Form1-1

When an individual or a trust/corporation purchases an existing NFA-regulated “firearm” (silencer, short-barreled rifle, short-barreled shotgun, “any other weapon,” destructive device, or machine gun), the application for transfer is done via ATF Form 4. When an individual or a trust/corporation wants to create an NFA item, whether it’s as simple as a minor configuration change or as complicated as manufacturing one from scratch, the application for approval to do so is ATF Form 1. Even if it’s nothing more than bolting a vertical forward grip onto a GLOCK, thereby turning it into an AOW, the Form 1 applicant becomes the “manufacturer” of that new, NFA-regulated firearm. But what does that mean? What does the manufacturer have to do? What’s this about engraving? Glad you asked. . .

We should be clear about two basic things right off the bat. First, you absolutely cannot legally configure a firearm into an NFA-restricted format — technically you can’t even possess the necessary parts to assemble an NFA firearm, but more on “constructive possession” later — or create parts for a silencer/suppressor/firearm muffler prior to the approval of your Form 1. Second, your existing firearm does not become an SBR/SBS/AOW immediately upon approval of your Form 1. The 5320.1, simply referred to as “Form 1,” is mainly just permission to manufacture/configure it as such and is proof of your tax payment for that privilege. If you don’t follow through with the build, your firearm remains a standard firearm. In fact, you can also revert it to a standard firearm and sell it as such at any point in the future.

Constructive Possession

As we’ve seen in the whole Sig/SB Tactical pistol brace debacle, “intent” is crucial with the ATF and the NFA. Nothing proves this more than what is referred to as “constructive possession.” Simply put, a violation of the National Firearms Act — in this example, possession of an unregistered NFA item (10 years Federal prison) — doesn’t only happen if you configure an NFA firearm without approval. As far as the ATF is concerned, it happens if you merely possess the parts required to assemble such a firearm prior to Form 1 approval.

Frankly, this is such a horrifying, “pre-crime” type of bullshit law or ruling that I can’t imagine any lawyer smart enough to tie his/her own shoes couldn’t win acquittal for a client who didn’t actually configure a restricted item. For instance, I own a bunch of rifles. I also own an angle grinder and I’m sure there’s a hacksaw in the garage somewhere. Constructive possession of SBRs? Give me a break. While the law hasn’t gone quite that far, it’s still pretty much full you-know-what since owning, for instance, an AR-15 rifle while at the same time owning a pistol-length upper but no dedicated pistol lower is constructive possession. Another example, straight from one of the ATF’s FAQ pages:

Q: If a person has a pistol and an attachable shoulder stock, does this constitute possession of an NFA firearm?

A: Yes […]

Note that doesn’t say the stock is connected to the pistol. It’s possession. It’s the ability to create an NFA firearm. However, a clear exception is made if you own both pistols and rifles and parts happen to be interchangeable (e.g. an AR-15 pistol and an AR-15 rifle). In this case, you’re trusted not to mix-match the parts in the wrong way.

This may seem like I’ve gone off on a rant or tangent here, but it’s directly relevant to filling out a Form 1, because…

The Planning Phase

To “manufacture” an NFA firearm, which includes a silencer, you must enter information about the firearm. That is, physical information about the resulting NFA firearm, not about whatever the current state of the firearm is. Caliber, barrel length, overall length…

No, you may not mock up the firearm to figure out what the overall length is going to be when you slap a stock on your pistol or buy a pistol-length upper, or swap or cut down the barrel on your rifle or shotgun. You may not create any of the parts for the silencer you plan to build. Yes, you are required to provide length and other information in all of these cases prior to approval. Yes, if your plan is to create an AR-15 SBR you must specify caliber and barrel length and overall length (this does not permanently stick you with that configuration, though, don’t worry).

Form1-2

Regarding overall length, since this is the most confusing figure to nail down, there is one primary thing to keep in mind: Overall length is in as-fired configuration. So if you have a folding stock or a telescoping stock, it’s the overall length with it extended into firing position. Most people take this to mean stock unfolded and fully extended.

In the example above, which is the Form 1 (which was approved) to turn the Scorpion Evo pistol I purchased a few months ago into an SBR, I simply had to take some measurements and make an educated guess on what the actual, as-assembled overall length would be once the stock was added. There’s no [legal] way around this. I measured the pistol from muzzle to the end of the AR-15 buffer tube adapter. I used manufacturer and 3rd party information for my stock of choice, the ACE M4 SOCOM (in standard length flavor), to calculate how much length that was going to add to the mix when installed and fully extended. For an AR-15 rifle that’s going to receive a shorty upper once the Form 1 comes back, you’d basically take current overall length and subtract the difference in barrel length between current and SBR).

Again, basically, mind “constructive possession” BS and don’t assemble anything before approval. If that means you’re eyeballing or estimating overall length, so be it. But, yes, in many cases you do have to decide on the caliber of your build, the barrel length of your build, etc, before you can even legally acquire the parts for the build.

Filling and Filing the Form

A trust if the way to go. It allows you to use ATF’s eForms system, which means online application, a faster turnaround time, no fingerprinting, passport photos, local law enforcement sign-off, etc. It could be months faster when all is said and done, and it’s significantly less expensive and burdensome. A trust has other benefits, but we aren’t going to get into that here.

Either way, it’s filled out with your information (whether trust or individual, but there’s a whole lot of fields you leave blank if it’s a trust), the information on the firearm you intend to manufacture, the type of application, you signature, date, etc. Oh, and your $200 in the form of a check if you’re mailing it in or just pay via credit card during the e-process.

