Frequently Asked Questions

Buying Firearms Online

I’ve never purchased a gun online before, can you explain how it works?
Most of the time I am asked this question it is because someone is contemplating buying a firearm from someone, usually out of state, but always someone that they do not know, and they are anxious about what they need to do.
In a nutshell, when you find a firearm online and want to purchase it, you follow the purchasing guidelines of from wherever you are purchasing. They typically have a means for you to pay online, or a mailing address to accept either a check or certified funds. At the purchasing web site you buy and pay for the firearm. Your cost may include tax, shipping and handling, or other fees, in addition to the stated price of the firearm.
Once your purchase is complete you should get some type of notification that your firearm purchase cannot be delivered to you directly, but must be shipped to a Federal Firearms Licensee or FFL. You are asked to supply your FFLs contact information. Sometimes the seller may have a form that they want you to complete and return to them with the FFL information.
In reality, all that needs to happen is for your local FFL to supply a copy of his license to the seller. That license contains the address to which the firearm must be shipped. At Gulf Coast Firearms all I need to get your transfer started is the contact information for the business that you are purchasing from. A fax or email works just fine.
What is a Form 4473?

The BATFE Form 4473 is titled “Firearms Transaction Record Part I – Over-the-Counter”.

Simply said, it is the required documentation that one must complete when purchasing a firearm from a firearms dealer, or when completing a transfer of a firearm through a FFL. On it you must provide your name and address, your place of birth, height, weight, gender, and birthdate. You may choose to provide your Social Security Number to assist in the background check, but it is optional. Next you’ll be asked your ethnicity, your state of residence, and your country of citizenship.
There are around a dozen other questions that help to determine if you are otherwise eligible to own and firearm. It’s pretty easy stuff: are you a felon, under indictment, a fugitive, are you here illegally, and the like. After you sign and date it, the FFL will conduct a background check with the FBI, either on the computer or by telephone.
The remainder of the Form 4473 is used to document the firearm that you are receiving and the results of the background check.
What happens to my Form 4473 after I complete it and take my firearm home?

The Form 4473 is not sent to anyone but must be retained by the FFL for a minimum of 20 years.

How does the background check work?
At Gulf Coast Firearms, when not at a gunshow, we use a computerized system called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, to do the check.
Your Form 4473 information (name, address, etc) is entered in the system and processed. In typically just a few seconds, the system returns to us one of three words, proceed, delayed, or denied. It does not tell us anything else aside from a transaction ID number. We are never told any details of your past. “Proceed” means that your background check came back acceptable and we can transfer the firearm to you.
“Denied” means that your background check came back unacceptable and we cannot transfer the firearm to you. Instead, we can provide you with the information that you’ll need to contact the FBI (if you so desire) to appeal your denial.
“Delayed” means that your background check was not able to be completed and that more time to investigate it is required. By law, the FFL cannot transfer the firearm to you for a minimum of three business days. Assuming a normal non-holiday work week, if you came in for a transfer on Monday and received a “delayed” response, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, are the required three business days. If a “proceed” reply is received during those days, we contact you and you can come get your firearm. If during those three business days we receive no reply from the FBI, then on the fourth day, Friday in this example, we can transfer the firearm to you.
At Gulf Coast Firearms, you do not owe us our $17.50 per firearm transfer fee until you receive a “proceed” response from the FBI and the firearm can be transferred to you.
Does everyone have to go through a background check?

Simply said, yes is the answer, but if you have a valid Texas Concealed Handgun License, as part of getting that license, your background was thoroughly checked by the FBI, and the gun laws allow us to accept your CHL as your background check. We simply record your CHL number and expiration date and your background check is done. You never have to worry about an unexpected “delayed” reply.

Selecting a Handgun

What is the difference between a pistol and a revolver?

A pistol is any handheld firearm. A revolver is a type of pistol that has a rotating cylinder that contains a chamber in which the rounds are loaded. In other pistols, the chamber is part of the barrel and a magazine (some people incorrectly call it a “clip”) that stores the rounds to be loaded into the chamber. A semi-automatic pistol or a single shot pistol is a good example of this.

What is the difference between a double action and a single action pistol or revolver?

If you must cock the hammer of a pistol or a revolver manually before that trigger can be pressed, you are dealing with a single action firearm. If, upon pressing the trigger, the firearm’s hammer rises to the cocked position and then falls, causing the round to be fired, you are dealing with a double action pistol.

