7 Best Places To Buy Ammo Online Right Now

Best Places To Buy Ammo OnlineBuying ammo online is often more convenient than going to the store!

Gone are the days of having to find the nearest store and hoping they have the specific ammo you want in stock.

Today, buying ammo online can be more convenient and cheaper.

But understandably, many folks are still skeptical and uncertain.

So today, we’re going to clear the air.

I’m going to share everything I know about buying ammo online, specifically:

**Note: If you just want to know our top places to buy ammo online, feel free to SKIP AHEAD HERE.

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handgun and ammunition

CAN YOU BUY AMMO ONLINE? YES


Like most products, many folks CAN buy ammunition online these days. But unlike other products, it’s NOT a one-click experience.

Buying ammo is a bit more complicated than buying a T-shirt from your favorite online stores.

Assuming you’re in the US, there are restrictions on ammunition types and quantities. You must meet some of these requirements before you can complete your purchase.

And the rules governing online ammunition sales change from State to State. And some even vary within specific municipalities.

So be sure to read up on the rules in your area before ordering. It’ll save you a ton of frustration in the end!

Age Requirements

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives website:

Minimum age restrictions for the purchase of firearms and ammunition are a part of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968:

  • You must be at least 18 years old to purchase shotgun and rifle ammunition
  • You must be 21 years old to buy a handgun and other (non-rifle or shotgun) ammunition

Keep in mind that these are the federal MINIMUM age restrictions.

Many local governments have even stricter standards. And some online retailers have their own age restrictions.

Some State-Specific Restrictions

As mentioned above, many states and cities have enacted their own tighter restrictions.

Some of these added restrictions are due to public safety concerns. Others are due to the difficulty of shipping hazardous materials such as:

So let’s go over a few examples of more stringent state regulations when this article was published (you should look up your local regulations before you attempt to buy ammo online):

California

Many California cities do not allow receiving shipments of ammo. Cities such as Beverly Hills, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles…

Alaska

No online purchases of ammo or primer shipped from the continental US. This limitation is primarily due to shipping concerns.

Hawaii

Like Alaska, no ammo or primer shipments due to shipping concerns.

Illinois

Chicago prohibits online purchases of ammunition altogether.

New York

All online ammunition orders must go to a local vendor with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Some cities (NYC, Buffalo, Rochester) prohibit any online ammo purchases.

Washington DC

Prohibits all online ammunition sales.

As noted above, these are just a sample of the local gun laws you may have to contend with.

So always check your own local/state/federal laws. Do yourself a favor and do your homework before placing an online ammunition order.

Some vendors also have particular restrictions due to their location. Or prefer to avoid any headaches in dealing with shipments to specific states or cities.

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357 Caliber hollow point bullets near revolver pistol gun on black background

HOW TO PLAN ONLINE AMMO PURCHASES


Purchasing ammunition online isn’t rocket science. But you still need to do your research.

For example, each online retailer will have different policies regarding:

  • Maximum quantities
  • Caliber availability
  • Ammunition types

They also frequently have varying shipping and return policies as well. These policies can add to your final purchase price.

Also, take time to check for customer reviews and ratings on OTHER sites. Always be skeptical of reviews posted on the retailer’s own site. They are often heavily curated to provide an excellent brand image.

That’s why it’s worth reading the fine print for each retailer and looking for your best deal. But be flexible, as you’re ultimately at the mercy of who actually HAS ammunition in stock.

Decide What You Want To Buying (and Why)?

Back in the day, I recall the overwhelming number of ammo choices at our local sporting goods store. For example, the 12-gauge shotgun ammo took up several shelving units alone!

Before shopping, I had to think about what I was planning to do, was I:

  • Hunting waterfowl?
  • Target shooting?
  • Upland birds?
  • Or even big game?

So I’d start by narrowing my choices between:

  • toxic vs. non-toxic loads,
  • heavy vs. light loads
  • density patterns
  • shot vs. slugs
  • etc.

This process isn’t any different than what you need to do when shopping in person. But now imagine the shelves nearly empty and a dozen other shoppers staring at the same couple boxes.

