC give aways……heh heh heh.

    2. avatar flopencarry says:

      Ha ha me to. Turns out spring finicial aid lands on the week of my birthday every year. New glock 26 last year new defintive arms ak next week. Luckily the loans are only around 4 percent interest so its no where near the jack up as credit cards.

    3. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

      Wait until the loans comes due and then see who is crying.

      Student loans are financial slavery.

      “Man, the monthly payment and term on my student loans are totally reasonable…” Said no one, ever.

      1. avatar flopencarry says:

        Not realky people just focus on to much after graduating. I live off of around 20,000 a year now once ibgraduate and land a job making even just 40,000 I can continue my lifestyle as it is now and pay off my loans within 2 years. Its all about a budget and sticking to it.

        1. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

          Godspeed. If you can do it you’ll be the exception not the rule.

      2. avatar Vhyrus says:

        I’ll have a master’s in engineering by the end of this year. Either I will have a job and have no problem paying these loans off or I won’t and, well….. What’s that phrase again? Oh yeah, sue me. Can’t get blood from a stone.

      3. avatar Matt says:

        Truth. That 4% sounds all well and good until you understand what compound interest

      4. avatar MeRp says:

        Man the monthly payment and term on my student loans are totally reasonable. Seriously. Though it will be finished in a couple months, so I guess I won’t be able to say that with the present tense for much longer.

  10. avatar Ralph says:

    The way things are going, we’ll have to finance our purchases of 22LR ammo.

  11. avatar JTwig says:

    Lay-away yes, especially if the item is on sale and the lay-away would lock in the sale price.

    Financing no, that being said I did once purchase from a friend who allowed me to make monthly payments. He did so out of friendship, and I would do the same for a friend.

    I would never use a financing company or purchase on credit from a large company.

  12. avatar Alexander B. says:

    Most financing programs charge ludicrous rates and/or a flat percentage fee for the firearm cost outweighing the benefits of cash. The only time I’d consider something like this is if it were 0% interest for 6 months or so.

    I haven’t really used layaway since I’m not wealthy enough to continuously buy guns so they’ll always be there or another shop except during ’12.

  13. avatar 505markf says:

    I’ll borrow money for house, land, automobiles. I won’t even buy anything with a credit card, or if I do (life’s all about the points!), pay it off next bill. Use layaway programs regularly. Mostly, just buy what I can afford, which always seems to be less than what I want.

    What I WANT is a Turnbull Restoration of a Winchester 1886 in .45-70. What I have is a Henry in .22 magnum. One day, though, a Turnbull will be mine. Probably closer than I think as my last kiddo finishes college next year.

  14. avatar JH says:

    I would basically never do it myself but I wouldn’t criticize someone who does so reasonably. If you are going to save up and buy it later, indicating that you can actually afford it and will buy it eventually, why not have it now and pay later for an agreeable fee? For a durable product such as firearm or vehicle, that is totally reasonable.

    Some sellers are offering financing on SHOES! Get a load of that!

    1. avatar John L. says:

      What you’re describing is layaway, I think, not financing.

      When you finance something it winds up costing more than the selling price – sometimes, depending on the interest rate and length of time you take to pay off the loan, double, triple or even more than the original price.

  15. avatar PeterK says:

    The only debt we have is student debt and auto debt. We want to keep it that way. Until house debt. Which we may not do until the student loan is paid off. Oy.

    Anyway. So no and no. Have not and would not.

  16. avatar Achmed says:

    Save up for it – that is the best financing.

  17. avatar Newshawk says:

    I’ve used layaway to reserve a gun I didn’t have the funds for at the time. I think it’s a fiscally responsible and conservative way to purchase a gun. I’d never finance a gun purchase.

