Best FFL Bound Book

by Ryan Cleckner

January 11, 2024

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Federal Firearm Licensees (FFLs), such as gun dealers (whether home-based FFLs or retail storefronts), gunsmiths, and manufacturers, are subject to Federal firearms laws and ATF rules and regulations.

FFL Compliance with these laws and regulations is incredibly important – it not only helps to keep the FFL out of trouble with the ATF, to also helps to prevent the criminal mis-use of firearms.

As a firearm attorney, I’ve represented HUNDREDS of FFLs across the country and have help them set up their compliance processes to keep them out of trouble and also helped them to fight the ATF if they came to me after they already had a problem.

Most of the requirements for FFLs concern proper record-keeping for various transactions. Therefore, most of the problems FFLs get themselves into revolve around problems with their records – either the wrong format/system or wrong information.

The heart of an FFL’s records is the Acquisition and Disposition Book, sometimes called the A&D Book or the Bound Book.

In my years of experience, I’ve seen it all – In this article, I hope that I’ll be able to help you in at least one area of ATF compliance – choosing the Best FFL Bound Book. Once you’ve chosen the best A&D log, you might need some help filling it out properly – we’ve got you covered there too with these articles:

Types of Bound Books

When it comes to Bound Books (A&D books), there are really two main categories: manual books (both paper and electronic) and FFL Software. Sure, we could divide them by paper and electronic, but as you’ll see, some electronic solutions (like an excel spreadsheet) offer some benefits over paper, however, they must still be manually created and maintained.

Manual Bound Books: If you’re a smaller FFL (like a home-based FFL), a manual solution can make a lot of sense.

FFL Software: If you’re running a retail operation, OR you want to make sure that you’re not making certain mistakes so you can stay out of trouble, OR you’d like additional features that will help with more than just your bound book (4473, background checks, etc), a software solution may be best for you.

Yes, FFL software can cover much more than just a bound book – if you’d like to see how they compare with other features, check out Best FFL Software.

Best FFL Bound Books Compared

In the below table, you can find our favorite bound book in each of the categories listed above. 

However, if you’re interested in seeing a list of individual solutions in each category, you can scroll down (or click the category of bound book below) and see how each option ranked with more detail.

  • Best Manual Bound Books
  • Best Software Bound Books

So, with that, let’s look at the top options and see how they compare.

Best FFL Bound Book by Category

Best Overall

FastBound

FastBound
  • Author’s Choice
  • Extra Features (4473, etc)
  • A Bit Pricey
See Pricing
Best Manual (Electronic)

Microsoft Excel

Microsoft Excel
  • Simple
  • Inexpensive (likely use Microsoft for other tasks)
  • Complicated to organize and use
  • Must set up properly to be legal
See Pricing
Firearm Acquisition and Disposition Record
  • Best Paper Version
  • Inexpensive
  • Difficult to Search/Edit
See on Amazon

List of the Best FFL Bound Books

Review of the Best Overall FFL Bound Book

It was hard for me to pick a “best” bound book for you as an FFL without knowing your specific needs.

For example, you may loathe computers and only want to use paper (I’ll ignore asking how you’re reading this article if you don’t like computers).

Or, you may want electronic records but you may not want software and a monthly fee for extra features that you’ll never use.

Despite those limitations, I can easily say that FastBound is the best solution as a bound book – although it may not fit your exact needs.

1. Fastbound FFL Compliance Software : Best Overall

Editor's Choice
Fastbound FFL software review

Fastbound FFL Compliance Software

Great bound book for FFLs with many extra compliance features.

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  • Interface A-
  • Features A
  • Compliance A
  • Price A

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

F

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

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Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

FastBound Review (#1 Recommended)

FastBound was rated as the best FFL compliance software and, as yo can see, we also rated it as the best bound book – this is partially because the bound book is the heart of their compliance software but also because their bound book, by itself, is a great solution even if you ignore the rest of the features.

Also, partnered/backed by FFL Guard, a firearms compliance law firm, they have a solid team of people to support and ensure they stay compliant with ATF rules and regulations. And, full disclosure, I was previously an attorney with FFL Guard and I went through the system thoroughly to approve it as compliant.

Eastbound claims that you are “100% covered by a legal defense against ATF.”  This doesn’t mean that if you individually have a problem that you get free legal coverage (similar to CCW insurance).  Instead it just means that they have their legal team verifying their software stays compliant, and that if their software causes you problems with the ATF, they will help represent you against the ATF.

Their bound book is a solid system with a good interface that makes it easy to manage your inventory. They also have the option to allow you to make your daily backups and auto-track any edits you make.

I have personally seen good results from using this software in multiple ATF inspections that I have been. part of.

Fast Bound Pricing: 

When it comes to pricing, Eastbound is fairly competitive for a bound book.  They are by no means the cheapest – for example, you can easily use an Excel spreadsheet or a paper bound book if you like, however, you need to stay vigilant and ensure that you’re doing things correctly.

Eastbound tiers their pricing so that FFLs with low volume of transactions can save money whereas bigger FFLs will have to pay more for their service.

