We've previously detailed how you might want to go about selling your firearm. But how do you know how much your gun is worth?
Unless it's to a family member or extremely close friend, you're probably not looking to just give away your firearm. No — if you need or want to sell it, you want to get the most money out of it that you can. That's especially true if you're in a financial bind and are leveraging your firearm collection to help climb out of it. But it's also true if you want to sell one or more guns so you can buy a new gun or move up to a more costly firearm.
To find out what your gun is worth, you likely need to get it appraised. The good news is that there are actually a few ways to do this.
Getting Your Gun Appraised Online
The first method is the most hassle-free in that you don't have to travel or lug the gun around anywhere. There are a few websites that provide a similar service as Kelly Blue Book, but instead of providing valuable information for cars, they do it for guns.
When looking online, you can check to see what similar guns are being offered for on various forums and gun trading sites. These can be invaluable because many of these will have specifics that are relevant to exactly your model of gun. The discussion generated on forums can be quite detailed and cover a lot of ground that you may have otherwise not considered — especially if your gun is a commemorative or special edition.
Also, when looking online, don't overlook going to the manufacturer's website. You can get all the specifics you might need to craft a comprehensive listing of your gun when you sell it. Plus, you can find out the manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) for your gun. Knowing what the MSRP is can help you know whether what you're being offered is fair or whether you need to adjust your asking price.
Using Gun Appraisal Services
While looking online can be beneficial, you might also want to get a more accurate idea of what to expect before selling your gun. In that case, consider taking the gun in for appraisal.
You could take your firearm to a gun store or pawn shop and ask them how much they would give you for the firearm if you were to sell it to them. They can inspect the firearm and provide a more accurate dollar amount based on whether the gun is in great condition or might need some TLC. Obviously, a retailer will pay you less for the gun than they could sell it for, but you could use that information to get a rough idea of the value of the gun.
You can also pay a professional appraiser to value your gun. These are people specifically trained to provide a value for guns for pricing and insurance purposes. This is definitely the way to go if the gun you're selling is an antique or limited edition because this is an area in which a lot of appraisers specialize.
Going Shopping for Similar Guns
Act like you're on a shopping mission to buy the gun you plan to sell. Doing it this way serves a couple purposes:
- You can see how similar guns are being priced by people in stores and online. That can help you determine what yours is worth.
- You can see if the guns are selling at those prices or if people are dropping the price to make the sale. That helps you decide on a price that will help ensure a quick sale.
- You get to hang out in gun stores or spend time looking at them online. There's really no downside to this one.
Things to Consider When Pricing Your Gun for Sale
There are some important points to keep in mind regardless of the method that you choose to price your gun.
First, be aware of inherent biases. Whether it's your own attachment to the gun or other people's misconceptions and expectations, these issues can skew the perceived value. When you're looking online, for example, be aware that advice can come from individuals making incorrect assumptions about the gun since they can't see it.
The same type of thing holds true for in-person appraisers. Someone looking at your gun to appraise it might have some skin in the game. If you have it at a gun or pawn shop, they will likely be offering you a price based on maximizing their own profit. Essentially, they may try to lowball you so they make more money when they sell the gun to someone else.
This brings up another point to be aware of: Just because an online blue book said your gun is worth a certain amount of money, doesn't mean you are going to get that for it. These are simply guides to help give you a ballpark.
Even the professional appraisers may well feel the need to lowball or shave some money off the estimate. If they work for a gun store that may buy it or know someone to whom it can be sold, they may feel compelled to offer up a price that takes that into account. It's not that people are being intentionally dishonest, and this isn't to imply that everyone is trying to rip you off. These are simply things to keep in mind.
Lastly, don't be afraid to get multiple assessments. This can even work to your advantage, as you may be able to create a bidding war. If you're upfront about the fact that you're getting multiple offers, it encourages honesty and may provide an incentive for one of the bidders to try and sweeten the deal. Creating more demand for your product is just good business.
Putting It All Together
You can definitely sell your firearm for a fair and equitable price. You may be wondering: How?
The answer lies not in any one of the methods discussed above, but in leveraging all of them. The best way to ensure you get an accurate assessment of your gun's value is to take your time. Make sure you educate yourself about the value of your gun and, if you're not sure about an offer or appraisal, consider getting a second option. Obviously, the amount of effort and money you put into this process also depends on the general value of your gun; you might not get multiple professional appraisals on a rifle worth $400, for example.
Even if you're pressed for cash and don't have a lot of time, you can still look online and take your firearm to multiple pawn shops. If you follow those steps, you'll be better prepared to get an accurate assessment and a fair price.