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Old March 17, 2021, 06:23 PM   #1
Pistoler0
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Cannot make AR pistol from rifle without ATF approval, right?

Hello,

I was reading:

Is a rifle a firearm subject to the NFA?.
"A rifle is defined, in part, as a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.

A rifle is subject to the NFA only if the rifle has a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length. A weapon made from a rifle is also a firearm subject to the NFA if the weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.
[26 U.S.C. §§ 5845(a)(3)-(4), (c)]"

And:

Can I lawfully make a rifle into a pistol without registering that firearm?
"No. A firearm that was originally a rifle would be classified as a “weapon made from a rifle” if it has either a barrel less than 16 inches in length or an overall length of less than 26 inches. If an individual wishes to make an NFA firearm, they must first submit ATF Form 1 (Application to Make and Register a Firearm), pay a $200.00 making tax, and receive approval of the application from ATF before converting the firearm.
[18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3); 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a)(3)-(4)]"


...and so if I understand it correctly, I cannot buy a brace and an upper with a barrel shorter than 16", and swap it on my current regular AR rifle (which I bought with a barrel longer than 16") without permission from the ATF, right?

But on the other hand if I had purchased an AR pistol, I could buy an upper with a barrel 16" or longer and a rifle stock and put it on it?

Lastly, it is ok to build the AR pistol from scratch by buying a stand alone lower, upper and parts, and assembling them, no?
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Last edited by Pistoler0; March 17, 2021 at 09:04 PM.
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Old March 17, 2021, 07:01 PM   #2
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Once a rifle,it can't be a pistol. End of story. There is no BATF approval.

If you buy a lower receiver as a lower receiver,it was never a rifle. You may build a pistol

If you buy an AR pistol it was born a pistol. No problem.

What you can do with your pre-existing rifle ,I think,is get authorized/registered/taxed to make it a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR)

I'm not the expert to give much advice on that. The tax is $200

A new lower is less than $200. If you cross your state line with a registered SBR,you must first notify and get approval from the BATF
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Old March 17, 2021, 07:59 PM   #3
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HiBC is correct.
You would likely need to register it as a SBR or AOW, depending on configuration.

The alternative would be making a non-NFA Firearm (not designed to be fired from the shoulder, designed to be fired with 2-hands, and over 26in OAL), I believe.
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Old March 17, 2021, 09:21 PM   #4
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Once it is a rifle, it stays a rifle.
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Old March 17, 2021, 09:39 PM   #5
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You can't make an AOW from a rifle, BTW-.
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Old March 17, 2021, 09:58 PM   #6
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But if you've only ever bought stripped receivers it doesn't really matter, right? Is that correct?
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Old March 17, 2021, 10:50 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jonnyc View Post
But if you've only ever bought stripped receivers it doesn't really matter, right? Is that correct?
Depends on how the shop listed it when it was sold. Some are generic multi cal lowers/other, but they could in theory put it down as rifle or pistol for the sale
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Old March 17, 2021, 10:54 PM   #8
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A firearm which begins life as a pistol may become a rifle and go back again - ATF wasn't happy about it but this was decided in the Thompson Center case. A firearm which is created from a rifle cannot become a pistol because then it still falls under the category of "a weapon made from a rifle". No, it doesn't make any sense.

Your understanding of the hypotheticals is correct as I understand it. You can't make your rifle into a pistol, and even with ATF permission you'd be manufacturing it as a short barreled rifle, not a pistol.

You may legally build an AR pistol from components with no issues (check your state laws).

This is why some people choose to buy or build an extra AR pistol. Then you have a legal use for any short barreled uppers you own. But you don't want to try to turn your rifle into a pistol. And you don't want to be found in possession of a rifle and a pistol length upper unless you also have possession of a pistol or other configuration receiver which can legally accept that upper.

The law, in addition to being constitutionally monstrous, is woefully unequipped to handle modular firearms. Unfortunately it is what it is.

The above is opinion and doesn't constitute legal advice
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Old March 17, 2021, 10:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Depends on how the shop listed it when it was sold. Some are generic multi cal lowers/other, but they could in theory put it down as rifle or pistol for the sale
If the shop transferred a bare virgin receiver as anything other than a "firearm", it was done incorrectly. Possible state requirements notwithstanding
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Old March 17, 2021, 10:59 PM   #10
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Wow, our laws are seriously *********! (Enter your own adverbial phrase)

I wish those who wrote laws and regulations had to put their name and phone number on their words.
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Old March 18, 2021, 09:15 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXAZ View Post
Wow, our laws are seriously *********! (Enter your own adverbial phrase)

I wish those who wrote laws and regulations had to put their name and phone number on their words.
That was my thought as I was writing the OP.
It doesn't make any sense whatsoever!

