About Guns

Where To Go Buy Your Gun

If you are ready to buy a gun, there are a number of options on where to purchase your firearm. The Well Armed Woman does not currently sell firearms or ammunition. In our products section, you will find wonderful options for everything you will need, but your gun.

We have reviewed the two different options, revolvers and semi-automatic pistols in the article What Kind of Gun?  Here we discussed what criteria you need to consider along with the advantages and disadvantages of each. This should have assisted you in determining which is the best choice for you.

With this decision made, the next decision is which brand and model fits and feels the best in your hands and will do the best job for you. There are many fine brands with varying price points. Although cost is important and will be an important factor in selecting your firearm, the protection of your life and that of your loved ones is not a place to skimp. Safety, reliability and comfort should not be sacrificed. Buy a good gun. It might just save your life!

It is YOUR Decision To Make!

A word about husbands, boyfriends, and well-meaning family members. YOU need to select YOUR firearm. It is not recommended that you have someone else buy it for you or give you a “hand-me-down.” Although their intentions are to help you to protect yourself, they are not you and just can’t make the selection for you.

It is like buying a good pair of shoes… No one can buy a pair of fine pumps for you.. Look, feel, comfort and wearability can only be determined by you. Enough said!!

Before You Head Out

The options of where to buy a gun are listed below. Do some research prior to shopping. Read reviews and find out what other women are saying. The Well Armed Woman has a wonderful collection of gun reviews written by women. You can view them here.Gun Reviews By Women

When you visit a gun store or gun show – ask questions! I suggest you prepare a list of questions to bring with you. The more prepared you are, the less intimidating this experience can be. Be aware that male sales staff may not fully understand your needs and remember – THERE ARE NO BAD OR DUMB QUESTIONS. If you are not treated respectfully or taken seriously – tell them so and go to another store. Ask what you need to ask and handle the guns to see how they feel in your hands. Some gun stores are also shooting ranges. Many of them offer the ability to rent different types of guns and have the chance to fire a particular model prior to purchasing.


Under federal law, new firearms may only be sold by businesses that possess a Federal Firearms License (FFL), and are known as FFL Dealers. There are multiple legal ways to purchase a gun.

Gun Store

Although FFL dealers are licensed by the federal government, they are also subject to many local laws and regulations. They must possess business licenses, fit within zoning requirements, and may only offer guns for sale which are legal within the state, county, and city where they operate. They must also follow any federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and rules which may apply to the purchase. If a waiting period is required then it is the FFL dealer’s responsibility to enforce it. An FFL dealer must comply with the federal paperwork requirements. You will need to show your photo ID and fill out Form 4473. The dealer must keep this form on file and show it to the BATFE upon request.


The FFL will call in your personal information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) clearinghouse. The FFL dealer will receive one of three possible answers from NICS: an approval, a delay, or a deny. If the sale is approved, the FFL Dealer is given an authorization code which he will note on your paperwork. Delays happen for a variety of reasons which may not be immediately obvious to the buyer. Delays do not always result in a denial. The dealer will tell you when you can come back to finish processing your paperwork. A denial means you are not legally permitted to purchase a firearm for some reason. You will want to find out the reason for it and, if justified, fight to appeal the denial.

Many states require waiting periods when purchasing a firearm. You will complete your paperwork, pay in full for the firearm and will be allowed to go back to the dealer and pick up your firearm once that period has passed. Visit the Legal Issues page and see what is required in your state.

Online Gun Store

In most states, it is legal to purchase a firearm online. These sales must also be through an FFL dealer as well as shipped to a FFL dealer in your state who will typically charge anywhere from $20 to $50 for this service. It is illegal to ship a firearm to a personal residence or any location which does not hold a valid FFL. All of the above verification and paperwork requirements apply online as they do in a local gun store. Here is a list of the top placed to purchase a gun online from Gun Made

Private Party Sales

All NEW firearms must be sold through an FFL dealer but in some states, private sales of USED guns is legal without an FFL. In some states, any citizen may lawfully sell a used gun to another citizen within the same state. There are many federal, state, and local regulations that apply to private party sales. It is your responsibility to fully understand the laws and how they apply in your state.If you are purchasing your first firearm, it is strongly encouraged that you make this purchase through an FFL dealer.

