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Surplus pistols?

Q I love 'to tinker and work on guns as a hobby, with primary emphasis on handguns. My problem is finding project guns. Unlike rifles, you don't see many military surplus handguns for sale. Have you got any suggestions for where to look and what to look for?

A Absolutely! Sure, the day of the $35 Colt or Remington Rand 1911 is long gone and you won't find too many $40 to $50 Lugers or Browning Hi-Powers. In fact, you probably won't find any! Even more so than long guns, it seems that military handguns have for the most part achieved collector status along with collector pricing.

But that doesn't mean that you can't find relatively inexpensive handguns for your projects. First of all, don't necessarily look just at or for military surplus handguns. I would strongly encourage you to look at police trade-ins. There are huge numbers of police organizations both here in the U.S. and in other parts of the world that are regularly trading in or upgrading their handguns. Century International Arms, Inc., 430 South Congress Ave., Dept. SGN, Delray Beach, FL 33445, 561-265-4500, which advertises here in SHOTGUN NEWS, is a major buyer and importer of surplus police handguns. I have gotten a number of darn nice used police handguns from these folks over the years. Not too long ago I picked up a nice used S&W99 in 9mm and later a S&W Model 4046. Both handguns were evidently carried a lot but shot very little.

J&G Sales, another SGN advertiser, has had large quantities of S&W Model 64 revolvers taken in from a large security company. Again, these were clearly carried a lot more than shot.


Guns like this are great for experimentation and various gunsmithing projects and best of all, the prices were very, very reasonable. In fact, when compared with the price of new handguns or even the run-of-the-mill used handguns you typically see in most gun shops, they were bargains.

So check the ads here in SGN and you'll see a number of outfits that offer police trade-ins. If you don't see what you want, give the advertisers a call. Often police trade-ins are in such small quantities that the dealers won't run a big ad. Sometimes also, they have guns that are missing parts, sights, etc. that can be purchased with quite a discount. Century often has listed on their website guns that need some TLC and a bit of repair work.
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Title Annotation:Ask the Gunsmith
Author:Coffield, Reid
Publication:Shotgun News
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 10, 2010
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