80 Lower

What is 80 percent lower?

Buying a gun is not as cut and dry as some people might think. That is because there are processes like background checks, FFL transfers, tax stamps. All these serve to make the gun buying process just a little more complicated and for the new gun buyer, an experience like that can be uncomfortable. Luckily Owning your own gun does not have to be so difficult because of the 80% Lower.

The 80% Lower is the receiver portion of a firearm which is not completely machined to allow for the assembly of a fire control group. As on an AR-15 80% lower receiver, the trigger cavity is not milled out, essentially being “80%” complete. The 80 lower a topic of controversy as it has been under scrutiny from Anti gun lobbyists and State legislatures across the country. On a federal level, 80% lowers are legal, however some states have restrictions on the sale and transfer of 80% receiver blanks. It is always the responsibility of whoever is buying these to be accustomed to the laws of the state they reside in. While some states require the serialization of 80% lowers, others will not even allow them to purchased at all.

Since 80% lowers are not completely milled out, they essentially bypass whatever Federal laws there are in the sale of firearms, meaning buying an 80% lower is as easy as clicking the check out button. They can be shipped right to the house of the buyer without the need for a 4470 background check or a FFL transfer fee. However, in order to make it a firearm, the trigger pocket is still necessary. There are many methods to completing an 80% lower, most of which involve using some kind of power drill or milling machine, with the aid of either a CAD system or a Jig kit. 

Is 80 lower receiver legal?

The answer to this question is multifaceted indeed, as there are now a good many factors that can point in either direction. At this point it is not the most accurate thing to say that 80% lowers are completely legal. 

That is because of the legal system in the United States which is separated into Federal and State Governments. What is legal on the Federal level may not be legal on the State level. When it comes to 80% lowers, the ATF regulates the rules on them Federally, but States control the regulations for transfers of ownership of firearms apart from federal requirements. State governments control what must be done in order to make their receiver blanks legal.

Some States like Oregon do not allow even the serialization of 80% lowers, effectively making even the sale of these illegal. However, states like California will allow 80% lowers to be serialized before being made into a fire i.e. milling out the trigger pocket.

On the Federal level, 80% lowers are completely legal, and not by any sort of pushing of the line or “loophole.” In fact, it is actually backed by the ATF that the uncompleted receiver blanks being sold are legal. There are multiple letters issued by the ATF which cover the legalities of these incomplete lowers. This is especially true in the letters that regulate the building and assembly of 80% lowers.

Since they are not 100% complete firearms, they do not legally require a federal background check, however, states that require serialization may require that they be put on the state registry of firearms once serialization is complete.

The best way to be 100% current on the laws regarding 80% lowers cannot be found on the private internet forums or the news media outlets, but in your states Department of Justice, as well as the the ATF website, which contain the actual documents in reference to the laws you are most concerned about. It is safest to approach 80% lowers with the knowledge that you are acting within the parameters set by the federal and state laws that regulate them. Going to the source is how you will remain safe from any hassle from the State or even the ATF itself. 

What states forbid the purchase of 80 percent lower?

Here is a list of all of the states that restrict or heavily regulate the sale of 80% lowers for their residents.

New Jersey

80% lowers are illegal in New Jersey. Attorney General Gerbir Grewal in 2018, sent letters to a number of gun parts manufacturers threatening legal action unless they halt future sales in the state. “As the chief law enforcement officer for New Jersey, I demand you stop selling and advertising unregistered and unserialized assault weapons to New Jersey residents,” Grewal says in the letter. “Should you fail to comply with this demand within 15 days, my Office will initiate legal action.” The sale of 80% lowers or “ghost guns” to residents of New Jersey is illegal.

New York

80% Lowers are outlawed in New York as a result of the Attorney General, Leticia James, sending letters of cease and desist to manufacturers in 2019. It is prohibited for residents of the state of New York to purchase 80% lowers. As a consequence, any companies that refuse to abide by the cease and disorder will have to pay a $5000 fine for each violation.

“Your website offers unfinished lower receivers that require simple milling in order to manufacture unregistered and unserialized assault weapons, despite the fact that such manufacture and possession are illegal in New York,” the order reads. “Nor does your website adequately warn New York consumers that using these products in the manner for which they are intended and advertised could result in imprisonment and/or fines.”

Washington State

On April 23rd, 2019 the manufacture and possession of “untraceable”/ “3D printed guns” had become illegal. In HB1379, Washington set the grounds for its laws regarding mainly 3D printed guns. Here is what HB 1379 entails for the state’s residents:

“Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to:

– Manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in possession or under control, any machine gun, bump-fire stock, undetectable firearm, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle;

 – Manufacture, own, buy, sell, loan, furnish, transport, or have in possession or under control, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively for use in a machine gun, bump-fire stock, undetectable firearm, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle, or in converting a weapon into a machine gun, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle;”

– Assemble or repair any machine gun, bump-fire stock, undetectable firearm, short-barreled shotgun, or short-barreled rifle; or

 – Manufacture an untraceable firearm with the intent to sell the untraceable firearm.”

“Undetectable firearm: means any firearm that is not as detectable as 3.7 ounces of 17-4 PH stainless steel by walk-through metal detectors or magnetometers commonly used at airports or any firearm where the barrel, the slide or cylinder, or the frame or receiver of the firearm would not generate an image that accurately depicts the shape of the part when examined by the types of X-ray machines commonly used at airports.”

“Untraceable firearm: means any firearm manufactured after July 1, 2019, that is not an antique firearm and that cannot be traced by law enforcement by means of a serial number affixed to the firearm by a federally licensed manufacturer or importer.”


California law does not completely outlaw 80% lowers. In fact, as 80% lowers can be bought and sold, but only for builds in rifles. Any 80% frame made for a handgun or a pistol is illegal in California law. Furthermore, any 80% rifle must be California Compliant and must be serialized.


80% lowers are illegal in Connecticut. A law was passed prohibiting the sale and possession of unserialized “receiver blanks” outright. Since the ban is against receiver blanks without serial numbers, and the ATF does not regulate them, and they are not shipped with serial numbers, most 80% lowers on the list are not sent with serial numbers, making it a violation to purchase them from out of state.

Washington D.C.

A letter released in 2020 as a temporary amendment to Official Code 7-2501.01 by the Mayor of Washington D.C. prohibits the sale and ownership of unserialized receiver blanks as part of a list of banned firearms. And in the case of 80% or unfinished pistol or handgun frames, any frame containing less than 3.7 ounces of metal is also strictly prohibited.

