Punching Holes – Buying Ammunition, Gun Accessories, Knives and Tactical Gear at Wholesale Prices – Chapters One and Two

Retail vs. Wholesale (courtesy Tayor Capobres for thetruthaboutguns.com)

(sponsored post) Tyler Capobres writes: If you’re like me, you buy guns, and spend even more money customizing them. I have one shotgun that cost nearly $2000 — once I was finished customizing it how I wanted. Don’t forget you’ll also need ammunition for those guns . . .

If you’re lucky, your local retailer might have a few boxes on the shelf. If not, you have to start calling around or buy it online. Next, you’ll want some more magazines, speed loaders and additional equipment, because nobody wants to spend half their day at the range reloading.

Add it all up and you’re paying an arm and a leg to various retailers for all the guns, ammunition and gear you want.

What if I told you that you’ve been going about it all wrong this whole time? Would you believe me if I told you I was in the same boat, until I found a way to save 15-40% by buying it at wholesale prices?

Whether you believe me or not, I’ve done it. I’ve purchased $145 60-round AR15 magazines for $110.  I’ve purchased name brand optics for $70 cheaper than the lowest online prices. If you’re willing to put in some time and effort, it will pay off dividends.

The Benefits of Buying Wholesale

I’ve worked in retail, and I can assure you that there isn’t much markup being added onto ammunition and guns themselves, but gun accessories and tactical gear are a different story. You can expect a minimum markup of 15-20% on most items, and that doesn’t include sales tax.

That may not seem like much to you, but it certainly adds up.

Let’s say you buy a pair of ear muffs for $19.98. Assuming the markup is “only” 20%, that’s $3.33 you’re giving to the retailer. On top of that, you’re paying sales tax on the retail value of the item. Where I live that’s an additional 6%, so add another $1.20.

You’re now paying $4.52 more, which you could’ve spent on something else, or just saved the money for later. It doesn’t seem like much, but when you add up all the purchases you make in a week, month, year, etc., I think you’d be surprised at how much you’re giving to the retailers.

Retail vs. Wholesale (courtesy Taylor Capobres for thetruthaboutguns.com)

While online retailers try to lower the cost of shipping, they can only go so far before it starts cutting into their profits. Yes, there are websites that will offer free shipping if you order over a certain dollar amount,. But I’ve never had luck finding a one-stop-shop website where I could combine ammunition, gun accessories and tactical gear into one purchase to get free shipping on all of them, together.

Some wholesalers will offer you flat-rate shipping. There’s one I use that charges me $9 to ship practically whatever I want. No, I haven’t tried ordering an entire pallet of ammunition, but I have ordered several magazines, several boxes of ammunition and a knife or two. Care to guess what I paid for shipping? You guessed it: $9.

Even while writing this book, I received an email from one of the companies I purchase from, informing me that shipping has been reduced.  Ground shipping is now $9.95, and only $14.95 for 2nd Day Air.

Sometimes you’ll find shipping costs are cheaper ordering online, than through wholesale channels. There have been a number of occasions where I found myself in such a situation, and ended up purchasing through retail channels because it ended up saving me a few dollars over wholesale costs.  When you see those opportunities, take them.

Shipping costs really come into play when you combine them with larger inventory selection.

One dealer I use has average shipping costs, which sometimes end up being more expensive than through retail channels, but their selection is what keeps me coming back.

In one order I can purchase a 50rd drum magazine for my Ruger 10/22, 1.25” 12-gauge buckshot, hearing protection, magazines and any upgrades or gun replacement parts I want. Their inventory is so large that I can do that, whereas elsewhere it would require me to pay 4-5 different retailers to buy the same things. I’d also have to pay shipping costs to each retailer, which would set me back anywhere from $30-50.

It’s cases like these where a large inventory, combined with discounted or flat-rate shipping, allows you to make your money go further.

Show me the Savings!

Now that I have your attention, I’m sure you’re curious just how much I’ve saved using this system. Let me show you some examples.  For purposes of simplification, I am only comparing the savings without shipping charges.


