Tips During the Ammo and Firearm Shortage (Caused by Covid-19 and Government Policy Uncertainty)
2020 was a crazy year, bringing with it a pandemic, political contention, civil unrest, and a volatile economy.
All of this led to a massive increase in demand for firearms, ammunition, and parts. This insane demand left retailers struggling to keep products in stock.
Ammo has been nearly impossible to find and prices have skyrocketed. The most popular guns and parts have also frequently been sold out at both online retailers and brick and mortar stores.
As we've moved into 2021, uncertainty over political policy relating to firearms has only exacerbated the guns and ammo shortages. Democrats, most of whom are anti-gun or at least in favor of stricter gun control, now control the presidency and congress.
To help give you the best shot of finding quality guns and ammo in stock online, we've put together a list of trusted online retailers that we've had good experiences with in the past. We've also covered our favorite manufacturers of guns and ammo so that you can determine other good products if your first choices are sold out.
You can skip ahead to any section using the links below (and you may want to do so because each section is long):
- Retailers We Trust and Use Ourselves
- Shopping for Firearms & Ammo During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Firearm Shortages
- How Buying Firearms and Ammo Online Works
Below is a list of all the gun and ammo retailers we use and trust. Keep in mind, many of these online shops may be temporarily out of stock of at least some products.
The point in listing all of these retailers is to give you a larger number of stores to monitor to find what you're looking for.
Please keep in mind that some of these retailers may have announced that they're currently experiencing shipping delays. Fortunately, the vast majority of the retailers with current shipping delays are being forthright in sharing this with customers on their websites.
Lucky Gunner is our number one retailer for purchasing ammo online. They're known for selling bulk ammo at the best prices.
Understandably, they've been struggling to keep products in stock as ammo has been in the highest demand of all firearm-related products.
One great thing about Lucky Gunner, however, is that any product they list on their website is currently in stock. If it's listed as in stock, you know that it will be available and shipped ASAP.
Having been monitoring their website over the past week+, I can say they're frequently adding ammo as it becomes available back to their online store.
Brownells is one of the largest and most popular online retailers of all firearms, ammo, magazines, optics, reloading supplies, and everything else gun-related.
At the time of publishing this, we're not currently aware of any shipping delays from Brownells due to the Coronavirus, but understand that's subject to change at any time.
Like all firearm retailers, they're currently experiencing a shortage of some of the products they sell. However, as one of the absolute largest and well ran online firearm & ammo retailers, we're confident Brownells is doing everything in their power to replenish their stock.
Palmetto State Armory (PSA) is one of our favorite online retailers for everything firearm related. They sell pistols, rifles, ammo, magazines, optics and whatever else you could ever want.
They also manufacturer some extremely generously priced rifles, carbines, and more. We've frequently featured the guns they make in the best value sections of our guides, like the best AR-15 and best pistol caliber carbines.
Please note, as of April 19th, they're currently experiencing shipping delays, as is displayed clearly on their website.
Sportsman's Guide is another mega store selling guns and ammo online. Like Brownells and PSA, they sell basically everything firearm-related, though they don't manufacturer their own products.
At the time of writing this, we're not aware of any shipping delays from Sportsman's Guide, though like all the retailers on our list, that's subject to change.
This online retailer even has some (very limited) 9mm and .223 ammo in stock at the time of writing this, unlike many of the other major stores.
Cabela's sells everything outdoor-related, including guns and ammo.
Even those new to firearms are likely to know this brand from their brick and mortar stores across the country. To be honest, I generally stick to other online retailers that tend to have better pricing for firearm products in my experience. Still, Cabela's is worth a look in these crazy times.
While the name may sound limited to just optics, that's not the case. EuroOptic also sells a large supply of firearms and ammo!
Primary Arms both manufacturers some firearm accessories, as well as sells firearms and ammo. They're another incredibly popular and widely trusted retailer in the gun world.
