The Secret Online Weapons Store That Will Sell Anyone Anything

The Bushmaster M4 is a 50-inch rifle capable of firing 30 5.56×45mm NATO rounds and is used by spec ops forces throughout Afghanistan. It's a serious weapon. But in the internet's darkest black market, it's all yours. Who needs a background check? Nobody.

The Armoury began as an offshoot of The Silk Road, notable as the internet's foremost open drug bazaar, where anything from heroin and meth to Vicodin and pot can be picked out and purchased like a criminal Amazon.com. It's virtually impossible to trace and entirely anonymous. But apparently guns were a little too hot for The Silk Road's admins, who broke the site off from the main narcotics carnival. Now guns, ammo, explosives, and more have their own shadowy home online, far from the piles of Dutch coke and American meth. But the same rules apply: with nothing more than money and a little online savoir faire, you can buy extremely powerful, deadly weapons — Glocks, Berettas, PPKs, AK-47s, Bushmaster rifles, even a grenade — in secret, shipped anywhere in the world.

So I wondered, just how easy is it to get a gun? A semi-auto, 9mm Beretta 92FS with "No scratches or dents, very slight wear from extremely light usage" would hit me for 338.69 bitcoins. At the current Bitcoin/Dollar exchange of roughly 9-to-1, that's a little over $US3000. A stiff markup. But that got me thinking: what if you wanted to go beyond arming yourself? What if you wanted something more powerful or more plentiful? What if you weren't just interested in or hunting? What if you wanted to, say, arm a 20-person paramilitary group to overthrow a West African government in an internet-armed coup d'état? Could a band of anonymous weapon mongers prepare me and 19 imaginary compatriots for illegal warfare? It looks like the answer is yes.

***

The Amazon comparison might not be fair — The Armoury wants to make itself hard to access (for obvious reasons that have to do with not going to prison), so it's not as easy as just firing up any old website. In fact, it's not really on the web in any traditional sense. To get to The Armoury, you need to deploy a free piece of software called TOR. Originally (and ironically) developed by the Navy, it's become the anonymising software par excellence among criminals, hackers, schemers and the otherwise paranoid.

TOR routes and reroutes your connection to the internet through a sprawling maze of encrypted nodes around the world, making it a herculean feat to find out who's who. The Armory's URL — ayjkg6ombrsahbx2.onion — reflects that, a garbled string of letters and numbers deliberately impossible to memorise. Once you're actually signed in, you then have to turn to Bitcoins as mandatory currency, a further exercise in computer secrecy and complexity in itself. This ain't exactly walking into a gun show and walking out with a pistol.

Still, the site prides itself on being about as easy to use as an illegal underground weapons dealership can be:

The Armory is an anonymous marketplace where you can buy and sell without revealing who you are. We protect your identity through every step of the process, from connecting to this site, to purchasing your items, to finally receiving them.

That receiving part is almost as tricky as the labyrinthine purchasing process. How exactly do you illegally ship illegal guns to potential criminals? In pieces. Small pieces. The crafty gun dealers of The Armory aren't going to just stick an assault rifle into a manilla envelope and drop it into a local mailbox. Rather, buyers get each gun component shipped in shielded packages — disguised to look like other products — that then require self-assembly. You get your gun, the dealer gets his money, The Armory retains its secrecy, and the mail carrier doesn't realise it's part of an international weapons smuggling operation.

But who are these anonymous online gunslingers? Nobody can know for sure. Nary a single one will mention where they source their wares, or provide even the slightest shred of locational information. You're lucky if you know what continent they're on. Some won't even talk to you unless you use an added layer of super-tough PGP encryption in all of your messages, gilding the lily with layer upon layer of software scrambling.

There's dave00, a European who'll ship you a bazooka:

Hello I'm dave00 a new firearms and explosive supplier. I have plenty of contacts all over EU that can provide me a large variety of weapons,ammunitions and explosives. usually all orders have to be considered shipping included . I can ship in various ways postal systems for small orders and dead drops with gps location . I can create custom listings on request I can ship in all EU and also to the USA I'm able to get handguns, full auto weapons, machineguns, grenade and rpg launcher and ammunitions

There's Steinberg, "Just a gun seller trying to expand his business."

