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Username Post: Could you make your own gun? Legally        (Topic#8568)
Shooter/Master Member
10-29-08 02:30 PM - Post#71154    

I was wondering if anyone could give me a brief overview of what LEGAL steps one would have to go through to manufacture a firearm, and or sound suppressor.

I’m only concerned about making guns that are single action, and semi-auto.

Without the tedious hours of research it would take me to find out. I’m curious if it is even worth the headache of paperwork and fees.

It can’t be impossible.

I ask this here because of the sound suppressor.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

~Abraham Lincoln

Shooter/Master Member
10-29-08 06:51 PM - Post#71162    

    In response to SamW

yes, it is certainly possible, but sorry, i don't know all the details of exactly what you have to do.
"Here we are, the dead. We die again, but this time to truly live." -Emiliano Zapata

10-30-08 06:15 AM - Post#71165    

    In response to SamW

Your question is pretty broad in scope which makes answering it a challenge.

Realize that whatever answer I give you, you need to contact your local ATF Office and get an opinion from them directly.

ATF Branch Offices are actually quite helpful when you call and ask questions. They aren't the Gestapo and your relationship with them when you call to ask questions isn't adversarial.

Realize that YOU are calling them to assure that you are abiding by the law and in my experience they treat you accordingly.

It's much like asking a cop for directions.


According to ATF:

  • Quote:
Generally, a person should obtain a license as a manufacturer of firearms if the person:

1) is performing operations that create firearms or alter firearms (in the case of alterations, the work is not being performed at the request of customers, rather the person who is altering the firearms is purchasing them, making the changes, and then reselling them);

2) is performing the operations as a regular course of business or trade; and

3) is performing the operations for the purpose of sale or distribution of the firearms.

If you're making a firearm for your own use and have no intention of selling it, you do not need a manufacturers license.


  • Quote:
per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.

So it appears that you may make your own gun for personal use as far as ATF is concerned.

GCA 68 defines firearms as:

  • Quote:
“…(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may be readily
converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive:

(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;

(C) any firearm muffler or silencer; or

(D) any destructive device.

Such term does not include an antique firearm.”

It looks like you can make your own silencer as well. BUT keep in mind that YOU are going to be the person answering to the guys in bad suits if this is wrong, not me; so I would make that phone call.

Also, we only discussed the question from the perspective of Federal Law, you have the State and Local laws to deal with too.

That should make it about as clear as mud...
Wisdom is Knowledge Shared

Sharpshooter Sheath Systems

Shooter/Master Member
10-30-08 08:22 AM - Post#71171    

    In response to Sharpshooter

Actually you answered the question nicely… Thanks.

Just knowing that it is indeed possible makes the phone call worth it. However I have noticed that cold calling Government agencies is usually met with looping conversations that leave you where you started. Lost.

If you can narrow down SOME of your questions so that you at least ask for specifics you can sometimes get an answer… sometimes.

Just by letting them know I intend to only make firearms/suppressors for my own LEGAL use, then that might connect me with the proper person.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

~Abraham Lincoln

Probationary Member
01-16-09 04:01 PM - Post#74764    

    In response to SamW

Construction of your own Silencers and Suppressors may be legally done in many states by filing an ATF Form 1. If it is not illegal to possess a suppressor in your state (legal in 39 out of 50) and your local CLEO (Chief Law Enforcement Officer) will sign off on your paperwork, you pass the ATF background check, you wait about 3 months for the paperwork to be processed & returned, and you pay the $200 tax for possession of the device.
So, there are a lot of rules and regulations, but it can be legally done.
Legal Suppressor: $200 cost & 3 months time (red tape.)
Illegal Suppressor: minimal cost, no red tape, & 5 to 10 years (in the Federal Pen along with the confiscation of all your toys, legal or not, if you get caught.) Be legal.

Another alternative: Several members of our local Idaho Automatic Weapons Collectors Assoc., ( have manufacturers licenses. $500/year licensing fee, and you can build anything you want, full auto, etc. BUT you can only sell things that are legal to sell in your state. Therefore, you can do research & development on full auto weapons, you can shoot your "prototypes", but you may only sell them to military or law enforcement or other Type 7 FFL holders, (these are called Post-May weapons.) Some of the "prototypes" I have seen are Thompson SMGs or similar weapons built from WWII parts kits. (It's practice work.) FUN!

Do some Google searches on Type 7 FFLs, Post-May weapons, Form 1s, Etc. Lots of help on web sites. Makes interesting reading. AND before you make ANYTHING, check your local, state, and federal laws. I believe I am correct in my research, but VERIFY first! I am not a lawyer or representative of the BATFE.
Shooter/Master Member
02-05-09 01:02 AM - Post#75825    

    In response to 219Zipper

Excellent reply, thank you for the info.

I have some homework to do. For my only real concern is that what ever I do, it is done legally.
America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

~Abraham Lincoln

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