An excerpt from the letter:

  “The bill prohibits the District from issuing a firearms registration certificate for ghost guns. The bill defines ghost guns as a firearm that, after the removal of all parts except the receiver, cannot be detected by a metal detector that is calibrated and operated to detect the security exemplar? or do not accurately generate an image of the prohibited component in a commonly used detection device at secure federal government buildings and airports. Ghost guns also include an unfinished frame or receivers ‘The bill also prohibits any individual’s possession, sale, transfer, or use of a ghost gun in the District.”

Rhode Island

The Julie Cardinal Act is the document responsible for the prohibition of 80% lowers in the state of Rhode Island. At the time of the passing vote, this was said about the purpose of the act, “Under it, no one can build, own or sell these guns, unless it was made before 1968. Those who legally own ghost guns now have a 30-day grace period to get them serialized.” The ban also prohibits the manufacture of 3D printed frames and receiver blanks as well.


 HB 2744 H.D. 1 S.D. 2, “Prohibit[s] the manufacture, purchase, or obtaining of firearm parts for the purpose of assembling a firearm having no serial number.” It is illegal to purchase or own 80% lowers as a result of the aforementioned bill. The bill was passed in 2020 and expresses that no receiver blank can be milled with the intent to make a working firearm.

While it is legal in all other states at the current time, laws are always changing. Therefore it is our responsibility as members of the 80% lower community to be aware of the regulations set forth by the states that make them. 

What 80 lower to buy?

Until quite recently, the 80 lower market was quite stagnant. That is to say that the only real 80 lowers out there were made for the AR platform using very cheap composite materials, like those found in 3D printed and polymer lowers. 

Now, the market for 80% lowers is much more diverse as advancements in technology have led to increased reliability in composite lowers. 3D printed lowers are becoming more viable, these are lowers that require a 3D printer, and a downloadable file containing the dimensions of the lower. These can then be made into functioning firearms. There is a lot of controversy around a citizen’s ability to make their own gun for personal use at home. That is why a few states have completely outlawed the possession of receiver blanks if they do not contain enough steel in its frame to be considered legal.

Polymer lowers are just like they sound, but they encompass more than just AR platform lowers, but also handguns. That is because there are many polymer framed handguns that can be easily made into 80% lowers using the same principles that the AR receiver blanks are made from. The Polymer 80 company specializes in creating 80% handgun frames from a number of popular models, like the Glock 19 and Glock 43. These can be made for roughly the same price as buying one, but since they are 80% lowers, Federal background checks are not required.

The first attempts to diversify the 80 lower were with the original aluminum AR lowers. In an attempt to make them easier to make, people began to buy raw aluminum to be either billeted or cast, as opposed to the traditional forged lowers circulating the market. Here are the differences between forged, cast and billet lowers.

Forged Lowers- Forged lowers are made from raw aluminum that has gone through proper heat treatment, and hammering to make a strong and durable lower. Forging is the traditional process for which AR lowers are made, and on some level are regarded as the best in the market. Because a hammer is at play, there is not much room for customization on the external parts of the lower.

Billet. Billet lowers are made from raw aluminum blocks and are cut out using a CNC machine with a CAD program. These do not pose any real dangers and are often sought after because they can have unique designs on their exteriors. Durability does not lack, although, earlier versions of these lowers without any heat treatment can have issues near the buffer.

Cast – Cast 80% lowers are easy to make. All it involves is the right raw aluminum or polymer base and a mold. Once the molten aluminum cools, it will harden into a receiver blank which needs extra work to be done in order to be a firearm. However, while they are easy to make, they are also more dangerous to use as opposed to the others. Pressure cracks can easily be exposed after a few rounds of firing, because air pockets may still be present at the time of cooling. While designs can be customized, this can cause even more catastrophic failures: the grain of the aluminum is shifted rather than cut off like in the billet. Cast and billet lowers can both utilize different raw materials when making 80% lowers. 

How to serialize an 80% lower?

For whatever reason, you have built your 80% lower AR-15, but you want to get rid of it without selling an unserialized firearm.

How do you go about serializing that so you can dispose of it through an FFL. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of info that is outsourced about getting an unserialized gun serialized unless it is for a state that requires serialization of 80% receiver blanks. That is because most people either do private transfers or keep their unserialized lowers. However, here is a step by step guide on how to get your 80% Lower built Firearm serialized.


80% lowers themselves are not legally considered firearms on the federal level. Therefore, it cannot be provided with a serial number since the lower does not classify under what the ATF considers a firearm. This is for 80% lowers that have already been milled out to create a complete firearm. 80% lowers in most states do not require serialization, and because it is not regulated, you can serialize your firearms as you wish for the most part, unless you reside in California and Connecticut.

Here is a list of requirements for 80% serialization. States like California and Connecticut adopted standards set forth by the federal government for serializing a firearm. To comply, your 80% lower, frame, or blank receiver must include:

  • Serialization engraved 0.0003″ into the lower receiver.
  • ​A text size no smaller than 1/16″ in height.

Furthermore, the engraved serialization must include:

  • ✓ Firearm model
  • ​✓ City and state of manufacture
  • ​✓ Firearm caliber
  • ​Manufacturer’s first and last name
  • ​For the first and last name segment, you will use your own name, as you’re the manufacturer in the case of an 80% rifle.

Other than what is legally required by states that require serialization, the only guidelines are posted by the ATF. Serial numbers must be done “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. If you want your serial number to be compliant with ATF standards, here is what you need to do.

City & State of the Importer. Name of Importer, Caliber or Gauge, Model Designation (if assigned), Country of Origin, Name of Manufacturer, Serial Number Must be conspicuously engraved, cast or stamped (impressed) on the firearm frame, receiver, barrel or slide. For firearms imported after January 30, 2002, the engraving, casting or stamping (impressing) of the model designation must be to a minimum depth of .003 inch. And The serial number cannot duplicate the serial number appearing on any other firearm the importer previously imported.

Are 80 Lowers Worth it?

There are a lot of reasons to get an 80 lower. However, there is a negative stigma around them as the media perpetuates false narratives in relentless attempts to catalyze gun control legislation. Thus, there is a toss up that begs the question: Are 80% lowers worth it? Well, here is why you might want to buy an 80% lower.

They are Completely Legal

80% lowers are completely legal to buy in most states. There are only currently 12 states that have any regulations against 80% lowers.

They are cheaper- 80% lowers builds tend to be much cheaper in the long run, especially if you are into customizing builds. While there is a bit of an initial investment to be made in the proper equipment, 80% lowers involve less expenses because there are no transfer fees, background check fees, and the price of the lower will always be cheaper than that of a completed lower.

More customization value

The 80% market is basically a haven for aftermarket products that involve different specs than your standard “mil spec” criteria. With your 80% lower, you control the assembly of the products from beginning to finish. Customizing your 80% lower with different magazines, furniture, and internals is at the heart of what makes an 80% lower build a worthwhile investment.

