Providing your firearms and valuables with adequate protection can get expensive in a hurry. Premium home gun safes can easily run you several thousand dollars. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you know that I subscribe to the idea that trusted security is worth the associated price tag. That said, I can certainly understand the heartache often caused by separating with a couple grand, and I’m not the only one. For this reason, a lot of people look into to saving a few bucks by purchasing used gun safes, and fundamentally, there’s really no problem with this. The problem is generally introduced when an uneducated shopper enters the mix.
Other than shopping for groceries, I do just about all of my purchasing online, and a lot of folks tend to follow the same trend. There’s really no reason why shopping for a gun safe has to be any different. In a previous post on finding gun safes for sale, I made note of a couple good places to purchase safes online. Gunsafes.com, the site that I highlighted, however, doesn’t offer used gun safes. For safes of the second generation variety, stick to what you know, and look at Craig’s List and eBay. And if you haven’t been to GunBroker.com, get there – they’re essentially an ebay for firearms collectors. Auction sites like these are definitely the quickest way to get a feel for what’s out there.
That said, there are a few things you should strongly consider when purchasing a used safe online (or anywhere for that matter). First, find out if it costs more to purchase a used gun safe as opposed to a new one. That’s a no-brainer, right? Yeh, sort of, but safes, especially the ones worth owning, are incredibly heavy. If you got your panties in a bunch paying $25 for shipping on your recent eBay TV purchase, you may be in for a surprise when it comes time to calculate the freight on a 1000 pound steel box.
Often times, sellers will work a little extra into the price, and advertise free shipping. This is usually a legitimate tactic, in fact Gunsafes.com does the same thing with their new safes, however, they also offer extremely competitive rates on delivery and installation services when you buy your product from them. Free shipping on that Browning Platinum may sound appealing, but do you still consider it to be free when you have to move the 1500 lbs beast down a flight of stairs? Again, there’s nothing wrong with buying a used safe from an online auction site – just make sure you weigh in all the factors before you get too excited.
Ok, so we’ve established that shipping is a biggie – what else should you look out for? You need to look for details. Check for surface scratches on the exterior, wear and tear in the carpet, whether the interior lights function correctly, any noticeable smoke or mildew damage, damage to the convertible shelving, the performance of the lock functions…Obviously this stuff is going to be far more difficult to look for with an online purchase, but you need to decide what’s important to you. If you can live with a few scratches in the name of saving $100, go for it.
Buying a safe with a faded paint job is one thing, but there are a couple of additional factors that you may want to take a little more seriously when purchasing a used gun safe. In other posts, I’ve showcased the importance of frequently changing the combination to your electronic lock. Unfortunately, not everyone heeds this advice. Most gun safe electronic locks open with a four button combination. For a burglar, the next best thing to an open safe, is a lock with four worn buttons (don’t believe me – look at the space bar on keyboard). Sure, he has to get the four in the correct order, but if he’s made it as far as your safe, he’s probably picked up a few clues along the way (cards in your wallet, your mail, your address…). If the used gun safe that you’re considering buying has a worn out lock, you can always buy a new one. Just be sure to factor in the cost of the new keypad, and the installation charge from your local locksmith.
The final factor, and perhaps the most overlooked when buying used discount gun safes is the warranty transfer. Many of the industries leading safe manufacturers offer lifetime warranties on their products as major selling points. For instance, if you have a break in, a fire, or a flood, and your Liberty safe gets damaged, Liberty will ship your old one out, and replace it with a new one (if repairs aren’t possible) for free – for life! Obviously, that’s some quality peace of mind, and fortunately for those looking to buy a used Liberty gun safe, that same lifetime warranty transfers to the new owner.
This, however, isn’t always the case. Winchester, a brand of fantastic, relatively affordable gun safes also offers a fantastic warranty, but it only applies to the ORIGINAL OWNER. If receiving the benefits of a warranty is the least bit important to you, take a second to read the fine print, or better yet, just give the manufacturer a call, and find out ahead of time. You’re not an idiot if you bought a safe without a warranty, but you’re an idiot if you didn’t consider it ahead of time.
Those are just a few tips to help you make a good decision on buying a used gun safe. Just one man’s opinions, but I think they’re pretty good.