  18. avatar HandyDan says:

    I don’t go into debt for anything that is not completely necessary. I have a decent collection of guns and a nice little stockpile of ammo, so there is not anything I need to buy, firearms-wise, it is all int rest basee busing now. That being said, I do keep a couple of thousand dollers around for purchases of really good deals (firearms or otherwise). But it gets replaced out of my discretionary spending budget or by working extra overtime.
    I don’t think anybody should be financing guns as a hobby. If they don’t have a gun and need one for self defense, it isn’t a hobby. But once you lock yourself into a purchase by putting it on layaway or other credit, you never know what might happen in the next few weeks or months. Sudden unemployment, medical bills, car accident, etc. All of these things happen, and unless you have a pretty well stocked emergency fund, you are going to either be locked into paying for that purchase that you suddenly can’t afford, or you are going to lose everything you have already payed.

  19. avatar Jeremy S. says:

    I’ve already spent my 2016 gun budget haha. Hope nothing else comes out that I can’t live without, cuz I don’t intend to make any further purchases and I damn sure ain’t financing anything.

  20. avatar Reef Blastbody says:

    A layaway on something, sure. Financing? No. Only cars and houses, and cars are one I have to REALLY want, and can get as close to a 0% rate on.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Werd. With car loans as low as they are, you’re better off putting $30k into a low-risk investment and earning 6% or more on it while financing the car at 2% than paying cash for the car. When companies offer financing at such low rates, it really doesn’t make financial sense to buy the product outright. Take the free money. Profit off the spread. But that assumes you pretend like you no longer have the $$$ you would have paid for the car, and instead invest it. So I’m kind of of the mindset that you buy a car that you could afford to pay cash for if you chose to do so, but you finance it at 0% or 2.5% or whatever and instead keep that money somewhere where it’s growing.

      1. avatar Anon in CT says:

        Where can you get low risk at 6%? Seriously – the risk-free rate is currently south of 1%. And don’t get me started on negative LIBOR.

        That said, there’s nothing wrong with financing a car on the right terms. I remember when GMAC had incentives such that even with all the interest, the total price was cheaper to finance, even IGNORING the time value of money calcs. Strange days.

  21. avatar Steve says:

    Except for a home, If you can’t afford to pay for it in cash, you can’t afford it.

  22. avatar John L. says:

    I try to never finance anything that could be a depreciating or even stable asset.

    I’m not a firearms collector in the sense of one who buys for historical or collectable value, so any gun is buy is going to be a depreciating asset. If the value happens to go up, great, but I’m not counting on it.

    About the only thing I’ll willingly finance is real estate. For cars, I prefer to set aside a chunk of cash eash month that would be the payment for the car I presently drive, if I had a loan on it.

  23. avatar Pascal says:

    I self finance. $20/week goes into my gun fund. If I want something, I check the fund. If there is enough and I really want something, then it gets purchased, if not, I wait. It was a lot easier to do when the banks paid 5%+ in interest, sucks right now with 1% interest on accounts.

    The only thing I have financed ever is my house and I keep zero balance on my one CC.

    1. avatar PeterW says:

      Where do you earn 1%? that’s like a gold mine these days of .025% “savings” (Which is about -2.5% real ‘interest’ due to government-sponsored inflation)

  24. avatar John says:

    I got a part time job at Sportsmanswarehouse when it opened in my town so I didn’t go broke. It’s worked out well. My collection has grown nicely but in all the years I’ve worked there I’ve never collected a check. ?
    I would never finance a gun though.

  25. avatar Downrangefuture says:

    If you intend to pay it back, can afford to save for it (without skipping a paycheck), and don’t mind paying someone else to borrow money, I say why not. The problem is that people will get into debts they can’t repay. Or they ignore or underestimate the extra costs of ownership. Would I do it? No. I’ve been guilty of not paying things back in the past so, unless it’s a major necessity, I pay cash. Since I have a rifle, pistol, and shotgun, anything else is because I want it, not because I need it.

  26. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I’m a layaway guy. Especially since I’m financially challenged right now. I’m also cheap-so there better not be any huge fees attached. And I had layaways extended past 90 days for a couple guns at my favorite gun shop-and they didn’t screw me. Guess who has my business? BUT-if I thought the world was about to end(it is) I would go deeply into credit debt and get as much as I could.

  27. avatar Steve1111111111111111 says:

    Credit card with 0% interest and 1% cash back at time of purchase and another 1% at time of payment.

