AR15 Pistol build requirements

This is a discussion on AR15 Pistol build requirements within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I wanted this to get out there in case people want to build a pistol with their AR15 lower from the group buy it's a ...

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Thread: AR15 Pistol build requirements

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    AR15 Pistol build requirements

    I wanted this to get out there in case people want to build a pistol with their AR15 lower from the group buy it's a letter from the ATF on the subject
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Good to know.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    The whole pistol / rifle thing can be very dicey.

    The last bit about having a stock you "could" add to a pistol is ominous.

    If you chose (unwisely, IMHO) to put a buffer tube on your pistol that can accept a collapsable stock, and happen to have a carbine with one, then they could easily charge you with having an SBR.

    IIRC, someone used to make a buffer tube that had a flat end and no jug on the bottom for pistols so there was no way you could attach either a fixed or collapsable stock.

    Matt
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    The whole pistol / rifle thing can be very dicey.

    The last bit about having a stock you "could" add to a pistol is ominous.

    If you chose (unwisely, IMHO) to put a buffer tube on your pistol that can accept a collapsable stock, and happen to have a carbine with one, then they could easily charge you with having an SBR.

    IIRC, someone used to make a buffer tube that had a flat end and no jug on the bottom for pistols so there was no way you could attach either a fixed or collapsable stock.

    Matt
    That kinda goes along the lines of you can own the M16 parts and be legal as long as you don't own an AR15 but if you own an AR15 and M16 parts even tho they are not installed they consider you having an illegal M16.So if building a Pistol make sure you install the pistol buffer,I'm sure there must be pistol kits available that would prevent running into problems
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    ATF is okay with either carbine, pistol, or rifle buffer tubes.

    The issue is the STOCK. it cannot have a stock while a pistol barrel is attached. Also, it cannot have a VERTICAL FOREGRIP unless it has a stock.

    You can have a stock next to your pistol, just have a >16"bbl that you can swap on.

    The issue is the SBR rule and you foul it if you have a shoulder stock on a frame that also has a <16" bbl.

    The AOW rule comes in with two vertical grips on a pistol.

    If you have a pistol (no buttstock) you can have ANY length bbl on it. 5", 20" whatever - it doesn't matter.

    If you have a pistol and want to shoot it as a rifle, change the BARREL FIRST then add the shoulder stock. When done shooting as a rifle, remove the STOCK FIRST and BARREL LAST.

    When using a shoulder stock and <16"bbl, you can also have a vertical foregrip. Notice this transformation is ONLY legal if you start with a pistol receiver. You can't take a rifle receiver and convert it to a pistol...
    In order to be a pistol receiver, it must NEVER have been assembled as a rifle, and it's first assembly must be into a pistol config.

    (Or, you can pay the $200 and wait 12 weeks to make it a SBR to avoid that issue)

  7. #6
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    ATF is okay with either carbine, pistol, or rifle buffer tubes.

    The issue is the STOCK. it cannot have a stock while a pistol barrel is attached. Also, it cannot have a VERTICAL FOREGRIP unless it has a stock.

    You can have a stock next to your pistol, just have a >16"bbl that you can swap on.

    The issue is the SBR rule and you foul it if you have a shoulder stock on a frame that also has a <16" bbl.

    The AOW rule comes in with two vertical grips on a pistol.

    If you have a pistol (no buttstock) you can have ANY length bbl on it. 5", 20" whatever - it doesn't matter.

    If you have a pistol and want to shoot it as a rifle, change the BARREL FIRST then add the shoulder stock. When done shooting as a rifle, remove the STOCK FIRST and BARREL LAST.

    When using a shoulder stock and <16"bbl, you can also have a vertical foregrip. Notice this transformation is ONLY legal if you start with a pistol receiver. You can't take a rifle receiver and convert it to a pistol...
    In order to be a pistol receiver, it must NEVER have been assembled as a rifle, and it's first assembly must be into a pistol config.