The urge to buy SOMETHING NOW can get overwhelming. But if you buy the wrong ammo, it’s almost worse than not buying anything at all.

Think through the use and type of ammunition, how many rounds you feel you need, and what you’re willing to spend.

These things are all interrelated. For example, it’s far easier to justify spending more on self-defense rounds. Because you know your life might depend on them someday.

But with those rounds, a day at the range would break the bank. So, in that case, opt for a more economical round.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help

The first time I bought ammunition online, it was an intimidating task.

I wanted to make sure I did it right to avoid any legal issues or wasted time and money.

If you’ve got friends who buy online, it’s beneficial to ask them for recommendations. And even ask for their help in making your first order.

Sure, their ammunition preferences and needs may not be the same as yours. But they can often help steer you clear of less-reputable retailers.

And they can show you some of the tricks to keep informed of rapidly changing in-stock options at any given site.

For example, if several friends use the same place, they likely have a quality product at a reasonable price.

Do Your Homework

“Cheap” ammunition isn’t cheap. So start by treating your online ammo purchases like any other significant investment.

Despite the help you get from friends, it’s always best to do your own research.

  • First, focus on the best, time-tested brands
  • Next, research for retailers with the best prices and flexible policies
  • Now, figure out how long shipping takes and research their specific return policy
  • Finally, double-check for any fine print or any extra costs

When you start purchasing, I suggest buying a couple of smaller boxes first. You may want to buy various calibers or brands for testing. Do this before committing to a larger purchase.

Because the more info you have at your disposal, the better your ammo buying decisions will be. This testing phase will help avoid panic buying and get you more for your money.

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9mm pistol bullets on old wooden table.

HOW TO AVOID GETTING RIPPED OFF WHEN BUYING AMMO ONLINE


One of the significant concerns that buyers have when shopping online is:

“How do I know I’m not getting ripped off?”

Just like ALL online purchases, you’re right to be cautious. This is even MORE critical when buying ammunition online.

Why? Because it’s a major purchase of a critical item – one with high cost AND scarcity.

Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, it’s hard to get a feel for whether an online shop is legitimate or not.

You have to look for other clues and ask yourself some serious questions.

  • Does the website prices and promotions too good to be true?
  • Can you find online reviews (on other trusted sites) of the retailer?
  • Are the buying, shipping, and return policies well documented on the website?
  • Do they readily display contact information? Does it list a physical address and phone number, or just a PO Box and email?
  • Does the website appear well designed and professionally maintained?

If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” I strongly suggest caution!

You must always be on the lookout for online scams. Internet scams are on the rise nowadays with the ease of building a simple website.

So always be critical and discerning when selecting an online marketplace for ammunition.

Second, it’s essential to determine if the products are up to your quality standards. When first purchasing from a new seller, it’s wise to proceed slowly. Start with purchasing smaller quantities initially.

Once you receive it, check it over carefully, and be sure to test some rounds at the range.

It’s far better to find out you have ONE box of bad ammo than an entire case. This check is especially true if you haven’t tested a company’s return policy yet.

Once they’ve proven themselves, you can move to larger order sizes with confidence.

Even so, be sure to inspect your shipments as they arrive and always test random samples. It’s much easier to work with customer service and return or replace faulty ammo if you catch it early.

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A FEW REASONS WHY AMMO SUPPLIES ARE SO LIMITED


Lots of variables are affecting the current availability of ammunition. But those individual variables ALWAYS add up to the same age-old adage:

Supply vs. Demand

Let’s talk “Supply” and “Demand.”

Note the analysis below is for early 2021 – overtime, supply chains shift, laws change, etc.

First off, the global pandemic is affecting all supply chains. Such as upset event creates unusual spikes and dips in the availability of a wide range of products.

China is a big player in much of the world’s raw materials and finished goods. It’s no wonder trade restrictions and travel bans created major supply chain hiccups.

