Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Building an AR15 Pistol

    I'm pretty sure I can do this, but I want to be sure.
    If I buy a brand-new "virgin" AR receiver, can I build it into a pistol (not SBR) as long as the FFL who transferred it to me marks it in as a pistol on ATF Form 4473 and I never build it in a rifle (regular or SBR) configuration?

    Or, does the manufacturer have to document it when they make the receiver?
    Also, does the receiver have to be engraved indicating that it's a pistol?
    I'm getting some conflicting info and I'd like to sort this out beforehand.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    Random,

    It's 3:20pm 7/1/08.
    I just got off the phone with Mr. Celedonio from the Harrisburg office of the BATFE.

    The lower receiver does not have to have any special engraving on it for building a pistol. It is already serial numbered and that number is on the FFL's books. It doesn't matter if you build a pistol or a rifle at that point. The only thing that would complicate things would be if you had a pistol upper on it and then put on a shoulder stock (that makes it a SBR and you would have to do the NFA forms to make it legal).

    He also stated that you do not have to have a letter of certification from the manufacturer stating that it is for a pistol because of the generic nature of AR lowers. The only time you have to engrave the lower is if you are making a SBR.

    He told me that the BATFE realizes that people like to change their AR's into different configurations and there is not a problem with that as long as they meet all the regs. The example he gave me was that if someone has a AR pistol and wants to add a rifle upper he can but he better to be ready to prove that he never puts the pistol upper on it when the stock is attached. He said that this could be tough to do so he recommends not to try, just too much to worry about. He also said that if you sell the pistol upper there is nothing that forbids you from putting a rifle upper on it.

    Bottom line is that if you have a lower it can be made into a pistol or rifle with no special engraving needed (other than SBR). If you want to have multiple AR's in the house in both pistol and rifle, you make sure that you NEVER put the pistol upper on a stocked lower.

    This is what was told to me. I am going to send a formal request to the BATFE to get it completely clarified by letter or have them direct me to the appropriate section in the regs/laws. When I get something I will post it.
    Last edited by Xringshooter; July 1st, 2008 at 04:46 PM.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    This has already been clarified by ATF.

    You only need a rcvr not ever built into a rifle.
    ~No special markings needed.
    ~No need to have the manufacturer mark it or log it as anything special.
    ~No need to have the FFL transfer it to you as a pistol.

    http://www.titleii.com/BardwellOLD/atf_letter7.txt



    100% done deal. I'll pull the copy of the letter from my other computer later, but that's the scoop.

    ETA:

    October 1, 1992


    Firearms Technical Branch
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms
    650 Mass. Ave., NW
    Washington, DC 20226

    Dear Sirs:

    The Greensboro, NC BATF Compliance Office suggested that I write to
    you for information on the following point.

    I am interested on whether it is possible to have a commercially
    manufactured rifle receiver changed to be legally considered to be a handgun
    receiver, and how this can be done. The Compliance Office said that this
    might be possible via a "Letter of Determination", but advised me to write
    to you about the criteria and procedures.

    For example, if a person has a rifle receiver and wishes to have it
    built into a rifle-caliber handgun suitable for steel silhouette target
    shooting, comparable to the bolt action Remington XP-100 handgun. I
    understand that the serial number of this receiver is recorded as being for a
    rifle. Could this person have this receiver's serial number considered to be
    a handgun receiver? If so, what procedures and paperwork would be
    necessary.

    Sincerely,

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oct 29 1992
    Dear Mr. XXXXX:

    This refers to your letter of October 1, 1992, in which you inquire
    about the legality of manufacturing a handgun which utilizes a rifle
    type receiver.

    26 U.S.C. Chapter 53 # 5845(a)(4), the National Firearms Act (NFA),
    defines the term "firearm" to include a weapon made from a rifle if
    such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches
    or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.

    Utilizing the receiver of an existing rifle for the purposes of
    manufacturing a handgun would constitute the making of a firearm as
    defined above. Individuals desiring to make such a firearm must first
    submit an ATF Form 1, Application To Make And Register a Firearm and
    pay the applicable $200 making tax.

