So, you've finally come around to the idea that maybe a few handguns in the house wouldn't be such a bad idea. Hopefully what brought you to this moment was nothing as awful as a home invasion or robbery, but simply the choice to exercise your constitutional rights. Regardless of the reason for making the decision to buy a handgun, it’s never a bad thing to get a quality second-hand gun at a discounted price.
Second-hand guns are often lovingly cared for guns that their owners simply do not want anymore. For example, the owners may have either traded up or decided that they needed extra quick cash. That is quite common.
So, you're probably wondering where you can buy cheap handguns, what they typically cost, and what is required of you to purchase them. The process for buying a used handgun, however, is a little different, and it does vary from state to state.
Buying Guns Online
There are a few different ways you can buy guns online as well as a handful of very popular websites that buy and sell used guns. You won't need a gun dealer's license to get on these sites, but some sites may require that you verify you are at least 21 years of age. In some cases, you may even have to set-up an account before you are allowed to browse these sites.
Typically, these online retailers have a wider selection of handguns compared to a brick and mortar reseller. That is good news for you, especially if you want to make price comparisons before purchasing or if you are looking for a very specific gun. The following is a short list of some of the most popular sites for cheap handguns and what you have to do to get a peek at their selection.
Gunbroker.com is a tremendously popular site with many gun buyers. It offers the opportunity of, not just buying guns cheap, but the option to bid on them. In order to access the full site, you will need to create a Gunbroker account and verify your age. Otherwise, you will only be able to see the bid prices, one picture of each gun, and a very brief description.
If you know what gun you’re looking for, this could be a great way to get a steep discount. One thing to be aware of is that dozens of other buyers may be bidding on the same gun, driving up the price. The price on a very popular handgun may go above and beyond the original retail price, which is great for the seller, but terrible for the buyer.
Once you win an auction or find a seller that allows you to buy outright without bidding, you will need to go through a background check, after paying for the gun. In the event that you do not pass the background check, your money is refunded to you. However, very few people encounter such a problem.
The Guns America site is more or less a platform for sellers. Private sellers may also offer up choice weapons at reasonable prices. The pictures and details of each gun are enticing, but if you want to know more about a gun before you buy it, you will have to contact the seller.
The biggest plus to this site is that it offers multiple ways to get your sidearms. You can layaway the items you want and pay monthly amounts over time until the items are paid in full, or you can finance the guns with the site's own financing options. You can still buy the guns outright with a debit or credit card too if you would prefer. You do have to create an account and verify your age for Guns America, and they require that you be at least 21 for handgun purchases.
GrabaGun not only offers a wide selection of new and used handguns, but it also has a bargain bin and a sale section. On top of the money savings by buying used, when your gun of choice is featured on the sale page, the savings only intensify. Additionally, there is a "shoot now, pay later" financing payment program, allowing you to receive your gun immediately, while paying for the gun in monthly installments.
Brick and Mortar Locations
Some of the most popular brick and mortar gun retailers buy and sell both new and used guns. Cabela's and Scheels Sporting Goods are two that typically offer a great selection of used guns. Keep in mind that these chains tend to mark up the used guns by a set percentage. You typically can't haggle them down, but you might be able to make a trade.
Pawn shops are another source for cheap guns. They generally take a lot of rifles and shotguns. However, there are pawn shops that will deal in handguns, if the handguns are particularly interesting, collectible, or highly sought after.
Privately owned gun shops are also very popular brick and mortar locations. These may be harder to find than the bigger chains, but they’re usually well worth the search. Many of these privately owned locations have gun ranges that will allow you to test a weapon before purchasing. This is especially helpful when you’re making your first purchase or torn between two similar guns, like a Glock or a Smith and Wesson.
Buying From Gun Shows
Buying guns from a gun show is another excellent way to find a great deal. In some states, there are actually loopholes that allow you to buy guns without a background check. There are also some states with loopholes that allow a private seller to sell his or her own guns to another private party without needing a gun seller's license. Guns can be very expensive at gun shows, especially when owners are looking to downsize their stockpiles.
