This is one of our favorite questions to answer. Why? Because the short answer is yes! It is perfectly legal to buy, ship, and own 80% lowers in all 50 states! Even in California, you can still buy 80% lowers – one, five, or ten, yes ten! – without restriction, in any caliber. This is question is also one of our least favorites, because we are not lawyers. In some locations, we simply can’t keep up with the rapid pace of gun laws being proposed. But we can point you in the right direction! Keep reading:
What makes 80% lowers legal?
The answer is simple: Your 80% lower isn’t a firearm yet! States like California and New Jersey are aggressively seeking to push the limits and regulate 80% lowers. However, the ATF is the guiding authority. They say 80% lowers are 100% legal. An 80 percent lower is simply the lower receiver of an AR that is only 80% finished. We’re not sure how the ATF came up with this calculation, but it’s legal and works for us!
According to the ATF, 80% lowers are considered “receiver blanks” (non-functioning) until you complete the machining process with an 80% jig. Completing this step makes your 80% lower functional as a tripped AR-15 lower receiver. At this point, you need to adhere to all applicable gun laws – state and federal.
Paperweight or firearm? It’s all about the 80% jig
In order to turn this hunk of aluminum into a firearm you will need to pick up one of our quality, American-made jigs to finish the process. These jigs come with all the settings and precise measurements you need to complete your 80% lower. Some jigs like the Easy Jig Gen 2 Multi Platform even allow to complete various models of AR lowers with one jig.
It truly is a remarkably simple process that anyone with two thumbs and the ability to read should be able to figure out. Heck, even if reading isn’t your forte there is no short supply of online instructional videos that will walk you through it Barney style.
Why build ARs with 80% lowers?
Now that you know you can own 80% lowers, let’s talk about why you should! Currently, you can purchase as many 80 percent lowers in bulk all you want and have them shipped right to your front door. The ATF can’t say a word about it. This may not always be so. Supporters of the 2nd Amendment are fighting hard to stave off every act of infringement, but it doesn’t always work.