Tacswap is an increasingly popular place to post guns and accessories for sale. Like Armslist, it uses a "classified ad" approach. However, its design is much cleaner and more fun to use. It's also cheaper than Armslist (and GunBroker), with just a $5 signup fee. So we aren't surprised that it's growing quickly. But we do have one gripe with Tacswap: their payment advice.
Basically, don't follow all of Tacswap's guidance on payments. Using PayPal puts your money at risk. There is a much safer way.
What Tacswap suggests for payments
Tacswap is a marketplace. It helps buyers and sellers find each other, but doesn't help with the actual transactions. To quote Tacswap from their FAQ page:
Once you have contacted a user through the messaging system it is up to the two parties to arrange their trusted method of payment and transaction exchange. Tacswap advises using only secured method of payments and does not provide any payment protection between transactions.
That's good advice. Most firearm-friendly payment methods are not secured methods, which is why there is so much fraud with online firearm transactions. However, not all of Tacswap's advice is good.
On Tacswap's "Best Practices" page, they suggest using PayPal for payments. That's a big mistake. PayPal explicitly prohibits transactions for firearms, ammunition, and many accessories. It will seize funds that are related to such transactions. That is why Tacswap offers guidance on how to violate PayPal's terms without being detected:
Always use a secure payment method with purchase protection/guarantee such as PayPal Goods & Services. ... If using PayPal we suggest you NOT write anything gun related in PayPal payments. If you absolutely must write a comment, say something generic like "outdoor equipment". Anything gun related can get the seller's PayPal account banned. It does not matter if it's Friends and Family or Goods & Services or if you don't file a claim, they will consider it a violation of their TOS.
Yes, it is possible to violate PayPal's terms without being detected. But even if you do, there are other risks to worry about. For example, the buyer can still be ripped off. If the seller is a scammer, PayPal won't help the buyer recover the funds. PayPal is clear that "PayPal Buyer Protection does not cover ... Products that violate PayPal policies". Also, if the buyer or seller ends up disgruntled about the transaction, they can take the nuclear option and deliberately report the transaction to PayPal as a violation. PayPal will suspend both accounts and seize the funds. Basically, using PayPal for guns or ammo is dangerous.
Tacswap suggests using PayPal because that was a common choice years ago, before there was an alternative. Yes, it was dangerous back then too. But many people were willing to take the risk because there was no better way. Since 2015 there has been a much better way. And it's cheaper, too.
The only safe payments on Tacswap
First, GunTab is safer because it is escrow – it holds the funds until the merchandise has been delivered. So unlike PayPal, there is never a question of whether a buyer qualifies for buyer protection – all buyers are protected, and sellers too. Second, GunTab is more helpful because it includes features like FFL search, shipment tracking, and regulatory guidance. Most importantly, GunTab is better because it is a member of the gun community, not the California anti-gun mob like PayPal.
It would be great to see Tacswap update their "Best Practices" page with a more modern perspective. There's no reason to suggest PayPal anymore. GunTab has reached out to the Tacswap team a few times, but we haven't heard back. We even added Tacswap as a compatible marketplace for GunTab Checkout. We're not sure why they haven't responded. Regardless, the important thing is that you know PayPal is dangerous for anything related to guns.
Ultimately, the choice is yours. If you want to put your money at risk with PayPal, you can. Or you can pay less to be safer and happier with GunTab.
It's completely free to open an account with GunTab – try it now.