We’ve all bought our fair share of unnecessary junk, things we really liked at one point in our lives for a ton of different reasons outside of practicality. We’re all guilty of buying stuff that we don’t have a real need for. 

Usually, what ends up happening with all this junk is we either put them in a box in a storage room somewhere to gather dust or hand them down to a friend or relative who surprisingly has some kind of practical use for them which we never thought we could use them for. 

Or maybe even less frequently so, we do end up having to sell some of these things either during the leanest of times when we’re in a bind and whatever money we’re making working our nine to five just isn’t cutting it — or when we simply have to move to another location and mover fees are too high. 

Indeed, we’ve all mostly been in a situation where, as gun owners, selling any of our beloved guns is typically the last thing we would want to do but sometimes, it just can’t be helped. 

Still, if you happen to own a rare piece, I would strongly recommend against selling it because chances are, its market value will appreciate exponentially over time. In 10 more years, it may be worth a fortune if you can manage to hold on to it. Here’s our list of the Top 5 Handguns You Should Never Sell:

1. Colt Single Action Army

The U.S. Army adopted the Colt Single Action Army in July 1873 and named it the M1873. They purchased a total of 36,000 revolvers chambered in the new caliber that was custom designed for it, the .45 Colt. Some two months after its military adoption, Colt introduced the revolver to the civilian market where it was given the nickname “Peacemaker.” 

More popularly known as the gun that won the west, the Peacemaker was introduced in 1878 and later on was made available by Colt in three more chamberings besides its original .45 Long Colt: .44 40, .38 40, and .32 20. Winchester used these cartridges at the time for their 1873 lever-action. 

This decision by Colt made people take a liking to the concept of carrying both a long gun and a handgun that chambered the same exact cartridge. After this move, Colt relaunched the Single Action Army as the “Frontier Six-Shooter” and sold it for $17.50 a piece. The company managed to sell more than 357,000 Frontier Six-Shooters of varying calibers between the years 1873 and 1941.

The original Colt Single Action Army, the M1873, was extensively utilized by any person who needed a powerful handgun that made use of the newly-perfected centerfire cartridge capable of propelling a 254-grain, .454-caliber bullet at velocities reaching 1,050 feet per second. From the U.S. Army to the white settlers to even Native American tribes, the Colt Single Action Army was used across the western frontier in the 19th century. 

Even though the military replaced it twenty years later with the newer Colt M1892 Army & Navy double-action revolver, more on that model later, the Colt Single Action Army remained in limited military service because of its more powerful chambering and saw some action in the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, and even the U.S.-Mexico border conflict of the 1910s. 

Colt Single Action Army

The famous U.S. Army General George S. Patton carried a Single Action Army as his personal sidearm throughout World War 2, even though it had long started going out of circulation by the end of the first world war.

A decade after World War 2, Colt decided to bring the Single Action Army back in 1955 as Westerns made it popular again. Each was sold for a much steeper $125 compared to its original price. To this day, older 19th century Model 1873s and Peacemakers are highly sought-after by gun collectors. 

How expensive can these revolvers get? On May 19, 1987, an article appeared in The New York Times where it was reported that an original Colt Single Action Army M1873 was sold for a whopping $242,000. That purchase was made around 35 years ago. If you factor in inflation, that particular piece is now worth $566,000 thereabouts.

2. Pre-2020 Colt Python

Every knowledgeable gun person worth their salt considers the original Colt Python one of the finest revolvers ever made, despite the handful of downsides associated with it which led to its production being discontinued for more than a decade. And even with the introduction of the 2020 Colt Python remake, the original ones are still regarded by many to be among the most collectible revolvers out there.

As it was originally intended to be luxury a target revolver, the Colt Python’s form and function had to be top-notch so the company gave it a real special treatment as far as its production goes: from the custom-built high-precision barrel to the hand-fitted trigger assembly to the high polish of all moving and non-moving parts to its rich, lustrous Royal Blue finish, the Colt Python was in a league of its own. It became a huge hit as soon as it was released.

