You’re building a semiautomatic rifle or pistol at home, with no paperwork, no official government involvement, and perhaps with little to know experience. You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.
Quick disclaimer: We’re not lawyers. Nothing you read below should be considered legal advice or legal counsel. Always consult an attorney if you have questions about firearm ownership and its legality.
What’s an 80% lower? What is an 80% 1911 frame?
Good first question: An 80% lower is a piece of aluminum alloy (or polymer) that is not quite yet considered a stripped AR-15 lower receiver. The stripped lower receiver of an AR-15 is considered the firearm. An 80% lower (as the name implies) is a stripped lower that is only 80% machined – you’ll be the one to machine the other 20% in order to make that hunk of metal a by-definition firearm. The same applies to an 80% 1911 frame.
Is an 80% lower or 80% 1911 frame legally considered a firearm?
No. By no legal definition of any local, state, or federal law is an 80% lower or 80% 1911 frame considered a firearm. This is because neither is incapable of functioning as a firearm. In the eyes of the law, either product is considered a hunk of metal alloy (or polymer) until you finish the machining process completely.
Is finishing an 80% lower or 80% 1911 frame legal?
Yes. In fact, it is as long as you’re not a convicted felon or are otherwise restricted from owning a firearm for any other reason. Some states (like California) require your home-built firearm to have a serial number before you complete it. Be sure to read your local laws or consult an attorney regarding requirements of firearm ownership before you’ve machine your 80% lower or 1911 frame.
New Jersey’s attorney general recently demanded that companies stop marketing and selling untraceable weapons or “ghost guns”. Therefore, we are not allowing sales or shipping of any of our items to the state of New Jersey. See N.J.S.A. 2C:39-9g
Do I need a background check (or other paperwork) before buying an 80% lower or 1911 frame?
No. Because neither is considered a firearm, the sale, shipment, and transfer of either does not fall under any local, state, or federal firearms laws or guidelines of any kind. You do not need to have a background check completed, nor do you need to fill out any of the paperwork you normally fill out when you buy a firearm.
What about after I machine my 80% lower or 1911 frame into a firearm?
Still no. You don’t need ATF paperwork or a background check after you’ve machined and completed your 80% lower or 1911 frame, as long as it’s for personal use and you’re not trying to sell it. Under ATF rules, no individual manufacturing a sporting-type firearm for personal use is required to have a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Because of this, no FFL transfer or background check is required.
Does my 80% lower, 80% jig, or 1911 frame need to be shipped to an FFL?
No. Because 80% lowers and 1911 frames are not considered firearms and because 80% jigs are not regulated, any item you purchase here can be legally shipped directly to your front door.
How easy is machining an 80% lower or a 1911 frame?
Very easy. You need little to no mechanical or technical knowledge. The process can be completed in under two hours. You only need basic hand tools (store-bought drill bits and a compact hand router) to machine either into a functional firearm.
If you can plug in an electrical tool, tighten down a drill bit, make basic measurements, and manipulate a few pins and plates, you can be a true, home-built gunsmith. Don’t believe us? Check out a video tutorial of an 80% lower build from start to finish! Completing a 1911 frame is even easier.