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NGIB 04-20-2010 10:05 AM

Buying online
I have bought guns online from Gunbroker, Auction Arms, Bud's Gun Shop, and a few others. Many folks see the low prices and immediately figure this is the best way to go. Just want people to know that the initial low price is not the total cost of the gun. Many of the online dealers charge a fee for credit or debit cards, and 3% is the rate I see most often. To avoid this, you have to mail a check or money order - and if it's a check you'll have to wait for it to clear.

Next is the shipping charge, which can range from $15 to a lot more. Finally, there is the FFL fee that your local dealer will charge for receiving the gun and this can range from $10 to a lot more. Be sure you figure in all these extras when you are price shopping as many times that online deal isn't as great as it appears. Besides, when you buy online the first time you'll see and hold your gun is after you've paid for it.

I'm a firm believer in developing a relationship with my local dealers. Sure, some shops are "pirates" but many are not. My local guy bends over backwards to make sure his customers are happy and always gives them a fair deal. Your local dealer knows the online prices and most will try very hard to be competitive. They also offer support, advice, and they are contributing members of your community. I for one never want our local dealers to go away so make sure to look at the big picture when making that next purchase.

BTW, the only times I have bought online was to get guns that were not available locally - generally unique used guns...

c3shooter 04-20-2010 11:12 AM

The Irishman is 100+ on this one. I shop 3 local dealers (was 4, but one closed- slow sales) but I also shop Gunbrokers and AuctionArms. Much of my interest in collecting is older Mossberg rifles- and they can be scarce. Having an 03 C&R FFL DOES eliminate the $25-$50 fee a local FFL would charge, but shipping costs now average about $30.

And I really would like for my local dealer to still be in business the day I need a box of .22 ammo, or a single screw for a scope mount, or need my fishing license renewed, or.... well, you get the idea.

UnderFire 04-20-2010 11:40 AM

Online sales has it's advantages, but what I have seen it keeps the local stores very competitive with pricing. With my local gun store I can print out an online ad for a gun and show it to the local store owner and he does what he can to beat it or at least match it. Sometimes he has told customers, "you better buy that online". Very seldom, but he has redirected customers to the net. Like mentioned online sales are great for the hard to find items.

Poink88 04-20-2010 11:40 AM

I always factor those (shipping, insurance, CC fee, and FFL) but the counter for local purchases is TAX (8.25% to some of us). On a firearm...most of the time, it makes up for any of the charges you mentioned.

I am a firm believer of patronizing local business as well...but they have to do their part to keep me as a customer.

My FFL who charges $10 per firearm is farther than some but I willingly drive the extra 5 miles each way to patronize him. I always give him more than his asking fee.

utf59 04-20-2010 02:39 PM

Remember that state sales tax can work in two different ways. If you buy from the dealer, you pay sales tax. If you buy online from a place in your state of residence, you still pay sales tax. Plus shipping. And unless they make the phone call, they'll still ship to an FFL, so there will still be a transfer fee.

Concerning transfer fees, some places are cheap, others less so. And there are some shops that charge a percentage of the price of the gun since you aren't buying it from them. So if you do buy online, make sure you have researched a good FFL to deal with.

I'm very happy that online sales are available since that opens up the market greatly. But so far, local dealers have gotten my business. Their prices have been competitive, I get to hold and inspect the exact gun I'm going to buy, and if there's an issue, they do what they can to make it right.

I don't know about everyone else, but the largest dealer in my area also has an online presence, both through their website and on gunbroker.

Txhillbilly 04-21-2010 03:03 AM

I have bought and sold online,and it's a great way to find guns that your local dealers don't have or their distributors don't stock.
If I want a new gun,I always give my dealer the first chance at it,sometimes he can give me the low price,sometimes not. If there isn't much difference in the price,I always get it from my local dealer,but he doesn't mind if I don't because he's still going to make money on the transfer.And alot of the time it is as much if not more than he would make if I had bought the gun from him.

Flat4sti 04-28-2010 05:33 PM

I was about to post a thread about want everyone thinks about online ordering and this cleared things up. I am looking into getting a pistol and am in the process of doing my research. I for one have always been one to try to support my local business. After the fees associated with ordering it still comes close to what i can get it for in the store. So I don't know. Right now i am thinking about a PX4 .40.

adjohns3 05-01-2010 12:38 AM

I went to local store here downtown (store has been in business since 1972) and showed them the sheets from the online auctions on what I was looking for.
He had the exact gun, (TWO of new and one used) with a Crimson Trace laser--exactly what I wanted.

His price was over 20% higher, even after adding for the FFL, shipping costs. I told the local guy I would prefer to buy from them, support their shop and do business with them. All they had to do was be competitive and in my mind on this deal I was willing to pay around 10-15% MORE but was simply asking them to cut me a little slack on the deal.

Owner, and the son actually got "insulted" that I asked them to go so much under their price???

I came home, signed on computer and bought the online gun, called my FFL dealer, who FAX'd his info to selling dealer, paid with my VISA (2% charge), all within 30 minutes.

I received a UPS overnight shipping tracking order from the seller within two hours and the gun is on the way.

I bet IF I were to go back in the downtown shop 30-60 days from now, the guys will still have that gun.
Beats the heck out of me, but sometimes you just can't help the local guy!


skullcrusher 05-01-2010 01:03 AM


Originally Posted by adjohns3 (Post 278784)
I bet IF I were to go back in the downtown shop 30-60 days from now, the guys will still have that gun.
Beats the heck out of me, but sometimes you just can't help the local guy!


That is a sad way to do business. I probably would not go back to them.

My last purchase I was going to get online. I called a shop near me to check on transfer, and I asked if he had what I was looking for. He did, but more expensive. I told him what the price I saw online, and he came down in price. Not all the way down, but a bit under what it would have cost with the transfer. He got my business, and will continue to do so. Funny, but everytime I am in his shop, it is always packed. I wonder why? :D

PIMking 05-01-2010 01:16 AM

Okay cut me some slack I'm new.

What is a FFL dealer? I have been looking for a smaller pistol but no one seems to carry it so how do I go about doing this?

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