Best Online Gun Stores – Ranked and How to Purchase [2022]

by Ryan Cleckner

September 10, 2022

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If you’re looking to buy a gun online, especially if you’re new to the process, you’ve likely got a couple of questions:

1. How do you buy a gun online?

2. What’s the best online gun store?

I’ve got some great news – we’re going to answer both of your questions by walking you through buying guns online and showing you the best places to do it!

First, we’ll show you our list of the best online gun stores followed by everything you need to know to buy guns online. 

Best Online Gun Stores

Palmetto State Armory
  • Great Prices
  • Large Selection of Guns and Accessories
  • Custom AK-47s
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Firearms Depot
  • Often the BEST Prices
  • Easy Checkout
  • Fast Shipping
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Brownells
  • Best for Parts
  • Good Selection of Guns
  • Fast Shipping
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Sportsmans Warehouse
  • Good Gun Selection
  • Hunting and Outdoor Gear
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EuroOptic
  • Specializes in Premium and Hard to Find Firearms
  • Excellent Optics Selection
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Guns.com
  • Selection of New and Used
  • Reviews and Resources
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Rainier Arms
  • Great Selection of AR-15 Parts
  • Good Selection of Handguns
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Gritr Sports
  • Large Selection of New and Used Guns
  • Many Gun Parts and Accessories
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Gun Mag Warehouse
  • BEST Selection of Magazines
  • Excellent Prices
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GunBroker
  • Online Gun Auctions
  • New and Used Firearms
  • Buy and Sell Guns
Visit Store

Understanding Buying Firearms

Before we get into buying from an online gun shop, let’s first cover how to purchase a firearm from your local gun store at a retail location.

We need to explore this first because even when you purchase a firearm online, it needs to be shipped to a local gun store where you will appear in person to pick up the firearm and complete the firearm transfer process.

A gun dealer, whether your local gun shop or an online gun dealer, must be licensed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF).

The license to sell guns is called a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and a person or business that has this license to sell guns is called an “FFL Dealer” or “Federal Firearms Licensee.”

If you’d like to skip this process and have firearms shipped directly to you at dealer prices (save money and time), you might want to consider getting your own FFL from home.

Firearm Transfer

When you purchase a firearm from an FFL Dealer, you’ll need to complete the firearm transfer process which includes appearing in person at the gun shop, presenting valid government-issued photo identification with your current residential address, completing the transfer form called ATF Form 4473, and satisfying the background check requirements.

Only after this process is complete can you leave the store with your firearm.

Again, even if you purchase the gun from an online store, it must go to a local FFL where you can go in and complete this process just as if you purchased the gun from the local FFL.

Note, this ONLY applies to actual firearms – if you’re only buying gun parts, ammunition, or accessories, those can ship from the online store directly to your home. Of course, some state laws restrict these purchases and you must know and understand them.

If you’d like to learn more about the firearm transfer process, check out our article How to Transfer Firearms.

If you’re purchasing a long gun, such as a rifle or a shotgun, you can use an FFL dealer in any state as long as the firearm is legal in your home state and the state you’re purchasing it in.

If you’re purchasing a handgun, such as a pistol or a revolver, you MUST use an FFL Dealer located in your home state of residence.

It is common for the local shop to charge you for the transfer process. This is fair because they are performing the work and taking on the ATF compliance risk while losing out on the sale to an online competitor. You should always check what a local shop charges as their transfer fees BEFORE having the online purchase shipped to them.

Buying Guns Online

Buying a gun online is very similar to purchasing a gun in a gun store. The only difference is that you purchase the firearm online from the online gun store and then, after the gun sale, have it shipped to your local FFL Dealer.

So, why purchase a firearm online?

Easy – purchasing a firearm online allows you to pick from a huge selection and helps you find the right gun at a great price.

Step 1 – Find the firearm you want online

Use our list of the best online gun stores above to find the firearm you want to purchase.

If you need help determining which gun is best for you, you should check out all of our gun reviews including our best gun reviews and some of our “Best Of” lists.

Step 2 – Purchase the firearm

Purchase the firearm from the online gun store by completing their checkout process.

Once you’ve paid for the gun, it is now yours (it belongs to you) but you can’t take possession of it until it is transferred through your FFL dealer.

Most online shops have you select the local FFL you’d like to use as part of the checkout process. However, some will email you after the transaction to determine which FFL you want to use.

Step 3 – Send a copy of your local dealer’s FFL license

In most cases, this step can be skipped as the online gun store will likely have a copy of your FFL Dealer’s license on file already.

However, if the online store has never shipped to that local FFL before, you’ll need to contact the local FFL and have them send a copy of their license to the online gun store before the firearm can be shipped.

This is also a good time to notify the local FFL that a particular firearm is coming for you and ensure that they have your contact information so that they can let you know when your firearm arrives.

Step 4 – Pick up your gun

Once your gun arrives, you show up at the local FFL dealer and complete the transfer process to take your new gun home.

We cover this process in more detail in our article on How to Buy a Gun Online.

Online Gun Store Purchase Example

Let’s say you’re looking to purchase a new handgun for concealed carry (CCW), you should start with our list of Best CCW Guns and our Best 9mm Pistols articles.

Once you’ve decided which gun is right for you, start using our list of the best online gun stores to look through their selection and find the best price.

Find a local FFL that will conduct the transfer for you and let them know to expect the firearm.

Next, you’ll purchase the firearm from the online shop and select your local FFL as the shipping destination.

Once it arrives, go into your local gun shop and complete the transfer process to take your new gun home.

Congratulations, you’ve now purchased a gun online and are the new owner of your firearm.

Best Online Gun Shop FAQ

Q: Why should I use this list of the best online gun shops?

A: You should use this list of the best online gun shops because these are reputable online gun stores, with great selections, that will ensure a simple and safe transaction.

Q: Is the process the same for purchasing ammunition online?

A: No, purchasing ammunition online, in most cases, can ship straight to your door.

Q: If I buy a gun online, can it ship to my home?

A: No, a gun purchased online can not be shipped to your home unless you have an FFL. The gun must be shipped to a local gun shop.

Q: What does it mean to transfer a firearm?

A: Transferring a firearm means taking possession of a firearm from an FFL dealer after filling out paperwork and satisfying background check requirements.

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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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