franklin reformation
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In a somewhat vague teaser of a press release, Franklin Armory is announcing the Reformation. It’s a non-NFA line of “NRS firearms,” whatever those are (“Not a Rifle or Shotgun” is my guess), with an 11.5″ barrel and an actual buttstock. But it isn’t an SBR. And it isn’t a shotgun. Is it a .410 gauge with a rifled barrel? No idea, but we’ll be sure to find out at SHOT Show. Franklin Armory’s press release follows . . .

Redefining Firearms

Minden, NV, January 11, 2018 — Innovative firearms manufacturer, Franklin Armory, has brought another out of the box idea to the firearms industry. Known for their ground breaking American made products such as their Binary Firing System, F17 series rifles, and the XO-26, Franklin Armory has changed the industry once again. The new products are part of the Reformation line of patent pending NRS firearms, and the first SKUs in the Reformation line include a non-NFA configuration with an 11.5″ barrel and a conventional stock as depicted below:

Having already received approval as a non-rifle from the Chief of the Firearms Technology Division, Reformation will be shipping without any onerous NFA paperwork required.

Franklin Armory President, Jay Jacobson, noted, “The patent pending technology employed in Reformation will create a whole new market segment that will not require NFA approval.”


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    • It’s wonky twisting oval shaped barrel interiors like the Russians have on their state approved “rifles”. If I’m right do I win something?

      • It’s called Lebanon rifling or something isn’t it? Basically a smoothbore that’s kinda twisted so the barrel itself spins the bullet, with no lands or grooves.

        • Maybe its a black powder flintlock muzzle loader in the shape of a MK18. Notice how they dont show the right side? Thats because there is a frizzen, cock, and pan over there.

  1. As if we needed more proof the NFA is obsolete…
    Ingenuity knows no bounds but we’ve been burned before when the ATF changed their mind after the initial approval.

    • Nothing to see here.

      Nothing but a little (more) [NFA] ATF&E schizophrenia.


  2. The ATF&E can’t trick you into selling to them illegally online.

    Maybe they can (slide-fire) trick you into purchasing a “Non-NFA” “Firearm” so they can violate you an have you crack open your gun safe for them.

    Personally, I like it for the simple fact that vitreous hemorrhaging it gives evil POS (D) gun-grabbing states some apoplexy.

    REFORMATION ? Let’s call it for what it is.
    Gun-grabbers next INQUISITION.

  3. I’m just surprised that they got a letter for it and that no one’s dog died as a result…

  4. The ATF has finally realized smokeless powder propels by expansion of gas instead of an explosive and it’s therefore not a firearm?

    • Kentucky law specifically states that a firearm is an “object that expels a projectile by the use of an explosive”. That language prevents “prohibited” persons from using muzzleloaders in the state.

  5. Unless it is air soft, i.e., if it shoots real bullets, it is an “assault weapon” in ban states. It fails the “overall length” requirements for rifles, separate and apart from the various “evil features.”
    The only way I think that they could get it as a nonSBR is that the stock doesn’t adjust, so that it is not “designed to be fired from the shoulder.” But who knows.

    • I think you nailed it. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is specifically designed to fire from the cheek instead of the shoulder, the stock appears to be more suited for the former.

    • Well, the “Magpul SL Stock” advertised in the first pic is an an adjustable model and that green “thingy” in the middle pic (“Redefining Firearms” tag line) is showing a little more buffer tube than the others, so … looks like an adjustable stock to me.

      In any case, should be entertaining to see what they built and what kind of interesting legal gymnastics they’ve exercised. 🙂

    • Franklin Armory is in Cali, so pretty much anything they make can’t be sold in their home state, except for that AR15 spade grip-tripod adapter thing.

    • Not sure why this is so difficult.

      Of course it fails the OAL for a rifle. If it didn’t, it would be a rifle.

      It fails the OAL length for SBR (under 26″). Therefore, it is not an SBR. Or a pistol (under 26″ with no stock).

      It is a “firearm.” Thus, it falls into a category that is not regulated by the NFA.

      It’s simple, if you use your brains.

      • Something is an SBR if it has a rifled barrel, stock and either:

        The barrel is under 16 inches


        The overall length is under 26 inches.

        Look at the PS90. It has a 16 inch barrel AND they still have to attach that ridiculously long flash hider to the end to bring the OAL to 26 inches. Both requirements need to be satisfied to not be an SBR.

        My best guess is what someone else said earlier: the bore is neither rifled nor technically smooth (which would make this an SBS I believe). Some alternate style of bore that can impart spin yet doesn’t fit the ATFs definition of “rifled”.

