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The first edition of the Blue Book of Gun Values came out in 1979 and had a simple goal—to put some kind of standard prices on used guns, much as The Kelley Blue Book did and does for automobiles.

There are now something close to 2 million gun Blue Books out there, and it has become a resource and an institution. The 40th edition contains:

  • Write-ups on over 1,700 companies
  • Individual listings for over 24,000 gun models
  • A mind-rupturing 550,000 values of individual guns—and remember, these values are right; what the dimwit at the gun show said is wrong
  • A revised, 80-page color Photo Percentage Grading System, whose approach is foolproof

These are perilous times for buying and selling guns, because, as the author, S.P. Fjestad, points out in an excellent short article up front, the gun buying public is aging. He notes that 70 percent of the NRA membership is over 55 years old, and when the geezer horde puts its guns on the market, there is no younger generation to pick them up.

Not everyone needs the Blue Book, but if you buy or sell on a regular basis, or if you’re getting on in years and want to unload, as it were, this book could save you some very ugly surprises down the road.