The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Semi-automatics

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old August 24, 2017, 11:10 AM   #1
1tfl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2007
Posts: 287
AR Pistol Receiver Question

I have 2 virgin Spikes AR receivers I had purchased several years ago. I had purchased them with the thought of building an AR carbine for my son and I. Due to the price of factory built AR these days I just purchased factory finished carbines instead. Now I want to build two AR's in 300BLK calibers. I'll build one in carbine configuration with 16" barrel but I would like to build the second one as pistol if possible.

The question I have is if it's legal for me to build one of my receiver into an AR pistol? I asked couple people and some said yes while others say no. I was told that since they are virgin receivers that it's legal to build them as pistol while other said that I would have to have purchased the receiver origionally as "handgun" receiver to build them as pistol.

So which is correct?
1tfl is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 12:28 PM   #2
G.barnes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 3, 2011
Posts: 151
If you bought them stripped then they should not be classified as rifle or pistol. If you bought a complete lower then it would be specified. A pistol lower can be changed into a rifle, a rifle lower cannot be changed to a pistol without a tax stamp. I just bought an aero precision stripped lower to build a pistol with.
G.barnes is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 02:08 PM   #3
1tfl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 12, 2007
Posts: 287
No, these were stripped receivers and not assembled lowers.
1tfl is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 02:20 PM   #4
9x19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 15, 1998
Location: Sherman, TX USA
Posts: 3,272
Even an assembled lower, if it was never built into either a complete rifle or pistol configuration is still just a "receiver" at the point of sale and can be built either way by the purchaser.
__________________
Make mine lean, mean, and 9x19!
9x19 is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 02:33 PM   #5
JoeSixpack
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2017
Location: Ohio
Posts: 953
This is my understanding

1. If you bought a AR15 in rifle config, you can not convert to a pistol.
2. If you bought a AR15 in pistol config, you can freely convert back and forth.
3. If you bought a stripped lower it is filled out on the form as a stripped lower
.. It is not a pistol or a rifle and be built into either.
... However it is my understanding that upon it's first build config it is now a rifle or a pistol.. so technically if you build a stripped lower into a rifle it should not be rebuilt into a pistol, If you first configured it as a pistol falls under same situation as #2

Having said that I see no real way to prove what you built it into first, and also no way for anyone to ever disprove either

I've seen a few people build their AR's into pistols and record it's configuration on youtube and upload it.. but even that really does not prove anything.
So it's probably not necessarily to actually built it into a pistol first.. but that's my understanding of the law and why I intend to build mine into pistol configs before converting some of them to rifle.
JoeSixpack is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 06:38 PM   #6
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 4,121
If the selling/transfering dealer marked the 4473 properly as a receiver or other (depending on timeframe the form changed a couple years ago) then there's no problem building it as a pistol. If they incorrectly marked the rifle box you could be in trouble.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 07:30 PM   #7
9x19
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 15, 1998
Location: Sherman, TX USA
Posts: 3,272
If there comes a point where you are proving the legal status of an AR pistol, you likely have bigger problems, as you have likely done something else to garner such close scrutiny.
__________________
Make mine lean, mean, and 9x19!
9x19 is offline  
Old August 24, 2017, 09:30 PM   #8
Ibmikey
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 1, 2013
Location: North Eastern Washington State
Posts: 2,356
There is no way "to prove legal status" ( receiver purchased and first built as a pistol) other than your statement as such. The 4473 will (if done correctly) list " other" as a descriptor and then you build it as rifle or pistol, your statement is the only proof needed to qualify as a pistol. My 300 Blackout pistol has been marked. In such a way as to avoid any confusion, I stamped "Pistol" inside the lower and on the upper lug I stamped the last four of the serial number. This action is not required and done to satisfy me it would always be a pistol, I then decided (but did not follow through with the plan) to make it a SBR and marked the receiver with my name, city and state in a sanitary way so now it is definitely a pistol belonging to me.
Ibmikey is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 09:22 AM   #9
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western PA
Posts: 3,519
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1tfl
The question I have is if it's legal for me to build one of my receiver into an AR pistol?
Yes, if that receiver wasn't built into a rifle first. A receiver can be either a pistol or a rifle. If it's built into a rifle first, it can't ever be configured as a pistol [EDIT: Yes, you could SBR it and then configure it as a pistol, but it would still legally be an SBR and not a pistol]. But if it's built as a pistol first, it can go back and forth between being a pistol or a rifle. See ATF Ruling 2011-4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1tfl
while other said that I would have to have purchased the receiver origionally as "handgun" receiver to build them as pistol.
Those people are wrong. Tell them to read this ATF open letter from over eight years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by G.barnes
If you bought a complete lower then it would be specified
No, that's incorrect. A new lower receiver with a stock is still just a receiver since it doesn't fit the federal definition of a rifle. You can take the stock off and make it into a pistol unless you already built it into a rifle first, just like a stripped lower receiver.

