Do you own a drill? Maybe some hand tools? Is there a vise somewhere on your messy workbench? If you answered yes to these questions, you are skilled enough to build a firearm from an 80% lower receiver or frame. Polymer80, based out of Nevada, makes some of the best 80% lowers in the market. Let's check out the offerings of Polymer80 and the ins and outs of 80% lower receivers and frames.
Who is Polymer80?
Polymer80 is an innovative company dedicated to placing affordable defensive options in the hands of the American public. As their name states, Polymer80 manufactures 80% lower receivers and frames from a durable, lightweight injection-molded polymer. They focus on making 80% Glock-style frames, as well as 80% lowers for both AR15 and AR10 type rifles. In addition to 80% lower receivers and frames, Polymer80 also sells a full range of parts and accessories to help you complete your next build.
What is an 80% Lower?
Before we dive too deep into what an 80% lower receiver or frame is, we should start by explaining what counts as a 100% lower receiver or frame. A 100% lower receiver or frame is ready to accept parts and function as a firearm. Since a 100% manufactured lower receiver or frame is complete and serialized, an FFL must complete the transfer. 80% lower receivers and frames are incomplete, requiring the final 20% of manufacturing to be done by the end-user. In the eyes of the law, 80% receivers are inert pieces of material. An FFL transfer is not required because an 80% lower receiver or frame is not a complete firearm. Just like other firearm parts, a company can mail an 80% lower receiver or frame directly to your residence instead of your local FFL.
Is an 80% Lower Legal?
According to federal laws, individuals that can legally own and possess a firearm can own an 80% lower receiver or frame. Provided the eventual gun is for personal use; serialization of the lower receiver or frame is not required. You should check state and local laws,but as far as federal law is concerned, if you are not a prohibited person, you can possess an 80% lower receiver or frame.
Are 80% Lowers Easy to Build?
Do you own a drill? If you do, an 80% lower is easy to assemble. Polymer80 also gives you clear instructions and second-to-none support. Without getting into the weeds regarding the assembly process, it really is as simple as attaching the 80% lower to the remaining the 20%. Once you complete your 80% lower receiver or frame to 100%, it is ready to be finished by adding the necessary parts to become a functioning firearm.
What Tools Are Needed?
At a minimum, you need a hand drill and an assortment of files. For the pistol frames, a bench vise is also nice, though it is not required. I would recommend using a drill press to mill out the fire control pocket in their 80% AR lowers. However, you can certainly make do without these tools.
Why Start an 80% Build?
You might be asking yourself, why mess with these 80% lowers? Perhaps you do not want to turn your factory-made Glock frame into the surface of the moon with a botched stippling job. But the benefits of an 80% lie in their ability to be customized without affecting the remaining parts of your build. For example, you can avoid those dings and scratches on your lower by sanding and modifying an 80% frame until your heart's content all while saving your real Glock frame. Most factory Glock and mil-spec AR parts will fit your 80% frame or lower receiver. Polymer80 sells many parts to finish your build, and the internet is full of parts to customize your build. If you are a bit of a tinkerer then 80% lower receivers and frames are perfect for you and if you mess up, it isn’t the end of the world as you haven't lost a ton of money.
The availability of 80% lower receivers and frames is greatly impacting the firearms community. Individuals now have the opportunity to easily create custom pistols and rifles at a fraction of the cost a gunsmith or custom shop would charge. Polymer80 is democratizing the world of custom firearms, and surely the big names in the business will have to take note. Pick one up and start your next custom build today!