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If you've decided to buy a used handgun, start with a thorough inspection. Buying a used handgun requires more care and attention, especially if you're not buying from a licensed gun dealer. If you're buying a handgun from a private party seller, take the time to check for damage. Here are four areas you should inspect when buying a used handgun.
Check the Frame
When you're inspecting a used handgun, start with the outside. The first thing you need to do is check the frame. Depending on the age of the gun, the frame may have cracks, especially along the stress point. If you're looking at a semi-automatic handgun, it's also important that you pay close attention to the slide. Before you purchase a used semi-automatic handgun, you want to test the slide. There should be fluid movement without any grabs, drags, or delays. If you find any problems with the frame or the slide, you might want to continue your search.
Feel the Barrel
Once you've inspected the frame and the slide, you need to focus on the barrel. The best way to do that is to trust your hands. With the gun disassembled, use your finger to feel along the length of the barrel. The throat of the barrel should feel wider than the top edges. But the entire barrel should feel uniform and without bulges. If there are bulges or deformities, there could be too much pressure on the barrel during firing. If you don't want to go to the expense of replacing the barrel, continue looking for another used handgun.
Move the Cylinder
If you're in the market for a used revolver, pay close attention to the cylinder. You want to be able to move it into place without sticking. When you cock a handgun, the cylinder and chamber should move into place. You should be able to feel the cylinder engage, and you should see the chambers align. It's the alignment that ensures a straight trajectory for the bullet. If the timing of the gear is off, the alignment won't be accurate. If you notice problems with the cylinder, continue your search.
Inspect the Bore
After you've checked the frame, barrel, and cylinder, you may think your work is done. But it's not. You still need to inspect the bore. When you look inside the barrel, you should be able to see the machine grooving. But you shouldn't be able to see any pits or scrapes. If you don't see pits or scratches, the boring is in good condition.
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