Purchasing from an Internet based retailer.
For the most part, private individuals buying firearms over the Internet is largely a myth. In reality it is no different from buying by mail order where the communication medium is catalogs and a phone. The great majority of these transactions are settled over the phone but the buyer browses the merchandise on a website instead of a catalog.
The advantage of the website is that it can be updated and distributed at a small fraction of the cost of printed catalogs. It can also be done without privacy invading mailing lists and money wasting time spent asking and answering the same questions over again with potential buyers. Both the buyer and the seller enjoy a higher level of convenience and cost savings by communicating over the Internet.
In no way does the Internet exempt the buyer or the seller from applicable laws regarding the transfer or sale of firearms, ammunition or parts.
Regardless of how the terms or prices of a purchase are dealt with over the Internet, the goods must be delivered in a manner consistent with normal commerce. Someone has to deliver it or someone has to pick it up or both. Laws and regulations regarding these activities apply to Internet based sales.
While it is uncommon and difficult to buy and sell guns over the Internet, it is relatively easy to buy and sell parts and accessories. The great majority of weapons related business on the net involves parts and accessories. Tactical gear is also readily available from Internet based retailers in a wide range of prices and quality.
Since the location of the seller is of little importance to the location of the buyer as long as shipping costs are reasonable, the economics of trade are on a very level playing field. In isolated buyer or seller has as much a chance of getting the best deal without relying only on local contacts. This has been a bonanza for small isolated retail operations with specialized products for a specific clientele. It has also been a tremendous aid to people who have specific needs for rare or unusual items at reasonable cost.
Buyers can use search engines and inquiries in discussion groups to find items they want. It is common to find several sellers of a particular item no matter how obscure it may be. Because of this, most sellers realize that they must have reasonable prices, but that does not stop some from trying to pull off a tidy profit. Remember, it is also fairly easy for a seller to find out the worth of his goods on the Internet and you are unlikely to be able to fool a seller into selling something for much less than it is actually worth.
The pricing philosophy of Internet based retailers tends to fall into two different camps. Camp one knows that the Internet shopper is usually looking for a low price and can easily find whoever might be selling the item cheaper. This retailer is going to sell at the lowest price he can to get the business and build some degree of customer loyalty. Camp two knows that it is very convenient for the buyer to buy an item over the Internet and the buyer exerts very little effort to get what they want. This encourages the seller to charge a higher price on the assumption that the Internet shopper is trying to save time more than anything else and is willing to pay a higher than average price for the convenience.
The customary way to pay for internet based purchases is by credit card. Many smaller internet businesses and individuals use third party credit card processing services like Paypal. Paypal also gives its clients the option of sending and receiving money through bank accounts.
Most of the larger internet retailers of weapons and survival gear are also established in the mail order business. The print catalogs and have recurring advertisements in printed periodicals like Shotgun News, Soldier of Fortune, American Survival Guide and Guns and Ammo.