We live in a golden era for buying ammunition. Whether for shotgun, handgun or rifle, never before have shooters had such an enormous selection. At the same time, it’s the extensive selection that makes buying ammunition a bit more difficult. And this is doubly true when buying ammunition online. Regardless of whether you shop for ammunition on an ammunition manufacturer’s website, on the website of a national store chain or from an online-only dealer, a lot of factors may come into play. Online ammunition shoppers must consider legality, tax, inventory, shipping and quality. With that, here’s what you need to know when buying ammo online.

1. Realize Ammunition Pricing Fluctuates.

One of the main reasons to buy ammo online is to get the best deal. Even with shipping costs, you can still come out ahead compared to buying locally. Of course, this depends on several factors, such as a particular brand or type of ammunition’s availability or whether you’re buying in bulk. Like many other goods, ammunition prices fluctuate, and distributors/sellers may have the power to lower prices at any time. So if you’re going to price shop, check out online stores and brick-and-mortar stores and do a full comparison. One week it’ll pay to shop local. The next week, the deals will be online. At the same time, be aware of any limitations on how much ammunition you can buy at one time from a particular store.

2. Know Your State Laws.

Many online stores will alert you to selling or shipping limitations by state (the store’s state or your state). But it’s your responsibility to know your state laws when it comes to buying ammunition. In some states, you can buy ammunition like you can buy just about anything else. Other states are much more restrictive — requiring, for example, ammunition purchased online to be shipped only to an FFL. Check your state government’s website or other resources for the latest rules.

3. Watch for Helpful Online Sales Tools.

Some ammunition sellers offer real-time inventories on their websites, allowing you to know right then and there if the ammo you want is even available. If it’s not, they may even tell you when stores will be replenished. Other tools sometimes built into seller websites include a shipping calculator, which knows if you buy however-many boxes of whatever-type of ammo, it’ll weigh so much and therefore cost so much to ship to your location.

4. Read Product Descriptions Closely.

How many rounds do you think come in a single box? 20, 50? What type of bullet, exactly? LRN, JHP, ball? What’s the case made from? Brass, aluminum, steel? These are worthwhile pieces of knowledge for virtually any purchase of any type of ammunition. As such, make sure the seller’s website describes clearly what it’s offering to you.

5. Watch for Bulk Purchase Advantages.

Buying online may afford the opportunity to buy in bulk, perhaps in quantities of 1,000 rounds or more at a time. Usually this provides some substantial savings over buying in lesser quantities. Also, buying in bulk may result in reduced shipping charges. If you can’t determine this on the ammunition product page, you may need to add the product to your cart to see actual shipping charges. You can always remove the product from your cart if you don’t want to buy it.

6. If You Have Questions, Connect With a Store Sales Associate Via Chat or on the Phone.

Shopping online may mean less interaction with a customer service representative, but you (and the seller, for that matter) should be more than willing to engage in dialogue if there are questions or problems. So don’t be afraid to start a chat or call the toll-free number if something’s unclear or not looking right. Websites, just like other forms of commerce and communication, can have errors. As a customer, you should make every attempt to be as informed as you can.

Want to chat with like-minded Americans about buying ammo online? Visit the USCCA Community to see what others recommend!