Ah, yes, and in field 4(i) you must “State Why You Intend To Make Firearm.” Most people simply enter, “For any and all legal uses.” In the photo above, you can see I wrote, “Increase stability & accuracy by adding a shoulder stock.” Why did I put that instead? No idea. I guess that’s just the boiled-down, basic, actual reason why I intended to make an SBR of my Scorpion pistol, so that’s what I put.

There are probably infinite responses that would still lead to approval, but the idea of “any and all legal uses” is to avoid accidently limiting oneself. For instance, if the Form 1 is approval of your stated intention, could you be in violation of the law if you put “only for sanctioned competition use” and then shot the firearm outside of that activity? No idea. But if vague and broad gets approved — and it does — I think it’s fair to recommend that one remains vague and broad.

After Approval

First, if there was a mistake on your application and you were denied for some reason, the ATF will tell you why. Fix the issue and turn the paperwork back around as soon as you can. It will not go back on the top of the stack. Even a year or two ago when wait times on approvals were approaching a year, turnaround on re-submissions for error fixing was only a couple of weeks. So don’t get too dejected.

Form1-3

Second, once approved, keep your approval documentation. More on this in the “Just Sayin'” section below.

When approved, but ideally before actually assembling your NFA toy, you’ll need to do some engraving. Actually, I should probably say, “have some engraving done” (unless you’re much braver than me). Regardless, the engraving requirement differs if you’re legitimately manufacturing the firearm or silencer from scratch (no pre-existing, serialized “firearm” existed), or if you’re changing the configuration of an existing item to turn it into an NFA firearm (e.g. adding a stock to a pistol or cutting down or replacing the barrel of a rifle with a sub-16″ one).

The Gun Control Act stipulates that a firearm must have certain information engraved/stamped/cast into it:

  • Serial Number: On frame or receiver. In metal. Minimum depth of 0.003″. Minimum print size no smaller than 1/16″. Must be conspicuously placed, meaning “unobstructed from plain view.”
  • Additional Information: Includes the model (if such designation has been made), the caliber or gauge, the manufacturer’s name, and the city and state (two-letter state abbreviation is okay [glad I don’t spell “okay,” “OK”]) of the manufacturer. This information can go on the frame, receiver, or barrel. No requirement that it’s on metal. Minimum depth of 0.003″. No minimum print size required other than it obviously has to be legible to be “conspicuous.”

If you’re making your item, then all of these things are required. If you’re reconfiguring an existing firearm, you or your trust is considered to be the manufacturer of the resulting NFA firearm. However, since it’s an existing firearm it already has a serial number on it and it likely has a model designation and a caliber designation as well. There’s no need to repeat information already on it if it’s still valid. You’re now the manufacturer, though, so your name or your trust’s name goes on there along with your/your trust’s location:

Form1Engraving2

Form1Engraving1

Ugh. When I made my trust, SBRs and SBSs weren’t legal in Washington! I never considered I’d be doing a Form 1. Form 4 for transfers of existing NFA items doesn’t require any engraving by the purchaser, of course, since all of the necessary engraving is already on there. Had I been blessed with more foresight, I would have chosen a significantly shorter trust name instead of just agreeing to the default under the assumption that it didn’t matter to me. I mean, it can be anything. “JMS Arms” would have been just dandy. Live and learn. If you don’t have a trust yet, keep it short!

A local engraving business — you know, they do trophies, gifts, plaques, personalized crap, etc — handled the engraving part of the show. I was hoping to put it somewhere slightly more discreet on the ol’ Scorp, such as on the angled strip in the photo above that runs left-to-right and crosses the top of the safety, but the engraver couldn’t do it on that surface. While, yes, the information could go on the barrel, in the case of the Scorp the barrel is far too short to leave enough for an unobstructed-from-plain-view engraving. In the case of an AR, you’d be stuck with that upper/barrel combo or would have to engrave others. Better to put it on the receiver somewhere. I’ve heard of folks doing it inside of the magwell flare on an AR, on the bottom of an integrated trigger guard, on the front of the magwell, etc.

As mentioned previously, once you have Form 1 approval, an existing firearm still doesn’t become an NFA item unless it’s configured it as such. Therefore, if your state permits private firearm transfers then there’s no issue leaving the firearm with an engraving business. You can obviously also just provide them with the stripped receiver instead of a functional firearm, which is what I did with the Scorpion — it was just an empty, plastic shell. Still, due to the new WA State “universal background check” law that bans private transfers (defined very broadly), I’m sure I chose to stay right by the engraver’s side the entire time to maintain legal control over the piece of plastic.

W00t!

Now you can build your NFA item. Enjoy.

Changing the Configuration Stated on Your Form 1

So, on the Form 1 you received approval to assemble or manufacture a firearm in a very specific configuration. Specific barrel length, overall length, and caliber. This doesn’t mean you’re stuck with any of those things. If you want to make a permanent change, you are to notify the ATF in writing (mail them a letter). Information and mailing address is near the bottom of page 2 of the Form 1 application. If you want to make a “temporary” change, no notification is required.

For instance, if you have an AR-15 that’s a registered SBR, you’re welcome to swap uppers and/or stocks around as much as you want. Change calibers, change barrel lengths, change overall lengths, etc. The underlying compliance point that prevents a change from being “permanent” is that you can revert it to Form 1 form. Basically, keep the upper and stock that match your Form 1 description. Or, don’t keep it and mail a 2-sentence letter to the ATF informing it of your new, permanent configuration. No permission or response from the ATF is required.

Same process, by the way, for changing your permanent address within the same state. Just a notification, no permission/approval/response from the ATF required.

