If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that gun stores are essential. But that doesn’t mean we’ll always be able to make it out to one with daily work schedules, taking care of errands or family… It can be tough. Tack on long lines of panic buyers and previously empty ammunition shelves; the prospect of buying guns, ammo and gear online becomes that much more attractive.  

Pros & Cons of Buying Guns Online

So today, we’ll be talking about online gun buying, why some may or may want to do so and what the steps to buy guns online look like:

Pros to Buying Guns Online

We’ll be honest, buying brand new guns online is a bit of a last resort for us. Usually, it should be much more convenient to find a local FFL that carries what you want to purchase. In these pandemic times, though, that has proven to not be the case. We’ve personally experienced wait times as long as the Disneyland rides and even longer than the DMV. So if you’ve already done the research on a gun you want and see an online retailer with it in stock you should totally get it! Some of the biggest online retailers for guns in the nation include Scheels, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops and Omaha Outdoors

Who are we kidding, most of today’s business is done over the internet anyways. It’s really not that novel of a concept. Granted you might be worried about how a gun feels in your hands but if you invest in more time and experience with other guns and researching online reviews you should eventually be able to make a fairly educated guess on what suits your preferences. 

Plenty of private sales or ‘private party transfers’ are also handled online. It’s very common for people to bid on auctions at gunbroker.com. People will also use websites like armslist.com or tacswap.com for others to buy second hand guns or gear. There are always some good deals to be found at these online sites. 

Cons to Buying Guns Online

While the internet may open you up to a larger selection of firearms to purchase, it also opens up your wallet to some more financially poor decisions. If your private gun transaction requires an FFL to complete the transfer it’s inevitably going to cost you more money in extra fees. Let’s say you find a great deal from an online retailer that has a gun you want but can’t find anywhere in local stores — If that’s the case, you’ll need an FFL Transfer. 

One of the worst parts of buying just about anything gun-related during the pandemic is/was dealing with price gouging. People talk about prices of guns having gone up and ammo prices shooting to the moon but no one’s really addressed paperwork fees. FFL transfer fees aren’t regulated on a federal level so any gun store or FFL can decide on what they want to charge for their ‘paperwork processing fees.’ Pre-COVID it was pretty common for an FFL transfer fee to be anywhere between $25 to $65. During the height of COVID-19 we saw FFL transfer fees local to us go as high as $200. So much for that good deal found online.                                                                                                      

Steps to Buying a Gun Online

There are the steps for how to buy a gun online:

  1. Research product availability via online forums and online retailers.
  2. Confirm that the online retailer will ship that product to you.
  3. Determine which FFL you want to collect the firearm at.
  4. Call ahead to your FFL so they know to expect a package in your name. 
  5. Monitor the shipping/tracking updates.
  6. Once arrived at FFL, find time to go in person and begin DROS to start paperwork for purchase.
  7. Pay for firearm, sales tax, and paperwork fees (if any).
  8. Take firearm home (after mandatory waiting period if any).

How to Avoid a Background Check

background check form for firearm transactions atf form 4473

If you’re here to figure out how to illegally buy a gun online you’re in the wrong place. Every piece of information in this article is lawful and accurate. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t some exemptions that allow people to make firearms transactions without a 4473 Form. 


These are the following exemptions that allow citizens to legally avoid background checks when purchasing firearms:

Brady Exemption

The Brady Exemption allows buyers in certain states to purchase new firearms without a background check in stores as long as they present a valid concealed carry weapon permit identification card. 

FBI Slow Response Time

In states that have to submit background checks directly through to the FBI NICS, there is sometimes a 3 day waiting period in which is allotted to the FBI to pass or deny a buyer’s background check. If the FBI takes longer than 3 days to respond to the FFL dealer, the buyer automatically gets the right to take the firearm purchase home. There are cases where a delayed denial is issued, and at the point the ATF would send agents to retrieve the firearm from the restricted purchaser. 

Private Party Transfers

For many states, private party transfers do not require a background check. So technically, all you need to do is find a buyer via an online forum and just pay the owner in cash to transfer the gun over to your possession. For private sellers, we recommend having a signed bill of sale just so there’s some proof of record for that firearm leaving your possession. 

Buy and Build 80% Lower Receivers and Frames

5D router jig pro for building out 80 percent lower receivers

Perhaps the best method of avoiding a background check or any extra processing fees that leaves a papertrail with your name on it is to buy 80% lower receivers and frames. By building these 80% lowers out you get a highly reliable, quality and personal firearm that is (in some states, not all) legally not on the government’s radar. What could possibly be better than that? Check out what lowers we have in stock to get you started today!