View Full Version : Acquisition of firearms

09-20-2010, 01:56 AM

I'm currently writing what I hope will be a crime-thriller (though there's still time to slip down the Rom-Com slope if I'm not careful) and I have a character who gets involved in some less savoury activities.

I need for him to acquire a gun. I presume that there are black-markets with operatoes, distibutors and all the usual retail elements and depending on who you know, I guess it shouldn;t be too difficult to track them down.

My question is, does anyone have any idea what the going rate is for a handgun. Whether it be overheard at the pub, a dodgy associate at work or you read it in the news, I'd be interested to find out... Purely, of course, for research and literary purposes.

Also, if it's able t be answered, is there usually much of a choice, or is it a caseof buy whatever is available. If my character liked a certain type of gun, what are the chances he'd get that one?

This will be set in the UK, but international answers should still remain relevant since most are probably shipped from over-seas anyway. Fill me in if I'm wrong though.

Many thanks,


09-20-2010, 02:02 AM
I only know about legal handguns purchased at an authorized store in the US, but most of the ones I've looked at have been a few hundred dollars. Some are cheaper, maybe a couple of hundred. Some of the really nice ones are much more expensive.

09-20-2010, 02:05 AM
What sort of handgun--semiauto or revolver, etc.??

09-20-2010, 02:14 AM
Not sure if the following is accurate:


And this from an earlier article dated February 18, 2007:

Automatic weapons were banned by the Firearms Act 1937. Semi-automatic rifles were banned after the massacre of 16 people in Hungerford in 1987 - Handguns were banned in 1997 after the Dunblane massacre in which 16 children and a teacher died n Typical prices for illegal guns are: 50-200 for a shotgun; 200 for a used handgun; 1,000 or more for an unused handgun; 400-800 for a converted imitation gun

09-20-2010, 03:59 PM
Thanks ever so much for that information Shakesbear. More than I was hoping for, actually. That'll set me up quite nicely.

To answer Rowan's question... I was thinking of Semi-auto. I don't know an awful lot about guns (virtually nothing actually), but I did a bit of looking around, trying to find something distinctive and different and eventually found something called a 'U22-Neos' by Beretta.

I read somewhere that there are certain police divisions in Europe that use them but I'm thinking maybe I should go for something a bit more mainstream/ordinary like a military issue sidearm that may be easier for dealers to get hold of.

09-20-2010, 06:11 PM
I'm sure there's a big difference in how this would be handled in the UK vs the USA. Handguns, both legal and illegal, are much more prevalent in the U.S.

09-20-2010, 06:13 PM
Not sure about the UK, in continental Europe, black-market arms are generally from east European military stock. They're not the only ones found on the black market, but the most common (and cheapest). They're also (obviously) cheaper than in the UK.

09-20-2010, 10:10 PM
I'm sure there's a big difference in how this would be handled in the UK vs the USA. Handguns, both legal and illegal, are much more prevalent in the U.S.
In fact, all handguns are illegal in mainland Britain (Northern Ireland is different), unless you happen to be a policeman. Even Olympic shooters have to push off somewhere else to practise. There are quite strict restrictions on rifles, although there are a fair few shotguns.

There is, however, supposed to be quite a lot of illegal hand guns. I think there are something like 20,000 offences every year that involve a gun of one sort or another. Most hanguns are supposed to be converted from blank firing ones (starting pistols, etc.). The real ones are allegedly much more expensive (I don't know but I would guess at upwards of five hundred pounds).