Still, Just Sayin’…

Probably wise not to forget that an NFA item is a highly-regulated and controlled sort of a thing. For instance, is it owned by you personally or do people exist who aren’t on your trust? If somebody else has access to it when it isn’t in your immediate control, that’s a serious felony. And by “has access,” this could mean you’re out of the house, your NFA toy is in your safe, but your wife (who isn’t on your trust for some reason or, again, you own it personally) knows the combo to the safe. As far as “they’re” concerned, in this case it’s as good as in her hands while it’s completely out of yours. Don’t leave it in the back of your car after a range trip and then let a friend borrow the car for an errand. Etc, etc. On the range, other people can shoot your NFA toys but you must remain in control of them at all times. Practically speaking, this means they stay in your sight.

Additionally, you need to retain your approved application. It “serves as evidence of registration of the NFA firearm in the owner’s name.” You must be able to produce that document for inspection if requested. While there is no legal requirement that you actually have it with you while out with your NFA items, it’s highly suggested by pretty much everyone, including the ATF, that you have a copy of it with you. Again from one of its FAQ pages: “It is suggested that a photocopy of the approved application be carried by the owner when the weapon is being transported.” I have a photocopy of my Form 4s stuffed in the carry pouches of my silencers, copies of Form 1s in my SBRs’ cases or inside of pistol grip or butt stock storage compartments, copies of form 5320.20s (see next paragraph) with the relevant items, etc.

There’s no restriction on crossing state lines with a silencer or AOW as long as it’s legal where you go. For any of the other NFA items, you do actually need permission from the ATF to bring it across state lines, no matter how brief that trip may be. Form 5320.20 must be filled out, and you do have to receive approval, before taking SBRs, SBSs, machine guns, and/or destructive devices out of state. On the bright side, it’s free, it usually takes just 2-3 weeks to receive approval (and a phone call can usually get one processed very quickly in an “emergency”), and it can be valid for up to 364 days. Since I live in WA but shoot primarily in ID and travel back and forth almost weekly, the 5320.20 for the Scorp is valid from April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016. For the “Reason for Transportation” field, this time I kept it vague with a “for recreational and all other, legal purposes.” While I do have an actual address in Idaho to input for the “Transporting to” field and have chosen simply to use it, I’ve heard that 5320.20s have been approved with vague/broad stated destinations such as “various legal destinations within the state of ___.”

Should You Change Your Mind Entirely

This FAQ lays it out pretty clearly, but if you revert your firearm to non-NFA configuration and no longer possess the parts to configure it back into NFA land, then the firearm is officially no longer subject to the NFA. You can, and likely should, shoot a letter off to the ATF to inform them of this, but you don’t legally have to. You can now treat the gun like any other gun, from storage to transport to loaning to selling.

Conclusion

I hope this helps clear up any confusion or ambiguity and I hope I didn’t forget to address too terribly many things! From July ’14 to January ’15, wait time for an e-filed Form 1 averaged between 30 and 45 days. Beginning in January it has been trending up (my Scorp’s form was submitted February 2 and approved in 53 days) and it’s sitting at more like 70+ days right now. Most recently I filed the Lancer L15’s Form 1 on April 2nd, and I’ll update the post right here when it comes back.

81 Responses to NFA For Beginners: Form 1 to Manufacture an NFA Item

  1. “If you don’t have a trust yet, keep it short!”

    Great advice!

    Mine is as long as a Hemingway novel. Dumbass! 🙁

  2. Silencer Shop has a pretty good step by step video that shows the eForm web pages, what to click on, etc.

  3. This is a very good read. I’ve been debating with myself over the creation of an SBR and this provides some needed information.

    Might i suggest a couple of topics on how to fill out the forms and how to create a trust?

    • Any specific questions about filling out the form? The eForms website actually guides you through it fairly well. It asks you the relevant questions and skips the irrelevant ones (when you select that you’re filing for a Trust/LLC/Corporation, it skips the fields that only individuals have to fill out).

      On creating a trust, I’d hesitate to give advice there other than that there are lawyers/firms that specialize in it, some silencer companies provide (sell) them as a service, and some NFA dealers sell them as well. In the latter two cases, they’ve basically paid an attorney to come up with a form and just repurpose it for subsequent customers. While I think it would be functionally just fine for me to post my trust up here with personal information redacted and just say “input your personal information in the highlighted areas” and then you get it notarized, there’s too much room for error there and likely too much potential liability as well.

      • Actually, knowing that the eForm site will walk me through answering the relevant fields resolves my first couple of questions. I took a look at the Form 1 .pdf Friday and it had my eyes going cross in about the same way my eyes crossed the first time I tried to file my own taxes.

        I’ll take your suggestion on using an NFA lawyer. I had been considering creating the trust myself but I wasn’t sure where to begin. It would probably be simpler to just hire a lawyer to do it when I don’t want to risk making a legally binding mistake.

        • E-mailed you a PDF of my trust (personal info redacted) to the e-mail you used when entering your comment… just for reference/ideas/etc.

      • Hi, would you mind emailing me a copy as a reference as well? I’m going through my first one and would like to get these out quick before all the craziness happens in a few months. My email is jkgoff2007 at yahoo dot com.

        Thank you!

      • Hello Jeremy S., I was looking through this thread to educate myself on NFA Form 1 and found your article informative. While scrolling through the comments I noticed that you provided a template for a Trust and wanted to know by any chance could i be provided with that template.

    • Sorry. When I started this post I figured it would only be like 3 paragraphs. It just kept growing haha

      Edit: actually, it was really only going to address two things. 1) you have to “estimate” on OAL since you can’t assemble it or even have the parts in your possession if you don’t have another gun those parts could go onto legally and 2) the info about engraving. At this point, though, I think it covers most of the considerations before, during, and after filing a Form 1 and it covers some of the ownership of an NFA item stuff regardless of Form 4 (transfer) or Form 1 (build/assemble).

