The AR 15 platform can be built into a rifle or pistol. But there are some things to remember and consider before doing either. Here are the top things to keep in mind before you build an AR 15 Pistol.
When is an AR 15 a Pistol?
The actual definitions and rules are fuzzy at best. Not to mention, they change constantly. So, it is important to check with your local jurisdiction before attempting your build or buy of an AR 15 Pistol.
The Lower Receiver
One of the first things to be sure about is the purchase of the lower receiver. If it is stripped or sold by itself, it may be possible to use it as a pistol lower. The key to remember here is, while it is essentially identical to a lower that is registered as a rifle lower, it can never have been a rifle lower. Meaning if you buy a stripped lower, it is possible that it can be registered as an other lower or pistol lower, so long as it was never registered as a rifle lower.
Here are other features to take note of as well.
Stock, Pistol Tube, or Brace
If your lower receiver has a rifle stock attached to it, you are holding a rifle, regardless of the length. In order to have a pistol, it must not have a rifle stock meant to shoulder as a rifle. By maintaining a pistol tube, you can typically stay within the regulations for having a pistol as long as no other features are present. The most volatile is the pistol brace. The laws keep changing constantly, the spirit of the law does not, if you use it as a brace, you're typically okay, if you shoulder it, that's a problem.
The most common barrel lengths for AR 15 pistols is either 7.5' or 10". That is not to say however, that those are the only pistol barrel lengths. Or even the only measurements of concern either. The overall length as well as the length of pull are also important when defining an AR-15 Pistol. The LOP, which is the length from the trigger to the back of the tube or brace, it needs to be less than 13".
The overall length must be under 26" as well in order to be considered a pistol, otherwise it will be considered a SBR.
When is an AR 15 an SBR?
An SBR is a short-barreled rifle. It is a weapon that is shorter than the 26" overall length, has a barrel shorter than 16", and is meant to be shouldered.
An AR15 Pistol can be declassified by adding features that would make it an SBR. The addition of a vertical fore grip to an AR Pistol would change it's designation to a short barreled rifle.
If you install a stock onto an AR 15 Pistol it becomes an SBR. Be sure to check the current regulations and your local jurisdiction for up-to-date rules before building or shooting an AR15.
Can I Build an AR 15 Pistol?
As of this writing, yes, so long as you follow the law and your local rules. There are specific guidelines to remember, but the primary one is do not shoulder a pistol, it ceases to be a pistol in spirit. With the ATF maintaining a habit of changing the definitions every year, as well as keeping the rules fuzzy enough you probably need help interpreting them, be sure to check before you build.
But actually, building one once you are certain you can is as easy as building a rifle. You can purchase complete pistol uppers for your legal lower from local dealers as well as sellers on the internet. Because the only part of the AR 15 that is considered a gun is the lower receiver, you can purchase the remaining parts and accessories from any reputable seller.
It is important to buy and use high quality parts and accessories because a firearm is not the place to save a couple bucks and buy low quality foreign made knock-off parts. You want to be sure you can rely on your AR 15 whether it is a rifle or pistol.
Where to Buy AR 15 Pistol Uppers
Black Rifle Depot is the premier online seller of complete AR 15 Pistol Uppers and AR 15 Pistol Build Kits. They have been the top online resource for AR 15 Uppers for several years while maintaining their five-star customer service and live inventory. Black Rifle Depot is the place to buy all the top AR 15 Parts, including complete uppers in one place from many of the best brands at reasonable prices without sacrificing great service. Shop AR 15 Pistol Uppers