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AR-15 Pistol FAQs

AR-15 Pistol FAQs


Q: What is an AR-15 Pistol?
A: An AR-15 Pistol is an AR-15 with a barrel less than 16” in length and with no stock or vertical fore-grip. As defined by the ATF, a “pistol” is a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile from one or more barrels when held in one hand and having (a) a chamber as an integral part of, or permanently aligned with, the bore; and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore.

Q: How is an AR-15 Pistol Different Than an AR-15 Rifle?
A: An AR-15 Pistol must have a barrel length shorter than 16” and can not have a stock or vertical fore-grip (although an angled fore-grip is permitted). An AR-15 rifle can have barrels 16” or longer and can have a butt stock and vertical fore-grip. An AR-15 Pistol can shoot the same ammunition as an AR-15 rifle, such as the common 5.56 or .223 rounds.

Q: Can I make an AR-15 Pistol with an 80% Lower?
A: Yes. The completion of the 80% lower is the same process as one would do for an AR-15 rifle build. A builder would use the same exact finishing tools, and adhere to the federal laws which permit us to build our own weapons and the local state laws. https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/does-individual-need-license-make-firearm-personal-use

Q: Can Someone Else Build My AR-15 Pistol For Me and Give it to Me?
A: No. Absolutely not.

Q: Can I Legally Build an AR-15 Pistol Myself?
A: If it is legal for YOU to own a firearm, it is legal for you to build a firearm. Builders do not need a license to build a firearm solely for personal use. It is completely legal to build your own firearm without having a firearm manufacturing license. Read more about this subject on the ATF website here: Does an individual need a license to make a firearm for personal use?

Q: Is the AR-15 Pistol Legal in my State?
A: The overall legality of an AR-15 Pistol is predicated on your state laws related to AR-15s. There are many other factors one needs to be aware of when working with an AR-15 Pistol that we will address to the best of our abilities below.

Q: Is an AR-15 Pistol Considered a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR)?
A: Technically no. However the second you slap a butt stock or a vertical fore-grip on your AR-15 Pistol, it becomes an illegally manufactured short barreled rifle. To be legal you would need to file and receive your Tax Stamp for an SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) or AOW (Any Other Weapon).

Q: Can I conceal carry my AR-15 Pistol?
A: Yes, the AR-15 Pistol is subject to the same conceal carry laws of your state. You may carry concealed in a vehicle with a state issued Handgun License, where states permit conceal carry. Without a recognized state license or permit, the firearm must be securely encased, unloaded and not readily accessible such as in the trunk.

Q: Can I shoulder my AR-15 Pistol?
A: No, you cannot shoulder your AR-15 Pistol. You can cheek your pistol, but be cautious when doing so as certain angles can look like as if you are shouldering your AR-15 Pistol.

Q: Can I take my AR-15 Pistol to the gun range?
A: Yes.

Q: Can I use a butt stock on my AR-15 Pistol?
A: No, once a butt stock is installed on your AR-15 pistol you have essentially manufactured an unregistered SBR. Remember a pistol brace is legal, a buttstock is not.

Q: What is an AR-15 Pistol Stabilizing Blade?
A: An AR-15 Pistol stabilizing blade is designed to attached to the firearm to increase the stabilization of firearm during shooting. An AR-15 Pistol stabilizing brace is NOT designed to act as or to be used as a shoulder stock. It is illegal to shoulder an AR-15 Pistol.

Q: What does it cost to register my AR-15 Pistol as a Short Barrel Rifle?
A: $200

Q: Can I Use My AR-15 Rifle Buffer Tube on My AR-15 Pistol?
A: No.

Q: Is an FFL Required to Purchase an AR-15 Pistol?
A: To purchase a fully-assembled 100% complete firearm of any sort, you need an FFL to purchase it. None of the items we carry require an FFL to sell.

Q: Is an FFL Required to Build My Own an AR-15 Pistol?
A: No.

Q: What Type of Ammo Does an AR-15 Pistol Shoot?
A: An AR-15 Pistol can shoot the same ammunition as an AR-15 rifle. The ammunition will depend on what your barrel is chambered for.

Q: Can I Convert My Existing AR-15 Rifle into an AR-15 Pistol?
A: No. Once an AR-15 Rifle it will always be an AR-15 Rifle, converting to an AR-15 Pistol would be a felony.

Q: Can I Convert My AR-15 Pistol into an AR-15 Rifle?
A: Yes, but once you convert it into a rifle it legally becomes a rifle and cannot be converted back to an AR-15 Pistol configuration, doing so would result in an illegally manufactured SBR (Short Barreled Rifle).

Q: Does an AR-15 Pistol Use the Same Bolt Carrier Group as an AR-15 Rifle?
A: Yes.

Q: Can an AR-15 Pistol Have an Adjustable Stock?
A: No.

Q: Can I install a vertical fore-grip on my AR-15 Pistol
A: No. ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. Therefore, if individuals install a vertical fore grip on a handgun, they are “making” a firearm requiring registration with ATF’s NFA Branch. Making an unregistered “AOW” is punishable by a fine and 10 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, possession of an unregistered “AOW” is also punishable by fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.
Adding a Vertical Fore-grip to a Handgun

Q: Can I install an angled fore-grip on my AR-15 Pistol
A: Yes. The ATF’s view is that the addition of an angled fore-grip, specifically the Magpul AFG, would not make a pistol an AOW (Any Other Weapon) and therefore does not need an AOW transfer/stamp.
Does the ATF treat angled fore-grips the same as vertical fore-grips?

Q: Can I Sell an AR-15 Pistol that I Built Myself?
A: The best practices of selling a firearm that one built for him or herself requires due diligence. Best Practices: Transfers of Firearms by Private Sellers: https://www.atf.gov/file/58681/download