Tips for Buying and Selling Used Firearms

Buying & SellingBuying used is a great way to save money when purchasing a firearm.  Here are a few things to keep in mind when buying or selling a used gun.

Get a Signed and Dated Bill of Sale

Getting a receipt from the seller gives you a way to prove that the gun belongs to you if ownership is ever disputed, but a receipt could prove even more valuable under certain circumstances.  For instance, if a used gun is ever connected to a crime, having a dated bill of sale can prove that the gun in question wasn’t in your possession at the time the crime was committed.

Providing a bill of sale for a firearm can be just as important to the seller as it is to the buyer.  Laws vary from state to state, but some require that a bill of sale is used in transactions involving firearms.  In some places, it is explicitly stated that a firearm owner cannot sell their firearms to fugitives, felons, illegal aliens, or other specified persons.  The bill of sale should include affirmations that the buyer is eligible to buy the firearm.  The bill of sale should also include a release of liability for the seller.

Your bill of sale should include the full legal names, addresses, driver license numbers and phone number for both parties.  Make sure you let the other party know what information they will need to provide before the transaction.

You can download a firearm bill of sale to make things easier.

Meet in a Safe Place

Every year, more predators are caught who select their victims using online classified ads. Be sure to meet in a safe place, especially if you don’t know the person selling or buying the gun.  This is particularly important when a gun is being bought or sold, as you already know that you’ll be meeting a stranger with a firearm.  Meeting in a public place is a good rule of thumb.  Don’t go to the other party’s home.  Don’t meet somewhere secluded.  You could get robbed or even worse.

Inspect the Firearm Before Purchase

It’s always best to test a product before buying it.  However, it’s not always possible to fire a gun before you buy it.  Here are a few things to check before you hand over payment:

  • Make sure the gun is unloaded!
  • Take a look at the overall condition.  Are there signs of rust?  Pitting?  Are the screws damaged?
  • Look down the barrel.  Is there any bulging?  Make sure the barrel is straight.
  • Look down the sights.  Do they line up?
  • Ask the seller if you can dry fire the gun.  Besides indicating whether the gun can fire or not, this will help you gauge the trigger weight.  Also cock the gun and bump it against a hard surface to make sure it won’t misfire.  You should also cock the gun and push against the cocked hammer to see if the gun is likely to misfire.
  • Take a look down the inside of the barrel.  Is there any debris or rust?  Is the barrel straight?  Be aware that if the owner has oiled the inside of the barrel, the oil could be hiding small imperfections.
  • Make sure that all moving parts move smoothly.


Do Some Research

There are plenty of other things to watch out for when buying and selling firearms, but hopefully this brief article gives you some ideas and the confidence to get started.  Combine this list with your own research to ensure that you have the best buying/selling experience.  Happy shooting!


By +Cassie Costner

Categories: Portable Gun Safes