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Ar15 pistol turned into full length rifle

Discussion in 'Legal' started by csd4682, Aug 10, 2008.

  1. csd4682

    csd4682 Well-Known Member

    I have a question about turning an ar15 pistol into a standard ar15. If I buy the ar pistol, that comes from the factory as a pistol, which is legal without any nfa paperwork, Can I put a 16" upper and standard stock on it without regestering it as an sbr? I would think as long as I have the stock, and 16" upper on at the same time, or be sure they are both off at the same time I would be fine. The only way I could see it not being legal is if I left the 7" upper on with the stock connected, then it would be an sbr, but if I put a 16" barrel on, its a full length rifle. Hope this makes sense. Thanks for any input.
  2. ASM826

    ASM826 Well-Known Member

    The short answer is no.

    The long answer is no, with more explanation. AR-15.com has a whole section dedicated to this. AR15 Pistol SHORT FAQ

    Searching The High Road forums will also bring you a lot of information. Someone else may know where on this forum the info you are looking for is posted.

    That is a starting point. Common sense does not apply, and your intentions don't matter. Just having the disassembled parts to build a SBR, even if you never did, is a violation of federal law, unless you have it registered.

    Research this carefully, do not accept anything you read, here or anywhere else, until you are sure you understand the laws around this fully.

    This is such an obvious minefield that even as I am I writing this reply, it makes me wonder if you a BATFE agent posting here to see what sort of replies you get. But even if you are, welcome to The High Road.
  3. csd4682

    csd4682 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the resopnse. If I get the ar pistol I will most likley register it as an sbr, I like the idea of turning it into multiple guns. I can assure you that im not a BATFE agent, although, I could see them doing something like that to get the skinny on what us common folk are interested in. thanks again.
  4. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    My understanding of short barrel anything laws is that the registered receiver must NOT have been assembled into any other type of firearm prior to assembling into a short barrel weapon unless BATFE grants approval for testing and/or evaluation that will lead to the firearm ending up as a short barrel weapon from modifications to the barrel.

    If the firearm was already classed as a pistol with a barrel shorter than 16 inches, it cannot be converted to a short barrel rifle and legally registered.

    An AR15 pistol can be rebuilt as a legal length 16" barrel rifle at a later date, but not as a legal short barrel rifle of less than 16 inches.
  5. VARifleman

    VARifleman Well-Known Member

    I do not believe that post #4 is correct, but it would be manufactured on Form 1.
  6. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Well-Known Member

    Ummm, the short answer is "yes". The wrong answer is "no".

    You can convert a pistol to a rifle and then go from that rifle back toa pistol, but not vice-versa. IOW, if you have an Ar15 pistol, you can convert it to a rifle and then back, but if you start with an AR15 rifle, you cannot convert it to a pistol. (See US v. Thompson Center Arms)

    Make sense? Not really, but here's the logic - pistols are more restricted than long guns, under both federal law and that of most states. When you go to a gun store and purchase an AR15 registered as a pistol, you've already complied with the tighter regulations for buying and possessing a pistol If you bought an Ar15 registered as a rifle, however, and then took it home and built a pistol out of it, you could easily circumvent the tighhter restrictions on handguns.

    Now, two things to keep in mind:

    First, when you have it configured as a pistol, you absolutely cannot have any sort of stock or forward grip on it. With a stock, it would become an unregistered SBR, with a forward grip, it would become an unregistered AOW.

    Second, the receiver must have been registered as a pistol; IOW when you did the 4473 at the gun shop, it had to be transfered as a pistol. If they transfered it to you as a rifle or a rifle receiver on the 4473, you could have a problem later on if the status of the gun becomes an issue.
  7. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Well-Known Member

    I think you're confusing this with AOWs. You cannot go from a long gun to an AOW, since it already had a stock on it. This is why guns like the Ithaca Auto & Burglar gun (a registered AOW) are difficult to replicate today - because you have to start with a virgin receiver and not one that started life as a full length SxS shotgun (with a stock).
  8. xjchief

    xjchief Well-Known Member

    SBR? Wouldn't common sense dictate it to be a LBP? Oh yeah, I forgot there's no such thing ascommon sense when dealing with the Feds. :neener:
  9. XD_fan

    XD_fan Well-Known Member

    Some lowers are booked out of the manufacturer as pistol lowers. You can build on any "virgin" lower as a pistol however. It just must never have been assembled as a rifle. The 4473 should either list a bare stripped lower or a pistol lower. You can never convert a rifle lower into a pistol lower. Not without going the NFA route.

    This has been hashed over many times on AR15.com. You can convert a pistol lower to a rifle and back to a pistol.