I would be so easy for someone who just got into the AR platform (me) to get into trouble without even meaning to or knowing!

Buy a pistol upper and a brace (no fore-grip or anything) to put in your AR thinking you are legally in pistol territory and you are risking the ATF knocking on your door!
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Old March 18, 2021, 12:50 PM   #12
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It doesn't make any sense whatsoever!
It makes sense when you remember that the law was passed in 1934 almost 30 years before the M16 was adopted by the military and the AR15 appeared on the civilian market. The law was written and passed in a time when converting a rifle meant sawing off parts and (usually) machine tool work.

The simple version is that if it is made as a rifle, if you shorten it, (below the listed lengths) it becomes an NFA regulated item. Period.

You can also run afoul of the law by lengthening a pistol, if you don't lengthen it enough.

You can turn a pistol into a rifle, PROVIDED your end result has a barrel 16" or longer and meets the overall minimum length requirement for rifles. If it does NOT, say it has a stock and an 8" barrel, THEN it becomes an NFA regulated item, because it is now a "stocked pistol"=sawed off rifle=SBR=NFA item.

This is why the AR pistols have a "brace" and not a stock. A brace complies with the law, a stock does not.

How people USE that brace is another matter...
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Old March 18, 2021, 01:54 PM   #13
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When I first moved to Washington (I think laws are different now)
I bought a lower at a shop, and because I didn’t have a pistol license at the time, they sold it to me as a pistol and had to wait for sheriff approval. The shop told me was it is just a lower and could be made into a pistol. The next one I bought was also sold as a pistol and I turned it into a pistol immediately.

Now since the laws have become convoluted, I quit buying firearms lol.
It was my understanding that SBRs weren’t allowed in Washington, but I don’t know.

I’ve reconfigured one of the pistols into a carbine, and I’m considering making the other pistol into a rifle, so I don’t unwittingly cross into some grey area.
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Old March 18, 2021, 02:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
You can also run afoul of the law by lengthening a pistol, if you don't lengthen it enough.
What's the issue with this? A handgun over a certain length is a "firearm", which is how Franklin Armory gets away with selling a pistol configuration with a vertical foregrip (which would usually be an AOW) because the overall length exceeds 26".

I can't think of any situation where lengthening a pistol by any degree becomes problematic at a federal level, but I'm very open to the possibility that I've missed something.
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Old March 18, 2021, 04:24 PM   #15
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One of the greatest dead horse topics of all times.
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Old March 18, 2021, 06:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadow9mm
Once it is a rifle, it stays a rifle.
No. It only has to "stay a rifle" if it started as a rifle.
If it starts life as a receiver or pistol, it can go either way, or even back and forth.
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Old March 19, 2021, 02:33 AM   #17
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I can't think of any situation where lengthening a pistol by any degree becomes problematic at a federal level, but I'm very open to the possibility that I've missed something.
Take a pistol and put a buttstock on it. Now, its problematic.

Think Luger, Browning Hi Power, Broomhandle Mauser, and perhaps a couple others, which had stocks/stock attachments before they became "Curio & Relic" qualified.

For generations the ATF treated "stocked pistols" as "sawed off rifles". Today they say SBR (short barrel rifle) but its the same thing, a firearm with a buttstock (intended to be fired from the shoulder) with a barrel length under the required 16 inches.

And be aware that the ATF changed their minds about what was and then wasn't and then was illegal (without the tax stamp) over the years. And, I expect them to do it again in regard to "pistol braces".

At one time, you couldn't have a Luger with a shoulder stock without it being an NFA item. You could own both, but only if the stock lug was ground off the frame of the Luger, otherwise...constructive possession made it a crime.

THEN, the ATF decided that as a Curio& Relic, you could have a shoulder stock that could be attached to your Luger. And they allowed reproduction stocks as legal.

Then later, they decided that reproduction stocks were not legal and only original "period" stocks were legal without a stamp.

They make their rulings, we obey them as the law, and then half a dozen or a dozen years down the road they change their rulings and we have to follow the new one, often meaning having to dispose of previously legal property.

AR's where the lower can be a rifle, pistol, or "firearm" depending on how it is sold initially are a slightly more complex matter due to the ease of changing their configurations.

You may turn a pistol into a rifle, but be sure to turn it all the way into a rifle, meaning both a stock AND a rifle legal length barrel. Otherwise you might be making an NFA firearm without even realizing it.
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Old March 19, 2021, 09:54 AM   #18
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At one time, you couldn't have a Luger with a shoulder stock without it being an NFA item. You could own both, but only if the stock lug was ground off the frame of the Luger, otherwise...constructive possession made it a crime.