And then there are the steely super-pros like "bohica", whose profile is written like it should be read in a thick, generically Soviet accent:

Greetings Armory Members, We are Bohica and Associates and new to the Armory, but not new to the business. We are professionals that understand the needs of real shooters. We only locate and carry small arms, tactical equipment and munitions. If you need cheap shit guns, you can try IcePick and T-Dog on the corner, but you won't find any of that here. Our offerings initially will be a sample of our regular inventory. We will slowly release our inventory line as transactions progress. We want to be clear upfront we do not locate "exotic or collectible" small arms.

Luckily, as this is all online, you don't have to worry about bohica cutting your throat if your business goes awry. That's good news, because I intended to do some serious business.

I started asking around for guns, contacting sellers directly. But what was the point? They list their stuff directly on the site. With pictures, specs and price tags. There's no fun in window shopping — I wanted a special order. I wanted to equip a private army and overthrow a 3rd world government, combining faint fantasies of that time rich British guys conspired to take over Equatorial Guinea and various scenes from Clear and Present Danger. I'd need guns. Powerful guns. Lots of them. Could The Armory handle more than a pistol order — could it help me become a dictator?

I started asking around via private message — "Do you have what it would take to arm a small paramilitary group? Say, 20 people?" I made it clear that I needed something "more powerful" than what was displayed on the site.

The answers poured in:

I can provide: tec9, scorpion, ak47 and one single vietnam war "thumper", but its ammo costs. Smgs are much less expensive, and satisfy your self protection or combat needs very well: the sound of a easy-to-conceal soviet scorpion can scary the most badass motherfucker will stand in front of you... I'm telling this for you: one single grenade of a thumper costs 50 btcs to me: the GL itself will be around 100, to me. Take your time to choose, there's no rush: but be sure your purchase is worth :)

My sources aren't object of discussion, sorry. The cost depends from what do you need, obviously. I will provide good quality items:

what about something full auto easy to conceal? -H&K MP5K-PDW, i will get 16 pieces in two weeks. Something less "lady style"? -H&K G3A3, 15 pieces in 2 week. Something cheaper? -AK47, 28 pieces in 10 days. Something sharper? -H&K PSG1 civilian model, 5 pieces in 2 weeks. Something sharp but cheaper? -Dragunov SVD, 12 pieces in 10 days Take your time and make your choice Sir, we're here to serve you.

I can provide a Accuracy International AW50 included optics and accessories But the power has always a big cost For this weapon i can provide also API, AP , Incendiary , tracer and explosive rounds

I would recommend ak47 or m4 , for sidearm mp5 or handguns like glock or beretta 92 The body armour will be NIJ IV level, it can stop also an ak47 rounds This kind of material is easily to obtain especially for body armor

But it was my supervillain friend bohica who seemed most willing to help me with my imaginary coup:

Absolutely, we can accommodate your request, but we need more parameters such as your exact arms needs and destination country. We only deal with small arms and equipment, but if you need artillery, MANPADS [Man-portable air-defense systems], ordinance, APCs, Helos we do have resources and can make certain introductions for a fee. Please send your next message through PGP encryption, our public key is on our profile page. Regards, Bohica

Bohica seemed ready to deliver me enough money to take on the US government, to say nothing of some West African backwater.

I told each seller I was ready to do ASAP, and they went off to get me pricing information and begin the long process of sourcing enough weaponry to arm 20 men through jungle and urban combat. Of course, I didn't buy anything — I don't have the tens of thousands of dollars to buy crates of rifles, or perhaps millions to buy helicopters and armoured troop carriers. But there's every reason to believe that, with a little patience, a lot of money, and uneasy trust, these things could have been in my hands — or the hands of anyone else. Say, someone who wanted to go on a domestic shooting spree, assassinate a world leader, or any infinite number of other nefarious things you can do with guns and armoured vests.

There's a mantle of scepticism here, of course. The huge and necessary questions here are: are these people real? Is an entity like Bohica just an elaborate scam — an untraceable means of parting a fool (or warlord) with his money? Are these "dealers" just putting together a federal sting operation? Sure, maybe — but there's plenty of reason to believe this is just as terrifyingly real as it looks. The sellers have feedback ratings, and reports in the Armory message boards of successful shipments. There's a whole thread dedicated to listing scammers, and none of my contacts were flagged.

