How to Find the Value of Your Gun

Knowing the value of your gun is crucial for various reasons, including insurance coverage, selling, trading, or simply understanding your collection's worth.

Whether you are interested in valuing rifles, shotguns, or handguns, various factors influence gun values, such as the manufacturer, model, condition, rarity, and historical significance.

This article will guide you through determining your gun's value by identifying its make and model, evaluating its condition, analyzing comparable sales data, investigating rarity and historical significance, and seeking appraisals and expert opinions (if needed).

Written by:
Isaiah Miller
04/03/2023
9 minutes read

Identifying the Make and Model

Determining the exact make and model of your gun is the first step toward understanding its true value. Just like car companies, gun manufacturers produce many types of variations of the same model. Becoming familiar with your exact make and model will be crucial when it comes to the research stage.

To identify your gun's make, look for manufacturer markings around the gun. Depending on the type of firearm you have, the marking may show up in different places.

Identifying your Pistol

To identify the manufacturer and model of a pistol, follow the steps we list here. It won’t take long but it is important to make sure that you know what you are selling if you are going to get the real value of your Pistol.

Locate the markings on your pistol

When searching for markings on a pistol, you will find brand markings like the manufacturer and model on the slide of the pistol.  Additionally, you will find other information, like import stamps and serial numbers, on other areas of the gun, like the frame or the ejection port.

Markings on the slide of a pistol
Check the slide for the make and model of your pistol.
Markings on the frame of a pistol
Check the frame for any import stamps, special edition marks, and the serial number.
Markings on the ejection port of a pistol
Check the ejection port for the caliber of your pistol, and your serial number.

Discover More About Your Pistol Using Online Resources

Once you’ve determined the manufacturer, model, and other information like the serial number, and  import stamps, explore digital resources, such as brand websites or online pistol communities. Cross-check the engravings on your handgun and pinpoint the exact manufacturer, model, and generation.

Identifying your Revolver

To identify the manufacturer and model of a revolver, follow these steps:

Locate the Markings on Your Revolver

When searching for markings on a revolver, you will find brand markings like the manufacturer and model on the barrel or the frame of the revolver. Additionally, you will find other information, like import stamps and serial numbers on other areas of the gun, such as the frame near the grip or under the crane, which is the part that swings out to allow loading and unloading of the cylinder.

Markings on the barrel of a revolver
Check the barrel of your revolver for the manufacturer and model.
Markings on the frame of a revolver
Check the frame for any import stamps, special edition marks, or the serial number.
Markings under the crane of a revolver
Check under the crane for additional markings, and manufacturer numbers.

Discover more about your revolver using online resources

Browse online databases, like official manufacturer websites or revolver-focused forums, to match the markings on your revolver with the corresponding make and model.

Identifying your Rifle

To identify the manufacturer and model of a shotgun, follow these steps:

Locate the markings on your rifle

When searching for markings on a rifle, you will find brand markings like the manufacturer and model on the left side of the receiver, the right side of the receiver, or the barrel of the rifle.

Markings on the left side of a rifle's receiver
Check the left side of the receiver for the make and model of your rifle.
Markings on the right side of a rifle's receiver
Check the right side of the receiver for the make and model of your rifle, and any other proof marks.
Markings under the crane of a revolver
Check the barrel of your rifle for the make, model, or other identifying marks.

Discover more about your rifle using online resources

Consult internet sources, including manufacturer web pages or rifle discussion boards, to compare the inscriptions on your firearm and determine its specific make, model and other interesting facts.

Identifying your Shotgun

To identify the manufacturer and model of a shotgun, follow these steps:

Locate the markings on your shotgun

When searching for markings on a shotgun, you will find brand markings like the manufacturer and model on either side of the receiver, or the barrel of the shotgun. Additionally, you will find other information, like import stamps and serial numbers, on other areas of the gun, such as the underside of the receiver, under the trigger guard, or on the barrel near the chamber. In some cases, you may also find proof marks and choke designations on the barrel, indicating the shotgun's chamber dimensions and constriction at the muzzle.

Markings on a shotgun receiver
Check the receiver for the make and model of your shotgun.
Markings under the trigger guard of a shotgun
Check under your shotguns trigger guard for any import stamps or other unique identifiers.
Markings on a shotgun barrel
Check the barrel for any other proof marks, the gauge, or choke designations.

Discover more about your shotgun using online resources

Refer to online platforms, like company websites or shotgun-centric forums, to verify the markings on your shotgun and identify the precise manufacturer, model and other important details like the year of manufacture.

In addition to these steps, it is essential to understand that variations in specific models may exist due to the manufacturer's updates and customizations. Always consult the manufacturer's website and user manuals, or contact customer support for the most accurate information on your firearm.

