Chinese GLOCK full auto switch (
Chinese knock-off GLOCK full auto switch (
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From the NRA-ILA . . .

In recent years there have been several articles complaining about the proliferation of auto or GLOCK switches (auto sears). These items are used by criminals to illegally modify commonly-owned semiautomatic handguns into machineguns. Those concerned about these items should focus on enforcement of existing federal law.

Reasonable people can question the wisdom of banning the mere possession of inanimate objects, rather than focusing on their intentional misuse. However, no one can deny that the federal government currently has the statutes necessary to confront possession and use of these items.

Federal law, 26 USC § 5845(b), defines a “machinegun” as follows:

…any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. The term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Note the language in bold. Firearms that shoot automatically meet the definition of a machinegun. However, even a mere part “designed and intended solely and exclusively… for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun” is itself a machinegun absent any other part of the firearm. Therefore, possession of an auto switch, even without an accompanying receiver, barrel, etc., is possession of a machinegun.

18 USC 922(o) makes clear, “it shall be unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun” unless it is done through the National Firearm Registration and Transfer Record. Registration of new machineguns for civilian use was frozen in 1986. Therefore, none of the auto switches at issue comply with this mandate. They are all illegal.

Those found in mere possession of an auto switch face up to 10 years imprisonment. (18 USC § 924(a)(2), 26 USC § 5871)

GLOCK auto switch full auto machine gun machinegun pistol
One recent haul from the streets of Chicago. Note how many pistols have illegal GLOCK switches installed. (Image courtesy Chicago Police Department)

Violent criminals who possess or use an auto switch during the commission of a crime face truly staggering penalties.

18 USC § 924(c) provides,

(c)(1)(A) Except to the extent that a greater minimum sentence is otherwise provided by this subsection or by any other provision of law, any person who, during and in relation to any crime of violence or drug trafficking crime (including a crime of violence or drug trafficking crime that provides for an enhanced punishment if committed by the use of a deadly or dangerous weapon or device) for which the person may be prosecuted in a court of the United States, uses or carries a firearm, or who, in furtherance of any such crime, possesses a firearm, shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such crime of violence or drug trafficking crime—

(B) If the firearm possessed by a person convicted of a violation of this subsection—

(ii) is a machinegun or a destructive device, or is equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, the person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 30 years.

(C) In the case of a violation of this subsection that occurs after a prior conviction under this subsection has become final, the person shall—

(ii) if the firearm involved is a machinegun or a destructive device, or is equipped with a firearm silencer or firearm muffler, be sentenced to imprisonment for life.

To put all of that in context, a 2016 report from NYU’s Brennan Center for Justice found that the average prison stay for murder was only 11.7 years.

Given the potential sentences, if the federal government were to vigorously prosecute those found misusing auto switches, anyone with half a brain would treat these items as the equivalent of nuclear waste. Criminals without half a brain would have ample time to improve their cognitive abilities while in a federal penitentiary.

However, there’s reason to believe that the feds aren’t doing all they could on the prosecution front. NRA-ILA has often pointed out the government’s lackluster prosecution figures.

An October 18 piece from the Minneapolis Star Tribune lamenting auto switches discussed a 2022 case involving alleged gang member twin brothers found in possession of illegal machineguns. Initially the state of Minnesota only gave the brothers probation. A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Minnesota explained,

According to court documents, in January of 2022, the brothers were both charged in Hennepin County District Court for possession of machineguns after they were caught in possession of firearms that had each been modified with auto sears. An auto sear, also known as a switch, is a device used to convert a semi-automatic firearm into a fully automatic firearm and is considered a machinegun under federal law. In May, both [brother 1] and [brother 2] pleaded guilty to their Hennepin County charges and were released on terms of probation.

It was only after the brothers were subsequently found in possession — yet again — of firearms and ammunition that the twins were federally prosecuted as felons in possession. They were then sentenced to 30 months (2.5 years) in prison. Possession of a firearm or ammunition by a felon is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

There’s plenty that can and should be done using existing laws before law-abiding gun owners should countenance any further restrictions on their rights.


This article originally appeared at and is reprinted here with permission. 

