Rant: Haggling Over The Price Of A Firearm

Recently I decided to clean the safe out and sell off the firearms I haven’t shot in over 18 months, so that means selling off whatever doesn’t make the cut. After listing some of my less loved firearms on a local trading site as well as Gunbroker, I have a new respect for those that spend their work week behind a local gun store counter or even a pawn shop gun counter.

It seems that the art of negotiation is disappearing quickly in today’s society much to my dismay. While many of the prospective buys that emailed either were happy with my asking price or understood that it is good form to throw a reasonable offer out that can be haggled upon, other prospective buyers don’t seem to understand the finer points of haggling.

The staggering amount of “what’s your bottom dollar” emails is nothing short of infuriating. As a personal rule when someone uses the “bottom dollar” method I inevitably respond with an email that states that the asking price is the bottom dollar out of annoyance. With the question of what my bottom dollar is, the buyer is essentially asking me to haggle with myself so that they don’t have to.

If you are wondering if there was a particular interchange that spurred me to write this rant up, there was. Below is the interchange between myself and a person I shall refer to as “Lazy Ace” to protect their identity.

Lazy Ace: “Still interested in selling?”

Patrick R: “I am.”

Lazy Ace: “I’d like to buy..bottom dollar”

Patrick R: “The listed price is the bottom dollar.”

Lazy Ace: “I can buy now 300 .”

Patrick R: “No. I said the listed price was my bottom dollar. Please read my email and accept the answer. Have a nice day.

While I may have been a bit curt with Ace over nothing more than a minor annoyance, this growing trend of asking for someone’s bottom dollar is nothing short of aggravating when trying to sell items. If you are looking to buy a firearm from a private seller and you think their price is a bit on the high side, have the courtesy to assign a value to it so that the seller will take you seriously. The worst that can happen is you receive a “no thanks” response.

What are your experiences with haggling buyers? Do you have a story about a particularly aggravating interchange between a prospective buyer in regards to price?

Patrick R

Patrick is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and TFBTV Host. He likes guns and has liked shooting guns for as long as he can remember. You can follow Patrick on Instagram @tfbpatrick, Facebook, or contact him by email at TFBpatrick@gmail.com.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • AK

    Why not just ignore these twerps? In time they will learn.

    • Renegade

      Nope; they know exactly what they are doing, and could not care less how others feel about it.

    • Tim U

      Nope. They’ll just do it to the next person. It’s laziness and trying to play on your desperation to move an item and get cash. My trick is to just never be desperate for cash when I sell so I can tell them what to do with themselves

      • AK

        So? Why should I put in effort if some douche is trying to lowball my fair price? Just wait for the right person to come along, ignore the idiots. If everyone would do this, the idiots would stop trying.

  • Jack Morris

    I don’t understand haggling. Why not just offer the product at the price you are willing to accept? Haggling in general seems crude and uncomfortable.

    • M.M.D.C.

      Some people will pay the asking price, no questions asked.

      If they’re the haggling type they like to think they’re getting a deal so the price is inflated to compensate.

      • Rick O’Shay

        I price on the fact that some people will pay the asking price, no questions asked. I’m aware of the value of the gun. It’s not my job to make sure the buyer does his homework beforehand. But if he comes back with an offer that’s in line with the value of the gun, I’ll gladly sell it. If they’ll give me what I’m asking, I’ll gladly take it.

      • EmptyJay

        I purchased a gun at asking price about a year ago. The only reason I did so was his asking price was lower than other identical listings, it was unfired and it included a spare magazine. I was (and still am) extremely happy with it, and I’m sure he was happy to sell less than 12 hours after listing.

    • Matt

      because normally the seller thinks his items are more worth than the real value and the buyer thinks their value is lower than the real value.

      And if you are wondering which is the real value, you can only discover at the end of the haggling.

    • Renegade

      Many of these buyers want exactly that; to make you feel uncomfortable. Sometimes that lack of comfort kills the sale, but sometimes that same lack of comfort will get the seller to let go of their product for cheaper than they want just to make the buyer/situation go away.

      • Rick O’Shay

        If you’re willing to sell a gun at a ridiculous price simply because their offer was ridiculously low and you “want to make the buyer go away,” maybe you shouldn’t be selling guns to begin with.

    • codfilet

      You offer the item at a higher price than you really expect to get, lower the price to where you always expected to sell it at, and both you and the buyer are happy with a good deal-you got your price, and the buyer “saved some money”. That’s how it works.

      • Cymond

        That’s how it works, but it’s also dumb.
        Can’t we just skip to the end? Do we really have to do this dance?

        • codfilet

          You do if you step up to my table at the gun show. If you want to pay the full amount I’ve got on the tag, I’m fine with that,too.

          • Cymond

            Nah, that’s cool. I’d take one look at your inflated tags and just keep walking. You may find that others of my generation are much the same.

          • codfilet

            You and your generation aren’t interested in the rifles I have for sale,anyway-Mainly target-grade .22s from the ’30s to the ’50s, blued steel and walnut stocks, with micrometer sights or scopes almost as long as the rifle. They aren’t black, with the shoulder thing that goes up…..

          • Cymond

            I can’t speak for all of us, but I’m interested in almost anything if it fires a self-contained metallic cartridge and is obtainable. After that, it’s all about priorities. Sure, I’d love to have that stuff, but funds are limited and those are niche rifles that often command premium prices. I’m not saying modern rifles are “better”, but they are often a better value for the dollar.

            I learned to shoot with my great-grandfather’s Savage 23A and my grandmother’s S&W K-22 Masterpiece. Rimfires are my first true love, and after that, I gained an interest in the classics. However, it is the political & defensive facet that has captured my current interest. Now I’m supplementing that by slowly entering NFA territory. I’ll move into more niche ares after I’ve scratched those itches (or there’s a ban). Seriously, if there’s a ban, my next focus will be classic milsurps.

          • Paul Franklin

            They would if be if y’all was texting across the table !!!! People have forgotten the art of conversation .

          • Old Fart

            And there it is… When I read your 1st post, I was thinking “has to be a youngster”, and now you’ve confirmed it. Your generation wants that $100 discount, but you’re not willing to work for it. That’s akin to someone walking up to you and handing you $100 on the street. How often does that happen in real life? Is it really so difficult to “dance” with a seller for a few minutes to arrive at a price that’s mutually acceptable? So if you want to walk by my “over inflated” price tag, that’s fine with me – I prefer to deal with knowledgeable customers.

  • Nicholas C

    As someone who used to sell guns behind someone else’s counter, the buying of guns from customers is a ruthless endeavor.

    First we start with the Blue Book Value and it is not favorable for the customer. No gun is ever 100%. It’s like trying to sell a car to a car dealership. Waste of your time unless you want money fast.

    The Blue Book value is what we will sell the gun for, so then we have to automatically knock off 40%. That is what the customer gets.

    • Renegade

      That’s business.

      A lot of people don’t understand that a gun shop, like every other business ever, is out to make money. Giving fair value does not pay the rent.

      • Harry’s Holsters

        Most people don’t even look at margin. They see that the dealer is making $100 off a gun but fail to realize it’s a low margin and they have had the item in inventory for a while plus the expenses of running a business. Most “successful” gun shops are just providing the owner with a decent salary at the end of the year. They aren’t getting rich at all.

      • nova3930

        this. a business is there to make $$. you’ve got to buy and sell at prices that produce a profit margin, if you don’t you won’t be a business for long….

      • Cymond

        On the other hand, any gun shop that offers me $100 for my rifle is nuts. F it, I’ll *give* it to a friend before I’ll sell it for a stupid lowball number.

