WA AR Pistol Inquiry

Discussion in 'Legal & Political Archive' started by NWRider, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. NWRider


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    Hi all,

    I have done a decent amount of searching online and can't seem to find a clear answer on this.

    From my understanding, an AR Pistol can be any length as long as
    • It is not / can not have a buttstock attached
    • Lower Receiver is registered as a Pistol
    • Over 26" OAL can not have a VFG (vertical foregrip) attached
    However, with this being said: AFG (Angled foregrips) ARE acceptable as they do not imply the use of a second had being used to shoot the 'pistol'.

    So - My question is: What is the acceptable OAL for an AR pistol? I was under the impression it had to remain under 30" as a 'pistol'. However, from searching online, as long as the lower receiver is registered as such it can realistically be any length you want.

    A couple places i've found say that an AR Pistol must remain under 26" - however I've found several websites and forums (mostly on ar15.com) that contradict that statement.

    Here's my build:
    10.5" barrel with Troy Mideval flash hider
    A1 Buffer tube (wrapped with cord)
    OAL: 29.5"

    Am I legal? Anybody know WA state regulations for an AR pistol? Am I somewhere near the mark for this or completely out in left field?

    Open to any input as i'm just curious and haven't been able to find solid answers anywhere.
  2. SCARed

    Vancouver, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    WA state has nothing to do with it, it's all covered by Federal law. Regardless, I don't know about a maximum length for pistols.

    I'm not entirely sure, but I think you need to use a pistol length buffer tube.
  3. Trailboss

    Vancouver, WA
    Well-Known Member

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    Should be Under

    Reason being that pistols (under 26") are meant to fire one handed and a vertical fore grip would mean designed for two handed and no longer a pistol.
  4. mjbskwim

    Well-Known Member

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    My pistol length buffer tube was the same length as a rifle tube,just didn't have the notches for the adjustable stock. But I've seen plenty use rifle tubes without the stock.
    Only thing I have heard about length was the barrel has to be under 16". I have not verified this since I used a 10.5" barrel
  5. Nwcid

    Yakima and N of Spokane
    Well-Known Member

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    First of there is NO such thing as any Title 1 firearm registration Federally or in WA or most states. So with that said there can not a pistol "registered" lower. Per Federal law once a Firearm (the main serial numbered portion of a firearm) has been a long gun it can only legally be a long gun, or a properly registered NFA firearm (Title 2). This means ANY lower receiver (in the case of the AR-15, the main serial # part) that has never been built into a long gun can be built in a handgun configuration.

    When doing the Federal transfer form, 4473, the firearm is sold as one of three things. Handgun, Long gun or Other. Since a receiver only, or even a complete lower with a stock does NOT meet the definition of Handgun or Long gun it HAS to be transferred as an Other.

    Next, both Federal law, http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/478.11 and WA state law, http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=9.41.010 do NOT give a maximum barrel length or OAL for Handgun/Pistol/Revolver .

    Both Federal and WA law state to be a Handgun it has to be "designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand". Again it does not give a maximum OAL. Both Federal and WA state law agree that to be considered a Long gun it has to have barrel(s) of 16" for rifle or 18" for shotgun. They also have to have an OAL length over 26" measured from extreme ends, mean with stocks fully open or extended. I have no idea where the 30" number you state comes from.

    Last but not least I can see/understand your use of the A1 buffer tube. I have 2 alternate suggestions for you. First if you are wanting to simply keep it a pistol take a look into the Sig Brace, http://www.northwestfirearms.com/threads/sig-stock.162649/ they are everything the hype claim. Second option if you want a "real" stock SBR will be legal come June.

    The AFG is legal on a pistol.

    Hope that answers your questions.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014
    mjbskwim likes this.
  6. zeppelin

    Benton County WA
    Active Member

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    The particulars below from ATF

    U.S. Department of Justice
    Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
    Firearms and Explosives

    Washington, DC 20226

    Adding a Vertical Fore Grip to a Handgun

    “Handgun” is defined under Federal law to mean, in part, a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand…. Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(29).

    Under an implementing regulation of the National Firearms Act (NFA), 27 C.F.R. § 479.11, “pistol” is defined as a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); 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(s).

    The NFA further defines the term “any other weapon” (AOW) as any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition. 26 U.S.C. § 5845(e).

    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.

    To lawfully add a vertical fore grip to a handgun, a person must make an appropriate application on ATF Form 1, “Application to Make and Register a Firearm.” The applicant must submit the completed form, along with a fingerprint card bearing the applicant’s fingerprints; a photograph; and $200.00. The application will be reviewed by the NFA Branch. If the applicant is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law, and possession of an “AOW” is not prohibited in the applicant’s State of residence, the form will be approved. Only then may the person add a vertical fore grip to the designated handgun.

    A person may also send the handgun to a person licensed to manufacture NFA weapons. The manufacturer will install the fore grip on the firearm and register the firearm on an ATF Form 2. The manufacturer can then transfer the firearm back to the individual on an ATF Form 4, which results in a $5.00 transfer tax. If the manufacturer is out of State, the NFA Branch will need a clarification letter submitted with the ATF Form 4 so that the NFA Branch Examiner will know the circumstances of the transfer. Questions can be directed to the NFA Branch or the Firearms Technology Branch.
  7. NWRider


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    Thank you all for the great information I appreciate all the input!

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