Browsing gun forums by searching your broader model can also be helpful, and if you can't find an older post with the information you need, you can always create your own question on the online forum.

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When searching for markings on a pistol, it's important to carefully inspect different parts of the gun. For example, when examining a Glock 17 Gen 4, you will find the markings on the slide, while on a Sig Sauer P226, you'll find the markings on the frame. These markings help identify the make,  model, and generation of the firearm.

Evaluating your Gun's Condition

The condition of your gun is an important factor in determining how much money it's worth. Guns in mint condition, with their original box and papers, can command huge premiums.

Here are the key steps to evaluating the condition of your firearm:

Understanding the NRA condition grading standards

The National Rifle Association (NRA) has established grading standards to assess a gun's condition. Here is a simplified overview of each condition:

  • Factory New: Untouched, unblemished, and never fired.
  • Excellent: Lightly used with minimal wear.
  • Very Good: Showing minor wear but still fully functional.
  • Good: Exhibiting moderate wear but mechanically sound.
  • Fair: Functional, but with significant wear or damage.
  • Poor: Heavy wear, damage, or non-functional.

Assessing the condition of your firearms

To assess the condition of your gun, follow these steps:

  • Inspecting for rust, wear, and damage: Check the exterior for visible signs of rust, pitting, scratches, or other damage.
  • Examining the bore for cleanliness and wear: Inspect the bore for cleanliness, signs of corrosion, or excessive wear.
  • Testing the gun's mechanics and functionality: Ensure the action, trigger, and safety function smoothly and correctly.
  • Identifying original vs. modified parts and their impact on value: Modifications, aftermarket parts, or non-original components can affect the gun's worth, often negatively.

Analyzing Comparable Sales Data

If you want to know how much your gun is really worth, analyzing recent, comparable sales data is a must. True value is determined by completed sales, where an actual buyer paid actual money.

Here are the key steps you need to take to get an accurate estimate of your firearm's worth:

Why comparable sales data is crucial for determining gun values

Comparable sales data helps you determine your gun's market value by analyzing the prices of similar guns that have recently sold. By looking at recent sales, you can get an accurate idea of what your firearm is worth and how to price it.

Trustworthy sources for research

Gun auction websites

These platforms provide a wealth of recent sales data for various makes, models, and conditions.

  • GunBroker.com (make sure you consider the 'Completed Listings', and not the asking prices for guns)
  • GunsAmerica.com
  • Rock Island Auction Company
  • AuctionArms.com

Firearms price guides

Publications, like the Blue Book of Gun Values and Standard Catalog of Firearms, offer comprehensive pricing information.

  • Blue Book of Gun Values
  • Standard Catalog of Firearms
  • Gun Digest
  • NRA Firearms Sourcebook

Online forums and communities

Enthusiasts in these groups can offer valuable insights and real-world sales data. Some popular online forums and communities for gun enthusiasts include:

  • The Firearms Forum
  • Calguns
  • The High Road
  • The Firing Line
  • AR15.com
  • The Ruger Forum

Local gun shops

You may find some friendly staff members at one of your local gun stores who would be willing to help you determine the value of your gun.

Effective Strategies for Researching Comparable Gun Sales

When determining your gun's value through comparable sales research, it's easy to get lost in the vast amount of information available. To help you streamline your research process and reach a more accurate valuation, consider the following tips:

Filter by make, model, and condition

To get a precise estimate of your gun's value, compare it with other firearms of the same manufacturer, model, and condition. This approach takes into account market trends and sales data specific to your firearm type.

Assess sales volume and market trends

The demand and popularity of your gun model can greatly influence its selling price. Utilize firearms price guides to examine sales volume and market trends, which can help you make informed decisions when selling your gun.

Account for regional price differences

Firearms prices can vary depending on the region. To accurately compare sales, search for sales data from your area or adjust the price according to the location of the sales data you're using. If you plan to sell your guns online, you may use national sales data.

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Exploring Rarity and Historical Significance

Both rarity and historical significance can significantly impact a gun's value. To determine your firearm's worth accurately, it's crucial to investigate these factors, particularly for collectible firearms.

Factors contributing to rarity

A gun's rarity can be influenced by several factors, affecting its market value:

Production numbers and scarcity

Limited production runs or a small number of surviving examples can enhance a gun's value. Rare accessories like high-capacity magazines that are included with your lot can also contribute to an increased retail value.

Special editions and unique features

Limited edition models or distinctive features can make a firearm more desirable and valuable. Many collector buyers are willing to pay more for special editions, guns of a rare caliber, and guns with other unique features.

Discontinued models and collector demand

Enthusiasts interested in collecting relics may be particularly interested in acquiring discontinued models, driving up their value.

