Understan Regulations: Shipping Ammunition Without an FFL

It might be difficult to navigate the maze of rules and policies involved in shipping ammunition. In what follows, we’ll talk about an important question: Do you need a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to ship ammunition?

Decoding the FFL

Let’s get a firm grasp on the idea of a Federal Firearms License (FFL) before we can answer this question. It’s essentially a license that lets people and businesses engage in activities like making and selling firearms and ammunition, both inside and between jurisdictions. In order to engage in such operations within the United States, one must be in possession of a valid FFL.

Types of FFL

There are several types of FFL, each with distinct permissions and restrictions:

  1. Type 01: Dealer in firearms other than destructive devices.
  2. Type 02: Pawnbroker in firearms other than destructive devices.
  3. Type 03: Collector of curios and relics.
  4. Type 06: Manufacturer of ammunition for firearms.
  5. Type 07: Manufacturer of firearms other than destructive devices.
  6. Type 08: Importer of firearms other than destructive devices.
  7. Type 09: Dealer in destructive devices.
  8. Type 10: Manufacturer of destructive devices.
  9. Type 11: Importer of destructive devices.

For the purpose of shipping ammunition, a Type 06 FFL would be the most relevant license.

Is an FFL Required for Ammunition Shipping?

No, an FFL is not needed to export ammunition; that’s the simple answer. Although the shipping procedure is generally straightforward, it is crucial to note that it is subject to significant rules imposed by federal, state, and local laws, as well as the policies of individual shipping corporations.

Federal Regulations

Ammunition can be shipped inside a state and between states by non-licensees using common or contract carriers, as stated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The ATF does, however, require adherence to the DOT’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR), which is an important fact to keep in mind.

Ammunition falls within the DOT’s HMR, which regulates the safe transport of hazardous materials. In order to reduce the likelihood of accidents and incidents, it is crucial that ammunition is handled, stored, and transported in accordance with these rules.

  1. Federal Regulations for Shipping Ammunition:
  • Non-licensees (individuals without an FFL) can ship ammunition.
  • Ammunition can be shipped via common or contract carriers such as FedEx, UPS, etc.
  • Shippers must comply with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) established by the DOT.
  1. The Department of Transportation’s Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) include rules and regulations for transporting ammunition and other potentially dangerous items. Among the most important features of compliance are:
Proper PackagingIn order to avoid any accidents or mishaps, ammunition must be packaged safely. The packing must conform to the detailed specifications laid out in the HMR.
Labeling and MarkingPackages containing ammunition should be labeled and marked appropriately to indicate the presence of hazardous materials. This allows carriers and handlers to identify and handle the packages with caution.
DocumentationShippers are required to provide accurate and complete documentation for each shipment of ammunition. This may include details such as the type and quantity of ammunition, proper shipping name, hazard class, and emergency contact information.
Training and CertificationIndividuals involved in shipping ammunition must receive proper training on the HMR regulations. They should be knowledgeable about the handling, storage, and transportation requirements specific to ammunition. Certification may be necessary to demonstrate compliance with these regulations.
RecordkeepingShippers should maintain records of their ammunition shipments, including the documentation mentioned above. These records serve as a reference for compliance audits and help track the movement of ammunition.
  1. Carrier Requirements: Common or contract carriers, such as FedEx, UPS, and others, play a crucial role in transporting ammunition safely. These carriers also have their own set of requirements and guidelines to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Shippers should familiarize themselves with the specific carrier requirements and work in coordination with the chosen carrier to meet all necessary obligations.

Non-licensees are allowed to ship ammunition using common or contract carriers for both interstate and intrastate transportation. Compliance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) established by the Department of Transportation (DOT) is mandatory to ensure the safe handling and transportation of ammunition. 

Shippers must pay careful attention to packaging, labeling, documentation, training, and recordkeeping requirements. It is also important to be aware of any additional requirements set forth by the chosen carrier to ensure a smooth and lawful shipping process.

State and Local Regulations

When it comes to shipping ammunition, it is important to consider not only federal regulations but also state and local regulations. While federal law permits the shipment of ammunition without a Federal Firearms License (FFL), individual states and localities have the authority to impose additional restrictions. Therefore, it is crucial to check the laws in both the sender and receiver’s jurisdictions before shipping ammunition.

