Buying guns online is totally legal. It’s also a great way to get guns that may not be readily available in your local stores and often at reduced prices.
However, there are a few important things to know about buying guns online:
- You must pass the standard background check.
- You must have the gun shipped to an FFL (Federal Firearms License) address. This is usually a gun store that’s close enough for you to easily go there in person and take possession of the firearm.
- You’re still responsible for complying with your state and local laws when you buy a gun online. Ensure you know the laws in your area before you order a gun online.
Most online gun stores won’t let you buy one if it is illegal where you live.
However, some will ship the gun to the FFL. But you will not be allowed to take possession of the firearm if it’s illegal to do so. You may also be responsible for the cost of returning the gun to the sender.
- You’ll need to pay a transfer fee. This is the administrative fee for legally transferring ownership of firearm from the seller to you.
This fee is in addition to the cost of the gun.
So, buying guns online isn’t any sort of gun buying loophole. There can also be additional costs associated with buying online.
If you’re interested in purchasing from online gun stores, here’s what you need to know:
How to Choose an Online Gun Store?
A gun is a pretty serious purchase. It’s important to choose a reputable online gun store.
The cheapest option isn’t always the best option.
When you hop onto an online gun store’s website, have a look at a few things to confirm that the store is legitimate and will carefully follow the legal procedures for selling and shipping firearms.
- Look at the site security. NEVER purchase a gun from an online gun store that doesn’t use an HTTPS secured connection.
- Check reviews of the store’s customer service. If there’s a problem with the shipping or transfer of the firearm, you’ll likely need to deal with the store’s customer service.
Poor customer service can delay the transfer of the firearm and leave your new gun locked up at the gun store.
- Look at how many guns they have listed. It’s best to buy guns from an online gun store that sells a lot of guns.
A more experienced online gun store will be more efficient at shipping and transferring firearms in compliance with the laws. This means that you’ll be able to take possession of your new gun faster.
So have a look around before you add any guns to your cart to make sure that the experience will be positive and efficient.
With that in mind, here are the 13 best online gun stores to buy from right now:
The 13 Best Online Gun Stores You Should be Shopping At
Brownells is one of the premier online gun stores. They ship a lot of guns.
One of the great things about Brownells is that they not only have a huge selection of firearms, they also have tons of gun parts for those who want to customize their guns.
Brownells actually produces some of their own gun parts—like Glock slides—which are a great blend of quality and price. Their components are excellent customization options even for enthusiasts who focus on durability and reliability, not just price.
Whatever you’re looking for, there’s a good chance that you’ll find it on Brownells.
A word of warning: They handle a lot of orders. So their customer service can sometimes be slow.
However, they’re process is good, so you usually won’t need to deal with customer service when you order from them.
MidwayUSA used to specialize in selling gun parts. They recently got into the online firearms market. This is good news for gun buyers.
It’s good because they have great shipping infrastructure and tons of experience fulfilling online orders. So they’re very efficient when it comes to getting guns to FFLs.
MidwayUSA is also a great place to get your gun parts, if you’re looking to build or customize your weapon.
So it’s a solid one-stop shop for anyone looking for aftermarket and OEM components.
Cabela’s has been a staple of the firearms community for over two decades. It sells guns, gun accessories, and just about anything else you might need to get out shooting or hunting.
The cool thing about the Cabela’s online store is that you can have guns shipped to any Cabela’s retail location, since they have an FFL.
There are Cabela’s stores all over the United States. So it’s likely that there’s one near you.
Not only that, but sometimes the gun you want will be in stock at a nearby store. So you may not have to wait for it to ship. Just head down and pick it up!
Scheels is one of the oldest sporting goods retailers in the United States. But, they’ve made the transition to selling online.
Scheels is tied with Cabela’s when it comes to sporting goods retailers who also sell online. You can have a gun shipped to their stores or just go pick it up if it’s in stock.
Since it’s such a large retailer, their prices are very competitive. Which is an added bonus to their broad selection and network of retail locations.
Sportsman’s Warehouse is another blend of retail and online storefronts that brings a lot of convenience to the online gun buying process.
Like Cabela’s and Scheels, Sportsman’s Warehouse has an excellent selection and a pretty solid network of stores that you can opt to ship guns to.
Something to note is that Sportsman’s Warehouse has a smaller retail footprint than some other retail and online hybrids.
So you may end up shipping to a different FFL if you find something you like on their site.
Sportsman’s Outdoor Superstore runs a great selection of firearms.
They also sell a ton of accessories and products directed at specific types of shooters (law enforcement, hunters, etc.).
