Guns from the pawn shop

Buying Guns From A Pawnshop: Good Deals Can Be Had

Can a person save money buying a gun from a pawnshop? One of the best places to shop for used guns, in case you've decided to look to the second-hand market, is actually pawnshops since many offer them for sale.

Obviously, the more accurate question is "can I get a reliable gun for good price from a pawnshop"? And yes! You can. However, it takes more than just browsing their display case.

While it seems like a shady place to buy a firearm to some people, the reality is that pawnshops can be a good place to score a great deal...in the right circumstances.

Pawnshops Have To Have A Federal Firearms License

Pawnshops have to have a FFL

Set aside any prejudices you might have for the moment, because pawnshops actually have to have a federal firearms license in order to sell firearms. If you ever look at an FFL application, there are 11 classes of licensee. The applicant checks the most appropriate box for them, such as gun store, curio and relic collector or - #2 on the list - a pawnshop.

As a result, a pawnshop is also required by law - as an FFL - to run a background check and abide by any and all applicable state and federal laws regarding the sales of firearms. Therefore, they are virtually no different in this regard to a typical gun store.

So...how do you get a good deal on a gun from one?

Getting A Good Used Gun Is Just That

Used gun from the pawnshop

Naturally, when you buy a gun from a pawnshop you're typically getting a used gun. You may find the odd new-in-box gun or gun that's only been fired a couple of times, but for the most part it's just like buying a used gun.

You'll have to inspect it like you would with any other used firearm. What you're looking for are either a barely-used gun or a gun that's not in the best shape cosmetically but is in good shape mechanically. The latter will be less expensive, but the former will still be less than what you'd pay for a new one.

So, what you're really looking for is for circumstances to align to get you that good deal in the first place.

Most ideal is a person who isn't that into guns that buys one of whatever firearm you're looking for, then either pawns or sells it to a pawnshop. This could be, say, a handgun or a shotgun.

This is why you'll see a lot of plastic fantastics at pawnstores. You see, Glocks, Springfields and S&W M&P pistols have become ubiquitous and with a lot of good reason. Basically anyone can learn to use them. They also - and not too many people talk about this part - are cheap to make, meaning dealers don't have to pay too much to stock them. A person who wants a gun but isn't necessarily a firearms enthusiast can easily find their way into an XD, a G19 or an M&P9.

So, when the person who bought one just to have a gun in the house wants to pawn something, the gun that just sits there is a far more natural choice than, say, the TV set, laptop or cell phone. You therefore can get a gun that hasn't seen much use for a good price.

Some guns from estates wind up being sold to pawn stores as well, so they can also be a good place to look for antique or classic firearms. Plenty of awesome and collectible rifles, shotguns and pistols are out there to be had.

However, said guns have to be in good condition to be worth buying. It also helps if said pawnstore doesn't know enough to price the gun for what it's worth!

How To Find The Right Pawnshop

the right pawnshop for your gear

You can get a great deal, but a factor in the equation is the pawnshop itself.

Now, there are some pawnshops that specialize in firearm sales. At such establishments, you will generally get fair prices on the guns they have in store. Not too expensive, not a total bargain, but generally a fair price on the pistol you're looking at.

Granted, it's better if you pay a price that's unfair for them!

That said, the gun stores that specialize in firearms are easier to build a relationship with. If you have a particular make and model in mind, and a price range you want to get it at, they may be willing to work with you and give you a call if something comes in.

As a general rule, you'll want to look for stores that have a good reputation and have been in business a long time. Reputations and longevity, after all, tend to be earned. Also look for stores that have a generous selection. The more they have to offer, the greater your chances of finding a good deal.

Remember to inspect any guns - whether it's a pistol, rifle or shotgun - prior to purchasing, as paying next to nothing for junk is still buying junk. If you're looking for a carry gun or home protection gun, be okay with spending a bit. A life may depend on it, so a few more dollars is a small price to pay.

Sam Hoober 

About The Author


Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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