I have handled and evaluated Century Arms products for several years now and have been highly satisfied with each and every one of them. Century has long had an interesting product line, providing enthusiasts with firearms not commonly available from other manufacturers. Every Century Arms firearm I have tested and evaluated operated flawlessly. This is not only due to the quality of the products they either manufacture themselves or import, but also due to the fact that they sell firearms that are renowned for their reliability, such as their line of 100% American-made AK-47s.
Most of the guns I’ve tested have been of new manufacture with the exception of a 9mm Walther P1, which turned out to be a wonderful gun in terms of function and reliability. Although it showed signs of honest holster wear, said wear did not detract from the use of the P1 as a practical recreational or defensive arm.
There are two reasons—in addition to collecting—to purchase a used firearm. The first is for reasons of affordability. The second is the current focus, and that is picking up a classic, used arm that is not normally encountered in today’s mega gun shops.
The range of products in Century’s “Odd Lots” area on their website is quite extensive, and a little difficult to find, as the primary focus of Century is on their AK rifle and Canik handgun lines. You won’t find the used Odd Lot guns in their downloadable catalog, either, as these guns are available only in small quantities (more on that later).
The Odd Lots selection is wide and pretty amazing. You can find everything from guns that have been out of production and relatively unavailable for years to police trades to guns of very recent manufacture. Conditions range from fair to good or very good condition—guns that are ready to go to work right out of the box to guns that need parts and repair or that are best used to supply parts for other guns that may be in a bit better condition.
In perusing Century’s list, I at first encountered a lot of used .25 automatic pistols. The .25 auto—once quite popular amongst those desiring the most compact of self-defense pistols—began to wane in popularity with the introduction of similar sized pistols chambered in the somewhat more powerful .32 ACP. Then in the mid 2000s, locked-breech .380s such as the Ruger LCP hit the market. Since this new generation of compact .380s offered a major step up in power over the other two calibers in pistols roughly the same size, the market for both caliber guns dropped off. That being said, there are plenty of used .25 ACP pistols available for sale. For those not familiar with the caliber, the .25 ACP with its semi-rimmed centerfire cartridge case offers more reliability and roughly the same power level as the same sized pistol offered in .22 LR. Not much in terms of power, but there were some specialized loads produced for the .25 that may still be available. The most popular models on the Century site were from Raven and Lorcin. Neither company is still operating. I can’t personally vouch for Lorcin handguns, but I have fired Ravens before and have found them to be reliable. Ravens were fairly popular back in the 80s with cops who couldn’t afford a more expensive backup gun. It is unlikely that a used Raven or Lorcin would have had very many rounds fired through it, and internal wear should be limited.
Moving along the list, I found a number of Hi-Point handguns of various calibers for sale. While also inexpensive, they are reliable. I even knew a local probation officer who carried one in 9mm as his duty handgun.
Digging deeper through the pages is where things get interesting—and where you can find arms that today are not so commonly available: arms such as Iver Johnson .38 Smith & Wesson top break revolvers; older model Ruger 9mm and .40-caliber semi-autos; older Smith & Wesson 9mm and .40 autos as well as newer M&Ps; classic Star 9mm 1911-style semi-autos; Taurus and Tanfoglio autos; an Inglis Wartime Canadian Browning Hi-Power; my previously mentioned Walther P1s; Zastava and Canik 9mms; Ithaca 37 shotguns; Remington rifles and shotguns; Winchester, Marlin, and Savage rifles; and a number of Smith & Wesson class K-frame police revolvers, one of which is the subject of next week’s column.
Like I said, one reason for shopping from an extensive used gun list that is so wide ranging is the opportunity to pick up a classic older firearm that while not a collectible to be stashed in a safe, is certainly capable of being used and enjoyed. One such classic that was available on the Century pages was the Smith & Wesson Model 65 .357 Magnum revolver—the same revolver I was issued for most of my time at the Reynoldsburg Police Department. I obtained a sample of one of the available guns, and not only obtained a classic defensive arm, but was reunited with an old friend that I once staked my life on. And as you will see next week, old friends often have a lot of life left in them.
In order to access the 23 or more online pages of used guns, go to the Century Arms home page at www.centuryarms.com. From there, click on the center “Shop Online” section. Next click on the “Shop” tab at the top of the page, then scroll down to the “Odd Lots” section, which currently shows a picture of a box of PPU ammunition and you are there.
Like any legitimate firearms company, you can’t buy guns online directly from Century. You have to transfer the purchase through a local FFL holder. All the information on obtaining an Odd Lots gun is available at Century. Take your time and enjoy the list. You may find, as I did, not only an old friend but a new one you just can’t live without. But don’t wait too long to order it. Odd Lots don’t last.