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    • might have something to do with what group is consistently found in possession of these…even going so far as to show them off on you tube videos…

  1. Let me guess, Tyrone and Jerome? or Mohammed and Hafez? Their actual crime was getting caught. Otherwise the Soros attorneys don’t care.

      • Not true for federal inmates. Parole in the federal system was eliminated in the mid 80s and inmates only earn 54 days of good conduct time a year resulting in them serving about 85% of the time they’re sentenced to.
        Your comment may however be true for inmates in state systems as each state has their own laws governing state sentences.

  2. anti-gun: “Yes, there are over 25,000 laws on the books we could use against criminally violent people. But for common sense gun control to work its that darn constitutional right loophole exploited by law abiding people that needs to be closed. So just one more law should do it.”

    common sense: “?”

  3. Gun Owner ALERT! 60,000 Pistol Safe’s RECALLED… If you have one, you need to follow these steps!

    • Many if not most safes and lock boxes are terrible. Go look it up, there’s vids of several models being opened up by toddlers with stuff like popsicle sticks or just dropping them and the locks pop open.

      I have a couple of the Snapsafes I bought to retro fit to Abloy locks. The locks are god awful and there’s a video of someone opening one with a piece of folded packing tape.

      If you have a safe that’s designed to be bolted to something BOLT IT TO SOMETHING. It will be far more effective that way.

      • Mine has six dynabolts into rebarred concrete. It doesn’t budge a millimeter even if I open the door and pull on the upper edge of the doorframe.

      • Best to put a brick or surprise in the safe and leave it on the bedside table. Let the perp grab it and run. Hide your gun behind some clever building trim feature, but never in an A/C Grille.

    • “…60,000 Pistol Safe’s RECALLED…”

      The pistol safe’s WHAT, .40?

    • More information on pistol safe recall:

      The Fortress safes were also sold under different brand names: Fortress, Cabela’s, Gettysburg, Legend Range & Field.

      The recall applies to safes purchased January 2019 through October 2023 at Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, Scheel’s, Sportsman’s Guide, Optics Planet, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander, Rural King, Lowe’s, Amazon, Ebay.

      The recall also includes portable lock boxes, personal safes, pistol vaults and gun cabinets.

      Consumers should immediatley stop using the biometric feature, remove the batteries from the safe, and only use the key for the recalled safes. Contact Fortress Safes for instructions on disabling the biometric feature and to receive a free replacement safe.

      The recalled safes replacement form on line >

      Also, Instructions for how to disable the biometric reader on the safe>

  4. If Larry Vickers had a darker skin tone, he would get probation. He would not be going to prison.

  5. I bet that there are now many thousands of Israelis who wish that they had possessed a Glock with an auto switch.

    • all it does is empty the gun very quickly…perfect for a selective “hit” or drive-by…but ill-suited for sustained combat…

        • If we had MG classes for the general public everyone would know, how to manage machine gun fire. Like learned in the army.
          The problem is the “gun community” doesn’t support that type of education. Because the “gun community” does not support the ownership of machine guns to the general public.

        • Who is this ‘gun community’ of which you speak. I’ve always supported machine gun sales to all citizens.

        • Auto for everyone. Prison for those who murder. Not so hard.

          The only ones against it are those who have them now as an investment, the rest of us fully embrace the idea.

  6. But, we’ve known this for years. Details may change a little from time to time, but the underlying fact remains: If existing laws are enforced, almost no one will be willing to violate those laws. Yes, even criminals will think twice for the more severe violations. Your average burglar, for instance, would never consider carrying a deadly weapon on a job. Breaking and entering, even an occupied residence, is nothing compared to carrying during the commission of a crime.

    Enforce the laws, the problems will largely dry up and blow away. Gangs are another issue completely.

  7. An inconvenient truth that nobody want to talk about and that everyone knows is there …

    If the state governments and the Feds prosecuted these crimes as they should, the prisons would be full of the “usual suspects.”

    We all know who they are.

    Just look at the perps in any video of crime posted to the Internet. In fact, governments have admitted that they couldn’t build enough prisons to prosecute everyone guilty of violent crime, including the crimes detailed above.

    They will not fully prosecute these crimes, despite what the law says. The government cannot afford it politically, socially, or monetarily. So, from their point of view, the logical thing to do is go after supply, so the law-abiding FFL dealers and citizens will suffer.