    (Or, you can pay the $200 and wait 12 weeks to make it a SBR to avoid that issue)
    Unlees i'm reading that letter wrong you can't convert a pistol to a rifle and vice versa ,once you put a shoulder stock on the lower and then put it back in pistol configuration you just broke the law
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    ATF is okay with either carbine, pistol, or rifle buffer tubes.

    The issue is the STOCK. it cannot have a stock while a pistol barrel is attached. Also, it cannot have a VERTICAL FOREGRIP unless it has a stock.

    You can have a stock next to your pistol, just have a >16"bbl that you can swap on.
    No, you cannot - once it has been built as a pistol, a pistol it must remain for all time, unless you SBR it with the appropriate tax stamp.

    If you have a pistol, and a stock next to it, the ATF can conclude you are in "constructive possession" of an unregistered SBR - and off you go to the federal lockup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    The issue is the SBR rule and you foul it if you have a shoulder stock on a frame that also has a <16" bbl.

    The AOW rule comes in with two vertical grips on a pistol.

    If you have a pistol (no buttstock) you can have ANY length bbl on it. 5", 20" whatever - it doesn't matter.

    If you have a pistol and want to shoot it as a rifle, change the BARREL FIRST then add the shoulder stock. When done shooting as a rifle, remove the STOCK FIRST and BARREL LAST.
    Then, pack for prison, because you've just violated the law. The letter posted in the opening post clearly states that once it has been a rifle, it cannot ever be a pistol again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    When using a shoulder stock and <16"bbl, you can also have a vertical foregrip. Notice this transformation is ONLY legal if you start with a pistol receiver. You can't take a rifle receiver and convert it to a pistol...
    In order to be a pistol receiver, it must NEVER have been assembled as a rifle, and it's first assembly must be into a pistol config.

    (Or, you can pay the $200 and wait 12 weeks to make it a SBR to avoid that issue)
    Once you make it a rifle, you cannot switch it back - even if it started life as a pistol.

    See the first lines in the second paragraph of the letter posted in the opening post. Once you assemble it as a rifle, a rifle it will always be. And once you put a short barrel on that rifle, contraband it will be. And in a world of hurt the owner may well be.

    Matt
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

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    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    Negative boys - you can switch back between rifle and pistol if you start with a pistol receiver AND the first build is a pistol.

    If you start with a rifle, it's a rifle forever (unless you $200SBR it).
    If you start with a pistol reciever and INITIALLY assemble it as a rifle, it's a rifle. (again, $200 option).

    Check the ATF rulings on the T/C contender. You open the box and get a receiver, handgrip, buttstock, 12" and 20" barrel.

    handgrip + receiver + 12 " = handgun
    buttstock + receiver + 20" = rifle
    handgrip + receiver + 20" = handgun (funny looking, but legally a handgun)
    buttstock + receiver + 12 " = short barrel rifle (hope you paid the $200 tax)

    Note that the letter above says you can do it to a VIRGIN receiver - never built as a rifle. Make it a pistol first and you are good to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    Negative boys - you can switch back between rifle and pistol if you start with a pistol receiver AND the first build is a pistol.

    If you start with a rifle, it's a rifle forever (unless you $200SBR it).
    If you start with a pistol reciever and INITIALLY assemble it as a rifle, it's a rifle. (again, $200 option).

    Check the ATF rulings on the T/C contender. You open the box and get a receiver, handgrip, buttstock, 12" and 20" barrel.

    handgrip + receiver + 12 " = handgun
    buttstock + receiver + 20" = rifle
    handgrip + receiver + 20" = handgun (funny looking, but legally a handgun)
    buttstock + receiver + 12 " = short barrel rifle (hope you paid the $200 tax)

    Note that the letter above says you can do it to a VIRGIN receiver - never built as a rifle. Make it a pistol first and you are good to go.
    You better like prison ,once a receiver is assembled as a pistol you cannot put a buttstock on it without applying for the SBR tax stamp.The ATF does not allow for back and forth changes ,it's either a pistol or a rifle and if you have a buffer tube on the pistol with the stock available you are in violation
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
    --Mayor Marion Barry, Washington , DC .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah View Post
    Note that the letter above says you can do it to a VIRGIN receiver - never built as a rifle. Make it a pistol first and you are good to go.
    The letter clearly says that you cannot utilize a receiver that has "preciously been completed in a rifle configuration" as a pistol.