The only downside to buying guns at a gun show is that you may come across some illegal or stolen guns. Be sure to look for the gun plate number. It should not be filed off or removed. If the gun's number is missing, leave it where you find it.
Also, it's a good idea to ask the seller for their ownership papers which proves that they are the actual owner of the firearm. No papers could mean a risky sale that you’re best avoiding.
The 5 Most Inexpensive New Handguns
If you’re looking to purchase a brand new gun straight out of the package, there are some excellent new guns on the market starting at less than $300. Granted, these guns won’t be contenders for ‘the best gun ever made’ or win any beauty contests, but they are reliable, durable, and won’t break the bank.
- S&W M&P Bodyguard 38 ($415)
- Mossberg MC1sc ($435)
- Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield EZ ($490)
- Springfield Armory XD 3’’ Sub-Compact ($540)
- Ruger Security-9 ($550)
What to Expect When Purchasing a Gun
If this isn't your first rodeo with buying a gun, you can skip this section. If this is your first time buying a gun, there are some things you need to expect. These procedures are fairly standard when you buy from a retail location, a discount/wholesale gun broker, or a gun distributor. However, each state has their own set of ever-changing rules.
First and foremost, after you have made your selection, you must present your state-issued ID, like a driver's license. The gun seller will ring up your purchases and run your background check. Nowadays a criminal background check through government agencies only takes a few seconds. You may also need to show a second form of identification, such as a birth certificate.
If your background check is flagged, then the seller may ask you to wait the recommended three days for a more thorough investigation. People with spotless criminal records usually pass the background check in just a few minutes. Depending on the state you live in you may also have to take a short test and/or wait 10 days to receive your gun.
Your guns will have to be registered. Some gun shops will do this for you as part of the sale. Other shops in other states require you to register your firearms within a few days of ownership through your state's gun registration site and/or the federal firearms registration site. You will have to check with your local gun sellers to see how the registration process in your state operates.
Documents You'll Need When Purchasing a Gun
When you are intending to purchase a gun, you should be sure to take certain documents with you. These documents are absolutely necessary to prove that you can legally purchase a firearm. These documents include:
- Your state-issued driver's license or state-issued ID that clearly shows your date of birth. (Some states require a 2nd form of identification, i.e. birth certificate, passport, etc.)
- A firearms safety certificate (which is required in some states, but not all)
- A hunter's license, where applicable
- A copy of your court records, if you have any past criminal charges and convictions, or any pending cases that might prevent you from making your purchase right away
- A copy of your Visa and I-94 card if you are not a U.S. natural citizen nor a naturalized foreign-born resident
- Proof of address/residence in the state in which you live, not the state in which you are purchasing a gun. The proof should match the address on your license or state ID. If it doesn't, you will need to correct your license or ID before you can buy a gun
- Any concealed carry permit or license you own, which eases the issue of transporting your guns home
Again, some states may require additional documents. If you check with a gun retailer prior to your visit, he or she can tell you exactly what you will need to purchase a gun from them. If you purchase a gun out of state and have it shipped to you, you will still need to prove that the gun is being shipped to the correct address before the seller can send it.
State-Specific Rules When Buying Handguns
There are some other unique state-specific rules when it comes to purchasing a gun. Some examples of these state-specific rules include only being allowed to buy one gun per day, buying only three total guns per month, and/or limiting residents to a certain number of guns. Regardless of where you purchase, you will have to register your firearms.
Additionally, there are gun rules for toting guns across state lines. Moving guns from one state to another can be tricky, especially since moving companies are not licensed to transport firearms. In those instances, you may need to arrange transport of your guns and/or your gun safes through a gun dealer.
Wherever and however, you find and buy cheap guns, be sure to follow the laws in your state. It will make it much easier to obtain your chosen firearms. Finally, don’t forget to keep all of receipts and bills of sale should you ever need to prove the gun is yours.
Let Us Show You How to Carry Your Handguns in Comfort and Style
Once you have made your gun purchase, be sure to browse our gun specific selection of holsters and gun belts. We want to support your Second Amendment rights by providing you with the means to carry your guns comfortably and safely.