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Used Weapons

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What should you look for and look out for when purchasing a used weapon? Particularly pistols.
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There are two aspects on examining any used firearm, They are what is the physical condition/appearance of the firearm and an examination of how it functions. The physical condition depends on the percentage of original factory finish remaining on the firearm. This includes the condition of the barrel inside and out and non-metallic portions like wooden grips or a stock. The two standards for evaluation are the National Rifle Associations grading criteria and the Blue Book standard called PPGS or Photo Percentage Grading System. The standards also vary when reviewing new versus antique firearms.

A functional evaluation is not always easily determined. You can be simplisitic and say it works or it doesn't. Unfortunately you can have a firearms that appears to work but may not work properly like the timing on a revolver's cylinder or the action on a semi auto's slide. Short of firing the gun you are left with the physical condition of the firearm its apparent manual functioning and most importantly your knowledge of the particular firearm type.

It boils down to dealing with reputable gun dealers and your own knowledge or buying from a stranger or unknown dealer and hoping you made a good choice, Neither case offers a guarantee. That being said you can buy a new firearm and have problems however quality manufacturers will warrant their product
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Everything said is true, but what the firearm is worth and what you have to pay is aided by knowing the condition of the firearm you want to buy. Many dealers will only pay 60% or less of the "wholesale" value and then jack the price up way too much. If you have an idea what your doing you are much less likely to get shafted on the price. I have seen used guns that looked very nice, and were marked up to almost new retail pricing. Not me, if I am going to pay for a used firearm I want a bargain or I'll buy new.
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