If you are both an AR-15 owner and one of the many Americans that does their shopping on Amazon.com, you may have noticed a puzzling lack of options when searching for AR-15 parts or accessories on their site recently.
Since the beginning of 2014, Amazon’s official restricted item policy has banned the sale of AR-15 related parts and accessories from their site. This goes not only for items with certain legal restrictions (such as high capacity magazines), but for all items made and marketed for AR-15’s (along with a bunch of other stuff for good measure).
Their reasoning for doing so, though not overtly stated, can be easily inferred. Political reasoning aside, there are a dizzying array of rules and restrictions regulating the sale of weapon parts across state lines and over the internet. It would no doubt be a tremendous burden to train Amazon employees on the various parts for every make and model of rifle and furthermore train them on the ever-changing regulatory landscape surrounding the rifle industry. Easier for them to ban all “assault weapon” parts and assume the politically moral high ground at the same time.
Enforcement of this policy has been uneven. The vast majority of listings for these items have been taken down. Certain third party Amazon sellers have been able to create listings and evade enforcement for a while through various methods. These involve using doublespeak to describe items to avoid attracting attention from the Amazon ban police. For instance, calling something an “accessory mount for a model 15” rather than an “AR-15 quad rail”. But they have tightened their enforcement over time enough to make shopping on Amazon for anything AR-15 related a completely untenable experience.
What's left these days is a motley assortment of listings with worthless product descriptions (sellers cannot use terms like “AR-15” or “quad rail” in the listing lest they be banned). Furthermore these listings typically come from fly-by-night third party or overseas sellers with inflated prices and little (if any) customer service.
So where do you turn to buy AR-15 parts and accessories when they have been blocked from Amazon and likewise blocked on major selling channels like eBay, Google, and Facebook?
Where will you turn to buy parts for your next AR-15 build?