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Pro Tips for Pawning or Selling Your Firearms

In our corner of the world guns are not just objects, but an entire subculture. Many of our neighbors spend countless hours perfecting their sport of choice. Be it hunting, target shooting, or defense there are literally millions of gun enthusiasts looking for their next firearm. As such there is a constant demand and thus a strong resale market. There are many different varieties and manufacturers of guns to choose from, ranging in price from less than a hundred dollars to millions for rare collectibles!  The popularity of the shooting sports makes any pawnbroker eager to do business with you. To help you get top dollar for your firearm, here are a few tips:

Safety First

Gun locks are an effective alternative for safe gun storage and transportation

Gun locks are an effective alternative for safe gun storage and transportation

This is the simplest, but most important step. Please always follow all  gun safety rules when handling any firearm. Although they are sometimes referred to as “toys” guns are no laughing matter and safety is serious.

Before handling, inspecting, or cleaning always check the chamber to ensure the firearm is “clear” of any ammunition that possibly could have been forgotten in the gun. Transporting your firearm unloaded in a padded case will get it to your local gun or pawn shop safely and in good condition. If a gun case is unavailable wrap the unloaded gun in a towel or blanket for transporting, ideally in the trunk of your vehicle. If you must take this route please go inside of the store first to let them know you will be bringing in an uncased firearm. Walking in with an uncased firearm can make a business uneasy for obvious reasons.

For more on gun safety click HERE

Clean It!

It doesn’t get much more straight forward than this! Even the best guns need “spring cleaning” from time to time. If you use your guns often, carbon will start to build up inside. A few minutes of gun maintenance can prevent a reliable gun from becoming unreliable. If you’re looking to pawn or sell your gun for the most cash, you need it to both work and look good.

Cleaning your handgun shouldn’t take long, but you should look over the owner’s manual before disassembling any parts. Depending on the make or model of your gun, the basic cleaning can vary. There are also many helpful YouTube instructional videos in case the manual is missing unclear.

*Note I am suggesting regular maintenance (A basic field strip, light cleaning with a basic solvent and wipe down with oil) I DO NOT suggest you attempt any type of major cosmetic changes or other modifications without consulting a certified gunsmith! Not only could you potentially devalue your gun, but you could cause permanent damage and/or make it unsafe to fire.

Know What You Have

Do you know exactly what own? Can you clearly communicate this to the buyer? Any gun dealer worth his salt should be able to quickly ID and appraise a common gun such as a Glock 19 or Ruger 10/22, but something more exotic may not be as simple. There are many online resources for searching the make, model, year of manufacture, and a whole slew of other factors. You can also check value resources such as The Blue Book of Gun Values or completed auctions on sites like Gunbroker.com. Having a good idea of not only the history, but also an approximate value will make the appraisal process much quicker and easier when you get to your FFL of choice. Remember, there are many factors in determining your guns value, and it is likely the dealer’s figure will be slightly different than yours, but going in with a good idea of what you own will help you spot a low ball offer.

Not All FFLs are Created Equal

In order to receive maximum value for your gun you need to get it in front of the correct audience. Research that the dealer you are going to take your firearms to. You should know if the shop specializes in any certain type of gun. For example taking an AR15 into a shop specializing in tactical firearms is probably a safe bet, but taking that same rifle into a shop specializing in high end sporting clay double barrel shotguns will likely be a disappointment. You also need to be sure the dealer is able to do the type of transaction you are hoping to do. Some dealers will not be able to help you whether by policy or by law. Know ahead of time if you are looking to just sell and cash out, trade in, or get a loan on your gun. For example: If you are only looking for temporary cash and hope to get your firearm back you need to find a type 02 dealer. This means a pawnbroker or an equivalent business. Even if a retailer or type 01 FFL wanted to do the deal, federal law would prevent them. However, even if your FFL is a type 02 they may still face additional regulations on the state level such as not being able to pawn handguns in the state of Michigan (We know, this stinks). Know what kind of deal you want to make and find the best dealer in your area for that deal.

Sell your collectable guns with Ace Buyers Traverse City Cash for Guns

Some scarce collectibles such as this Mauser Red 9 “Broom handle” can fetch good money if original and sold in the correct market. Selecting a shop that deals with your type of gun is extremely important.

Get it Together Man!

Now that you know what gun you have and where you’re going to take it you need to get everything together for the deal. In order to make the best deal possible you need to have all of your ducks in a row. A common mistake is to take a gun in without all of the pieces, parts, or accessories. Depending on what you’re missing you will likely receive a lower off and possibly be turned away completely for an incomplete package. Make sure you have all magazines, bolts, sights, holsters, cases, and other accessories that may be meant for that gun together before heading out. Remember most dealers will get you some additional value for any accessories you may have added, but they will not fetch what you paid. If you like the scope or sling, or some other accessory you have added to your gun, and are able to get more use out of it on another gun in your collection, I recommend you keep it. You will get the most value out of it if you keep enjoying it. Remember, just because you love a certain configuration doesn’t mean the next buyer will.

Dot your “I”s and Cross Your “T”s

Depending on the type of firearm and where you live you may need to bring in paperwork with you when you sell the firearm to show proof of ownership. In the state of Michigan, where we are, all handguns are required to be registered with the state. Although you do not have to present the registration to the purchaser legally, showing them the proof of ownership may put their mind at ease. Also make sure once you have completed your deal with your FFL of choice you retain all important paperwork. This includes bills of sale, pawn tickets, registrations, and any other paperwork you may receive. They are giving it to you for a reason. If may not increase the payout you receive on the front end, but could possibly save you some money or grief later on.


I hope that you found the information above helpful! If you have any questions please feel free to email via the “contact us” page of the web page. If you are from Traverse City or surrounding area in Northern Michigan  please come see us! We would love to work out the best deal for you for your firearms!