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Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:16 am

So I bought an AR pistol lower and pointed that out to the FFL for the transfer that it was a "pistol".

After having said that.. I immediately realized that I had no idea what I'm talking about. When does a receiver become a pistol? And importantly, is it a pistol for the purpose of the extra county PD check (wa state definition of pistol)?

Without a barrel or a stock, is an AR pistol lower the same as a stripped lower, hence should have been an "other" on the 4473 and no pistol / county PD check?

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:37 am

You just bought a new/never built stripped lower? It's an "other".

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:11 am

:plusone:
dreadi wrote:You just bought a new/never built stripped lower? It's an "other".

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:14 am

A lower is not defined until it it is mated with a barrel and a stock. And even then, thanks to the Thompson Contender ATF ruling, can be easily redefined by just changing the configuration.

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:54 am

Massivedesign wrote:A lower is not defined until it it is mated with a barrel and a stock. And even then, thanks to the Thompson Contender ATF ruling, can be easily redefined by just changing the configuration.

Yes and no. You're right that a stripped lower must be "built" before it can be defined as anything other than a frame/receiver, but changing the configuration isn't so simple.

If you take a virgin frame/receiver and build it into a pistol configuration first, then you retain flexibility to change it to a rifle later, and even back into a pistol if you so choose, and none of those changes wade into NFA territory. But if you build it into a rifle configuration first (with a stock), then you cannot change it into a pistol later without paying ATF $200 and filing a Form 1 to make a SBR. The reason for that is the resulting pistol is a "weapon made from a rifle" and (presumably) has a barrel less than 16" in length.


PinSniper wrote:So I bought an AR pistol lower and pointed that out to the FFL for the transfer that it was a "pistol".

After having said that.. I immediately realized that I had no idea what I'm talking about. When does a receiver become a pistol? And importantly, is it a pistol for the purpose of the extra county PD check (wa state definition of pistol)?

Without a barrel or a stock, is an AR pistol lower the same as a stripped lower, hence should have been an "other" on the 4473 and no pistol / county PD check?

If the lower is built/assembled including a buffer tube assembly (meaning NOT stripped) but does not have a shoulder stock attached (that could mean it has either a standard 6-position buffer tube without anything on it, or a round "pistol" buffer tube with or without foam padding or arm brace), which your subject line and post suggest is the case, then I believe ATF would consider that to be a handgun/pistol and no longer just a frame/receiver ("other" on the 4473). However, I am not 100% sure about that. I've just always seen built pistol lowers (with pistol buffer tubes with or without arm braces) both marketed and transferred as pistols. That doesn't mean it's correct, but I strongly suspect it is.

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:21 am

A complete lower with a stock is still an "other". If you choose to remove the stock, then install a <16" barreled upper then a pistol has been assembled.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:54 am

Doesn't it depend on what the OEM says it is? The 4473 should match right?

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:02 pm

Duke EB wrote:Doesn't it depend on what the OEM says it is? The 4473 should match right?


No. The OEM doesn't get to decide.

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a

Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:10 pm

1811GNR wrote:A complete lower with a stock is still an "other". If you choose to remove the stock, then install a <16" barreled upper then a pistol has been assembled.

I just confirmed this with a couple different FFLs, so it appears you are correct. I guess that makes sense, since it still hasn't been built "enough" to give it a definitive configuration. Good to know!

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Fri Oct 26, 2018 12:18 pm

MadPick wrote:
Duke EB wrote:Doesn't it depend on what the OEM says it is? The 4473 should match right?


No. The OEM doesn't get to decide.

:thumbsup2:

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a

Sat Oct 27, 2018 7:08 pm

1811GNR wrote:A complete lower with a stock is still an "other". If you choose to remove the stock, then install a <16" barreled upper then a pistol has been assembled.

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk


Just confirming, is this for BOTH state and Federal? As in, no PD check here, because that extra check cost me a few extra bucks on the transfer (and if someone hasn't got a CPL, 10 days of delay).

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:40 pm

Yes, an FFL will not treat an "other" as a pistol. That's Washington state policy.

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 3:22 pm

Thanks for the clarification guys!

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:16 pm

Duke EB wrote:
MadPick wrote:
Duke EB wrote:Doesn't it depend on what the OEM says it is? The 4473 should match right?


No. The OEM doesn't get to decide.

:thumbsup2:


The F* it doesn't

OEM decides how it leaves the factory. Complete or striped lower

Go look at 'incomplete' ARs from BMC or Aero. Even though they don't have furniture they still are considered complete rifles/pistols when they leave the factory.

https://lanbosarmory.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=24_27_28&products_id=34125

Re: Built AR Pistol Lower, is it a "pistol"?

Sun Oct 28, 2018 7:45 pm

I think what Steve meant is that the OEM is not the ultimate authority on determining the legal classification. They can call it what they want, but it is what ATF/the law says it is, so if the two aren't the same then OEM classification is irrelevant.
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