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  1. #1
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    Need advice on evaluating used guns at a gun show

    There's a major gun show here in Northern Virginia next week so I have decided to see if I can find a nice used pistol there as opposed to buying a new S&W Sigma 40VE. What shold I look at when judging a gun? I know the visual condition and barrel wear are important, but how can I determine if a gun has been abused or well kept just from a quick examination?

  2. #2
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    Evaluation at a Gun Show

    To begin with I've never had much luck at gun shows on "deals". The gun shops in my area are very competitive with their pricing and the last gun show I went to, and Eastman show in North Georgia there were no deals. In fact they were offering magazines for Beretta 92's for 24.95 each for military mags and I can buy them all day for 18.00 at Clyde Armory in Athens, GA. Used go for 12.00 to 15.00 ea. Weapons pricing was not impressive either. I have a Mossberg 590 military contract shotgun bought used and they had several for over 100.00 more than purchased at Franklin's of Athens. If you do see a deal, get permission to field strip the weapon prior to purchase, look closely at general appearance, check slide to frame fit, insert and realease the mag to see if it drops freely, pull the slide back and release with the mag inserted to verify the slide stop functions as advertised. Generally make sure all the controls function, this is especially critical to determine on a striker fired weapon as you cannot see the action of the hammer. If for any reason they do not want you to inspect the weapon thoroughly, walk away briskly, if a revolver try the indexing on each cylinder position, cylinder latch and realese. If you have a small screwdriver remove the grips and take a peek inside. I keep an old S&W screwdriver in my pocket when going to gun shows for just that purpose. I hope you find a deal, good luck and use judgement and caution.

  3. #3
    Ram Rod's Avatar
    Ram Rod is offline Senior Member
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    Back in the day, deals were easy to come by at local gun shows. They even used to take trades which I've done a few times. In my opinion, and scouting the shows over the past five years, I think those days are gone. Go to a gun show in hopes of good deals on magazines or accessories, and check with your local dealer for new/used firearms. Just my 2

  4. #4
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    So in your opinion it would be better to buy a used gun from a local gun store which has a good reputation than buy one at a gun show?

  5. #5
    BeefyBeefo's Avatar
    BeefyBeefo is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    So in your opinion it would be better to buy a used gun from a local gun store which has a good reputation than buy one at a gun show?
    Definitely. I have had the same experiences as the above, where the gun shows that I had been to offer no deals at all.

    -Jeff-

  6. #6
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    So in your opinion it would be better to buy a used gun from a local gun store which has a good reputation than buy one at a gun show?
    Absolutely. You buy a used gun from a reputable local dealer and then have a problem, you can take the gun back. You buy from Jim Bob's Gun Sales at a show and have a problem, who are you going to call and where are you going to bring the gun?

    I am also one of the members here of opinion that gun shows are a complete waste of time and money. Some guys have had luck with deals, but I have not been one of them. Every time I've gone to one with the intention of buying a gun, I've always left empty handed and ended up ordering on-line or buying local.

  7. #7
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    So in your opinion it would be better to buy a used gun from a local gun store which has a good reputation than buy one at a gun show?
    That is the message that I'm getting. The information that Scratchshooter40 has provided in regards to inspecting a used gun still applies whether you're looking at a gun show or at your local gun store etc. I have never attempted to purchase a used gun.

  8. #8
    kev74's Avatar
    kev74 is offline Member
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    Just make sure you do your homework before you get there. Otherwise you'll make an impulse buy that you might regret.

    I enjoy looking at all the stuff at the shows. That alone is worth the admission for me. But there are usually deals to be had for ammo and accessories.

  9. #9
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    How would I evaluate a striker fired polymer framed pistol? I'm very interested in a Walther P99 that a local gun store has. It appears to be in excellent condition but looks can of course be deceiving. I can tell it has been fired because of the lockup marks on the barrel, but it's not something I can take the grip panels off of.

  10. #10
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Obviously there are no grips to remove on a P99 and I doubt the gun store would allow you to take off the grips of any gun for inspection. You stated that you are concerned if the gun has been abused or well kept and I would imagine the exterior condition would be a good indication. Just because you can tell it has been fired doesn't mean much, that's what the gun is for and it's used. You might want to ask the gun store some questions, maybe they can be more informative considering they have the gun. You might just have to decide based on what you feel comfortable with.

  11. #11
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by unpecador View Post
    Obviously there are no grips to remove on a P99 and I doubt the gun store would allow you to take off the grips of any gun for inspection. You stated that you are concerned if the gun has been abused or well kept and I would imagine the exterior condition would be a good indication. Just because you can tell it has been fired doesn't mean much, that's what the gun is for and it's used. You might want to ask the gun store some questions, maybe they can be more informative considering they have the gun. You might just have to decide based on what you feel comfortable with.
    Of course. Having been fired doesn't mean anything, I'm just more concerned with whether the internals are all in good shape and have been well maintained. Most people who maintain the exterior will maintain the internals as well but it's not a 100% guarantee. The reverse is also true, a worn exterior condition is generally a good indicator of worn internals but many LE trade-ins are beat up on the outside and pristine on the inside.

    I assume the gun store knows a few things about it, but it's a consignment piece so I doubt they know everything about it. They weren't aware it had 10 round communist magazines until I asked them to take it out of the case to show me.

  12. #12
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Have you considered buying a NEW gun? One of the reasons why I avoid buying a used gun is to avoid the situation that you are apparently experiencing.

  13. #13
    Dredd is offline Member
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    On another forum someone once said "a gun show is a good place to look at overpriced junk and get good deals on beef jerkey."

  14. #14
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by unpecador View Post
    Have you considered buying a NEW gun? One of the reasons why I avoid buying a used gun is to avoid the situation that you are apparently experiencing.
    New P99s are very difficult to find. Heck, finding ANY P99 is tough. The other option I am considering besides a used P99 is a new S&W M&P. If I go back to this gun store and the P99 is gone or if they won't move on the price at all (very high for a used P99 at $550) I will just order a new M&P.

  15. #15
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    New P99s are very difficult to find. Heck, finding ANY P99 is tough.
    Not online.

  16. #16
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by unpecador View Post
    Not online.
    If you know where I can find an NIB 1st generation P99 online for a good price, please let me know. I haven't been able to find anything in my searching.

  17. #17
    Todd is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattB View Post
    New P99s are very difficult to find.
    Bud's has a ton of P99s.

    http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/i...hp/cPath/21_55

  18. #18
    MattB is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    They only seem to have QA models in stock. I'm looking for a standard AS model.

  19. #19
    unpecador's Avatar
    unpecador is offline Senior Member HGF Gold Member
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    Matt, the gun you want is sitting at your local gun store if it hasn't been sold already, apparently in excellent condition, it's hard to find anywhere else, you say the price is too high yet you can't find this particular gun anywhere else, go and buy this gun if it is still available or buy a new M&P and be happy.

  20. #20
    DevilsJohnson is offline Senior Member
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    Personally I've had great l luck at local gun shows. Most the dealers will probably be from around you. The last show I went to I seen business cards all; from my home state.

    By all means if there's a shop near you and they have what you want trey to buy it, haggle a little, see if you can get it a little more in your price range.

    If it was me I'd put off buying and see what the show had to offer but it is a roll of the dice..Bird in the hand and all.

    As for what to look for...A gun that has been abused will show extensive wear. If you see it's all scratched up, the finish is worn pretty bad just think about what you can't see. The down side to gun shows is they many times use zip ties to make sure you wont pull a bullet out of your pants and shoot someone

    It's great to shop around, the more you see the more choices you have

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