If you’re looking to buy a gun online, especially if you’re new to the process, you probably have a few questions:
1. How to buy a gun online?
2. What is the best online gun store?
I have great news – we’re going to answer both of your questions by walking you through buying guns online and showing you the best places to do it!
First, we’ll show you our list of the best online gun stores, followed by everything you need to know to buy guns online.[list] Palmetto State Armory Sportsmans Warehouse Primary Guns Rainier Guns Buds Gun Shop Gun Accessories
Best online gun stores
Understanding the purchase of firearms
Before you start buying from an online gun store, let’s first look at how to buy a firearm from your local gun store in a retail store.
We need to explore this first because even when you buy a gun online it has to be shipped to a local gun store where you will show up in person to pick up the gun and complete the process of firearm transfer.
A gun dealer, whether it’s your local gun store or an online gun dealer, must be licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).
The license to sell firearms is called a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and a person or business that holds this license to sell firearms is called an “FFL dealer” or “licensee”. Federal Firearms Authority.
If you want to skip this process and have firearms shipped directly to you at dealer prices (saves money and time), you might want to consider getting your own FFL from home.
Transfer of firearms
When purchasing a firearm from an FFL dealer, you must complete the firearm transfer process, which includes presenting yourself in person at the gun shop, presenting a valid issued photo ID by the government with your current residential address, completing the transfer form called an ATF Form 4473 and passing the background check requirements.
Only after this process is complete will you be able to leave the store with your firearm.
Again, even if you purchase the weapon from an online store, it must be sent to a local FFL where you can enter and complete this process as if you purchased the weapon from the local FFL.
Note that this applies to actual firearms ONLY – if you are only purchasing firearm parts, ammo or accessories, these may be shipped directly from the online store to your doorstep. Of course, some state laws restrict these purchases and you should know and understand them.
If you want to learn more about the process of transferring firearms, see our article How to Transfer Firearms.
If you purchase a long gun, such as a rifle or shotgun, you can use an FFL dealer in any state as long as the firearm is legal in your home state and in the state in which you buy it.
If you are purchasing a handgun, such as a pistol or revolver, you MUST use an FFL dealer located in your country of residence.
It is common for the local store to charge you for the transfer process. It’s just because they’re doing the work and taking on the ATF compliance risk while losing the sale to an online competitor. You should always check what a local store charges as a transfer fee BEFORE having them ship the online purchase.
Buy guns online
Buying a gun online is very similar to buying a gun from a gun store. The only difference is that you buy the gun online from the online gun store, then after the gun sale, you have it shipped to your local FFL dealer.
So why buy a gun online?
Easy – buying a gun online lets you choose from a huge selection and helps you find the right gun at a great price.
Step 1 – Find the gun you want online
Use our list of the best online gun stores above to find the gun you want to buy.
If you need help determining which gun is best for you, you should check out all of our gun reviews, including our best gun reviews and some of our “Best Of” lists.
Step 2 – Buy the Gun
Purchase the gun from the online gun store by completing their checkout process.
Once you have paid for the weapon, it is yours (it belongs to you) but you cannot take possession of it until it has been transferred through your FFL dealer.
Most online stores offer you to select the local FFL you want to use as part of the checkout process. However, some will email you after the transaction to determine which FFL you want to use.
Step 3 – Send a copy of the FFL license from your local reseller
In most cases, this step can be skipped as the online gun store will likely already have a copy of your FFL dealer’s license on file.
However, if the online store has never shipped to that local FFL before, you will need to contact the local FFL and ask them to send a copy of their license to the online gun store before the firearm can be shipped.
This is also a good time to let the local FFL know that a particular firearm is coming for you and make sure they have your contact details so they can notify you when your firearm arrives.
Step 4 – Take your weapon
Once your weapon arrives, you report to the local FFL dealer and participate in the transfer process to bring your new weapon home.
We cover this process in more detail in our article on How to Buy a Gun Online.
Example of buying an online gun store
Say you’re looking to buy a new handgun for concealed carry (CCW), you should start with our list of the best CCW pistols and our articles on the best 9mm pistols.
Once you’ve decided which gun is right for you, start using our list of the best online gun stores to browse their selection and find the best price.
Find a local FFL who will do the transfer for you and let them know they are waiting for the gun.
Then you will purchase the gun from the online store and select your local FFL as the shipping destination.
Once there, head to your local gun shop and complete the transfer process to bring your new weapon home.
Congratulations, you have now purchased a firearm online and are the new owner of your firearm.
Best Online Gun Shop FAQs
A: You should use this list of the best online gun stores because they are reputable online gun stores with large selections that will ensure an easy and safe transaction.
A: No, purchasing ammo online, in most cases, can be shipped directly to your door.
A: No, a gun purchased online can only be shipped to your home if you have an FFL. The gun must be shipped to a local gun shop.
A: Transferring a firearm means taking possession of a firearm from an FFL dealer after completing paperwork and meeting background check requirements.