What if serial numbers don't match

This is a discussion on What if serial numbers don't match within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I noticed on my Glocks, that the barrel and slide have the same serial number. What are the consequences should the serial numbers not match? ...

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Thread: What if serial numbers don't match

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array ExactlyMyPoint's Avatar
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    What if serial numbers don't match

    I noticed on my Glocks, that the barrel and slide have the same serial number.

    What are the consequences should the serial numbers not match? For example, I replace the slide or barrel. Now the numbers are different. What if the gun is used for a SD shooting. Do LEO and/or AG raise eye brows when numbers don't match? What if I want to sell the gun with two different serial numbers?
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    It's not a problem. The serial number that is most important is the one on the receiver/frame.

    If you were to send your Glock back for repair and it was determined that a new receiver was necessary they would swap out receivers and put your old barrel in that frame. The serial numbers would, obviously, not match. When you went to pick up your firearm from whatever store you sent it through for repair you would have to do another background check because you are, in a sense, picking up a new handgun.

    If any law enforcement agency needed to "run" your firearm, this is how it would go.

    They would call Glock and give them the serial number off of your frame and ask who they sold it to.

    Glock would then probably inform them that that serial number was assigned to a repaired firearm and was sent directly to XYZ gunstore for ExactlyMyPoint customer. That would pretty much automatically tell them why the serial numbers are different.

    If they wanted to dig deeper they could ask the serial number of the defective firearm, which Glock would have a record of showing that they repossessed it, meaning you don't have two Glocks.

    If they wanted to go even further they could ask for the serial number of the old Glock frame and match it with your barrel (which I can't imagine why they'd need to do that), or they could ask for the distributor.. call the distributor and ask for the store it was sold to.. call the store and ask what customer it was sold to and come up with your name anyway.

    People think that just because there is no registration that guns aren't traceable. You couldn't be further from the truth.

    No, they can't pull a name out of a hat and find every firearm that person owns (unless there is registration in that state or you believe there is some secret registry that you don't know about (don't go there)), but if they have a serial number they can find out who bought it.

    There are hundreds of people who swap out serialized parts on their firearms. The serialized parts tell the company if the firearm has been played with more so than the police.

    If you send a firearm back for warranty repair and it's been messed with and the serialized parts are missing or replaced, then they know what might account for the problem... They aren't dealing with factor parts.

    The only thing the LEO's want to know is that you are the true owner and got the gun legally.

    There are certain exceptions to modifications, of course (like if you were to modify your firearm to being full-auto or something like that), but in general, having different numbers on your barrel and frame means nothing to police.

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    Ex Member Array NavyLT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by limatunes View Post
    It's not a problem. The serial number that is most important is the one on the receiver/frame.

    If you were to send your Glock back for repair and it was determined that a new receiver was necessary they would swap out receivers and put your old barrel in that frame. The serial numbers would, obviously, not match. When you went to pick up your firearm from whatever store you sent it through for repair you would have to do another background check because you are, in a sense, picking up a new handgun.
    It would not be required by law or by the ATF to do a 4473 or a background check on a replacement firearm. Store policy might be to do it, but the ATF says it is not required:

    27 CFR 478:
    478.124 Firearms transaction record.
    (a) A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer,
    or licensed dealer shall not sell or
    otherwise dispose, temporarily or permanently,
    of any firearm to any person, other
    than another licensee, unless the licensee
    records the transaction on a firearms
    transaction record, Form 4473: Provided,
    That a firearms transaction record, Form
    4473, shall not be required to record the
    disposition made of a firearm delivered to
    a licensee for the sole purpose of repair or
    customizing when such firearm or a replacement
    firearm
    is returned to the person
    from whom received
    For instance, interesting scenario:

    Both my wife and I were, at the time, residents of Washington State. I could prove residency by showing my MIL ID and orders to the FFL. My wife chose not to get any Washington state driver's license or ID card because, as a military spouse, she is specifically exempted from doing so by Washington state administrative code. So, my wife was a Washington state resident but could not prove it to a FFL.

    I buy her a handgun as a gift. The handgun must be returned for warranty work. The FFL accepts the gun from my wife to send back to the manufacturer under warranty. The store's specific policy was that if the manufacturer returned a replacement gun with a different serial number they would do a 4473 and background check. We specifically asked what would happen because the gun was surrendered by her to them for shipment to repair, they are required to return the repaired gun or replacement only to her and no one else, but she cannot prove residency to their satisfaction (oh, btw, she does have a Washington State CPL with a Washington address on it). They said, regardless of company policy or not regarding the 4473, they would have to return a replacement handgun to her.

    Our backup plan was, in the event they held a replacement gun and would not return it to her was to report the gun as stolen to the authorities and let the store face criminal prosecution for unlawfully witholding property from it's owner. Anyway, the outcome was that they received the same gun back from the manufacturer and returned it to her without a 4473.

  5. #4
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    "What if I want to sell the gun with two different serial numbers?"

    Usually you can expect to get even less money for it.

    If you have major custom work and/or modification/restoration done on a serial numbered metal frame the exact SAME serial number is allowed to be re~stamped on a frame as long as the replacement re-stamping meets the letter & number size and depth requirements specified by the ATF.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLT View Post
    It would not be required by law or by the ATF to do a 4473 or a background check on a replacement firearm. Store policy might be to do it, but the ATF says it is not required:

    27 CFR 478:
    Good to know. I've read through the ATF manual but must have missed that. Also, I found reading the manual kind of like reading Latin with a Latin/English dictionary sitting next to you. You can kind of understand it, but there are some things that just don't make sense.