Right now, raw materials prices such as brass, lead, and steel are at near-record highs. Some countries are enacting rationing to produce necessary goods. These current rationing efforts are similar to wartime production measures.

Countries are trying to work out new trade and public health policies. These efforts are to allow for smoother international exchange of goods. But until then, we’re left to increase domestic production of these materials to fill the gap.

All these efforts to fix the supply chain is a slow process. It’s like trying to turn around a battleship on a dime – ain’t gonna happen.

It’s got a very long curve of infrastructure construction and workforce training needed.

And raw materials are not the only issue at hand. More complex components (like gunpowder and primers) require complicated manufacturing processes. They also demand skilled tradespeople to ensure quality products.

At the same time, a flood of new (and old) buyers and snapping up all the ammo they can get their hands on.

The last significant shortage was during the Obama Administration. Back then, many feared chatter of new firearm laws. Laws that could lead to restricting the type and number of guns the public could purchase.

This situation led to years of stockpiling. And it took years of adding more production capacity to match the demand spike.

But after the Trump election, these same buyers felt less urge to add to their stockpiles. Under the Trump administration, buyers felt confident in no new firearm restrictions.

Sales of new weapons dropped, and ammunition purchases leveled off. But this left manufacturers with excess inventory and production capacity.

Excessive capacity then became an unnecessary cost in the new political climate. Ammo brands followed suit by closing some factories and reducing their workforce.

These political shifts and the resulting changes in purchasing patterns are nothing new. They happen nearly every time the political affiliation of the sitting president changes.

The bottom line is this:

The market was not prepared for the global COVID-19 pandemic and the drastic turn in demand of 2020.

Within weeks, many countries began to shut down borders, and global trade suffered. Civil unrest also came into the national spotlight due to many factors.

These combinations of surprising events caused a massive swing towards emergency preparedness.

As with any commodity in an emergency, ammo storage became popular again. Ammunition was bought faster than it could be produced.

Some stores even put restrictions on how much ammo could be sold in one transaction. This restriction fed the panic-buying even further.

I even saw people “hiding” popular calibers in the clothing and footwear departments. They were hoping to come back for a second purchase later in the day.

No joke, I tried on a pair of boots only to find one was stuffed with boxes of .22LR. And the was the same caliber that happened to be sold out on the shelves.

When Will The Shortages End?

It’s tough for any industry to respond to these kinds of extreme swings.

Ammunition manufacturers are bringing as much production back online as possible. This includes the recent sale of Remington Ammunition.

This well-known manufacturer got shut down in the wake of civil lawsuits. It’s now part of the Vista sporting goods brand family. And Remington’s old ammunition factories are coming back online.

While other manufacturers are bringing furloughed workers back to re-staff.

We’re starting to see the end of COVID-19 related supply chain issues. These “fixes” are happening slowly as countries open their borders to outside trade.

These changes should help with raw material stocks and complex components made overseas.

BUT we’re also moving to a more liberal federal administration in 2021. And history tells us firearm and ammo purchases spike with talk of more restrictions.

These potential reforms are targeting more specific weapon and ammo bans. So some folks think these new proposals could see more success than previous bills.

Additionally, our current social unrest continues to create more demand.

Basically, ammunition manufacturing can’t respond in real-time to fast-moving market swings. And at the moment, the demand for ammunition is likely to outpace supply.

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A black pistol hand gun with bullets and shooting glasses.

7 BEST PLACES TO BUY AMMO ONLINE TODAY


With so many online sources vying for your purchases, where should you start?

In some respects, you can base that decision on the brand, type, and availability of the ammunition.

Smaller retailers often have good deals on specific brands and calibers. But it’s often easier and more reliable to go with a larger vendor at first.

Next, let’s go over a few of the more prominent players in the online ammo market. All are well-reviewed have been around for years, both online and in person.

1 – CABELA’S

Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – has heard of Cabela’s.

Their mail-order catalogs were as thick as a phone book (both now relics from the pre-internet days).

And they carried everything for the outdoors.

Since their merger with Bass Pro, their selection has grown even more extensive. Their ammunition prices are reasonable, and their shipping and return policies are generous.