  6. I’m not really interested on short barrel rifles or their workarounds–guess it’s just not my thing–but I would like to be able to attach a Magpul AFG2 foregrip to my Kriss vector pistol without needing an AOW permission slip. The entire NFA is a ridiculous affair in security theater.

  7. I’ve been waiting 10 months and 3 months for 2 Form 1’s and this will probably hit the market before I get my stamps back. I hate the BATFE… I bet it’ll be just like the brace, letter after letter, opinions, hassle and BATFE showing how moronic they can be.

  8. hrrm… why say “not a rifle, not a shotgun” ?

    18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(5) and 27 CFR § 478.11
    “[A shotgun is]…intended to be fired from the shoulder, and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.”

    What if it fires rifle ammo (not a fixed shotgun shell) through a smoothbore barrel? …plus the length definition and the other stuff already mentioned… interesting…

    • Would explain the unique muzzle device: It’s a rifled choke. Reminds me of how Russia has smoothbore SKS with rifled chokes to bypass the requirement of having a shotgun license for years before you can get a rifle.

      • So, the barrel builds velocity, but a choke with rifling to stabilize the bullet?

        Or could this be a railgun?

      • You only need rifling to stabilize the bullet, other than that, it’s a place to store unused carbon and copper.

        You need one of two things (typically) to stabilize a round “spins” (through rifling) or “fins” like a rocket.

        Maybe the came up with a collapsible-finned projectile?

      • That muzzle device is the exact same looking one from the outside as the one on Franklin Armory’s Libertas SBR so I doubt that is the case. In fact, the entire gun looks identical to the picture of the Libertas. I guess its possible its a smoothbore Libertas but look at Armchair Command’oh comment below about a possible loophole in the definition of rifle which is defined as firing one round per pull of the trigger and since a binary has a pull and a release firing two rounds it technically wouldn’t be a rifle. They could possibly be exploiting this possible loophole, although then again maybe the ATF wouldn’t allow that and this is just a smoothbore but we can hope.

        • So in approximately 5 hours we’ve whittled it down to either a smooth bore or binary trigger only. You guys do realize that if it’s something else, we have to make both of these right? Leave it to the comments of an Internet gun forum to invent new workarounds for a law driven by the mere prospect of a new technical loophole.

    • Hmm, I bet you’re right! Instead of a rifled .410 to avoid being legally a shotgun or a rifle, which is where my mind immediately went but doesn’t really compute because .410s don’t fit in a pmag properly and have less market appeal, a smooth bore 5.56 would avoid the definition of a rifle and a shotgun and appeal to more buyers. Even without a muzzle device to impart spin, it would probably still be more than accurate enough for self-defense purposes inside a certain range.

      • Acsmooth bore .223 / 5.56mm just might be interesting experiment in extreme muzzle velocity. No rifling lands to engage that slows the slug in the bore.

        And in close quarters, if it tumbles somewhat, who cares?

  9. Smoothbore eh? Enter fin-stabilized rifle–erm—I mean firearm projectiles. Like a mini Abrams cannon.

    • Should have read this far.

      If their killing themselves with the telescoped ammunition, maybe they came up with a sabot round that has fins in the sabot?

      • Fins on the sabot would be less than useless as they begin to separate from the penetrator as soon as they’re clear of the muzzle. Porting the sabot petals so their forward movement imparts a spin to the entire projectile could help, but it could also destabilize the round in flight.

      • However, if they were to develop a proper sabot round with some sort of flechette that somehow passed ATF scrutiny, then stabilized the flechette with a fin or cone, then the sabot design would make more sense as 120mm sabot round self-stabilize in flight after the petals separate. A regular bullet-shaped projectile wouldn’t self-stabilize like a sabot penetrator would, unless it were pre-rifled like a shotgun slug.

        Interesting thoughts…..

  10. I’m wondering if they’re using Lancaster rifling like Kalashnikov is with their .366TKM guns, which are classified as shotguns.

    The Lancaster rifling uses a slightly oval bore to impart spin stabilization.

  11. My best guess. It’s a normal AR-15 except for a two-part threaded barrel. The first and permanent section is smooth bore, thus disqualifying it as a rifle and since it uses rifle cartridges it’s also not a shotgun. The second section of the pipe is rifled and since it’s not pinned and welded it’s not part of the barrel. As long as it’s over 26 inches it’s not a AOW and can use a real buttstock and even a VFG. Look forward to sub-16 inch “firearm” AR-15 uppers.

  12. I bet it’s binary fire only (no semi). While the NFA defines a “machine gun” based on a “single function of the trigger,” the NFA defines a “rifle” as a weapon fired from the shoulder that fires one round for each “pull of the trigger.” So, it’s not a rifle because it fires two rounds for every “pull” of the trigger. Since it’s not a rifle, it can’t be a SBR.

