Internet Auctions

Congratulations, you have made it to one of the more important sub webs on savvysurvivor.com.  It is not complete, but when it is, it will be one of the pages you frequent the most when you use this site.  it contains some of the most important links you will be using while buying survival gear on the Internet. 

This page contains several external links that may make it difficult to return by using your browsers <BACK> button.  I highly recommend that you bookmark this page before you go any further since it will be one of your main source pages for accessing online auctions while using my purchasing methods and performing the exercises in this chapter.   This is one of the most important sub webs on savvysurvivor.com and it is not easily reached from the rest of the site.   It is only intended for people who have made it this far and if you have not read most of the rest of this site, I suggest you do and then come back later. 

Internet based auctions are among the fastest growing market for firearms and firearm related items.  About the only firearm related items not easily found at online auctions would be ammunition.  For some reason, ammo is not particularly popular item for auction sellers and it is not commonly allowed to be advertised at the larger web auction sites, not even those dedicated to weapons.  

The great advantage of the Internet auctions is that they are essentially like a great big 365 day a year 24 hour a day flea market, garage sale and gun show all on one.  With excellent and useful search engines  you can search several auction sites at once for broadly defined or narrowly defined items.   At the end of this section, there is an exercise and tutorial for using these services to your best advantage.   Be assured that if it can be legally sold, it will be available on one of these auctions.  

The internet auction world is pretty much broken into three camps.  

Camp one is very PC (politically correct) and will follow the intent of communitarian social engineers.   These will either not allow or heavily restrict the marketing of weapons and firearm related items.   If they are alleged to participate in an illegal transaction, they will usually vehemently defend themselves and the transaction by all legal means available.   They will cooperate with authorities if they feel that it serves their purpose.   Ebay.com is a prime example of this type of auction site.  

Camp Two will follow the letter of the law, nothing more and nothing less in the quest for the almighty dollar.  Their corporate lawyers are paid well to ensure maximum exposure to profit without undue risk of repercussions from the law.   To put it bluntly, as long as their ass is covered, they will play ball.   They will bend the rules as long as their is a strong case for plausible deniability.   If they are alleged to be involved in any illegal activity, they will move to defend themselves and themselves only.  As long as their own ass is covered, they care little what happens to you.   Yahoo auctions is a prime example of this kind of auction site.   auctionarms.com is another one of these. 

Camp Three is made up of the hard core economic anarchists.  They are aware of the laws but are willing to facilitate business even if it means taking some risks.   While they will sometimes aspire to look like they are attempting to play ball with the law, they are more than willing to take their chances and deliver the goods.  The buyer should be aware that no matter what the legal status of the goods is, weapons and weapon related goods are not high profit contraband in the league of stolen art or narcotics.  You will find that even the economic anarchists live with their own code of honor and those who violate it suffer the consequences.   These people will often be either following their own interpretation of the law on their end, or leave the customer on their own if there is a violation.  Several smaller auction sites fill this niche, some are harder to find than others, but you can find them.   The code of ethics for these types is actually very high since they know that their business activities rely more on trust and respect than legal protections that would be provided to other business.   These players often go to an auction site or classified board and operate for a while, then move on to another place on the net. 

Realize that it is difficult if not impossible to find obviously illegal items on any of these auctions.  Several will however carry "questionable" items that might be useful to you.  An example would be "pre-ban" AR15 auto sears sold on the Yahoo sites or various full auto conversion "Gunsmithing" CD ROMs sold on Ebay.   You will occasionally find restricted items on auction which are intended for a restricted pool of buyers.   An example would be the firearms sold on the gun auction sites.  The great majority are only for sale to people with established credentials certifying their eligibility to purchase firearms.  In the US, this means holders of a Federal Firearms License or Canadian Equivalent.  Only in very rare cases will they sell to buyers located on countries outside the US.  Although this is commonly referred to as legal "mail order" shipping is usually done through a non government common carrier.    Note that anybody can bid on and pay for the guns, but they must be delivered to an FFL holder or a resident of the state where they are sold.  

