How much for a used, slightly modified gun?


December 10, 2012, 02:07 PM
Pretty much every gun I own is a recent model that was bought new, and then had some slight modifications done (with a couple exceptions that are still stock). Things like adding night sights to a pistol or adding a rail to the receiver of a shotgun. All of these are of the "modern construction" variety, i.e. polymer frame, lightweight, and all are barely used. I've never dealt with buying or selling used guns, but I'm looking at selling some of mine off in the nearish future for a few different reasons.

So I'm here wondering how pricing works when selling used guns. If I took a $500 NIB pistol and added night sights, for example, and I've used the pistol on sparse range trips over the course of a year or so, what would be the value of it now? If I've had a shotgun for a few years that I've added a rail to and upgraded the stock, how does the fact that it is used and the fact that it has had some modifications affect the price?

I'm not asking about my specific models, I'm more asking for a general rule of thumb on how those two factors - how "used" it is and any modifications - would affect the price.

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December 10, 2012, 02:22 PM
Really no way to answer your question without knowing a bit more. But...generally speaking its going to depend a lot on:

1. Is the weapon a popular model and in demand.

2. Are the modifications done permanent? Its one thing to put on aftermarket sights/grips etc so long as there hasnt been any grinding on the frame, or the dreaded "dremel destruction".

3. Condition of the weapon. Has it been bouncing around in a glove box with a keg of nails, or has it been treated kindly?

4. Caliber of the weapon. Is it an oddball caliber, or worse, has it been rechambered to a wildcat cartridge which requires handloaded ammunition?

December 10, 2012, 02:33 PM
1. I'd assume at least somewhat popular.

2. Pretty much everything I've done could be undone. The most "permanent" fixture is the rail on the shotgun, in which you might need to replace a couple of pins in the receiver after taking the rail off. Two of my guns have had no aftermarket modifications done at all.

3. Very kindly. You would be able to tell that they are used, but there wouldn't be many tell-tale signs. As far as function goes, they work fine.

4. Common calibers, including .40 S&W, .380 ACP, and 12-gauge.

December 10, 2012, 02:48 PM
There are too many variables....too many models out there - that really affect the used value on any number of guns.
Some guns appreciate...

Some guns depreciate ...the day you fire them ...25% or more ...

Some modifications - are desireable in the used rails, night sights, etc - and will increase the used value ( in general you might get back 50% - 75% of what you paid to modify them ) ...if its good components and done professionally.
Shop the stores in your area ..that sell some used guns.../ Welchers in Tacoma would be one place to visit..

December 10, 2012, 02:58 PM
Well the purpose of this thread was to kind of get a general feel for the rules of thumb, instead of asking questions for every individual firearm.

December 10, 2012, 03:07 PM
There's another variable yet. How are you selling it? There is a difference in what you will get. For example, you will get the most money selling it to a friend or acquaintance. If you want to get rid of it at a gun shop, you will be lucky to get half what it's worth because the shop has to make a profit. If you take it to a gun show to sell or trade, it could be anywhere between private party price and what the gun shop will give you.

There are also online auction sites to consider as well. I would start browsing these and local gun stores to see the quality of the guns similar to yours, and the prices they are bringing. After that, tell your friends what you are selling and maybe take out ads in a local paper or put the items online.

Generally, light modifications wont impact the value much unless it looks like Bubba got to it. It's the condition of the finish and the barrel that are really important in terms of sale, just like paint is almost more important than the engine in selling a car.

December 10, 2012, 03:07 PM
The only rule of thumb I go by, if it has been sold new and shot by the buyer, it's a used gun worth less then a new gun.
Just like a new car starts depreciating as soon as you sign the papers at the dealers the first time.
Unless it's a very desirable model gun they don't make any more.

Adding night sights I would see as adding value, at least 75% of the price of the sights.
Unless they are so old they are going dim.

