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80% Builds

80% Arms Easy Jig Gen 2 Review

80 Percent Arms Easy Jig Review

For anyone building their own AR10 or AR15 from an 80% lower, a good jig is an absolute must. I’ve tried several, but I have a new favorite.

In this 80% Arms Easy Jig Gen 2 review, I completed several different AR15 lowers from different manufacturers and made of different materials. And, even though I tried, I couldn’t find any significant fault with the system.

If you have an AR10 or AR15 lower waiting for completion this review will be of interest to you. So, let’s not waste any time and jump right in.

Quick Take

The 80% Arms Easy Jig Gen 2 proved to be a very accurate, easy and fast jig for completing an AR lower. Of the jigs I’ve tried to date, it is my favorite. In addition to my review here, you can see more on it at the company’s website here.

The Easy Jig Gen2

Making an AR15 is one of the most popular homemade firearm builds today. Even so, a lot of people are hesitant because of the perceived difficulty in accomplishing the task.

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80% Builds

Liberty MkIX: 80% 1911 Frame with Significant Advances

Liberty MkIX 1911 frame

If you like to build your own firearms, the Liberty MkIX line of 80% 1911 frames may be of great interest to you.

The new Liberty MkIX pistols from Freedom Concepts Laboratory promise fewer parts, lighter weight and improved fit for a range of shooters. With a range of frame sizes, you will be able to build a 1911-style handgun that meets your needs instead of trying to arrange your life around the gun’s size.

Sizes & Models

Initially, there will be three basic models:

  • MkIX-G – a government sized model with a 5″ slide, short accessory rail, full grip and 8 round magazine
  • MkIX-Gx – an extended model with a 5″ slide, full length accessory rail, full grip and 8 round magazine
  • MkIX-O – an officer sized model with a 4″ slide, short accessory rail, full grip and 8 round magazine

All three models are made of a proprietary blend of glass filled polymer. The frame rails are made of steel for increased durability.

80 percent 1911 frame

I should be careful to note that these are 80% receivers, or frames, and not completed firearms. To be used as a firearm, you must complete a number of machining actions on the part before it can be assembled into a working handgun. Once you complete the required machining operations, you can complete it with 1911 parts.

The machining process will require some simple tools and work on your end. Until the machining is complete, this is (legally speaking) just a hunk of polymer. It can be shipped straight to your home without paying $30 or more to have it transferred through an FFL.

Yes, it is perfectly legal to build your own gun. Homemade firearms are completely lawful under federal law and most states. See my article on the federal requirements about applying a serial number to a homemade firearm for more information.

Fewer Parts

According to Freedom Concepts Laboratory, the new 80% 1911 frames use standard 1911 magazines, slides and internal parts. However, the company says the frames require 40% fewer parts than a standard 1911 pistol.

In addition to the 80% 1911 frames, the company will sell a reusable jig. This will be sold separately since it can be used to complete multiple firearms.

1911 frame jig

Freedom Concepts Laboratory states it will support the frames with a full line of parts kits to make assembling the guns as easy as possible for the home builder. This includes a “one box, one gun” package that includes all of the parts you need.

Hand Fit, Lefties

One of the things that 1911 shooters tend to love about the guns is the way they fit into the hand. However, that doesn’t mean the traditional 1911 grip is ideal for all shooters.

To improve the shooting experience for folks of all hand sizes, the company designed the frame to accept different sizes of backstraps. Interestingly, the patent pending backstrap system also captures the mainspring assembly. I look forward to seeing exactly what the designers did here.

left handed 1911

Left-handed shooters may be interested in the ambidextrous nature of this frame. The frame comes with the parts needed for a right-handed shooter: magazine release button and frame mounted safety on the left side of the gun.

However, the company will also offer an ambidextrous upgrade kit for $75. No modifications to the frame are needed to install the ambi kit.

Pricing, Where to Buy

The pricing of these new 80% frames is interesting. The full suggested retail price is $139. This puts them in the same ballpark as the Polymer80 frames for Glock compatible pistols.

However, to sweeten the deal, Freedom Concept Laboratory will offer full pistol kits that include everything you need to assemble a completed frame into a working 1911. These kits will have a MSRP that starts at only $399.

Liberty MkIX 1911 officers model

One of the complaints I hear regularly about building your own Glock-style pistol is that the cost of all the parts exceeds the price of just buying a new factory Glock. At $399, the Liberty 1911 is a real bargain. Not only do you get to build your own gun, but it comes in a lot cheaper than nearly any 1911-style pistol on the market.

