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How To Buy a Gun Online for a Fraction of the Cost

Here's how to buy a gun online and save more than you would imagine.

Gearing up for hunting season or shopping for a new shooting range toy can be an expensive prospect, especially if you need a new handgun, rifle or shotgun.

Shopping at retail stores for a new gun is a lot like shopping for a new car. You're likely going to overpay and the gun you buy is going to deteriorate in value the minute you leave the store. That's not to mention the extra cost of a background check and taxes.

By the time you leave the store, your wallet is flat and you still have to buy accessories, ammo, and whatever else you need to turn your brand new weapon into a hunting or shooting machine.

There are ways around overspending for a gun and most involve online firearm sales.

While the term 'online gun buying' scares a lot of people, it shouldn't. Online gun sales are perfectly legal and far less expensive, if you know what you're doing and where to look.

Federal Firearms License & Shipping

Online gun sales and auction sites usually go through an Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder. There are exceptions, such as Facebook, Craigslist, Armslist and so on, but if you are concerned about the legality of a transaction, simply stick with a site that ships or goes through a licensed FFL dealer.

How it works is that you find and purchase whichever gun you want online. Once you've paid for the weapon, the seller ships the firearm to an FFL dealer of your choice.

It is your responsibility to find a local FFL dealer willing to accept shipment. Once you do, you will pick up your weapon at the FFL dealer's location, pay handling and background fees (the FFL holder will complete a background check for you) and then you will take possession of the weapon.

It is all 100% legal and completely safe. However, you do have to face the same kind of risks you would face when buying anything online as far as quality and condition of your product. For that reason, it is a good idea to only buy from reputable online sellers.

Best Auction Sites

Some of the best prices for firearms can be found at online gun auction sites. These sites offer bidders the chance to bid on used and new guns alike, usually for a lot less money than they would pay at traditional brick and mortar stores.

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Once the auction is won, the gun still has to be shipped and the same FFL rules apply, so there are no legality worries to contend with when bidding online.

A few of the best site for online gun auctions are:

Best Used Gun Sale Sites

If you aren't comfortable bidding online in order to find a good hunting weapon, there are other options. Sites offer online gun sales for used and new weapons at low costs. Buyers are subjected to all federal and state laws so no illegal gun sales occur.

Most offer shipping options like 'site to store' in order to make their online firearms transactions simple and quick. Buying a quality used gun has never been so easy and buyers have never had so many great choices within easy reach. 

Best Sites for New Weapons at Low Costs

If you are determined to buy a new weapon but still want the wide selection offered by shopping online, a few of the obvious sites are a great place to start.

While a few of the sites listed above are auction sites, they also offer 'buy it now' prices on new and used guns that are still lower than traditional gun store prices.

Sites that are Effective but Deserve a Cautious Approach

For online gun shoppers with a higher comfort level with online transactions, there are a few sites that can produce great results as long as the shopper uses caution with all dealings.

Sites like,, and offer online gun sales and are person-to-person trading/selling sites. What that means is you can buy a gun from an individual anywhere in your state (state to state transactions without an FFL are illegal).

The transaction that occurs between the two of you (buyer and seller) is not regulated by an FFL, unless you are trading or selling across state lines. You are not required to pay taxes or complete a background check to take possession of the gun. However, you are also taking a huge chance regarding the history of the gun (stolen, broken, etc...) and are risking money and more with no warranty and no protection.

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Using these sites to trade and sell guns is highly risky. Ultimately, it would be wise to opt for another method.

However, if you are cautious, know the law, and only deal with individuals willing to provide documentation, you can come out ahead by using these sites.

No matter where you choose to shop online for a new hunting weapon, you should use caution. Be wary, but don't be afraid. There are great deals to be had, you simply have to go looking for them and be ready to take advantage when you find the gun you want.


Image via Market Watch

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How To Buy a Gun Online for a Fraction of the Cost