Then its neither here nor there to me.
Dim or old night sights are at least as good as new factory plain sights, IMO.


December 10, 2012, 03:08 PM
Popular semiautos in excellent condition are selling locally for 80-95% of new. Add-ons are not usually adding more than 20% of their cost, but may make a gun sell quicker. Glocks, M&Ps, and XDs are all fast sellers. All the local shops take a 20% commission on consignments- but keeps people out of your home who might return later for the rest....

Tacticool longs guns run ~75-80% of new.

Everything else is less, with ~50% being the floor.

That's as general as I can get. YMMV.

December 10, 2012, 04:59 PM
Get on Gunbroker and see what similar models are selling for, used.

Note I said =selling for=, not what they are listed at.

In general ... most "mods" count for squat.

December 10, 2012, 05:02 PM
If its not "collectible" or I don't expect it to get that way, if its Like new in box, no more than 70% of current retail price or I'm not even interested. Mods don't count for squat, and if you are missing original pieces that were replaced with mods, I'm taking $ off if I'm interested in buying.
I tend to "take advantage" of people who buy the latest thing and then decide they don't have a need for it, though.
I have a box full of "mods" taken off of guns that I have no use for and will never bother to resell. everything from rails, to lasers, to cheap scopes.

December 10, 2012, 05:09 PM
I bought a Taurus 85 Blue and Gold (used) for $320, but there were 2 holsters and 100rds of ammo included, so I was OK with paying that price for the gun, because if you take away all of the prices of the holsters and ammo, you end up only paying $260 for the gun.

At least thats how I see it, because I would have bought those extra items anyways.

However, I will not pay full price for a used gun and ONLY a used gun, nor will I pay more than 50$ above full price for any amount of accessories included with a gun.

December 10, 2012, 06:06 PM
Around 80% of new is about as accurate of a rough estimate as you're going to get. Accessories that are less than $100 don't tend to add anything to the price you can get for it. You can probably get $400 for your $500-when-new gun.

For example, a new M&P 40 is about $500 from Buds. This one with 15 rounds through it, case, all the crap that comes with it, etc, on a local gun board has been sitting there since October asking $450. My guess is that he'll end up getting rid of it at $375 or $400.

December 10, 2012, 06:36 PM
The way I look at buying used guns is like this:
1) Can I go out and buy one NIB at most LGS?
a) Yes.
- I will offer no more than 75% retail value. Condition issues would lower my offer. Aftermarket upgrades are another factor that may increase my offer.
b) No
- if the gun is collectible or highly sought after, I'll check average rates and see what they are selling for. I might offer as much as 100% of retail plus inflation, condition dependent. Modifications here are tricky. If the gun can be taken back to factory issue easily (i.e. you still have the original parts) I would consider paying more. If the gun cannot be returned to factory issue, I'll offer less.

December 10, 2012, 06:46 PM
Thanks for all the replies, guys. I'm not sure if I'll sell them to strangers or gift/sell them to close friends and family, but if I do decide to sell its nice to have a frame of reference. At present I don't plan on giving them up quite yet either way, I just like to know ahead of time what I'm getting into when money is involved.

December 10, 2012, 11:00 PM
One thing you should consider, and what I think a lot of people forget, is that by buying used from a private seller saves on taxes too. People would look at the $500 xd on buds and balk at the $450 one on the board but I think its fair considering you pay transfer, tax, and shipping fees on buds so you are actually saving much more than $50. If I were selling a gun I would hype that up. Although if the gun has a limited warranty or non-transferable warranty I would consider that also.

December 11, 2012, 09:22 AM
I've found that a used gun will bring between 50%-75% of what a new gun just like it is selling for. This depends on the condition, how hard they are to find and the popularity. Trading in to a dealer will probably be near or even below the 50% figure. Glock, Beretta, Sig, Colt, Winchester, or any of the other guns with good reputations will be closer to the 75% figure. The budget guns will be closer to the 50% figure. Often less than 50%.