Interestingly enough, this category has the least savings involved, depending on the type of ammunition you buy.  While I did save some money over places like Ammo Seek, there are often times online deals that cannot be beaten.

Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124GR 20rds per box
Retail: $21.00
Wholesale: $18.79
Savings: $2.21 (10% savings)

American Eagle 5.56 XM193 150rds per box
Retail: $52.97
Wholesale: $46.44
Savings: $6.53 (12% savings)

Gun Accessories

This is the largest area where you will save a lot of money buying at wholesale prices.  The markup on these items can easily be double what you pay at wholesale.

GSG 22LR 110rd Drum Magazine for Ruger 10/22
Retail: $67.53
Wholesale: $39.95
Savings: $27.58 (40% savings)

Lula Loader for AK47/Galil
Retail: $26.95
Wholesale:  $19.11
Savings: $7.84 (29% savings)

Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm 8rd Magazine
Retail: $33.59
Wholesale:  $27.09
Savings: $6.50 (19% savings)

Surefire AR-15 60rd Magazine
Retail: $129
Wholesale:  $90.30
Savings: $38.70 (30% savings)


Walther PPQ M2 4” 9mm
Retail: $600
Wholesale:  $511
Savings: $99 (16% savings)

Obviously, the savings you get depend on the manufacturer, popularity, demand, etc. Due to length, I haven’t listed all of the purchases I’ve made using this system. After going through invoices, I calculated I had spent $480.88 on ammunition and gun accessories.  Using the same method above, I came up with the following:

Retail: $599.48
Wholesale: $480.88
Savings: $118.60 (19% savings overall)

Now you’ve seen the markup retailers are charging that you could be saving.  I’m not demonizing retailers by any means. They provide an important service for our communities, and their desire to make a profit isn’t wrong. Our society thrives on capitalism and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My system will walk you through how to create your own business with your state, apply for sales and use permits, and start setting up wholesale dealer accounts so you can start saving money.

Punching Holes (courtesy amazon.com)

[Click here to purchase the entire book via amazon.com]

About The Author
Tyler Capobres wasn’t introduced to guns until he was 18, and is quickly making up for lost time.  He was first published in a Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game magazine at the age of 15.  He is the author of a children’s book, Tall Tales from Nesbit Elementary.
In 2013, he started publishing product reviews on YouTube (www.youtube.com/dstedunet) that are short, honest, and test each product’s endurance. He continues educating people through his personal website, The Good Gun (www.thegoodgun.com). If he’s not testing products, exotic ammunition, or sending lead downrange, you can find him debating anti-gun supporters on Twitter (www.twitter.com/dstroyr_u2b).


  1. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Um, okay.

    I personally don’t mind buying retail from my favorite not-so-local LGS. Their selection isn’t as big as an online emporium; but they’re there, and I can check out stuff in person before actually buying it. That’s worth a few bucks to me because an online bargain that I find I don’t like and need to pay to return, isn’t a bargain.

    As to the rest, well, at the rate I actually buy stuff, it sounds like the hassle wouldn’t be worth it. But that’s just my personal downselect.

    1. I completely understand where you’re coming from. I typically will look for reviews on products I’m considering purchasing as well.

      The only “hassle” is the initial setup to get everything started. Once you have everything in place, it’s simple a matter of paying taxes every quarter.

      It’s certainly not for everyone, but I appreciate your feedback.

      1. avatar No one of consequence says:

        Reviews certainly do help; but when you have a weird vision correction and clown hands, well, they can only take you so far regarding how well a given piece of kit might actually work for you … especially things like optics.

        Hassle … sorry, should have used a better word, as I meant it to incorporate not only the initial but also ongoing state and federal filings, which in some states are more palatable than others (both tax, tip ‘n fees as well as paperwork).

        Anyway, if it’s working for you, I certainly won’t tell you to stop. :–)

  2. avatar Alex Waits says:

    Meh, I don’t buy nearly enough consumer goods for me to benefit. Cost/time investment is neglible, and I don’t have enough disposable income to for it to matter.