Decades after its introduction, the Colt Python has become one of the most expensive and most coveted .357 Magnum revolvers of its time. But because of all the hand-fitting and manual labor required to build a single Python, they ultimately became too expensive to build and had to be sold at a much higher price by the company to turn a profit. 

Pre-2020 Colt Python

The Colt Python eventually became unprofitable and ultimately, Colt had to stop production as much more affordable and handguns became highly available — polymer-framed high-capacity semi-autos mostly chambered in 9mm, 40 Smith and Wesson, and .45 ACP. From the year production stopped in 2005 up to just three years ago before Colt started building their newer, more-beefed-up version of the Python, many pre-owned Pythons in mint condition were selling for around $3,800.00 on average, with some earlier production models surpassing the $10,000.00 mark.

Granted, the market for older Pythons isn’t as big as it used to be anymore because of the new 2020 version, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are collectors out there who are willing to pay extra for a well-cared-for vintage Colt Python in mint condition. Besides, older Pythons are becoming rarer and rarer as CZ acquired Colt in May of last year and production of what many people now call the CZ Python starts ramping up.

3. FN Browning Hi-Power T-series

Originally released in 1935, the Browning Hi-Power is one of the most popular high-capacity semi-automatic handguns from the past century. It became wildly popular as a service sidearm for many countries’ military and law enforcement personnel for decades. 

A Belgian firearms company called Fabrique Nationale d’Herstal, or FN Herstal for short, talked to John Moses Browning about designing a new handgun to become the standard-issue sidearm for the French military. 

As Colt had bought the rights to Browning’s previous masterpiece the Model 1911 and had it patented shortly thereafter, Browning had to come up with another design, which he unfortunately couldn’t complete because he would die in 1926.

Another firearms designer hired by FN Herstal, Dieudonné Joseph Saive, had to step in to complete Browning’s unfinished design. After years of endless revisions, the new design — a semi-automatic handgun chambered in 9mm and can accommodate 13 rounds in the mag, was introduced in 1935, nine years after John Moses Browning died.

The Browning Hi-Power was adopted by the Belgian army that year as their standard-issue sidearm. Years later, its design would become the template from which many firearms engineers would base their double-stack 9mm handguns and to this day, countless military and law enforcement personnel all around the world still carry the Browning Hi-Power as their standard-issue sidearm.

FN had to stop production in 2018, which generated demand for pre-owned mint-condition Browning Hi-Power handguns, the most coveted of which are ones referred to as T-series that shows a letter T on the serial number and can sell for as high as $3,000 depending on the condition. 

FN Browning Hi-Power T-series

Produced from the end of the second world war up to 1973, these T-series Browning Hi-Power handguns are considered by pundits to be the best models as far as fit and finish. These were also the first models that used an external extractor which is reportedly more durable and easier to replace than the internal extractor earlier models used. 

Three years after FN discontinued production, in 2021, two companies released their own unique takes on the original Browning Hi-Power — Springfield Armory with their Model SA-35, and Girsan of with their Turkish MCP35. This fueled a resurgence in popularity which prompted FN to re-introduce a more modern version called the FN Hi-Power earlier this year. But even with all these recent reproductions, there are still people out there who are willing to pay top dollar for a mint-condition T-series Browning Hi-Power.

4. Pre-World War 1 M1911 or Pre-World War 2 M 1911 A1

The Colt M1911 is one of, if not the, most iconic pistol ever produced. Everyone who has had an interest in firearms has seen a 1911 at least once in their life, but very few know of its history, which deserves a topic of its own so we won’t do a deep dive but we’ll just touch on it a little. 

As its model number suggests, the Model 1911 was formally adopted by the US Army in 1911, several years after John Moses Browning started designing magazine-fed autoloading handguns.