  4. “Constructive possession” alone is not sufficient cause to arrest and prosecute someone (though it has been tried). There has to be intent, otherwise, just about every family in America that keeps prescription drugs in the medicine cabinet could be arrested. The ATF used to claim “constructive possession” even when someone had enough parts to assemble a legal handgun and a legal rifle or shotgun, but where there was no intent to assemble a SBR or SBS. This issue came to a head when they used this illogical reasoning to collect NFA back taxes from Thompson Center for their Contender firearms. The case went all the way to SCOTUS, which ruled as you described. As for the trust (or corporate) ownership issue, you can add or remove trustee and beneficiary names as required. This fact should be stated in your trust, but may not be necessary, depending upon the state laws that apply developing and managing your trust (nearly all trusts are covered under state, not federal law). ATF doesn’t get a vote because the trust itself is treated as a living entity. The trustees are separate living entities (one hopes). ATF does not require that the full trust name be engraved on the firearm. They only require the full name be on the Form 1 or Form 4. Abbreviations are allowed on the receiver, barrel, or frame. If in doubt, simply email them your preferred engraved name and ask if it is acceptable, or modify your trust to include additional shortened names for the trust. Engraving plastic is something I have not heard before. Can you site an ATF letter or regulation on this?

    • Yes, the ATF says a “recognized abbreviation” is acceptable, but most trusts lack that. It’s fairly standard in a corporation/LLC in the form of a DBA or the like. Yes, I could almost certainly modify my trust by officially adding a “recognized abbreviation” and may do that one of these days. As-is, it only has one legally-recognized name and that’s the name that must be on the firearm and on the Form 1. In full, in my understanding. It’s not a bad idea, but as every trust is different in regard to how it can or cannot be modified and what steps may be necessary (lawyer, notary, etc) I’d hesitate to make any suggestions for anybody else.

      As for identifying markings, I think it’s a bit of a gray zone. The law doesn’t specifically say that any of it has to be on metal at all. Basically everyone treats the law as declaring that the serial number must be on metal, though. It simply says “The serial number must be placed in a manner not susceptible of being readily obliterated, altered, or removed”. The thing is, it says that same thing for the rest of the information also. But look at many polymer handguns or any polymer AR lower, or the CZ Scorpion Evo used as an example here, and the ONLY info on metal is the serial number. That’s from the factory, and it’s obviously approved by the ATF (e.g. the Scorpion Evo was approved for importation and sale in the U.S. and literally the only marking of the list of required markings that’s on a tiny metal tab cast into the polymer receiver is the serial number. The rest of it is just cast into the polymer).

    • FYI, here’s the FULL text (sorry, I know it makes for a long ass comment) of the GCA regulations related to identifying marks that a firearm must have. :

      Firearms. You, as a licensed
      manufacturer or licensed importer of
      firearms, must legibly identify each
      firearm manufactured or imported as
      follows:

      (i) By engraving, casting, stamping
      (impressing), or otherwise conspicuously
      placing or causing to be engraved,
      cast, stamped (impressed) or
      placed on the frame or receiver thereof
      an individual serial number. The serial
      number must be placed in a manner
      not susceptible of being readily obliterated,
      altered, or removed, and must not
      duplicate any serial number placed by
      you on any other firearm. For firearms
      manufactured or imported on and after
      January 30, 2002, the engraving, casting,
      or stamping (impressing) of the serial
      number must be to a minimum
      depth of .003 inch and in a print size no
      smaller than 1⁄16 inch; and

      (ii) By engraving, casting, stamping
      (impressing), or otherwise conspicuously
      placing or causing to be engraved,
      cast, stamped (impressed) or
      placed on the frame, receiver, or barrel
      thereof certain additional information.
      This information must be placed in a
      manner not susceptible of being readily
      obliterated, altered, or removed. For
      firearms manufactured or imported on
      and after January 30, 2002, the engraving,
      casting, or stamping (impressing)
      of this information must be to a minimum
      depth of .003 inch. The additional
      information includes:
      (A) The model, if such designation
      has been made;
      (B) The caliber or gauge;
      (C) Your name (or recognized abbreviation)
      and also, when applicable, the
      name of the foreign manufacturer;
      (D) In the case of a domestically
      made firearm, the city and State (or
      recognized abbreviation thereof) where
      you as the manufacturer maintain
      your place of business; and
      (E) In the case of an imported firearm,
      the name of the country in which
      it was manufactured and the city and
      State (or recognized abbreviation
      thereof) where you as the importer
      maintain your place of business. For
      additional requirements relating to imported
      firearms, see Customs regulations
      at 19 CFR part 134.

      Also…

      Exceptions. (i) Alternate means of
      identification. The Director may authorize
      other means of identification
      upon receipt of a letter application
      from you, submitted in duplicate,
      showing that such other identification
      is reasonable and will not hinder the
      effective administration of this part.

  5. Anyone here every made a suppressor and went through the whole NFA process and tax? I can’t see how it would be worth the 200$ unless you could make a really high quality one I guess….

    • I haven’t, but considering there are or at least were suppressors commercially available from legitimate manufacturers that were literally just tubes with high quality steel washers welded inside (like this), if you own the right sort of equipment — and it wouldn’t take much — you could make one for next to nothing. Even a lot of modern suppressors with monolithic cores really end up looking like they were made with a cut-up tube full of welded-in washers (like this)

      With a CNC machine, you could make a top-notch quality one for next to nothing instead of spending $800+ from any company that produces something comparable. Basically, CNC out the monocore then weld it inside of a tube and Robert is your father’s brother. As long as it’s direct-thread or you make it to accept another company’s boosters and mounts, it would be fairly straightforward. The hard part would be the actual 3D design of it, but there are open-source designs you could simply use. And since you have the CAD programming, you know the exact OAL for the Form 1 already…

      • This has been a big question for me. Talked to a guy at the range, said his rifle suppressor cost less than $100 to make. Also, if you’re the manufacturer, does that mean you can repair it yourself? Let’s say you make a suppressor and have a catostrophic failure. Can you simply build your own replacement parts, including the serialized part, and re-stamp it with the same serial # and ID info?