Transactions Per YearPrice
100$9 per month
500$24 per month
1,000$34 per month
2,500$49 per month
5,000$79 per month
10,000$99 per month

Fast Bound Pros and Cons

  • Top interface
  • Includes all necessary features
  • Backed by legal team
  • No free option for low transactions

Final Recommendation on FastBound

This is the author’s choice because it is a solid bound book for FFLs and has many extra features for those that don’t mind paying for them. Read more about Fastbound’s software.

Reviews of the Best Manual Bound Books (paper and electronic)

Manual Bound books can be a great option for FFLs that are looking to save some money (there’s still a cost) and don’t mind managing and maintaining their bound books themselves.

If you’re a low-volume dealer and don’t want software running your ATF compliance, but you’re willing to put in the extra effort to ensure that you’re operating compliantly and don’t need the benefits of edits, searching for items, customer management, etc, then manual bound books are for you.

Best Manual Bound Books (Electronic and Paper):

#1 Best Manual (Electronic) Microsoft Excel Bound Book

Microsoft Excel Logo

Microsoft Excel Bound Book

Microsoft Excel is the best electronic manual solution, but it is the bare minimum you should be using and can cause serious issues if not set up and managed properly.

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  • Interface C
  • Features D+
  • Compliance C-
  • Price B

Our Grade

C

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This FFL? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Review

Microsoft excel spreadsheets can be used as a bound book, however, they are the BARE MINIMUM electronic solution.

They can work (I’ve used them on personal FFLs for years, but they lack compliance features of FFL software and they MUST be set up and run properly in order to be compliant.

They might seem like the simplest solution, and they can be if you are good with Excel and know the ATF compliance rules for record keeping inside and out. However, if you’d like a better interface (that’s easier to stay out of trouble), you should consider Excel as a manual solution.

Spreadsheet Pricing: When it comes to cost, some people consider Excel to be free. However, this is only technically true if you have already purchased Microsoft Excel for something else, at the time of this writing there is no truly free ATF bound book solution.

ATF Requirements: Microsoft Excel can be made to work for FFL bound books, however, it only meets ATF requirements for electronic bound books if you put in the work to ensure the right backups are made (especially if you’re keeping the files in the cloud), the right printouts are made and kept, and the audit trail for edits is handled properly.

Microsoft Excel Pros and Cons

  • Fairly inexpensive (not “free”)
  • Better than pen and paper for ease of use
  • Difficult to set up and run properly
  • No automatic audit trail or backups/downloads
  • Lacks features of software

#1 Best Manual (Paper) Firearm Acquisition and Disposition Record Book

Paper Bound Book

Firearm Acquisition and Disposition Record Book

An old-fashioned paper bound book can make a lot of sense for those that want to keep things simple.

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  • Interface D-
  • Features D-
  • Compliance A
  • Price B+

Our Grade

C+

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

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Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

Firearms Acquisition and Disposition Book Review

If you want a pen and paper method of keeping your A&D book for your FFL, then there’s really only one option for you: an actual paper “bound book.”

These can be good in some situations – after all, there’s no need for a computer, they seem simple enough, and there’s not specific ATF requirements for electronic bound books to keep up with.

However, you can get into a lot of trouble – quickly.

In my experience representing hundreds of FFLs against the ATF for compliance violations, a paper bound book like this is almost a sure sign that the FFL is going to end up getting into trouble with the ATF.

No, it’s not because of the paper bound book.

Instead, it seems to be a trend (in my experience) that FFLs who don’t care enough about compliance to keep a sophisticated record keeping system, end up having troubles in other areas too.

Also, you must be vigilant if you are using any manual method, however, this paper book is easier to stay compliant than with an excel spreadsheet above because the audit trail for edits is obvious and there are no backup requirements. However, if you lose or damage the book, you’re… well… screwed.

A&D Record Book Pricing: This book from Amazon is $25 and fairly affordable.

Paper Bound Book Pros and Cons

  • Fairly inexpensive (not “free”)
  • Easier to stay compliant than Excel
  • No searching/sorting
  • If lost or damaged, you’re in a LOT of trouble
  • Time consuming

Best Software Bound Books

Technically, the best software bound book is FastBound but since we included them above as the author’s choice, we’re listing the remaining software solutions here.

List of Best Software Bound Books:

#1 FFL Boss Compliance Software : (second best software)

FFL Boss compliance software review

FFL Boss Compliance Software

FFL Boss is our second place FFL Bound Book. It has all the features needed but isn’t price competitive.

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  • Interface B+
  • Features A
  • Compliance A
  • Price B+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

F+

Based on 2 Reviews

Your Grade

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FFL Boss Review – 2nd with Problems

FFLBoss gets second place both here and in our Best FFL Software review because it is not as easy to use as Fastbound – a lot of this has to do with how the software is paid-out and how the menus/functions work.

Also, FFL Boss is more expensive (we compared the top tiers of each) than FastBound.