        • Tim Pearce

          Well, it depends on the gun. I have a couple of old Remington single-shot .22 LRs (Model 510 and 514, I think?) that, unless they were in mint condition, aren’t worth $100. I think the shop I worked for (which allowed me to buy them at cost) paid like $20 and $30 for them.

          • Cymond

            Yeah, that’s fair, and I’d still rather give them away to cash-strapped friends than sell them for a pittance. I gave away a Marlin 81 rather than sell it. It only fed correctly if cycled carefully due to a broken feed ramp spring, and try as I might, I just could *not* get the barrel out of the receiver to replace the danged spring (which I have 2 spares).

            And for that matter, I wouldn’t be able to resist if I found function 22LRs for that price. I met a guy who restored a $100 rusted up Arisaka that was found under a house. I read about another guy who bought a double-barrel 12ga with a burst barrel ($20), cleaned it up, filed a Form 1, and chopped it down.
            I envy people like that.

          • glenn cheney

            Those Remington 510’s and 514’s are getting increasingly scarce….I have over a dozen or so, wonderful furniture on the older guns. My most prized? Rem.341-P, I have two, they made less than 4,000. I missed a third by ONE PENNY on GB, lol, 400.00 took it, I wouldn’t sell mine for twice, but that’s me.
            One of my best snags, was a youth model Rem. single shot, burled walnut stock…..25 bucks!
            My problem is, I buy bargains, but never seem to sell any….I’ve got shotguns and .22’s I haven’t fired in over 40 years.
            Geeze, time fugits when you’re not having fun.
            BTW, I talked to our friends at ATF recently on another matter…seems with all their reg’s and such, I asked “how many guns is a person allowed to sell PER YEAR. I got no definitive answer.
            Guess we let our conscience be our guide. I gifted an “upper” to a 20 yr. plus retired A.F. “person” whose relative dropped Fat Man on Nagasaki…So, Yea, we like to see the hardware go to qualified butt-kickers who know what they are doing….All my other “drinking buddies” at the O-Club have all their own toys, most much better than mine….

          • lamarlamar

            I understand your problem! I buy but, have trouble selling! I have sold a few years ago and wish I didn’t, nylon 66, Savage over/under .22/410, Navy Colt, High Standard .22 revolver! Funny what we miss!

          • Rocketman

            The Nylon 66 is the finest .22lr auto rifle at any price. My two are staying with me for as long as I live.

      • supergun

        There is no such thing as a fair value when one is desperate to sell a gun, and one does care if he buys or not.

        There is no such thing as a fair value when one is not desperate to sell a gun, and one has to have the gun no matter what.

      • itsmefool

        Good point and perfectly true, but folks now have plenty of other avenues to sell our guns…it is not my job to keep you in business, but yours! I can choose to do business with you or I can walk away. There probably will be somebody else right behind me who will take you up your offer.

    • PK

      “That is what the customer gets.”

      …at the absolute best. And of course, the majority of people think their belongings aren’t just as-new, but better than new.

      • Rick O’Shay

        Especially those “customized Mosins.”

      • Lee Chee

        The customer can still always be right, although they will most likely have too wait… even if it takes a few years (exceptions apply). Patients is still a virtue although not really adorned now a days. Look at us Canadians you might be able to get some surplus smile’s ounce again do to our tremendous patients, when really they’re probably not worth what they are, talk about holding out… I could be wrong tho

    • ozzallos .

      I had Cabela’s outright admit that to me when I brought my local a firearm. His honesty was refreshing. He even suggested alternate avenues of sale. Good guy. Part of the reason I still buy there.

      • Cabela’s has Good People behind the counter; I overheard a lady at the Buda, TX store clearly taking an order for a straw purchase on her cell phone, and was about to point her out to an employee when one of the counter guys flagged down a floorwalker and told him to make sure all the other counter staff knew she was trying to make a straw purchase and not to sell to her.

        • Rick O’Shay

          The Buda shop really is one of the better-run “big box” shops I’ve visited. I don’t paying a bit more than some of the other local alternatives, considering most of the staff there is genuinely knowledgeable and courteous. They really do want happy customers.

        • AlDeLarge

          I bought a Raven .25 ACP at that store. I just couldn’t walk past it for $60.

          • itsmefool

            Good one! I’ve even seen a deal or two in the Fort Worth store’s Gun Library…should’ve bought it, but I’d have a hard time justifying a .458 Win. Mag., even if it is a classy Model 70!

    • Ian McCollum

      I’ve gotten some great deals by being in gun shops when someone comes in to sell a gun and gets offered some incredibly insulting low amount. I wait outside the front door, offer double, and get a nice gun at a good price (this is legal where I live; might not be where you are, FYI).

      • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

        I have done that a few times, normally it results in me selling a firearm a few months later since I didn’t really want it in the first place. Sometimes deals are too good to pass up!

        • Hensley Beuron Garlington

          Thus the fine article on cleaning out your safe. LOL. I feel you on good deals. They are like, “once in a lifetime” feelings.

      • Tim Pearce

        While I, in no way, want to discourage you from doing this, it is illegal if you conduct the transaction on the FFL’s premises, even their parking lot. It’s just how the laws are worded.

        Making an offer and haggling is fine, but don’t exchange money and goods while you’re there.

      • DW

        You actually have arrangement with those shops right? :^)

      • Vanns40

        I did that at a particularly thieving dealer in Falls Church, Va and when the dealer told the potential customer his Marlin 1898 lever action 22 wasn’t worth anything but he’d take it off his hands just to have it as a wall hanger I immediately made an offer which was accepted. He took it and I now have a mint condition piece of history! And no, I was not welcome at that dealer ever again and also no, I shed no tears.

        • cnnspy

          I hear you! At my local “Christian” dealer, I saw a gun just like mine in the case for $895. I asked for $300 for mine and he offers a whopping $16 considering ammo went with it. This doesn’t even come close to at least a fair amount to cover the tax on a sig p938 I wanted to get from him. What ever happened to: Thou shall not steal?? I might as well sell it on the street and at least get a decent $150 from the pimp in purple! Definitely never going back in that store ever again even if he has what I want while I would have to order it at any of the other gun shops in town.

          • Blaser270

            You have described what I find in most gun shops. They are thieves and nothing but thieves. Their mark up on new guns isn’t a lot so they drool at the thought of a widow coming in with her husband’s guns. They’ll literally steal from the dead. Hope they rot in hell.

            Had one owner tell me a few years ago that I shouldn’t worry because when I die he’ll get my guns for a song. Wrong, they are documented with what I paid for them and what they should bring at current market. It is updated every 6 months or so and she knows where it is….

      • jonp

        Ive done that right at the counter when I thought the shop was being insulting and taking advantage of someone. Ive also told someone to look their gun up on gunbroker/gunsamerica etc first before selling. Profit I understand, taking advantage I dont

    • Echo5Charlie

      No serious gun shop uses The Blue Book of Gun Values.

      • Blake

        What do they use instead?

        • Jim_Macklin

          They look at what they can buy new from a jobber or wholesaler at X$ and then they will buy a used gun for 0.6X$ or less. Some shops will sell a customers gun for a commission fee that covers the cost of inventory entry, 4473, and a portion of overhead… often you pay a flat $50 up front and get your asking price IF the gun sells within 6 months.

          • Mike

            Put several guns on “consignment” at local gun store. They made $50 or 10%. very fair I thought. They handle paperwork and are responsible to make sure a buyer is legal..
            Most times I used the money to buy new guns from them.

