Even just a few years back, the Glock collecting hobby was a relatively cheap endeavor. So long as you could endure the ridicule of the Colt, Winchester, and S&W collectors taunting about how “That gun will never be worth anything” you were in the clear. Deals could be found left and right because to most people, “A Glock is a Glock is a Glock… They’re all the same.” Over the last five years (or so) there has been a great awakening in the overall firearms collective knowledge about the rarity of early Glocks. You still find a few gen 1s here and there for low prices, but the high dollar sales on Gunbroker have, for the most part, wisened up the dealers to research before pricing.
As a straight buyer, this means collecting rare Glocks is likely to lighten your pocketbook. But as a hobbiest, I have to say that the thrill of the hunt is a big part of the enjoyment of collecting anyway. There’s nothing like the thrill of finding a deal because you took the time to hunt where no one else did!
So here are some tips I’ve picked up over the years to try help the new hobbiest collector with some newbie guidance:
- Education is everything! No matter what type of firearm you might collect, the key to finding good deals and avoiding getting “taken” is in your education. A lot of old timers will tell you, “You pay for your education one way or another” and what they mean is that you can jump in guns blazing and buying left and right and you are SURE to be taken for a sucker and overpay for purchases. Dealers can see a newb coming from miles away. So you can pay for education by getting suckered and learning the hard way or you can pay for your education by putting in work. Read up. Make friends with other more seasoned collectors and take the time to learn nuance and values. Either payment will result in the eventual education, but the long term enjoyment of the hobby is significantly increased by NOT being taken advantage of.
- Study the market. The same type of rule can also be applied for how you acquire rare pieces for your collection: you’re going to pay one way or another so your two options are to pay whatever it takes to get the piece you want or to pay in patience waiting for the piece to come to you. Gunbroker, for now, has taken center stage in the sale of rare Glocks and record prices have been achieved through that sight. Setting up a quick search could uncover exactly the gun you’re looking for, but you are likely to pay a premium going up against so many other collectors. The alternative is putting in the leg work of searching the internet over and over and visiting local gun stores and pawn shops trying to find a rare piece. I’ve done both and enjoyed both, but keep in mind that buying the first gun you come across is often the most expensive way–patience is a virtue for a reason.
- Narrow your focus. When I first started collecting, I wanted to find one of every variant of Glock ever made and be sure to track down one of each for the collection. After a few years, I’ve come to the realization that, short of winning the lottery, that dream is probably not in the cards for me. There are simply too many variants out there and too much competition among buyers for many of us to have a realistic shot of finding one of every version. Instead, find your niche and try to focus on that. I know a gentleman who found one of every version of 19 ever produced. Took him years to finally get them all, and by the time he finished he was ready to move on to something else. This is fairly common as part of the fun is the chase. So figure out which guns you really REALLY like and try to focus your resources on finding them.
- Buy what you find. On the flip side of focusing your collection, you’ll find buy opportunities once you’ve focused your niche. You may already have one of a particular gun and run across a second. But if you find it at a low price, use your knowledge to buy wisely and make a little profit. There is no harm in getting a good deal so when you run across one you KNOW is a steal, take advantage of your good fortune–I’ve paid for a lot of additional purchases using this philosophy.
- Remember to have fun–this is a hobby after all. While you might actually make some money at collecting, the goal is really your enjoyment. Don’t let it stress you out, and don’t let it get to the point of not being fun. I’ve never lost sleep over guns and if I get to the point where I am, it’s probably time to sell. So happy hunting and welcome to the Glock collector club!