Knowledge of value—it is something every gun owner absolutely must possess. When we buy and sell merchandise, our grasp of how much money the goods in question are worth is an essential part of the wheels that drive our industry. Not knowing could leave you holding a smaller purse or missing a big payday. Luckily, you’re a smart consumer. You know when something might be worth a bundle, but you may not know exactly what to ask or where to look. If only there were an industry standard reference for knowing the value of just about every firearm ever created. Since 1980, the firearms world has been fortunate enough to have exactly that. For many of us, The Blue Book of Gun Values is the most important reference behind the counter or under the desk. It is like a dictionary for a writer, or a schematic for a mechanic—it would be almost impossible to get the job done without it.
Don’t Think You Need One?
Let’s take a look at Tom. He is an expert on AR-15s and loves to read up on the latest gun news. He’s internet savvy and has a basic grasp of how this industry works. He knows the ins and outs of his favorite firearm and will confidently give you all the information about that weapon you’ve ever wanted to know. He occasionally buys and sells his ARs on auction sites and enjoys his hobby.
Recently, he happened to inherit a couple 1911s from a relative. He isn’t really a handgun guy and decided to sell them in order to pay for a rifle he’s been eying. He starts by checking out 1911s on the big auction sites. After becoming a bit frustrated by the vast difference in prices, He brings them by the local pawnshop for an appraisal. The clerk says he’ll be happy to buy them and offers Tom an expectedly low but fair amount on the first gun. The clerk, sensing a possible sucker, offers the same amount for the second. Tom isn’t quite sure and says he’ll think the offer over. What Tom doesn’t know is that one of his guns is worth far more than the other and he almost missed out on a huge payday.
At first glance, both guns look similar. They’re both 1911s and the original owner took great care in order to keep both guns polished and pristine. However, the gun on the left is a custom Colt Combat Commander Mark IV, while the gun on the right is a Rock Island. They are both great guns, but the Colt will always command a higher price. In this case, Tom had two very different guns and almost made a huge mistake. In a perfect world, Tom would have looked up the exact base model of each firearm to help determine the value before talking to anyone.
How do They Know What My Guns Are Worth?
Recently, I was lucky enough to chat with Steve Fjestad the author and publisher of the Blue Book of Gun Values. Steve is a long-standing, well-respected figure in the firearms community. When I asked how on earth they were able to determine the value of all those guns, he simply said, “One keystroke at a time. We have access to privileged information from numerous experts and we’ve been doing it for over 30 years.”
Steve went further and outlined all the work they’ve been doing as of late. He said it was challenging to keep up with all the newer and smaller AR-15 manufacturers, but they’ve managed to do so. I can imagine, there seem to be more new AR makers than there are Starbucks. They tackled the issue head on and they’ve even released a 4th edition Blue Book specializing in tactical firearms.
Who Would Find this Information Useful?
Everyone who’s ever bought or sold a gun would find this information useful. Obviously, pawnshop owners, gun dealers, and gun collectors are going to benefit the most. However, it is a good idea to get the info on all your gear. You never know when you’ll want to trade your guns for new ones, or just make some room in your gun safe. In case you haven’t noticed, the price of guns has skyrocketed in recent months. If you’ve ever been thinking about letting go of some extra firearms, now is most definitely a good time to do so. Gun buyers would also benefit greatly. With the online subscription, you get historical pricing. If you’re shopping for an antique or collectible firearm, you can see a graph of the fluctuating value over time—just like a stock portfolio.
How does it all work?
As a customer, you have some options. If you’re dealing with just one firearm, but aren’t sure of the value, you can purchase the info on that firearm for $2.95. Otherwise, you can purchase a 1-year online subscription starting at $34.95 and get all info you want. They also offer a digital copy on CD-ROM for $34.95. Alternatively, you can order the printed copy starting at $44.95. There are more buying options, but that’s the start. This reference helps me out regularly, and it could help you too. Pick up a copy or grab a subscription, you won’t be disappointed.