Form 1 FAQ

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by MachIVshooter, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    Wanted to compile something that can perhaps be stickied to help guys with form 1, or "build it yourself" questions.

    Q: What is "form 1"?
    A: "Form 1" is an application to make and register an NFA firearm; short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun (SBS), Any Other Weapon (AOW), Destructive Device (DD) or Firearm Silencer (Suppressor).

    Q: Who can make a Form 1 NFA firearm?
    A: Anyone who can legally possess an NFA firearm in their state of residence can manufacture one with an approved Form 1

    Q: Do you have to have an approved form 1 before manufacturing the NFA firearm?
    A: Yes. Unlike a licensed manufacturer, who has to manufacture first and then file a Form 2 to register, a Form 1 builder must have an approved form 1 in their possession before manufacturing.

    Do I have to build it myself, or can I contract the work
    A: Manufacture of NFA firearms is about as convoluted as NFA itself. For this question, we'll break it down by NFA Weapon type

    -SBR, SBS: You can shorten the barrel or install shortened barrels yourself. Anyone can help you as long as you're present for the entire duration of service. To drop the weapon off or ship it for barrel shortening or installation of short barrels, it must go to a licensed manufacturer, which is a type 07 or type 10 FFL with class II SOT, henceforth referred to as 07/02 or 10/02. While it is a gunsmithing service, ATF considers these "substantial" modifications to be manufacturing, so, while the manufacturer doesn't need to engrave their info on a form 1 NFA item, they do have to be properly licensed to perform the service and to possess NFA firearms.

    -Silencer: There are certain steps that must be done by the Form 1 builder or under their direct supervision. While you can buy a lot of "solvent trap" parts, the front cap and baffles must be made, whether from scratch or by drilling a hole, by the registered builder or under their direct supervision. You cannot send your parts out to be completed by anyone else, not even an SOT. Once the silencer is completed, however, an 07/02 or 10/02 can perform any service on it up to and including replacing every part but the tube.

    AOW is a little more complex because of the definition of AOW, which can range anywhere from a handgun with smooth bore to a cell phone or cane gun, and tons of things in between that aren't title I firearms and also do not fit other NFA definitions. Basically, if you're turning an existing firearm into an AOW, it works the same as SBR/SBS. If it is to be built entirely from scratch or parts, now it's manufacturing, not gunsmithing, and needs to be completed by the F1 builder or under their direct supervision.

    -Destructive device:
    Destructive devices are not an area I have much expertise in, but my understanding of the regulations are that it would have to be built by or under direct supervision of the Form 1 builder. Service of a DD must be performed by the registered builder/owner or a type 10/02 SOT. A type 10/02 cannot manufacture a DD that's Form 1 registered, but can make alterations to an existing serialized firearm that will render it a DD.

    -Machine Guns: Sorry, there is no provision for a Form 1 machine gun. That got nixed in May of 1986 with the Hughes amendment to Volker/McClure (FOPA). The only way to own a machine gun is Form 4 transfer and many thousands of dollars. Even us SOTs don't actually "own" the post sample machine guns; our companies do, and we have to transfer or destroy them if we ever stop paying SOT or give up our license.

    Q: Can I make changes to my Form 1 firearm?
    A: Yes for some, no for others. SBRs or SBSs can have barrel length and caliber altered, though you need to either retain the ability to configure it as listed on the Form 1, or send a letter to NFA branch permanently amending form 1. AOWs can be altered in some ways similar to SBR/SBS, but you should inquire with ATF before making changes, since AOW is not a well-defined category. DDs can have length configuration changed, but not caliber AFAIK. Silencers are a done deal once completed, and can only be repaired by an 07/02 or 10/02. Silencers also cannot have their length or caliber changed by anyone, ever, except minimal shortening for repair purposes. About the only thing a Form 1 builder can change on a silencer is the mount, or the front cap with certain limitations. An 07/02 or 10/02, however, can repair or replace any part of a Form 1 Silencer except the serialized tube.

    Q: Can I have spare parts for my NFA firearm?
    A: The short answer is yes, except for silencers. Other than the serialized receiver, all other parts are just that-parts. However, you do need to consider constructive possession possibilities, and it would be unwise to keep enough parts around to build another NFA firearm. With silencers, spare parts are a no-go. Different mounts are OK, as those are just mounts. But you cannot have any extra internal parts, period. Under the law, silencer parts are silencers in and of themselves, so having just one extra baffle lying around would be possession of an unregistered silencer.

    Q: If I break my Form 1 firearm, can I build another with the same engraving?
    A: No. Unlike title I firearms, which can be replaced by the manufacturer with the same or another serial number, if the serialized part of an NFA firearm becomes irreparably damaged, you will have to file another form 1 to make & register a new firearm. You also need to send ATF a letter detailing that your NFA firearm has been destroyed so that it can be struck from the registry.

    Q: Can I transfer a Form 1 firearm?
    A: Yes, they transfer on a Form 4, just like any other NFA firearm

    Who can possess my Form 1 firearm
    A: Only you or, if done on a trust, other trustees. An SOT may possess for repair/resale/transfer purposes, and LE or government agents acting in an official capacity. Anyone who is not prohibited from possessing a firearm may use your NFA firearm, but only under the direct supervision of the registered individual owner or trustees. And no, you cannot loan your Form 1 firearm to your "cop buddy"; LEO possession of NFA firearms not registered to them has to be official, either department owned firearms or one surrendered/taken into custody/evidence officially. Being an LEO doesn't exempt them as individuals from the provisions of NFA or GCA.

    Q: Do I need to carry paperwork for my Form 1 Firearm?
    A: Yes, or at least a digital image of your approved Form 1. While only ATF agents can demand to see documentation, any LE or federal agent can ask, and if you choose not to show, they can certainly detain you until an ATF agent arrives if they have reason to believe you are not legal to possess the weapon.

    Q: Can I "de-register" an NFA firearm
    A: Basically, yes. A Machine Gun or Silencer can be destroyed and removed from the registry. An SBR, SBS, DD or AOW can be either destroyed or permanently reconfigured into a title I firearm and struck from the registry. For example, replacing the short barrel on a rifle with a 16" tube, or taking a 20mm caliber barrel off of your DD and replacing with an Anzio 20/50 barrel or .50 Fat Mac barrel, renders them title I firearms. An NFA firearm that has been permanently reconfigured into a title I firearm can be possessed, conveyed and transferred as a title I firearm. If you do permanently reconfigure, you need to send a letter detailing that as with a destroyed firearm, or it will remain on the registry and could potentially cause problems for you later if the new owner makes an illegal NFA firearm out of it, as ATF could very well think that you transferred the NFA firearm illegally.

    *Temporary title I reconfiguring of registered NFA firearms can be done for the purpose of traveling interstate without a form 5320.20

    Hope this is helpful, I'll edit & update as I think of other Q/A or if I become aware of any changes in legislation or ATF policies.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    Chevelle SS, vtsteve and <*(((>< like this.
  2. Ryanxia

    Ryanxia Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Always good to help others. The third sticky in this section is actually a pretty in depth FAQ with form 1's, 4's, etc. Might be worth reading through it and giving the author feedback on anything that's changed in the last couple of years.
  3. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    I though it might be helpful for the F1 crowd to have an FAQ with more answers specifically about F1 (especially silencers), since the very short wait times now are inspiring more people to go that route (or so it seems). I know there are forums dedicated to form 1 stuff, but I'm not on any of those, and I expect a fair number of our members here aren't either, since they're mostly a lot of monotonous chatter about AR SBRs and "solvent trap" parts.
    adcoch1 and Ryanxia like this.
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