And then there's the spooky case of "mrpman888", who instead of listing guns for sale, listed his seller's account. He'd had enough, he said, and wanted to offload the account to someone else — no questions asked. I asked a question, and he replied, curtly, "i just dont want it anymore. its never been used." Could he elaborate a little? "No."


Unless dozens of anonymous figures are all collaborating on one of the Internet's most bizarre forms of performance art meets con art, the whole thing is just too complicated to be wholly fraudulent. Some of these guys are selling guns. And if you're someone who doesn't want to be indiscriminately shot at, that's a problem.

Shouldn't the government be standing between us and a swarm of people who will send war weapons to anyone with the necessary cash? Say, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives? Surely, if the DEA is creeping up on The Silk Road's infinite drug stash, the feds must be up on The Armory? Right? Or have any idea of what it is? N

ot really. A call to the ATF didn't bring much reassurance. After trying to explain The Armory to a confused spokesperson, she replied only, after a long pause, her hair likely vibrating, tensely, from the dry air conditioning somewhere inside the federal sprawl, "It does seem like a problem." That was as much as she could give me. She put an ATF agent on speakerphone, who after another pause said only that he'd check into any ongoing investigation of The Armory, but that if there were such an investigation, he wouldn't be able to tell me. The ATF later called back to say they'd located The Armory in Virginia Beach and that it was a fully licensed, legitimate operation. This despite the fact that I'd explained again and again that it existed only within a marsh of online encryption, with the explicit mission of illegally selling illegal guns, illegally. I explained how a storefront in Virginia was sort of the opposite of The Armory, but it wasn't much good — the ATF said it'd have to dig around itself again and get back to me. It hasn't.

The Armory shouldn't scare you, really. There are plenty of ways for a crook to buy guns, and there have been since both crooks and guns existed. The site doesn't represent some new influx of bullets into murderous hands, so much as it's a harbinger of things to come — and a klaxon for what's already here. The Armory is a tiny community, but the network that hides it is immense and near impossible to dismantle. We should find solace knowing that there are tools like TOR to keep our emails away from, say, the prying eyes of an oppressive regime. But this tool is powerful far beyond privacy. If even a single gun is shipped to a single person, we're living in a society in which things that kill people can be moved around the world with zero accountability. And then there might be the guy whose dream of a heavily armed third world coup d'état is more than just an experiment.


Comments

    Better start stocking up for the zombie apocalypse.

      How do u get onto the actual site to buy these guns

        Mate... First off, its an operating system, yet if you used linux or windows and all the big companies software.. YOUR FUCKED the NSA would bust your arse for trying to buy some illegal items. you CANNOT be traced unless your a fuckwit who doesnt change his ip and location. You must NEVER use your home internet, goto macdonalds or some shit, once you connect it runs through 5-10 or even more VPNs to make sure you are untraceable, its only slow for the dickheads who cant change a simple vpn, an onion appears on the top right, you have entered TOR my friend.. Type in the URL's for hitmen/drug dealers/rentable hackers/gun dealers, it's all there... We just have to hope the NSA never find us, we are all anonymous and spread from each other. And one last tip, if you don't have the money don't bother.

        Dont know if you already know but you gotta access the deep web via Tor browser search on youtube. Gotta pay these items by bitcoin which explains the B symbol next to the item.

    do they ship here?

      I would say that worldwide suggests they do

        I was being factitious, I'm pretty sure customs is good at getting these.

        Need to acquire fake address and give it a try.

        I got an M16 A4 rear sight/carry handle in the post from the US - destination AU. I think The barrel would be the hardest part to conseal. The rest i recon would be fine... A bit risky, Not for me! Ill just buy a registered weapon, thank you very much.

    Awesome, problem is its not secret anymore. I'll give it a try tonight and let giz know if it arrives.

    Don't forget customs, our guys are quite thorough. You may get it through but the chances of getting caught is high... not worth the risk!

      I guess I'd better order a dead drop with a GPS location, then.

      I don't think you would be jumping through that many hoops of encryption just to have something delivered to your home address, now would you?

      Also 9/10 article. Would read again.

