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srjdsmith

AR pistols and the law

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I have some naive questions about AR pistols:

 

1) When I buy the stripped lower, do I have to tell my LGS/FFL that I’m building a pistol?

 

2) If I build, say, a 12” barrel upper, then I build the lower and put an arm brace on it, do I violate the NFA, or some law, if I accidentally press the arm brace to my shoulder when I shoot it?


 

(This I know, for sure; I can’t EVER put the 12” upper on a rifle stock lower, because I don’t want to do the SBR and pay for a stamp. And I can’t EVER take the arm brace off and put a rifle stock on, thus illegally converting a pistol lower to a rifle. So I’m only asking the questions above.)

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47 minutes ago, srjdsmith said:

I have some naive questions about AR pistols:

 

1) When I buy the stripped lower, do I have to tell my LGS/FFL that I’m building a pistol? NO

 

2) If I build, say, a 12” barrel upper, then I build the lower and put an arm brace on it, do I violate the NFA, or some law, if I accidentally press the arm brace to my shoulder when I shoot it? NO


 

(This I know, for sure; I can’t EVER put the 12” upper on a rifle stock lower, because I don’t want to do the SBR and pay for a stamp. And I can’t EVER take the arm brace off and put a rifle stock on, thus illegally converting a pistol lower to a rifle. So I’m only asking the questions above.)

 

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1 hour ago, srjdsmith said:

I have some naive questions about AR pistols:

 

1) When I buy the stripped lower, do I have to tell my LGS/FFL that I’m building a pistol?

 

2) If I build, say, a 12” barrel upper, then I build the lower and put an arm brace on it, do I violate the NFA, or some law, if I accidentally press the arm brace to my shoulder when I shoot it?


 

(This I know, for sure; I can’t EVER put the 12” upper on a rifle stock lower, because I don’t want to do the SBR and pay for a stamp. And I can’t EVER take the arm brace off and put a rifle stock on, thus illegally converting a pistol lower to a rifle. So I’m only asking the questions above.)

1. No, it will be recorded as a receiver for them. What you cannot do it buy a rifle and use that lower to make a pistol.

 

2. No, you will not violate NFA if you use an arm brace as a butt stock. But state laws may vary and will likely change in the future and you will need to be aware.

 

And you have the last part mostly right. You could make a pistol from a receiver and then at a later date remove the brace, change the barrel to an over 16" and put on a rifle stock. You can even reverse that and go back to pistol configuration. T/C had that with their Contender and Encore series. ATF ruled that you could start with a receiver and add a less than 16" barrel and a handgrip and make a pistol, or add an over 16" barrel and a stock and make a rifle. You could go back and forth with no issues legally, you just cannot ever have a less than 16" barrel on the receiver at the same time as a butt stock. And whatever you do, do not sell the rifle barrel and be in possession of the rifle stock and only less than 16" barrels. Even if you never assemble the rifle stock onto the receiver with a short barrel you have crossed the fine line of "constructive possession".  But you must start with just a receiver. All of the T/C single shots I ever sold were ordered as a receiver and then a barrel and stock so they were sold as a receiver giving the owner options. If you buy one that is set up as a rifle, you cannot legally then buy a less than 16" barrel and hand grip to make it a handgun.

 

Here is the ATF ruling on the matter.

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/docs/ruling/2011-4-pistols-configured-rifles-rifles-configured-pistols/download

 

Note, the ruling specifies T/C but applies to all firearms assembled from parts, meaning recorded at shipment from the manufacturer as a receiver.

Edited by MontanaLon
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7 hours ago, MontanaLon said:

You could make a pistol from a receiver and then at a later date remove the brace, change the barrel to an over 16" and put on a rifle stock. You can even reverse that and go back to pistol configuration.


I like that because if the law/ruling/interpretation changes with respect to arm braces, I could sell the 12” upper and put a rifle buffer and stock on the lower. (Wouldn’t ever want to have only rifle lowers, though, while possessing a short barrel upper.)

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The law is convoluted. But here's how the federal law goes, as I understand it:

 

When you buy a stripped lower, it is usually marked as "other" on the Form 4473. So you're free to build it as a pistol or rifle. You can even switch back and forth between the two. However, if you configure it as a SBR, you'll need to get a tax stamp from the ATF.

 

But if/when you sell that firearm, the configuration is "locked". So for example, if you sell that lower as part of a rifle configuration, then it's now a rifle lower. Likewise, if you buy a complete rifle, you can't convert it to a pistol. Because it was marked as a rifle on the Form 4473.

 

Long story short, a stripped lower gives you more options to build or modify. Just be careful not to run afoul of SBR regulations.

 

Hope that helps.

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I just bought two lower receivers at my supplier and had to produce my CWP in order to walk out the door with them.  it is convoluted but since a lower can be used to make a pistol, it can be considered as such and all applicable laws in FL require a waiting period except for CWP carriers.  If I wanted to buy a weapon and go out and shoot someone I certainly wouldnt buy a piece of a firearm, build it and then go out.  Thats why dealers with any sense list a lower as "Other" on the form.

 

All the responses are correct.  AFT considers the firearm a pistol if it has a brace and if you shoulder the weapon, it is not considered a violation with the current statutes.  Most ranges wont let you use a weapon at the rifle range without shouldering it and since the weapon shoots a rifle cartridge, they wont let you shoot it at the pistol range.  You have no choice but to shoulder the brace.  I had a 733 clone for a bit with an SB4 brace.  I used a single point sling adjusted to where the brace was almost on my shoulder and held the pistol with the sling taut with good results.  It appeared I was shouldering the weapon but since it wasnt touching I was legal with ATF regulations.  Since then I changed to the proper 4 position 733 stock and pinned and welded a longer flash hider to be legal and be able to shoulder the weapon like it was intended.

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