Buying 80 lowers is as easy as buying anything, and online, there are many websites catering to the overwhelming demands for guns right now. In this way, people can take firearms ownership into their own hands. It takes the government out of our second amendment and places it in your control. As it is right now, there is nothing wrong with making a firearm from a receiver blank for personal use. The end result being of similar quality to name brands for a much cheaper price than name brand price. You don;t have to worry about violating a warranty because the purpose of these 80% lower built firearms is to customize and design them to your needs from the ground up. 

What is an 80 lower jig?

If you are new to 80% lowers, you are probably wondering how people go about building their 80% lower firearms. There are a few different ways to finish them, but the most common way to do it is along with a jig kit.

Jig kits are aluminum blocks that assemble around the lower you are preparing to mill. Along with a set of instructions, the jig will guide you along the proper dimensions for whatever spec your lower is. The jig kit is responsible for acting as a safety net between the drill and the lower. It clearly outlines the length and width of the drill measurements, and the depth measurements are clearly outlined in the instructions you are using. Jigs are commonly used with milling machines, and routers, as they are easy to connect to a vise grip. There is no point really in using a jig kit with a CNC machine. There are jig kits for all sorts of 80% lowers out there.

What are jigs made out of?

Jig kits do not only come in one material. There are polymer jigs and even paper jigs which are meant only to outline the dimensions for the trigger port of the receiver. We strictly advise against the use of paper jigs as they often require replacement, whereas stronger materials are able to take much more wear through many more uses. It is a good bang for your buck if you don’t search for the most inexpensive way to mill out your lower. Especially if you intend on making multiple complete lowers, polymer and steel jig kits are optimal.

Where to buy the best Jig Kit?

Each jig kit is good for a certain building method. The best jigs you can buy are the ones that are made for multiple different building methods. Whether using a milling machine, drill press or a hand drill, a jig kit that is sturdy and built to be used well in specific building methods is what you need. 

What router to use for 80 lower?

In spite of everything you need to build an 80% lower, a strong, durable, precise router is exactly what you need to ensure the perfect lower every time. Completing lowers takes a good machine that will drill to the correct specifications you need.

the drill itself needs to be able to withstand the materials that most 80% lowers are made out of: Aluminum and polymer. There are stronger materials that 80% lowers can be made out of, like steel, and your router should also be able to withstand that as well. Routers are generally much quicker than drill presses, and only require a precise hand, and quality parts to work with. In execution, routers function much like drill presses, however are capable of finishing lowers much quicker. Although you are sacrificing some security during the building process, finishing 80% lowers takes a steady hand and patience. There are jigs that are specially made for routers which can

Here is a list of viable Routers for you, should you choose to use a router:

Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP Compact Router for 80 Lower

If you are looking to mill an aluminum 80% lower than the Makita RT0701C 1-1/4 HP is the best one on the market. These are especially made for 80% lowers.


  • 10k-30 RPM Control Dial. The speed is easy to adjust.
  • Cam lock quick release system makes changing the depth or bits easy and quick.
  • Slim, ergonomic. Comfortable and easy to control.
  • Electronic control of speed maintains it while under load.
  • ​Starts up smoothly with the smooth start feature.
  • The base design allows for high visibility.
  • Durable, the motor is made of heavy-duty aluminum.

DEWALT DWP611 Router, Fixed Base, Variable Speed

This option is cheap and reliable, and has great durability. It will do its job for a while before it actually needs to be replaced.


  • 16k-27k RPM adjustable speed 7A motor
  • Soft starting allows for smoother milling in the beginning
  • Spindle lock button gives a quick single wrench change of bits
  • Motor quickly transitions between plunged and fixed bases
  • 8 slot ¼ in collet enables tighter grip
  • Dual LED work lights
  • Over molded handles for a firm and comfortable grip

Bosch 1617EVSPK Wood Router Tool Combo Kit

This is the most versatile of the bunch as it is able to do many things with its combo kit. It has a powerful 12 amp motor which makes milling lowers out very efficiently..


  • 12 Amp motor with precise speed adjustments and speed maintenance (8k-25k RPM)
  • Versatile router that can be used for woodcarving
  • Very comfortable grip, easy navigation
  • One of the most accurate plunge bases
  • Aluminum casing and motor make it extremely durable

Makita XTR01Z 18V LXT Cordless Compact Router

This a cordless router practically made for finishing 80% lowers. It is compact, but powerful, producing around 30k rotations per minute.


  • 10k-30k RPM with fine-tuned electronic speed adjustments
  • Slim and ergonomic design gives comfort and ease when handling
  • Start-lock prevents unintentional engagement of the router
  • Durable aluminum housing
  • 5Ah battery
  • Brushless motor that maintains speed under friction and resistance

Milwaukie 55MN0718V Compact Cordless Router

An ergonomic and safe router that is compact and powerful enough to do everything you needit to do.


  • 5Ah rechargeable Li-Ion battery with long work time
  • ​Switch push button
  • ​0-31k Max RPM and adjustable speed control
  • 900W brushless motor
  • Comfortable and easy-to-control housing

Why buy an 80 lower?

There are many reasons to buy an 80% lower. First of all, they are cheaper than completed firearms. Whether in an online sale with a transfer fee, or at a storefront, you should never check out with an 80% lower that cost more than a complete lower. 

80% lowers are cheaper because they involve the same material, but less work is done in the machining, therefore driving the cost down. 80% lowers are not legally considered firearms, and therefore do not require a federal background check, so naturally that means no federal background check fee. That also means no FFL Transfer fee, so there is easily $20-$50 off on what you would have to pay in an online transaction with a firearm.

80% lowers are often unbranded. Because of this, you are not paring the price of the name brand like you might be on a completed lower. This reduces the price on not only the lowers you are purchasing, but their parts as well. Purchasing a whole 80% lower can be as cheap as $300 because of the name you no longer have to pay for. Getting the necessary tools to build 80 lower firearms is the only investment you will have to make in order to get essentially discounted firearms.

Customization is one of the key aspects of 80% lowers. They are essentially aftermarket by nature, as AR-15 80% lowers are not built from the actual AR lower. They are more commonly derivatives of the DPMS AR lowers. The aftermarket around the AR-15 is very vast, and yet, you will come out paying usually a much cheaper price depending on the parts you use. But that is just what is at the heart of the 80% lower. You get to choose what to put onto your gun, for a much cheaper price, and without the government asking for more money.

Machining a lower without a jig. Can it be done?

Luckily, an 80% lower does not require a jig in order to be milled out properly. In fact, you can do it with paper outlines that, when fastened to the lower in the proper way, will give you the correct dimensions to mill. 