        • You cannot replace the serialized part and put the same serial number on it. Even manufacturers like AAC, SilencerCo, Liberty Suppressors, etc, cannot do that. Same for firearms, actually. The law states that a serial number can only be used ONE time. There’s no process for “scrapping” a serialized firearm (and suppressors are considered firearms) and replacing it with another one w/ the same serial number. Yes, in the case of a suppressor or other NFA item that would mean another $200 stamp and a whole new process. In the case of a normal firearm, it means it has to go through an FFL again.

        • @ Jeremy –

          On that home-made suppressor:

          As I understand it, if you made your own suppressor you are *not* allowed to replace *any* part of it.

          Please research this and let me know if I’m in error on that.

          To me that makes no sense, but apparently only an SOT can do that, even though you were the manufacturer via the Form 1.

          The Cadiz Gun Works ‘Econo-Can’ suppressor is a thread adapter for an automotive-type spin-on oil filter. The filter doesn’t have an unlimited life and needs to be periodically replaced. .223 will wear it out after 500 rounds or so. Cadiz will replace and re-mark the filter for you for $25.

          “If or when you need to change the filter out, the ATF/NFA rules says it needs to come back to the original manufacture, which Cadiz Gun Works is. The cost is $25.00. The complete Econo-Can Suppressor can be shipped directly to us, for gunsmithing, which would be replacement/rehab/repair of the oil filter, with the serial # remarked, and documented as being replaced/rehabbed/repaired. The completed Econo Can Suppressor can be sent back to you at your address on your NFA Tax Stamp Form. You do not need to go though a dealer for gunsmithing services. The life of the oil filter varies depending on caliber used and bullet type. (ex. AR15=300-500 rds)”

          https://cadizgunworks.com/store/index.php?route=product/category&path=20_26_69

        • Granted I’m just applying logic (a dangerous habit to do with humans I’ve found)

          But if YOU are the manufacturer- that is you got approval from the ATF to manufacture the suppressor and got the serial number through their process- then you are the original manufacturer. It seems to me this is the difference between transferring a suppressor and manufacturing it.

        • @Geoff

          The oil can one is a unique bird. I think the ATF made them serialize the filter itself to discourage end users from swapping it themselves, but it’s still only the adapter part that’s actually the registered silencer. If the adapter got messed up, Cadiz could not legally make another one the same serial number. End users cannot modify any part at all, which is why swapping the filter is illegal for the owner to do (as stupid as that is). Also from the Cadiz site:

          The adapter part is manufactured by Cadiz Gun Works, Jewett, OH and carries a registered serial number. The oil filter will share the serial number of the adapter.

      • The ONLY “person” that can repair your FORM 1 silencer, is an 02/07 SOT. Please be careful giving out info, if you aren’t sure, you don’t want to help somebody become an accidental felon.

    • The $200 is a tax which you have to pay if you purchase OR manufacture a silencer/suppressor.

      Given the basic simplicity of the designs (which can be misleading, as the spacing and geometry of the interior is critical to the efficiency,) and the ease of manufacturing compared with the usual cost of such devices, you could easily save hundreds of dollars.

      You can potentially engineer a design which would be optimal for any particular weapon and round.

      For truly quiet weapons, you need a subsonic round and the proper geometry.

      Years ago it was common in France for people to use silenced .22 s in which the major portion of the barrel was silencer.

      To design your own, there are patents you can look at for design ideas, and if you put together a CAD drawing the device can be manufactured in a pair (or more) of parts (so that individually they are not in violation) by whatever manufacturing process you want (3-D printing!) So long as neither piece is functional alone, and the two pieces are not in the same place at the same time, there’s no violation.

      Adding a DBA to a corporation is usually both cheap and easy. I suspect that it isn’t much different for a trust. If your city name is long, creating an office (hire an attorney to act as your agent) in a town with a very short name might be helpful… The location information and name only have to be in effect at the time of the application and processing to be legal–you can officially relocate your office afterward if you only need to make one or a few regulated devices.

      When I think about firing my 1911A .45 ACP inside my house in defense, a silencer looks very, very nice. That you can practice without necessarily needing hearing protection is a nice side benefit. Since self-defense use is nearly always at close range, the stopping power of the round is not greatly reduced by using a light load to keep the round subsonic.

      Now for a silencer for the 870 12 gauge…and a microphone and amplifier for the racking mechanism–a sound which is very distinct and recognizable and which will stop many people without any other actions needed.

      • The 1911 45 caliber rounds are subsonic leaving the muzzle. The muzzle velocity actual is 825 ft/s (251 m/s), much less than 1120fps for the speed of sound.

  6. Thanks Jeremy. As always your writing is clear and very easy to understand. The timing of this article couldn’t have been any better for me, as I’m about to begin the SBR process.

  7. FYI, e-filed form 1’s are running right around 70 days. Not bad but worth it. If you’ve been on the fence, get moving!

  8. Jeremy S wrote, in part,
    “I can’t imagine any lawyer smart enough to tie his/her own shoes couldn’t win acquittal for a client who didn’t actually configure a restricted item. … Constructive possession of SBRs? Give me a break.”

    Dear Mr S,
    You really, really need to read the book “Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent” by Harvey Silverglate and Alan M. Dershowitz. It will surprise, disturb, and depress you, as well as show that your statements quoted above are merely empty bravado.