All three of the models are expected to ship in March 2018.

According to Freedom Concept Laboratory, the Liberty MkIX pistol frames will be sold through Brownells and the Glockstore. I’m a fan of both companies, and would not hesitate to do business with either in the future. If you like doing business with Brownells, please use my affiliate link here so that I receive a small portion of the profit from that sale. It doesn’t affect your price and it literally helps me feed my family. I do not have an affiliate relationship with Glockstore, but I recommend them regardless. You can access them through this link.

 

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80% Builds

SS80: 80% Glock 43 Compatible Frame

SS80 Glock 43 frame complete gun shooting

Magill’s GlockStore announced the introduction of a new 80% Glock compatible pistol frame: the SS80. This is a subcompact frame that allows you to build a Glock 43 style pistol at home.

The SS80 is the first G43 compatible 80% frame on the market. It is also one of just a few Glock compatible 80% frames available.

What It Is

GlockStore’s SS80 is a glass filled polymer frame that is commonly referred to as an 80% frame or 80% lower. An 80% frame is an unfinished frame that requires finishing work done before it can be a functioning firearm.

SS80 Glock 43 frame

In the case of the SS80, you will need to remove portions of the polymer frame using a file or Dremel tool and then make four holes with a drill. Once this is done, it can be considered a firearm frame. Until then, it is legally just a hunk of plastic. It can be shipped straight to your door without the need to pay an FFL transfer fee.

The SS80 is not a Glock frame. Rather, it is a frame that is compatible with Glock 43 parts. This means that GlockStore set it up with a different look and feel than the G43. A few of the features of the SS80 frame include:

  • stippling-like grip texture for improved control of the pistol when shooting
  • frame and trigger undercuts in the trigger guard to allow for a higher grasp on the pistol
  • compared to a G43, the SS80 has a longer beavertail
  • metal rails that are longer than factory

When completed, the SS80 frame will accept single stack Glock 43 magazines and other standard parts. It will assemble like a factory G43 pistol.

SS80 Glock 43 frame kit

Included in the SS80 kit is:

  • polymer jig (the bright green “box” the frame goes in)
  • SS80 frame
  • locking block and metal rails (no polymer rails) plus pin for rear rails
  • drill bits needed to finish the frame

The suggested retail price is $150. At the time of this writing, the GlockStore has it on sale for $129.99.

Yes, these are made in the United States of America.

What It Is Not

The new SS80 is designed for G43 parts only. You cannot use it to make a .380 ACP chambered G42 clone.

Additionally, it is not a double stack frame that would allow you to build a G26/27 type pistol. However, Polymer80 is working on one of those and is expected to introduce them at the 2018 SHOT Show. Click this link for more information on the Polymer80 P940SC 80% frame.

Building Your Own – Parts & Tools

GlockStore put together a series of instructional videos that show you exactly how to finish and build the SS80 into a functioning firearm. I’ve followed the company’s other videos on building a Glock clone, and I have found them to be easy to follow. Also, the videos are professionally produced. You get clear sound and detailed images.

https://youtu.be/trgrVgAErws

Some of the tools that you will need:

  • vise (optional, but makes things easier)
  • hand drill (optionally, you can use a drill press)
  • Dremel tool (optionally, you can use a file or knife but these will be slower)
  • WD40
  • fine grit sandpaper
  • finishing files

Once the lower is completed, you will need some additional tools to install the Glock compatible parts into the frame to build the functioning firearm. A set of punches and light hammer can help with assembly.

Building Your Own – Legal Issues

At the time of this writing, a citizen of the United States can build his or her own firearm for personal use without a license under federal law. This firearm does not need to have a serial number, be registered or be transferred through a federally licensed firearms dealer under federal law. I have no way of knowing what the law will be in the future, so please govern yourselves accordingly.

SS80 Glock 43 frame kit

State laws vary greatly, and you should definitely check with your local and state authorities on the legality of building your own pistol for personal use.

If you intend to build a firearm to sell or give away, you must have a license per federal law. This does not preclude you from building your own firearm and later trading it, selling it or giving it away as long as it was not built with that intention.

For additional information on the legalities of building your own firearm and requirements for serial numbers, check out my article “Am I Required to Apply a Serial Number to a Homemade Firearm.”