  1. State Regulations: Each state has the authority to enact its own laws and regulations regarding the shipment and possession of ammunition. The specific regulations can vary widely from state to state. Some common aspects regulated by states include:
Ammunition TypesCertain states may have restrictions on specific types of ammunition, such as armor-piercing rounds or high-capacity magazines.
Quantity LimitsSome states impose limits on the quantity of ammunition that can be shipped or possessed.
Age RestrictionsStates may set minimum age requirements for the purchase, possession, or shipment of ammunition.
Licensing or PermitsSome states may require individuals to obtain specific licenses or permits to ship or receive ammunition.
Registration RequirementsCertain states may have ammunition registration requirements, where individuals need to register their ammunition purchases or possession with relevant authorities.
Sale and Transfer RestrictionsStates can have restrictions on the sale or transfer of ammunition, including background check requirements or waiting periods.
ComplianceIt is essential to research and understand the specific regulations in the sender and receiver’s states to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.
  1. Local Regulations: In addition to state laws, local jurisdictions such as counties, cities, or municipalities may have their own regulations pertaining to ammunition shipment. These local regulations can further restrict or regulate the transportation and possession of ammunition. Some areas may have additional requirements, such as permits or restrictions on ammunition storage. It is important to thoroughly investigate the local regulations in both the sender and receiver’s locations to ensure full compliance.
  2. Checking Laws and Regulations: To determine the applicable state and local regulations, the following steps are recommended:
ResearchAccess official state government websites or consult legal resources to gather information on the relevant state regulations.
Contact AuthoritiesReach out to the state’s attorney general’s office or local law enforcement agencies for clarification on any specific laws or requirements.
Consult Legal ProfessionalsIf necessary, seek advice from attorneys or legal professionals well-versed in firearms and ammunition laws to ensure a comprehensive understanding.
  1. Compliance and Documentation: When shipping ammunition, it is crucial to maintain proper documentation and comply with all relevant state and local regulations. This may include:
PackagingEnsure ammunition is packaged securely and in accordance with any specific requirements outlined by state or local laws.
Labels and MarkingsAdhere to any labeling or marking requirements as mandated by the state or local regulations.
DocumentationKeep accurate records of the ammunition being shipped, including details such as type, quantity, and destination, as well as any required permits or licenses.
Permits and LicensesIf applicable, obtain and include any necessary permits or licenses when shipping ammunition.
Compliance AuditsRegularly review and update your knowledge of state and local regulations to ensure ongoing compliance with any changes or updates.

While federal regulations allow non-licensees to ship ammunition, it is crucial to be aware of state and local regulations, which can impose additional restrictions. These regulations may pertain to ammunition types, quantity limits, age restrictions, licensing, registration requirements, sale and transfer restrictions, as well as local jurisdiction rules. Thoroughly researching and understanding the laws in both the sender and receiver’s jurisdictions, consulting legal resources if needed, and complying with all applicable regulations are essential steps to ensure lawful and compliant shipment of ammunition.

Carrier Policies

When shipping ammunition, it is important to be familiar with the policies of major carriers, such as FedEx and UPS. These carriers have their own specific guidelines and requirements for shipping ammunition safely and legally. The following information provides details about the policies of FedEx and UPS:

  1. FedEx Policies: FedEx accepts shipments of ammunition, subject to certain conditions. Here are the key points to consider:
LabelingThe shipper must label the package as “ORM-D” (Other Regulated Materials) and “Cartridges, Small Arms.” This labeling helps identify the presence of hazardous materials and ensures appropriate handling during transit.
PackagingAmmunition must be securely packaged to prevent any leakage, damage, or accidents during transportation. It is recommended to follow the packaging requirements outlined by the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) established by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
Shipping OptionsFedEx offers various shipping options for ammunition, including ground and express services. The availability of specific services may vary based on the destination and local regulations. It is advisable to consult with FedEx directly or refer to their official guidelines for detailed information on available shipping options.

It is important to note that while FedEx accepts ammunition shipments, they may have additional requirements or restrictions depending on the specific circumstances. Therefore, it is advisable to review FedEx’s official guidelines or contact their customer service for the most up-to-date and accurate information.