However, you can also make use of other methods as well, namely those involving CNC machines and cad programs. With these, it is possible to plug in the lengths width and depth measurements for all dimensions of the lower, and the machine will respond with an expertly milled, completed receiver. There are plenty of ways to do it, the CNC machine being the safest method out of any of them to complete 80 lowers.

Milling an 80 lower without a drill press, can it be done?

Many people use a drill press to complete their unfinished lowers. However, that is not required to complete one.

Especially if the lowers are not made of harder materials, sometimes all you need is a dremel tool. But let’s say it is a harder material, a drill press is still not ultimately necessary to complete the build, You can use a milling machine, a router, or a CNC machine in order to complete your 80% lower. You need to have a plan on how you build. Different tools have different advantages and disadvantages that can cause things to go differently if the proper care is not taken. It is not recommended at all to mill a lower with only a drill press.

80 percent lower without a router. Can it be done?

One of the reasons people love 80% lowers is for their accessibility and ease of build. That is because you can use many power tools to get the same effect.

Routers are another commonly used tool for milling out 80% lowers. However, routers can often be dangerous if used by someone not familiar with them. It takes knowing your router well enough to be able to efficiently use it to complete a receiver blank. There are alternative methods with the use of a milling machine or a CNC machine. It is important to remain as safe as possible to produce the perfect 80% lower for your build. 

80% Lower Vs Complete Lower

80% lowers become complete lowers when a builder mills out the trigger pocket and installs all of the necessary components to make the lower ready to be assembled with an upper. 

Buying a complete upper is the same as buying a firearm because the ATF regards only the lower on the gun to be a firearm. All other components are not considered firearms, which is why anyone can buy a complete upper, but not a complete lower without a background check. 80% lowers can be bought just like the other components, so you can essentially get a whole AR-15 kit shipped to your house, with the only requirement being that you have to mill out the trigger pocket and install everything yourself.

Complete lowers will come with the trigger assembly, the stock assembly an the grip all together to form what would essentially be half of a whole gun kit while 80% lowers don’t come with anything installed in them. They can be sold separately or with the necessary components in the same packaging. Installation is usually done by the builder when it comes to 80% lowers because it is not ideal to mill the lower with a full stock assembly on the lower. 

80 Lower Polymer vs Aluminum

There is a disconnect in the community with those who prefer the quicker method as opposed to what would be considered a safer, more reliable method.

Composite material lowers are some of the most popular among budget builder, and luckily with the advancements in polymer technology, newer polymers are becoming stronger and astronomically more resilient. However, is it enough to go through the beatdown that a s forged T6-7075 block of aluminum can? That is still debatable as there is a good portion of the community that stands by the use of their polymer 80% lowers. Especially since even Aluminum 80% lowers saw an increase. in price due to the overwhelming demand that came in the gun industry in 2020. Polymer is becoming a more viable option for the 80% lower AR-15 platform. However, Polymer dominates the 80% handgun market as sales for p80s rival that of Glocks complete sales.

80% Lower Raw vs Anodized

Most of the lowers you see for sale are anodized lowers. This is a electro-chemical process conducted on metals, especially aluminum, which hardens the outside layer, making it resistant to rust and corrosion. 

Aluminum is a metal that requires a lot of maintenance if not finished, so anodization prevents having to maintain the lower from rust from water or corrosion from the oils on our fingers. Raw 80% lowers can be useful, as most other finishes require the lower to be raw before the process can begin. 

Especially if you plan to make your 80% lower build a different color other than black, options like Cerakote and powder coat require the lower to be raw.

When buying a raw lower over an anodized one, the price will be somewhat cheaper because the cost of the anodization is not included in the price. However, in order to get it finished, you will either have to use your own resources or seek the help of a metal fabrication company that specializes in coatings made for guns.

Anodization is a cheap finish for any lower. It doesn’t use a lot of resources and doesn’t take a lot of energy to complete. Anodized lowers turn out much cheaper than those done in powder coat, cerakote, or hydro dip. Anodization is not a process that involves adding material onto the external of the frame like other paints. Its process alters the exterior layer of the metal to create a dense shell. This technique hardens the outer layer, but keeps the inner material soft and able to take more pressure without deforming. It is a versatile finish that exemplifies modern techniques in finishing metals for firearms.

80% Lower Forged Vs Billet

AR 80% lowers are traditionally forged into form with the use of hammers and heat treatment. However, over the years, newer methods of manufacturing 80% lowers came out; the most popular being the billet lower.

Billet lowers are characterized by the process from which they are made, which is from a block of aluminum. These lowers are cut out to shape usually with T7 6061 aluminum. The lower is drilled and tapped for the buffer tube, but is left relatively untouched as it is an 80% lower. The benefit of billet lowers is diversity in design. Because a machine is responsible for cutting excess metal off of the lower instead of pounding it like in forged lowers, it is much easier to cut out a specific design. Companies make use of this by selling lowers with unique designs on them.

80% lower Receiver vs Stripped

What is a stripped lower in comparison to an 80% lower? A stripped lower is a lower that is completed, but does not have any of its components installed.

While the trigger is not actually installed on a stripped lower, it is still legally considered a firearm as the milled out receiver is what is considered a firearm. A stripped lower is much like an 80% lower in that it still needs the parts installed. An 80% lower is not considered a firearm until it milled out, in which case it would become a stripped lower until the parts are actually installed in it. Stripped lowers serve the purpose that 80% lowers do to a certain degree. They involve less work than 80% lowers, but will involve you paying more for essentially the same item that you could have bought for much cheaper as an 80% lower. 

80 Lower Vs Drill Press

The Drill press is one power tool people use to finish their 80% lower receivers. They are usually easy to use and much safer than routers. They are not too different from milling machines as milling machines can typically be used for drilling.

However, Drilling presses are meant first to drill holes into metal, which is most of what you need to do in order to finish an 80% lower. Drill presses do not offer as much capability as the milling machine, because the milling machine is capable of creating horizontal cuts, whereas the drill press is primarily made for cutting round holes into hard materials. It may take longer to get the desired effect, however, the drill press is still a viable tool for machining 80% lowers, especially with the help of a jig kit.

80 lower ATF Ruling

Currently 80% lowers are legal on the federal level, and not due to any level of “loopholes” the media might tell you about. In fact they are legal because of the regulations on them that confirm them.

The ATF is the ruling authority on Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The ATF typically comes out with letters in which it outlines the “rules” for how people can own and prepare “receiver blanks” or 80% lowers. There is currently no law against the sale, possession or production of 80% lowers. Because the ATF does not regulate items that are not firearms, they cannot regulate them as firearms unless legislation passes that requires them to. 

80% Lower Background Check Necessary?

For new gun owners, or people new to 80% lowers in general, it might be unclear how to go about purchasing them. 

