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by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: February 16, 2017


The ultimate issue for a gun shop owner is security; the penultimate issue is compliance. Gun shops are heavily regulated at the federal, state and local levels, and costs for noncompliance are high. Much of the inventory has serial numbers which must be tracked under penalty of law.

We’ve created this guide to help gun shop owners understand the gun retail software market. You can use this guide to learn about different product features and benefits and then make an informed purchase decision.

Below are the topics we'll cover in this guide:

What Is Gun and Tactical Shop Software?
Common Features of Gun and Tactical Shop Software
Expected Benefits of Gun and Tactical Shop Software

What Is Gun and Tactical Shop Software?

Gun and tactical gear shop software helps businesses manage their day-to-day operations. Business functions include point of sale (POS) transactions, customer relationship management (CRM) and inventory management. In addition, gun shop owners must carefully track which items are ordered, received into inventory and sold. They are required to document and report lost, stolen and destroyed firearms. Customers are subject to background checks, which must also be documented. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has specific requirements for gun shop software, which include having a compliant backup system.

The other components: an accounting system, accounts receivable, accounts payable, general ledger and payroll, are more or less standard. However, it is very important that gun shops maintain accurate records on their vendors and purchases.

Common Features of Gun and Tactical Shop Software

While evaluating systems, gun and tactical gear shop owners should consider the following functions to meet their unique requirements:

Federal Firearms Transaction Record (ATF 4473) ATF Form 4473 must be completed when a firearm is sold over the counter or through the mail. The system should collect the information about the customer and provide the necessary form with an option to file it electronically.
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) The system should support running NICS checks through the appropriate state point of contact (POC) or through the FBI in states without a POC.
National Firearms Act (NFA) forms The system should track which inventory items are subject to NFA reporting. For those items, it should complete the correct NFA forms when title is transferred.
ID scanning The system should scan and retain ID information for customers. The POS should scan IDs and verify that the format of the ID is correct. It is impractical to validate the IDs against government databases.
ATF-compliant serial number tracking Since 2008, the ATF allows the “bound book” list of firearm serial numbers to be maintained electronically. The system should maintain an ATF-compliant serial number list.
Lost or stolen firearm form The system must handle lost or stolen firearms. The inventory value must be decreased. The system must also complete the correct notification forms and update the electronic bound book.
Destroyed firearm form Similarly, the system must handle destroyed firearms. The inventory value must be decreased. The system must also complete the correct notification forms and update the electronic bound book.
Work orders Many gun shops offer special services. Examples include repairs, bluing and engraving. The system needs to track the work orders, post deposits and notify the customer when the work is complete.
Special orders The system should handle special orders. It should track deposits, integrate with order entry to place orders and notify the customer when the order is received.
Security camera interface The POS system should integrate with the security camera system. A link to the video of each transaction should be stored with the transaction in the POS.
State and local forms Compliance regulations vary from state to state and sometimes even within a state. The system must prepare all state and local forms as required.
Integrated backup system The ATF has requirements for gun shop software. One is that the software must include an integrated backup system. Advanced systems will have a copy on premise and an additional copy stored in the cloud.
Ammunition database Firearms have different options for ammunition. Some ammunition is more strictly regulated than others. The system should provide a list of options on hand and available for special order while enforcing policy and legal requirements.
Tax calculations Some firearms are taxed differently than others. The system should correctly calculate the taxes and prepare tax filing information as required.

Expected Benefits of Gun and Tactical Shop Software

Operating a gun shop is not easy, as there are many regulations and requirements that must be fulfilled. A retail POS software system helps users manage the documentation work for a gun and firearms retail business.

Below are some of the benefits of using POS software in a gun and tactical gear shop:

  • ATF compliance management. On April 29, 2016, the ATF released the ATF 2016-1 compliance norms. Under the new regulations, gun and tactical gear retailers need to record both manufacturer and importer information while making any transaction. Since this is a regulatory requirement, many vendors have started offering ATF compliance management in their solutions. With this functionality, users can autofill some fields in their ATF form, thereby making the process easier for owners and customers.
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  • Repair and service requests. There are many challenges in providing repair and support services in the gun retail business. Users must create service requests, track resources and manage the complete invoicing. POS software helps users record customer repair requests, assign them to resources and then delegate them to people. POS software also allows users to create purchase orders for spare parts that are needed for repairs.
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  • Inventory management. Managing inventory is always a hassle—ask any business. Since there are concerns around safety with guns and tactical gear, discrepancies can lead to legal troubles. So, it’s essential for gun shop retailers to have a system in place that accurately tracks their inventory.

    POS software allows users to track the status of their inventory in real time, from dispatch to the point of sale. Some products on the market allow users to create purchase orders based on stock levels and demand of products.

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