Armslist and Gunbroker are two of the biggest platforms firearms enthusiasts use to buy guns online. Some buyers and sellers prefer the ease of local transactions on Armslists, while others value Gunbroker’s wider selection and more extensive security. So what are the pros and cons of Armlist vs. Gunbroker?
Armslist is free, easy to use, and allows local transactions and negotiations. However, it lacks seller accountability, tracking, and is susceptible to scams. Gunbroker has a wider selection, secure payment options, and a feedback system. It has fees and extra costs for shipping and FFL transfers.
If you’re considering buying or selling firearms online, both Armslist and Gunbroker are fantastic options, but there are several factors to keep in mind when choosing between the two. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each platform, along with some tips for taking full advantage of their features.
The Pros of Armslist
Armslist is an online classifieds section for firearms (think Craigslist for guns). This format provides many benefits, including the following:
It’s Free and Easy To Use
The main attraction drawing people to Armslist is that it’s free for both buyers and sellers.
You can browse listings, post ads, and respond to ads and potential buyers without any hidden fees—at least not from the platform. This is ideal if you infrequently buy or sell guns and simply need a quick place to post an ad or look for a specific gun.
Armslist Allows Local Transactions
Armslist has a filter for vendors that ship, but their main focus is local transactions. You can sort by state and city, making it easy to connect with buyers and sellers in your community. Meeting face-to-face allows for smoother transactions, and connecting locally avoids shipping fees and the hassle of federal firearms license (FFL) transfers.
It Allows You To Negotiate
Since Armslist is a classifieds section specifically for firearms, you benefit from direct communication between buyers and sellers setting their own prices. In other words, you can negotiate your terms, and Armslist even has a filter for vendors open to trades.
The Cons of Armslist
Armslist’s classifieds format has many benefits. However, if you’ve ever used Craigslist or similar sites, you know that this type of setup isn’t without its downsides.
There’s a Potential for Scams
Armslist is merely a platform for connecting buyers and sellers, specifically locally. It doesn’t interfere with, moderate, or even help set up the transactions.
As a result, it’s a breeding ground for scammers on both the buying and selling sides and spammers. This is why it’s best to lean into the local aspect of Armslist and make the transactions in person.
There Is Limited Seller Accountability
Although Armslist has a “Premium” version, it lacks an overall feedback system, so it can be difficult to gauge a seller’s reputation or see if they’ve made bad deals in the past. This puts the burden on the buyer to use their best judgment and do their due diligence when choosing a seller.
Aside from the inherent risk involved, this also takes up much time.
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The Pros of Gunbroker
Whereas Armslist is a classifieds section, Gunbroker has an auction format and is an eBay for guns, if you will. This provides some advantages other platforms don’t have:
Gunbroker Offers a Wide Selection
Most people like using Gunbroker because of its extensive selection. For instance, you can find a wide range of firearms, ammunition, and accessories you can’t find on other platforms.
It’s especially great for collectors who are looking for hard-to-find items.
It Has a Feedback System
One of Gunbroker’s most significant advantages over Armslist is a feedback system for sellers.
Buyers and general users can rate their experiences with sellers, and you can use this to make more informed decisions when purchasing firearms.
Gunbroker Offers Secure Payment Options
Not only does Gunbroker offer payment on the platform using credit cards, it also has a proprietary service: GunBroker Pay.
This provides an additional level of security and, when used correctly, allows you to confidently purchase a firearm online, knowing that you’ll get what you paid for or receive a refund, making it similar to buying a firearm at brick-and-mortar establishments. This also decreases the risk of scams.
The Cons of Gunbroker
Gunbroker has a more elaborate and secure setup than Armslist, but this has drawbacks of its own:
There Are Fees for Sellers
Gunbroker is free for buyers, which is great, but it charges sellers fees. Not only does the platform take a cut from the final sale, but it also charges merely for the listing. For professional dealers, this can make sense, but casual sellers may find it prohibitive.
Gubbroker Charges Fees for Shipping and FFL Transfers
Unlike Armslist, Gunbroker isn’t focused on local transactions, so you may have to pay high shipping fees to receive a firearm from across the country.
Similarly, buying across state lines will necessitate an FFL transfer, and many sellers are Federal Firearms License holders who will perform one regardless. This comes with fees.
It Has an Auction Format
Depending on your personal preferences, the auction format can be a major advantage. Overall, though, the auction format lengthens your time on a purchase. Moreover, it can be frustrating when someone outbids you at the last minute.
Tips for Buying Guns Online
Whether you choose Armslist, Gunbroker, or another platform, you must use caution and care when buying firearms online.
Below are some tips I’ve learned over the years to ensure safe and successful transactions:
Do Your Research
You should look into the seller as much as possible and try to find a record of their past sales. If meeting locally, communicate with the seller to gauge their trustworthiness and use your best judgment.
Don’t hesitate to ask the seller any questions you have about the firearm’s condition, functioning, and history. A reputable and honest seller will have the answers to these questions and will respond promptly and openly without trying to hide anything.
Insist on a Bill of Sale
A bill of sale is a document outlining the specifics of the transaction, such as the buyer and seller’s contact information, the firearm’s details, and the purchase price. This gives you a legal record of the transaction and can protect either party in case of disputes or legal issues.
If you’re meeting a local seller via Armslist, choose a public location for the sale and bring a friend or family member. Don’t travel to the seller’s home or have them come to yours. In many cities, local police departments offer an area for safe firearms transactions.
If, for whatever reason, you don’t feel safe, don’t be afraid to walk away from the deal.
Armslist is a classifieds section for firearms similar to Craigslist. It’s free and easy to use and helps connect local buyers and sellers. However, it can be susceptible to scams.
Gunbroker is much more secure and operates at the national level, but there can be many extra fees, not to mention the hassle of the eBay-like auction format.
Ultimately, the right platform for you depends on your preferences and goals when buying or selling. Keep the pros and cons of Armslist vs Gunbroker in mind and be sure to exercise caution and do your research.
For more, check out How To Choose the Best Gun To Buy (Based on Your Needs).
Christian grew up in the Ozarks where he spent much of his childhood on his grandparents’ homestead learning about guns, hunting, and the great outdoors.
An avid traditional bowhunter, much of his writing covers this and other similar topics, but he also covers just about everything from history and economics to motorcycles.
See more of his work at ChristianMonson.com.