Posted By FFL Dealer Network on 07/16/2018 in FFL Business

Gun Wholesalers for FFL Dealers

Gun Wholesalers for FFL Dealers

For federal firearms license (FFL) holders, buying a new firearm to sell to the public means finding gun wholesalers for FFL dealers or dealing directly with the manufacturer. 

The nation's biggest firearm manufacturers only deal with gun wholesalers for FFL dealers and will not sell directly to smaller retail sales FFL holders. An independent FFL holder who wants to sell Browning, Winchester, Marlin or another major company must work through gun wholesalers for FFL dealers. Giant retailers by Bass Pro Shops and Cabelas have enough sales and stores to negotiate direct with manufacturers. 

An exception to this is Henry Repeating Arms. The Imperato family has owned the current incarnation of Henry since it started in the 1990s. Imperato also owns the nation’s oldest gun store the John Jovino Gun Shop located in lower Manhattan. The current Henry Rifle company has no relation to the original Henry rifle company, except for the name which the Imperato family acquired in 1996. 

Some smaller gun makers sell directly to FFL holders. The smallest manufacturers are boutique shops, turning out high-end custom one-off products that are ordered by individuals. These boutique shops must sell through an FFL holder if the buyer lives in another state. 

LICENSES 

Not all of the FFL licenses allow a person to buy and sell firearms. Types 01, 02, 07, 09, 10 and 11 are the only licenses that allow the sale of firearms. 

Gun wholesalers for FFL dealers will not accept the following three license for firearms transfers. 

A Type 03 Curio and Relic (Cruffler) license is not a dealer license; it is a license to collect, not a license to do business. 

A Type 06 is for manufacturing some kinds ammo only. It does not give the holder permission to deal in firearms. 

A Type 08 is for importing some kinds of ammo. It does not allow the holder to import or sell firearms. 

A Special Occupational Tax (SOT) permit can be added to any firearms sales license except the Type 03. A few gun wholesalers handle SOT, or NFA, items. 

CREATING A RETAILER ACCOUNT 

A retail gun shop that wants to create an account with wholesale gun dealers for FFL holders must do at least three things: 

  1. Have a dealer's FFL. Gun wholesalers for FFL dealers need a copy of this license. It is kept on file. 
  2. Have a sales tax permit or number, resale license or business license. All but three states have a statewide sales tax department. A Department of Revenue in the other 47 states issues sales tax permits. Most of the time, ta local government issues a business license. A few states let the local government issue sales tax permits. 
  3. Sign up for an account with the wholesaler. 

Some wholesale gun dealers for ffl holders may have other requirements. 

FINDING WHOLESALERS 

Finding a complete list of FFL wholesalers is difficult. A list of the major exclusive wholesalers follows this short explanation. Wholesalers must have the appropriate FFL to sell to other FFL holders. 

Many small firearms manufacturers sell directly to the public and are gun wholesalers to FFL dealers. Wikipedia has a list of gun makers, but it is neither complete nor comprehensive. For instance, Rogue Rifle Company in Lewiston, ID, makes firearms but is not in the Wikipedia list. 

Some companies offer wholesale and retail. Southern Ohio Gun International is a good example of a large company that is a gun wholesaler for FFL dealers and sells to the general public as long as the transfer goes through an FFL. Southern Ohio Gun also imports firearms for sale to the public and to FFL holders. 

The business-tracking website Manta lists 42 firearms makers in Georgia alone. Texas has 16. Idaho has four. Some of these companies are wholesale only. Some sell to retail and are gun wholesalers for FFL dealers

Some of the larger wholesale outlets will not sell to a “home-based” FFL. Nathan S. recounted his frustrations with finding wholesale dealers in The Firearm Blog. He wrote, in part, "Many of the largest distributors would not accept home-based FFLs and or required a large initial buy-in. Being a small company and not flush with cash (and further, only a credit card), it became difficult to get inventory in. As such, I had to spend some time hunting through policies, being rebuffed, and enjoying the occasional success getting through and set-up to get product." He then posted a list of companies that would and would not sell to him. 

Firearms News, formerly Shotgun News, is one of the nation’s top publications for finding wholesale gun dealers for ffl holders. The Shooting Industry Guide is another excellent resource website. 

FFL shops that sell retail and wholesale are not listed below because of the sheer volume of these companies. Only the BATF has a list of current FFL license holders. The number of FFL holders changes monthly as people buy a license or surrender the license they held. 

WHOLESALE LIST 

This list of gun wholesalers for FFL dealers only covers the major wholesale outlets. 


2nd Amendment Wholesale - Add flamethrowers to the list of items this distributor sells to dealers. The company also has a detailed explanation regarding firearms exports out of the US. 