Final Thoughts

I’ve had a lot of fun building my own guns in the past. This kit looks like a solid 80% frame kit, and one that I will probably tackle at some point. I own a Glock 43, so I already have plenty of magazines that will run in this gun. It might be an interesting project to compare a completed SS80 vs a factory Glock 43 pistol.

Have you built an 80% gun? If so, sound off in the comments. I’d like to hear what people are building out there.

SS80 80% frame kit

Disclaimer

GlockStore is not an advertiser. I do not have any relationship with them other than having been a customer of theirs. I receive no compensation for writing about this Glock 43 80% frame.

GunsHolstersAndGear.com is a for-profit website. I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.

Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.

The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.

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80% Builds

Am I Required to Apply a Serial Number to a Homemade Firearm?

serial number on homemade firearm

Building your own AR-15 from an 80% lower has become a popular hobby. Of course, there are many other firearms you can build from scratch as well: everything from a 1911 to a 10/22.

Firearm manufacturing is a highly regulated industry, and everyone wants to stay within the bounds of the law. So, what is, and is not, legal when making your own gun?

In this article, I am addressing one specific question: Do you have to engrave a serial number on your completed firearm?

Read This First

Before I go any farther: I am not a lawyer and have no specialized knowledge of the law beyond what anyone else can research. Nothing in this article should be considered legal advice. To put it in perspective, I’m just a guy with a keyboard – but then, so is that guy on Reddit or Facebook handing out advice. Carefully source your own information.

None of the information in this article applies to state or local laws. It applies only to the federal laws of the United States. Additionally, this information applies only to non-NFA items. All NFA items require serial numbers and other markings.

Laws change. At some point in the future, the laws regarding homemade firearms may change and render this information obsolete. Do your own homework and err on the side of caution.

Am I required to apply a serial number to a gun I manufacture?

Short Answer: No

Long Answer:  My research indicates there is no federal law or regulation that requires a person to mark his or her personally manufactured firearm with a serial number or other information. I had this confirmed by the Firearms Industry Programs Branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE).

Building an AR from an 80 lower

Additional Information

Federal law does not prohibit an individual from making a fully functional firearm for his or her own use. Further, you do not need a federal firearms license (FFL) to manufacture the gun. Refer to 18 U.S.C. 922 (firearms crimes) and 18 U.S.C. 923 (firearms licensing) in public law. The BATFE acknowledges this here.

However, you cannot make the gun with the intent to sell or otherwise transfer the gun to another. This prohibition includes making a gun as a gift for an immediate family member. However, building a gun for yourself that you later decide to sell or transfer is permissible. I would strongly urge caution, as the practice of making a gun for another is prohibited without a license. It would be up to you to prove that you made it for yourself and then later decided to sell or give it away.

I’ve never been able to find any reference in federal law to a serial number or other manufacturing marks being required on a personally made firearm. When I contacted the BATFE about this in December of 2016, Firearms Enforcement Specialist L. Babbie of the Firearms Industry Programs Branch in Washington DC stated:

Additionally, although markings are not required on firearms manufactured for personal use (excluding NFA firearms), owners are recommended to conspicuously place or engrave a serial number and/ or other marks of identification to aid in investigation or recovery by State or local law enforcement officials in the event of a theft or loss of the privately owned firearm. (emphasis added)

I have never found any credible information that contradicts Specialist Babbie’s statement. Keep in mind this is all referring to federal law – not state law. Individual states may pass laws that require serial numbers on home made firearms.

personally built firearm markings

What about a gun I make for myself and later transfer?

Short Answer: No

Long Answer: My research indicates there is no federal law that requires a personally made firearm that was manufactured for personal use to have a serial number of other marking before you sell or transfer it to another person. However, the BATFE muddies the water on this one because of the way they phrase certain things, and that people do not read the underlying CFR referenced by the agency.

However, when directly questioned about the requirement, BATFE has stated that no serial number is required in this specific case. I suggest reading the additional information below.

Additional Information

This answer is disputed by some gun owners, though it seems clear to me.

Federal law does not prohibit the transfer of a homemade firearm to another person so long as the gun was not made with the intent of transferring it to another person. In other words, when you made the gun, if it was your intention to keep and use it yourself then it is legal to later sell, gift or trade the gun to another person and not be in violation of the manufacturer licensing requirements in federal law.

This information was also confirmed by Specialist Babbie:

A person who previously made a firearm for personal use is not prohibited by law from selling such firearm.  Such seller needs to ensure that he/she is actually selling a firearm that was previously made for personal use and that he/she is not engaged in the business of manufacturing without a Federal firearms license (FFL).

