There are benefits to buying a pre-built AR-15 or handgun from your local gun store and benefits to building one using an 80% lower. For now, let’s focus on the latter.
We hope that by now you know what an 80% lower is, and if you are still unsure about how to complete an 80% lower, we have a guide on that. But here is why you should choose an 80 lower receiver in the first place.
80% Lower Savings
When you purchase an 80 lower receiver, you get to enjoy some savings. Unlike buying a completed rifle, there isn’t a high tax imposed on lower receiver sales, nor are you paying for an FFL transfer or a DROS fee. You only pay for the product and the shipping. Why? Because technically speaking, an 80% lower is not a firearm. As such, it is not taxed as a firearm.
Conversely, buying an “over-the-counter” firearm may easily cost you upwards of $100 in fees and taxes on top of the gun or more depending on the gun’s price tag. What you’re really doing is paying for brand names and the convenience of not having any labor to do on your end.
No FFL Requirements
Speaking of FFL transfers, they aren’t just a fee that you pay. You should also consider what the paperwork represents. The Form 4473, effectively puts your name and personal information in a government database which conveniently informs them when you bought a firearm and the details about that firearm as well.
This form is required in all states as long as you are purchasing at a brick and mortar gun store as it is part of the background check process. Of course, each state will vary on what that background check looks like i.e. in California, we have to wait 10 days after purchasing to be able to pick the gun up and take it home. Whereas in Texas, you get to take the gun home the same day you purchase it.
Proponents of universal background checks say that it is important to deter potential criminals with any plans for premeditated crimes. The idea is that it hypothetically could give a person time to “cool off” instead of buying a gun and rashly committing a crime the same day. That theory has never been statistically proven with empirical evidence or data,
But when you purchase an 80% lower, which is not legally considered a firearm, there are no fees, paperwork, government lists with your name and gun(s) on it; it just ships straight to your doorstep.
No Serialization (Depending on State)
In its incomplete form an 80% lower receiver does not require serialization whatsoever. However, once completed, some states do require you to apply for a serial number and other states have completely banned 80% lowers altogether.
We understand that the decision to buy and build your own 80% lower can be stressful and the information plentifully confusing. It’s especially bad if you live in a state that make’s it extra difficult, like California’s gun laws.
For the most part, you do not need to serialize your lower when the weapon is built for personal use. But be sure to check your state laws to be prepared for potential consequences as some really don’t care at all whereas other states will jam you up over the possession of completed and incomplete 80% builds.
Essentially, be smart about where you take your build whether it’s in private transportation or where you use it. The decision to serialize any 80% lower is completely up to you, as the act of serializing is not enforceable by the government. Though, do remember that if caught with a completed build they can charge you with a misdemeanor or felony depending on specific circumstances for possession of a manufactured and unserialized firearm under CA Penal Code 29180. There may be a similar version of this in your own state.
Why not both?
Ready for a breath of fresh air? The highest upfront cost when building an AR-15 is the jig. The benefit of having a jig is that you can finish multiple lower receivers and with enough builds under your belt you’ll even be making money back from how much you saved overall.
With the Pro Jig Multiplatform, is capable of building 80% lowers for an AR-15, AR-9, and .308 receivers.
Low Learning Curve
Many folks don’t have experience in building guns and think that finishing an 80% lower and constructing an AR is difficult. Thankfully, it’s not. You likely have most of the necessary tools in your garage. The most complex piece of equipment you will use is a jig router and if you buy a kit, it will come with the specific drill bits and end mills needed for drilling and milling out your lower receiver.
Yes, when you purchase a firearm legally, it is yours. But by building an AR-15 or any other 80% caliber receiver, it allows you to uniquely personalize and customize virtually any component of your firearm. You get to choose the upper receiver, bolt carrier group, barrel, stock, sights, handguard, trigger group, color scheme and more.
If you want to engrave your magwell with a serialized number, go right ahead. If you want a Noveske over an M-LOK handguard, go for it. If you want the gun to look like it was made for future Space Marines, definitely do that. You are in total control, and that is a great feeling.
Does building an 80% lower sound like the correct path for you? It should! We have 80% lowers, jigs, and build kits available to help you start your first build this year. We ship straight to your door, without any extra government fees and you get to stay safe at home for the ‘Rona!