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Buying Ammo Online vs. In Store


Ammo is obviously essential for your gun owner. Having a car is nice, and can be pretty to look at, but if you want to do anything with it, you're going to need gas. And like gas, ammo can be a constant blip on your financial radar, because you always need to have more of it. So it makes sense to look for the cheapest and easiest avenues to get that.

In many instances, folks are turning to the ease of online shopping to get their ammo, while others are still going store to store and picking up the ammo they need as they need it. But which is better? Which is cheaper? Which is easier? That's what we're aiming to find out today.




The local gun store, gun range, or even Wal-Mart might be the place that you are most familiar with and used to buying ammo. It's a simple thing to just head out to the range and buy ammo when you're going shooting or to add it to a random errand run at Wal-Mart, but this method, while bringing about instant gratification may be hurting your wallet. One of our readers Cameron B actually wrote to us some findings that he discovered regarding his experiences buying ammo from the store. He said…

This (Buying in store) is by far the easiest option, but some might argue the most expensive option.  I went to several stores in my local area and priced ammunition and, while overall prices were more expensive than ordering on-line, several retailers had offered sales prices that were very attractive.

Cameron also provided us with his findings on both online and in-store purchases down to the cost of each individual bullet in the chart that you can see below.

9mm, FMJ, lead core, 115 grain





Per round


Per round


AIM Surplus

CCI/Blazer Brass







Midway USA

CCI/Blazer Brass








CCI/Blazer Brass








CCI/Blazer Brass







Field & Stream

CCI/Blazer Brass















So you can see that the cost is very close between Wal-Mart, which Cameron mentioned was the lowest he was finding and Midway USA, the most expensive online source. Another bit of information that the graph shows is that the number of rounds shipped is much higher than those received at Cabela's or Wal-Mart. A plus to online buying is that shipping bulk ammo does not cost incrementally more, the more you buy. In fact, the cost per bullet may actually go down with the more you buy online, in several cases. However, there was one other issue which Cameron found that swayed the argument more firmly into a digital direction.



Now, you see that there is a slight edge for buying ammo online when it comes to pricing. The average can range between paying the same as you would in-store, to paying 13 cents more per round, however, the pricing is not the biggest issue that Cameron or we here at Concealed Carry have found. I'll let Cameron's words speak for themselves.

The biggest problem is availability.  Whether buying individual 50 boxes or buying bulk containers, all of the stores I went to had a limited amount available on the less expensive product.  Wal-Mart had the most inexpensive pricing, but also had the lowest amount of ammunition available.  The other potential negative is sales tax, and when you factor that in the price per unit may well be higher than what you can get online.

And there it is. Availability. Online stores are VERY RARELY going to run out of stock. because most places that are selling it are making it their priority. If they run out of inventory, they lose customers fast, because you can just check another website at the touch of a button. You don't even have to get up out of your chair to give another store your business. So it is imperative that these companies keep the product flowing through. Whereas with Wal-Mart or Cabela's, there are a lot of shipment steps for them to get stock in the first place, so you can pick it up in the store.


The one downside for those of us who are ordering online is the dreaded waiting period. Amazon's drone program is still in its infancy and they aren't going to be sending you bullets anytime soon. The wait for ammo may take several days, but that brings about a question that you have to ask yourself. Is waiting a few days for ammo worth the money that you will save in doing it?

One could posit that with the saved money from purchasing online, you could, in turn, buy more ammunition for the same price and keep a stockpile for yourself, only ordering when you are running low, therefore never running completely out. Does that mean that it is the way that you have to do it? No. But with the age of the internet and online shopping, that is the biggest question. What is more important, your money or your time? You will save money buying online, but, provided the stores have the stock, you will save time buying in-store.

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7 Responses to Buying Ammo Online vs. In Store

  1. Steven September 10, 2017 at 10:53 am #

    Dont forget shipping charges too. Those can be $16 to $25 in some cases.

  2. John July 24, 2018 at 6:53 pm #

    target sports usa doesn’t charge shipping and their prices are competitive.

  3. James September 15, 2018 at 8:26 pm #

    I agree with your findings, but only if you buy in bulk of 1000 rounds. If you buy just 50 rounds local store is cheaper due to high cost of shipping 50 rounds compared to 1000 rounds.

    I use the remington UMC 9mm luger 115 grain. My findings were bulkammo of $232 with shipping and tax of $0.23 per round. Compared 1000 rounds to 50 rounds then the price goes up past the local stores. At bulkammo $15.11 includes shipping and tax for 50 rounds equals $0.3022 per round. At cabella local store with 6% sales tax for 50 rounds $13.77 with tax and that is $0.275 per round.

    One finding that I found that is a game changer is that my local Academy sports has 50 rounds for $9.49 add sale tax of 6%=$.020 per round which is cheaper than bulk amm of 1000 rounds at the per round cost of 0.23.

  4. Terrell Wilson April 4, 2019 at 4:05 pm #

    I would like to buy some bullets,for my 380.

  5. Terrell Wilson April 4, 2019 at 4:07 pm #

    I would like to buy some bullets,for a 380.

    • Joshua Gillem April 5, 2019 at 11:38 am #

      Hey Terrell,

      We don’t sell ammo ourselves but recommend Lucky Gunner or Ammo Supply Warehouse and use both of them ourselves. They both have a great selection.



  6. Jeremy September 4, 2019 at 7:41 pm #

    Do you happen to know if online ammo store gives a discount to first responders.

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