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The difference is you can't handle the guns on-line. If you know what you want, by all means shop on-line. Keep in mind that when you buy a pistol on-line, you have to have the pay shipping and also have to have it sent to a gun shop, who will charge you a FFL Transfer fee (fee for paperwork). So in terms of price you need to compare gun+shipping+FFL fee vs. gun+sales tax. Even though you may not like the local shop, it may be better for you wallet. Or it may not.