Firearms are usually pretty resilient to wear and tear, but it is wise to dig a bit deeper if a thorough examination is to be conducted.

External Appearance
Cosmetic flaws may be indicative of normal use, although some may be telltale signs of a bigger problem. Firearms used regularly for hunting purposes may reveal minor blemishes from field use. Personal carry guns could show slight wear from being holstered. Older pieces might exhibit their history in the form of tarnish or faded finish. The bottom line is this – if a firearm has been used properly and cared for, it should never have major dents or other visible abnormalities that could compromise its function.

Barrel integrity
The barrel of any firearm is probably the most critical component in the proper function and safety of the weapon. Verify that the gun is not loaded, and then have a look inside the barrel with the help of a bore light. Ideally, the inside of the barrel would be clean and shiny. Although some fouling may not be of much concern, an extensive amount would be. Look for rust, irregularities in the twisted grooves (known as ‘rifling’) or any bulging, inward or outward.

Mechanical Actions
The ‘action’ of any firearm should always operate smoothly. Whether you cycle the forearm of a shotgun, pull back the slide of a semi-automatic handgun or open the cylinder of a revolver, there should never be any rough or ‘sticky’ operation, and the action should lock up firmly at the conclusion of the cycle. The trigger mechanism must be smooth in its travel and at its ‘break’ – the point at which the mechanism releases the hammer (or other mechanism) to hit the firing pin and strike the primer.

Aftermarket Accessories or Alterations
Improper installation of certain aftermarket accessories could jeopardize the safety of the user. Imagine a muzzle brake that is not attached correctly to a high-powered rifle. When the trigger is pulled, this chunk of steel could become a piece of high-velocity shrapnel. A scope that is mounted too far to the rear of a rifle, for example, could end up giving you a serious black eye if you don’t notice the error. If any alterations of the weapon have been made, it is wise to make sure they were done by a certified gunsmith.

Metro Pawn & Gun is meticulous about product quality and firearm related safety, so although we check for all of the things mentioned in this article, it is good to be aware of what to look for when examining any firearm, anywhere.

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