Sunday, May 19, 2024

FFL Transfer Fees: Are You Getting the Best Deal?

A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Minimizing Transfer Fees

by editor

FFL Transfer Fees: Are You Getting the Best Deal?

Are you in the market for a firearm? If so, you may be aware of the steps involved in legally purchasing a gun. One important aspect to consider is the FFL transfer fee. But what exactly is an FFL transfer fee, and are you getting the best deal?

An FFL transfer fee is the fee charged by a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder to facilitate a gun transfer between two individuals. While this fee is not set by the government, it can vary significantly from one FFL dealer to another. It’s essential to do your research and compare prices to ensure you’re not overspending on this transaction.

In this article, we will dive deeper into FFL transfer fees and share tips on how to find the best deal. From understanding the factors that influence these fees to exploring alternative options, we’ll equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision. Don’t waste your hard-earned money – read on to discover how to secure the most cost-effective FFL transfer fee for your firearm purchase.

Understanding FFL Transfer Fees

Before we discuss how to find the best deal on FFL transfer fees, it’s crucial to understand what these fees are and how they work. As we mentioned earlier, an FFL transfer fee is the amount charged by a licensed firearms dealer to transfer a gun from one individual or dealer to another.

The FFL transfer fee is not a price set by the government. Instead, the fee is determined by the FFL holder, and it can vary widely based on the dealer’s location, the type of firearm being transferred, and other factors. The fee can range from as low as $20 to as high as $125 or more per transfer.

It’s important to note that the FFL transfer fee is not the same as the cost of the firearm. The transfer fee is an additional charge on top of the price you pay for the gun. Therefore, it’s crucial to factor in the transfer fee when budgeting for your firearm purchase.

Factors that Influence FFL Transfer Fees

Several factors can influence the amount of the FFL transfer fee charged by a dealer. Understanding these factors can help you find a better deal and save money. Here are some of the factors that can affect the FFL transfer fee:


The location of the FFL dealer can significantly impact the transfer fee. Dealers in rural areas or regions with low demand for firearms may charge lower transfer fees than those in urban areas or regions with high demand.

Dealer’s Overhead Costs

The dealer’s overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, and payroll, can also impact the transfer fee. Dealers with higher overhead costs may charge higher transfer fees to cover their expenses.


The level of competition in the area can also influence the transfer fee. Dealers in areas with many competing FFL holders may charge lower fees to attract customers.

Type of Firearm

The type of firearm being transferred can also affect the transfer fee. Generally, firearms that require additional paperwork or background checks, such as NFA weapons or handguns, may have higher transfer fees than rifles or shotguns. NFA is an acronym for National Firearms Act.

National Firearms Act

The NFA was originally enacted in 1934. Similar to the current NFA, the original Act imposed a tax on the making and transfer of firearms defined by the Act, as well as a special (occupational) tax on persons and entities engaged in the business of importing, manufacturing, and dealing in NFA firearms.

The law also required the registration of all NFA firearms with the Secretary of the Treasury. Firearms subject to the 1934 Act included shotguns and rifles having barrels less than 18 inches in length, certain firearms described as “any other weapons,” machine guns, and firearm mufflers and silencers.

While the NFA was enacted by Congress as an exercise of its authority to tax, the NFA had an underlying purpose unrelated to revenue collection. As the legislative history of the law discloses, its underlying purpose was to curtail, if not prohibit, transactions in NFA firearms.

Congress found these firearms to pose a significant crime problem because of their frequent use in crime, particularly the gangland crimes of that era such as the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The $200 making and transfer taxes on most NFA firearms were considered quite severe and adequate to carry out Congress’ purpose to discourage or eliminate transactions in these firearms. The $200 tax has not changed since 1934.

Comparing FFL Transfer Fees at Different Gun Stores

Now that you understand the factors that can influence the FFL transfer fee, it’s time to start comparing fees at different FFL holders. Here are some tips to help you compare transfer fees:

Check Multiple Dealers

Don’t settle for the first FFL dealer you find. Instead, check the transfer fees of multiple dealers in your area. You may be able to find a better deal by shopping around.

Look for Deals

Some dealers may offer lower transfer fees for specific types of firearms or during certain times of the year. Keep an eye out for these deals to save money on your transfer fee.

Consider the Total Cost

When comparing transfer fees, remember to factor in the total cost of the firearm purchase. A dealer with a higher transfer fee may have lower prices on firearms, making the overall cost cheaper.

