The Armory, touted as the biggest and most well-known weapons black market on the Dark Web, has recently come under scrutiny. There are suspicions that it may be an elaborate scam, potentially swindling thousands of dollars from unsuspecting buyers in just a few months of operation. In the world of Dark Web black markets, rife with dedicated scammers and naive buyers, the Armory is just the latest episode in a long and strange tale.
The Armory: A Walkthrough
The Armory website, operating on the Dark Web, requires a minimum order of $1,050 and boasts around 400 items for sale. From bullets to bombs, the inventory predominantly focusses on rifles and pistols. Similar to Silk Road and other Dark Web markets that have risen and fallen since its demise, ordering from the Armory is as simple as navigating Amazon.com.
One of the most recognisable items on the Armory is the AK-47 rifle, priced at $2,800, down from the original sticker price of $3,600. However, it’s important to note that the legal price for this firearm is significantly lower. According to the National Firearms Act in the United States, this gun must be registered with the government upon purchase. Therefore, an untraceable gun or one with a fake serial number, both of which the Armory claims to specialise in, holds much higher value.
In addition to rifles and pistols, the Armory features a military section that includes a hand grenade priced at $359.69 and an AKS-74U short assault rifle priced at $1,999. For those looking to equip their own militia, there are also more affordable options such as armour and riot shields.
The Armory’s owners recently posted on Reddit, stating that their online orders are not small, often consisting of a single handgun followed by a dozen or more arms. They also mentioned repeat sales from satisfied customers. On the surface, the Armory appears to be an unparalleled gun store, offering a vast selection of weaponry to anyone around the globe with just a click of a button, all without the involvement of any laws.
Anonymity and Transactions
Deals on the Armory are nearly anonymous, with all money transactions conducted exclusively in Bitcoin. The website also hides behind the encrypted Tor network, which is home to various Dark Web markets and other Deep Websites. The Armory’s owners boast of a global private shipping system with bases in 15 countries, allowing buyers and sellers to circumvent the postal system that has led to numerous arrests related to Deep Web drug and gun purchases.
According to various online comments, the Armory’s team is said to consist of American, British, and Canadian soldiers who recognised the need for arms and defensive support amongst local citizens and militias. They claim to have formed a storefront called RogueArms in 2001 out of necessity. Their Internet business began two to four years ago, with different answers given to different people. They claim to have briefly operated on Black Market Reloaded, a well-respected black market that sold weapons worldwide, before setting up their own independent shop late last year.
The Armory’s owners spend hours every day posting on Deep Web-related communities, particularly on Reddit’s /r/DarkNetMarkets. They aggressively insist on the legitimacy of their business, despite the lack of customers stepping forward to vouch for their services. This is surprising, considering how easy it is to create fake accounts to promote one’s own business. However, this doesn’t mean that no one has attempted to purchase from them.
Trust on the Deep Web
Trust is a valuable commodity on the anonymous Deep Web and is earned in various ways. For new drug dealers, sending out free small samples to well-known buyers can lead to positive reviews, which in turn attract future customers. Credit card and identity sales staff can prove their legitimacy by showcasing a few usable documents as samples.
Weapons dealers, however, face more barriers due to the prohibitive cost of giving away free samples. After all, it’s unlikely that anyone would send a sample rocket launcher in the hopes of selling a few landmines. Despite the challenges posed by anonymity and the inherent suspicions surrounding online black markets, trust still manages to find a way on the Deep Web.
The Rise of Dark Web Markets
The original Silk Road and subsequent Dark Web markets like Black Market Reloaded and countless others began with a few trusting individuals diving into a new venture blind. Early adopters take a leap of faith, hoping for the best. Often, this pays off initially because even if a market turns out to be a scam, the swindlers try to please the first customers to attract a bigger and wealthier crowd to pilfer bitcoins from.
Unfortunately, for many of the Armory’s early customers, luck did not favour them. Some have come forward to share their experiences, stating that the market’s owners dragged out transactions for weeks before it became apparent that no firearms were going to be delivered. Reviews and feedback for the Armory are scarce and difficult to find, further adding to the scepticism surrounding the market’s legitimacy.
The Armory’s owners, while maintaining an impressively active Reddit account, often struggle to respond to customer complaints. They attribute the issues to shills, liars, and critics acting in bad faith, constantly besieging them. Ultimately, there is little evidence to support or condemn the Armory’s authenticity. Regardless, it remains a risky proposition to engage in transactions on this platform, especially considering the illegal nature of purchasing firearms.
The Future of the Armory
Despite facing a flood of criticism, the Armory has announced plans to expand and continue its operations. The owners intend to open new vendor accounts in established Dark Web markets within the next month, a move that is likely to attract more customers willing to test the market’s legitimacy.
As the Armory’s story unfolds, we may finally discover the truth behind this notorious “Walmart of weapons.”