    So you start out as a pistol, and then make it into a rifle. The receiver has now been "completed as a rifle", and so therefore it cannot again lawfully be a pistol without the SBR stamp.

    Matt
    Battle Plan (n) - a list of things that aren't going to happen if you are attacked.
    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

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    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    If you have a pistol, and a stock next to it, the ATF can conclude you are in "constructive possession" of an unregistered SBR - and off you go to the federal lockup.
    On a side note , DO NOT order a pistol upper unless and until you have a pistol lower ( iirc pistol lowers should be marked as pistol by engraving similar to the serial no ) or face the same constructive possession , Kinda like owning a pre 86 drop in autosear ( which is legal to buy as a non nfa item but not possess at the same time you have a rifle it will work in ) . My understanding is that you can put a 16" or 20" upper on a pistol reciever but may not put a stock on it at any time because it makes it an AOW ( a stocked pistol ) which is an NFA weapon as a rule tho some Browning HP pistols , and mauser pistols are classed as curios and thusly may be owned with the " holster stock " without the nfa stamp as long as you dont own another one in the wrong serial no range that is " cut for the stock " . Its really a grey area in the code as the BATFE got their butts handed to them on a case about Thompson Center pistols/rifles that use the same receiver design, and then turned around and won a case on the above mentioned " curio status " of a couple of Browning HP pistols . My best advise is simply dont take any chances and i suspect we may see some precedents set with the new Ruger Challenger pistol since there are now " conversion kits " being sold online both ways , and few selling them list the legal pitfalls or caution about such things as bipods , ect.. possibly being a " forward handgrip " . Lets just see to it that Members of this board dont set the precedent with the attendant emotional and financial ruin .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
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  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    The detail is that the letter refers to the MANUFACTURE of a pistol from a bare receiver. You cannot manufacture a pistol from a rifle receiver since the receiver has already become a rifle (during rifle mfg/assy)

    BATF differentiates between 'rifle' and 'weapon made from a rifle'. weapon made from a rifle = $200NFA.

    A rifle is defined by being INTENDED to be fired from the shoulder. Thus, a rifle needs somethin' to stick to your shoulder, and ATF has ruled (above) that a buffer tube is not intended to be used as a stock.

    A pistol is defined as being DESIGNED to fire with one hand. That obviously rules out shoulder stocks, and vertical foregrips.

    Agreed that you cannot put a buttstock on a pistol. You put a >16"bbl on FIRST before the butstock.


    Note that the letter says you can use a rifle or pistol VIRGIN receiver, and it's not classified as a rifle or pistol until it's first build. But it must be the first build of the receiver. Also it says for the dealer to run it on a 4473 as a pistol, easy as pie.

    I am not going to argue ATF rules here - keep your misconceptions and if you get bored, look up ATF rulings, send them a written inquiry yourself. This is a no brainer.

    The key is that ATF differentiates between the first build, and every other configuration possible. They seperate this by using the word "manufacture" (first assembly) and "configuration"(subsequent swaps)

    This is consistent with other ATF rulings such as :DEWAT paperweights still transfer on a form 5 with a 10+ week transfer time... And once a machine gun, always a machine gun.

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    Sorry, but your words directly contradict what the ATF wrote in the letter.