    • truth makes you free


    • Tim Pearce

      That’s grandfatherly kindness compared to what the last company I worked for did. They offered less than half of what they planned to sell the thing for, and even less if it was for a pawn.

    • El Duderino

      Gee that ain’t too bad. I had a friend bring in a $600 gun to a pawn shop (to sell, not pawn) and get offered $150.

    • supergun

      The bottom line is how much we are willing to lose or make when we sell.

      A car dealership has tremendous overhead. They are like anyone else,,,what is the potential of make or lose money on this deal.

  • Lee Enfield

    I haven’t the faintest clue why someone would try to offload a gun now versus waiting a couple months for the likely possibility of a panic market.

    • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

      It’s a revolver.

      • A.WChuck

        So, it’s over priced for the current market?

        • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

          No. It is priced fairly, this one particular “potential buyer” got me thinking.

      • Lee Enfield

        Well, in that case I guess its not the first thing on the chopping block. Clinton won’t ban revolvers for another year or so. She’s got to get all the semis first.

        • TheMaskedMan

          That reminds me to buy stock in Smith and Wesson before the election.

    • Blumpkin

      Sell a gun?

      • Tim Pearce

        You’d be surprised how many people sell guns for no other reason than to help finance their next buy. I had a regular customer that would buy a gun, never shoot it a single time, take very good care of it, maybe even buy a few extra magazines, and then sell it back to us six months later because something new had caught his eye. He just liked buying new guns. *shrug*

        • SlowJoeCrow

          That’s how I get my guns. There is a shopKeeper frequent that has a steady supply of barely used guns still in the box at a substantial markdown, from customers who buy, shoot, and sell.

      • Think of all the other guns you could buy with the markup for waiting long enough to sell it in early December.

  • Tim U

    I’ve sold guns via Armslist before, and I would say the majority of buyers either took the price as it was or went with the “bottom dollar” method of haggling. And 98% tried the “bottom dollar”. Very very few people understand the art of haggling. Just as few understand worth of a product and assign their personal property a higher value than if they were to be buying it themselves and consider any offer below that, no matter how reasonable, as “low balling”.

    I’ve since moved out of the secondary market…. Doesn’t just have to be for guns. Seems like anything being bought and sold by non-businessmen or establishments.

    • Parnell

      I’ve sold a number of guns on Armslist and found that most inquiries started with “I’ll pay you…”, usually $100-150 below my asking price. Needless to say, those people never were buyers. I’ll negotiate because I always price with a cushion but don’t show up at my house and then try to chisel the price. Those people were quickly shown the door.

      • ozzallos .

        You do sales at your house? Braver than I am.
        But, yeah. The guy who knows your rice then all of a sudden can get a better deal somewhere else and can you drop $100 off yours at the last minute is particularly annoying.

        • Parnell

          I’m always armed and the buyer knows it. Besides, in NJ you need a purchase permit and you don’t get in until I’ve seen it.

    • Agitator

      Seemingly half the users of Armslist are entirely illiterate, which never gives me a warm and fuzzy when they’re asking to purchase a gun.

  • Ambassador Vader

    Ok, Ok, $301.00. Final offer.

  • Havok

    I’ve worked behind the gun shop counter for 5 years now, and in that 5 years there hasn’t been a single day someone hasn’t asked me “Is that the best you can do?” For the most part I’ve always been polite, even on my bad days. The one that really gets me is when a friend comes in and tries the same garbage. Them, I’m not always polite with, especially if there is no one else around. I’ll ask them if they like the fancy building they are standing in to look at the gun in question, and if they like having lights on so it isn’t dark inside.

    • HH

      you wont elicit much sympathy for your high prices with the “I have huuuge overhead” argument. If while buying a car the salesman on the lot told you “hey, we have this fancy building and break room to pay for…” how would you feel as a customer.

      Customers dont give a flip about YOU or YOUR fancy digs. Trust me.

      • DaveP.

        Robert J. Ringer called this the “Gold-Plated Bathroom Fixtures Fallacy”. The buyer doesn’t care how much trouble or effort you took to get the property to sale; he cares about what HIS price is going to be- and he doesn’t want to pay extra for fripperies he neither wants nor needs.

      • Havok

        Who said I had high prices? We could have guns in $10 over cost and that question would still get asked.

  • A.WChuck

    It is the buyer’s responsibility to get the item at the lowest possible price, it is the seller’s responsibility to get the most money for each item. it has always been thus. Why the drama?

    • Wolfgar

      Exactly what I was thinking.

    • ozzallos .

      You’re right, it is. But when they seem to think you have the intelligence of a log and are willing to let a valuable firearm go for pennies on the dollar. They’re a nuisance wasting everybody’s time.

      • Wolfgar

        That works two ways. I put an AR-15 in a shop to be sold. They told me they would call me if it sold. After awhile I dropped in to see if they had sold it . It wasn’t on the rack so when I inquired where my rifle was the employee stated the owner had taken it out to shoot. I smiled and said great, he just purchased it. I happily explained to him if he took it out of the shop without my permission it was a felony. He wrote me a check, There are a lot of shop owners who are shady to say the least. This is all part of the buyer, seller experience.

        • Rick O’Shay

          Felonies really shouldn’t be part of the buyer/seller experience, though. And if you let a shop sell your gun on consignment without getting at least an idea of their reputability, that’s just being an idiot.

          • Wolfgar

            The shop was reputable till I caught them. The other comparable shop had it;s manager sent to the big house for selling firearms on the side without the owners knowledge. Now both shops are off my list. I bet anybody with some years and a lot of gun purchases can attest to some type of shady or dishonest dealings. The ATF has since cracked down on such business practices with a vengeance.

          • Tim Pearce

            And many of us that worked for FFLs can attest to three times as much that the customers never knew about. 😛

  • DanGoodShot

    I posted a couple pistols so I could buy the one I want (at the moment). What has been tickin me off is the amount of low ball offers I get(talking a couple hundred dollars under asking price!). But what has REALLY amazed me is the amount of people that ” lose interest” the second I say I follow all applicable laws. As in, local ccw permit and submit proper paper work. Do people REALLY think I’m going to sell a gun thats in my name without any paperwork?? Wow. Just wow.

    • imachinegunstuff

      Do you live in a state with a registry?

      • DanGoodShot


    • 277Volt

      The ridiculous lowballs get at me too. Trying to get the best price is one thing and outright insulting a fella is another.

      • DanGoodShot


  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Seller : For sale at $500
    Buyer: Bottom dollar?
    Seller: For you, $550

    • ozzallos .

      I’d laugh, but I’ve done that.

    • Beerfarticus

      Soviet-style discount: YOU PAY 10 PERCENT MORE, COMRADE.

      • Foohbard

        This article highlights the craigslist effect. Everyone is a non responsive tire kicker first unless they see someone is willing to sell for much less than advertised price. Second, funny they had the pawn stR guys on there. Saw an episode where rick explained he ALWAYS get the seller to offer a price first then hammers them from there. Person who offers price first loses. Seller is talked down, buyer is talked up

    • supergun

      A better scenario is
      Seller: For sale at $550
      Buyer: Botton dollar?
      Seller: For you, $500

      Gun is sold. Both people happy.

      • TheNotoriousIUD

        No that’s dumb.
        Why would I negotiate against myself?

        • supergun

          What is dumb about getting the price you originally wanted?

        • David Harmon

          I already posted this, but people are lazy. Now, being lazy doesn’t mean stupid. It does mean they won’t put to the effort in to inform themselves about fair value. So they estimate a low end based on what you posted. Common practice a few decades ago. That’s why you see so much over-priced stuff in the rural parts of the country 😉 They expect that sort of nonsense. I grew up in one such area. Haggling was expected.