Before its adoption, the US Army’s standard-issue sidearm was the Colt Model 1892. As I said earlier, the Model 1892 was chambered for the .38 Long Colt, a cartridge that is weaker than the .45 Long Colt which is the original chambering for the previously mentioned Colt Single Action Army. The Model 1892 was weaker but also had a lighter recoil which made it easier to handle, and its swing-out cylinder allowed for faster reloading, two of the reasons why the US Army decided to adopt it. 

Pre-World War 2 M 1911 A1

Shortly after the Spanish-American War, American soldiers who had been sent to Jolo and Sulu islands in the Southern part of the Philippines came face to face with native tribal warriors locally referred to as the Moro Juramentados, fighting men who were seemingly unaffected by the .38 Long Colt. The US Army commissioned six firearms manufacturers to build a semi-automatic handgun that must be chambered in a 45-caliber projectile, Colt submitted John Moses Browning’s autoloading pistol design, it proved to be the most durable and reliable, and the rest is history.

Today, despite the dominance of polymer-framed high-capacity compact and subcompact handguns chambered in 9mm, the 1911 in .45 ACP is still one of the most widely-available handguns in the world, with budget-oriented plain-Jane mil-spec models from Turkey or the Philippines costing $300 thereabouts. But not all 1911 were made equal.

If you have a Pre-World War 1 M1911 or a Pre-World War 2 M1911A1 in good working order, you can expect it to fetch a high price, somewhere in the neighborhood of $2,000.00-$5,000.00 depending on its condition. 

Pre-World War 1 M1911

The rarest models like the M1911A1 the US Army commissioned Singer to manufacture in 1941 are record-holders, with one particular model selling upwards of $400,000.00 just a couple of years ago. But there were only 500 of those ever made, and even fewer are in circulation as all 500 were reportedly issued to US Army Air Corpsmen who were known to have really low survival rates at the time of the war. 

This makes the Singer M1911A1 one of the rarest 1911 models out there, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find one in the wild. If you happen to have one that was handed down to you by your granddad or your great-granddad, you are one very, very lucky 1911 owner. Hold on to it for at least ten more years if you’re thinking of selling it, by then it should be worth more than a million dollars.

5. Pre-World War 2 and Wartime Walther P38

The German Army adopted the P.08 in 1908 as its standard-issue sidearm. More commonly referred to as Pistole Parabellum or simply the Luger, the P.08 was found to be more reliable than the C96 Mauser previously adopted by the German Army 10 years prior to the fact. But the Luger was too expensive to produce so the German Army decided to look for a replacement.

Thirty years after the Luger’s adoption, in 1938, it was replaced by a more cost-efficient 9mm pistol way ahead of its time with all its features. It was designed and developed by Fritz Walther and Fritz Barthelmes at the Walther firearms plant and was given the military designation P.38, an abbreviation for Pistole 38. 

The P38 was one of the most advanced semi-automatic handgun designs in its hayday and introduced a lot of technical features that are still present in today’s current civilian and military production pistols. Designed from the ground-up as a military sidearm, early production Walther P38 models developed a reputation as the perfect fighting man’s sidearm as it was compact, rugged, reliable, accurate and easy to maintain on the battlefield. It was so good that long after the second world war, the German Army would continue carrying it and its cheaper version, the P1, as their main sidearm until 1994 when the H&K USP was adopted as the P8.

Wartime Walther P38

Pre-World War 2 and wartime models are some of the most sought-after versions of the Walther P38 and depending on the condition and the actual year of manufacturing, one of these can sell easily for $3,000.00. Older P38s manufactured in 1938 only had the Walther banner on the slide, while models manufactured during wartime had one of three codes stamped on the slide: AC, BYF, or CYQ. 

To date, the rarest wartime P38 with an AC mark and no date is estimated to sell anywhere from $8,500.00 up to $11,000.00. If you happen to own a Walther P38 with an AC, a BYF, or a CYQ mark, resist the temptation of selling it for maybe a decade or so and you will see a sizable jump in its price.

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