Two of the biggest online firearms marketplaces in the world. Which has the best deals?
ArmsList and GunBroker are both famous for having great deals on guns. And every so often you find a price that is jaw-dropping. That's why there are lots of people addicted to scrolling through the listings. They're looking for those once-in-a-lifetime gun deals. But which marketplace has the best deals on guns? We decided to get semi-scientific and find out. The results might surprise you. ArmsList has the best deals. GunBroker has the most deals.
First, let's cover the differences between the two marketplaces. ArmsList is "the Craigslist of guns." You can easily post merchandise for face-to-face sales (or online sales with shipping). It tends to have more local listings from ordinary firearm owners. GunBroker is "the eBay of guns." You can create an account and post merchandise for online sales with shipping. It tends to have more national listings from professional firearm dealers.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's get into the data. We used the GunGenius Top Selling Guns report from January 2019 to choose some firearms to analyze. First, we picked the 6 categories we figure are most popular for Americans:
- Bolt Action Rifles
- Pump Action Shotguns
- Semi Auto Handguns
- Semi Auto Rifles
- Semi Auto Shotguns
Next, we took the top 3 from each list, for a total of 18 guns. We should note there was one catch. GunGenius lists the mysterious "Colt Standard" as the #1 Semi Auto Shotgun*. That seems like an error in their list, so we swapped in the #4 option instead, the Mossberg 930.
Then, for each of these most popular guns, we looked for the cheapest prices on each marketplace on one ordinary day in March 2019. And this is where we put the emphasis on the "semi-" in the phrase "semi-scientific." But we think you'll agree our methodology is generally reasonable:
- We treated new and lightly used as being equivalent, to make it easier to find matching listings on each marketplace. We figure if someone treats a gun well, then sells it, there isn't much difference with a new one. We even saw one guy selling an unfired rifle as "used" just because it had been purchased from a dealer and therefore entered the private market. We had planned to exclude anything heavily-used, but didn't actually encounter anything like that.
- We tried to find similar calibers, to avoid comparing apples to oranges. For example, on ArmsList the cheapest Ruger Precision Rifle was of the venerable .308 caliber, but on GunBroker it was of the much newer and less widely adopted 6mm Creedmoor. So on that one we ignored the Creedmoor and looked for the cheapest .308 on GunBroker. We also ignored 14- and 20-gauge shotguns in favor of 12 gauge, again to standardize the results around the most generally popular calibers.
Now, a drumroll please... The results.
The single best deal we found was a Benelli M4 Tactical Semi Auto Shotgun selling for $1,250 on ArmsList. The cheapest equivalent listing on GunBroker was for $1,750. That's a staggering 38% price advantage on ArmsList.
But GunBroker is hardly defeated. Out of the 18 guns we looked at, GunBroker had the better price on 12. In other words, you're twice as likely to find the better price on GunBroker.
And the second-best deal we found was a Mossberg 590 Shockwave Pump Action Shotgun selling for $247 on GunBroker when the cheapest was $339 on ArmsList. That's a huge 37% price advantage on GunBroker.
The third-best deal we found was on a Benelli M2 Field on ArmsList, but then the fourth- and fifth-best deals were on GunBroker. Ultimately, we concluded that there are tremendous deals on guns to be found on ArmsList and GunBroker. We think you should check them both.
Here is our data if you want a closer look:
|Item||Category||Armslist Price||GunBroker Price||Price Difference||Price Difference Percentage||Winner|
|Benelli M4 Tactical||Semi Auto Shotguns||$1,250||$1,720||$470||-38%||ArmsList|
|Benelli M2 Field||Semi Auto Shotguns||$735||$1,000||$265||-36%||ArmsList|
|Glock 26||Semi Auto Handguns||$405||$499||$94||-23%||ArmsList|
|Smith & Wesson 629||Revolvers||$650||$740||$90||-14%||ArmsList|
|Smith & Wesson M&P Sport II||Semi Auto Rifles||$420||$469||$49||-12%||ArmsList|
|Savage Axis||Bolt Action Rifles||$200||$220||$20||-10%||ArmsList|
|Ruger LCP||Semi Auto Handguns||$199||$190||$9||5%||GunBroker|
|Mossberg 590||Pump Action Shotguns||$350||$330||$20||6%||GunBroker|
|Ruger Precision Rifle||Bolt Action Rifles||$968||$879||$89||10%||GunBroker|
|Mossberg 930||Semi Auto Shotguns||$469||$420||$49||12%||GunBroker|
|Ruger AR-556||Semi Auto Rifles||$534||$475||$59||12%||GunBroker|
|KEL-TEC KSG||Pump Action Shotguns||$749||$650||$99||15%||GunBroker|
|Browning X-Bolt||Bolt Action Rifles||$775||$650||$125||19%||GunBroker|
|Beretta 96A1||Semi Auto Handguns||$450||$350||$100||29%||GunBroker|
|KEL-TEC Sub-2000||Semi Auto Rifles||$415||$320||$95||30%||GunBroker|
|Mossberg 590 Shockwave||Pump Action Shotguns||$339||$247||$92||37%||GunBroker|
- Can anyone comment on the "Colt Standard" and whether Colt has manufactured shotguns since 1883?