  • QuadGMoto

    It seems to me that a big part of historical haggling includes reading the other person’s body language and tone to get some idea of whether or not you’ll be able to reach an agreeable deal. That’s somewhat difficult over the internet. ?

    • Rock or Something

      It is often quoted that nonverbal communication is 55 percent of human communication (7 percent verbal and 38 percent vocal respectively).

    • How many capital letters are there, and how many of them either begin a sentence or a proper noun? This is a very important clue.

  • olivehead

    Here’s how you price used guns: LNIB or close, average retail price x 80%. As you get farther away from LNIB, you start reducing the percentage incrementally, e.g., 75%, 70%, or even 78%, 76% (it’s a judgment call). Most used guns I see are somewhere between LNIB and near-NIB. Far fewer look like they’ve really taken a beating, so I’m comfortable with the 75-80% range multiplied by average retail price for most used guns. If you’re selling or trading to a gun store, pawn shop, etc,, then it’s more like 60% x avg. retail price, since the buyer will in turn be trying to sell it at a profit, usually somewhere around 80% of retail price. So if I’m selling you my 98% Gen4 Glock 17, I’d say a good avg. retail price would be $550, multiplied by 80% comes out to $440; but that’s an odd figure, so let’s call it $450. If I get $425 or even $400 for it, depending on the circumstances, I’m happy. If I’m selling to or trading at a LGS, however, $350 would probably be top dollar value, and more likely to receive $325, depending on the buyer’s current inventory of 9mm Glocks or semi-autos in general. It’s not rocket science. Knowing all this, I’m not going to pay the LGS, selling the same model NIB for an inflated price, 80% of that LGS’s price. That’s a common tactic of the LGS to make it look like you’re getting a deal. E.g., a LGS here sells Gen4 Glock 17s for $620. That’s a BS price. So he’d sell a LNIB Gen4 for $500, for which he didn’t pay more than $300-325 (a figure he arrived at by going online and finding the absolute rock bottom price he could find, not including the transfer fee, and multiplying by 60%). Screw him, that’s too much profit IMHO. He should be more than happy with $400-425. And why would I pay $500 for a technically “used” G17 when if I shop around a little I can pick one up at MAP price of $539? So I’m not going to haggle on a used gun; I’m going to offer a fair price and if that’s not accepted, he can stick it.

  • Jesse

    100% Agree. I think it’s the “craigslist culture” where nothing is face to face that has created this problem. It doesn’t matter what I’m selling, car parts, electronics, or guns, the vast majority open with “what’s the lowest you’ll take” and my standard response is “I refuse to haggle with myself, make an offer.” Every time I’ve gotten an answer they don’t want to negotiate, if you don’t accept their number then they walk. These days I usually end all listings with “price firm” and leave it at that.

    The other problem with selling guns online is the guys always want to barter. They sincerely seem offended that you don’t want their junky South Carolina AR or their New York 1911, assembled in the US from the finest Korean parts, for your like new gun from a reputable manufacturer. On the off chance they do have what you’re after they want full MSRP for the gun AND accessories. I literally told the last person that wanted $650 in credit for their used Glock they could keep their fancy trijicon sights, I was milling the slide red dot anyway. Needless to say they got butthurt and went elsewhere.

    It seems like nobody is interested in fair, equitable deals these days. I blame the online retailers for blowing out garbage guns and accessories under MAP because they suck at cash flow, or the manufacturers making parts at a loss because stupid customers are willing to pay now and wait two months, crossing their fingers they get their parts before they file bankruptcy again. In the race to the bottom of the barrel the customer is the first loser.

  • Jeff Smith

    I’ve never agreed with a post more. I’ve sold several guns through a Facebook trade group and every time I would get a flood of messages asking what my “bottom dollar” was. Not only that, they would then use the bottom dollar amount to attempt to haggle

    • Russ Kell

      Been there. On the few occasions I’ve given a minimum, they then offer less.

      Of course, I also always get the folks that want to trade…

      Grandma’s Hummel collection
      Used cars
      Random other things

      Had to put language in specific to trades otherwise it gets out of hand.

      • Sickshooter0

        That’s what really drove me nuts with Armslist. I’d specifically notate no trades and I’d still get those kind of e-mails.

  • rudimar

    I have a part time side business and never haggle with customers who start, just tired of it, offers are most often ludacris. my field is small so I generally can give good prices to sellers of used stuff because even a small profit is good enough and having a wider selection is good for my business.

    I might be generous and throw more stuff in with a buy to sweeten the deal, or get them them to pay more and get a discount on something else

  • Harry’s Holsters

    This is across the board not just guns. I’ve seen people approach someone to sell something that wasn’t for sale. The owner had no reason or desire to sell yet the potential buyer comes in and acts like the owner is crazy when they won’t sell for sell than the item is worth.

    What really gets me is the guys who have no interest in buying but haggle to see how low they can get someone and then back out of the deal.

    • Disarmed in CA

      Yes, park a 60s muscle car un-covered in your driveway and see how many random people try to purchase it for cheap.
      “It’s not for sale”
      “But how much do you want for it? I have cash!”
      “It’s not for sale”
      “I can give you $500 now and $10,000 next week…”

      • Harry’s Holsters

        I know a guy that had a rat rod and a guy he met at a car show who wanted to buy it. The guy didn’t give up for three years. Finally brought a ziplock full of cash when they were driving it. My buddy took it! haha

      • glenn cheney

        I have the same problem with Leon….He’s an FJ-40, Circa 78′, 4 spd, …..Leon be a jeep on steroids. Visitors get greeted with “IT’S NOT FOR SALE” …but they keep stopping in…40 grand seemed to send most of the ardent’s away.

    • Tim Pearce

      To which the answer should always be some totally ridiculous amount.
      Going by Disarmed in CA’s example:
      “How much for that 1962 Mustang?”
      “It’s not for sale.”
      “But how much do you want for it?”
      “Three million dollars.”
      “It’s not worth that!”
      “Well, then it’s a good thing I’m not pressuring you to buy it, huh?”

      • Harry’s Holsters

        And then they try to talk to you for another 30 minutes and ask again. haha

    • I had no fewer than three different shifty lookin’ guys try to buy my 2-4 year old Ford Ranger extended cab out of the driveway for cash over the course of a couple of years. I could never quite figure out if they were looking to part it out because it was a popular model or use it as a getaway vehicle because it was a popular model.

      • Rick O’Shay

        Central Texas? Drug or human trafficking. Without a doubt.

        • Nah, los contrabanditos use F-150s and F-250s– especially crew cabs– because they’re not only ubiquitous and therefore blend into the background, they have a huge amount of negative space in which to hide people and objects. My dad runs F-250s, and not only has he had shifty dudes try to buy all of them for cash at various times, the one he sold for cash to a used car dealer was later used in a drugs/ilegales combo run; it turned out the dealer hadn’t transferred the title before he sold it to a coyote, which made for a delightful visit from the Nueces County Sheriff’s Department. The investigation ended up busting a pretty big used vehicle flipping operation and putting a slew of scumbags in prison, though, so that was good.

  • ozzallos .

    Most of the people I deal with automatically want to knock $200 off there price as their starting point and expect me to work up from there. No. You’re a tire kicker. I know it, you know it. Go away, troll.

  • imachinegunstuff

    I don’t mind haggling, but I’ve started adding a disclaimer on my Armslist ads. “I will take and listen to reasonable offers. I don’t negotiate from the bottom. If you ask my bottom dollar or the lowest I’ll take, add 25 dollars to the price.”