    The best thing for an individual to do is to get as far away from the problem as possible. People are realizing this, and making the move. However, this will not stop governments from the persecution of the innocent. The law-abiding are being held hostage by the criminals and the governments that will not prosecute. It is anarcho-tyranny, and I’m afraid it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

    Unfortunately, there is no country to escape to. This is the last stand. Prepare accordingly.

  8. 2.5 years for felons in possession who already had rap sheets. Probably out in one.

    What’ll Vickers get, I wonder?

  9. Before 1934 it was perfectly legal to own a fully automatic firearm, a firearm suppressor or a short-barrelled rifle or shotgun. When the government eliminates your existing rights it is no longer “your” government, it has become your enemy

  10. But they aren’t prosecuting as they should. Which brings us right back to square one…if the criminal can have a machine gun and the government agent can have one, why can’t We the People have one? Because infringement. That’s why. Because ‘Shall Not Be Infringed’ is the hardest phrase for a tyrannical US lawmaker to read. SHALL. NOT. BE. INFRINGED.

  11. If you have even had the opportunity to shoot a full auto Glock, they really are very controllable and a whole lot of fun.

  12. Full auto with no stock, no forward grip, and a 4.5″ barrel? Sounds like a tremendously Impractical weapon. Might as well bolt a claymore mine to a pistol grip.

  13. In the great word of the greatFrank Costello as portrayed by Jack Nicholson:

    “I’m concerned about a Chinaman who thinks it’s wise to come to a business transaction with automatic weapons.

    For his own good, tell Bruce Lee and the Karate Kids none of us are carrying automatic weapons. Because here – in this country… it don’t add inches to your dick. You get a life sentence for it.“

  14. Once again it’s time to cut through the T Tag misinformation and propaganda. Naturally T Tag will trash my comment like it does most of my posts that never see the light of day. The 1st Amendment is No. 1 on the Far Rights hit list to obliterate.

    In reality the its been against the law to sell machine guns and silencers without paperwork since 1934 and yes the Feds do track down very quickly people who go into business to sell such banned items. This is why the government sometimes goes lightly on people who bought them but then makes a deal with them so they can track down the person manufacturing illegally sold NFA items.

    • dacina, the DUNDERHEAD, On the contrary, It is you Leftists who are trying desprately to stymie the 1st Amendment as well as the 2nd. IT seems you Leftdists are famous ors infamous for your blantant attempts to silence those with oppsoing views.
      So what isone gun manufactuer was prosecuted. How many weren’t.

    • Daciandipshit, the 1934 law is unconstitutional on its face, so quoting it repeatedly just demonstrates that you are a fool.

  15. Standard operating procedures for the over-illlegalized American citizen. Every year the nation pukes up a new panoply of laws that no one has any idea or knowledge of that they are 100% required to be in compliance of. Government uses this to make sure that when they have someone that want in prison, they have ample resources to put him there.

    Just an fyi: I do not own a glock, and then by extension, I don’t own a “glock switch”. I also had absolutely no idea it was illegal to own one. I assumed you had to have a glock as well, and even more so, I assumed it had to be connected to the glock. Been shooting recreationally for about 25 years now so I’m not exactly new to the subject. I follow this site and watch various U-tube videos on firearms. again…no idea. And that, my friends, is exactly how the government wants it.

  16. Let’s have some intellectual honesty here. The Glock switches along with the COVID-19. Both came from communist China. Unfortunately, anytime you point this out, you were called a racist.

  17. More intellectual honesty here.. The vast majority of the criminals using these glocks switches are black teenagers.
    Who were raised in mostly single parent single mother homes. Boys raised without a father. Because the libertarians liberals and the left disagree with the christians. Who said a father is necessary in the home.

    Unfortunately, the three L’s supported the father being replaced with a welfare check. And the father’s guns love and discipline, were replaced by the guns of a big city police department.

    The three L’s have once again created the Situation we had at the end of the Civil War. Where thousands upon thousands of fatherless boys, were left without guidance. To rome, the land eventually killing, raping, murdering, and stealing.

    And the only way to deal with these murderous children is to do what was done a 150 years ago.
    Kill them dead on-site.

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