    But, I hope others find the info helpful.

  3. avatar pieslapper says:

    That sounded a lot like a “BUT WAIT… THERE’S MORE!” infomercial.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      The post is *clearly* labeled a ‘Sponsored’ post.

      It helps keep the TTAG lights on…

  4. avatar strych9 says:

    “My system will…” and… GFY right there, I’m out. I don’t want to trade gold, or flip houses, or make sure I go up with the market but never down or any of this other bullshit.

    Take your system, pack it up and take a hike down the road to find some other sucker who will fork over money for your “system”. I’m sure it’s guaranteed out the wazoo. Like those bars of soap “with a prize inside guaranteed!”.

    This tomfuckery is almost as annoying as those religious weirdos who show up on my porch trying to hand me their little comics [tracts] about how I’m going to hell. At least with them I can get some fun out of it by dressing up like the Devil to answer the door and “tempting them with sin” like Hustler magazines, pints of cheap whiskey, free salad bar tickets at the titty bar and other amusing shit just to see the reaction. Sure, one day a parent will get pissed and come over but that’s even more fun ’cause the Devil has fire-breathing-freedom-enhancers to back up his skin mags and cheap booze.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you’re so close-minded about saving money, and are unaware of the basics in buying as a consumer vs buying as a wholesaler. Best of luck!

      1. avatar Art out West says:

        I just keep laughing at the thought of spending $90 on a 60 round AR magazine.
        Thirty round P-mags for $10-11 work fine for me. I might spend $25 for a 60 round mag.

        Then again, I won’t put $2000 into a shotgun either.

        Maybe you aren’t the guy to teach me how to save money.


  5. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    With respect any time I hear somebody say “use my system” or “buy my book” my BS detector starts to ring. The author lists a Smith Shield 9mm 8 round magazine at $27.09 “wholesale”. I bought the same item – a Smith and Wesson factory 8 round Shield magazine – at Academy Sports on Sunday for $24.99. So “my system” doesn’t look so good, does it? I save on ammunition by loading my own and I can beat anybody’s prices with an hour in front of the Hornady press. I save big on shipping charges with Amazon Prime. I work the Internet to get the best prices possible and buy in bulk when I can. I’m financially stable enough to be able to take advantage of good deals and sensible enough to know when those good deals come my way. I don’t use a magic system, I don’t need magic passwords, and I don’t try to con people into subscribing to a secret way of buying that charges people $27 for an item that I can buy all day across the counter for $25. That’s a 7.5% savings!!!!!! by the way. Guys, don’t waste our time with late night TV Shopping Channel hucksters – you’re better than that.

    1. Thanks for the comment. Yes, prices fluctuate and there are times when retailers will have sales that can be cheaper than wholesale prices. I encourage everyone to take advantage of those, and also do so personally.

      Please let me know when you’re able to purchase a brand new Surefire 60rd AR-15 magazine for $90.30 at retail price, instead of paying $129 that everyone is currently charging.

      Have a great day!

      1. avatar Robert DiOrio says:

        I’ve seen the surefire mags for $90 before the Vegas shooting.

        Don’t act like you have some magical system. I watch the deal sites everyday and see comparable prices to what you are claiming. They aren’t constant prices but they come around quite frequently.

      2. avatar Chad says:

        Easy google search, JoeBob has them at 89.95 with free shipping over $90. https://www.joeboboutfitters.com/Surefire-60-Round-High-Capacity-5-56-223-AR15-M16-p/surefire-mag60.htm I don’t need a business license, or whatever you are selling in your book to find great deals. Check out PSA sometime. Plenty of others shaming other wholesale prices.

        1. Well done. Only one problem.

          It’s out of stock, not on backorder, and they don’t know when/if they’ll be getting any back in.

          I never have to deal with that unless the manufacturer stops producing the product.

        2. avatar Chad says:

          Indeed they are, they were in stock when I provided the link. I could have ordered then, but I have no desire for those. I look at saving money is like this; if I can purchase a $130 item for $80, I didn’t “save” $50, I SPENT $80. Like I said, it was a quick google search, $80 in stock early this morning, free shipping available. Maybe my link help sell them, I don’t know, don’t care. I’d rather save for the next quality item I desire.