  • Dave Y

    You may be an ethical seller, but there are unethical sellers out there and haggling is part of that equation.

    The internet is like a shopping at a flea market, you don’t really know what you’re going to get right away and the price could be way out of line with what the market should bear. if you don’t know any better, you get a bad deal. On the other side of the coin, we have ethical and unethical buyers – downright cheapskates who are looking for every nickel and dime.

    I sold a vehicle once through a bulletin board for the vehicle. I had lots of pics inside and out. After about 2 weeks, I got a few offers. One of them was over $3k below the kbb trade in value for ‘average’ condition’. Mine was not average, and I believed the pictures and ad made that clear. I politely, but firmly scoffed at his offer. I should have ignored him because he began to browbeat me by email until I finally stopped him. 3 days later a gent showed up with about $500 less than I asked for. Cash.

    While I knew this was childish, I emailed Mr. Lowball to crow about the near full price sale.

    One issue with selling by internet service, your “reputation” or rating on the venue in question could get tanked by an angry buyer or potential buyer. All they have to do is allege something and a ‘friendly’ moderator suspends the “offender”’s account. I have been on all sides of this “discussion” including moderator. Here are some suggestions.

    read, understand and if necessary clarify with the venue moderators what is acceptable, and what is not. This protects you from a reputation hit in a lot of cases.

    Be -very- detailed in your for sale ad. document any changes, modifications, improvements to the item for sale.

    document any deficiencies, scuffs, scratches, and wear.

    Be very detailed in your acceptable price, terms of sale, pickup, delivery, shipping costs, etc.

    Keep all correspondence and back it up ! If you’re ever in a dispute, the moderators may attempt to make a judgment on right and wrong. it helps to have emails, with full headers if possible. If you are using a phone to correspond with a potential seller, use email instead. You can at least show proof that someone emailed you a little easier than what was said on a phone call.

    If you are buying, check the rating of the seller for any disputes. if you’re on an internet forum, check their posting history. I had a seller pull out of a sale on a forum years ago, after he had my money. A forum search turned up that he’d done this before. In fact, 2 previous complaints were forwarded to the moderator but nothing was ever done. I did eventually get my money back. However, the forum owner apparently knew this seller personally so no allegation of wrongdoing was going to go anywhere.

    Ironically, the only issues I have ever had with unethical buyers and sellers over the internet is with firearms. I have bought and sold literally hundreds of car and motorcycle related parts without any hassle among gear heads.

    • Doug Larsen

      Nothing ironic about it at all. The gun community is, unfortunately, infested with more than its fair share of scumbags.

      I’ve bought and sold dozens of things on aviation-related forums. Never even a single problem. Can’t say the same for my firearms-related transactions.

  • DaveP.

    How to haggle:
    1- Make a solid dollar offer. Make is somewhere reasonable, considering price and condition. “The tag says $650, will you go $600 even?” Going low is okay, but making an offer outside the realm of reality (“Will you take $400?”) is a jerk move. So is going all indeterminate (“Bottom dollar!”). The seller is there to make money, not to do you a favor.
    2- If the offer is declined, you can make a counter offer (“OK, how about $630?” ), pay the full price, or walk away.
    3- DO NOT make an offer unless you are 100% willing to buy at the price you offer. Don’t make an offer, have it accepted, and then walk away without buying or try to lower your offer from what was accepted. Don’t be That Guy.
    4- If the seller doesn’t want to deal, don’t make an issue out of it: either buy or walk away.
    5- If you’re selling and don’t wish to haggle, just say so in a polite fashion- preferably upfront. The buyer wants to make a good deal too, and he doesn’t owe you a sale.

    • Robert Kalani Foxworthy

      I don’t care offer 200 for a gun I have that I want 600 for chances are I’m asking 150 more then I actually want. Also I’m going to ask what you got to trade for boot.

    • Rick O’Shay

      Point 3 especially. I can’t count the number of times I’ve worked out a sale or trade, only to have the guy call or text 10 minutes before the meet to say “never mind, i don’t want it.” Thanks for wasting my time…

      • glenn cheney

        You can thank those “goggler’s”, yea, they “Googled” it, saw a link that said same item at xx price, in a stale addy from who knows when. Go to Best Buy to see this in real time, as shopper’s cut n’ paste skews and price match online, then order it, no tax, delivered likely free as well, from anywhere but B. Buy.
        Basically, I’ll buy every 100 dollar bill for fifty bucks CASH MONEY I can find. If I can flip it’ I’ll dip it…if it’s legal, I’m the beagle….Not interested? Don’t let the door…..

  • claymore

    Could you have picked a WORSE photo to go with this article? Or you just don’t care about the worthless chumlee’s firearm crimes?

    • Patrick R. – Staff Writer

      I tried, but that wa the best I could come up with.

  • Hoplopfheil

    I usually make offers online that counter the cost of shipping. Most of the time sellers respond about halfway and that’s fine.

    I don’t really care about saving 20 to 50 bucks on a gun I’ll probably have for a decade or more.

  • Pedenzo

    I just spent the last 1 1/2 years trying to selling my Little Brother’s 69 Z/28….you are absolutely right…most people have no idea how to negotiate….my favorite was someone emailing me…asking if I would take $25,000 less than what I was asking….no questions about the car….just yanking my chain from the get go. The guy I finally sold the car to spent a solid month dickering back and forth…we both came away from the deal satisfied….

    • codfilet

      I sold my old rusty car on CL, at a real lowball price, to a kid who needed a car badly. He paid my full price without hesitation. When I handed him the title, I handed him back $100 also, and told him ” You should have tried to bargain the price down a little”. I remember what it was like to be young and poor.

  • HandyDan

    At the bottom of each of my ads I put “Price is firm. Cash only. Local face-to-face transactions only.”
    It is amazing how many “bottom price” inquires I get. I usually just send them an email back with the price I listed.
    It is also amazing how many people will email asking if I am interested in their POS gun, or a tool box, or a go cart, etc. I usually send them an email back saying “Cash only means no trades”.
    The people that want me to ship them guns are the worst. I assume every one is a scam. Every email starts out with me saying I only deal locally. If they persist, I tack on $100 to the price (which usually brings it up over the new price). If they keep on trying, I know they are a scammer, and treat accordingly.

    • Disarmed in CA

      LOL yes every time I have advertised a car for sale on craigslist someone inevitably wants to trade their weird pos car for it

      • Pedenzo

        Heh….some guy wanted to trade me a Chevy boom truck “wit a 454 in it” for my Brother’s Z/28….I think he was even serious about it…..

    • Russ Kell

      “…will email asking if I am interested in their POS gun, or a tool box, or a go cart, etc. ”

      That. Right there. People want to barter with the weirdest things every single time I’m selling something. Doesn’t matter what it is.

      • HandyDan

        The go-cart was especially interesting because I was selling a number of things at the time, and all I got was a text asking “Want a go-cart”. I have no idea what they were referring to, regardless the answer was “No.”

    • Doug Larsen

      Your problem is that you actually email these people back. Don’t! Because I’ll guarantee you, that pisses them off even more.

      If they can’t read and comprehend the English language, no response to them is the best response. They’ll figure it out…eventually.

  • truth makes you free

    The mirror image problem—gun auctions that have a “starting bid” or “reserve” that is delusionally high.

    Why raise your blood pressure? Ignore the low ball emails.

    • Paul White

      there’s a 550 dollar bubba’d Mosin on our local armslist…like WTH man, no.