    • I actually have read that! And the Cato brief on the topic. Love it. In this case the constructive possession thing is more of an ATF interpretation of law than actual, clear law. Additionally, there are myriad bad laws that get thrown out in court when challenged. I think this would get dismissed. It’s preposterous. It’s exactly on par with claiming that owning a car plus having sufficient booze in one’s home to get drunk is “constructive DUI.”

  9. A good idea in addition to carrying copies of the forums in the glove boxes of your vehicles is to scan them and e-mail them to yourself. Then put the scanned forums in a folder and you will have access to them anywhere there is Internet.

    The truth be told, the vast majority of cops have no idea what the law concerning silencers and even those that do are unlikely to ask you for copies of the paperwork since there is really no legal requirement to have it on your person and they wouldn’t know what to look for anyway. It is only a suggestion to carry copies, and a good one I think in case you run into that one in a thousand idiot out there.

    • While having your “stamps” on you isn’t required, remember this, NFA is prohibited in almost all states. Any LEO can ask for them, and has the option of hauling you in to sort things out. You will beat the rap, but not the ride. Your “stamps” are an affirmative defense to possession.

      • No, Red you are not correct. Silencers are not prohibited in most states. That isn’t even close to being correct. Restricted would be a better word.

        Do you know of a case where a police officer has “hauled” someone in for not having the paperwork? Even a single case? Did the arrestee file a lawsuit? I certainly would.

        I would never carry the actual stamps with me. They stay in the safe. Copies, yes.

        • Yeah Jim, restricted would be a much better word. As to copies vs. originals, I assumed everyone would leave theirs in a safe. But I know what happens when one assumes. 😀

          Beat the rap, not the ride. Has it happened? Not to anyone I know. However, I have personally heard a few LEOs boast in public, and on forums, that they would haul someone in without proof. So take it as a warning, as that is all it was meant to be.

        • I’m not entirely sure that they do actually have the option of hauling you in. Not sure possession of a silencer or other NFA item is probable cause for that. The ATF clearly says that there’s no legal requirement that you have proof of registration with you. Suggested that you always have it handy? Sure. But of course they’d say that 😉 . Not saying you wouldn’t get harassed like open carriers often do, but they rarely get detained as they aren’t breaking any laws. The officer would have to cite some violation to haul you in, eh?

          …and yeah, NFA is not prohibited in almost all states. A much truer statement would be that NFA is legal in almost all states. Silencers are legal in 39 states…

  10. Thanks for this post. I have been considering an SBR build for some time now.

    Question: Can you file the caliber of the SBR as “multi-caliber”, or do you really have to provide a specific caliber on the paperwork and the engraving?

    • No more MULTI, it has to be specific. 5.56, .300, 7.62, etc. Once it is registered, you can freely swap calibers, without having to submit anything else. Just make sure you can restore it to original configuration.

  11. Thanks Jeremy. I obviously don’t own the components yet but I’ve been thinking about building an AR SBR.

    Will proceed shortly.

  12. Thanks for the great article! As a fellow Washingtonian this comes as great news! I’ve heard and read through numerous sources that due to the way the Washington SBR law is written was we could not personally “manufacture” an SBR. I was on the verge of ordering a pap to convert before reading about that nonsense. Very glad to here you were able to and I shall go ahead and spend the rest of my savings to do the same. Thanks

    • I understand where that thought comes from when reading the law. But I think it falls under acquiring and possessing legally according to federal law. It’s basically just saying that WA is going to follow federal law on the SBR front. The text of the amendment is:

      It is not unlawful for a person to possess, transport, acquire, or transfer a short-barreled rifle that is legally registered and possessed, transported, acquired, or transferred in accordance with federal law.

  13. Thank you for this very clear and concise guide in an area that there is little information on, or at least information that is definitive. My question is: if you have a lower that is marked 5.56, but want to register it as an sbr in 300 blackout, would that be possible? Or would you have to register it as a 5.56 and later switch the upper

    • I’d hesitate to call it “definitive” as I’m not a lawyer or necessarily an “expert.”

      Caliber must be specified on a Form 1. My personal opinion of these laws is that when you become the manufacturer of the resulting NFA item and you are required to engrave certain information on it, if the information already engraved on it by the previous manufacturer (the company that made the firearm/lower in the first place) is no longer accurate, then you’d technically have to add the correct engraving. If the lower said “Multi” on it for caliber, IMHO you’re technically required to engrave the caliber that you put on your Form 1, since the law does say that a caliber has to be stated and, in this case, on the Form 1 you are apparently forced to input a specific caliber and “multi” doesn’t work. If it says 5.56 and you’re building a .300 according to your Form 1, then you’d have to engrave .300 on it.

      I’m positive people will debate that ^^^. However, I think the law is pretty clear and concise and I don’t really see an alternative if you choose to follow the text of the law. Many feel like some of this is flexible as the ATF or whomever “doesn’t care” or “won’t check” or whatever, but the law says that the caliber has to be marked so that’s that.

  14. If common sense was to wander, lost and lonely, into the world of NFA…

    you would use a 5/16″ takedown pin on the front of a pistol receiver,
    a 5/16″ takedown pin on the rear of an SBR
    1/4″ pins on both ends of a rifle

    and the theory of constructive intent would be negated by the inability to construct unapproved combinations due to incompatible hardware

    • Sleeves made from stainless tubing from the hardware store. You own a car and $5, so that’s still constructive possession. Even if you had no idea it was there…

  15. Zip gun AOWs are such simple objects, it seems hard to find a way to defend from this “constructive possession/intent” thing. I, and many other people who probbably don’t even know it, have many pieces of 4130 tubing laying about, scrap, remnant, etc, which are “parts” of an AOW zip gun. I have a whole bunch right now. But, I also keep filing Form 1s, and getting rejected. Big surprise… What’s my intent? To do it legally, elsewise why would I persistently keep filing Form 1s?