Natchez Shooters Supplies is yet another major online retailer selling both firearms and ammo. Currently, they even have some ammo that's sold out elsewhere.
E-Arms is a smaller online retailer of both guns and ammo. To be honest, we don't have a ton of experience buying from them. We're including them, however, because they appear to have some ammo in stock that can't be found elsewhere.
1800GunsAndAmmo.com is a Texas-based brick and mortar gun shop that also sells a bunch of products online.
Their website says that they may currently have to delay or cancel some due to shortages.
Like Lucky Gunner, Ammo.com is another of our favorite online retailers specializing in just ammo. They, too, tend to have some of the lowest ammo prices online, while also letting you know exactly what's in stock.
If you place an order of over $200, you'll save $15 using this link.
While Ammo.com is one of the largest online ammo stores, its stock has been effected by the current shortages.
Creedmoor is a big name in ammunition. They're not just manufacturers but also sell their ammo on their website directly to consumers.
At the time of publishing this, they have .223/5.56 in stock, as well as many other calibers.
Gorilla Ammunition is another ammo manufacturer that sells directly to consumers. While we have limited experience with their products, we think they are worth monitoring since they ship directly to you rather than a distributor first.
GunMag Warehouse exclusively sells magazines. If you're in the market for magazines, GunMag Warehouse generally has the largest selection at the best prices.
Guns & Ammo
- Palmetto State Armory
- Sportsman's Guide
- Primary Arms
- Natchez Shooters Supplies
Other Useful Links
If you're trying to buy a firearm or ammo as soon as possible, you may have to make some sacrifices.
While our specific favorite products may be sold out, that doesn't mean you have to buy junk. The truth is, most firearms and ammo manufactured today are capable of getting the job done.
When we create lists of our favorite products, we're nitpicking small details or looking for the best value products. Below, we've listed our recommended manufacturers. You generally can't go wrong purchasing products from any of our recommended manufacturers.
These are all the brands we trust for each category, in no particular order. If a firearm is not on this list, it doesn't mean it's bad. Instead, it means we aren't familiar enough with it or forgot to include it.
Complete AR-15s & AR-15 Parts
- Bravo Company (BCM)
- Daniel Defense
- Aero Precision
- Palmetto State Armory (PSA)
- Knight Armament
- Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT)
- Yankee Hill Machine
- SIG Sauer
- Smith & Wesson
- Rock River Arms
- SIG Sauer
- Smith & Wesson
- Heckler & Koch (H&K)
- Springfield Armory
- Wilson Combat
- Sellier & Bellot
- Blazer Brass
- Prvi Partizan
- Wolf (Cheap Steel Cased Ammo)
- Tula (Cheap Steel Cased Ammo)
- SIG Sauer
- Gorilla Ammunition
If you don't own any firearms currently, here's a quick breakdown of how buying firearms and ammo online works.
Please note, regulations may vary by state (states like California) and city (like Chicago). Also, this is not legal advice, and you are solely responsible for obeying all federal, state, and local laws when purchasing, owning, or manufacturing a firearm or ammo.
Firearms purchased online can NOT be shipped directly to your door. Instead, they need to be shipped to an FFL (Federal Firearms License) holder, like a gun shop. You can select an FFL where to have your firearm delivered on most major online retailers. When picking them up from your FFL, you'll need to undergo a background check.
Most firearm parts, however, can be purchased online and shipped directly to your door. Each firearm generally has one part that counts as a "firearm" legally, meaning it must be shipped to an FFL. This typically prevents you from being able to purchase all of your parts online and building a firearm yourself without needing a background check.
There are some workarounds to this. For an AR-15, a stripped lower-receiver is what's considered the firearm, meaning it must be shipped to an FFL. You can, however, purchase an 80% completed lower receiver online and have it shipped to your door, then complete making the 80% lower yourself if you have the required tools. After this, you could then assemble all the remaining parts.
In most states, ammo can be purchased online and shipped directly to your door. States like California, however, require that ammo be shipped to an FFL.