Assessing historical significance

The historical significance of a gun is another crucial factor that can affect its value. Aspects to consider include:

Provenance and value
A well-documented history or previous ownership by a notable individual can boost a gun's value.
Connections to significant events or individuals
Antique firearms associated with important historical events or people may fetch higher prices in the market. If you have an antique gun, investing in understanding its history may pay off big time.

The role of rarity and historical significance in gun valuations

Rarity and historical significance can have a considerable impact on a gun's value, often making antique guns more valuable than similar models lacking these attributes.
If you own an antique firearm, thoroughly research its historical connections to potentially increase its value.
Now that you've got some solid comps, it's time to value your own gun.

Once you determine the fair market gun value, it's time to consider the various costs involved with selling a gun collection so you can decide what you want to walk away with when all is said and done.

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How to Value a Gun

Once you have a clear understanding of the fair market value for your gun by using comparable sales data, it's essential to consider the costs involved in selling your firearm. By calculating the net profit, you can set realistic expectations for the actual cash amount you'll receive.



By following these steps and considering the costs involved in selling your gun, you can determine its net profit value and make informed decisions about selling your firearm. If you want to make the selling process more straightforward, consider using the services of Cash for Arms, which can help you sell your guns outright or on consignment with ease.

Man's hands loading a handgun magazine
Photo by RODNAE Productions: https://www.pexels.com/photo/office-display-business-market-7948058/

Calculate selling fees

You have many options to sell your guns:

  • online auctions
  • local consignment
  • national consignment
  • selling through an auction house
  • selling at a gun show
  • or through a dealer

Depending on the option you choose, there may be various fees and commissions involved. Make sure to account for these expenses when determining the net profit value of your gun. For example, auction websites might charge a listing fee or a percentage of the final sale price, while consignment stores and dealers may take a commission for their services.

Factor in shipping costs

If you plan to sell your firearm online, shipping costs can be a significant expense. Research the cost of shipping a gun, including any required insurance or special handling fees, and factor this into your net profit calculations.

Consider appraisal fees (if applicable)

If you've sought a professional appraisal to determine the value of your firearm, you should include the cost of the appraisal in your overall calculations.

Calculate net profit

After accounting for all selling costs, you can calculate your net profit. This figure represents the actual cash amount you can expect to receive from selling your gun. It's essential to have a clear understanding of your net profit value to set accurate expectations when selling your firearm.
Determining the value of a firearm can be a challenging task, particularly if you're not experienced in the field. If your gun holds substantial value, and you are uncertain about its value, it may be wise to consult a professional appraiser or an expert's opinion for an accurate assessment.

Working with Professional Gun Appraisers

Different types of appraisers and their services

Determining the value of a firearm can be challenging, especially if you're unfamiliar with the nuances of the market or the specific characteristics of your gun. In such cases, working with a professional gun appraiser can be highly beneficial. These experts can provide an unbiased and accurate assessment of your firearm's value, taking into consideration various factors that will impact gun values.

  • Local gun shop appraisers: Many local gun shops employ knowledgeable professionals who can offer in-person evaluations and advice. They can physically examine your firearm and provide an on-the-spot valuation, making this a convenient option for those looking for a quick assessment. For a vintage or antique gun, an independent firearms expert may be a better choice.
  • Online appraisal services: If you don't have access to a local gun shop or prefer a remote option, various online appraisal services can help. You can submit photos and detailed information about your gun to these services, and an expert will provide a valuation based on the provided data.
  • Independent firearms experts: For those with antique guns or rare firearms, independent firearms experts might be the best choice. These specialists often focus on particular makes, models, or historical periods, providing in-depth knowledge and expertise for accurate valuations.

Advantages of obtaining professional appraisals

Professional appraisals provide an unbiased assessment, help determine a fair market value, and offer added credibility when selling or insuring your gun. If you have a rare or antique gun, professional appraisals may be especially wise.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the value of your gun is an essential aspect of owning firearms, whether for insurance purposes, selling, trading, or simply having a better understanding of your collection's worth. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can accurately determine your gun's value based on make and model, condition, comparable sales data, rarity, historical significance, and, when necessary, professional appraisals.

Arming yourself with this knowledge not only helps you make informed decisions when selling or insuring your firearm but also provides a deeper appreciation for your collection. By leveraging the resources and tips shared in this article, you can confidently navigate the often-complex process of valuing your gun, ensuring that you are well-prepared for any transaction or discussion involving your firearm's worth.

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We value your interest in our services. Due to regulatory requirements, we can only accept contact information from individuals 21 years of age or older. However, individuals aged 18 and above are eligible to sell firearms through our platform. If you are between 18 to 21 years old, please exit this pop-up and refrain from providing your phone number. Those under 18 should leave the website. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in adhering to these guidelines.

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