    I love it.

      • Read my comment again. The definition of a machine gun is that it fires more than one round for each “function” of the trigger. Pulling is a function and releasing is a function, which is why binary triggers are legal. The definition of a rifle says that a rifle fires one round for each “pull” of the trigger. “Pull” and “Function” do not mean the same thing. That’s the loophole that makes this work. Congress was not consistent with the language.

      • Correct. The binary triggers DO only fire one round per pull of the trigger. One on the pull, another on the release. They meet the definition of rifle and not of machine gun because of this. Federally. There are a few states that defined machine gun differently where these triggers are not legal. For instance, in Washington state the law says more than one round per cycle of the trigger. So these binary ones are machine guns there. One per pull is exactly how these work.

        • The specific language from the NFA’s definition of a rifle is that it fires “only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger”. If you pull the trigger and then pull it again, each pull results in two rounds being fired. The “each” language in the definition is also key to this.

        • Citation to what? The NFA definition of a rifle is 26 USC § 5845(c). If you want a citation to something saying it’s not a rifle because it has a binary-only trigger, you’ll have to wait until Franklin releases its ATF letter at SHOT show.

        • Jeremy, it’s RCW 9.41.010 where it defines a machine gun in part by saying “(17) “Machine gun” means any firearm […] not requiring that the trigger be pressed for each shot…”

          Franklin Armory states “Not for civilian sales in CA, DC, IA, NJ, NY, or WA.”

        • All this boils down to: the NFA is ridiculous and, as usual, is a gun control law made up by people who know nothing about guns.

      • @ Armchair Command’oh

        “Pulling is a function and releasing is a function…”
        “The definition of a rifle says that a rifle fires one round for each “pull” of the trigger.”

        I think it’s still a “rifle” even if it’s binary fire-only. You clearly draw a distinction between a trigger pull and a release. You’re saying they’re two separate functions. Therefore, how many rounds does the FA binary trigger fire per trigger pull? One. Then it fires one on trigger release, which as you make clear is a separate function. So if it’s binary-only does it meet the “one round for each pull of the trigger” definition? If I were the ATF, I’d sure as heck say it does.

        BTW, you can disable the fire-on-release function of the FA binary trigger by switching the selector out of the binary mode. I have a hard time imagining that they’d disable this functionality and force users to fire that second round upon trigger release. That doesn’t exactly seem safe.

        • The machine gun definition is based on a single “function” of the trigger, which is based on moving the trigger to release the sear. Nowhere has the ATF defined “pull”. We (the gun community) have been saying a “pull” is the rearward motion of the trigger, but a legal definition does not always match the colloquial usage. The legal definition of “pull” could easily mean the full depressing of the trigger (what you call a pull) and releasing it, which makes sense given the context where the word is used (in the Rifle definition). As for binary mode, depressing the trigger fires it once and releasing it fires it a second time. Depressing and releasing together is a single “pull” in the legal sense.

    • That’s actually pretty interesting. If that is the exact wording as you have it then you have a point that an AR15 with a binary trigger isn’t technically a rifle. It’s not a machine gun because a pull and a release are two functions however only one pull occurs yet it fires two rounds making it not a rifle. That is actually a very clever work around I think might be what it is. Take a look at Franklin Armory’s website and their Libertas SBR. The picture for that looks the exact same as the picture for this reformation. This may be incorrect but it is possible someone at Franklin Armory found that loophole in the law and sent a letter to the ATF asking if their binary trigger Libertas would count as not being an SBR because of this loophole and now with confirmation they are just selling the Libertas without NFA paperwork. That would be pretty awesome if true!

      • From the picture, it looks like it has a three position selector, but I don’t think a normal binary trigger, with a semi mode, would be legal. Every time you flipped it to semi, you would be “remaking” it into a rifle, and thus an SBR. That’s what makes me think it must be binary-only.

    • Slight modification to my theory: It’s a stretch, but a semi-option could be found legal if the examiner really wanted to. By definition, a rifle fires one round EACH time the trigger is pulled. One could argue that this definition means that if it doesn’t fire one round each and every time you pull the trigger, then it is not a rifle. Here, sometimes it fires one round (semi mode) and sometimes it fires two rounds (binary mode). Therefore, it does not fire a single round EACH time the trigger is pulled, and it is not a rifle.

      • Or the semi option could be something along the lines of a two stage trigger that requires a press/release for each stage.

    • Whatever the gimmick is we can be assured of two things. 1) we’re going to pay for it, and 2) the rifle is going to sacrifice something.

  13. It’s a mini flare launcher!

    I would like to think that after bump stocks, binary triggers, the Maxim 50 black powder silenced rifle, and now this, that the government will say, “well, shucks, that whole NFA thing is pointless, come on senators, let’s repeal it!”

