The Best FFL Software – Web Based or Local Install?  

So…  You are looking for a software for your FFL (Federal Firearms License) Dealership?  Fantastic.  Now which one do you choose?  Which software is the best ffl software for you?  There are only a handful out there as of today and above and beyond that, which one is good for you and your company and which one protects you best?  Which one is easy to use?  Which one will actually protect you from getting your license pulled or going to jail?

All good questions…  Lets start with the locally installed software applications that are out there.  Did you know that when you download a software to manage and handle your A&D Boundbook and your 4473 forms and any other forms that the software you have chosen does, that you are agreeing to indemnify the company you have purchased from?  I have checked…  And pretty much all of them protect themselves by passing off the legal and financial liability on to you.  This means that you are releasing all legal liability for using the software away from them and accepting full legal liability onto yourself.  Why would they want you to indemnify them?  Did you actually read the user agreement or policies of the company?  If not, you should!!!  I put 3 exclamation points after that statement for a reason.  This is your business we are talking about and you possibly purchased and started using a software that would put you out of business if something went wrong and could actually land you in jail and/or be slapped with huge fines.

I am talking about PII Compliance.  There are plenty more things to cover, but in this blog, I am going to cover that.  What is PII Compliance?  PII is Personally Identifiable Information and is related to so many things that FFL Dealers have to do everyday.  As a firearms dealer, we are required to collect some very personal information about our customers.  Drivers License, Birthday, First and Last Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers, Social Security Numbers, Places of Birth, and the list goes on and on.  Some states require even more information.

How do you know that your system, ie: your personal or company computer is PII Compliant?  Is your system built with a highly encrypted firewall and security protocol?  If not, your system is not PII Compliant and YOU are liable both legally and financially if you get hacked and ANY information is stolen.  I’ll bet the company you purchased from or are thinking about buying from didn’t tell you that, did they??  There’s something to chew on.

I will tell you that you don’t want to have a locally installed software for so many reasons, but the number one reason if nothing else catches your attention, should be to protect your company from major loss from a cyber break in.  The fines are huge and would put most FFL Dealers out of business with one instance.

I would like to give a small amount of credit to only 2 or 3 FFL Software versions that are out there for how they decided to build their software but lets not go into that yet.

Now that I have covered just one very simple thing that most companies are not talking about, lets talk about what you should be looking for.  Truthfully, web based or hosted is the only way to go now-a-days.  There are seriously a plethora of reasons to say this but I will only focus on the PII Compliance portion.  Most companies that have built a web based software have their code, their system, their product, the actual software hosted with a host farm.  Someone like Rack Space, Amazon, Blue Host, Gator, Go Daddy, etc…  These host server farms are companies that have been around for a while and know exactly what to do to protect your data and a few of them have never been successfully hacked in the last 10 years.  “Anonymous” attempted to hack Amazon and was never able to get through.  That’s saying something since the same hacker group was able to successfully hack Sony and take their network done for almost 30 days.

The 2011 PlayStation Network outage was the result of an “external intrusion” on Sony‘s PlayStation Network and Qriocity services, in which personal details from approximately 77 million accounts were compromised and prevented users of PlayStation 3 andPlayStation Portable consoles from playing online through the service.

[1][2][3][4] The attack occurred between April 17 and April 19, 2011,[1] forcing Sony to turn off the PlayStation Network on April 20. On May 4 Sony confirmed that personally identifiable informationfrom each of the 77 million accounts have been exposed.[5] The outage lasted 23 days.[6] (information pulled from

Not to mention that a hosted software is accessible from anywhere you are.  You can build the software to do so many more things that a locally installed software simply can’t do.  Digital signatures are great, but how nice would it be to take a single tablet to a gun show and not have to take a stack of papers, pens, and whatever else you have been bringing to the gun show?  With a hosted application, you can bring a tablet and have the customer do their portion from the tablet and then you finish it and have them sign digitally.  DONE!!!  The 4473 is saved in their profile and the information will never get lost.

Hosted applications ARE definitively the way to go for dealers and it is the best ffl software you can find on the market.  Now you just have to find the right hosted application for your needs.  There are only 3 right now that fit this description, so happy hunting and watch out for user agreements that pass off the liability to you instead of them.  As a software company, they should be willing to back up their product with their livelihood.

TAD Software is the best ffl software on the market for a plethora of reasons and we back our product.  We protect our data through triple redundancy.  There are 3 separate locations where your information is backed up.  With a hosted application, you don’t have to worry about your personal system being compliant since you are simply accessing our system via the web which is completely compliant and secure.  You are protected with TAD Software.  We chose the hosted route because of the convenience and MASSIVE protection it offers our dealers.


Yours Truly,

Bryan Kowacich – World Renowned Leading Expert In Firearms Software