Every LEO agency in the U.S. has a timetable for their firearms.
A given agency may determine the wear and tear on the average gun will make it a potential liability after seven years of ownership.
Other agencies may decide on five or 10 years.
Regardless of the timeframe, this means bidding on a new buy contract and part of that contract is normally getting a trade-in value on the used guns.
Most of that is not particularly important to the citizen gun buyer, right up until the point the company who now owns the used guns needs to sell them.
This is done almost exclusively into the citizen market.
Trade-In Example: GLOCK
We will use GLOCK as an example, as that is what I did the most of.
When I was an over-the-counter gun salesman, my company was a blue label GLOCK dealer and we did buybacks frequently.
Sometimes it was from a small agency encompassing 50 guns or less. Other times it was a much larger agency and involved several hundred guns.
Our buy-back pricing was done assuming the average condition of the firearms in the lot. There were always outliers.
We graded ours from “not saleable” to “unissued” and priced them for retail accordingly.
The not saleable ones were disposed of as gunsmith specials to other businesses. The rest became retail sales options in our used counter.
Pricing was significantly below new pricing, even for the unissued units.
Let’s say a new GLOCK 17 ran $500.
Pricing for the used models might look something like:
For a +40% savings, you could purchase a fully-functional GLOCK 17 with lots of holster wear and some pitting on the slide.
It would typically not come with a box and only have one magazine.
But you also got the GLOCK lifetime warranty on all components other than the magazine. Those are always considered expendable components.
In a seven-year life, an agency would typically put no more than 200 rounds per year (50 each in quarterly qualification) on the gun.
A barrel with no more than 1,400 rounds through it is just getting to be well broken in.
Of course, some officers shot a lot more, but doubling or tripling those numbers does not shoot out a barrel and a replacement barrel is not exactly expensive.
Other Firearm Examples
For other manufacturers that did not have a lifetime warranty, we paid less for the buyback and passed that along to the consumer.
This meant, on a firearm without warranty coverage, the “C” grade gun was typically at a 50% or greater discount compared to new.
All our guns were function checked prior to being sold.
Not all companies have the ability to do so, but most will honor at least a 30-day warranty so you can easily figure that out.
In my store, we sold police/armed security trades of Smith and Wesson Model 38’s, GLOCK 17/21/22, Berretta 92’s, Mossberg 500/590 and Remington 870 with some regularity.
My Trade-In Gun Purchases
Our clients were always on the lookout for these sales, as most of the guns were in great shape for the price or were easily fixed up and still well below new price for a fully-function firearm.
I can put it another way. I personally own a former LEO Remington 870, Mossberg 500 and an AR chambered in .45 ACP.
The odd LEO trade-in that I own, is a Marlin Camp 9. I should have also bought a Model 38, but we never got one in set up the way I wanted it.
Conclusion: Buying a Trade-In Gun
As always, the buyer should beware.
But, from a reputable dealer and especially with brands that have a lifetime warranty, an LEO trade-in gun is a very good value.
Of course, new guns are always the better option. And where else can you get that new-gun smell to accompany your purchase?
Have you ever purchased a police trade-in gun? Tell us your experience in the comments section below!