80% lowers are not considered firearms by the ATF, and therefore do not require the Federal background checks as a prerequisite to purchasing an 80 lower. On a state level, things get a little more complicated as States are able to regulate the transfer of 80% lowers, require background checks, and enlist registries in order to track and record transfers. It behooves anyone looking to purchase an 80 lower receiver to be aware of the laws of their state in order to make sure that no laws are being broken. Especially in the states in our previous topic, 80% lowers are heavily regulated and some states require serialization before they can enter the state. 

80 Lower Dimensions

The Dimensions of the AR-15 are manufactured to a certain specification. The industry standard, although taken loosely, is “Mil Spec.” This simply means that the dimensions and finish are to the specification that the military requires. There are some companies which deviate from this standard, however, since most of the products cater to this specification, it is more limiting to choose something that isn’t. 

80 lower

80% Lower Laws, Changes & Updates

80% lowers have become a staple of modern gun ownership, and for good reason too. They are often found cheaper than complete firearms, they invited the challenge of building a unique AR-15 without the unnecessary government intervention that comes into play with complete firearms, and are not terribly difficult to build. It cannot be understated that the building of 80% lowers has become its own hobby within the gun community which people of all socioeconomic statuses can enjoy. 

Recently though, there have been some changes that will critically alter the development of the 80 lower industry. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms recently issued a new ruling in the federal register that would effectively ban the sale and private manufacture of 80% receiver blanks. The ATF Ruling 2021r-05f was ruled on April 11th 2022, and will be made effective on August 24th, 2022. 

Will 80 Lowers be Grandfathered?

The term grandfathered, refers to a piece to an item manufactured before the date a regulation was made effective. A close example of this would be the sale of fully automatic firearms manufactured by for the year of 1968, pursuant to the Gun Control Act of  1968, which outlawed the ownership of fully automatic firearms. The act does not extend its jurisdiction to firearms made before its effective date meaning there is a category of fully automatic firearms available to the general public, albeit at much higher prices. 

The current ruling for 80% lower receiver blanks will expressly require any and all 80% lower built firearms without serial numbers to be turned in to local Federal Firearms Licensees to either be sold or serialized with an ATF approved serial number. This is done by the nature of the ruling, which does not inherently act as a ban towards 80% lowers, but changes the definition of firearm to incorporate what would be 80% lowers as firearms. 

The summary of the ATF ruling on the ATF website notes that firearms with split frames built from 80% lowers will be legal on the requirement that they are marked with a serial number in accordance with the ruling’s requirements. 

Does 80 Lowers Require Serial Numbers?

Currently, 80% lowers do not require serial numbers because until this ruling, they had not been legally considered firearms. In fact, the ruling is specifically a ruling that governs how the ATF will interpret its own regulations. The ATF Ruling 2021r-05f is not an actual piece of legislation, but must be adhered to in order to stave off a ten year prison sentence. 

80% lowers will not only require serial numbers, but they will not be able to be purchased by an individual to be serialized at a later date. 80% lowers will be serialized by the FFL licensee that has either manufactured it or has it available for retail. 

Types of Available 80 Lowers

There are a few kinds of 80% lowers. The first kind is that of the AR-15, which is a split receiver, meaning that the receiver is split into two parts that control the core functions of the receiver. The AR platform is available in many different calibers making this one of the most versatile firearms to build from an 80% lower receiver

The AK-47 lower receiver is not really an 80% lower receiver as it requires the firearm to be  built in its entirety rather than just the milling out of the fire control group. The gun itself is designed to be durable, therefore it is made using tools much harder to come by than those of the AR-15. 

Polymer handgun 80% lowers, like those of the popular company, Polymer 80 are another example of 80% lowers. Modeled after the Glock OEM, Polymer 80 lowers are compatible with factory OEM and aftermarket products. These 80% lowers only require a dremel tool and a hand drill to build. 

Which states are 80 lowers illegal?

  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Connecticut
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington
  • Washington DC
  • Hawaii
  • California

Break down the STATES and it’s laws regarding 80 lowers.

New Jersey

80% lowers are illegal in NJ. The Attorney General, Gerbir Grewal in 2018 issued a letter addressed to the Gun parts manufacturers demanding that the halt of 80% lowers sales in the state. 

New York

Like New Jersey, Leititia James, the Attorney General issued a cease and desist letter to gun parts manufacturers in September, 2019, halting the selling of receiver blanks to New York Residents. 


Washington state legislators passed a state bill that banned untraceable firearms, namely those that can easily pass through metal detectors. While the bill does not expressly ban 80% lowers, polymer 80s and those without the required amount of metal are illegal. 


80% lowers are legal in California, but only rifles. Pistols are not legal to be built from scratch by someone who is not an FFL. The state also requires that 80% lowers are serialized upon being built. 

Washington D.C. 

The mayor of D.C passed the “Ghost Guns Prohibition Emergency/Temporary Amendment Act Of 2020.” The bill amends an established law that includes 80% lowers in a list of prohibited firearms. 

Rhode Island

Rhode Island passed the Julie Cardinal Act after a shooting. This bans the sale and ownership of “ghost guns” or un-serialized and untraceable firearms. 80% lowers are banned from being sold in the state to its residents, and the manufacture of 3D printed guns is prohibited as well. 


In 2020, Hawaii passed  HB 2744 H.D. 1 S.D. 2 which prohibits the manufacture purchase or obtaining of firearm parts for the purpose of assembling a firearm that has no serial number. The manufacture of 3D printed guns is also illegal according to state law. 

Are 80 lower Jigs illegal?

80% lower jigs are not illegal as they are not regulated by the ATF or any state law. Some states do however have bans on certain methods of making firearms at the home, especially revolving around the use of 3D printing. The ATF Ruling 2021r-05f does not specifically say anything about Jig kits themselves, but seeing as people will not be able to build 80% lowers from their homes anymore, jigs kits may suffer a similar fate. 

Should you buy an 80 lower?

Buying 80% lowers as they are now will not be available soon. Even still, purchasing an 80% lower and building it will still be possible, but on the date that the ruling becomes effective, the build will need to be serialized. 80% lowers are currently still cheaper than purchasing a complete firearm because the law has not been taken into effect yet, however, this will change come August 24th. It is still worth it to be an 80% lower currency despite it needing to be serialized in the near future. Get them while you can!


Needless to say, gun control has become much stricter with the ATF ruling 2021r-05f. In what seems like just a method to reduce the 80% building hobby to zero, the ATF and the Biden administration has seen fit to change the definitions of many things revolving around the private manufacture of firearms sales. Whether this ruling will last or not in future administrations remains to be seen, though recent Supreme Court rulings have been in favor of the second amendment. 

Glock 19 upper

How to build a perfect Glock 19 upper?