    2% back on a $1000 gun is a free magazine or box of ammo.

  28. avatar Martin says:

    Guns are tools and fun, not an investment. If I can’t afford one, I can’t afford it so I don’t buy it.

    I already own more firearms than I could reasonably carry in a SHTF scenario so why should I buy one I can’t afford at the moment?

  29. avatar Model 31 says:

    There are a few occasions where financing might be appropriate.
    1. When the gun is attached to a self propelled land, sea or air vehicle.
    2. When the gun is tow-able or mounted on a trailer.

    I’m having a hard time coming up with a downside to either of these.

    1. avatar John L. says:

      Ammo cost.

      1. avatar Model 31 says:

        No doubt, but it would offset by the fun surplus

  30. avatar DrewR55 says:

    I see nothing wrong with layaway even if you have the cash on hand to make the purchase. I put aside an amount each month for ‘fun purchases’ and if I see something I want I pull from that pile. However, if I have the option I’ll put the firearm on layaway because I am rarely in a hurry these days. Before Thanksgiving I found a Sig P220R for $399 at a local shop. I didn’t even think twice about putting it on layaway even though I could have bought it out right.

  31. avatar TTACer says:

    It depends entirely on the cost of money. Firearms don’t depreciate much, and they sure don’t wear out. I don’t see what the problem is as long as the terms of the loan are not usurious.

  32. avatar outwardhound says:

    Redneck layaway plan for me: I have a gift card from the store I most frequent and whenever I make a cash purchase I add a small amount to the card, $5, here, $10 there. . .before too long I got enough for a new gun.

  33. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    I use lay away often. It’s good for when you see something you want, but you already bought something that month. When payday happens, you go down and pay the thing off and take it home. I’ve snagged some really neat guns this way. I’ve put a few good deals on my cabelas card and then quickly paid them off to not have to pay interest. The cabelas points can add up to a box of ammo here and there.

  34. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Have I ever availed myself of lay-away or financing? No. Would I? Probably not.

    I am both politically and financially conservative.

  35. avatar RockOnHellChild says:

    Financing stupid sh*t is a great way to ensure you will always be broke and the banks will always get to keep your money.

  36. avatar Steven L says:

    Cash is king, If I don’t have cash for a weapon, it doesn’t come home with me. That keep me financially grounded, and in the good graces of my wife.

  37. avatar jwm says:

    I can afford the 3500 dollar gun. But I’ve yet to see a gun in that price range that does the job 7x better than it’s 500 buck cousin.

    Finance a gun? Do you rent to own your tv and furniture?

  38. avatar jwtaylor says:

    I bought a gun I wanted on a 0% interest for 6 months credit card, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. As a couple of people have stated above, anytime rates get near that low it is smarter to buy it on credit than cash. There is a cost to money, and at rates that low you are actually making money on the purchase, when compared to just buying it outright.
    Just don’t buy what you can’t pay off within that time frame. Having debt can be very prudent. Having debt you can’t pay is never.

    1. avatar Mchad says:

      I respectfully disagree. Debt isn’t “prudent”. But banks have sure done a good job of convincing our nation it is from Uncle Sam down to average joe. Credit is never smarter, the math doesn’t work in your favor it works in the favor of the credit companies. If it didn’t credit card companies and lenders wouldn’t be in business. Thinking you can win with credit is like thinking buying powerball tickets is a good retirement plan.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Powerball’s not a good investment? Next you’ll be telling me there ain’t no such thing as Santa.

  39. avatar What The Heck Is That says:

    If you can’t pay cash for it, DON’T BUY IT.

  40. avatar foo dog says:

    “Neither a lender nor borrower be”. Good advice for where this economy is headed…

  41. avatar foo dog says:

    Although I can see a business model for the banksters for sub-prime gun loans…
    like in automobiles and student loans. Gitcher free stuff while you can!

    1. avatar Model 31 says:

      Talk about jacking up the price of guns…Nothing is expensive as products subsidized by the government. There’d be a lot of new millionaires on TTAG if that happened.

