buying a gun online

E-commerce has taken the world by storm in recent years and has become the biggest source of retail products. You can buy just about anything online, and guns are no exception.

If you’re curious about the process of buying a gun online, you’re in the right place. We’ll go over everything you need to know to successfully purchase your next firearm online, the benefits of doing so, and a few more things you should keep in mind.

Yes, you can buy a gun online, and it’s perfectly legal!

If you’re new to guns, you may be surprised that buying a gun online is even an option. Not only is it perfectly legal to buy a gun online, but it’s a growing marketplace where you can find whatever you’re looking for.

Since you can’t just buy a gun online and have it shipped directly to your home, there are a few more steps you need to complete before you can complete your online gun purchase. When you order a gun online, you must have it shipped to an FFL (Federal Firearms License) dealer, at which point you will complete the paperwork and take possession of your new gun.

While laws for online gun sales may vary from state to state, it’s generally an easy process in most of the U.S. and not all that different from purchasing a gun directly through a gun store.

PLEASE NOTE: we are not a legal authority on U.S. firearms law. This article is intended for general information. Please consult your local laws or a legal professional if you are unsure whether you can legally obtain a firearm, as gun laws vary by state and municipality.

Benefits of purchasing a gun online

You may be wondering why you would buy a gun online instead of just buy one at your local gun store. Well, why do we choose to buy the things online at in the first place? For the same reasons we by anything else online! By shopping online, you can find great deals, and hard to find guns that you probably wouldn’t be able to get at your local gun store.

Online shopping is especially useful for used guns. There is a huge market for used guns online, and since gun stores focus more on selling brand new guns, used guns may be limited and hard to find locally.

By shopping online for a gun, you can also search for just about any firearm model you can think of, no matter how obscure. If you have a specific gun in mind that you must have, instead of driving for hours upon hours to find what you’re looking for, you can shop for it from the comfort of your computer or mobile device. Online shopping has made finding specific items much more convenient, and this is especially true for firearms. Gun stores are limited to what they can carry in their inventory, but online you can search far and wide for what you want.

Great deals can also be found when shopping for guns online. Just like any other online retailer, online gun marketplaces will have promotional deals, flash sales, and notify you through their email list so you don’t miss out.

How is buying a gun online different than buying one directly through a gun store?

As mentioned previously, you can’t just buy a gun online and have it shipped directly to your home. Regardless of what state you live in, that would be illegal.

Instead, you must have your gun shipped to an FFL dealer. Aside from the part where you order the gun online, the process of buying a gun online is no different than buying one directly through a gun store.

Once your gun has arrived at your FFL, you’ll just need to provide a photo ID, fill out ATF form 4473, pass the NICS background check, and then you’re ready to take home your new gun, unless a waiting period is required in your state. This is the same exact process you would go through if you bought a gun directly through a gun store or other type of FFL dealer.

Steps for buying a gun online

Buying a gun online is truly an easy process. While not all online retailers have the exact same process, this should provide you a general outline. Most online retailers will clearly explain the steps to complete an online gun order and be transferred to an FFL dealer.

Step 1: Order through an online retailer

The first step to buying a gun online is finding the gun you want and placing an order with an online retailer. At this time, you will also have to provide payment for the purchase.

Step 2: Choose an FFL 

Before you’ll be able to complete the checkout process with the online retailer, you must select an FFL to send the gun to. You’ll of course want to choose one locally so you don’t have to go too far out of your way.

Anywhere that sells firearms will have an FFL. These can be gun stores, chain outdoor retailers like Bass Pro Shops and Sportsman’s Warehouse, and even pawn shops.

Step 3: Arrange the firearm transfer

The next step is to arrange the transfer of the firearm to the FFL. Most of the time the online retailer will need a copy of the FFL, but due to the popularity of online firearms sales they may already have it on file.

Before you complete the order, make sure to contact the FFL and give them your contact information so they know to expect the transfer and can notify you when it has arrived. Keep in mind that FFLs usually charge transfer fee, which will vary from place to place. You’ll typically pay this fee when you go to the FFL to get your gun.

Step 4: Go to your FFL to complete paperwork and pick up your gun

The final step is to go to your FFL dealer when your gun is ready. Once you arrive at the FFL, you’ll just need to complete the paperwork before you can take home your new gun.

This paperwork is the same exact thing that you would complete if you purchased a gun directly through an FFL dealer without ordering online.

This is generally a straightforward process, and the FFL dealer will walk you through it and process the information for you. Since you’ve already paid for your firearm, after the paperwork and background check is completed and it confirms you’re not a prohibited person, you’ll just need to pay the FFL transfer fee if applicable.

Unless your state requires a waiting period, you can now take home your new gun and get it ready to take to the range ASAP!

Regulations may vary from state to state

Unfortunately, online gun sales are not easy for all consumers. Some states may restrict or outright ban online gun sales, even through FFL dealers. You may be restricted by the type of gun, where the gun is being sold from, and other factors depending on the state you live in.

Make sure you familiarize yourself with your state’s laws about online gun sales and FFL laws to save yourself some time and frustration.


Buying a gun online doesn’t have to be difficult or intimidating. Once you realize how simple the process can be, you’ll see that it’s a great way to buy a gun securely and legally.

With the many benefits and convenience of online gun shopping, don’t let yourself miss out on some great deals and truly unique firearms simply because you’re reluctant to give it a try.

For a more detailed explanation you can download our free eBook on How to Buy and Sell Guns Online.