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How To Buy A Budget Gun With No Regrets

Image source: NYTimes

Image source: NYTimes

About a year ago I wrote an article regarding buying budget guns and building a survival arsenal. Since then, I have observed a variety of additional methods for saving money on weapons and ammunition. In this article, I want to pass these tips and tricks onto you, as well as address some important factors when it comes to saving money in the long run.

In reality, firearms are a long-term investment that require more than just the purchase of a gun. What accessories are available? Is the weapon customizable? Are magazines available and affordable? Is ammo available and affordable? What kind of holsters can you buy?

Common Selection = Common Sense

First, find the gun you’re interested in and get some trigger time behind it. You can waste quite a bit of money very fast if you buy a gun and realize you don’t like it. After choosing a gun, look into what’s available for it. Often, firearms that are new to the market will have very little accessories available. This include magazines and holsters, the two most important accessories. Ammo is the same way.

For example, I reviewed a 22 TCM pistol from Rock Island Armory and loved it. The 22 TCM was cool, but the main seller was the 9mm conversion kit. I could see the pistol as a piece of armament for any disaster situation. I cannot say the same thing for the FN Five Seven. The FN Five Seven is a wonderfully designed pistol, very accurate and capable of packing 20 to 30 rounds. The problem is the ammo. The 5.7 mm round is uncommon — and expensive.

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Stick to the basic calibers. The three big guys for automatics are 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP. Revolver wise, you can’t go wrong with 357 or 38 Special. These rounds are pretty much universal when it comes to new guns coming to the market.

The 44 Special, the 45 Colt, the 38 Super and the 45 GAP all are awesome rounds and unique with some excellent strong points. The problem? They are expensive and uncommon.

Of course, you have to have extra magazines. The more popular your weapon, the more mags will be drifting about there, which creates competition and lowers prices. For example, the AK 47 and AR 15 are extremely popular, here in the states and across the world.

So, now on to the tips. Our more experienced readers will probably know a few of these by now.

1. Never (ever ever) impulse buy. Unless you simply know the deal can’t be beaten, never impulse buy. I have done it more than once and regretted it a day or two later when I see the same weapon at a much better price. It happens. When I say research is the greatest money saving tool in the world, I mean it.

2. Stay away from big outdoor stores. These places have an awesome selection, and that is it. My small mom and pop local gun store (LGS) has 10 times the deals these places have. Often, the prices at big stores are at MSRP, which leads me to the third tip.

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3. Never pay MSRP for a gun. A gun selling at MSRP is either rare and hard to find, or it’s overpriced. Knowing a gun’s MSRP is a big deal when it comes to getting a deal. Guns are rarely priced at MSRP, so when you see a Glock 19 priced at $600, you’ll know it’s a bit high.

4. is your best friend. If you’re not familiar with Slick Guns, it is a website that essentially hosts the best deals on guns. The site is mostly user submitted. Users spot good deals and post them on, where other users can rate the deal as good or bad. The website covers guns, targets, holsters, range bags — nearly anything associated with guns.

5. Look for police trade-ins. Police trade-ins are an excellent way to get Glocks, Sigs, and Smith and Wessons at a huge discount. Police often shoot their weapons once a year, and the majority are not “gun” guys or gals. These weapons are often carried quite a bit and may have some holster wear. The advantage is that you can get Glocks for under $350. These deals have knitted me a Glock 26, a SIG P226, and an old Smith and Wesson 38 K frame. All for an excellent price.

6. Take advantage of rebates. With just a quick and easy Google search I found six solid rebates, on everything from pistols to rifles to shotguns to optics.

  1. Bushmaster has a mail-in rebate on some ARs.
  2. FN USA had rebates on pistols and rifles.
  3. Eotech has a mail-in rebate on some optics.
  4. Rock Island Armory 1911s have a rebate.
  5. Remington has rebates on rifles, shotguns and 1911 pistols

There are lots of neat ways to save money on guns. These are a few I’ve found in my journeys. If you have any you want to add, put them in the comments section below:

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