Cabela's gun counter (courtesy ruthuser.com)

“Cabela’s Inc. on Monday became the largest online retailer to sell guns online,” internetretailer.com reports. “The sporting goods retailer, No. 61 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, on Monday began selling handguns and long guns on Cabelas.com.” Alert the antis! The “Internet Loophole” has suddenly grown to black hole proportions! Oh wait . . .

Customers can have the order shipped to a Cabela’s store where they can pick it up for free after going through the proper screening process. Previously, consumers could purchase ammunition online as long as it complied with the laws of the state to which it was being shipped, but could only purchase firearms in a store.

So a consumer who buys a gun from Cabela’s online has to go to the store, find a clerk, find a clerk who knows anything about the store’s internet sales, wait for the clerk to find the online order, wait for the clerk to find the gun ordered online in the stockroom, fill out a Form 4473 and undergo an FBI criminal background check.

That last bit means Cabela’s and similar online firearms retail operations are not a “loophole” allowing known criminals to purchase guns from the comfort of their smart phone. A point internetretailer.com goes to great pains to explain.

Transactions that occur via Cabelas.com and other retailers’ sites are not part of the so-called “gun show loophole,” which extends online. That loophole enables private hobbyists and others to sell guns without a dealer’s license in many states. A consumer can then purchase a gun online from someone online who does not have or need a license—via a peer-to-peer listing websites and auction sites where buyers and sellers can meet and negotiate a price—because the buyer does not need to undergo a background check in most states.

That private sale without a background check thing? That’s a feature not a bug. Anyway, you might be wondering what advantage Cabela’s online gun purchase system offers consumers?

The buy online, pickup in-store service “gives Cabela’s customers access to the company’s online selection of new handguns and long guns, and ensures better firearms availability, while enhancing a seamless customer experience,” the retailer said in a release announcing the program. Cabela’s did not immediately return a request for comment regarding the policy change.

Snark aside, credit to Cabela’s for understanding and accommodating the fact that the gun purchase process ain’t what it used to be. It starts here and ends there.

53 Responses to Look Ma! No “Internet Loophole”! Cabela’s Now Sells Guns Online

    • I actually looked at it last night, and everything in the Gun Library is listed on line for that specific store and you can buy it via an online purchase. although you still have to the store for pickup.

      • What I’d like, is if I find a Dan Wesson 1911 in Nebraska with 460 Rowland conversion, is have them transfer it to a store near me for pickup. That might help make their used guns worth the prices they ask.

        • They will. Call the number listed on the page for a gun and ask them to transfer it to your local store.

        • I was told $25.00 to ship from whatever-store to your store. I assume that is corporate-wide. Depending on the gun, it could be worth it, if not on grabagun or gumbroker, especially after searching all-over-for-that-perfect-gotta-have-it.

  1. The electronic kiosks Cabela’s uses for firearms transactions at their larger stores are great, in my experience. I’ve purchased from the Gun Library over the phone and picked up the store with good success. If they have the right people on duty that day, it can be downright pleasant.

    I’m looking forward to trying this.

  2. I’ve been to Cabelas store in upstate PA a couple times, the clerks in the gun section are usually pretty squared away which makes things nice.

    Only problem I could foresee (and have seen) is the time it takes to find a clerk who isn’t attending to some out-of-stater marveling at how much ordinance is readily available to law abiding keystone citizens. The “I live 1 or 2 states away and can’t buy this stuff, but they can?” look they have is priceless.

    • As a Constitution stater who does business regularly in Reading, PA, you are literally probably describing ME while visiting the Cabela’s store in Hamburg PA. I’ve also been to the Cabela’s up in East Hartford, CT, and the difference between what the two stock is enough to make a grown man cry.

      Might I add, for those in the area shopping near Hamburg PA, check out the Cigar International store across the parking lot from Cabela’s too. The place is billed as the world’s largest humidor.

      Keystone, I am both student and master on this one….I took a former colleague from Australia to both the Cabela’s and Cigar International in Hamburg, and the look on his face at both was priceless.

  3. Yeah… The problem with Cabelas is that they charge significantly more than MSRP for their pistols. Their Glocks are going for $50 over MSRP. That’s a joke when I can buy a Glock from any number reputable online retailers, have it shipped to my gunsmith, and avoid having to pay a transfer fee (this guy really appreciates the thousands of dollars of business I do with him) and sales tax.

    • ^^This…sounds like my experience as well.

      That said, the staff here in Huntsville AL is typically friendly and fairly knowledgable. I usually seek out the oldest guy there; they seem to have the most knowledge.

      • Unless, of course, you want some current info about modern guns. Then the old guy might be a liability. A true wealth of obsolete knowledge and bitter wisdom.

