One of the best ways that I have found for getting a high quality handgun at a bargain basement price is police trade ins. Every so many years, police departments replace all of their handguns for newer models. Most of these pistols have had a couple of thousand rounds or less put through them since many departments only require their officers to shoot for qualification on a semi annual basis and many officers don’t shoot on their own. ALL of them are high quality firearms such as Beretta, Glock, or Sig Sauer. Foreign police and military may be carrying CZs or Browning High Powers. Often the departments will have them fitted with tritium night sights. They also frequently come with spare magazines and even occasionally holsters. Some eastern bloc military trade ins almost always come with holsters. Sometimes the deals are closer to steals. On example is the Beretta 84F that I bought a few years ago. Without the custom Trijicon night sights, that pistol retails for over $650 with one magazine. When the Indiana State Police decided to trade in their Beretta 96s and their 84F backup pistols, for Glocks, they gave the whole lot of them. complete with accessories to a police supply company to liquidate. I took the supply company’s ad into my local dealer and had him order me one. Here’s what I got for $329 plus shipping, handling and dealer transfer fee. One Beretta 84F complete with custom Trijicon Tritium night sights and Indiana State Police grips,  THREE 13 round LE only marked magazines, and a leather DeSantis 09h 75 model shoulder holster with double magazine pouch.  The pistol alone is worth over $600 without the $150 night sights (the front one is milled into the front sight on the slide, not simply slid into a dovetail), the extra $60 worth of magazines, or the $135 holster. That’s over $900 worth of value for a total cost of $400 give or take $5.

My Beretta

My Beretta




DeSantis shoulder holster for Beretta

DeSantis shoulder holster for Beretta. It was missing the tie down straps so I had to make my own. That’s why the color doesn’t match.

Currently there are law enforcement trade ins available online that include Glocks, Sig Sauers, Smith & Wesson M&Ps as well as foreign police and military surplus pistols from CZ, Browning and a Hungarian company called FEG that does a completely interchangeable clone of the Browning High Power. Some of them are available for under $300 and all of them are available for under $500. Just this past year, I picked up a Glock 23 police trade in with tritium night sights and 3 magazines for under $400.

There are also a number of eastern bloc arsenal refurbished handguns available for under $300. Some are better than others, but the ammo and magazines may be a little more difficult to come by. I had a Russian Makarov that was easy to get parts for and a PA63 that finding reliable magazines for was iffy. Loved them both, but ammo selection was limited  and some of the magazines that I had for the PA63 simply could not be made to work properly. If you’re looking at surplus handguns, try to stick to calibers with readily available and affordable ammo. 10 years ago, 7.62 x 25 ammo for the CZ 52 was available surplus at dirt cheap prices. Nowadays, the best thing you can do with a CZ-52 is to buy a 9mm replacement barrel. The ammo is no longer affordably priced.


My name is Brian Scott T. My last name is one of those impossible to pronounce Polish  names so I’m going to save us both that embarrassment. Online I am more commonly known by my military nickname of Lt Scrounge. This blog is a continuation of the Surviving Scrounge blog that I dropped a few years ago. The primary purpose of this blog is not to teach you how to only survive the end of the world as we know it, but rather techniques for preparing for and surviving life’s much more common and equally life altering challenges without having a huge budget. Examples would include a job loss, a natural disaster, death of a spouse etc etc etc. Yes, we would all love to be able to buy that 100 acre retreat in the mountains of Idaho that so many of the survivalist bloggers go on about, but truth be told, unless you’ve got a well above average income or written a couple NY Times best sellers, you probably  aren’t going to have that kind of money lying around. You can probably come up with the down payment on an owner financed plot in the west Texas desert a few miles north of the border that, with the exception of cheap Mexican labor (just catch them at gun point when they cross your property on their way north) doesn’t really have much going for it. As you can tell, I have a bit of a sense of humor and am definitely not very PC about it.

I will be discussing a variety of topics, doing more than a few product reviews, and definitely passing along information about good deals that I find on the internet. I’m horrible about shopping online so I get sales fliers from a ton of places daily. Some have some good deals on them. I will be sharing those with you as well as some other specials that I have various manufacturers sending me links for. I do get paid for some of the links. It’s called advertising, but rest assured if I wouldn’t buy the product, I wouldn’t advertise it. For some of the stuff, like life insurance and car buying tips, I won’t pitch specific brands only give you information on how to get what you need for the best price. Believe it or not, making a cash offer to a car dealer is NOT the best way to get the best price. I’ll explain how I buy cars to get the best deal possible. That will be in another post.

I will teach you how to use the local grocery store fliers to fill your pantry and within 3 months never have to buy canned goods or pasta at a price above wholesale again. This is especially true if you live near a city with both a Kroger chain store and a Safeway store. I’ll show you how to take advantage of their competing ads. Campbells’ Chunky Soup tastes just the same at $1.25 a can as it does at $2.59 a can. Pasta stores almost forever with oxygen absorbers and at 39 cents a package net cost, a $10 bulk buy can go a LONG way.  Again that will be covered in another post.

I also intend to have a few videos on various types of collapsible furniture items that I have designed. They are strong, transport well, and are reasonably easy to make with a few tools available for under $100. I will also ask for ideas for new items to design. Plans and full instructions will be available for a reasonable price. Since they will be downloads, I won’t be asking what appears to be the industry standard $37. I guess everyone needs to make a living, but this is for people on a shoestring budget, so I’ll probably be going for more in the $10 – 15 range. With a little luck, I’ll buy a few of those more expensive plan sets and let you know if they are worth the money or not.

One of the things that I intend to review (hey a guy’s got to have his fun) will be firearms. Hickok45 has touched on the topic a few times, but there seems to be no shortage of people out there reviewing the latest whiz bang wonder gun for the big name manufacturers, but what about those of us who simply can’t afford to drop $600+ on a handgun? or $1500 for a rifle? I went through the four day defensive handgun course at Front Sight Academy in Nevada with a 9mm Tristar C-100 that I bought USED at a pawn shop for $259. It was the same pistol that I had used to shoot for my Texas CHL. It cost less than half of what most of the other guns there cost and was every bit as accurate and reliable. I took one of those high dollar handguns with me in case the Tristar failed to perform. It wasn’t necessary. Then there is the question of military surplus and police trade ins. Want a Glock with night sights? Want to pay over $600 for a Glock with night sights? Why not buy a police trade in for under $400 and get the same pistol only broken in, with 3 magazines and enough money left over for a nice holster and a thousand rounds of ammo? I can’t vouch for Glock night sights, but Trijicon will replace tritium inserts in their sights for a very reasonable price.

I guess I should sign off for now, but I hope I have whetted your appetite for more information on how to prepare for bad things without going bankrupt doing it