Armslist, everyone’s favorite 2A-friendly Craig’slist alternative, has gone pay for play. Armslist has long had premium accounts aimed at dealers looking to advertise their wares. However, recently Armslist has begun requiring all accounts to be premium to contact or list a firearm, knife, light, or whatever a user wants to sell.
I have had a love/hate relationship with Armslist. I’ve sold a few guns over the website and bought even more. I love the idea of being able to connect with private sellers via a single website. You can find all kinds of treasures there if you’re patient and know what you’re looking for. It’s where I got my West German P220, for example.
Yes, lots of stuff is overpriced, but the occasional weird, rare, or unique thing crosses my path, and I love that.
I hate Armslist because of the scams, junk emails, and general time-wasting that goes into selling anything on the site. I’ve gotten tons of bogus offers, one including the word “Boat?” once. Some guy wanted to trade me a boat that was sitting in a junkyard for the rifle I was selling. I’ve been hit up with offers to trade car rims, exotic birds…you name it.
Then there’s the old scam where someone offers to buy my firearm and send me a cashier’s check. The check will be for too much money, and the buyer will ask me to send the difference back. When the cashier’s check turns out to be fake, you’re out the entire amount of the check and the difference you sent the buyer.
Armslist Premium…Worth the Squeeze?
The new Armslist premium personal accounts promise to do away with the scammers and tire-kickers by charging $6.99 a month for a membership. This auto-drafting month-to-month membership allows you to post items for sale or to contact sellers. The sign-up process is relatively simple, and once complete, you can easily post or contact sellers just like Armslist of old.
With your premium membership, you can also create search alerts, do ‘power’ searches, get a view counter on listings and access to Armslist.Deals. Paying members can have five listings with three photos per listing.
I have a few issues here.
First, if I’m paying, I feel like a five listings limit is silly. Also, while they advertise a view counter, I must be blind because I don’t see it. Armslist.Deals, which is a separate website, doesn’t seem to require a membership to access anyway. It’s all affiliate links to different retailers.
From the outside looking in, the deals seem incredible. Today I saw 200 rounds of buckshot for 12.99. The post at Armslist.deals says it’s $167 off and that “Our systems indicate this deal is in stock.”
I click the link, and I’m taken to Palmetto State Armory.
Sadly, the ammo wasn’t in stock, but it did get me to click the link. That creates a cookie, and that cookie could last for 30 days. If I purchase anything from Palmetto State Armory in that time, Armslist.Deals gets a commission.
All of their deals appear insane. How about ten D&H AR mags for ten bucks! That’s only a buck a piece! And it’s actually in stock at PSA. But, the price doesn’t match, it’s actually $119.99.
None of the prices listed seem at all accurate, and some of the deal links are bad. They seem to be designed to get you to click to capture that cookie. That’s poor form as far as I’m concerned.
The Armslist Power Search feature is an advanced search that allows you to be insanely specific to track down guns by name, keyword, location, price, caliber, and beyond. It’s easy to use and easy to find.
Unfortunately I can’t seem to find how to set up a search alert. From my account management screen, I can see a search alerts option, but it just takes me to a page saying I have no search alerts. I can’t seem to find out how to set up a search alert.
Buying, Selling, and Trading
Once I had my premium account set up, I listed a few things for sale. I put up a rifle, a few lights, and an optic I am no longer using. I included details and photos and put them into the Armslist listings for my local area. A lot of your success is going to depend on just how many people are using Armslist in your local area.
Before you create a paid account, you either need to check out the activity level in your area or be willing to travel to a more active area. Only members can contact you, and Armslist specifically warns you not to try to be sneaky and put contact information into your posting. Since I’m reviewing the service as it is, I did no such thing, but I saw that quite a bit.
I wouldn’t want to do that anyway Part of having the paid membership is avoiding the scams and BS artists who populated free Armslist. Tossing your email in a posting seems to be an open invitation to the people you’re paying Armslist to avoid.
With my postings up, I received a few hits and sold the rifle pretty quickly. It’s a seller’s market at the moment, so a reasonably priced semi-auto rifle flew off the shelf. I received zero scam attempts and not a single offer of boats, reptiles, birds, or rims. I got a few lowballers, as you sometimes do, and a few trade offers I wasn’t interested in, but it was definitely a better experience.
The optic and lights remain for sale, at least until the July 3 when my account cancels. I’m not going to keep it on a month-to-month basis. I’ll just revive it in the rare situation in which I sell a firearm.
So Is the Juice Worth the Squeeze?
If you just want to use the classified section to sell and buy goods, then Armslist’s new paid service seems to be worth the cost. The premium subscription seems to have gotten rid of the scammers and tire-kickers, which is nice. However, a few of the ‘features’ offered don’t appear to be all that they’re cracked up to be.
For seven bucks a month, I should at least get seven postings instead of only five. The premium account has solved some problems, but, at least for me, it’s too to keep going beyond the few times I ever need to sell something. If you’re a more regular seller, your mileage may vary.
I think Armslist could offer a lot more as part of the paid membership, especially if they actually offered some form of exclusive club member deals. As of now, the new service doesn’t give me anything that would make me want to keep my subscription on an ongoing basis.