        But boy, get one of those clean shaven howdy-duty kids behind the gun counter, and their depth of knowledge can be measured with a micrometer.

        I know good help is hard to find, but playing bluff-the-customer all day has got be dangerous when selling guns. Half the crap I hear clerks tell noobies is recycled shallow gun rag headlines.

        Internet sales are great for guns since the customer has to actually do some homework and take personal responsibility.

    • Several years ago I was in the market for an LCR, and just so happen to stop by Cabela’s one afternoon. I found two LCRs next to each other in the revolver case, one new, one used, both the exact same price.

      I asked the dude at the counter what gives and he said the price was the price.

      Cabela’s make their gun money from folks who want guns, but actually know very little about guns.

      • Ya’ll need to learn how to shop. You can get wicked deals at Cabela’s especially on used stuff but they aren’t there long because someone comes along, knows what they’re looking at, and relieves Cabela’s of the inventory pronto.

        Either that or your Cabela’s just suck. I see great used stuff there all the time at fantastic prices. Just last week there was a T/C Dimension in .300 Win Mag (MSRP ~ $700) with a Vortex Viper HST-1 6-24×50 scope on it (MSRP ~$700). Basically a $1400 package and they wanted $799 for it when it was basically NIB. Sorry, that’s hard to beat but maybe that’s just my area? Either way, that’s a steal. I walked away from it to check out their “fine gun room” or whatever they call it. I was gone maybe 15 minutes, came back and that T/C was sold. You gotta be quick and you have to regularly check what they have on the used shelves, but deals aplenty are available on those shelves around me. I picked up a 95%+ condition (basically NIB) Sig P226 MK25 from Cabela’s with two spare mags for $599. MRSP on that badboy is $1166.

        Like I said, you have to hit them up very, very regularly and if you see something that’s a deal take it if you can afford it because it likely won’t be there in an hour. The only better places are LGS’s that take consignment from people who have no idea what their gun is worth. I’ve gotten some Earth shattering deals that way.

        (For you Colorado cats I find the Northern Cabela’s to be much better on rifles while the Southern is much, much better on handguns.)

    • I recently had a love hate experience at Cabela’s.
      Wanted to buy a Taurus Judge, just because I’ve always wanted one. Cabela’s offered it for $599. I found the same model at Bi Mart, for $489, a hundred and ten smackers cheaper.
      On the other hand. My LGS was selling DPMS Orecle’s for $545. After my ex military discount (5%) Seventy bucks off, sale price, $25 rewards points (If I got one of their Visa cards) plus another $10 if I used it five times within 30 days, I ended up getting one at Cabela’s at their last Saturday “door buster” sale, for $468 and change.
      Go figure!

    • Shop at the store just over the line, ten miles west of Reno. Of course, Nevada charges a $25 fee for the background check.

      • That’s about four hours or so each way over the mountains. Pass. They cannot sell handguns to California residents, and long guns must be shipped to a California FFL anyway to complete the transfer, as I understand the law. Rifles here are pretty broadly available, so there is no benefit to shopping there.

  4. Or…I could just go to my LGS and have them order what they don’t have in stock and skip overpriced Cabela’s.

    • Exactly! Cabelas gun prices are dog shite. I don’t know why anyone buys from them if there are good mom and pop shops in the area.

  5. I wonder how this squares with the Cook County $25 gun tax at the Cabela’s in Hoffman Estates. If this is a lawful way around that, God bless ’em!

    • I bought a pistol from Hoffman’s Mistake. But that was 5 years ago. No way around the $25 slush fund tax-you will be charged at Cabelas.And the local Cook gun shop claims if you avoid it you are in deep do-do. So I won’t buy a handgun in Cook. Or ammo. Lots of willing sellers in collar counties(and Indiana). All my ammo comes from Cabelas-Herter’s is great target ammo for cheap(and their shotgun loads too).

      • That’s what I was referring to when I mentioned “Indiana”. I paid 10.12/50 round box of Herter’s 9mm. Pretty good to break in my newest 9 . And I save a few cents with their card. I may get a cheap shotgun from them but their prices are way too high. BTW damn near everyone will order a gun for you. This is no big deal..

      • I have plenty of other sources for guns, closer and cheaper than Cabelas, so it’s not a big deal to me. I was just hoping they found a way to tell the Cook County crooks to shove their unconstitutional gun tax up their a$$.

        Cabelas f-ed up big time by locating in Crook County. Makes me wonder whose palms got greased, ’cause they really should have known better.

  6. Cabela’s is a bit hit or miss, at least the one around here is. Some prices are good some are not on NIB items. For NIB I’ve never seen a price tag where I was like “Wow! What a deal!”.