How to build a perfect Glock 19 upper? Building your own custom gun is getting more and more popular everyday. Everyone has creativity, even gun fanatics need to express their creativity sometimes. No better way than building your own custom Glock. The perfect Glock 19 upper is really dependent on you and your preference. Many factors come into play when choosing your slide, barrel and even your upper parts kit. A few of these factors include type of metal, quality, weight,and price. We recommend checking out 80-lower.shop – Glock Compatible Parts for all these aftermarket parts.

Choosing the perfect Glock 19 upper

When building a perfect Glock 19 upper this includes barrel,slide and upper parts kit. Even though stock components work fine. There are many benefits to aftermarket upgrades. We recommend that you upgrade or choose your barrel out first. This is because it’s often overlooked but can be the most important part of your Glock 19. Glock factory barrel doesn’t recommend the use of lead bullets, this is because it builds up to unsafe levels in the rifling when shooting lead. Most aftermarket barrels allow lead bullets. Of course there are more benefits to upgrading your barrel than just this. Many aftermarket barrels are threaded, which means you can add attachments like suppressor, muzzle break etc. Also some barrels are spiral fluted, this allows for the barrel to stay cooler and keeps your Glock more accurate for longer periods of time.

Next up is an aftermarket slide, the easiest to switch out and the most cosmetically pleasing to add. When choosing your slide it’s really your preference but we recommend you keep these details in mind. The standard Glock slide is often plain and heavy. Our favorite slide is windowed and skeletonized for grip. Recommended checking out 80-lower.shop – Glock Compatible Parts for the exact slide I’m talking about. I like the Skeletonized slide Gen 3 for many reasons. The windowed feature is good for weight reduction and exposes the barrel. The last part to complete your perfect Glock 19 upper is choosing an upper parts kit. The standard Glock upper parts kit is reliable but often hard to get and over priced. We recommend an aftermarket Glock 19 upper parts kit on 80-lower.shop – Glock Compatible Parts.

Hope this helps and answers your question when building a perfect Glock 19 upper. When choosing standard Glock components or aftermarket we always recommend going aftermarket. The quality and reliability of the parts are on the same level. While giving you many more benefits than the standard parts. Also let’s be honest the Glock 19 is reliable and great for self defense but it could use some help in the looks department. That’s why building your own Glock with parts you want, allows for more customization and an all around better handgun. Visit 80-lower.shop – Glock Compatible Parts for the highest quality aftermarket Glock parts, P80 build kits and more.

80 Lower

Why Should You Buy 80 Percent Lower Receiver?

Table of content

  • What is 80 percent lower receiver?
  • Benefits of the 80 percent lower receiver
  • What can I get in 80 percent lower?
  • Why not buy 100% completed lower?

What is the purpose of 80 percent lower receiver? Why should you buy one? With the ever-increasing clutch of gun control laws in the United States, it is getting harder and harder for law-abiding citizens to express their second amendment rights. Gun sales across the nation have been targeted leaving businesses to ask a little more than they should when it comes to retail. That’s on top of whatever fees and background checks customers must engage with. 80% lower receivers have been and are the solution to whatever problems you might be facing with a 100% complete firearms.

What is 80 percent lower receiver?

The term 80 lower is more of an umbrella term referring to guns that are not yet complete with what requirements that would legally define it as a firearm under the National Firearms Act of 1934. This act is the legal document which defines firearms, whether they are pistols, rifles, SBRs, or Any Other Weapon.

Benefits of the 80 percent lower receiver

  • Protects your constitutional right of privacy
  • Fully custom to your needs (no more mediocre name brand AR’s or aftermarket Glocks, you get to build your own)
  • Building 80 percent lower receiver can give you better understanding of how your rifle or pistol works
  • Legal to build in most states (check your state laws before buying one)
  • Building a 80 lower receiver is extremely patriotic and very supportive of 2nd amendment.

80 lowers are offered on a lot of platforms including Glock platform well as most popular Armalaite platform. Polymer 80 is the leading 80 lower manufacturer regarding Glock platform,

What can I get in 80 percent lower?

The AR-15 platform popularized the 80 lower market. Many different companies have pushed these lowers into the market, providing 80 percent build kits and accessories to go along with these lower receivers. However, the AR-15 along with its variants, the AR-10 and AR-9 are not the only 80% lowers out there. Polymer 80, a company that specializes in polymer lower receivers, develops frames to a variety of polymer frame handguns, mainly by Glock. In this way, people can experience the reliability of Glocks platform, with customization quality of the aftermarket, without any interference from the government.

Why not buy 100% completed lower?

100%ers are still viable for purchasing. However, citizens who want to protect their 4th amendment rights as well as their 2nd should be going the 80% route. That is because much of the market for each kind of lower is the same. Stocks, grips, lower parts kits, optics are all the same whether you buy an 80% lower or not. You don’t have to worry about spending extra, and if you buy 80% lowers online there is no transfer fee since it is sent directly to your house. With 100% AR-15 lower receivers, background checks, transfer fees, and long shipping times are all to present.

From AR-15s to Polymer 80s, the 80% market is continuously growing with new innovations. Epicenters for gun control like California and New York act as catalysts for new innovations to come to the market. Buying an 80% lower is making a statement against unjust gun control laws. P80.biz can help you pick whatever kind of voice that represents your frustration with crappy gun laws in whatever color or caliber you want.

Notice: we are not lawyers you still need to check your State and Local laws. Shop 80-lower.shop today get your 80 percent lower!


Where are P80 Legal?

are P80 legal in most states? Short answer is Yes. You do need to check with your state laws, as it can vary from state to state. Its important to fully understand your local laws as it can be slightly confusing. Its also important that you are in full compliance and not doing anything illegal. This stands for all 80% gun products, not just for Polymer 80. With that said P80 are still very popular to buy and assemble in the United States. If you do build a P80 in a legal state and decide to transfer a finished firearm to another individual. Do your own research, as again the law varies depending on your local and state laws. Be extra careful and make sure you protect yourself before giving another individual a completed firearm. For any firearm transfer its your responsibility to understand the local and federal laws and how they apply.

Where are P80 illegal?

Polymer 80 are illegal in these following states:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

Why are P80 illegal in some states?

Each state is different depending on the laws but here are some examples:

A fully assembled P80 is illegal in Massachusetts. How ever its different for the kit. Massachusetts is known to have relatively strong gun laws that don’t apply to the kits because they are not considered firearms by the state or federal government. But keep in mind once you assemble the P80 it then becomes a firearm that has to be registered with the state. The reason P80 are illegal is because the firearm does not obtain a serial number to register with the state.