Based in Rochester, NY. AmChar is one of the nation's largest law enforcement distribution centers as well as a firearms distribution center for FFL customers. 


Bangers - This Birmingham company has its distribution center in the north Alabama city and boasts a fleet of sales reps across the US. 


Bill Hicks - Formed in 1969, Bill Hicks is a wholesaler for the major gun makers and a few less-known manufacturers. The company also wholesales outdoor gear 


Camfour and Hill Country Wholesale are the same outfit. They sell the top name brands in the US and some smaller makers. View the entire list.


Chattanooga Shooting - Based in Chattanooga, the company has a 75,000 square-foot warehouse and more than 100 employees. 


Davidson's Gallery of Guns - This company offers a guarantee few others even consider. "Perhaps best of all, our Guaranteed Lifetime Replacement Warranty backs all of the firearms Davidson's sells. If you ever experience a defect with a firearm purchased through Davidson's, a Brand New Replacement will be provided. Should your two-year-old bolt-action rifle break a firing pin a week before the annual 'boys outing' the first day of deer season, 'we've got you covered.' Imagine a new firearm right out of the box! If it is defective, it is covered, period." 


FFL Wholesale - This company deals with imported firearms, shotguns and handguns, and imported uppers. 


Grice Wholesale - What started as a full service gas station in Clearfield, PA, expanded into Grice Gun. At first, the company sporterized military rifles, but gradually grew into a wholesale dealership. 


Hicks - Hicks deals in more than firearms and ammo, but the buyer must be a retail outlet regardless of the purchase. 


Interstate Arms Corp - Interstate sells to FFL retail shops and distributes law enforcement items. Law enforcement and public safety departments receive discounts. 


IWI US - Israel Weapons Industries imports weapons made in Israel into the US.


Kiesler Wholesale - Primarily a law enforcement and military supply company, Kiesler offers a program to help FFL dealers reach into the law enforcement market for more sales. They also offer used guns received as trade-ins from law enforcement agencies. 


Lew Horton Distributing - Based in Westboro, MA, the company has a 25,000 square-foot warehouse. The distribution company is an offshoot of a sporting goods store started in 1948. 


Lipsey's: - In addition to standard civilian firearms, Lipsey's is distributor for NFA items for FFL dealers with the appropriate Special Occupation Tax License. 


L.M. Burney - This company promises real-time prices and real-time inventory on its website. Burney deals in US-made firearms. 


MGE Wholesale - MGE sells imported and US manufactured firearms. The company has exclusive dealer rights to certain firearms. 


MSR Distribution - Order online or call the company directly to place an order. The company also handles NFA items. 


Orion Wholesale - Orion has a second website with an online inventory for FFL holders. 


Ron Shirk Shooting Supplies, Inc. - This link directs to a Facebook page. The company does not have a website. Based in Lebanon, PA, the company gets good reviews from FFL holders. 


RSR Group - RSR deals in firearms as well as unregulated items like accessories, reloading, parts, black powder and airguns. 


Shooting Sports Wholesale - SSW also deals in NFA items and parts for the AK and AR rifles. 


Sports South - Founded 175 years ago, Sports South is the oldest distributor in the United States. It also has the most unusual history of the distributors. It started as a distribution center for drugs and firearms. Today the parent company still does both.


Williams Shooter Supply - Williams welcomes FFL holder and retail sports goods stores. Access to their website past the home page requires an account. 


United Sporting Companies United acquired Ellet Brothers, Jerry's Sport Center and AcuSport. Outdoor Sports Center is a daughter company of United. FFL holders with accounts at one of the three daughter companies had their information transferred to United. The company says, "We proudly and efficiently serve over 30,000 independent retail customers across all 50 states through sales offices and distribution centers in Chapin, SC, Newberry, SC, Pittston, PA, Downingtown, PA, Dayton, OH, Spring Hill, KS, Dallas, TX, and Sacramento, CA." 


Zanders - In addition to firearms, Zanders has an exclusive dealership agreement with Eley ammunition.


  1. How to Get an FFL
  2. Your FFL Transfer Fee
  3. Gun Wholesalers for FFL Dealers
  4. What Can You Do With an FFL?
  5. The FFL eZ Check System
  6. The NFA and Owning NFA Items
  7. Offline Firearms Marketing and Your FFL Business Plan
  8. Online Firearms Marketing and Your FFL Business Plan
  9. Pawn Shops and the Type 02 FFL
  10. FFL Responsibilities and Regulations
  11. BATF Will Approve Home Based FFLs
  12. Customer Service in Your FFL Business

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