  6. avatar Shire-man says:

    I see the author is using my fool proof system to sell books for profit. Good on him!

  7. avatar Defens says:

    Who doesn’t like saving money? I certainly do, and seek out sales, etc. to benefit from lower prices. Sites like Experticity (if you are an NRA instructor, or meet other requirements you can join) offer great discounts – sometimes 50% off MSRP, on brands like Trijicon, Bushnell, Vortex and others.

    As far as accessing other wholesale prices – well, there’s often some hidden items that Tyler isn’t really mentioning. All those business licenses, etc., cost money to set up and sometimes require you to file additional tax forms, even if you’re not showing a profit. These efforts may or may not be worth your time to save a few bucks, depending on how you value your time.

    Back in the days of kitchen table FFLs, you could make some great buys with an FFL in hand. Heck, even my C&R license gets access to better pricing at Brownell’s and Midway – but an FFL is harder to get and not worth it to most folks now. Tyler’s pitch reads a lot like the myriad similar “Get your FFL and reap huge benefits” ads in the back of Firearms News and the like.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      Join Dvor. Same idea, no requirements to join that I recall.

      You can only buy what they have at the time but that’s the same as everyone else.

    2. Thanks for the comment!

      Yes, you are correct. These first two chapters do not immediately discuss the details involved in the system. That is discussed in later chapters of the book. The initial cost in my state is incredibly cheap, so it certainly will depend on how business-friendly your state is. As you correctly concluded, it all comes down to how much your time is worth, and how much money you’d like to save.

  8. avatar Bil says:

    “I’m not demonizing retailers by any means.” BS, that’s exactly what you’re doing with your *system* and overpriced book.

    1. I’m sorry you perceived my pointing out the facts as “demonizing”. The facts are that you pay more for retail to have the local shopping convenience, instead of having to purchase online. Buying wholesale is simply cheaper.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        I’ve owned my own business, and bought at wholesale. In that position, it’s imperative that you do so. This was back in the 80s.
        Now, I’m no longer in business. Buying wholesale no longer makes economic sense, even given the savings, because of the extra record-keeping and other requirements. Even in the 80s they were cumbersome, now they get on the ridiculous side. And that’s without employees.
        And your book offers nothing that an afternoon at a free library can’t deliver.
        I’m not demonizing you any more than you’re demonizing a local retailer. But you are trying to force the local retailer to raise prices to cover his nut, which is the beginning of a spiral downwards to closed doors. And I’m trying to educate people that what you are selling is available for free.

  9. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    How about…. NO! Sorry guy but that pitch had all the grace, eloquence, and persuasion of a slicked up salesman in a leisure suit assuring me that his 76 firecougarthunderfalcon SSGT500 was only owned by a little old lady who only drove it to church on Sunday. Those drag radials were just the cheapest tires she could mount on the back.

    1. avatar strych9 says:


      And it’s wonderful that you don’t care whether anyone questions your sexual orientation.

      Best TV Show Ever.

      1. avatar Bcb says:

        It truly is the best ever.

      2. avatar No one of consequence says:

        Indeed. I just hope they keep making the odd movie-length sequels…

  10. avatar Binder says:

    Using a resale certificate to avoid being charged tax for items that you are not selling is not the best idea in the world

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      Actually, my book does cover the topic of taxation. You’re required to pay use tax even if purchasing for personal use at wholesale pricing. The tax rate is typically the same as your state’s sales tax.

      Sadly, the system can’t help you avoid paying taxes. It can, however, help you spend less overall. Lower purchase cost, lower use tax.

  11. avatar Jon in CO says:

    $18 for 20 rounds of Gold Dots? Damn you got ripped off. You can get 50 rd boxes for $22 most of the time. Apparently the research and time and effort haven’t gone that far. If this was that easy, to save money everywhere, people would do it. Nobody in their right mind wants to pay more if they don’t have to. The people who have enough extra cash to buy as much crap as this guy is claiming he buys, can afford to throw the extra $2 at whatever they’re buying.