Why cant you order a P80 in California? California is different in that fully assembled or 100% P80 are legal if the firearm obtains a serial number to be registered. In California you can not order a P80 kit how it comes simply because the lower receiver does not have a serial number. California requires firearms to be registered before they enter the state. If you live in California and would still like to own a P80, then make sure there is a serial number already on the P80 or you’ll have to get the 80% lower serialized before it enters California. Please do your own research as laws change all the time.

Where to buy a P80?

Before you consider buying a P80 make sure you understand all local and state laws in your area. As 80% lower laws will most likely be changing in the future. P80 are still and have been a great way for you to exercise your 2nd amendment right and a great experience in the assembly process. For high quality 80 percent lower I highly recommend P80.biz . They also have the best selection on colors and caliber of your choosing.

Notice: we are not lawyers you still need to check your State and Local laws.

Are Polymer80 Products Legal? As it stands right now, yes, Polymer80 products are absolutely legal under federal law. This extends to all 80% gun products, and not just the Polymer80 brand.

Important Article: AFT Final Ruling 2021R-05F Summarized


Are P80 Reliable?

Are P80 reliable? The P80 PF940C is closely compared to the Glock 19. As you may know Glocks are known to be very reliable and great handguns all around. P80 PF940C are just as reliable or more reliable then Glock 19. Here is why, P80 PF940C are built with similar high quality parts as the Glock 19. Another reason P80 are more reliable is because the firearm is fully customizable to your liking. This factor allows you to change the components you dislike and replace with something better.

Why are PF940C P80 reliable?

When it comes to firearms the fewer the parts the more reliable and less can go wrong. This is very important when choosing a gun design. When a gun has lots of moving parts, the more parts there is to break. Like the Glock, P80 PF940C doesn’t have many moving parts. The design is super simple and this is on purpose. This allows the gun to be easy to use, meaning there is less that can go wrong. The P80 PF940C doesn’t feature any manual safety features just like the Glock. This is another example of such few parts and a really simplicity design. They still have a trigger safety, drop safety, and even a firing pin safety. This simply prevents the weapon from firing unless trigger is physically pulled.

Why choose the P80 PF940C over a Glock?

PF940C Is closely compared to the Glock 19 in almost every way. The reasons P80 PF940C is a better option then the Glock 19 is simply for the unforgettable experience of building your own and the customization that the P80 offers. By choosing the P80 you gain the experience of building and understanding your firearm in a way you haven’t before. P80 are extremely simple to assemble and gives you the option in the future to change anything you dislike. Having a 1 0f 1 customized P80 “Glock” is always a cool thing to have. Another factor of the P80 that most people desire. Unlike Glock’s, P80 comes with no serial number. Yes, its legal in most states and is a really cool way to exercise your 2nd amendment right.

Are P80 PF940C good for carry?

Yes, just like the Glock 19 the P80 PF940C is a good option for carry. It is legal to carry in most states, but most don’t recommend it. The reason is because P80 don’t obtain a serial number. That’s a problem if you ever get stopped by law enforcement and have to explain why your firearm doesn’t have a serial number.

Where to buy a P80?

Before you consider buying a P80 make sure you understand all local and state laws in your area. As 80% lower laws will most likely be changing in the future. P80 are still and have been a great way for you to exercise your 2nd amendment right and a great experience in the assembly process. For high quality 80 percent lower I highly recommend 80 lower shop. They also have the best selection on colors and caliber of your choosing.

Notice: we are not lawyers you still need to check your State and Local laws.

best P80 accessories

What are the best P80 accessories?

Best p80 accessories? As you may know the P80 handgun is a replica of the Glock 19. The Glock 19 and P80 are almost identical as they share the same Glock parts and components. The only difference is that the P80 has a custom frame, separate from the Glock brand. This means the P80 is compatible with all the accessories Glock 19 has to offer and more. We recommend starting out with a few simple modifications that could help you out tremendously. Many accessories are often overlooked and underestimated. The Glock 19 and P80 are the most commonly used pistols on the market today. With that said it’s also one of the most common guns to carry. That’s why we recommend starting out with accessories such as a P80 holster and a flashlight for your P80 frame. We recommend checking out 80-lower.shop for the highest quality and best P80 accessories.

What are the best parts to upgrade on your P80?

The best thing about owning a P80 is how customizable they are. The P80 is best for testing modifications and trying out new accessories. If you are thinking of purchasing accessories for your own P80, then consider these accessories or upgrades for better shooting at the range or even competitions. Optics for most people are the first place they start and it is an option to consider, however it’s in your best interest to master the iron sights first before applying any aftermarket sights to your P80. We also recommend upgrading your barrel to a spiral fluted barrel. This barrel allows you to shoot more rounds, while keeping the barrel slightly cooler longer for accuracy. This barrel also offers an upgrade cosmetically for your P80 and adds a look many don’t have. The next upgrade on the list is an upgraded slide. The reason we recommend upgrading your slide is not only for cosmetic purposes but because the slide has extra grip for more tactical use. These slides are often lighter, for more control and accuracy. The other common upgrades we recommend considering are upgraded triggers and extended magazine.

In conclusion these are the best P80 accessories to upgrade. These upgrades we recommend are not essential for the P80. The fully stock P80 is amazing how it comes and really doesn’t need to be upgraded. But if you decide to upgrade or add any accessories to your P80, we recommend checking out 80-lower.shop for the best p80 accessories.


Is P80 Legal To Carry?

Is P80 legal to carry? The short answer is yes, but most don’t recommend it. The P80 replicates the Glock® series handgun with the same frame in form, the same build and function. From first glance you can’t see a difference between the two.The P80 lower or P80 frame kit are the only components that are not Glock brand. This is what makes the Glock® series and P80 different. The P80 closely resembles the Glock 19. However the reason it’s not recommended for carry is simply because the P80 frame kit does not come with serial numbers.

How are P80 legal for concealed carry?

How is the P80 legal? This may come as a shock to you, but even though the P80 lower does not obtain a serial number. The handgun is still legal to own and assemble in most states. As it stands right now Polymer 80 is absolutely legal to own under federal law. This is because the federal law does not see the p80 frame kit and other parts as a firearm. Once assembled into a firearm most states don’t require any serializing to a complete kit. Some P80 owners still utilize their P80 for concealed carry, however if you get stopped by law enforcement you will have to explain why your firearm doesn’t have a serial number.

Why choose a P80 over a Glock?

It’s true you could just walk into any gun store buy a Glock and call it a day. But like everything there are pros and cons. In my opinion the P80 has way more to offer over the Glock. To just name a few of the pros P80 has to offer is experience in assembly, customization, more affordable and more upgradable to your preference. By purchasing a P80 you are getting everything the Glock has to offer and more. You don’t just get to assemble your firearm but you also get that hands-on experience of knowing how your firearm operates. With this experience in your arsenal you can easily upgrade your P80 components to what you prefer in the future. If you are interested in learning more about P80 or ready to purchase a kit, I recommend visiting 80-lower.shop/ for the highest quality P80 and Glock parts. Learn more on your own on why the P80 is legal.

