Thinking of building an AR pistol.
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Thread: Thinking of building an AR pistol.

  1. #1

    Thinking of building an AR pistol.

    Does anyone know if I use a standard AR15 lower to build a pistol do I need to get it marked as a pistol? And if so what is the best way to do so?

    I know that I could buy a lower marked as a pistol but it is 3x as much money.

    Right now I am thinking I could build the lower for $240 and found an upper for $325. The "marked" lower would add another 200-250 to the cost. So if possible, and without becoming a felon, I would like to keep the cost down.

  3. #2
    From all the research I have done, the thing that matters is how the lower was purchased new. If you purchased it as a pistol for the first time the lower was put into service, then it's a pistol. The rules were not really clear as far as 'pop out in your face' clear, but I read a letter from the ATF with an opinion that stated this.

    You can't take a former rifle and just make it a pistol or at least I could find nothing that allowed you to do this. It must have been originally registered in the original sellers log as a pistol. He can't buy it as a rifle and then sell it as a pistol.

    I can't find that letter and really, the letter doesn't really matter as it is not law, just some agents opinion on the matter although I guess if it were addressed to you, it would hold some water.

    I have seen 'multi-caliber' lowers at gunshows that the factory will register as pistols and for the same price as the one sitting next to it that is a rifle.

    Again, this is just my plundering through the ATF laws on the internet. Good luck.


  4. #3
    Thanks for the advice. There is actually a crossroads gun show this weekend. I will try to find an inexpensive pistol lower there.

  5. As was siad, if it wasn't a rifle before, you should be GTG. A lot of lowers are marked " Multi" , I'd get one of those. There are many kinds, but here's an example:
    *Surplus Ammo & Arms "Grim Reaper" AR15 Stripped Lower Receiver - Surplus Ammo

  6. Before you start, I can tell you absolutely an AR pistol is LOUD. It's loud even with ear plugs but not so bad with plugs and muffs. I haven't noticed much loss in accuracy but haven't chronographed mine to see how much velocity is lost.
    I can't/won't comment on the legality issues since I'm no longer a licensed dealer. The 4473 used to have a space for listing incomplete actions.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    SE Florida
    All rifle-caliber pistols are extremely loud. In addition to being very noisy, my AK pistols produce a noticeable concussion that can be felt even when standing behind the shooter. These phenomona are the result of the relatively large amount of propellant not being able to completely burn off in the shorter barrel of the "pistol". The result is an explosive effect at the muzzle. Big flash as well.

    Keykutter is correct about not being able to legally alter a rifle lower or use it as something other than a rifle without permission from ATF. On ARs, it's the lower that's the regulated part (on AKs it's the receiver). You can use and alter any other parts as you see fit provided they don't violate any existing laws (i.e. full-auto).

    I think rifle-caliber pistols are great for home defense (and a lot of fun at the range too). The hi-power round, large capacity (30 rounds), and easy to control platform makes for a formidable close-quarter weapon.
    (Insert random tough-guy quote here)
    "See my gun?? Aren't you impressed?" - Anonymous sheepdog
    The hardware is the same, but the software is vastly different.

  8. #7
    I appreciate the pointers. I did find a post on another forum that spells out the legalities and includes scans of letters from the ATF to back up what they say.

    I think I found the upper I want. A 7 inch A3 style with freefloat handguard and rail on the gas block. I will add a flash suppressor/break to help with the noise you mentioned. I will also find a lower marked as multi caliber pistol, even though it isn't necessary.

    B2tall, thirty rounds would be fun, but I an going to throw my beta c on to have a lot of fun.

  9. Just my experience but most muzzle brakes/flash supressors increase the noise deflected toward the shooter.

  10. #9
    You might check out the Kel-tec PLR-16.

  11. #10
    Thanks for the input. I'm not concerned about the noise. I use a pair of electronic ears so I can communicate on the range and still hear off the range.

    The Keltec is an interesting gun. But half the fun is going to be installing the parts kit to get a functioning lower, then being able to throw on an upper of various calibers. The gun show is tomorrow so I hope I can find the lower I want.

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