The gun may be transferred in any of the normal ways including face-to-face sales within a state (where not precluded by local law), through an FFL or by passing of the weapons to an heir.

However, Specialist Babbie was careful to note:

Making a firearm to gift to someone is not making a firearm for personal use.

In other words, you cannot make your son a hunting rifle and give it to him for Christmas unless you hold an FFL.

So, since it is obvious that transferring a personally made firearm is legal, let’s address the question of what, if any, marking requirements are there on a gun being transferred. This is where the BATFE causes confusion.

I have been unable to find any public law or CFR that requires a serial number or other marking on a personally made and owned firearm that is later transferred. None.

However, the BATFE makes the statement here that:

Receivers that meet the definition of a “firearm” must have markings, including a serial number. See 27 CFR § 478.92 (Firearm manufacturers marking requirements).

Unfortunately, the BATFE does not link to the regulation for people to review. I suspect that few people take the time to look up 27 CFR § 478.92. But I have and it can be read here.

The regulation states quite clearly:

You, as a licensed manufacturer or licensed importer of firearms, must legibly identify each firearm manufactured or imported as follows…

As someone who is not an FFL holder who is making a gun at home and for your own personal use, this CFR simply does not seem to apply.

I have seen an image of part of a letter that is presumably from the BATFE on this subject that further confuses the subject. In the letter signed by Sterling Nixon, Chief, Firearms Technology Branch, Nixon makes the statement:

…a nonlicensee may manufacture a semiautomatic rifle for his or her own personal use…However, if the firearm is transferred to another party at some point in the future, the firearm must be marked in accordance with the provisions set forth in 27 CFR § 478.92 (formerly 178.92).

Since the words “must be marked” appear, people sometime assume that means the personally made and used firearm that is now being transferred must be marked. However, the full statement includes “must be marked in accordance with…27 CFR § 478.92”, which clearly only applies to FFL holders. In other words, as I understand it, not placing markings on the gun would not take you out of compliance with 27 CFR § 478.92, so long as you did not otherwise fall under the requirements of the CFR.

I confirmed this through a series of e-mails with Specialist Babbie when I asked this question:

For clarification, if I (not a licensed manufacturer or importer) make a firearm for personal use and at some later date I decide to sell it, am I required to have it marked with any information? If so, what information would be required?

Specialist Babbie provided this clear and unambiguous response:

Firearms markings are only required by those who are licensed importers, licensed manufacturers, and those who make an NFA firearm for personal use.  Those marks would be made at the time of import, manufacture, or when an NFA firearm was made for personal use.  Under Federal law, no markings would be required in your circumstance. (emphasis added)

So, with the following information:

  • no law I’ve been able to find or seen cited requiring a serial number or other marking;
  • no CFR I’ve been able to find or seen cited requiring a serial number or other marking; and
  • a BATFE Firearms Enforcement Specialist saying no serial number or other marking is required

it seems fairly clear that no serial number or other marking is required on a firearm that you personally made for your own use that you later decide to transfer.

Again, I urge extreme caution. The presumption in law is that you need an FFL to manufacture firearms for sale to others. It would appear that you need to be able to prove that the personally made gun was for you and used by you and not intended for transfer to another person.

Should I apply a serial number to my gun anyway?

Short Answer: Yes

Long Answer

There are two good reasons why you should consider marking your gun in accordance with 27 CFR § 478.92 even though it is not required. First, it avoids any confusion about the application of 27 CFR § 478.92. Consider this a CYA, though I don’t think it to be a strong enough  reason for me. I have no intention of ever selling, trading or otherwise transferring any gun that I may make to someone else.

The second reason, however, is much more important to me. Marking your firearm with a serial number and other information will allow it to be identified as a stolen firearm if it is ever taken from you. Firearm thefts happen, and a serial number allows local law enforcement to enter the weapon into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

When an officer comes across some gang banger with your gun, that serial number will come back as stolen. The thug in possession will go for a felony and the officers might be able to track back and find out who broke into your home. Cops getting criminals – especially violent ones – off the street is something I fully support. A serial number on your gun can help that happen should it ever be stolen.

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Additional Documentation

This is the initial e-mail I sent to the BATFE seeking clarification on the issues surrounding the manufacture and marking of personally made guns:

ATF-question-01

 

This is the response I received:

 

ATF-Response-01

 

I then followed up with this question:

 

ATF-question-02

 

and received this response:

 

ATF-Response-02