If you’re looking to see how FFL Boss compares to Fastbound in all features, you have to check out their comparison in our software review as this article is just my comparison of each solutions bound books.

And, as far as bound books go, they’re each very similar – they each record what needs to be recorded and allow you to search for firearms and transactions.

However the interface of FFL Boss along with some other company issues detailed in our software comparison, put FFL Boss into second place.

Pricing for FFL Boss: 

FFL Boss Pros and Cons

  • Good enough bound book
  • Has all necessary features
  • More expensive than competitor
  • Internal turmoil

Final Recommendation for FFL Boss

Don’t get FFL Boss unless you like the look of their software so much that you’d be willing to pay more than Fastbound.

Read our full FFL Boss review.

3. Gun Store Master Compliance Software

Gun store master FFL compliance software review

Gun Store Master Compliance Software

Effective FFL bound book, but not as great or price competitive as others.

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  • Interface B-
  • Features A
  • Compliance A
  • Price B-

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

F

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

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Gun Store Master Review

Gunstore Master looks a bit out-dated in its interface, however, they do a good job of moving you through the steps of each transaction.

This is clearly an effective bound book but if you look at the pricing, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

First, they are more expensive than FastBound and you’re only really getting the bound book feature. Sure, that’s what you’re here looking for but if you’re going to pay for FFL software every month, wouldn’t you want all the extras that FastBound offers without paying more?   

On pricing benefit is that Gun Store Master allows unlimited transactions whereas Fast Bound software does not. This might sound like a big benefit – and it is…sort of.

If you’re going to save money with unlimited transactions, you’d need to acquire over 2,500 guns in a month.  If you’re doing this much business, we think you could afford to pay for a more robust software.  

Pricing for Gun Store Master: 

Gun Store Master Pros and Cons

  • Has all the necessary bound book features
  • Expensive compared to others
  • Outdated Interface

Final Recommendation for Gun Store Master

I do not recommend Gun Store master because it is too expensive for an electronic A&D bound book alone. 

4. EZ Arms Keeper Compliance Software

EZ Arms Keeper FFL software review

EZ Arms Keeper Compliance Software

Price savings on outdated software – also only works naturally on some Windows devices.

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  • Interface D
  • Features B+
  • Compliance A-
  • Price A

Our Grade

B

Reader’s Grade

D-

Based on 1 Reviews

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EZ Arms Keeper Review

EZ Arms Keeper FFL software is near the bottom of our list for bound books.  This is because of how it looks (interface) and how it only works on some Windows machines.

According to their website, it only works on “Microsoft 8.1, 10, and 11 systems. It claims that it runs on MacOS, however, you need to purchase something like VMWare or Parallels and partition your hard drive in order to use it – that’s not really working on MacOS – it is effectively installing windows on your Mac.

EZ Arms Keeper Pricing:

If you’re new or a home-based FFL and want basic software, this probably isn’t the most cost effective option. However, if you have loads of transactions, then you could save money by using EZ Arms Keeper.

EZ Arms Keeper Pros and Cons

  • Pricing can be decent depending on level
  • Outdated Interface
  • Only works naturally on Windows

Final Recommendation for EZ Arms Keeper

While the interface is outdated, and it only naturally works on windows, the pricing on this could be reasonable for you if you have lots of transactions (over 500 a year).

Easy Bound Book FFL compliance software review

Easy Bound Book Compliance Software

This is not the FFL-compliant software you should be looking for.

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  • Interface D
  • Features C
  • Compliance D
  • Price C

Our Grade

C-

Reader’s Grade

F

Based on 1 Reviews

Your Grade

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Added To Our Reader’s Score

Easy Bound Book Review

Easy Bound Book is win last place because it is frustrating to figure out which product and plan you need and doesn’t feel like they serve FFLs in all of the areas they need.  We tried working with it and just gave up on it. 

Recommendation on Easy Bound Book:  If you are looking for FFL-compliant software, the ones listed above would suit you better than this.  I do not recommend trying them when the options above fit all needs and will do a great job – and with less headache.  

Compliance Software for FFLs vs Bound Books

Compliance software generally includes a bound book function along with other features like 4473s, background checks, and customer databases.

If you’re looking for just a bound book, then one of the manual options above could work. However, using a manual bound book can come with some serious compliance risks – jumping up to software, if the price is right, makes a lot of sense for most FFls.

Compliance FFL Software: 

If you’re an FFL, regardless of the type of business you’re running, from a home-based FFL, to internet gun sales, manufacturing, or gunsmithing, you NEED a compliance solution. This solution can be pen and paper but the right compliance software makes things MUCH easier (and it keeps you out of trouble with the ATF).

Compliance requirements that can be streamlined with compliance software include your acquisition and disposition (A&D) book, electronic 4473s, multiple sales forms, manufacturing records, and more.

Who needs Compliance Software?  Every FFL owner, whether homebased or large store needs compliance software.  

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About Ryan Cleckner

Ryan is a former special operations sniper (1/75 Ranger) and current firearms attorney, firearms industry executive, university lecturer, and bestselling author of the Long Range Shooting Handbook.

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