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How to Avoid Retail Stores For Guns and Ammunition

buy guns onlineOne of the most popular articles we published so far this year was in reference to how one should try to avoid public gun ranges in order to train in the safest environment possible. Some of the emails I received essentially said, “Jacob, you claim to be able to avoid public gun ranges most of the time but how can you avoid public gun stores. You have to buy your guns and ammo somewhere…” Yes, it is true that we have to buy our ammunition and accessories somewhere but I prefer this cool place called the internet. Here are some additional thoughts about how you can best avoid public gun stores.

I Buy Almost All my Guns from

When I'm in the market for a new gun I start on GunBroker is like eBay for guns. Anyone can create a user account to buy or sell. Since it is a national marketplace sellers have to be competitive with their prices and unless I'm shopping for something rare and hard to get, I almost ALWAYS get the best prices on GunBroker versus any local retailer or outlet. After a successful auction, payment is generally completed over the phone via credit card or by sending a check in the mail. When you buy a firearm online via a website like GunBroker they cannot ship the firearm directly to you. They have to send it to a FFL in your area who can then run the background check for you. That brings me to my next tip.

Find that Garage FFL near you

FFL stands for Federal Firearms License, when referring to the license, or Federal Firearm Licensee when referring to the individual or organization that has received the license. People who have received a FFL from the ATF can buy and sell guns retail and can run background checks. In my experience most FFLs don't have retail outlets and big store fronts. A lot of FFLs get the license so they can get better pricing on their own purchases and so they can help out their friends. I call these the “Garage FFLs” because they work out of their home and either haven't out grown it or have no desire to grow a business beyond the side project they intended it to be. Find one or two of these guys in your area. They can order anything direct from manufacturers on your behalf and they can also receive the transfers when you buy a gun online from a site like GunBroker. Our online Gun Directory has all FFLs in the USA as of 2014 (Over 70,000).

Buying Ammunition Online is Both Convenient and Economic

There are a lot of great websites where you can buy your ammunition online. I'm partial to [Check out this offer that includes a discount] because their pricing is competitive but also because their inventory system is the best. If you can buy something on their website they have it in stock and will ship by the next business day.

If you buy 50 to 100 rounds of ammunition online you will quickly learn that it isn't very economic. After shipping costs you would have saved money by going retail. On the other hand if you are prepared to buy 250 to 500 rounds at a time you (which would make sense if you are training regularly) you will save a little money or break even compared to a retail purchase. More importantly, you can buy on the fly from anywhere and save yourself the time and gas you would have spent going to the retail gun store.

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3 Responses to How to Avoid Retail Stores For Guns and Ammunition

  1. Dan U. April 7, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    Thank you for this very practical info.

  2. Deborah April 7, 2015 at 12:59 pm #

    Ammo – if breaking even why would you not support local small mom and pop business instead?

    I like a good deal as much as anyone but to diminish smaller shops that strive to provide a service seems short sighted.

    • Jacob Paulsen April 7, 2015 at 1:07 pm #

      Deborah, that is a fair point. I also think the smaller, local gun business owners tend to have a safer environment than the big box gun retailers. I generally buy 500 to 1000 rounds per purchase and it saves me money to buy online. I would hope that at minimum this would help people know they have choices. I will reconsider my stance since I agree with your point about supporting local businesses.

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