THEN, the ATF decided that as a Curio& Relic, you could have a shoulder stock that could be attached to your Luger. And they allowed reproduction stocks as legal.

Then later, they decided that reproduction stocks were not legal and only original "period" stocks were legal without a stamp.
A great number of people suddenly purchased metal stamps and wood aging supplies.
"No one" knows where all of those reproduction stocks suddenly disappeared to.


The market has become so diluted with repro stocks being sold as originals, and repros reworked to match originals in shape, style, and hardware, that even some knowledgeable collectors can have a hard time picking the repro if you put two high quality stocks in front of them.

I know someone that now owns one of the Lugers previously featured on a very popular 'historical firearms' Youtube channel as an example of an "all original" but not numbers-matching sample. It turned out that even the expert got it wrong. It was supposed to be a situation of, "Here is one all original gun, even if not numbers-matching; and here are half a dozen really nice Lugers, but there's something amiss with each of them."
Yea, they were all reworked or had reproduction stocks. Once the expert realized his mistake, he couldn't live with that pistol in his house any more and sold it to a friend of a friend.

There is an entire 'shadow' industry out there, whose sole purpose is recreating original style hardware in order to make repro parts look original (for many, many firearms, not just Lugers); and a matching group of people who do nothing but create forgeries. But even without going into the shadows, we have a few companies now making good enough reproductions of certain parts that the only way to tell them apart from originals is to use a loupe and examine machine marks when the part is not marked otherwise.

When stupid rules are put into place, the market finds a way around them.
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Old March 19, 2021, 03:50 PM   #19
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I had a Broomhandle Mauser stock, I assumed it was a reproduction because it was in very good condition. I did get to compare it to a verified original and there was NO difference at all, other than mine had a little less wear on the finish. There were no markings at all, no stamps, no numbers, nothing.

And I doubt carbon dating could tell the difference in the age of the wood (if there WAS any).

I sold it off, simply because I could not prove it was an original period piece and didn't want to risk having to try in Federal court.

I can't say what I thought about this or the ATF here because it would trip the language filters and violate forum rules, but I think you can imagine how I felt when the ATF changed their rules...
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Old April 8, 2021, 12:55 PM   #20
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ar pistol with brace

Suppose i just remove the brace on my pistol,then is it legal and no 200 tax stamp needed??
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Old April 8, 2021, 03:09 PM   #21
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I don’t get how making a firearm more worse at performing its task makes it more ilegal’er.
Guess they are still afraid of those trench coat guys with violin cases lol.
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Old April 8, 2021, 03:35 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by rickyrick View Post
I don’t get how making a firearm more worse at performing its task makes it more ilegal’er.
Guess they are still afraid of those trench coat guys with violin cases lol.
Today Biden said that braces on pistols make them more accurate therefore MORE LETHAL! And I suppose that was a bad thing for him.

He ignores the fact that an inaccurate firearm is more dangerous because it is more prone to missing and hitting an unintended target.

Precision is desirable in any tool, and more precision makes any tool better, not worse.

The assumption Biden was working with, is that the brace would be used by somebody with a nefarious purpose. That's the assumption: if you are the owner of a pistol with a brace, you are a bad guy.
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Old April 8, 2021, 03:56 PM   #23
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The braces I’ve seen suck at being braces and stocks lol, but I have one, because it makes the pistol stand up in the gun cabinet better.
But I’d remove it if needed.
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Old April 8, 2021, 05:59 PM   #24
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But I’d remove it if needed.
which may or may not get you off the hook, depending on how the future regulations and/or laws get worded.

Simply put, if language says "capable of accepting" or "substantially similar to" or other catch all phrases like that, just taking the brace off may not put you in compliance.

We'll have to wait and see exactly what they offer us and its specific language.
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Old April 8, 2021, 11:18 PM   #25
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(eyeroll)
A concern is so much about these regs remains vague. Subjective interpretation is like mercury.
The idea of the Constitution is to limit Government Tyranny.
Its hard to declare a vague reg unconstitutional till its applied .

I purchased a buffer tube/brace assembly some time back. All this BS came to light about braces. Fine,the brace is easiy removed and I don't need it.

Then I thought about "as designed" and constructive possession.

It seems ridiculous .It seems overthinking. But some time back I ordered and installed a genuine,designated,proper nomenclature "AR Pistol Buffer Tube",
with no advertisement of anything to do with a brace.

A simple,naked, pistol buffer tube. At least it was cheap and simple.

Last edited by HiBC; April 8, 2021 at 11:26 PM.
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