    If I have to pick one of the two, I'll follow the ATF's written materials. For example:

    Quote Originally Posted by Shizzlemah
    You can have a stock next to your pistol, just have a >16"bbl that you can swap on.
    Quote Originally Posted by ATF
    With respect to buffer tubes, the use of either buffer tube you described is permissible. However, possessing a rifle buttstock that could be readily installed on your pistol could constitute possession of a short-barrled rifle.
    Your advice there clearly conflicts with the ATF's position. Since not following your guidance won't land anyone in a federal prison, and not following the ATF's can, I'd suggest folks follow the ATF line on this one.

    Matt
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    Blame it on Sixto - now that is a viable plan.

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    Senior Member Array Shizzlemah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattLarson View Post
    Sorry, but your words directly contradict what the ATF wrote in the letter.

    If I have to pick one of the two, I'll follow the ATF's written materials. For example:




    Your advice there clearly conflicts with the ATF's position. Since not following your guidance won't land anyone in a federal prison, and not following the ATF's can, I'd suggest folks follow the ATF line on this one.

    Matt

    There's a huge difference between my statement and the ATF statement.

    I said buttstock & barrel is legal , ATF says butstock (only) is illegal.

    Installing buttstock and barrel puts it in a rifle config.
    installing butstock only makes a SBR and that's a tour of club fed if you don't have a tax stamp.

    Again, there was a supreme court case over this very issue. ATF picked on someone with a TC contender pistol. The fellow also owned a buttstock and long barrel.

    ATF argued 'constructive intent of a SBR'. The case failed because ATF had no proof/evidence that the gun would be illegally assembled into a SBR - especially when he had the parts there to assemble into a legal rifle configuration. The ATF had no grounds to assume there would be an illegal act committed when he had a legal combination.

    Matt, I agree with you that if this fellow only had a butstock and no long barrel he'd be stuffed away somewhere- but ATF can't just assume you are doing illegal things. Hey, you own a rifle and a hacksaw - hope you have a tax stamp :-)

    Not trying to argue this, but ATF has issued about eight zillion rulings on what can and can't fly.


    Dear Mister ATF : I have an AR pattern pistol with no buttstock and a 7" barrel. Can I install a 18" barrel, then buttstock and use it in a rifle configuration? Can I remove the buttstock and barrel (in that order) and continue to use it as a pistol?

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    This is consistent with other ATF rulings such as :DEWAT paperweights still transfer on a form 5 with a 10+ week transfer time... And once a machine gun, always a machine gun.
    So that would be kinda like " once a rifle always a rifle " ? There is nothing clear about batfe , the rules vary depending on what federal jurisdiction they operate under . I have seen many cases which would not be brought under a different federal court . when they have a favorable court such as the 9th they bring cases otherwise they may " caution " a fella about a " technical " violation . For myself i dont set out to violate any law , and in MY circuit court that pretty much holds . The problem is that nation wide the conditions i live under dont hold . Ill just say that in the next 10 or 12 years or so when you see the name of Bob Blackburn suggested to the supreme court it is in all our interest to support him . He is without a dobut one of the smartest men i have ever met ( bad news when he did defense attny ) , and also fair . Honestly he dont like millitairy weapons much , and as last i knew shot them with a 30-30 . However its a personal choice , he just dont care for modern arms tho he owns a few . He does and will protect the 2nd without resorting to any kind of " sporting or duck hunting " justification. He is neither an advocate for BATFE nor an opponent . However in his court at least the lack of standards for the BATFE lab will create some " judicial question " as to the viability of any data . For the record tho i am somewhat biased , Occasionally i still see Judge Blackburn working his ranch , and its not uncommon for us to have refreshment . He is an honest man , and that imho is what we need . I am fortunate to know him back before he was any judge , and he has not changed at all . As you can see i hear he is on some " short list" with some folk . IMHO for the issue of the 2nd he would be a good enough choice to email on .
    Make sure you get full value out of today , Do something worthwhile, because what you do today will cost you one day off the rest of your life .
    We only begin to understand folks after we stop and think .

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