Grab Your Guns! at

(How To Buy A Gun Online - continued...)

Manny's Four Online Gun Buying Rules

When you buy a gun online, follow these four rules to cover your (ahem) assets.

Only Buy What You Can Return!

Never buy something as expensive as a gun unless you can return it, no questions asked. The same is doubly true for online purchases. The way I see it, if the seller isn't willing to take a return, I'm not willing to risk my money. I don't care about so-called bidder's insurance. Every online insurance policy I've seen has been more marketing gimmick than actual insurance, with more hoops to jump through than a circus. I'm not saying all bidder's insurance is a scam. I'm just saying that when push comes to shove, I think I'd rather like my money back without a fight. has a 3 Day Inspection Period, which allows you to really examine your purchase. If you don't like the gun, and you don't fire it or turn any screws on it, you can return it for a full refund of your purchase price, minus shipping. All sellers at are required to abide by this rule. As a buyer, if there are any problems, this assures that you'll get your money back instead of filling out claim forms.

Buy From Reputable Sellers!

The seller's reputation should be well established. I want to see a bunch of positive feedback for sales completed by other buyers with that seller. The seller doesn't have to have stellar feedback - after all, you can't please everyone all the time. But the vast majority of feedback should be positive. My personal rule of thumb is a maximum of one negative for every twenty positives - and preferably no negatives at all. Most sellers at have far fewer negatives than that. As a seller, it isn't hard to keep buyers happy, and get positive feedback. And there are plenty of sellers with no negatives at all. This doesn't mean you shouldn't buy from sellers without any feedback. After all, everyone has to start somewhere! But it does mean that as a beginning buyer, it's best to start with an experienced seller.

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

I need to see some pictures - lots of them. Digital cameras are everywhere these days. And transferring a picture from a camera to the computer is an almost completely automated process. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? And a lot of pictures? Well, you do the math. The pictures should be a decent quality, well lit with lots of detail, and from every angle. I want to make sure that the item I receive looks exactly identical to the item that was shipped to me. I especially like it when the seller takes a picture of the serial number, for obvious reasons. Believe it or not, there are sellers out there that don't put pictures in their auctions. While these items do sell, their success rates are much lower than those sellers that include pictures. Most reputable websites have a way for sellers to upload pictures - the really good ones like let sellers upload pictures for free. And pictures really help to avoid disputes. I'm not saying you shouldn't bid in auctions without pictures. But I don't do it.

Read (And Understand) Everything Carefully!

It's important to read everything the seller says about how he conducts his sales. Knowing how you'll be paying for an item is just as important as the amount you'll be paying. I like a seller that gives me as much information as possible. If the seller charges a flat rate for shipping, fine. If the seller only charges actual shipping costs, cool. But knowing that up front is important. Insist that the seller insures the shipment. If the seller doesn't insure the shipment, and the shipment is damaged in transit, who is going to eat the loss? The seller? Nope. The seller has his money. Damage in shipment doesn't happen very often. But if it does, insurance makes everything easier. Be wary of sellers that don't have a clearly defined payment and shipping policy. You may have gotten a great deal on the gun, but the seller may try to make it up with "handling" charges. A clearly communicated payment and shipping policy avoids any confusion and hard feelings.

You've Won!

In order to save time, I'm not going to go through the bidding process, or give you the rundown on all the different ways you could purchase a gun. Let's just assume that you've been named the winner of your gun, and it's time to pay. What should you do first? Send money? NO! The first thing you should do is contact the seller by phone. When you're named the winner, gives you the seller's phone number in an email. NEVER send money without first verbally confirming with the seller that you're the winner, and that you understand the seller's instructions on how payment is to be made. If the website doesn't give you a phone number, walk away. If you can't contact the seller by phone - don't send money! Period.