        The point is, that it's not that easy to do, not that it can't be done!
        You'd have to be pretty committed to doing something like this, not just some schmuck with a hankering for exotic weapons. Australian Customs have become a force to be force to be reckoned with, so you would need a pretty comprehensive plan.

          Hardly. A couple of guys in Sydney managed to import hundreds of Glocks without being caught by customs - the scam was only uncovered when the police traced the serial number of a pistol dumped after a drive by.

            This would be the 'exception', not the 'rule', of which there are obviously going to be a few. If you think it's so easy to do, then go for it but don't any body to write to you in jail.

              Yeah, I definitely wouldn't any body

            So many couch experts on the subject, you'd think some of you had a clue!

              The guys importing the hundreds through the post had a man on the inside, circumventing customs. Import a firearm and expect Jail time. After the guys importing those firearms We (customs) are concentrating on firearms importations. It caries a 10 year jail sentence or a $250,000 fine

          can I buy M4 and get it delivered to UK??

          australian customs currently can only inspect 10% of all incoming shipping containers, how do you think all the drugs keep coming in.
          Australia has more illegal firearms than the US at last estimate.

            Obviously, cause the only easy way to get a gun in australia is illegally but in the us anyone can get a gun so why bother getting
            one illegally.

    Interesting article, but no matter how many pieces you break a gun up into, you can't really hide the ammo. And over here, I doubt you'll find ammo for automatic assault rifles in the local gun store.
    Australian Customs would be all over that like a fat kid on cake. I'd love to see someone import a tank into Australia.

      Provided you have a firearm licence ammunition is not hard to come by. Most gun stores will sell surplus ammunition for the standard military calibers in lots of 500 or 1000. They will however take your licence number when you purchase these so if you do not own a rifle or pistol of the right caliber it may raise eyebrows.

      But if you can buy a few helos off a russian, you could just fly the stuff in yourself.

      I honestly think it may actually be that simple. As described it seems simple... While AU Customs are incredibly clever in detection, its unlikely that they would detect it in time that it is infact from a specific weapon.

      Gun components are easily disguisable - and the method that these 'dealers' are using is well documented by Customs that it does work. Bikie Gangs get their drugs and weapons through this exact method (not necessarily from this 'dealer'). They even use this method in prison. Generally by the time that they do catch on to what its being built, its already passed off into the great southern yonder - beyond the capable reach of our blue-hued police force.

      Plus theres no known data base for every weapon ever made - that fires a bullet that can be disassembled and has a record of every known component.

        The FBI has, i got a tour of their armory at their training facility in Quantico. They have a very large data base of fire arms and fire arm pieces and ammunition.

        I agree, But not for me! You do it then sell to me the gun at aprofit yeah.

        Cheers.

      its easy to get ammo for assault rifles because say if you had an m16 of m4 it fires a 5.56 round and so does the ordinary hunting rifle you find in any gun store.

      the only ammo you cant buy in aus is 9mm everything else is available 5.56 is 223 or 222 and 7.62 can be bought for bolt action rifles. You can even buy 50 cal rifles and ammo legally with a hunter license. Just the ammo is prohibitively expensive

        You can buy 9mm ammo in Australian gun stores for around $20 to $30 for a box of 50 as long as you have a pistol licence and own a 9mm which a lot of IPSC shooters do.

      id buy one legally if you could get an AR in Australia without being a primary producer. I hold a current A,B & H licence getting a semi auto rifle is a big step up in Australia. And I'm pretty sure that .223 ammo that every roo shooter from tassie to NT will work almost as effective as 5.56 ammo that goes nicely in an AR15

      automatic and assault rifles use the same ammunition as most hunting rifles
      the M4-A1 and the M-16 use 5.56/.223 ammunition and other rifles like the SLR use .308 ammo,
      most of them are just rifle rounds available at any gun store.

    Is it like one of those magazine subscriptions where you pay one lump sum and you get one piece a week : )?

      The first four doomsday devices are only a penny, then they jack up the price!

    What I'm wondering is how any of these so-called arm dealers actually believed you, if at all, when you naively ask for weaponry to overthrow a 3rd world government... With 20 men. I mean, no offense, but this sounds extremely naive and childish. No serious arm buyer would ever ask something like that.

    The second point that I though was also very naive was calling the ATF and ask them about The Armory. Why would you think that they would ever tell you anything about it? And especially speaking to a random person on the phone and expecting them to act on it like it's a police TV series or something.