How to Find the Best Deal on FFL Transfer Fees

Now that you know how to compare FFL transfer fees, it’s time to learn how to find the best deal. Here are some tips to help you secure a cost-effective transfer fee:


Don’t be afraid to negotiate with the FFL dealer. If you’ve found a lower transfer fee at another dealer, bring it up and see if they’re willing to match or beat the price. You never know unless you ask. 

Use Online Resources

Several online resources can help you find the best deal on FFL transfer fees. Websites like will allow you to compare transfer fees at different dealers in your area.

Become a Member of a Local Gun Store

LGS or Gun Ranges can help you save money on FFL transfer fees by becoming a member of their facility. Check with your LGS or Run Range to see if they offer any discounted FFL fees for members. 

Questions to Ask Before Choosing an FFL Dealer

When selecting an FFL dealer, it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you’re making an informed decision. Here are some questions to ask before choosing an FFL dealer:

What is Your Transfer Fee?

The most crucial question to ask is, of course, what the dealer’s transfer fee is. Make sure to get a clear answer and ask if there are any additional fees or charges.

What is Your Turnaround Time?

Ask how long it will take for the dealer to process your transfer. Some dealers may have long wait times due to high demand, so it’s crucial to factor this in when making your decision.

Do You Offer Discounts or Deals?

Inquire about any discounts or deals the dealer may offer. As we mentioned earlier, some dealers may have lower transfer fees during certain times of the year or for specific types of firearms.

Tips for Negotiating FFL Transfer Fees

Negotiating FFL transfer fees can be intimidating, but it’s an essential step in securing the best deal. Here are some tips to help you negotiate with FFL dealers:

Be Polite and Professional

Approach negotiations with a polite and professional demeanor. Dealers are more likely to work with you if you’re respectful and courteous.

Do Your Research

Come to the table armed with information about other FFL dealers’ transfer fees. This will give you leverage in negotiations and help you secure a better deal.

Be Willing to Walk Away

If the dealer is unwilling to negotiate or match your price, be prepared to walk away. There are plenty of other FFL dealers out there who may be willing to work with you.

Hidden Costs to Watch Out for in FFL Transfers

While the FFL transfer fee is the most significant cost associated with transferring a firearm, there may be other expenses to watch out for. Here are some hidden costs to be aware of:

Shipping Fees

If you’re purchasing a firearm from an out-of-state dealer, you may need to pay shipping fees to have the gun transferred to your FFL dealer. Make sure to factor in these costs when budgeting for your firearm purchase.

Background Check Fees

Some FFL dealers may charge an additional fee for conducting a background check. Make sure to ask if this fee is included in the transfer fee or if it’s an additional charge.


Depending on your state’s laws, you may need to pay sales tax on your firearm purchase. Make sure to factor in this cost when budgeting for your purchase.

FFL Transfer Fees vs. Shipping Costs: Which is Better?

If you’re purchasing a firearm online or from an out-of-state dealer, you may be wondering if it’s better to pay for shipping or an FFL transfer. The answer depends on several factors, including the cost of shipping, the FFL transfer fee, and your location.

In general, FFL transfer fees are cheaper than shipping costs. However, if you’re purchasing a low-cost firearm, shipping may be the more cost-effective option.

Online FFL Transfer Services: Pros and Cons

Finally, we should discuss online FFL transfer services. These services allow you to purchase a firearm online and have it transferred to an FFL dealer in your area. While these services can be convenient, there are both pros and cons to consider.


Online FFL transfer services can save you time and money by allowing you to purchase a firearm from the comfort of your home. These services may also offer lower transfer fees than brick-and-mortar FFL dealers.


However, there are also some downsides to using online FFL transfer services. These services may not have the same level of customer service as a local dealer, and you may not be able to inspect the firearm before purchase. Additionally, some states have restrictions on purchasing firearms online, so make sure to check your state’s laws before using an online FFL transfer service.

Conclusion: Saving Money on FFL Transfer Fees

In conclusion, FFL transfer fees are an essential aspect to consider when purchasing a firearm. By understanding what these fees are, how they work, and how to find the best deal, you can save money and make an informed decision.

Remember to compare transfer fees at multiple dealers, ask the right questions, and see if a membership may be available to secure the best deal. And don’t forget to factor in any hidden costs, such as shipping or background check fees, when budgeting for your firearm purchase.

With these tips in mind, you can confidently navigate the FFL transfer process and save money on your firearm purchase.

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