Accessories or modifications rarely add much if any value. A Leupold, Zeiss or other higher end scope will add about the same 50%-75% of its new value to the value of a rifle. Most other scopes would add no more than around $25, sometimes it detracts from value. Same with night sights on a handgun. If you can verify they are only a couple of years old it might add $25, otherwise it won't help value.

Some accessories might help you sell it faster, but unless you just happen to find someone who wants one set up just like yours it will often add little value. To at least half, maybe 75% of potential buyers the 1st thing they will do is remove your accessories and set it up the way they want it.

December 11, 2012, 11:42 AM
A gun is only worth as much as someone is willing to pay for it.

While some believe that modifications they make enhance the value of their guns, the problem with modifying firearms is you narrow your field of potential buyers who want that specific modification.

From my experience buying and selling used guns, modifications may make a used gun more desirable to a buyer, but add little to the selling price of a gun. i.e. If there are two GLOCKs out there for sale, one has night sights, the other doesn't, the model equipped with night sight may sell first, but won't sell for more than the standard model.

But again, the market determines prices, not a formula or a book or the opinions of a bunch of people on a forum. Look at Gunbroker, check out your local gun shop, pay attention to local gun shows and see what guns are actually selling for. That will tell you.

Roadking Rider
December 11, 2012, 03:14 PM
IMO a good quess would be about 25 cents on the dollar for upgraded sights or grips. Sites and grips are one thing but I personally I stay away from all guns that have been mechanically modified or stippled.

December 11, 2012, 03:52 PM
People would look at the $500 xd on buds and balk at the $450 one on the board but I think its fair considering you pay transfer, tax, and shipping fees on buds

The M&P 40 I was comparing the $450 gun to in post #12 is $478 at Bud's with free shipping. A $20 transfer fee would put you right at $500.

bottom shelf
December 11, 2012, 04:32 PM
What I've noticed over the years is that modifications don't seem to affect the price in most cases, but they can make a particular piece easier to sell.

December 11, 2012, 06:14 PM
Night sights are the only mod I can think of that would add to the value of a gun, because their value is easily quantifiable. I think RC's figure of 75 might be a bit optimistic, I would try to bargain to closer to 50.

Pretty much everything else is at least as much of a liability as a value. YOU customized it how YOU like it. No one else will like it as much as YOU did at the time. You think you improved it, everyone else thinks you messed and tinkered with something that probably wasn't broken. Unless it has the name of a reputable smith on it, it's a home modification job to a potential buyer. The more mods, the more things that may have been damaged. That's how I see mods.

December 13, 2012, 02:37 PM
I won't pay a penny extra for the accessories you decided that YOU wanted to put on the gun.

December 13, 2012, 03:34 PM
30% immediate reduction from purchase price if like new condition, but fired.

Same for any accessories if used. No value for the accessory if it isn't personally desirable.

December 13, 2012, 03:47 PM
There is no way to answer the question properly without knowing more about the firearm. There are simply too many variables, even within limited categories. Sometimes mods add value, but usually they don't. Sometimes they dramatically reduce value. Sometimes shooting a firearm even a few times reduces its value. Most of the time not. And sometimes it even improves value a bit.

December 14, 2012, 06:56 PM
It's gonna be different in every single case depending on the weapon, condition, wear, etc.

Regarding mods, maybe you're not keen on an AR-15 pimped out with every available gadget du jour. But if you wanted to buy one, and it already had all the things you planned to add anyway, that would certainly add to the appeal and value, yes? Very subjective that. One man's dream optic, stock or rail may end up in someone else's gunroom junk box... or on a friend's gun.

You have "stranger prices" vs. "buddy prices," too.

And these days, you'll see more people paying top dollar for desirable used weps they can acquire "off the grid" without the intrusion of that retail background check going into big brother's database.

December 15, 2012, 04:02 AM
In Philadelphia it's worth $50

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