    1. avatar troutbum5 says:

      Target Sports USA has 50 rounds of 124gr Gold Dot for $21.99. HST is usually even cheaper. I think he spent more time writing this article than looking for good deals.

      1. You certainly do make a valid point about ammunition. The margins are smaller and prices fluctuate, so it’s certainly possible retail could be cheaper than wholesale. Accessories, guns, knives and gear are where you’ll notice the biggest difference in savings.

        Pointing out my example of the Surefire 60rd AR-15 magazine, I highly doubt you’ll find it for $90.30 retail.

      2. avatar James69 says:

        Thanks for the Target Sports info. WOW!

    2. In total, no, I wasn’t ripped off. I always purchase multiple items together, so I only pay for shipping once. While I may not have saved as much compared to another place, I also didn’t spend money in gas and paid much less for parts and accessories. The margins on ammunition are smaller, so the savings isn’t as large compared to guns, knives, accessories and the like.

      Thanks for the comment!

      1. avatar Defens says:

        You’re certainly right about knives and some other camping/outdoors equipment. A wholesale account with Blue Ridge Knives, for example, drops the price to half of MSRP, on some very nice name brand gear (SOG, Cold Steel, ESEE, Bark River, etc.). Sometimes you can find similar prices from online retail outlets, but not often. So here, at least, your plan does work.

        Main issue with an account with BRK or others like them, is the minimum order threshold. You need to buy $100 min. at BRK. Which, unfortunately, isn’t hard….

        1. You’re not kidding. It doesn’t take much to hit the minimum threshold buying quality knives. I have found a couple additional wholesalers who don’t necessarily specialize in knives, but do have a decent selection of the major name brand manufacturers.

  12. avatar Jim says:

    Yeah, pay this guy for pointers on starting an FFL, then pay local and state taxes and licensing fees, application fees, insurance, etc, spend a month doing start up paperwork establishing accounts, etc, and then at least a day a week on ongoing paperwork, and keeping the authorities happy…then let me know how much you are saving by “buying at wholesale.” Which, BTW is often the same price, or more, than you pay if you wait for a sale on retail web prices.

    Oh, and don’t forget that you have to buy in wholesale volumes in order to get any real savings. Buy 1 or 2 expensive was mags: save $20 off retail, buy 20, save $30. Want some cheap gub lube? Buy a display of 100 unit and you’ll save a couple of bucks per bottle. Buy 10 cases of ammo instead of 2 boxes? Save $0.86 per box.

    Do you know what that “savings” is? Its the margin your LGS makes off the stuff they sell, and have to pay rent, payroll, utilities, workmans comp, etc., out of. Margins in the gun industry don’t exist right now…anyone who says differently is either ignorant, lying, or selling something (or some combo thereof).

    Buying your gun stuff at wholesale is a marginal fringe benefit of owning an FFL business…but it is not a reason to START an FFL business. You just aren’t going get the savings advertised.

    Oh, and you have to actually be running a business, or you aren’t getting, or keeping, your FFL.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      You don’t need an FFL to purchase accessories, knives, ammo, etc. at wholesale prices. That aspect pertains strictly to guns themselves.

      You can buy all of the products in individual boxes, without having to buy crates of ammo, or 100-unit product displays. It simply depends on which wholesale companies you go through.

  13. avatar Hank says:

    I ussually save money by spending less of it.

  14. avatar former water walker says:

    Meh…I don’t need a “system”. I buy and sell for a living. And I’m cheap😏

  15. avatar Astigmatism says:

    Slick guns one stop shopping has saved me a lot of money. Its like expedia for guns and ammo.

  16. It’s quite possible you did see them for $90.

    It’s not a “magical” system. It’s a tried-and-true business system purchasing at wholesale prices every day, instead of spending time scouring through deals websites.

    You have to search and wait. I pull up my phone, sign in, add to cart, and check out in 5 minutes. How much time did you waste scouring for deals I got in 5 minutes?