One great thing about them is that they’re almost always running specials. So, if you’re looking for a gun, there’s a good chance you’ll find a deal here.
They also offer plenty of discounts on the most important gun accessories: ammo. So you can often get a complete package at a nice price.
Buds Gun Shop is an online gun store that focuses on one thing: low prices.
And they’ve got a great selection to go with their obsession with affordability.
Buds is also a great place to get ammo at great prices, too.
So it’s a great go-to online store for getting everything you need to go shooting.
Something to consider is that Buds tends to have a pretty high turnover due to their great prices.
If you see a gun you like, it may be a good idea to pick it up sooner rather than later, if you can.
Gun Buyer is a great place for AR-15 and AK-47 enthusiasts. They have their stock of AR-15s and AK-47s separated out and easily accessible on the website.
They also have a helpful blog that covers a lot of AR-15 and AK-47 topics so you can make better buying decisions.
However, they’ve got the handgun side covered too. They have plenty of options for handgunners of all types—including women and concealed carriers.
You can get your ammo on Gun Buyer too. You’ll be able to get everything you need without leaving the site.
Gun Broker is essentially eBay for guns. It’s an online auction site where both private parties and commercial sellers auction off guns.
Buying a gun through an online auction site might be unnerving for some.
However, Gun Broker has been around for a long time and is well known for being a reputable place to buy guns.
The site is well laid out, secure, and very professional.
The only real catch with Gun Broker is that you’ll need to get information for a nearby FFL that you can have the gun shipped to, since there’s no associated retail network.
Armslist is a person-to-person gun marketplace. It’s an excellent place to find new and used guns.
The great thing about Armslist is that it’s not just for third party sellers. Plenty of retail gun stores use Armslist as their online storefront. So you’re often buying from a professional gun dealer when you buy on Armslist.
Additionally, Armslist is popular enough now that they partner with sellers to offer their own packages and deals, which makes this an even better place to get great prices on guns.
Remember that you’ll need to provide the shipping information for the FFL you want the gun shipped to when you purchase on Armslist.
Grab a Gun is one of the premier online gun stores that sells guns and gun parts.
It’s an outstanding site for both gun buyers and gun builders.
You can get everything you need for custom builds and specialty guns on Grab a Gun.
Grab a Gun also consistently runs specials.
So this is a good site to check regularly if you’re trying to get the best price on a particular part or gun.
Academy Sports is primarily an online store. However, they have a small network of retail stores to support their online storefront. But their stores are pretty spread out. So, if you buy a gun from Academy, you may need to find an FFL for them to ship your firearm to.
But their shipping and returns policy is outstanding. So having guns shipped is usually not a problem.
Academy Sports is a complete gun store as well. They have ammo and all the additional equipment that you’ll need to get out on the range. So this is a great resource to have on your bookmarks bar.
RKGuns has a great selection and flat rate shipping on all guns. It’s a great option for those looking to buy complete firearms.
They also partner with Rural King gun stores. If you have your gun shipped to a Rural King gun store, you won’t have to pay a transfer fee for the gun.
It may not appeal to everyone, but RKGuns also stocks some exotic and historical guns for those looking for something more unique.They also have a great selection of gun accessories and ammunition. Even though these don’t qualify for flat rate shipping, the prices are pretty decent. So RKGuns could be a strong contender for the title of go-to online gun store
As you can see, there’s no shortage of online gun stores. One of them will inevitably become your favorite. However, there are a few ways to take advantage of this online diversity:
- Check all the online gun stores to find the best price. Then see if you can ask for price matching to minimize shipping costs and transfer fees.
- Contact the gun store that’s closest to you and ask about opening an account with them to help expedite the shipping and transfer process.
- If an online gun store has retail locations, check the stock at those locations. You have to go pick up the gun in person anyway. So it will always be faster to get a gun that’s sitting on the shelf at a nearby store.
With these tips in mind, these are the best options for buying guns online:
Brownells. This is slightly better for those looking to build or customize their gun, since many gun parts can be shipped directly to your home.
However, buying complete guns from them is also a solid option since they’re so proficient in the gun selling process.
Major sporting goods store websites. Cabela’s, Scheels, and Sportsman’s Warehouse are excellent places to buy firearms because they have so many options for pickup locations without shipping to a third party seller.
Additionally, they’re the sellers that are most likely to have the gun (or guns) you’re looking for in stock, which can save you the wait for shipping.
Now that you know the options and how to make the most of them, find your favorite online gun store and get some awesome guns!