During a recent Concealed Weapons Permit class, at our Brandon, FL location, a student, Roberto, mentioned that he recently purchased a firearm online and was having some problems with it. I asked him to bring the firearm and I would help him diagnose the problem.
The firearm he purchased was an American Tactical Imports 1911. The seller claimed the firearm was brand new and in good working order. Roberto was excited about his new gun, so he headed out to the range. After the first shot, Roberto was surprised that the pistol had jammed. He cleared the malfunction and released the slide forward. “What the hell is that?” Roberto said as he noticed the recoil spring hanging out of the frame.
I disassembled the firearm and was surprised to find that this was not a new gun. The internals were modified and polished in an attempt to repair the firearm. I also noticed that the recoil assembly was missing a spring and a retention pin. I believe this is what caused the problem that Roberto was experiencing.
A Common Mistake
Many time new shooters who attempt to purchase used firearm fall victim to a scum bag seller. These sellers know that new shooters don’t have a clue what to look for or what a fair price is for a used gun. Roberto purchased a broken firearm for $425 when he could have purchased the exact same firearm from a local dealer for $459 brand new. I feel bad for Roberto. It's a hard lesson to learn. My challenge to you is to learn from his mistake. I purchase my firearms online brand new then I have them transferred to a local dealer for pick up. This gets me the best possible deal on price while avoiding the pitfalls of a private sale.
To learn more about Flordia's laws on private sales and how to avoid making mistakes, read my article Florida Rules on Private Sales