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Important Things to Know Before Choosing an Online Guns and Ammo Company

Kalicia Bateman
Kalicia Bateman | Contributor

Purchasing firearms and ammunition products online may feel like a challenging process at first. After all, countless websites offer a vast variety of products ranging from hunting-related items to competition shooting and sporting good accessories.

Most websites that sell firearms and ammunition also tend to provide various types of gear, accessories, parts, kits, apparel, etc. The list of items for sale can seem endless. Fortunately, quite a few highly-rated online gun and ammo companies have easy-to-navigate websites and helpful features like comparison tools, FFL locator tools, and/or product page filters. Additionally, most companies will provide upfront information regarding shipping times and prices, refund policies, warranties, and more.

Online purchase benefits

Those who wish to buy firearms and ammunition online must be aware of industry standard restrictions. These restrictions can affect what type of products customers can purchase online, item shipping times, shipping costs, and more.

Although online firearm and ammunition shopping may seem like it’s more trouble than it's worth due to restrictions, many people end up realizing that shopping online can, in fact, be the more convenient route. Here are a few potential benefits that come with buying firearms and ammunition-related products online:

  • Larger selection and options
  • Greater item availability
  • Lower-priced products
  • Special online deals
  • 24/7 at-home convenience
  • Easier access to company and product information
  • Access to online customer reviews and product ratings
  • Helpful online search features
  • Online resources

Pistol in holster

Shipping and purchasing requirements

When making online gun and ammo purchases, customers need to consider what shipping regulations and requirements they must adhere to. Each company that sells firearms and ammunition items will usually have specific shipping details including times and prices.

In fact, the shipping prices and times may vary per item bought online even if all items were bought from the same company. For instance, it may take longer and cost more for a company to ship a certain amount or type of ammunition than it would a single box of a different type of ammunition. The same is true for different types of firearms and firearm parts. Additionally, there are some differences between firearm and ammunition shipping requirements and restrictions.

Before ordering ammunition and firearms online, it’s important for customers to check what state restrictions they may have to adhere to. A few states do have definite restrictions on ammunition and firearm shipping. For example, Alaska does not accept or allow any ammo or primer shipments.

To learn more about purchasing ammunition online and online ammunition shipping state restrictions, click here.

It’s important to keep in mind that firearm and ammunition restrictions and regulations are subject to change. Those interested in becoming frequent online firearm and ammunition buyers should conduct regular research regarding online firearm and ammunition purchasing restrictions.

Refund policies

Many companies in the guns and ammo industry offer a return policy for non-firearm and ammunition products. The return policies for non-ammunition or firearm items generally range from 30 days to 90 days. Each company does have a specific return policy which customers should thoroughly read before making an online purchase.

Those who are planning on purchasing non-firearm or ammunition items should keep in mind that some return policies are accompanied by a restocking fee. Restocking fees are generally added to returned items that are deemed non-defective.

Customers who wish to return firearms and/or ammunition items will likely have a difficult time finding a company that will accept such returns. It’s important to note, however, that some companies like GrabAGun will accept returned firearms only if the firearm has not been removed or transferred from the FFL that initially received the shipped firearm.

Man and dog hunting

Helpful website features

When searching for firearms, ammunition, and other related items online, potential buyers want to have access to easily navigable websites that provide a good amount of information. Luckily, many companies in the guns and ammunition industry recognize online buyers’ needs and currently provide helpful website functions and features that are designed to improve the online buyer experience.

Many gun and ammo companies have implemented the following helpful features on their websites:

  • FFL locator tools — All firearms purchased online must be shipped to an FFL before it goes into the hands of customers. This tool, which can be found on many gun and ammo companies, allows buyers to easily input their residential location and helps them find the nearest FFL dealer.
  • Comparison tools — Since so many companies sell similar firearm and ammunition-related items, many companies have comparison tools that help customers compare item quality, prices, and more.
  • Filters — Most firearm and ammunition companies have several helpful filters that potential buyers can use to find exactly what they are looking for in a reasonable amount of time. Many gun and ammo company websites allow customers to filter their online firearm sections by manufacturer, product, caliber, price, color, brand, action, rating, etc.
  • Resources — One benefit of shopping for firearm and ammunition-related items online is that many companies have helpful online resources that can be easily accessed by all website visitors. These resources include how-to videos, articles, and other helpful, relevant information that firearm and ammunition buyers want to know. Many websites also include online guides to help first-time online firearm and ammunition buyers.

Product selection

Most companies in the guns and ammo industry not only sell a large variety of ammunition products and firearms including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, but they also sell related items like optics and scopes, varied accessories, hunting items, merchandise items, survival and tactical gear, and more.

Gun or ammunition buyers may want to keep in mind that larger brands may not have as strong of a firearm and ammunition focus as smaller brands, because large brands generally sell plenty of other non-firearm and ammunition-related products.

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Gun and Ammo Stores Frequently Asked Questions

What does FFL stand for?

FFL stands for Federal Firearm License. Those who have an FFL are able to handle the transfer and selling of firearms in the United States. All firearms purchased online are shipped to a local FFL dealer and are then transferred to the firearm buyer.

What do I need to know before I purchase a gun or ammunition online?

You should know the following things before you purchase a firearm or ammunition online:

  • Age and state gun and ammunition purchasing requirements
  • Updated federal and state gun and ammunition laws
  • State gun and ammunition shipping restrictions
  • Personal gun and ammunition budget
  • Seller-specific reputation details, fees, and requirements (shipping fees, payment types, etc.)

How do I buy a gun online?

First, you should research the specific firearm you wish to purchase. Make sure to look up your state’s firearm possession and shipping restrictions. Next, you should choose a company to purchase from. This list may help you out during this step. When choosing a company, remember to read their purchasing, return, shipping, and cancellation policies as every company is different.

Before making your firearm purchase online, make sure to look up a local FFL dealer and be aware of their transfer process. After you purchase your firearm, you should be able to track the shipping of the firearm and obtain custody of the firearm once your FFL dealer properly receives the firearm.

What do I need to purchase a firearm online?

To purchase a firearm online, you will need a credit card, debit card, or other accepted form of payment. Generally, you will also need a background check and possibly a form of identification. More often than not, you won’t need to have an FFL, rather you will be subject to having your firearm sent to and transferred from a local FFL dealer.

Why should I consider purchasing a firearm online?

Like buying any other item online, the main benefit of purchasing a firearm online is convenience. You can make online firearm purchases at any time of the day or night, you may have more options when it comes to firearm customization and selection, and you might be able to save more money by ordering online if you take advantage of any online deals or available sales. Additionally, many gun and ammo websites offer helpful firearm information and resources that customers can access at any time.

How old do I have to be to buy guns or ammunition online?

Generally, those who wish to purchase firearms or ammunition online must be at least 18 years or older; however, this may depend on specific state and local laws. Additionally, the age requirements for purchasing firearms and ammunition may differ by firearm/ammunition type as well as the amount of items purchased.

Where should I buy guns and ammo online?

Many companies sell firearms and ammunition online. Before purchasing an item from a company’s website, make sure to read several recent customer reviews for that company, read the company’s terms and agreements page, and be aware of their return, cancellation, shipping, and purchasing policies and requirements. Additionally, you should take time to browse the selection of firearms and ammunition on the company’s website and check out this list of top-rated online gun and ammunition stores.

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