If a dealer sells you a receiver -- even a completed receiver with a stock on it -- as a pistol or a rifle then he's wrong.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mavracer
If the selling/transfering dealer marked the 4473 properly as a receiver or other (depending on timeframe the form changed a couple years ago) then there's no problem building it as a pistol. If they incorrectly marked the rifle box you could be in trouble.
Even if the dealer filled out the form wrong, that doesn't change the fact that you still bought a receiver and not a rifle. If the DMV makes a mistake and registers my pickup as a motorcycle, does that mean my pickup is now a motorcycle and I have to wear a helmet while I drive it? No, it just means the DMV messed up.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."

Last edited by Theohazard; August 25, 2017 at 11:28 AM.
Theohazard is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 10:09 AM   #10
weblance
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 3, 2012
Posts: 1,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theohazard
Yes, if that receiver wasn't built into a rifle first. A receiver can be either a pistol or a rifle. If it's built into a rifle first, it can't ever be configured as a pistol.
Couldn't it be SBR-ed?

Edit to add... I guess an SBR and a Pistol are not the same thing. Seems strange that a registered SBR lower couldn't have a pistol tube added to it, and configured as a pistol...?
weblance is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 10:44 AM   #11
MagnumWill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 18, 2009
Location: Central Colorado
Posts: 825
Quote:
I guess an SBR and a Pistol are not the same thing. Seems strange that a registered SBR lower couldn't have a pistol tube added to it, and configured as a pistol...?
...what's strange is that we have to do this ridiculous dance in the first place...
__________________
Those who hammer their swords into plow shares will plow for those who didn't...
MagnumWill is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 11:08 AM   #12
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western PA
Posts: 3,519
Quote:
Originally Posted by weblance
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theohazard
Yes, if that receiver wasn't built into a rifle first. A receiver can be either a pistol or a rifle. If it's built into a rifle first, it can't ever be configured as a pistol.
Couldn't it be SBR-ed?

Edit to add... I guess an SBR and a Pistol are not the same thing. Seems strange that a registered SBR lower couldn't have a pistol tube added to it, and configured as a pistol...?
Sorry, I suppose I was unclear. Yes, if it was built as a rifle first, you could then file a Form 1 and make it into an SBR. At that point you could definitely configure it as a pistol with a pistol buffer tube and a short barrel, but it would still be an SBR and not a pistol.

Generally, the ATF only considers an SBR to be an SBR if it's currently in SBR configuration, but since a firearm that was originally a rifle can't be a pistol, it will still be a rifle even if the stock is removed. Notice that the federal definition of a rifle that I posted above includes terms like "made or remade", "designed or redesigned", and "intended to be fired from the shoulder".

The ATF is very clear that you can always put a 16" or longer barrel on an SBR and it will go back to being a regular rifle while it's in that configuration. What's not as clear is when you can configure your SBR as a pistol and have it legally be a pistol while it's in that configuration. Many people think that ATF Ruling 2011-4 (linked above) applies to SBRs too when it comes to the pistol switching. If they're correct, that means if you made an SBR out of a pistol, it can be configured as a pistol and it will be a pistol legally so long as it's configured as such; but it can never legally be a pistol if it was not originally a pistol before it was SBRed, even if it's configured as a pistol later.