With their near-universal brand recognition, they deal in higher volumes than smaller retailers. These volumes help get items back in stock faster.

And this also means they’re one of the first places ammo shoppers should look.


2 – LUCKY GUNNER

The Lucky Gunner is a great place to check as well.

Now, most online retailers show every item they have for sale. But the build of the Lucky Gunner website is unique.

Lucky Gunner only shows IN-STOCK items, period!

They use a real-time inventory tracking system to show quantities. That way, you don’t have to fumble around through dozens of pages only to find most items are “out of stock.”

Instead, they present you with a smaller list of items – but you can buy every one of them today!

Plus, you can filter through options and place an order fast to snag up hard-to-get calibers. And they guarantee next-day shipping and have a great shipping calculator as well.

Overall, it’s a painless and enjoyable way to order ammo online, but act fast when you find what you want!

Bulk Ammo for Sale at Lucky Gunner


3 – PALMETTO STATE ARMORY

Palmetto State Armory is based in South Carolina. They are a good bet if you’re looking for bulk ammo online of popular rifle and handgun ammunition.

Their prices on smaller volumes aren’t always the best. But they make up for it at 1000+ round cases.

They also sell a wide range of guns, gun parts, and firearm accessories. So they’re an ideal resource for some of the most popular sporting rifles.


4 – SPORTSMAN’S GUIDE

Sportsman’s Guide is a mix between a sporting goods shop and a discount hardware store. They carry a wide range of items and at competitive prices.

To take advantage of the best prices, you’ll need to buy a membership. But your savings on your first order is often enough to make up for the cost of the membership.

I’ve found their in-stock selections aren’t always as extensive as I’d like. So you have to watch for your preferred ammo to come back in stock and purchase as soon as it’s available.


5 – BROWNELLS

Brownells is another long-standing ammunition and gun parts dealer. And their customer service and shipping policies are a big part of that.

It’s easy to navigate their website. You can filter for in-stock items, and find your favorite ammo brands. And they make order placement and calculating shipping a breeze.

They also carry a wide range of ammunition and a lot of specialty gun parts.

Finally, they have a wide selection of reloading ammo and gunsmithing tools as well.


6 – GORILLA AMMO

Gorilla Ammo focuses primarily on self-defense ammo and supplies. They list a few hunting calibers but most of their ammo is for handguns and semi-automatic rifles.

In my experience, they’re frequently out of stock on many items. Yet, they do have a convenient waitlist. And automated notifications when something comes back in inventory.

Their prices are in line with the rest of the industry, but they make very high-quality rounds.


7 – SPORTSMAN’S WAREHOUSE

Sportsman’s Warehouse is another good option to check out. Perhaps you’re familiar with their 111 (and counting) stores across the country.

If you haven’t been to one, they’re essentially a smaller version of a Cabela’s.

And their online presence and buying experience is similar to Cabela’s. They have a wide range of hunting, fishing, and outdoor home goods.

They have an excellent range of ammunition selection. But you might not find some of the more exotic calibers and brands.

If you’re looking for general use hunting rounds, Sportsman’s Warehouse is a great bet.

Plus, you can get free shipping to the store, which can be a significant saving if you’re buying bulk ammo online!


FINAL THOUGHTS


Buying ammo online can be a more convenient and, often, cheaper purchasing path. But there are many factors you have to consider when purchasing ammo online.

These factors include:

  • Website legitimacy
  • Brand reputation
  • Ammunition availability
  • Quality and quantity
  • State or area restrictions
  • Age restrictions
  • Competitive price
  • Shipping costs
  • etc.

But if you’re diligent with your research, you can get what you’re looking for from the comfort of your home.

Once you’ve got past all these hurdles, purchasing ammo online can be a great experience. Especially if you don’t enjoy driving from store to store all around town only to come home empty-handed!

One final note before you go, if your buying ammo in bulk and planning on storing it – do it right and avoid these amateur mistakes. And invest in quality ammo cans to protect your investment!

Jason K.

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