    I own my own CnC machine. And lots of pieces of metal. Is that constructive possession of machine guns and DDs?

    And that Thompson Center thing…

    Maybe a definition of “gun parts” and “materials used to make guns” needs to be defined? With the case of a slam-fire zip gun, even that is a hard line to draw, because the barrel is just a piece of tubing, period. Don’t even have to do anything to it… Pieces of steel tubing are laying around machine ships everywhere… Seems the only difference is that I know it. Is knowing stuff a crime? I’m certainly prepared, but filing Form 1s…

    This is simpler than a 3D printed gun, but rolls of meltable plastic aren’t constructive possession…

  16. One of my Form 1s was rejected because the reason stated was “I’m in the mood.” It’s the most accurate and direct answer to the question I could think of at the moment, wasn’t even trying to be a wiseass. I was in the mood, filing out this stupid form is how it’s done, so, yeah.

    My guess is that bosses see this stuff and they get rejected simply because they don’t want the boss to see that they approved what might be interpreted as wiseass even if it wasn’t meant to be. Is there something illegal about wiseass anyway? Even if it were, etc… I digress.

    It would seem that it’s nearly impossible to make an NFA item without being in the mood to do so. There’s so much BS involved, you’d REALLY have to be in the mood such that your mood isn’t killed in the process… Is being in the mood a crime?

  17. I have a question; I’ve received my approval paperwork for my e-filed form 1. Since I used my LLC articles of incorporation when applying, do I need to take my newly approved taxed stamp paperwork to my local CLEO for them to sign off?

  18. I also live in Washington And have been told that SBR Form 1s would no longer be approved, as the state law says you can own one, not manufacture one. While I disagree with their logic, Form 1s are being disapproved. It’s stupid, as I am not asking the state to permission but a federal agency, to “manufacture” ( I say “modify”). However, you can buy an SBR using the Form 4. My friend had to send his Kriss Vector back to the manufacturer to be modified and registered. It will be transferred back by form 4. And a total of $800 between taxes, trust and cost of work.

  19. Actually, now just seeing your name, you may have been the one to help him with his Vector, so I just explained something you actually know more about lol

  20. Just a quick question, I have already purchased the CZ Scorpion Evo 3 S1 as it sat in pistol form, in the exact same manner I purchased a Glock 17. I walked up to the counter (No gun trust, or any NFA paperwork as an “individual” yet), filled out the background check paperwork, got approved, walked out with Scorpion in pistol form. I have every intention to SBR it soon and get a gun trust set up etc… (not in that order obviously) How do I legally transfer the scorpion from me, as a laymen (Notice I didn’t say individual, I don’t want to muddy the water here) over to the entity known as my trust? Do I automatically take possession as a trust when I file my forms, or do I have more forms to fill out to transfer it from laymen to gun trust? Thanks so much in advance, and yes I’m aware no one here is giving legal advise. I just need to know what others have had to do in similar situations. (Without this website’s insight, I never would have even had the courage to purchase a firearm in the first place, thanks so much) On a side note, if I wanted to add my Glock to the trust, would the procedure be the same to transfer from laymen to trust? (I don’t want anyone to get in trouble if I were to unexpectedly pass away) I live in PA

  21. Just FYI: Your local trophy shop cannot engrave receiver and firearms:

    From the ATF website:

    Is a license needed to engage in the business of engraving, customizing, refinishing or repairing firearms?

    Yes. A person conducting such activities as a business is considered to be a gunsmith within the definition of a dealer.

    [18 U.S.C. 921(a)(11) and (21); 27 CFR 478.11]

    Note the word “engraving” is specifically mentioned. They need an FFL to legally do that.

    • Slightly off-topic, but would like to mention that putting engraving early in the process may help flexibilty. For example, an 80% receiver is not (yet) a firearm, so can be engraved by anybody. After you’ve machined anything in the fire control area, only yourself or an FFL can do the engraving. No confidence in me, so off to a while-you-wait appointment with an FFL engraver! If you stay there and get the part back the same day, no need to record in-and-out with the FFL.

    • James,
      I think you are mistaken…the context is incorrect in your comment above.
      IF the engraver is only engraving, and you do not transfer the firearm (leave it for them overnight or similar)….an FFL is not required….unless something has recently changed.
      IF you do some of the other tasks in your example, gunsmithing and modifying are FFL activitives….again, mostly related to transferring.

      I have a bunch of SBRs and other NFA rule firearms in my trust….and only about 1/2 have been done by FFL (most were done by a local machine shop that has my trust ‘short name’ programmed into their CNC machine….for those who do more than 1 or two, this is a great solution).

      Also, never ‘pre-engrave’ your receiver before the tax stamp comes back. If it gets disapproved, you have a very expensive paperweight….as the receiver has no other purpose in life (unless you want to become a SOT and start making guns for a living)

  22. Hello,

    From a cover-your-ass view, if you keep a copy of the form 4’s / 1’s with you when transporting, should you also have a copy of the Trust? If so, does it need to be the entire document, which is 70% declaration stuff, or do you just need the “Certification of the Trust” section with it’s associated signatures and notary stamps? That section alone identifies the name of the Trust and the Trustees.

  23. My attorney included a Trust Affidavit. It is a two page notarized document stating the Grantor and Trustee’s of the Trust. Looking at the actual Tax Stamp, Law Enforcement wouldn’t know who is a part of the trust and legally able to possess the NFA item. This proves you are a member of the trust that is lister on the stamp and keeps you from having to carry around a copy of a 16 page trust document.

  24. Just a bit perturbed. Received a “Disapproval” after waiting 4 months for an electronically filed eForm. This will be number 4 in my line of SBR applications. The previous 3 were all approved.

