A Nurse with a Gun

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Xavier, I've been wondering when one of your forays would meet reality in the form of collectors posing as sellers at the gun shows, and at most independent gun shops and pawnshops these days, I'm afraid. In my pawnshop in the 90's, with legislation of unknown scope on the horizon, most FFL's added a what-if factor to their gun prices and that actually increased demand and margins; it was the most profitable period of firearms sales in my thirty years as a dealer...a serendipitous effect of wasteful, pointless, dangerous government...

That scenario may be playing out now in a precursory way. There is a very high likelihood that one of those three Democrats will be president, and almost certainly control through law or through tort will soon follow. Many dealers and quasi-dealers at shows may feel their investment is better kept in good guns than in cash. That's how I felt in '92, anyway, and it was a profitable strategy for me.

I would counsel you to alter your aversion to new, at least in the short term, and especially for Colt. The many truisms about the supply of Colts like the one you overheard are based in the real paucity of desirable pieces available for your favorite FFL to order for you. If your guy will order for you at $40-$50 over his true cost with prepay as I did for my good buyers, put your money down today and with overnight shipment and your carry permit, walk out of the store with your new acquisition tomorrow. You are very unlikely to experience depreciation; more likely you made money when you bought it.

So dealers are hanging onto their good pre-owned stuff that they own outright, witness your show experience and the lately inflated Gun Broker listings...But most are glad to make the $40-$50 on the new piece with no risk or investment to them; you may even get new for used price, of course the coolest stuff you just can't get new.

One exception to the overpriced pre-owned market is still in the police handgun trade-ins. I mentioned in a response to one of your old posts that Glock's inspired marketing plan put Glocks in most cop's holsters and put a lot of nice (and a lot of not so nice) hi-cap s/a's, primarily 9's, onto the used market at attractive prices, like those Beretta's you saw...
First, jtc, I hope you don't mind me cleaning up your punctuation a bit and using your comment to kick off this post. Marketplace economics driven by trepidation, speculation, and outright greed good business practices in the face of political change is a reality in the gun market.

Some readers have commented on the dwindling number of my Pawn Shop Circuit posts. The decline is for a couple of reasons......First, I have noticed that there are other folks, in particular a FFL dealer who sells on Gun Broker cruising the same shops as me. It began to appear as though this fellow and his cohorts were reading my blog. Hello Guy! Fortunately, I have a good rapport with the shops I buy at, and I don't try to chew them down on prices. When Mr. Gun Broker Dealer tries to gnaw another fifty bucks off a fair price, Neil and Kenny both know old Xavier will eventually walk in again. Many times they will wait to see what I will offer.

Then, too, it seems as though there are fewer good guns on the used market these days. For a while, after hurricane Katrina, North Louisiana seemed to be a Mecca of used items of all types as evacuees sold off belongings and struggled back to their feet. That trend seemed to stop last year. I figure not many of my readers want to hear that Kenny and Neil still have the same old Sigma and Taurus revolver in their case. So, I stopped writing about every foray into the used gun market.

When it comes to gun shows, I do indeed see fewer and fewer collector quality firearms available. Perhaps I need to go to some of the bigger shows and have a look. It seems as though the smaller ones I attend are merely a means for dealers to harvest guns from walk-ins, which they later place on the table (if at all) at a larger show. I sometimes wonder if ammunition might be a better investment.

But back to the subject at hand.......That Colt New Agent. Knowing that I will carry it, that it is a blued pistol, and that it will receive significant wear, should I buy? I have other pistols that this one would supplement. My Colt Compact is roughly the same size, although the New Agent would be lighter. All reports on the New Agent have been positive. It's the first Colt venture past the Defender into the CCW market.

That is something to think about, I suppose. One front running Democratic candidate has already voiced a desire to crush concealed carry. It may not be possible to repeal CCW legislation if Obama is elected, but prices of dedicated CCW guns will no doubt escalate along with high capacity handguns and rifles.

Lets suppose I buy the Colt New Agent at $800. I give the pistol $150 worth of wear. $100 depreciation as used. The gun is now worth $650. Could political winds raise the used price of the pistol almost 40 percent to where I would break even? I don't know. One thing is certain though......Future politics will likely keep this pistol off the used market for some time, and the price being asked is fair. I think I need to go with my gut.

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Blogger Reno Sepulveda said...

Hard times a comin fo sho. I'd buy ammo. But I don't like tiny .45s of any brand and don't have the job security of a nurse.

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If a Democrat is elected President, I think high capacity magazines are the most at risk. Some sort of nefarious ammo tax might also be on the horizon.

As usual, I find your blog post both informative and entertaining. Maybe one day you can give us your thoughts on semi automatic rifles, since you've already written thoroughly about both shotguns and handguns.

Good luck hunting!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Lima said...

Buy the gun.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Rabbit said...

A couple of weekends ago the wife and I went by the 'big' gunshow here in Dallas. The folks doing the briskest trade were set up with an abundance of small, relatively inexpensive flat single-stack semis in what are considered by many 'minimum' calibers. Not cheap pistols, relatively inexpensive. You know the ones- white box, red and blue logo, from the guy who was the CNC machinist. Seems like folks were after BUGs, but there were plenty of new medium and large plastic pistols moving as well.

I saw plenty of 'collector posing as seller' there; in fact, maybe 10% of the tables held only a few items, usually foreign and military. I can't remember seeing that many Arisakas in one place in quite awhile, yet the number wasn't a high one. Pre-war Winchester leverguns, too- one gent had perhaps 200, all priced well above what a knowledgeable person would pay, yet he had a sign proposing a deal to buy yours.

On another note, I know that several local pawnshops Ebay a lot of 'stuff' that isn't redeemed and almost all the handguns except those that come in new or nearly new go direct to GunBroker. The really interesting stuff never gets seen by the walk-in traffic.


12:12 PM  
Blogger John S said...

It seems to me the question is Do I plan to sell this? If you buy it intending to keep it, it is worth what you paid for it, forever. If you buy it as some kind of investment, then the depreciation and price inflation considerations apply.

I don't buy that much, but I buy to keep. Let my kids worry about residual value when I shuffle off this mortal coil.

3:41 PM  

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