    It's a shame because it was quite an interesting article but could have used a bit more maturity in its execution (pun unintended).

    As per getting weapons delivered, even in pieces, it sounds like a very high risk. Is there any more details on this process? Surely it can't just be a matter of giving an address and expecting a gun in kit after 2 weeks.

      Read about Simon Mann for interest... and actually a coup is possible with 20 men provided the necessary political groundwork has been laid. Coups are not army clashing against army and usually involve penetrating a protected presidential compound. Thus that it is only the local compound security you need to overcome. Once you actually have your hands on the president (Coup target), job done.

      "No serious arm buyer would ever ask something like that."

      I wish *I* had years of experience dealing with serious arms buyers.

    i would find it hard to believe they would make it into the country.
    i find it odd that there is even such article on the subject telling you exactly how to gain access to this system like this unless there would be a catch that isnt mentioned i.e. customs?

    These sites love these articles. Free advertising

    They probably charge more for Australians - everyone else does.

      +1 LMFAO, I wonder if you continue to get the spam emails after you buy from them lol.

      Regarding Vincent, small forces can do a lot of damage. Google "Rhodesian war", it was a section level conflict in Africa.

    can i become a supplier for modified nurf guns?

      Mate just buy them from Ebay, as for me, an Airsoft gun is what i want illegally imported because you can't bring them into Australia legally. I'm not going to fucking rob someone like the government thinks, ever since September eleven the national security stepped up and they are kinda going overboard with all our stuff getting back door'd. Although I can't be hateful towards them because they do keep us safe in a huge way. We all do owe respect to our government for their efforts to prevent terrorist acts.

    This site's approach is hardly revolutionary, and does nothing to address the key problem in international arms dealing - the actual transfer of them.

    If you can figure out a reliable way to discretely post firearms parts, all you need is a U.S. located partner to get access to most small arms you could poke a stick at. And you'll pay a lot less than the above prices.

      If they cant use guns they will use swords. Cant use swords they will use sticks. We humans are always looking for ways to kill each other.

      A truly smart arms dealer would fool the U.S into thinking there is massive amounts of oil in our country, then they will invade and stay for a few decades. We can always steal their rifle while they sleep.

      Sorry just trolling....lol

    Absolutely insane! Can't beleive its legit lol

    The best thing Howard did as a PM was remove guns from Australia.. People rarely understand the power they wield when holding

      He didn't remove them, he just cracked down on semi-automatics. He's not an Irish saint, you know.

    No problems with the rest of the article, but publishing the TOR address seems a bit irresponsible?

      Sort of sounds like the author got a little bit upset with the ADF for not taking any notice of them, so decided to tell the world exactly how to import arms into Australia,

    I'm sorry, but everyone seem's to forget just how large a coastline Australia has, and how little a defence force we have for patrolling it. There is a reason we still have problems with illegal immigrants in this country, and if they can smuggle in whole groups of people, what makes you think they couldn't get in a few crates of weapons?

    We are getting 'better' at stopping smuggling, but our countries counter-measures are hardly fool-proof. As to smuggling tanks in, why not? Could probably only get 1-2 in at a time, but we live in a massive country that is for the most part, unpopulated. Plenty of places you could hide a small army within Australian borders until ready to act.

    Criminals will always find ways to get the items they want. Laws only truly affect those that follow them. Anyone who think's tightened Australian gun laws had any real influence on what a determined criminal can get they're hands on is plain naive.

    Of course at the end of the day the discussion is moot. Short of some larger country deciding they want the extra room to expand, trying to take Australia by force of arms would be far more trouble then it's worth.

    Still wondering why us Aussies can't legally buy weapons for our own use without going through tons of hoops...? One day, I hope to be able to buy a firearm for sport shooting or self defense if the criminals have them already.

    Where is this place, i'm interested.

    can anyone please tell me how I go about getting and importing ?

    TOTALLY!

    Where can i get a hold of 1 a Russian sub machine gun. If possible to acquire without gun licence. Only for personal practice use of course

    does anyone know where i can get a universal replica gun key????

    i am putting in my sights the a12, or a suitable sniper rifle or maybe a 22 cal handgun

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now