    First two had been submitted by paper. Both were returned to remove the name from 3a, or “Trade Name’, by white-out and my initials.

    For whatever reason, my 3rd application was done electronically and I forgot, once again putting my trust name in the trade name slot, as well as 3b, which is for Applicant’s name and address. As a trust, the trust name was used on 3b.

    That form came back as approved. this seems to be in- line with the authors approved form 1 as I see he has his trust name in both locations as well.

    My frustration comes in this last form as it was disapproved because apparently my trust name IS in 3a this go around.?? Seems like the ATF officials that sign off are not consistent.

    So which is it and what a stupid thing to disapprove the form on. They won’t simply remove it, they are telling me I have to start the whole process over and they are refunding my money.

    They certainly do act like a government agency. Wish they had better correction process for something so minor.

    Anybody have a suggestion on how to get this approved while they still have this original application??

  25. Although I know the better path is to avoid the ride. Can you comment on the ATF website rules that the Stamp approval registration forms must be made available upon request by an ATF officer. The question being does any LEO have the right to even request your paperwork much less non LEO layman range officers?
    Thank you in advance.

  26. I have someone who is willing to engrave my lower for free before he moves out of state, but I am still waiting on approval of my Form 1. Would it be bad to get the engraving done now and not construct it until approval or should I wait on approval first?

    • You can engrave whatever and however much you want. The fact that you have your trust name and address engraved on any firearm means nothing at all, and constitutes no legal or NFA status. It is perfectly acceptable, and recommended by many, to include all your guns in your trust, NFA or not. If you’d like to engrave them, too, that’s A-OK.

      However, the general consensus is that when you receive an approved Form 1, it is a very, very bad idea to make an SBR without first performing the required engraving.

  27. I machined my own AR15 lower, thereby avoiding the requirement to serialize and register my gun here in Indiana. I now want to manufacture my own supressor. I read this article and the Form 1 and can’t find much about what I should put in the serial number field of the firearm on the Form 1. Any ideas?

    • If you are the manufacturer of the suppressor from the ground up, then you simply create a serial number – 001 for example, but it can be whatever you want as long as it is displayed on the suppressor and is the same as the serial number you list on the Form 1.
      Technically, you are the “maker” and not the “manufacturer.”

  28. I bought some stripped lowers and sent off Form 1s for approval (prior to the rules changing for trusts).
    While waiting on your Form 1 to come back (prior to approval), can I assemble these lowers into regular rifles (not SBRs)? I will not be purchasing the SBR uppers until the Form 1s come back.

    • Yes, your lowers are Title 1 lowers until your Form 1 is approved, and can be used with any upper that has a 16″ or longer barrel. Once they are Title 2 lowers you can still use them with any upper, with one caveat however: the minimum barrel length of the upper that a Title 2 lower can be mated to is a point of contention. The rule of thumb is that an upper with a barrel length that is less than that listed on your approved Form 1 should not be mated with said lower. This is not documented anywhere that I know of but I have credible information that the ATF adheres to this “rule.”

      In other words, if you have an approved Form 1 for an 8.5″ SBR, then any upper with a barrel length greater than 8.5″ may be mated to that lower (this includes barrel lengths 16″ or greater). However, you may -should- not mate an upper to that lower that has a 7.5″ barrel (or any barrel less than 8.5″). Thus, you will do yourself a favor if you always select the shortest barrel on the Form 1 that you can reasonably choose.

      • Thank you for the information
        Another source has told me that after the form 1 is approved (mine were various calibers with 9-12.5″ barrels); that to change caliber and configuration all I had to do was send in a modification letter & keep the original equipment so that the gun could go back to the original configuration.
        Example: I SBR’d a .223 Wylde lower with a 9.5″ barrel…so if I want to run it as a 12.5 or 14″ SBR…I just need to send in the letter detailing the change & keep the original 9.5″ upper somewhere in the safe.

        Is this how you understand the rule also?

        Thanks for any input…it is appreciated.

        • “ATF recommends written notification to the NFA Branch when a firearm’s configuration is permanently changed or removed from the purview of the NFA.”

          If you are the “maker” of an SBR via a Form 1, then you may temporarily change the configuration of the firearm, for example by mating an upper to a registered lower that has a different barrel length than that listed on the approved Form 1. The ATF “recommends” -their English language word – that you notify them if this new configuration will be permanent. The general consensus and practice among Title II firearm owners is that, as long as the SBR can be returned to it’s “made” condition, then it is not necessary to inform the ATF of the temporary configuration change.

          This is a good illustration of the many gray areas in the NFA. It is very difficult to be a stellar, above-board, Title II firearm maker/owner with no-worries-ever-mate because there are many areas of the law that are not explicitly spelled out. In my humble opinion, the local police are the ones you need to worry about as they probably have had little or no training in the nuances of the NFA; actual ATF agents are unlikely to get anal with an obviously law-abiding citizen who has their ATF forms in order and is making a good-faith effort to abide by the law.

  29. Shameless Plug for where I had my suppressor engraved.
    http://tarheelstatefirearms.com/
    Suburb of Charlotte, NC.
    My Wife and I live in SC and one of our Daughters lives in Mint Hill.
    So my last trip there I made a detour and got my suppressor engraved.
    He can also do lower receivers.
    Very reasonable prices, lower than any other place I found.

  30. Pretty good info in the comments on here. “Your local engraver” should have to have an FFL as engraving the ‘maker’ (manufacturer information) constitutes a gunsmithing activity. Upside of this is in the event of an engraving mistake you can usually deal with an FFL holder engaged in the business a lot easier than a jewelry store or a machine shop.

    Thanks for the informative blog.

    Jason Crum
    Ident Marking Services
    http://www.Identmarking.com

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