Buying A New Gun

The often asked question is:  Where should I purchase my new firearm? There are many options to purchase a new gun:  local gun shops, online gun dealers, and gun shows are the most popular. Each option has it’s own pro’s and con’s; let’s review them.


Local Gun Store

The most obvious would be to go to your local gun store and purchase one there. You will pay your state sales tax and some stores charge for your background check ($10 is typical).


  • No extra shipping charges (already “baked in” to the price).
  • You don’t have to wait for the gun to be shipped.
  • Will typically offer the fastest way to handle any returns or complaints.
  • Depending on your local laws, you can pick up the firearm the same day.
  • Some stores have offer a free one day range pass when you purchase a firearm.


  • Prices are normally the highest (brick & mortar cost structure).
  • State sales tax can be expensive (and avoided when purchasing online).
  • Depending on the location the selection can be limited.


Online Gun Stores and Gunbroker

Growing rapidly among firearm purchasers, online gun stores and online auctions sites are a great way to skip out on the typical brick and mortar costs at a local gun store. The two are unique, but the purchasing process is the same. Once you pick out the firearm you want to purchase (or win a auction), you will need to fax over the FFL information to the seller/dealer so they know where to ship the firearm. Firearms cannot be shipped to an individual, so unless you have a FFL License (or a buddy that has one) you will end up paying an FFL transfer fee to the dealer you pick the firearm up from. Online gun stores can be an attractive option, but some sites charge high shipping fees.   A FFL transfer fee can range from $10 to as high as $65. Some gun shops even prefer not to accept transfers at all, so lining up a destination FFL holder to transfer the firearm to should be your first step. These costs must be considered in the total price.


  • Offers some of the cheapest prices available.
  • Typically the largest selection of firearms.
  • Convenient shopping (think 2am in your underwear).
  • Depending on your State of residence, no state sales tax.


  • Not a brick and mortar store and returns can cost you to ship back.
  • Have to pay for shipping (sometimes).
  • Still have to go to a local FFL dealer to pickup the firearm (and pay their transfer fee).
  • You will have to wait for your firearm to be shipped from the online seller.


Gun Shows

Gun shows offer a unique chance to purchase new firearms as many dealers setup shops at the local gun shows. Also available are smaller dealers that work typically at gun shows or auction sites.


  • Great deals can be found from time to time (but not likely)
  • No extra shipping (baked in).
  • Unique firearms can be available.
  • Same day firearm purchase (“at the range by noon!”).


  • State sales tax.
  • Have to pay to get into the gun show (even if you don’t find what you are looking for).
  • Have to browse through several booths and dealers to find what you are looking for.
  • Prices are typically the highest.