Buying a Used Competition Pistol

If the gun is factory basic and just used in the normal course of duty it most likely is a fair purchase. Check for over all fit, function and amount of wear. If it seems excessive, parts may need to be replaced. A used gun may be a great place to save some money if you are looking at customizing. When buying a used customized gun first find out who built it and how competent they are as a gunsmith. Are they a member of the American Pistolsmiths' Guild (APG)? {Roger Kotanko at 519-428-3127 is a great Ontario based pistolsmith} Try to find out if the gun has a background that other shooters know. Is it known for constantly jamming or running perfect all the time?

Starting At The Top Of The Gun


-->EGW Open Division Pistol with Tasco PDP4 scope -->

If it's a scoped gun, you should check carefully for any cracks or major dings. What is the condition of the scope? Has it been modified by one of the scope customizing companies? This increases the value as most of the Tasco style optics need to be bullet-proofed. Remember even custom scopes break or burn out. Is the dot too large? Around a ten-minute dot is premium for Practical Shooting and a 20-minute dot for steel shooting works well. Minutes of Angle will be explained later in this section .Are the adjustments all the way to one side? This may be caused by improper mounting. Are there any cracks in the mount? Are all the screws tight? On an Iron Sighted gun, are they adjustable? Fixed sights although durable don't allow the testing or switching of loads easily. Bo-Mars are still the best adjustable sight on the market. Check for loose sight parts such as the blade or the sight base. Is the front sight serrated and ramped? Undercut front sights are nice but not practical if the gun is to be carried at all.


-->EGW Standard Division Pistol's Compensator -->

Is the compensator loose? Does it twist by hand? Is there adequate clearance between the slide and comp? About 0.002" to 0.004" is needed. Is the slide hitting the comp? Look for shiny spots on the back end of the comp. Are the bullets hitting the plates in the comp? Look inside the comp for copper marks or tracks on the plates. If there is inadequate clearance you will have major accuracy problem. Check for erosion on the plates. This where the bullet passes through the hole in the plate and the gas burns the edges of the hole. With the introduction of light bullets, plates can suffer from significant erosion, sometimes to the point that they break through.

Slide To Frame Fit

Check the slide to frame fit by gripping the gun in your strong hand. Grab the slide in the weak hand. Place your strong hand index finger along the frame and the slide. Rock the slide back and forth and up and down. By doing this you can tell the looseness of the slide fit. With Iron Sights, slide to frame fit is not as critical to accuracy as with a scope. The sights are on the slide whereas the scope is attached to the frame.

Barrel Fit

With the slide closed push down on the top of the barrel hood. If there is any movement, there will be an accuracy problem. It will not be able to lock up correctly. With the slide closed place your finger on the end of the barrel and try to move it around.

Trigger Job

If you question the trigger job, lock the slide to the rear and drop the slide on an empty chamber. DO NOT do this more than once or without permission of the owner. (You better really want to buy the gun!) If it goes to half cock the sear-to-hammer relationship must be adjusted or parts may to be replaced. You can check the over-travel on a gun by cocking the hammer and pulling the trigger all the way to the rear. Now rock the hammer back and forth - there should be no resistance from top to bottom. You should be not feel the half-cock notch rubbing on the sear. If there is some resistance or scraping, take it to a competent gunsmith and have it adjusted.

Magazine And Magazine Well

Do the magazines fall cleanly out of the gun when the release is pressed? This should be true even with the slide locked back using an empty magazine. Also, check the magazine itself - the followers for damage, examine the spring for tension, and look for excessive wear or cracks on the feed lips.

Test Drive

If the gun seems to be in good condition, the next step is to fire it. Take it to a range and put some rounds through it. Look for the following:

-->EGW Open Division Pistol --> EGW Standard Division Pistol
  • Does it perform consistently and reliably?
  • Is it comfortable?
  • Is it accurate?

If it passes all of the previous tests, by all means buy it.

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This page was updated on 5/3/2007 2