But, as far as I know, this specific situation has never been addressed by the ATF or any courts, so it's speculation.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."
Theohazard is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 11:15 AM   #13
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 4,121
Quote:
If the DMV makes a mistake and registers my pickup as a motorcycle, does that mean my pickup is now a motorcycle and I have to wear a helmet while I drive it?
No it means your truck has the wrong tag on it and you're still gonna get a ticket and end up in court having to prove the DMV screwed up. In OPs case "IF" the dealer marked it as a rifle on the 4473 and the ATF for some reason wants to push the issue the OP is going to have to prove the dealer didn't assemble the receiver as a rifle and sell it to OP as a rifle.
As I said it "COULD" be a problem
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 11:40 AM   #14
Theohazard
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 19, 2012
Location: Western PA
Posts: 3,519
Mavracer, I think you missed my point, or maybe I just wasn't clear on what my point was. What I was trying to say was this: Just as the DMV can't magically make your pickup into a motorcycle even with a registration mistake, an FFL can't magically make a receiver into a rifle with a 4473 mistake. It's still a receiver even if the FFL messes up.

If an FFL mistakenly sold a receiver as a rifle, all you'd have to do is show that the manufacturer made it as a receiver. Also, most factory receivers come in clearly-marked receiver-sized boxes, which is further evidence. Also, the dealer should have had it in their bound book as a receiver. And if they had built it into a rifle before they sold it, there would be a record of that; without it, there's no evidence they built it as a rifle.

I suppose if you can offer none of those as evidence and the only record in existence was the mistake on the 4473, maybe that would be an issue, but I'd be willing to bet that's never actually happened in real life.
__________________
0331: "Accuracy by volume."

Last edited by Theohazard; August 25, 2017 at 12:03 PM.
Theohazard is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 03:13 PM   #15
rickyrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2010
Posts: 6,248
Is there any case or news story where someone was excessively scrutinized for having an AR pistol? I haven't heard of any stories like that, but my circle is small. I'm earnestly interested and not being combative.

I engraved my pistol lower with the word "PISTOL" and I also had a boiler plate made for one of my pistol uppers that also includes the word "Pistol" included in the information on the plate.
I was advised that it was unnecessary to mark them, but I did it anyway.
rickyrick is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 03:53 PM   #16
JoeSixpack
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 12, 2017
Location: Ohio
Posts: 953
I suspect in all likely hood anything but full auto would probably never be questioned.

I mean you could probably go as far as slap a stock on the pistol ar and most people even if they knew the law would just think it's a SBR.

But I mean, Im sure we've all jay walked at one time or another.. how many people actually get tickets for it?

But when it comes to gun laws I try to comply to the best of my knowledge regardless if someones looking or not.. It's just not something I wanna fool with.

Im still waiting on a few small parts before I do my builds but when I do Im building them into pistols, taking a picture and then proceed from there.

I doubt anyone will ever question me but if they do I won't have to lie when I answer.
JoeSixpack is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 04:15 PM   #17
mavracer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 27, 2008
Location: midwest
Posts: 4,121
Quote:
But when it comes to gun laws I try to comply to the best of my knowledge regardless if someones looking or not.. It's just not something I wanna fool with.
Especially when the stakes are 10 years in club fed and a lifetime revocation of gun rights and lowers selling 2 for a dollar right now.
__________________
rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6
Quote:
originally posted my Mike Irwin
My handguns are are for one purpose only, though...
The starter gun on the "Fat man's mad dash tactical retreat."
mavracer is offline  
Old August 25, 2017, 06:04 PM   #18
rickyrick
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 15, 2010
Posts: 6,248
Yeah, I follow all of the laws that I know of when dealing with guns, just curious.

I only know when someone got arrested and the news shows the criminal's "arsenal"; which, always elicits a snicker from me because of what they consider to be an arsenal.
rickyrick is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2017 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.09833 seconds with 8 queries