      • Madcap_Magician

        There is a clown on our local Armlist who is selling a “LNIB, less than 100 rounds through it” S&W M&P .45 compact for the low, low price of $600. Which is a, um, bargain compared to the MSRP of $619.99, but market price even in Minnesota’s relatively high-priced gun market is still hovering at about $520. New.

        That’s not the worst I’ve ever seen on Armslist, that would be the “$100 bill hydro dipped Hi-Point C9 for $500,” but it comes to mind because I’ve flagged it for ‘overpriced’ five times in the last week.

        • Paul Franklin

          I never seen a hi point worth 100$

        • Doug Larsen

          These guns are listed on Armslist at high prices on purpose. Often, there are buyers who will pay that high price if you’re willing to do the transaction “off the books” (in those states where all purchases must go through an FFL). These buyers are frequently “prohibited persons”.

          I would never sell a gun illegally like that (I kinda enjoy my freedom), but you might be surprised at the number of people who would. THIS is why you see so many seemingly overpriced guns on online sites. The sellers aren’t crazy. They’re simply targeting “a specific market”. I’ve personally had people willing to pay WAY more than I was asking if I’d do the transaction “without going through an FFL” (as is required in my state.). They immediately lose interest when I say, “Sorry, can’t do that.” Sometimes they even get mad that I’m not willing to violate the law to sell them a gun. There are plenty of “special” people out there, for sure.

          It’s one of those things that happens often, that as gun owners we’re not supposed to admit or acknowledge.

          • Madcap_Magician

            I actually don’t necessarily have a problem with people who want to buy without going through an FFL, although my situation is obviously different since that is not a legal requirement for private sales in my state. My state does, however, make me liable if the buyer uses the gun in a violent crime within one year of the purchase if the buyer was prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of purchase or it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used in a crime.

            So I only sell to people who are willing to identify themselves by driver’s license and permit to purchase or carry (required for purchase of handguns or ‘assault weapons’ in my state). BUT, I don’t keep a record of the sale if asked not to do so. So in this way I do due diligence in making sure the person is not prohibited while also respecting their desire for privacy.

    • Doug Larsen

      Exactly. When I list a gun for sale I always write, “Price is both fair and firm [which it always is]. No trades, and I’m NOT accepting offers. Any trade or offer emails will be laughed at, thrown in my delete folder, and you will not get a response.”

      Yes, that’s a bit blunt and to the point. But it is indeed effective. 98% of potential buyers “get it”, and I therefore get almost no “Can I have your $800 gun for $400?” emails.

      Set expectations up front and you won’t have to deal with low-ballers. It’s pretty simple, really.

  • Daniel

    Generally, my tactic for those folks who ask immediately, “What’s the lowest you’ll take for the item?” is to respond and ask, “What’s the absolute most you’ll pay for the item?”

    They either get the point or move on to annoy someone else.

    • imachinegunstuff

      This is now my new SOP

    • Paul White

      I’m stealing this for anything and everything I sale on CL/FB

    • Paul Hurst

      Thanks, I am going to use that next time.

    • Tim Pearce

      On the auctions I used to do, my response was “It’s called a starting bid for a reason.”

    • GhostofBrowningNagle

      will have to steal this. kudos

    • Sunshine_Shooter

      That’s really good!

    • supergun

      I ask, “What would you pay for it”. You get down to business immediately. You know if the person is serious or if there is a possible sale. That is when a good seller can get rid of his things.

  • 2damnPRETTY

    It’s a buyers market. You can send out more than 10 inquiries in less than 5 minutes and you’ll usually get a response. No need to get your panties in a twist. Just delete the email.

  • kingghidorah

    Only the silly, rich or desperate sell to dealers.

    • GhostofBrowningNagle

      my gun club is in a well to do area. i’ve gotten some smokin deals on used firearms because some rich clown took a huuuuuge bath on a used firearm just to get rid of it.

      my $250 LNIB LCRx is awesome.

  • Spencerhut

    We own a gun store and we have a “12 Month Rule”. If it sits for more than 12 months it gets pulled out and fired or sold. If we did not do this we’d have more guns than a person could reasonably care for. It works out well and we find it fun to pull out things like old artillery Luger’s and blast off a couple of mags with a gun worth more than many peoples cars.

    They were made for shooting after all, so shoot them or pass them on to someone else who will shoot them.

    *And most people stink at negotiating. E-mail is THE worst. In person is always best, but I’ll call them if it’s serious and we are trying to make a deal. E-mail just plain stinks.

    • Chris Mallory

      I would rather deal with E-mails. That way every thing is in writing and I don’t have to waste my time answering the phone only to get the “bottom dollar” question from idiots.

      • Rick O’Shay

        I prefer texting, myself. The solidity of having it in writing, the real-time back and forth (almost) of talking.

  • phauxtoe

    Buyers should look at the price and the Item.
    If I want to move something fast, i offer it at a great price.
    If i am just fishing because the item is Hot right now, then the price may be high and have room to move.

    I am annoyed when no matter How low the price is, they must offer you Less!
    A $1000 item, thats an Incredible deal for $600…
    …They offer me $500 and its no longer for sale in my book!

  • Disarmed in CA

    I blame the auto sales industry for this. Pushy salesmen have trained people to be on guard whenever they make a large purchase so instead of telling you what they want, the first idea is “I’m just looking” (i.e. don’t try to sell me anything!!) and the second is “Give me your best price on this” (i.e. don’t try to make me negotiate!!) and of course the out is “I can get this cheaper over there!!” (i.e. I’m not willing to pay for this at all!)

    Wait! don’t leave! I’ll talk to the manager! (i.e. bring in the pro hard-sell)

  • Bigbigpoopi

    How do you fight the urge to sign their email up for spam?

  • Brad Hennebert

    Great article, and timely — I cannot even bear to respond to the “What’s your bottom dollar?” nonsense any more.

  • Don Ward

    Dealing with people who “haggle” is nowhere near as frustrating as those who attempt to sell used guns at or above retail price.

    No you’re not Frank James. Just because you owned the gun, doesn’t mean it has gone up in value.

    But I’m happy Patrick R survived this trying episode in his life. It must have been very frightening and confusing.

    • Cymond

      On the other hand, if you bought an import during the flood, and held on to it with relatively little shooting & handling, you should expect to get as much out of it. Even Mosin Nagants have risen in value from the days when gun shops had barrels of them for $80. I managed to get a SKS for $225 out the door a decade ago. I’ve fired maybe 300 rounds from it, and mostly kept it cased. Current prices for the same model on GunBroker seem to be around $400.

  • Brian Hert

    Alternatively in other negotiating situations the seller saying “submit your absolute best offer” is the same thing. It removes all basis for negotiating on something or discussing it and coming to a mutual agreement.

  • Tassiebush

    A well warranted rant. I tend to think that it’s unreasonable to expect someone to sell an item for less than it’s worth.

  • Curtis Anthony

    I just left a pawn broker job and you either have that or the person who thinks they’re holding onto gold. I’ll give you $10

  • tts

    Lowballing has been the norm in any sale I’ve done on CL or online forums for years. The attitude of most of these people I’ve found is ‘its worth a shot who knows what might happen just a email or call to find out right?’.

    Don’t take it personal. Its just business.

    Don’t even bother to respond to the lowballers and put a ‘lowball offers will be ignored’ disclaimer in your posting. Saves you lots of trouble.

  • Independent George

    I’d also add that when gun shops/paw shops buy your used gun, they’re doing it so they can re-sell it for a profit – which necessarily means they will only buy it for significantly less than it’s probably worth.