    Used stuff however is where it’s at. Sometimes they way overvalue it but sometimes they don’t actually know what they have and way undervalue it. Occasionally I see a rifle there that looks completely brand new and would have an MSRP of $1100-$1300 that comes with a very nice scope like Leupold or Vortex and they only want $700-$800 for it.

    Sadly I never buy one because I usually already have it or something comparable.

  7. Who, in their right mind, buys guns at Cabela’s? Their prices both online and in stores are more than any other place you’ll find.

    • For used guns, you are correct.

      For new guns, they have good sales from time to time and coupons are a great way to get a great deal.

      Last week, I bought a new Browning rifle on sale for $250 less than I could get it for anywhere else.

      • EVERYWHERE is a better deal than Gander. 30min to kill yesterday so made mistake of wasting it in GM. A bunch of thieves meet idiots. EVERYTHING is vastly over priced. “Clearance MP mags for $40. Magpul 30 gd G2 OR G3 $18ea. Basic composite 10/22 $240. Still no .22lr. Proof that a fool and his money……

        And hiding the ARs behind the counter.

  8. I usually order/buy from Davidson’s Gallery of Guns. The local shop gets a cut, I get a fantastic price, and I get what I want. Cabela’s has some decent deals on new guns sometimes, but used prices blow.

  9. Only gun I ‘ve purchased retail is a Mossberg Shotgun from Academy. Only handgun Ruger LCR .38 special from Gun Tex in South Austin, awful experience. If you are a woman, you will wait 30 minutes while the good ole boys shoot the shit ,before they would noticed me AND I had to ask to see Ruger LCR. Their buddies’ were not there to buy anything, just visit. I have about 14 revolvers/pistols purchased online Gunbroker.com Have had nothing but good transactions. Smooth FFL to FFL transactions. Use Central Texas Gunworks, I like them, they like me. Would buy a handgun from them in a heartbeat

  10. I typically go to Cabela’s for the Sasquatch burgers and to window shop only.

    Some times, I can find some cheap thrills listening in on cliche gun convo BS.

    The 45acp is the earthly embodiment of the hand of God, women should only shoot revolvers, etc.

  11. As a Cabela’s customer, I view this as a good move with the possibility to be a great move. With most gun stores, you are pretty much limited to what the store decides to stock. Getting them to make a “special order” is often a futile exercise.

    If Cabela’s expands the available options through this process, we win.

    As for purchasing online through their website, I do it all the time (free delivery to the store) with non-firearm purchases. I am confident they will figure out how to do it efficiently.

  12. Does Cabela’s treat you the way Walmart and Bass Pro treats you? I mean, I’ve bought something at both of those locations and they irked me by having to WALK me out of the store. At Walmart I had to wait for them to find a manager to walk me out… No big box retailers since.

  13. Cabela’s gun prices are generally way too high. We’re talking used G-20s for $600 high. I bought a Ruger 22/45 there because they had it on clearance but that’s the only gun I’ve seen there for a good price. They barely have any for even “reasonable” prices. I usually don’t waste my time with them unless they have a sale and mail me a paper.

    Ammo, on the other hand, is better. I can usually find some caliber in there for a decent price!

  14. This is a good thing. Yes in general Cabela’s gun prices are horrible. Their used prices are rediculous. I’ve seen used guns tagged at a higher price than a brand new one before. However…

    Every once in a while they will have a great deal on a particular model, usually right before some hunting season or one of the major holidays. I picked up a Ruger Predator from them for $349 on sale. The problem being that they never seem to have the caliber you want. (for example no 6.5 Creedmore), or when the entry level Savage is on sale no 25-06 in stock. By ordering on line, you can get your first choice of caliber, which will increase sales.

  15. Cabelas is almost the last place to find reloading supplies. I save up cash on my points on my Cabelas card and go buy supplies and with the cash back on my card sometimes I walk out paying $5 for a box of Extreme Copper Bullets or a pound of powder.

  16. It never ceases to amaze me the folks that will pay Cabelas, BPS and Gander Mts high ass prices and local sales tax on top of that. Are they dumb or just lazy?

    • When they have something on sale (a real sale) prices are considerably lower than anywhere else in town, and trust me, we have a LOT of places to buy guns in town.

      Their non-sale prices are insultingly stupid high.

  17. Remember, private sales or transfers that involve someone from out of state require an FFL to FFl documentation. Even if it’s relatives, friends and even if no money is involved, federal law prohibits interstate transfers without the required background check. Just because private sellers often ignore this law it can come back on both parties big time.

    Instate private transactions may fall under local laws so check before you give that gun to your uncle.

    Any transfer to a prohibited person is always illegal under any circumstance.

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