Trade is often used by people to dispose of unwanted or less desirable items and obtain more desirable equipment. Trades can be available to the survivor in almost any long term social survival scenario. In order to get the best out of a trade, you have to know the value of what you are trading. Obviously, the idea is to bolster the value of what you are trading to the other party while downplaying what they are giving you. Many of the price determining factors in the previous section are relevant to the trade and will affect your position in the trade. Usually, the other person is more willing to trade a little for a lot, this meaning that people are usually content with what they have and will only be willing to trade when it is a really good deal. The most fair way to trade is to trade items of roughly equal type and value. An example could be as follows:

Joe has decided to move from southern Nevada to Oregon and is concerned that his basic arsenal may rust in the damp climate. He holds two jobs and has little time to spend on firearms maintenance and usually just caches his rifle in a jeep that he always keeps ready to go. He proposes to trade his Hungarian AK to a friend for a stainless steel Ruger Mini-30. If the friend goes for it, then fine, but the friend may need a little coaxing in order to go along with a trade that he otherwise may not do.

Trading to gun dealers is almost always a losing proposition, but the convenience may make up for it. Gun dealers, and especially pawn brokers, rarely give you what the gun is worth. On top of that, they usually base the value of what they are giving you on their asking price. This means that they get you coming and going. In addition, accessories and modifications rarely add to the value of a gun (unless they are selling it to you) and can sometimes detract from its value. Holes drilled for scope mounts and replacement stocks may greatly enhance the utility of a gun, but this will not be rewarded by a dealer at trade in time. Accessories like cases, slings, spare magazines and ammunition are frequently undervalued by dealers. A rule of thumb is to not expect a fair gun for gun trade from a dealer. Do not add accessories to a trade unless you are fairly certain that you will have no further use for them and do not expect the dealer to value your trade at much more than his profit margin for the gun. This means that if a dealer has a price tag of $500 on a gun and has spent about $300 on it; he (or she) is unlikely willing to offer you more than $200 for what you are trading in, regardless of its value or what you throw in to sweeten the deal. Another point with dealers is that they are most often likely to trade similar guns. This means that he may be willing to trade you a Glock .40 cal for a Beretta .40 cal but would be unwilling to trade your fine like-new Remington 1100 for his Beretta .40 cal. Generally speaking, shotguns and hunting rifles are less desirable than modern automatic handguns, para-military semiauto rifles and combat shotguns. Many dealers consider old shotguns, .22s and hunting rifles to be "junk guns" regardless of their collector value. Obvious exceptions are old Winchesters (rifles or shotguns) made before 1964 and guns with an artistic collector value. This can mean engraved commemoratives or historically significant firearms. If a gun was the top of the line in its day, then it probably has a following among certain collectors and any savvy dealer will be able to contact some of those collectors and sell the gun.

Generally speaking, the less professional the dealer is, the better the trade you will be able to conduct with him. This is why you see a lot of trading taking place at gun shows. Amateur dealers are less likely to need to make a living on every trade they make, and therefore are usually more willing to make more even trades.

Since the main premise of this book is that you are going to obtain and keep your survival arsenal, and that the survival arsenal is of a primarily utilitarian value, I will not go into all of the intricacies of firearms trading and resale. I have found that unless you are trading on a semi professional basis, you are not really going to get ahead. If you have some guns that you do not care to keep and know of some that you wish to obtain, you are usually better off selling what you have and buying what you want. One thing that I used to do was to get a so-so gun and really fix it up so that I could trade it in and get a better one to fix up. I never really got ahead without spending all of the money at once, really losing in the long run on trades with dealers, or waiting a long time to get what I really wanted. Unless you get your guns really cheap, you will lose on almost every trade and find that you were better off buying what you really wanted in the first place, even if it means enduring some short term financial challenges or paying interest. On the other hand, you may want to just get rid of some of the guns you have laying around but have no real use for. You can trade them in for what you rally want and save yourself the trouble of trying to sell them while supporting the local gun dealer whose services you might need in the future. A partial trade will reduce the amount of cash that you need to get a gun and may make for a faster and smoother transaction than one where you need to get a loan, higher limit on your credit card, or wait a couple of months to be able to pay off the lay-away agreement.