    On the other side, as a buyer I get annoyed when sellers list their used guns for as much (or more) than a brand new one. I don’t care what you think it’s worth, or how much you need the money. As soon as you finish signing that 4483, your gun has now depreciated by 15%.

    • Doug Larsen

      Those sellers who list for insane prices often aren’t crazy. Rather, they’re looking for buyers who, uh, “cannot legally obtain the gun at ANY price.” 😉

  • Will

    Worked in a gun store for years.
    Once put a gun on sale for $600.00.
    Customer asks “What’s your best price on this?”
    I reply “$800.00.” Customer looks at me like I have two heads. I explain “My BEST price is $800.00 but for you I’ll let it go for $600.00 today only.” The idiot though he was getting a great deal and bought it on the spot.

  • SPQR9

    When I negotiate, and someone asks “What’s your bottom price?” I don’t get mad. I just translate that to “Nice weather we are having” and say something meaningless about how good the thing is – like “Norwegian Blue, lovely plumage”.

    They usually then make a dollar offer.

  • Jim_Macklin

    Like new, only fired a few times…

    A dealer can buy brand new, at wholesale, perhaps lower. Don’t expect a dealer to pay more than 75% of the wholesale cost.

    If your gun is rare and in demand and in perfect condition and no longer listed in teh catalog, it might be worth a little more than retail.

    • Cymond

      There are Yugo SKS on gunbroker for $400+, and I remember when they were $180 for a Zastava re-arsenal grade less than a decade ago.

      • codfilet

        Yeah? I remember crates of Chinese SKSs at every gun show, still in the grease, and $75, take your pick. I bought Russian Capture 98k Mausers for $60, not so long ago

        • Cymond

          Yup, I’ve heard stories of yonder days, when the Noricos flowed like honey. Sadly, the millenium came before my 18th birthday, so I never had a chance to revel in those prices.

          None the less, those same guns are worth more today than they were back then, assuming they haven’t been beat to heck.

  • jon spencer

    Sold a revolver (that I did not like) to a dealer at a gun show awhile back.
    He had a sign saying “fair offers given and taken”.
    I showed him the revolver, he made his first offer, which to me was a fair offer.
    You should have seen the look that I got when I said Ok, I will take the offer.
    I knew what the minimum that I would have taken and he exceeded it, not by much but he did.
    We were both satisfied when the deal was done.

  • Joe Schmo

    I work at an gun store/indoor range. I’m mostly on the range side of the operation, but occasionally I am required to help out the retail staff.

    Just to be clear, the owner tries his hardest to keep prices on guns low. With the growing internet sales at very low prices, many shops in the area have become transfer houses and then there’s no point in selling guns at all.

    We sell Gen 4 new Glocks for around $550, which is cheap compared to other stores near us (yes, you can find it cheaper online). I went into another shop and they wanted $649 for a new Glock 19 Gen 4. So, you can get an idea of how things are done at our store. ALSO, the sales staff does not make any commission for any sold new or used guns.

    Some people come in and expect to be able to haggle a new gun, when the store takes a lower profit to stay relevant in the market. But gun stores are not always run the same, and they are not car dealerships.

    The normal conversation goes like this:

    Customer (C): Can you do anything better on this Glock 19 Gen 4?
    Staff (S): We can’t, we don’t mark up our guns very much, so we can’t give out discounts to people when they ask. We would have to run it by the upper management or you’d have to wait until we have a sale.
    C: Can you ask the management?

    *Staff goes and the management does not authorize a random discount*

    S: They said we can’t do anything right now, but you do get a free hour of range time by default when you buy a gun from us.
    C: Well I saw this gun on Gunbroker for about $450 used… You can’t do anything for me?
    S: That is a used gun sold by an individual. You can buy that from them and transfer it here and pay for our transfer fee. But by that time you’re paying $450 and shipping for a used gun and a transfer fee, so it wouldn’t be much better than buying a new one from us.

    Usually the customer realizes that it doesn’t make sense to try to haggle with someone who does not make commission and does not have authority to give discounts. They then shop around and find that most other stores have higher prices and really bad customer service, and buy their gun from us.

    All of the people I work with do their best to not be like so many other gun shop employees that don’t give people the time of day or are just plain rude.

    TL;DR – People will try to keep as much of their money, and some people will realize that a good product or service is worth the price. It is really about satisfying those who can be satisfied, and try to put up with the people that cannot be satisfied.

  • Matt

    So glad somebody wrote an article on this. Armslist used to be great with realistic and reasonable offers and experienced gun owners who know and appreciate a good deal when they see one. And people used to be respectful when e-mailing or calling each other. Now everyone is so rude and demanding. Sometimes it’s not even an offer! Just arrogantly speaking like it’s a done deal without even hearing from you! Like, “I’ll give you $500 for your LWRC. See you at Wal-Mart at 3pm”.

    • uisconfruzed

      I’ve contacted 5 sellers of a Marlin 45-70 on Armslist in the last month.
      One replied, sadly it’s a Remlin. I’ve tried an email a day as well- crickets.
      I then flag them as unresponsive, and the ad’s still up after 48 days.

  • Longhaired Redneck

    Never sell guns, it works for me…

  • lifetimearearesident

    By definition half the people in the world are below average for any given trait. Right? So half the people are below average in height. And half the people are below average in reasonableness/self centeredness etc. Thus, if one chooses to sell anything on any venue (GB, ARFCOM, CL etc.) there is a very good chance that the seller will run into potential buyers that are difficult/unreasonable to deal with.
    On the flip side how often do you see a seller ask way too much for their treasured firearm? It works both ways.
    No matter how much we complain about this it will never change.

  • Jeff H

    I think the art of haggling is gone. It left us maybe 30 years ago at least. I’m not a fan of haggling, it man’s I may have overpaid for my car or its insurance, or similar things. That’s probably why all the “bottom dollar” resposes. Did you write, “or best offer” in your ads?

  • Gus Butts

    The only forum I frequent with an Equipment Exchange section is one of the largest gun forums in Canada and people try to sell used parts and firearms for much more than the actual price of the brand new parts or firearms… Just recently there was an ad from someone selling his used 3rd generation PMags for $35, and buyer pays the shipping. They are $25 or less in stores brand new… They bump their threads up so that people will see them but some have been bumping their threads for months and months. That or buying a few firearms during an amazing sale and immediately turning around and selling them for more on the EE. I mean, thanks for completely crapping on the sale for some people who might’ve wanted that product but just happened to see the sale a few minutes after you bought it all out to sell them for a huge profit immediately after. I will never understand these people and the latter should get banned from EE sections.

    • Doug Larsen

      That’s how capitalism works.

      Two major panics ago, I bought a Spikes 5.45 upper at AIM for I believe $499. That was WAY below market value at that precise time. I turned around and sold it on Gunbroker less than a week later for $950. And the buyer was happy as a clam to get it!

      If AIM or anyone else wants to sell their stuff below current market value, I’ll happily resell it for it’s current market price. And I won’t lose a wink of sleep over it.

      During panic times, sellers actually are NOT doing anyone a favor by selling things below market value. Instead, by doing so they’re actually increasing the amount of time it will take to return to market equilibrium. It’s basic economics. Like, the 2nd or 3rd week of Econ. 101.

      And yet, I still find that 90% of gun owners don’t understand it.

  • Gus Butts

    I don’t watch the show where the picture of this article is from but I really like the goofy guy in the middle and wish to do business with him one day and eat Lunchmate Pizzas with him.