    Either way, non-matching serial numbers on defensive firearms shouldn't be a legal problem.

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    jfl
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    Distinguished Member Array jfl's Avatar
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    It is quite common; I have 3 barrels for my G-26:
    - the stock, with matching S/N
    - a G-19 barrel with a different S/N
    - a ported barrel with another S/N

    See my post.

    For collectibles it is another story.
    My wife gave me a Luger P-08, ~15 years ago, for a b'day.
    All numbers match except the magazine (yep they had SN on the mag also). Today's value would be around $2000 - $3000.
    The same gun with non matching SN would be less than half.
    If I had a matching magazine, it would be $300-$400 more.
    Just like old Corvettes or other collectible cars !

    Why ?
    I'd say that if the number don't match, it is probably built from different unserviceable guns just like some people will sell cars made from junk yard parts.
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExactlyMyPoint View Post
    What if the gun is used for a SD shooting. Do LEO and/or AG raise eye brows when numbers don't match? What if I want to sell the gun with two different serial numbers?
    Only in Europe. Germany, and a few other EU nations consider the barrel "the gun", which is why Glock, Sig(German-made, at least) and Walther guns all have numbers in numerous locations.

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    VIP Member Array Supertac45's Avatar
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    The frame is the gun and the only thing that matters legally.
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    VIP Member Array mcp1810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExactlyMyPoint View Post
    I noticed on my Glocks, that the barrel and slide have the same serial number.

    What are the consequences should the serial numbers not match? For example, I replace the slide or barrel. Now the numbers are different. What if the gun is used for a SD shooting. Do LEO and/or AG raise eye brows when numbers don't match? What if I want to sell the gun with two different serial numbers?
    I am going to take a slightly differing position to most of the folks here. I will say it should not matter but it might anyway! You need to check you local laws. The feds are almost logical on this but if you live in a state as bass ackwards as the Peoples Republic of Maryland it could potentially be a problem. Why? That stupid ballistic fingerprinting! The different serial numbers are no big deal, the question is does your state require the manufacturer, the dealer, or you to submit a bullet from that barrel for their database? If they do, and that little detail gets overlooked are you going to be facing charges?
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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcp1810 View Post
    I am going to take a slightly differing position to most of the folks here. I will say it should not matter but it might anyway! You need to check you local laws. The feds are almost logical on this but if you live in a state as bass ackwards as the Peoples Republic of Maryland it could potentially be a problem. Why? That stupid ballistic fingerprinting! The different serial numbers are no big deal, the question is does your state require the manufacturer, the dealer, or you to submit a bullet from that barrel for their database? If they do, and that little detail gets overlooked are you going to be facing charges?
    It does not matter, per the ATFE. Period.

    If it is legal for an individual to add a drop-in barrel into their firearm(per State law), whether the barrel is numbered or not is irrelevant.

    Can you purchase a KKM/BarSto or Kart barrel for your Glock? If so, you may also purchase a factory barrel with a different SN for your use and pleasure. Again, these numbers are present because of European manufacturers complying with the laws of different entities: the US and EU.

    The ballistic finger-printing is a seperate issue.

  12. #11
    VIP Member Array Paco's Avatar
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    I find all this interesting. I would think the LEO would want to match the barrel in a shooting and not so much the frame. I mean it is the barrel grooves they would have to match to any bullet recovered.
    "Don't hit a man if you can possibly avoid it; but if you do hit him, put him to sleep." - Theodore Roosevelt

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    Senior Member Array XD in SC's Avatar
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    So what you're saying is a BG could shoot someone, then go home and change the barrel, and be free because they couldn't possibly tie the bullet to the barrel currently in the weapon??
    Sean
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    Senior Member Array dnowell's Avatar
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    I've wondered about that. Anybody can buy a new barrel in cash, no ID (as it should be!). Couldn't a criminal simply use the replacement barrel to do a shooting, then drop it in the river and put the original barrel back in?

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    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Okay guys, and the mods may certainly delete this, and for informational purposes:

    BGs don't care and generally aren't smart enough to "change" a weapon.

    An armorers' parts box, a grinder and/or a rat-tail file will make makers' marks irrevelant.

    Ballistic ID is honestly about 60% faith and 40% bull excreta, if any single part is changed or replaced.

    If you did it, they will probably catch you. If you didn't, and they want you, they will still catch you. If you hang with pigs, you'll have dookie on you. If you soar with eagles, someone can find eagle dookie in the general vicinity. Clear nuff?
    Edit to add:
    So what you're saying is a BG could shoot someone, then go home and change the barrel, and be free because they couldn't possibly tie the bullet to the barrel currently in the weapon??
    Was the BG in the area? Did he have reason to commit the crime? Witnesses? Has he/she committed similar crimes? Is the suspect a known offender? Etc., etc.. Lots more to it than just, "Is this Bobby Bad Guy's gun?"

    Equally, if a gun of the caliber used is in Bobby's residence/car/SO's domecile/Bobby's AO, then Bobby is going to get the hard eyeball.

  16. #15
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    NOPE!
    Forensically they could still tie that firearm to the cartridge case.

    You would need to replace the barrel - the ejector - the extractor - the firing pin - plus alter the breech face and the firing pin hole in the breech face. Just FYI.
    And there are still two other ways they can "toolmark link" the cartridge case to a specific firearm but, I'll let those remain a mystery.

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