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Old November 15, 2012, 01:24 PM   #1
Departed402
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AR-15 Pistol Question

I don’t know jack-squat about AR-15 pistols, nor do I have any desire to own one. However, I wonder what everyone wonders when they see AR-15 pistols. Unless I’m mistaken, they seem to be legal for the average gun owner to possess. Is there anything physically preventing a person from taking the pistol upper, and putting it on a rifle lower, or is it entirely reliant upon short barrel rifle laws to prevent people from making it into an SBR?
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Old November 15, 2012, 01:28 PM   #2
JimDandy
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No first hand experience with them, but I believe, based on a coversation with a buddy who has one, it's dependant on the laws... He made one himself as part of a shooting club, and when he registered it, he had to pick pistol or rifle, he said.
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Old November 15, 2012, 01:28 PM   #3
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You cannot mix-and-match rifle and pistol lowers with different uppers. That is, the pistol has to be built on a pistol lower. I don't know how you can tell them apart, unless lowers for pistols have to be stamped "pistol", somewhere? Putting a short-barreled upper on your rifle lower would be the same as cutting the barrel below the minimum legal limit for rifles. There is nothing physically preventing you from doing it, though.
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Old November 15, 2012, 01:46 PM   #4
loose_holster_dan
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my buddy does this quite a bit. he buys a pistol upper and a rifle lower, and registers them as SBRs. obviously you need to have all your paperwork back from the atf, and the gun engraved with your name.
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Old November 15, 2012, 02:09 PM   #5
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YOU CAN'T MIX THE LOWERS @_@ so illegal.

I bought a lower and when I filled at the form I told my LGS I am doing a AR-pistol and they filled in the blank on the 4473 as a "pistol" lower NOT RIFLE! I recommend engraving it as "pistol"

I think legal lengh max you can put is 14" the 16" is for rifles. I seen 7, 10.5, 11.5 12.5 14" so as long as your lower is "pistol" you can put these on(check state laws). But if it was a "rifle" lower, you can't put those barrels under 16" on it unless it was SBR.
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Old November 15, 2012, 03:50 PM   #6
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He was asking if there's a physical issue, rather than a legal one. i.e. the take down pins are in a different place so they physically won't match up. He already knew about the legal issues.
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Old November 15, 2012, 04:12 PM   #7
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And I addressed that part of the question. Colt has used non-standard pin sizes and some internal dimensions over the years, so you can't always swap non-Colt uppers and lowers. Doing so staved-off "assault weapon" legislation for twenty years, but Colt gets nothing but grief for it, now.
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Old November 15, 2012, 04:15 PM   #8
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Yeah, I was talking to 9mm above me.
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Old November 15, 2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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all you have to do is make sure when your ffl is calling in the lower to call it in as an "other" not a rifle" That way you have the option of putting the pistol upper on any lower that you own. At least that is the advice i was given by my ffl ....
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Old November 15, 2012, 04:34 PM   #10
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I would double check that. That doesn't sound like anything I've heard from several sources. Doesn't mean it's wrong, I could have misheard, I don't really want one and didn't get that involved in it, but if I did want one, I'd check into that since it is so different than what I've heard from friends and on here so far... the lower is what has the serial number on it, making it the gun...
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Old November 16, 2012, 05:41 AM   #11
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If you've never fired a pistol AR, you should. They are a lot of fun!

I've been an AR carbine guy for a while until someone at the range let me shoot his pistol AR. those things are pretty cool IMO, and offer the practicality of having a rifle caliber in a compact configuration without having to deal with legal issues (NFA). Of course, the downsides are the huge muzzle flash and decreased bullet velocity. In some states that do not allow short-barrel rifles (SBR's), the pistol AR is the only legal way to have a short barrel firearm that fires rifle rounds.

For legal reasons you should never mix-n-match rifle length AR's with pistol AR's. No one is stopping you of course, but if you do then you are breaking the law!
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Old November 16, 2012, 08:09 AM   #12
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Justice has it. It's a legal issue, not a physical issue. The same lower you would purchase for a rifle is the same lower you would purchase for a pistol. It all has to do with how your FFL calls it in and designates it. Once a rifle, always a rifle. If you throw a pistol upper on a designated rifle lower (physically possible), you're going to be in big, big trouble.
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Old November 16, 2012, 08:18 AM   #13
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I have an AR Pistol (Carbon-15). I suppose I could marry it up to a lower from a carbine/rifle. It would be illegal without the paperwork.