    If an individual were to obtain a rifle type receiver that had not
    previously been utilized in the assembly of a rifle, a handgun could be
    made and not be subject to the provisions of the NFA. Verification
    must be obtained from the manufacturer of the receiver to establish
    its authenticity.

    We trust the foregoing has been responsive to your inquiry. If we may
    be of any further assistance, please contact us.

    Sincerely your,
    (signed)
    Edward M. Owen, Jr.
    Chief, Firearms Technology Branch
    Last edited by Pa. Patriot; November 29th, 2009 at 11:12 PM.
    _________________________________________

    danbus wrote: ...Like I said before, I open carry because you don't, I fight for all my rights because
    you won't, I will not sit with my thumb up my bum and complain, because you will.
    Remember Meleanie

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    If you register the lower as an SBR (with required engraving) can you then legally configure it any way you wish?

    Pistol - No stock, any barrel length
    Rifle - Stock, barrel > 16"
    SBR - Stock, barel < 16"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    Thanks Rich, I know I had seen a letter somewhere about that but I'll be darned if I can find it now.

    BTW, I saw the 22 rifle you turned for ithinkimamedics' (Josh) suppressor. Very nice work. We shot it behind my house and I got bit by the suppressor bug and now have to save up to suppress one of my 22's. Dang nab him.
    Ron USAF Ret E-8 FFL01/SOT3 NRA Benefactor Member

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    "If an individual were to obtain a rifle type receiver that had not
    previously been utilized in the assembly of a rifle, a handgun could be
    made and not be subject to the provisions of the NFA. Verification
    must be obtained from the manufacturer of the receiver to establish
    its authenticity."


    So where would i get such verification- from the company i buy the lower from, or from the company that made the lower?

    And can i use a complete lower that is bought as such, and has never been assembled into any firearm, so long as i first remove the shoulder stock?

    Finally, is their a max barrel or OAL length restriction that i have to adhere to?

    Thanks for any help on this issue.
    Last edited by Valorius; September 6th, 2011 at 06:37 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorius View Post
    "If an individual were to obtain a rifle type receiver that had not
    previously been utilized in the assembly of a rifle, a handgun could be
    made and not be subject to the provisions of the NFA. Verification
    must be obtained from the manufacturer of the receiver to establish
    its authenticity."


    So where would i get such verification- from the company i buy the lower from, or from the company that made the lower?

    And can i use a complete lower that is bought as such, and has never been assembled into any firearm, so long as i first remove the shoulder stock?

    Finally, is their a max barrel or OAL length restriction that i have to adhere to?

    Thanks for any help on this issue.
    If a shoulder stock has ever been attacked to it - it can NEVER become a pistol. It can only become a shortbarreled rifle.

    You need to buy a virgin receiver. With a virgin receiver it can be made into a pistol, a long gun, or a SBR(with proper tax stamp). One of the guys here can point out a virgin lower for you to order - nearly everyone and their brother makes them these days.

    The virgin receiver will be transferred to you by the FFL as "other, receiver". ..not as a handgun, not as a long gun. You build it however you like. Handguns do not have a max barrel length. However, to be covered with your LTCF the barrel will have to be less than 15" for handgun.
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa, Mtn Jack, Grapeshot, R.W.J.

    Don't end up in my signature!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    Thanks my friend.

    A Virgin receiver is any receiver that comes without a buffer tube installed, correct?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    Quote Originally Posted by Valorius View Post
    Thanks my friend.

    A Virgin receiver is any receiver that comes without a buffer tube installed, correct?
    A buffer tube can be installed. A virgin receive generally means that it hasn't been assembled in any configuration. Your main concern through is that it has never had a shoulder stock attached to it. By buying a virgin receiver that is bare it helps assure that so you don't run afoul of federal laws.

    The receiver doesn't have to be marked "pistol" or anything like that. Nor does it have to be transferred to you as one.
    RIP: SFN, 1861, twoeggsup, Lambo, jamesjo, JayBell, 32 Magnum, Pro2A, mrwildroot, dregan, Frenchy, Fragger, ungawa, Mtn Jack, Grapeshot, R.W.J.

    Don't end up in my signature!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Building an AR15 Pistol

    OK. I'm looking at a YHM assembled lower, but without a buffer tube or stock installed (or included in the kit) right now.

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