So let’s discuss something which has bugged me for quite some time. People get all up in arms with the black guns, but what they really don’t know is the piece which classifies as a firearm is really just a hunk of metal. A lower receiver is simply the serialized portion of an AR and without a trigger and other parts it is a hunk of metal, basically a paperweight. This piece of metal is what you transfer at the FFL after purchase. It’s very dangerous looking isn’t it?


From here owners can customize as they desire using various parts to create a custom firearm. The lower receiver is basically the backbone and everything else is the same as dressing up a Barbie doll if Barbie could fire ammunition and hit a target. Most turn their lower into a standard rifle by adding a lower parts kit and a stock and putting on or building an upper receiver. The upper receiver can be removed turning a single lower into multiple calibers and allowing variation for targets, hunting, plinking, etc.


Nothing I’ve written above bugs me at all. It is what is coming which leaves me scratching my head. One can also turn a lower receiver into a pistol. Instead of stock a pistol buffer tube is installed and the upper can have any barrel length desired. In truth these are not very popular because they are still long and bulky and the rules governing them are what make no sense to me. Suppose I buy my lower and I make it a pistol I cannot legally take it apart again and create a rifle, it must always now stay a pistol. Why exactly? The serialized part hasn’t changed and so long as someone creates a legal firearm why are we not allowed to break it down and rebuild as a rifle?


It goes even further than that. If you look at the pistol above you’ll notice a very short barrel on it. It I take that same legal lower, put on a stock, and slap on an upper with a barrel less than 16″ or create an overall firearm length less than 26″ the firearm magically becomes an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) and requires registration with the ATF and a $200 tax stamp as well as serial number engraving. There are other restrictions on assembly and you cannot take the SBR across state lines without approval. What leaves me scratching my head is the difference between a SBR and a pistol is little to none.


So you can purchase a lower and make a rifle, you can create a pistol, but once it has become a pistol it cannot go back to a rifle and if you create a SBR using a short barreled upper the hoops you will jump through are many.

All this drama from a serialized piece of metal without any moving parts.