But, regardless of legality, why would I want to put a buttstock on my AR pistol? If I want an AR SBR, I'm going to want something that has closer to a 12" barrel, not a pistol barrel. The fun of having an AR pistol is the fact that it is a pistol! I shoot the heck out of it, works great with brass ammo; chokes on wolf if I don't keep it real clean and lubricated.
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Old November 16, 2012, 04:18 PM   #14
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What happens if I bought a lower in FTF firearm sale. No FFL transfer. Who's to say if its a pistol or rifle lower?
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Old November 16, 2012, 05:19 PM   #15
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The lower receiver on ALL AR's are registered either pistol or rifle by the maker. No exceptions. The lower receiver is the gun. The gun could be examined, and determined whether the lower is a pistol or rifle lower.

Example: I had an open bolt Mac 10 carbine. If you are not familiar with this type of gun it has a lower and upper receiver - the lower receiver is the gun. My Mac 10 lower was specifically stamped with a "c" to designate it as a carbine receiver (most made were pistols, very few carbines were made).
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Old November 16, 2012, 05:52 PM   #16
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Quote:
It all has to do with how your FFL calls it in and designates it.
When we transfer a stripped and previously unassembled lower receiver to a customer we transfer it as exactly that: A "receiver" or "other" on form 4473 box 29. Most stripped receivers we transfer are marked "multi" in caliber and have no designation as far as being a pistol or rifle, so that it's really up to the purchaser as far as how they're going to use it. ATF does not require that pistol lowers be marked as "Pistol", although some individual States do have laws requiring the registration and marking of pistols. So it's key to know the laws in your individual State to make sure you're within compliance. NFA regulations simply state that pistols cannot have stocks or vertical grips attached, either of which would constitute a Short Barreled Rifle.

The key thing here is to make sure you know your Federal, State, and local laws. Generally, if you put a pistol buffer tube on the lower receiver then you've made it so that the receiver cannot accept a stock, and as long as you don't have extra vertical grips laying around then you're pretty much good to go. Local laws may vary, so it's key to know if yours require anything further as far as registration or engraving. It's really not that complicated or scary though, and Justice is right that AR pistols can be a lot of fun.
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Old November 16, 2012, 05:54 PM   #17
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The lower receiver on ALL AR's are registered either pistol or rifle by the maker. No exceptions. The lower receiver is the gun. The gun could be examined, and determined whether the lower is a pistol or rifle lower.
This is incorrect, stripped and previously unassembled lower receivers are sold as "receivers". They are not considered either rifles or pistols until they have been assembled into either a rifle or pistol.
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Old November 16, 2012, 06:25 PM   #18
DasGuy
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AR15 receivers are supposed to be registered as "other" and can be built is either a rifle or pistol. Once you build a lower reciever into a rifle, you CANNOT (legally) turn it into a pistol.

There is nothing physically preventing it. An AR pistol is just a short barrelled upper on a lower with no stock. Dumb laws are dumb.
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Old November 16, 2012, 09:15 PM   #19
Nathan
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Thanks DASGUY. Yes, AR Lowers are supposed to be transferred as "other", but how do you know what the gun store "expert" did on the 4473? That really is none of my business at that point. IMHO, if the "expert", does the transfer wrong, why do we assume the customer goes to jail. I have bought 2 lowers and one guy did the transfers. I didn't see him mark the 4473 for my lowers as I am done at that point.

I did ask him the other day what "other" was for on it and he said, "other". Then I asked if other was for when a customer buys AR15 lowers and he thought those were rifles. I said, "what if a guy builds them into pistols?" He said. "urrgh don't know. . .uh why not just make them into rifles," or something like that.

My point is, it is the "FFL's" responsibility to complete that portion of the 4473. If wrong, I expect the FFL to fall on the sword as they CLEARLY made the error. All LOWER's are "other."
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Old November 17, 2012, 12:58 AM   #20
Departed402
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Dumb laws are dumb.
Here's a follow-up. How does a bare buffer tube get by without being designated a stock? Because often times these buffer tubes can be long enough to funtion as a stock.

Also, I've seen people put elaborate "covers" on their buffer tubes. When does a cover become a fixed stock?
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Old November 17, 2012, 01:35 AM   #21
scsov509
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Quote:
Here's a follow-up. How does a bare buffer tube get by without being designated a stock? Because often times these buffer tubes can be long enough to funtion as a stock.

Also, I've seen people put elaborate "covers" on their buffer tubes. When does a cover become a fixed stock?
ATF defines a stock as something designed to be mounted to and fired from the shoulder. The buffer tube or receiver extension is not manufactured with the intent of being mounted to the shoulder, but rather it is intended to house the buffer, spring, and reciprocating bolt carrier group. So it is by definition not a stock regardless of how people use it.
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