Gun Shows

The vendors that sell firearms at gun shows are FFL dealers. Typically these are stores that utilize the gun show arena to reach new customers. FFL dealers at gun shows must comply with all of the same federal, state, and local laws which apply to them when they operate out of their regular places of business. This includes background checks, waiting periods, and any other requirements required by your local politicians. If private sales are legal in your state, and if the gun show’s management allows, there may also be private sellers at the gun show. Private sellers at gun shows must comply with every single federal, state, and local law which applies to all other private sales within your jurisdiction. If private sales are not legal in your state, county, or city, there will be no private sellers at your local gun show.

Here is a great article full of great tips on buying a used gun from Chuck Hawk. BUYING A USED GUN

Buying Your First Gun Part 1

Buying Your First Gun Part 2

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14 thoughts on “Where To Go Buy Your Gun

  1. Thanks for helping me understand how investing in a firearm from a licensed gun seller is essential. My friend wants to try purchasing one for self-defense after deciding to live by herself. Perhaps finding a pawn shop can help her with this someday!

  2. My older cousin wants to buy a gun for self-protection since she was robbed a few days ago and almost got shot, so she’s trying to make the most out of the situation. I’m glad you talked about how to identify a legal gun shop by checking its license, so I think this could be beneficial for my cousin’s future purchase. Thanks for the advice on what documents you’ll need to buy your first firearm.

  3. Eve Mitchell says:

    I really liked your tip about preparing a list of questions to ask the gun shop before buying. I live alone, and my neighborhood has had a series of break-ins in the last three months. I’d like to invest in a small pistol that I can keep in my home just in case.

  4. Thanks for mentioning the importance of a gun dealer possessing the proper business licenses. My brother-in-law wants to buy a custom rifle this month. I will suggest that he look for a gun dealer that had the necessary licenses and offers reliable guns.

  5. Ryan Garrett says:

    Another tip. If you do bring your spouse (or significant other) and the person at the gun counter talks to your spouse rather than you. Walk away. You are the one buying the gun, you need to like it. I am a licensed FFL and I have a personal commitment to making certain I am talking to the person using the gun (it seems like common sense, but my wife and I have experienced this more times than I can count). Also make sure that you get a firearm that you can readily find a quality holster for, I try to discourage off body carry (such as in a purse).

  6. Wendy Emert says:

    It is hard to get to the facts listening to all the male bashing.

  7. Steve Jones says:

    It’s fantastic to learn that you should make sure a gun store has professional business licenses before you buy from them. My brother is wanting to get a new gun and he was wondering what he should look for in a firearm store. I’ll be sure to tell him that he should look for a gun store that has a professional business license.

  8. Franklin White says:

    Thanks for the advice to buy your own firearm and not have someone buy one for you. That way you can get used to it and be comfortable with it. Otherwise, you risk getting a gun from someone that is too big for you to handle.

  9. Mary MENDOZA says:

    I’m a single mother and grma, about three years ago someone try to break in my back door and ever since that day I been putting a chair by the door it’s a sliding door my owner don’t do nothing about I’m 62 and im scared it might happen again so now I have a dog but still I need to protect myself and my daughter so I would like to buy a firearm for protection, just would like to know how to go about it, my first time

  10. Jerry Woods says:

    I loved your top of preparing a list of questions when going to a gun show or store. My wife is interested in protecting herself when she’s out in the city and she was wondering which kind of gun she should get. I’ll let her know that she should go to a gun show with a list of questions to find the best firearm for her.

  11. Sam Gibson says:

    Thanks for this great information about how to buy a gun. I would imagine that something like this could be done with a firearm transfer professional. This way you can ensure you’re getting a good and legal item.

  12. Devin Scott says:

    I liked your idea of bringing a list of questions when you go into a gun store. My wife recently got her concealed permit to carry a sidearm and she was wondering what she should look for when going into the gun store for the first time to get a pistol. I’ll let her know that she should prepare a list of questions to ask the store clerk before going in.

  13. Sandra Patterson says:

    Thank you for explaining that you will need to show a photo ID and fill out a form when buying a gun. My brother really likes to talk abtou older guns and collective ones. I wonder if I could help him buy a cool historic gun to start a collection.

  14. Hazel Owens says:

    That’s good to know that a in some states that you can buy from a private dealer rather than a FFL dealer. This is helpful since my son is looking to buy his first gun since he’ll be 21 this summer. We’ll have to figure out if our state allows private sales so he can look for a used gun to get a better price.

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