This is a question we’re asked a lot. The short answer is: Yes, it is. In fact, it’s a great idea to buy a used gun safe, provided you don’t mind spending a time hunting for the right safe for you. You can save money and get a great deal on a used gun safe, but buying new is quicker and easier.
How to buy a used gun safe
- Let your friends know what you’re looking for: If you can buy a gun safe from a buddy, that will safe you some trouble. The biggest advantage to this route is that it’s easy and you’re likely to get a good deal. What’s more, if you buy a safe from a hunting partner or a close friend, you’re likely to be very familiar with the item’s history and what you’re getting.
- Know the value of what you’re getting: If a gun safe works, but the manufacturer is out of business, you should pay about 20% less. If a key is missing, you should pay about $100 less. If the locking mechanism is damaged, you should move on. Superficial dents and scratches are a judgement call.
- Keep looking for great deals: Prices vary widely when it comes to used gun safes. If you find the right seller, you can snap one up for anywhere from $50 to $500 dollars less than you might pay new. Keep an eye out for the best deals out there.
- Consider delivery: Many sellers of used gun safes won’t deliver (especially if you’re getting one of the legendary deals previously mentioned). That means you must factor into your decision the time and expense of picking. Prices for this can be widely variable.
- Consider changing the combination: You may wish to change the combination on your safe or have it re-keyed if you buy a used safe with a mechanical lock. This will add about $50-$75 to the cost.
- Inspect the safe in person: This applies when you buy anything in person. Inspect the merchandise, and make sure it lives up to your expectations before you hand over the money. Most importantly, make sure the safe can be opened with the original combination.
- Don’t bring strangers back to your home: Whether you change the combination or not, when you buy a safe from a stranger, don’t let them know where you’re taking it.
- Make sure your address isn’t easily available online. Even if the combination changes, they know your new safe inside and out, so this is a prudent safety precaution.
- See if the warranty can be transferred. Sometimes the warranty is transferrable from one seller to another. If this important to you, it’s best to make sure that the factory warranty is transferrable.
- Look for scratch and dent safes. These are basically brand new safes with minor scratches and dents (that don’t affect their functionality). They are usually discounted usually 25-50% off standard pricing, but still come with a factory warranty. A great deal if you can get it. Safe and Vault Store sells some of these.
It’s rare for people to have a bad experience buying a safe used, but it takes some time to find exactly what you’re looking for. There are many types of safe out there, so if you’re looking for something very specific, it may be ultimately be to your benefit to buy new. Still, great bargains are out there, if you know what to look for.