Notice: we are not lawyers you still need to check your State and Local laws.


P80 Glock Vs. the Glock 19

Why choose the P80 Glock over the Glock 19? As you may know the P80 is a replica of the Glock 19. The only difference between the two is that the P80 has its own frame, separate from the Glock brand. Nowadays you can essentially build almost any firearm from scratch using aftermarket parts. The most common P80 is built off of all 80 Glock 19 parts, except the frame comes from P80. It’s really important to choose reliable parts when building your P80. That’s why Glock parts are most common to use. We recommend checking out Polymer 80 Build Kits From P80.biz The reason people choose the P80 Glock over the Glock 19 is most commonly for these reasons. The P80 is just as reliable as the Glock 19 (if assembled properly), extremely customizable, easily upgradeable and the experience you gain by building your own firearm. 

Why choose the P80 Glock over the Glock 19?

P80 Glock over Glock 19? If I were to put a Glock 19 and a p80 side by side. You would have to look very closely to see the difference. Even though that is true, the P80 has a lot more to offer then the Glock. As a gun enthusiast and someone that loves guns. I appreciate owning a P80 over the Glock 19 a lot more. There is just something about owning a firearm you built and understanding the firearm in and outs first hand. Because the P80 must be assembled and is very easy to assemble (20-30 minutes max) you understand the gun’s functionality and how the P80 is put together. This also allows you to be more confident when wanting to upgrade or clean a certain part of your P80. This brings me to my favorite part of owning a P80. When taking any firearm to the shooting range, you will find things you like and dislike about each gun. When it comes to the P80 it’s different, when shooting your P80 and if you find something you dislike about it. You can simply change out the parts and upgrade to something more suited for you. 

Where to get started?

Next time you’re looking for a new Glock or a new gun to purchase, we recommend giving the P80 a shot. You’ll understand why the P80 Glock over the Glock 19. Since the Glock 19 is the most common firearm to conceal carry, this means you will have endless options when considering upgrading your P80. If you’re anything like me and like having custom items. Then there is nothing better than owning a custom glock built by you.

When looking for a place to buy your full P80 kit we recommend these Polymer 80 Build Kits: P80 Glock 19

Understanding How AR15 Uppers Work and Why You Need One

The AR-15 upper. Most of them work in similar fashion to each other and I guess that is obvious. The AR-15 upper, in this case, refers to the upper portion of the AR-15 which houses the barrel and gas system, as well as the bolt and rail system. They are the most easily interchangeable portions of the AR-15 because they do not carry any serial numbers. n upper contains

  1. a charging handle,
  2. delta ring assembly
  3. gas tube
  4. gas block
  5. dust cover
  6. hand guard
  7. Barrel
  8. flash hider
  9. and forward assist.

While there is a basic setup for all AR-15 uppers that are composed of the parts above, there are  a few variations in which many AR-15 owners  choose to customize their AR-15s.

The Style of AR-15 uppers

There are 4 distinct versions of the AR-15 upper receiver that people can take advantage of, whether going for a more high performance build or a more classic AR style look.

A1 and A2. Those who prefer a more classic look to their ARs go for these because they both feature the  AR-15 carry handle. These usually require an optic that is lifted or one that is attached to the barrel if the hand guard is also on that more classic design.

The Flat top uppers, or the A3 and A4 uppers are practically built to house whatever accessories you want. Although many would advise against strapping a single build with all the fixings, in favor of a more specialized build, the possibilities are nearly endless with these two upper receivers.

The Forward Assist

The forward assist’s purpose in modern civilian rifles has been the topic of a lot of debate, as it is essentially a tool designed for situations where a complete field strip can’t be done. In combat situations, the forward assist is a valuable asset, as if dirt and debris clog the action, the forward assist allows the user to manually push the bolt forward and chamber another round. This usually  helps clear up the  debris in the action, allowing the AR to be fired as normal. However, for those who think it is a useless addition, some uppers come without it.

Charging handle

The charging handle is used to pull the bolt back in order to chamber the first round. After that, it is all up to the gas system to cycle the action.

The charging handle is one of the more useful tools on an AR-15. However many would agree that the stock charging handle on an AR-15 is not a specialized piece in any way. Fortunately the aftermarket is home to many different variations of the charging handle that make it much easier to rack that action.

T Marks

The T marks on an upper receiver are made for measuring locations on the upper in order to more efficiently mount accessories. They are called T marks because the markings are at the top of the upper receiver on the picatinny rail.

Delta Ring Assembly

This area of the AR-15 is very important, as it is the location in which the barrel is connected to the upper. Not only that, but the handguard, which is meant to protect the hand from heat and provide extra mounting capabilities for optics relies on a securely built upper. This part of the upper is composed of the:

  • delta ring
  • barrel nut
  • weld spring
  • barrel snap ring


The AR-15 is made completely of metal and polymer. And while metallurgy and polymer manufacturing have definitely come a long way since the AR-15 was first designed, such a combination doesn’t insulate against heat very well, especially when there is nothing between the hand and the barrel. That is where the handguard comes in. Its sole purpose is to be held  by the user and protect against the heat created by constant firing. Handguards were primarily made in polymer, however, with the grade of polymer back then, and even to this day, they cannot be useful for protecting against heat as well as securely holding whatever accessories you want. It’s just too much to ask for the material.

And while Aluminum is able to do both to an extent, aluminum is still a metal, and is naturally a conductor of heat. There are handguards which make use of the metallurgical and polymer advancements to create more insulated handguards in the aftermarket.

Gas tube

The gas tube is responsible for sending a portion of the gas that has expanded inside the barrel back to the bolt, which provides enough energy to cycle the next round. In this way, the AR-15 is a gas powered firearm, different from other systems which use the blowback, or a piston in order to cycle the next round.

Never cheap out on the components of a gas system as they are the only thing making the gun a semi automatic action.

Flash hider

The flash hider screws onto the muzzle of the barrel, which should be threaded already. Its purpose, especially on ARs that have shorter barrel lengths than the standard 16” is to hide the flash of the muzzle. A round that is fired is also pushing out the remains of gunpowder that has yet to be burnt up and not all of the powder burns up inside of the barrel, creating the muzzle flash that we all know and hate. The flash hider reduces the flash an AR might create which makes it a must have battle implementation, especially on night time excursions. Understanding how the AR-15 operates is very important. This knowledge will help you to define the standard an AR-15 upper should be achieving, and therefore help you raise the bar on your own personal build when it comes to customize and optimize.