    Instead I imagine the Democrats and Republicans teaming up to ban this along with bump stocks, with the blessing of many second amendment folk and fudds. California is probably already drafting a law to double ban it by name, even if it is already banned there.

  14. 26 USC 5845:
    “(b) The term “machinegun” means 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.”
    “(c) The term “rifle” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single PULL of the trigger”

    If they release a weapon that fires with a single push of the trigger, only upon the release of the trigger or that works only in binary mode (fire both upon pull and release of trigger) they have found something that is neither a rifle nor a machinegun.

  15. I think it is binary only, no semi.

    The NFA definition of a “rifle” is a weapon fired from the shoulder that fires one round for each “pull of the trigger”. Binary-only fires two rounds for each “pull” of the trigger so it is not a rifle. If it is not a rifle, then it cannot be an SBR.

    It is also not a “machine gun” because the NFA definition of a machine gun fires more than one round for each “function” of the trigger. Releasing the trigger is a function, so it’s not a machine gun.

    It is not an AOW because it is over 26″ in length.

    (credit to Armchair Command’Oh)

    • There is no need for it to binary only, a machine gun is not a machine gun because it’s not full auto only.

      • A machine gun is a machine gun because it CAN operate as a machine gun as defined by law.

        if this gun has a single-shot function, it CAN become a rifle as defined by law, so it becomes a SBR.

  16. Obviously, it must be an energy weapon. Pulse rifle, plasma rifle, phaser, blaster, ray gun, what ever.

  17. Not a rifle because barrel is not rifled. Not a shotgun because it doesn’t fire “fixed shotgun shells”. Perhaps ATF said “Ok fine, a .223 cartridge is not a fixed shotgun shell”.

    • The Can Cannon originally had a short smoothbore barrel and the ATF deemed it an SBS. I think that decision was BS for the reason you state, but that was the decision they made.

  18. Can anyone do an online patent search?
    My bad! I think it’s only issued patents that are searchable online, not patent applications.

  19. My theory: they don’t have anything… They ran out of NFA loophole ideas and then came up with this bait to fish out ideas without having to pay someone for them. “How about we put out a picture of one of our SBRs, then make people think we’ve created a non-NFA SBR, but not tell people how (because we haven’t). Then we’ll release the photo to all of the firearm news sites and forums making people speculate, then we’ll sift through them to see if any of them are worth anything, then BOOM, we’ll say that was OUR idea the whole time!” “Genius Frank, someone get this man a raise, or at least a chicken sandwich.”

  20. It would be fantasitic if it was a Lancaster oval bore rifle in a standard caliber. Heck, that would be great in pistol calibers too where you are not trying to get groups at 200 plus yards. I’d like to see an MPX with an oval bore considered a smooth bore so it could be considered a AOW.

  21. What if the flash hider was adjustable like an m4 stock? It would still be required to be permanently attached but in its fully extended position meet the 16in barrel requirements.

  22. maybe the only way it fires is one of 2 ways:
    1) The trigger system that Franklin Armory made that only fires on the release of the trigger (RFS)
    2) binary firing mode

    that would be my guess.

  23. Rifle= one round with pullof the trigger, what if you pull the trigger to set the sear and it fires on the release

    • Basically what I suggested a couple posts up.

      Franklin Armory already has that. It’s called the RFS trigger. That would be my guess.

      RFS + Binary

  24. So, the NFA, Hughes, and 922r just had their carotid artery cut, right?

    1) Configuration *identical* to SBR is now unregulated as a Title II weapon
    2) Compact SBR size and damn-as-near automatic rate of fire
    3) 922r is now mooted, since most imported modern rifles come in as pistols anymore, and they’d just need to install a binary trigger and stock once stateside for sale
    4) ATF has ruled pistols may freely change to a ‘firearm’ configuration, so long as they are not registered as rifles

    In light of these points, the NFA provisions on barrel length as well as Hughes/NFA ban on select fire are completely indefensible logically, or legally (SCOTUS doesn’t care about constitutionality). If this works as I suspect, every single foreign or domestic made submachinegun or tactical carbine can be produced with a binary trigger & auto-sear denial feature, then be sold in otherwise the exact same configuration it had originally.

    I think the ATF knows. I think that the approval of this Franklin ‘firearm’ classification is the *real* impetus behind the sudden, unexpected, renewed call for a second look at bump fire and other rate-increasing devices. Not only would the binary trigger give near-automatic ROF to semi-automatic weapons, it permits practically all modern small arms with short barrels to entirely bypass NFA and import configuration rules.

  25. Just like their Binary trigger system that fires on both pull and release this might fire on the release of the trigger after pulled….. Just a thought!

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