What is the difference between an automatic pistol and a semi-automatic pistol?
Most of the time people just use the wrong terminology. If, when you press the trigger, more than one round is discharged, you are dealing with an automatic pistol, or machine pistol. These are rare in the public theatre, and require special licensing.
If, on the other hand, when you press the trigger only one round is discharged, and a second round is loaded into the chamber but not discharged, you are dealing with the very common semi-automatic pistol. In other words, with a semi-automatic, you must press the trigger each time you want the pistol to fire. Keep in mind that the pistol, with each discharge, loads another round into the chamber.
How does a semi-automatic pistol operate?
Semi-automatic pistols have a slide on them that performs three functions every time the pistol is discharged or otherwise brought into battery manually.
Upon discharge, as the slide moves rearward, it extracts the spent casing and ejects it from the pistol. As it continues rearward, it resets or recocks the firing mechanism or hammer. Upon returning forward into battery, it strips off the next round in the magazine and loads it into the chamber. When the trigger is pressed that round is discharged and the cycle begins over again until the last round has been fired and the magazine is empty.
On most semi-automatic pistols, upon firing the last round, the slide will lock in its fully back position. This is not true 100% of the time, however.
I see that some semi-automatic pistols have no manual safety. Isn’t that unsafe?
Not necessarily. Gun safety is dependent upon the quality of the firearm and the knowledge of the shooter.
The best safety on any firearm resides with the shooter and his knowledge of his firearm and how to operate it safely. That knowledge comes from training, and we’re not talking about the training that your parents may have given you about firearms as a child. To be a proficient, safe shooter, you need formal training from a certified instructor. At Gulf Coast Firearms we have the resources to provide you with this type of training. Having said this about the shooter’s responsibility toward safety, what about the gun itself? All modern semi-autos have safety mechanisms in them, though they may not always be discernible to you. Some have special triggers that serve as a safety (Glocks, for example) others have a very long, stiff trigger pull, and others have internal components that prevent the pistol from being fully ready to fire until the trigger is pressed.
How do I select a handgun that is right for me?
Tom Dowdy, owner of, the Gulf Coast Firearms recommended handgun training center, has written an excellent document that answers this question.

Please use this link to his article:

What do I need to do to get my Texas Concealed Handgun License?
To get a Texas CHL you must be otherwise qualified to own a handgun, complete an online application with the Texas Department of Public Safety, have your background checked by the FBI as part of the application process, have your fingerprints submitted to DPS, and complete a CHL training course through a DPS-approved CHL Instructor, and pass the shooting proficiency that is part of the training course. Currently, a fee of $140 must be submitted to DPS, and $9.95 is paid to L-1 Enrollment Services for fingerprinting. The course fee varies depending on where you take the course.
What will the CHL course teach me?
Your Texas Concealed Handgun License course will teach you the laws regarding concealed carry in Texas. Among the required topics are the penal code, the use of force and deadly force, firearms safety, and non-violent dispute resolution. The course will not teach you how to properly operate your particular handgun; you are expected to be proficient with it upon entering the class.
At Gulf Coast Firearms, we believe that it is way too easy to get a Texas CHL and that more training is needed to be truly proficient in carrying a concealed firearm. We have the resources to offer that additional training that we believe is necessary, but also in our CHL courses, we include roughly 90 minutes of actual firearms instruction and dry firing exercises, as most CHL students are not proficient with their handguns.

NFA Transactions

Can I own a silencer in Texas?
Yes, you can. It is 100% legal, but there is a process that you must go through to acquire it. Gulf Coast Firearms is fully licensed to help you with this transaction.
My gun friends talk about a Class 3 license. Why do I need a Class 3 license?
“Class 3” refers to a Dealers License for NFA firearms. It means that the dealer can sell you a NFA firearm by going through the legal process of ownership.
At Gulf Coast Firearms we can take it a step further. Our license, or more properly, our Special Occupational Tax Stamp, or SOT is a Class 2, which is a manufacturer’s license for NFA Firearms, so, not only can we sell you one, we can also build you one.
I hear people talking about NFA firearms. What are they talking about?
NFA stands for the National Firearms Act which was enacted to regulate the sale and possession of certain types of firearms, namely, short barreled rifles and shotguns, machine guns, and silencers, and a few other less known categories.
Most traditional firearms sales like handguns and long guns (rifles and shotguns), are regulated by the Gun Control Act. At Gulf Coast Firearms, we have a Federal Firearms License as a manufacturer of firearms other than destructive devices, in addition to a Class 02 SOT as a manufacturer of NFA firearms.
What are the differences between a silencer and a suppressor?
They are one in the same. The BATFE officially uses the term “silencer” in their rules and regulations, whereas the manufacturing industry tends toward the use of the term “suppressor” as it more technically correctly identifies the devices’ true function.
How does a silencer work?
When a round is discharged in a firearm’s chamber, the burning powder in the casing produces rapidly expanding hot gasses that force the projectile (bullet) off the end of the cartridge and down the barrel where it produces tremendous speed and trajectory. Immediately upon exiting the barrel, those rapidly expanding hot gasses are exposed to the relatively low pressure outside-the-barrel environment. This sudden pressure difference results in a loud “bang” that we recognize as the report of the firearm. A suppressor is simply a tube containing a number of baffling chambers that allow those gasses to discharge their pressure over the length of the suppressor so that when the bullet exits the end of the suppressor there is no “bang” from the pressure gradient. Bullets that have a velocity that is supersonic produce a sonic boom, as well, though the human ear only hears one “bang”. A suppressor can do nothing about the sonic boom.

2235 Rolling Glen Dr.
Spring, TX 77373 (by appointment only)

Ph: (713) 510-GUNS (4867)
Fax: (281) 528-6767

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