In recent years, the interest in recreational shooting sports and firearms ownership has skyrocketed. Naturally, ammo purchases have increased as well. While this sales growth bodes well for the gun industry as a whole, it can also make it challenging to find the right ammo for your weapons.
You could spend a day, driving around from store to store, seeing what they have in stock, and comparing prices. You might find something you want, but you’ll likely end up settling for whatever is left on the shelves. To save time, you could stay at home and simply order the ammo you want online and have it shipped to your doorstep.
But who should you buy your ammo from online? What about ordering from Amazon? If you have a Prime membership you likely already order everything from there. They carry everything from sporting goods to adventure, and survival gear. As the world’s biggest online retailer, Amazon HAS to sell ammo, right?
Where’s All The Ammo?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Amazon actually prohibits the sale of ammo. Their “seller central” page includes the following verbiage: “Amazon prohibits the listing or sale of firearm ammunition and ammunition components for assault weapons, black powder guns, handguns, muzzleloaders, pistols, shotguns, and rifles.”
With that said, it isn’t all bad news. Just because you cannot buy ammo from Amazon, doesn’t mean you can’t order it online. Many reputable online stores like Widener’s have been selling ammo online for decades. Below, we will address exactly why Amazon does not sell ammo. We even give you some great tips for buying ammo online.
Why Doesn’t Amazon Sell Ammo?
At the end of the day, Amazon is a business. An extremely successful one at that. If you think that they want a piece of the lucrative firearm industry, you’re right. They do this by selling holsters, optics, and various other firearms accessories. However, they’ve held fast to their decision to ban gun and ammo sales on the marketplace. While there are a variety of political reasons that the decision could be attributed to, the most logical answer is logistics.
Shipping Restrictions & Logistics
The most viable reason for Amazon’s gun and ammo sales ban is that selling restricted items is extremely complex. Remember, Amazon is a global company that ships products throughout the world. They have dedicated markets in many major countries, including the United States of course.
Even though Amazon has a United States-specific marketplace, selling ammo online is still a complicated undertaking. Each state has the opportunity to create its own ammo purchasing restrictions. Navigating these state laws would require Amazon to create dozens of subpages dedicated to ammo sales.
Since some states (looking at you California and New York) have decided to make buying ammo incredibly difficult. Keeping up with state rules and regulations requires additional legal staff and employee training. Amazon may have simply decided that the juice isn’t worth the squeeze.
The aforementioned states require that ammo be shipped directly to an FFL and Massachusetts has banned ammo shipments entirely. Connecticut, Illinois, and New Jersey require their residents to present a valid state ID and firearms permit at the time of sale. Alaska and Hawaii do not have legislative restrictions, but there are commercial transportation regulations that limit the transportation of ordnance via aircraft.
Can I Buy Ammo Online?
As mentioned above, you can absolutely buy ammo online. However, some states have made receiving ammo shipments unnecessarily complex.
For this reason, virtually every site that sells ammo online is a dedicated firearm and accessory provider. These sites are accustomed to navigating the shipping restrictions of various states and have tailored their page accordingly.
For example, if you live in one of the more restrictive states mentioned above, the online ammo retailer will prompt you to enter FFL information. This means that you will need to reach out to the FFL in advance and notify them of your shipment. Keep in mind that most FFLs charge a receiving fee to sign for your shipment. These fees vary, but usually, run about $50, give or take.
Buy Cheap Ammo
With that said, buying ammo online is convenient and can even save you money. Before you make your purchase, be sure to compare our prices at Widener’s. Take into account shipping costs and any receiving/FFL fees that you will have to pay. The simplest way to find the best deal is to look at the per-round price.
If you are fairly new to the firearms space or can’t find your preferred brand of ammo, research different cartridges. Oftentimes, you can find a round that performs just as good for a cheaper price.
That doesn’t mean that you should make Tula Ammo your go-to defense round for the sake of saving a few dollars. While Tula is a cheap and affordable practice round that I’ll use in a pinch, I’m not betting my life on it in a real-world scenario. But I digress.
Can I Ship Ammo?
If you can buy ammo online, you should be able to ship it too, right? Yes, you can ship ammo as long as you follow the regulations of your state and the state of the recipient. In addition, you must ensure that your shipping agent will transport ammo and also follow their guidelines.
Whatever you do, don’t attempt to ship ammo through the United States Postal Service as this is prohibited by federal law.
Both FedEx and UPS will ship ammo and have similar requirements. Your ammo package must consist of “small arms”, which is defined as cartridges no larger than .50 caliber or shotgun shells no larger than 8 gauge.
Each carrier requires a “limited quantity” marking on your box, which must weigh less than 66 pounds. Both FedEx and UPS require that you pre-schedule the pickup of your ammo and will not allow you to drop it off at a storefront location.
The bottom line to online ammo purchases is this: If you do your research and compare prices across different sites, you can get a great deal. Make sure that you stay apprised of your state’s ammo shipping requirements too. While most online retailers do a good job of building safeguards into their sales programs, it is ultimately your responsibility to follow local laws.
As long as you follow these tips, you will have a fun and simple online ammo purchasing experience.