  17. avatar GS650G says:

    Tyler has guts entering this forum with his book. I think Google has saved people more money on goods than anything else.

  18. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    “I have one shotgun that cost nearly $2000 — once I was finished customizing it how I wanted.”

    In the world of true “custom” (bespoke) shotguns $2.000 doesn’t even get you in the door.

    If you put $2K into a tactical shotgun I can’t imagine what you did because even a full up Vang Comp, Bill Wilson, Night Hawk or Robar won’t run you that much. BTW, I had Hans Vang work over my old patrol shotgun, I highly recommend him.

  19. avatar little horn says:

    or you can do BOTH. damn, this ain’t rocket science. you go to LGS to handle and see what you like then you buy it online. wow such a brain buster. i’ve done this numerous times and saved hundreds, altogether, on guns.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      Don’t tell everyone about this.
      Doing so will drive that LGS out of business, due to lost sales.
      We’re already seeing this in several markets (notably local hardware stores) because of big box stores like Home Depot.
      LGS have large overhead that they have to cover by sales. If you want to be able to fondle your latest object of desire, it might behoove you to alter that thinking a little.

  20. avatar Patrick says:

    Rabblerousers, please exercise some discipline. If the author hasn’t convinced you to buy his product, don’t buy it. Your whining, foul language, and insults will not foster support by the opposition (nor the fence sitters), and will not encourage others to try to sell products with sponsored posts. Sponsored posts generate revenue for TTAG, so we want to support that. The more time advertisers spend defending their products in comments, other than answering legitimate questions or criticisms, the less likely they are to engage in further business with TTAG.

    (Yes, I acknowledge your First Amendment protected right to throw a tantrum and insult people.)

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      This is a private forum, the first amendment doesn’t apply here.

  21. avatar Gunr says:

    My LGS sells cheaper than anybody else around here (Central West Oregon) I just bought a handgun that MSRP’s for $519. Cabelas’s price, $519! My LGS sold me the same gun for $440.

  22. avatar BerryBear says:

    There are a lot of unknowns here though. I can learn the secrets to buying wholesale and saving money by buying your book. Except I have no idea what it costs to do all things necessary to starting my own “business” to do this. So I spend money buying the book only to find out that the overall cost of creating the business I need for buying wholesale is either more than I can afford on it’s own or costs so much that it takes large amounts of buying wholesale to ever recoup my initial costs.

    I’m not saying that’s the case but I won’t know that without buying the book and going through the process. It’s kind of a crapshoot. I purchased one of those books several years ago that tell you all the ways you are missing out on money offered by the government and such. What they don’t tell you is that out of all the options in the book only a few will apply to each individual and even then only if you are interested in starting a business or going back to college or whatever the requirement is. On the surface it sounds great but you never know whether it’s even feasible until you’ve already bought into it. That’s not a problem for folks with disposable income (which isn’t me) but then those folks aren’t that concerned with buying wholesale to begin with.

  23. avatar Joe Gage says:

    So when all the gun stores go out of business because everyone bought your book and no longer has a need for them where will people go to buy guns and do paperwork? Gunstore profits aren’t made in guns they are made in accessories and ammo. Thanks for this trick to close down every mom and pop shop in America.

  24. avatar whomever says:

    this is pretty great.
    “Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124GR 20rds per box
    Retail: $21.00
    Wholesale: $18.79
    Savings: $2.21 (10% savings)”
    $23 for a box of 50 http://www.sgammo.com/product/speer/50-round-box-9mm-speer-gold-dot-124-grain-standard-pressure-le-hollow-point-ammo-53618
    Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm 8rd Magazine
    Retail: $33.59
    Wholesale: $27.09
    Savings: $6.50 (19% savings)
    3 magazines, $14 each https://www.theoutpostarmory.com/sale-clearance/3-smith-and-wesson-s-w-m-p-shield-9mm-8-round-magazine.html

    i should write a book. it’ll have a whole section dedicated towards this super secret trick to saving money, called “rebates”.

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