  1. UPS Policies: UPS also allows the shipment of ammunition, but they have specific requirements that must be met. Here are the key points to consider:
Compliance with DOT’s HMRAmmunition must be packaged and labeled in compliance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) established by the Department of Transportation (DOT). These regulations ensure the safe handling and transportation of hazardous materials, including ammunition.
Shipping MethodUPS requires ammunition to be shipped via UPS Ground. This means that other shipping methods, such as air services, may not be available for ammunition shipments. It is important to verify the shipping options for ammunition with UPS directly or refer to their official guidelines.
Packaging and LabelingSimilar to FedEx, ammunition must be securely packaged and labeled in accordance with the DOT’s HMR requirements. Following the proper packaging and labeling guidelines helps ensure the safe handling and transport of ammunition.

As with FedEx, it is essential to review UPS’s official guidelines or contact their customer service to stay informed about any updates or specific requirements related to shipping ammunition.

It is worth noting that carrier policies may evolve over time, and it is essential to stay up-to-date with any changes. Additionally, other carriers may have their own policies and requirements for shipping ammunition. It is always recommended to consult the specific carrier’s guidelines, reach out to their customer service, or consult with a shipping professional to ensure compliance with all carrier policies when shipping ammunition.

Common Misconceptions About Shipping Ammunition

hands carrying a box

FFL Required for Interstate Shipping

Contrary to a common misconception, having a Federal Firearms License (FFL) is not a requirement for shipping ammunition interstate. Federal law permits non-licensees to engage in the interstate shipment of ammunition. However, it is crucial to be aware that state and local regulations can impose additional restrictions and requirements on ammunition shipping.

  • Federal Law on Interstate Shipping: Under federal law, non-licensees are allowed to ship ammunition across state lines. This means that individuals without an FFL can engage in the interstate transportation of ammunition legally. This provision provides flexibility for individuals who may need to ship ammunition to recipients in different states.
  • State and Local Regulations: Although federal law allows interstate ammunition shipping without an FFL, it is important to note that state and local regulations may add further restrictions. These regulations can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another and may include limitations on ammunition types, quantity limits, age restrictions, and additional licensing or permit requirements. Therefore, before shipping ammunition interstate, it is crucial to research and understand the specific regulations in both the sender’s and receiver’s jurisdictions to ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

FFL Required for Ammunition Purchase Online

When it comes to purchasing ammunition online, it is important to distinguish between the requirement for an FFL and the age verification process. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Federal Law on Online Ammunition Purchase: Federal law does not mandate non-licensees to hold an FFL to purchase ammunition online. This means that individuals without an FFL can legally purchase ammunition through online retailers. However, it is essential to comply with all applicable federal, state, and local laws regarding ammunition purchase and possession.
  • Age Verification: Online retailers of ammunition typically require proof of age during the purchasing process. This verification is necessary to ensure compliance with age restrictions imposed by federal, state, and local laws. Buyers are generally required to provide identification to confirm that they meet the minimum age requirement for purchasing ammunition.
  • Compliance with Federal, State, Local, and Carrier Policies: When purchasing ammunition online, it is crucial to adhere to all applicable laws and regulations. This includes complying with federal regulations, as well as any state, local, and carrier policies that may apply. Proper packaging, labeling, and documentation should also be ensured to meet the requirements set forth by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the chosen carrier.


While the shipment of ammunition does not necessitate an FFL per se, it’s critical to be fully aware and compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. This includes those established at the federal, state, and local levels, as well as the specific policies of your chosen shipping carrier. The landscape of these laws and regulations can be complex, and understanding them is essential for legal and safe shipping of ammunition. Always ensure to check with the legal provisions of both your locality and the recipient’s locality before proceeding with any ammunition shipment.


Can I ship ammunition via USPS?
No, the United States Postal Service does not allow the shipment of ammunition. Only licensed dealers may ship firearms and certain firearm parts via USPS, but not ammunition.

Can I ship ammunition to another person in my state without an FFL?
While federal law permits shipping ammunition without an FFL, you need to check your state and local laws. Some states may have stricter regulations that require an FFL or other specific requirements.

Can I ship ammunition in the same package as a firearm?
This varies by carrier. FedEx, for example, does not permit firearms and ammunition to be in the same package. Always consult with your chosen carrier’s policies.