Some things to be aware of with online gun purchasing.  You only need to have an FFL to receive a gun by mail or common carrier (UPS/Fedex ect).   You do not need a special license to send a gun as long as the person you are sending it to is a licensed dealer and you have been able to realistically determine that they are legitimately licensed.   You may also not need a special license to send or receive the gun if both the buyer and the seller reside in the same state, the transaction would otherwise be a legal private transaction, and you ship the gun by common carrier only (UPS/Fedex).   Check your local laws on this.  Preferably, do this online or with someone who actually knows the law, not just the opinion of local gun dealer, cop or lawyer.   Your local ATF office might actually be helpful in providing this information.   Generally, a person who does not have a license will have a local dealer receive their guns and then do the transfer paperwork locally the same as if the person is buying the gun from the local dealer.  Usually, anyone may do the money side of the transfer and the only part that is handled by the dealer is the paperwork and physical delivery of the gun (or receiver) to the actual buyer or end user.  

Any person may order and pay for guns from an online auction like auctionarms.com or gunbroker.com, but the guns will amost always have to be shipped to a dealer for the actual transfer and nearly all sellers will require this of any buyer.   

Several of the online auctions have regular sellers who essentially use the online auctions as an advertising medium.   One of the most prolific is ftfindustries.   This seller is a semi-professional web based business that is operated from the owner's home.  About half of the sellers in these auctions are small businesses that are using the internet as marketing tool.   The rest are private individuals, collectors and survivors like yourself.   It is usually the private individuals who you will get the best deals from.   For military and police gear, the cheapest sellers are often low ranking cops and military personnel who use the auctions as a tool for trading gear and liquidating equipment before changing professions.  This is commonly the case with Soldiers and Marines who are facing the end of their enlistment and want to sell unwanted gear for cash to sustain them during the period of anticipated unemployment.   Private collectors vary in how they will set their prices, but the thing to watch out for is that they normally use shills to drive up the bidding in order to maximize revenue from the auction. 

Reputations for buyers and for sellers are very important with online transactions.   This is not quite the same as the retail world where the customer often has the advantage of being able to back out of a deal simply because they feel like it.   Such behavior with an auction merchant can get you banned from doing business on the site again, as is explained in the rules pages of nearly all auction sites.    I strongly recommend reading the codes of ethics and rules at Ebay since they usually apply to most online transactions.  

Auction search exercises.  

First, make sure you have book marked this page so that you can get back to it so you can complete the exercise or if you have any problems.   Read all of the instructions for each exercise before you begin.   

Ok, now for your first exercise in Internet shopping for the survival arsenal.  You job is to find the lowest price on the auction with the soonest ending date.  The reason that we look for the soonest ending date is that it does little good to bid on a low priced item at the beginning of an auction and expect that price to remain the same to the end of an auction.   Timing can be critical in auction buying and sometimes you do want to bid early, but this first exercise will deal mainly in finding the item.   

Your first task will be to find a folding stock for an SKS rifle.  In the search engine box, type SKS and hit search all auctions.   Several entries for SKS parts, books, accessories, and even some rifles will be listed on several auctions.   The folding stock is in itself an unrestricted item, but it is illegal to install on about half of the SKS rifles in circulation in the US.   It is legal to purchase and possess - for the time being.  

Scan the list for entries that look like the item might be a folding stock.   Some may have slightly misleading entries that are set up to throw off automated software that has been set up to filter out illegal or questionable merchandise.   You may need to scroll through several pages of the search results to find the entry you want.  Make a mental note of how many items are up for sale and if they seem to have been entered around the same few dates.  This tends to indicate that the same seller is putting his wares on different auctions at the same time and is probably an internet retailer.  He may or may not have the best pricing.  

Click on the entry that appears to have the lowest price and the soonest end of auction.  If you are registered for the auction site, you would be eligible to bid on the item.  If the auction has already ended, or the item has been pulled off, you will need to get back to the search results screen and try another entry.   Use your browser's <BACK> button to get to the search screen and then find another active auction with the stock.  

Once you have found an SKS folding stock for sale under $50 you have completed this task.  You now know how to effectively access the auction search engine from savvysurvivor.com.   You can use this to find almost anything.   Once you have completed this task, you can come back to the tutorial page and move on to the next exercise.