    IIRC, you can never have the pistol upper on the lower while it has a stock attached. To do so makes it an illegal SBR. As long as you never have the pistol upper installed while the stock is attached or the rifle upper installed while the pistol buffer tube is installed your golden. IIRC, you can use a regular buffer tube just not the stock part.

    Check the AR pistol forum on AR15.com for details they have several pinned threads about this. Sorry I cannot state unequivocally, beyond the first paragraph, the above is true. I have little or no interest in AR pistols but have seen the discussion take place in different forums over there many times. I'm working off memory and IANAL. :)
  10. wdlsguy

    wdlsguy Well-Known Member

    Why would this be a problem?
  11. PLRinmypocket

    PLRinmypocket Well-Known Member

    your are basically asking if you can turn a Pistol into a rifle...(not into a Short-barrel rifle).

    This is exactly like the Carbine conversion kits that Mechtech systems LEGALLY sells for small pistols and the same laws apply to large pistols.

    I've never tried them but I know they are legal under federal law, though some states may ban them (Like California). Check them out here: http://www.mechtechsys.com/
  12. madmike

    madmike Well-Known Member

    Of course, the ATF claims you can never turn it back into a pistol if you do:

    From a thread on calguns:

    "I had submitted a question to the BATF regarding the legality of attaching a folding stock to a pistol with a 16" barrel. I had in mind a Thompson Encore 15" .30-06 w/permanently attached muzzle break (for 16" total). I thought the response was interesting and would be appreciated by the many Encore/Contender enthusiasts who have grappled with the legal ramifications of reconfiguration:


    Dear __________________:

    This is in reply to your correspondence which was received by the Firearms Technology Branch, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), on January 30, 2008. In your letter you inquire about the attachment of a folding stock to a pistol having a barrel length of 16 inches or greater.

    As background, 27 CFR Sec. 479.11 (Meaning of Terms) states, in part:

    The overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to the center line of the bore.

    Based on this description of overall length and its correct measurement, ATF has taken the position that firearms having folding or collapsible stocks are properly measured for overall length with the stock fully extended.
    In the situation you present, the attachment of a folding shoulder stock to a pistol having a barrel length of 16 inches or greater would be lawful as long as the overall length of the resulting firearm is at least 26 inches with the stock fully extended. We caution that, because the configuration you have specified results in the manufacture of a rifle, a subsequent reconfiguration of the firearm to a pistol configuration would result in a weapon made from a rifle, which is a weapon controlled by the National Firearms Act (NFA).

    We thank you for your inquiry and trust that the foregoing has been responsive.

    Sincerely yours,

    John R. Spencer
    Chief, Firearms Technology Branch"
  13. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Well-Known Member

    You can turn a pistol into a rifle (hence carbine conversion kits). If you want to turn your AR pistol into a rifle, all you need to do is add a 16" barreled upper and a stock. Just make sure that if you return it to pistol configuration that you detach the stock first and an forward vertical grips you may have attached to the weapon...

    I'm about 90% sure that ATF letter is completely wrong because of the previously mentioned Thompson Contender case.

    HOME DEPOT GEORGE Well-Known Member

  15. Quiet

    Quiet Well-Known Member

    BATFE NFA Branch current stance is...

    Handgun into Rifle = legal, no paperwork required.
    Rifle into Handgun = illegal, unless you get approved for a SBR.

    Once, you make your handgun into a rifle, it is now a rifle. So, if you want to make it back into a handgun, you will first need to get approval to make a SBR.

    BATFE says the Thompson Center case only applies to the Thompson Center Contender kit and no other firearm.


    HOME DEPOT GEORGE Well-Known Member

    Does that mean if you use the kit to turn your glock into a carbine its now permanently a rifle until you get the nfa tax stamp?
  17. Prince Yamato

    Prince Yamato Well-Known Member

    What the hell? Are you kidding me? So, there's probably a bunch of people out there with a bunch of illegal Glock and 1911 SBRs?
  18. freakshow10mm

    freakshow10mm member

    Yes that's true.
  19. waterhouse

    waterhouse Well-Known Member

    Probably, yes. I've also seen letters that state that something that starts as a pistol can be changed back and forth. That's what the ATF used to say in their letters several years ago. Although the law never really changed, the ATF's interpretation seems to have changed.

    I've always wondered what would happen if a case went to court and both letters were brought in.
  20. madmike

    madmike Well-Known Member

    I think someone should submit both letters to the courts and demand clarification. Worst case, their current position stands--only the contender. Best case, they get slapped down.

    Of course, unless they caught someone changing it back, it would be hard to prove. You have a pistol. You have a rifle KIT that might go on it. Or, you have a rifle made from a pistol. Either is legal. Only the conversion from rifle back to pistol is questionable.

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