When it comes to buying on the cheap, a firearm is a lot like any other big ticket item in that the MSRP tends to be a lot higher than what you actually pay, and it depreciates immediately as soon as it’s not “new” anymore. Not by much, mind you, as anyone searching listings will see “New-in-box condition” or “only xxx rounds fired” and demanding retail prices, but these still tend to sell for 10-20% under retail. Obviously, like anything else, it feels great to go to a store, pick the one you want, and get it new with all the assurances this grants. But don’t discount buying “pre-owned” or even better, trading.
Enter Texas Gun Trader. Obviously, there are other avenues for getting like-new firearms at a discount. You could visit a local gun store or range, which always have used/consignment sales, and it’s the next safest to buying new in a store, but you’ll be paying inflated blue-book prices, so it’s the costliest. The next option is buying online, at places like Gunbroker, which I’ve used in the past. This place is great since it’s like ebay, you can usually find what you’re after, and pay a decent price, but then you have to deal with shipping and arranging an FFL transfer, which will usually cost you from $35-50 on average, and in a growing number of states in the northeast, much more.
Texas Gun Trader is different, in that it’s merely a place to post ads for FTF (that’s, Face-to-Face) transfers or trades, which are legal in Texas. I’ve used this successfully on several occasions both selling, and in the last two cases, trading. You can either post what you have for sale and list the price or trades in which you’d be interested (WTS ad), browse sale ads to find something in particular if you’re buying, post a WTB ad with what you’d like to buy and what you’re offering, or if you have something you’ve lost interest in and want to see if anyone is looking, just search for it and see if it shows up in an ad as something someone wants, and see if you’re more interested in what they’re trading.
Obviously, this is place where you’re most likely to get a deal that would be favorable to you, but it’s also the riskiest. You’re meeting someone you don’t know to trade big-ticket items and/or large sums of cash, usually on (hopefully) neutral ground, and you have no guarantee of the condition of what you’re getting aside from what you’re able to determine in a quick inspection. Additionally, some sort of instrument of legal protection is always a good thing, on which I’ll also shed some light.
Things to consider:
- Always meet in a well lit public place (if at all possible, during the day). I don’t mean go do a gun deal in a Starbucks or anything, but a well lit parking lot with some activity does nicely.
- If cash is involved, bring a Counterfeit Detection marker. A few dollars here will save you a hell of a lot of headaches later.
- Bring a flexible bore light (which you should have in your cleaning kit already) to help inspect the firearm you’re acquiring. Be sure to check up ahead of time on things to look out for and instructions on basic field strip. If the other party declines on letting you field strip (or doesn’t at least offer to do it for you), walk away.
- Always, always, always, complete a bill of sale, and get one in return if guns are trading hands both ways. Texas Gun Trader has a good simple one to use posted on their site.
- Don’t shortchange yourself. Don’t take the first offer you get, unless you’re really in a rush to make a deal. You’ll get a lot of crap offers, but might get something you weren’t considering that will surprise you in a good way.
- Remember that this is about trading- that means if you want something and don’t necessarily want to add cash to the deal, substitute ammunition, especially if you’re trading out of that caliber already, offer it up as part of a deal. For example, I’ve gotten particularly good deals by offering up .40S&W ammunition after I’d sold or traded off my firearms in that caliber and no longer had need of the small stockpile.
That’s about that. Enjoy and be safe. If you have related experiences you’d like to share, or knowledge of other trader sites like this available to residents in states other than Texas, please leave a comment!
(Two Photos used in this article were sourced from Premier Arms, LLC. If requested, I will remove and replace them ASAP, but I just wanted to be sure to give them proper credit and go as far as imbed links to their homepage with the images)