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Technically, my H&K P7 was a police trade-in. It was used by the German Border Patrol before I acquired it. In it's case, the Europeans tend to carry their guns more than they shoot them -- this can sometimes be the case with law enforcement departments in the USA too. Some departments have specific weapons designated for range use, qualification, etc. Which leaves the duty issue guns to be fired very little.

Look closely at the gun's internals to see if there is evidence of wear. In an automatic, look for a loose or poor slide to frame fit. Also, push down on the barrel/chamber while it's in battery with the slide. If you get any downward movement without retracting the slide, look for another gun.

In a revolver, slowly cycle the cylinder through each chamber in single action mode. Make sure that the cylinder locks with the lug prior to the hammer falling on the firing pin. Check also for excess movement (rotation) of the cylinder when it's in battery with the frame but the hammer is in the downward position. Again, any excess movement -- find another gun.

My German police trade-in appeared to be in near mint condition and was an exceptional buy. If you are willing to accept a little surface wear and possibly department markings on the gun, chances are that you'll pick up a completely functional weapon with plenty of life for a great price.
 
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