Friday, July 29, 2016

Firearms Friday: Surplus Items… Why Not?!?!

As many of you know when it comes to buying firearms, the used cases can provide you with a great value. The same can be said for many of the parts and accessories available on the used market. That being said, we have to make sure that the quality is there and that the prices reflect previous ownership and/or use. We all know this and I have written on the subject before so I am going to discuss some of the other “used” items that many of us purchase… military surplus.

Personally, I am not one to buy surplus firearms parts simply because of two factors… heavy use and price. It seems that most of the surplus for modern firearms fall into one of those two categories and most of the time quality parts can be found from aftermarket manufacturers for a much more reasonable price. Of course, older firearms are a different story altogether as there are many of us who enjoy taking the old Mosin out of the safe every once in a while and peeling open a spam can.

However, this is only a fraction of the surplus market and while the old surplus stores that used to be common place along countless main streets are now few and far between, there are still places where quality merchandise can be found at good prices. And it is not just at the local gun show either. While I know of many stores in my general area, most of my surplus purchases have come through antique stores and online retailers because the prices and overall quality have been better at each.

Antique stores generally have the uniforms, manuals, and other smaller items which they basically try to move inexpensively as much of their stock is either purchased as part of a large lot of miscellaneous items or from a private individual at a fraction of the wholesale price. Usually you can find the best prices here and some of the best quality as well. However, that is just one recourse and it is one that takes time.

Usually I end up going on line if there is something I want to buy and most of the time the searches for a particular item lead me to Sportsman’s Guide. While there are some that swear by this retailer and others that have had a less than pleasant experience, I have generally had good luck with the purchases that I have made and, most importantly, they have been the best prices around because of two simple factors… price match guarantee and coupons. This site has been particularly good for the “I don’t need it but I want it” items as well as some of the more unique items like Kevlar helmets, gas masks, etc. Personally, I have found great deals on ALICE packs (with frame) and clothing items like undershirts which are tremendously useful.

I guess the point of this whole post is that while the market has changed, military surplus items are still a great value and quality items can be found if you know where to look. And, like most things, if you are patient, you can get a lot of these items for really cheap which is nice whether or not you are buying completely useful items, ‘I might need this someday’ items, or other things that you just want for whatever reason. Most importantly, enjoy these items, use them, and beat the heck out of them because that is what they were built for.