  • mk18

    It’s pretty simple, just put “FIRM” on your asking price. If you’re willing to haggle, put “OBO”. Nothing to rant about as a seller. As a buyer, I’ve seen PLENTY of sellers that WAY overvalue their wares. Just cuz you paid $650 after tax and fees on a stock Glock 17, because you didn’t know what you were buying, doesn’t mean that you’re going to get $650 after you’ve used it.

  • Eric Lawrence

    Once had a guy list the value of every piece of gear I was selling with a WWII P38 (mags, holster, etc…all original) and end up the email by asking for my bottom dollar. Told him to make an offer, never replied. Some peoples kids…

  • Realist

    Unless otherwise posted (“price is Firm), I’ll always proffer 10% below asking price…9 times out of 10, the seller will accept.

  • uisconfruzed

    Weather I’m buying or selling I have the ‘what’s it worth to me’ price in mind.
    If I’m selling and the buyer offers it- sold, no wasted time. If not, it’s still worth it to me and still mine.
    If I’m buying, I pull out paper $, count it and say, “this is what it’s worth to me”, or “This is what I have to offer”. They say yes or no, and I’m on my way.
    Don’t insult the other party, or waste their time.
    I recently acquired a beautiful used Browning Citori with box/paperwork for $1100 out the door at my LGS.

  • Pranqster

    It doesn’t hurt to ask, and its worked more than a few times. If you don’t like capitalism, don’t sell stuff, problem solved.

  • supergun

    It works both ways. At least you got a response for the item you are selling. It is also the ART of the seller to get the buyer to buy. Negotiations takes 2 people who are willing to put up with a few annoyances. It is easy to be the lazy seller or buyer, but the real winners are when a sale is made without the wife knowing about it.

  • Stephen Paraski

    Best way is to arrange and meet and inspect. That way the seller points out the high points, the buyer the low. And cash is king. One who maybe reluctant over phone or interweb, when seeing Cash on the barrel head so to speak, will usually negotiate. But now, people have guns from Classic or Royal Tiger, Atlantic and think they purchased a Mutual Fund that will increase as soon as it is out of box. You get what you pay for and buyer beware. A crap AK is a crap AK, and a PSA or Daytona AR are not collectible, but may be a decent shooter. It is a Buyers Market right now because the supply is there if you look long enough.

  • Eric Blatter

    What chaps my hide even more is when you list it for a decent and reasonable price and the “watchers” sit and wait, and wait, and wait, while you let it re-list just hoping you’ll lower the price to a point of taking a loss. Even a NIB gun will accumulate “watchers” hoping you will lower the price below retail. And too when I receive a request for the “bottom line” (after listing it for a decent and reasonable price) I say it’s going up next listing.

  • BigFED

    Many, many years ago, I was working at a gun shop in Kansas when a “regular” (as in a frequent PIA customer full of crap) came in and spotted a “new arrival” in our inventory. After some back and forth where I didn’t change the price, he went over to the owner and tried to get him to “deal” on an buddy-buddy basis. The owner fixed him good when the customer said “If you were my friend, you would come down on the price” to which the owner replied “If you were my friend, you wouldn’t ask!”

  • seancaseytx

    Have sold both a shotgun. literally brand new, unfired warranty replacement, and a LNIB RMR in the past six months via armslist. Multiple messages of “What’s the least you will take?” and “I’ll pay you $____ cash right now!”. The answer to the former is always, “Please read the ad” wherein I list The Price I want and if amenable, a lengthy list of prospective trade items and the answer to the latter is, “No! You won’t!”

  • The Heretic

    I generally assume that the asked for price is the “bottom dollar” price, and if it is not even close to what I want to pay for the item, I don’t query – assuming that most people don’t intentionally ask for that much more than they are willing to accept.

    If the price comes down over time, and it is now close to what I am willing to pay, then I might start bargaining. Otherwise, if someone buys it at the asked for price, or the item sits there, then I pass.

    I could rant about the number of obviously used guns going for NIB retail prices (at least check what retail price is!), or “custom” guns with accessories of questionable value, or “rare” guns that are not rare at all. I see these guns all the time. It used to be I was willing to pay almost retail for a used gun because I wanted one “off the paper”, but now with the BGC laws in my state, all transfers wind up in a registry (de-facto or not).

  • AirborneSoldier

    Got attacked with several emails from an absolute ass who claims he can buy wholesale ww2 m1 carbines for 499.00. He thought my S’G’ was way overpriced and since he has no life, wanted to intimidate me. I was skeered, not.

  • Lee

    Instant gratification. If you don’t want to give me you bottom dollar now, and play some haggling game, I’ll just get one off the internet for cheaper…
    Welcome to the new age, don’t hate the player, hate the game 😉

  • lamarlamar

    Love the deal! …… and love dealing! Have since I was kid (I’m 67 now)! Grew up without much money, had to learn “haggling” early to get what I wanted. Not to brag but, it is an art. Always be sincere and be able to walk away. Just bought a new truck, got a great deal, took me 6 weeks and several trips to the dealership (6) but, I got a great deal! It was the last night of the month, it was storming and i got my price! To celebrate, I took my savings and bought a Garand! Like I needed another one!!! I am amazed by people who don’t know how to haggle or are afraid to! Just do it.

  • Aurek Besh

    I have always been baffled by people contacting me and stating, “Hey, [place] has [item] for
    [lowball price]” and then demanding I sell it for that or less. Especially when I am selling something used and they are quoting the price as new.

  • Rocketman

    This reminds me of an interesting story. About 30 years ago I was at a small gun show in South Florida when I noticed at the table a fancy looking Potato Gun with a telescopic sight, bipod and all painted silver with a S&W sticker on the side of it. There were actually a couple of people who obviously knew little or nothing about firearms that were dickering with the man behind the table trying to get the price down a little. The price the owner was asking as I remember was $895. Some things are just not worth anywhere what the seller is asking.

  • Sledgecrowbar

    The art if the negotiation is totally dying. I sold motorcycles for a while and the number of people who would refuse to make an offer was infuriating. Then they’d leave when I told them my first offer is on the tag. Every salesman is required to do that, so they only found the same thing if they went to another dealership. Inexperienced buyers have admitted to me that they are afraid they’ll offer too high and not get a good enough deal, but that’s because they don’t even try a basic google search for what other people have paid on forums. It’s not hard to find out what you can get off a bike (or a car, or a gun, or anything else). I’d still be a salesman if the buyers bothered to know as much as I did when I was a buyer, because as it stands, it was too hard to make a decent living when you have to argue for an hour to make every sale.

    Oh, if I liked the person, I’d offer $200 off MSRP as my first number. Sometimes they’d have a number in their head they didn’t want to give me and that would at least start the negotiation. Honestly, though, even if you love cars or bikes or guns, being a salesman will make sure you can never afford to buy one again.

  • Old Vet

    Just went through this yesterday with a dealer(at a gun show), whose price was way higher than the Gunbroker listings. I didn’t lowball but ask how he would be willing to trade in difference. I was giving my gun away it seems, and his was $200 above average retail. So the thing works both ways, gents. Just be cordial for all our sakes….thanks…

  • David Harmon

    This is why you learn to over-price. It eliminates a great deal of those interactions. Over-price and their low-ball gets closer to what you expect. People in general are lazy, use it to your benefit, don’t cry about it.

    The people worth saving will offer a decent deal in response anyways. They already know what the reality is.

  • Humpy

    In my area of the country it seems that people think their used firearms are worth more than new ones I can order online and have delivered to my gunsmith FFL dealer, sometimes I myself have been known to ask what the bottom dollar price is to avoid wasting my time with idiots.
    When I sell something locally I usually pick a price I think is fair, and I add the term “PRICE FIRM”.
    That usually weeds out all the morons, but not always.