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What Is An AR-15 Stripped Lower?

A stripped lower receiver is a lower receiver that has been completely machined by the manufacturer. It has a serial number and is considered a firearm under Federal Law. While there are other options for AR-15 lowers to purchase for your AR-15 build, such as a blank or 80% receiver, the stripped lower receiver is considered a firearm because it will function immediately upon the installation of a parts kit and trigger without any more machining or modifications.

It's really up to the person to choose which lower receiver option is best for them and their AR build; an 80 Percent lower receiver, a stripped receiver, or a completed receiver.

Sharps Bros 9mm 40S&W Stripped Lower Glock Magazines


The most obvious benefit of selecting a stripped lower is that you will be able to install your lower parts kit as soon as you receive your stripped lower. There is not any additional finishing work to do. The CNC machined lower receiver can immediately accept your choice of a lower parts kit and trigger. And because it is CNC machined, it will provide a precision fit with your parts kit and will have tight tolerances as a finished receiver.

Purchasing a stripped lower is a wise option to select if you are a new to moderate AR builder, or perhaps an advanced builder who just knows what they like. Purchasing a stripped lower does not take the coveted challenge out of building your very own AR. It is very customizable and still gives you control of your selection for your lower parts kit and trigger.

The important thing to remember is that purchasing a stripped lower is that you are purchasing a firearm. Stripped lower receivers are subject to all laws pertaining to an FFL Transfer. The purchase will require the necessary paperwork before the buyer can take possession of their lower receiver. Don't let that scare you off, it's easy, and to make it even easier, we are going to walk you through it.

FosTecH Fighter Lite Ultra-Lightweight Magnesium AR-15 Stripped Lower Receiver


For a while now, and by that I mean years, there has been a lot of confusion about transferring stripped lower receivers. Some folks say that while filling out the required paperwork that you should check the box of what the receiver will become; in other words if you are going to use it as a pistol, check pistol, or if you are going to make it into a rifle, check rifle. I have heard others say that if a receiver is built into a pistol first, then it can go back and forth between being built as a pistol or a rifle, and if the receiver is built as a rifle first, it can never be built as a pistol, so always check pistol on the Transaction Form.

Don't pay any attention to that mess. There is a box on Form 4473 that allows you to select "other". That includes frames, receivers, etc. 

Clarification is included in the Firearms Transaction Document under Section B of Page 5, Question 16  If your FFL dealer refuses the selection of the "other" box and requires you to select rifle or pistol....find another FFL dealer.

As far as paperwork goes, the only difference in buying a stripped lower, which is a firearm, and a manufactured complete firearm is checking the far right box. 

Anderson Molon Labe Stripped AR-15 Lower Receiver


Don't overthink this process and miss out or delay the arrival of your selected stripped lower receiver. AR builds are very rewarding, so don't stress the small stuff that can take the enjoyment of building your AR. Select the stripped lower receiver that you want, add it to your cart, make the purchase, select an FFL dealer, complete the process, and pick up your package from the FFL dealer. FFL dealers charge a small fee for completing the FFL process.

By the way, I know how inquisitive firearms folks are, so if you are still wondering about the whole reconfiguration thing, Maybe this will help

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