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Used buying advice

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by WayBeau, Feb 23, 2012.

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  1. WayBeau

    WayBeau Member

    Jan 16, 2011
    Central Virginia
    What should I pay attention to when buying a used handgun from a non-dealer? I'm told the gun has about 100 rds through it and is in like new condition. Is there anything in particular that I should be conscious of when I meet the seller?

    It's a Sig P229.

  2. sawdeanz

    sawdeanz Member

    Mar 3, 2011
    I too am interested. Buying privately has its advantages but then i wouldn't know if it was broken or something. I imagine with a sig though, it is probably good to go.
  3. rellascout

    rellascout member

    Dec 22, 2004
    The number one thing to look at with a used Sig is the rails. You want to take the slide off the frame and look at the underside of the rails where the slide rides. If you see sliver especially near the locking block pass. This means the anodizing on the frame is getting warn. This means the pistol was not properly lube and the hard steel slide is wearing the Alum frame. You want to run your fingers over the slide rails to feel for burrs or imperfections. The same with the frame rails. If there is a weak point on a Sig pistol it is the alum frame rails.

    The other quick check to see how much it has been shot it look at the front of the barrel. New from the factory they are black with no markings on the top front of the barrel. Once they are shot they develop what is known as the Sig smiley which are wear rings which will show sliver. Nothing wrong with the smiles but they are a way to tell if it has been shot.

    I also like to inspect the 2 piece roll pins on the older P series guns. When these guns are shot the rolls pins will have debris and spent powder mixed with lube gunking them up. Almost no one removes these pins and cleans or inspects their breech block. Some newer Sigs have solid pins instead of the 2 piece. Sig recommends that you not reuse these pins. Once you knock them out you should replace them. If they have been reused one side is often shiney from being hit with a roll pin punch, it takes some force to get them out. A low mileage Sig should not have had these replaced or removed. Sig says replace them every 10,000 round IIRC.

    I always like to take the grips off. Make sure you use a hollow ground screw driver so you do not bugger them. Most people never clean under their grips and if the pistol is new shot very little there will be very little debris there. If the mainspring and the grip panel areas are dirty this can indicate that the gun has been shot more than a few hundred rounds.

    Check the condition of the mags. If the gun has been run hard thee mags will show it. Also check the mag well. Any gun which has been loaded, shot and reloaded will show some wear in the mag well. This is not in and of itself a negative but again can indicate wear.

    There are a few other things you can do to function check the pistol if the seller will allow it. They mimick the function checks you should do after detail stripping the pistol. I am assuming this is a classic P series DA/SA. If not ignore the parts which do not apply.

    Lock the slide back and release it with a mag inserted and a snap cap in the mag. The pistol should lurch forward. When you detail strip "your" gun you can do this without the snap cap. LOL Without the snap cap the lurch is more violent.

    I then drop the mag rack the slide. This should eject the snap cap and then ride the slide forward so the hammer stays back. Pull the trigger this will tell you that the SA action works. Pull the trigger again to test the DA.

    Rack the slide again putting the pistol in SA. Use the decocker to decock the pistol. The hammer should not fall to the firing pin. You can test this by pushing the hammer forward. If you can push it forward and it not on the firing in the decoker is working as is the firing pin safety.

    Finally put and empty mag into the pistol and rack the slide. It should lock open and the mag catch/release should be engaged.

    These should tell you that the pistol will work but nothing is as good as actually firing the pistol. This will not tell you thinks like if you will get light primer strikes, hammer follow etc.... which are not too common in Sigs which have not been altered.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  4. chrcmurr

    chrcmurr Member

    Feb 8, 2012
    Field strip it and look for the obvious signs of neglect (funk and frame damage). If they neglect to clean the gun, they probably abuse them as well. Also, I always carry a No.2 pencil to drop down the muzzle and see if the firing pin is intact. Lastly, give it the old rattle test to check wear and fit.

    Good luck and cheers!
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