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Firearms on a Budget

Buying a firearm on a budget can be tricky business, especially if you’re new to the field. You want to be educated enough to find the sweet spot: not too expensive but not too cheap either. Finding a few well-versed gun enthusiasts and researching your needs will go a long way in saving you money.

Deals on Firearms

Ruger LCPHow to Select Firearms on a Budget: Keep these four aspects in mind to make sure you get a safe, quality firearm within your budget.

Affordable versus Cheap Firearms: Beware of “Too good to be true” prices. A truly “cheap” firearm can be a serious safety hazard and has no resale value.

Quality Guns under $400: This budget is set up to be realistic and affordable while still getting you a safe, quality firearm.

Low Budget Firearms for a Novice: This article is written from a “prepper” point of view to help you prioritize your firearm options for various situations.

Guns For Self DefenseTop 5 Guns for Home Defense: These inexpensive options are specifically chosen for their usefulness in home defense.

A Guide for Buying a Self-Defense Handgun: Start with the basics of terminology and learn why a revolver is best for personal, on-the-go self-defense.

Top 3 Hunting Rifles: Here are some inexpensive rifle options, all under $600, that are great for hunting.

Ammo

AmmunitionBulk Ammo: Buying ammo in bulk from a website like this can be an excellent long-term strategy, especially for regular range training.

Cabela’s: If you want to shop in person, Cabela’s is a nationwide sporting goods store that can help you with your purchase.

Target Sports USA: This site offers free shipping, which can save you a bundle if you’re buying in bulk.

Learn about Gun Safety

NRA Training: Find an instructor and firearms safety course to attend. Here you can also find youth and women’s classes.

Gun SafetyIntroduction to Hunter Education: This free, in-depth course gives you hundreds of short pages of information and short quizzes to test your knowledge.

National Handgun Safety Course: Here’s an online course that costs under $20. You will receive a certificate for successful completion of all five sections, quizzes and the final exam.

Practicing

Shooting Ranges by State: You can start with some comparison between shooting ranges near you to find the best deal.

shootingGroupon Shooting Range Deals: Check in on Groupon every few weeks to find limited time deals on range time.

How to Practice Cheaper and Better: These tips help you reuse targets with just a few simple tools: a razor knife, some paper and a roll of tape.

Target Practicing on Airsoft Guns: Many Airsoft guns are built to match the weight, dimensions and action of the real thing. This can help you get in some reasonable practice using cheaper BBs and soft, reusable targets.

Accessories

Overstock Gun Accessories: From vests and holsters to tactical flashlights and extra magazines, Overstock.com has a great variety of firearm accessories at low prices.

Gun AccessoriesFrontsight Firearms and Accessories: This company is well-known for its personal touch. If you have any questions about buying products online, just send them an e-mail or give them a call for free.

Amazon.com: Amazon is yet another place to look for discount firearm accessories like grip extensions, locks, and gun stock parts.

Tips for Buying and Using Firearms on a Budget

Determine Your Purpose

Home defense, self-defense and hunting all require different considerations. If you’re completely new, the above resources may help you narrow down your options, but it’s always helpful to consult an experienced friend, military member, police officer or gun shop manager. Getting the right equipment the first time will save you more in the long run.

Join Some Forums

Post your questions on some firearm forums. Gun enthusiasts are always happy to help newbies get started and more advanced users progress in their skill. You can also spend hours reading others’ questions and discussions to learn as much as you can.

Get Help from a Qualified Trainer

You cannot skimp on safety. If you’re a beginner, you’ll need foundational safety courses followed by or in conjunction with range training. These are usually fairly low cost, but you should definitely research courses in your area and account for them in your budget.

Set Your Budget

This is one of the few times you’ll want to set your budget after several steps of online and in-person research. Safety is always first when it comes to dealing with firearms. If you set your budget unrealistically low, you could end up with a worthless – or worse yet, dangerous – gun and improper training.

Always budget for certified safety classes, even if you think you already know everything. It’s important to brush up every few years. You also want to budget for range training at least every few months. Practice is extremely important to make sure you are on target when it really counts. This is particularly true if you’re purchasing a gun for self-defense.

If all this requires you to wait and set aside a portion of every paycheck for 6 months, then sacrifice and do it. Do not cheap out.

Buying Used Firearms

Know your stuff before you consider buying used. If you don’t, bring a friend who does. Stick with well-known firearms like Colts and Glocks. Avoid knock-offs or no-names that may not be worth what is being asked.

Keep in mind resale value. If you purchase a quality firearm that uses a common caliber, you will be able to turn around and sell it without much of a loss.

Avoid buying used guns online whenever possible. You would really need to stick with a company that offers a solid guarantee. With used weapons, there’s just too much to inspect: the action, the screws, potential rattling, scratches, and other signs of abuse. You just need to hold it in your hands and closely examine a used gun before you commit.

Avoid Pawn Shops

Pawn shops are a well-known seller of new and (mostly) used firearms. The chances that a good gun owner who maintained his or her weapon would sell to a pawn shop are slim. They would get a pittance for what they know is a quality firearm. Then the pawn shop turns around and usually sells them far above market price. Save your money and time and stay away from pawn shops.

Visit Gun and Trade Shows

Gun shows and trade shows are an excellent place to learn and shop a wide variety of firearms and accessories. You’re also in a good place to negotiate if you know your stuff beforehand. You may be charged a fee to enter a gun show, usually just a few dollars.

Trade shows are usually geared toward gun stores owners who are looking for the latest products to carry in their shops and others with a vested interest in the industry. Some are open to the public and can be a great place to learn for free, but keep in mind that vendors are there to do big business. Try not to take up too much of their time if there are others waiting at their booth.

Online Gun Auctions

For new guns, auctions can be a decent way to go for the more experienced gun owner. Some, like gunbroker.com, offer buyer’s protection so you can make a more secure purchase.

Keep in mind that if you do not have an FFL, you’ll need the gun to be delivered to someone who does, usually at a local gun shop. This is actually quite useful since the store’s employees can help you determine if the weapon is used or new and if it’s in good condition. You’ll have to contact this FFL holder and pass a background check before you can register for an online auction.

Buying in Bulk

Ammo is best bought in bulk for a better price. The more, the cheaper (in most cases). If the initial price seems daunting, try splitting with a friend or two. Other websites have a “Buy more and save” that you can try averaging out with a few friends for larger items like tactical vests.

In a similar vein, you may qualify for group rates at local gun ranges if you can get a decent number of friends together.

Learn Maintenance

Keep your weapons in good condition. You’ll end up fixing and replacing parts less often and will increase the resale value if you want to swap out in the future. Your gun may come with instructions on how to do this basic maintenance, but it can be helpful to have someone from a sporting goods or gun store show you the steps in person. This is a time to be extra cautious about safety since many accidents happen while cleaning or maintaining a loaded firearm.

Double Check Your Insurance & Hold on to Warranty Information

Save all of your paperwork for your guns and find out if you need to or can add your firearm to your home insurance policy. Many owners worry that informing their insurance company will raise their rates, but this may not be the case. As an incentive, you’ll have the information filed with them in case someone breaks in and steals your weapon.

Warranties are also important to have stored in a safe place that you’ll remember. Many manufacturers provide warranties of one to several years. Others offer limited warrantees for life. But you cannot cash in on them when you need them if you don’t have your information, including your registration and serial numbers.

 

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