  42. avatar bryan1980 says:

    Why finance a firearm that cost more than the first car I owned, when I can get something that performs as well for a third of the price and pay cash for it? My XDS will shoot the bad guys just as well as a $3,700 Bill Wilson Carry.

  43. avatar fishydude says:

    If I can’t pay cash I’m not buying it. Save up.
    Everything I buy now is ‘extra.’ So if I want to buy something else, I save for it,sell something from the locker, or both.

  44. avatar Dave says:

    My gun store of choice offers a 4mo layaway plan on all its firearms. I use it because it’s convenient & I don’t feel like putting the whole chunk down on my credit card, despite the fact that I could & pay it off in its entirety the next month. Do I use it to buy super expensive guns generally beyond my means? No, because if I can’t afford it, I can’t afford it. If it’s too much money to spend all at once, it’s still too much in small payments, you’re just trying to fool yourself. And nothing other than cars or homes should be financed.

  45. avatar ToddR says:

    I always use little green Federal Reserve tickets to buy gun-things.

  46. avatar Steve says:

    I did use a free lay-away at a local gun shop. It was a good way to reserve the firearm I wanted without paying any interest.

  47. avatar Preston B. says:

    I’ve gotten nearly every gun I’ve owned on layaway. 20% down, 90 days to pay off the balance, and I don’t forfeit my money if I don’t pay it off in 90 days, they give me in-store credit. My LGS is great.

  48. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    I buy modest guns with a credit card.
    I like expensive guns, but I cannot justify the expense over a modest gun.

  49. avatar TroyBilt says:

    I helped built my credit from purchasing firearms on a CC. At my local gun store they always have 0% financing for 6 months. I never bought anything I could not pay off in that time frame. For close to 3 years I would pay off a gun every 5 to 6 months and go pick out another.

    Would I ever pay a high % rate for a firearm no I would not.

  50. avatar Blindman says:

    You shouldn’t ever spend all the money you have on anything that’s not absolutely necessary.

    You’d assume people wouldnt have to be told to spend MORE than all the money they have by going into debt for inessential things

  51. avatar Tom in Georgia says:

    Layaway yes, done it several times and have two guns on reserve right now. I do wish I could find a competitively priced Tavor on a longer term (180 days or so) plan, though.

    Finance, never again except for a house and/or a motorcycle – the house because despite various depredations it’s still a part of the American dream, and a motorcycle because it’s what would make me happy. But I’m never doing a car or truck loan again if I can ever help it. No credit cards for me, either.


  52. avatar sagebrushracer says:

    My Mora, Ruger P95 and old bronco have taught me good things don’t always have to be expensive. And good enough to have fun, well made enough to be reliable and cheap enough to afford more hobbies!

    As a aside, I will never be a professional shooter, 4wd Competition racer or champion knife user person. Its a pleasant diversion.

  53. avatar Mchad says:

    Don’t finance a thing. Debt is dumb and cash is king!

  54. avatar Bob says:

    When buying an item that is a ‘luxury’ for me (something that I want, but do not need), I never finance it. I will save until I have enough extra money to pay cash for it. Guns fall into that category for me. I consider this a responsible way to manage my finances.

  55. avatar Ronnie says:

    The bearing of arms preserves liberty and freedom. Going into debt often erodes liberty and freedom. I’ll stick with my $500 Glock 19. One day I may be able to afford to pay cash for a Wilson Combat 1911 or that Colt Python that I salivate over. Until then, I’ll be content with what I have knowing that paying cash for the best that I can afford will serve me well. FIrearms = Freedom. Debt = Slavery. I choose my Glock and freedom over an expensive gun and slavery of debt.

  56. avatar pres stone says:

    thats kind of a loaded question. i dont buy $3k dollar guns so i have never had to do this but there are some out there, as i used to be, that would have to layaway a $200 gun so its all relative to your financial situation, not necessarily your preference.

  57. avatar LordGopu says:

    I financed a K31 and I would considering financing again if a gun ban was coming to get some last minute things.

    The K31 was because prices kept going up and supply was dropping here in Canada. I paid no interest and only a 25 dollar administrative fee. Worked for me.

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