Many AR fans love building their own platform and one of the big thing to get if you like drilling the lower yourself, is getting an 80% lower receiver. 80% AR-15 Lower Receivers is a piece that have not yet reached a stage of manufacture to be considered a firearm. The term “80%” is an industry slang and not endorsed/used by the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms). Disclaimer: Any information here should be checked by your local, state and federal laws. 80% are legal to have because they do not meet the definition of a firearm under the Gun Control Act of 1968. ATF referred this as “paperweights.”
Did you Know? When you get your 80% lower, there isn’t any serial number on it. So once you’ve finish drilling your lower, do you need to put a serial number? No, you don’t have to but doing so helps in case you get your lower stolen. In short you don’t need to have an FFL for having the 80% lower. As long as you meet these criteria that the ATF looks at:
-Can legally own a firearm in your state/county/city (not a felon, etc…)
-Manufacturing only for personal use
-Configuration is legal in your state/county/city (National Firearms Act rules apply for short barreled rifles, automatics, etc…)
Comes in Silver? Most 80% lowers are sold as raw aluminum, which is why the color. If you get the lower with anodized coating and after completing it. All the cuts will expose the aluminum underneath. Tis, why most savy AR builders just go with the raw aluminum. Once you’re done machining it, you can complete it with anodized or use a coating like Alumahyde or spray paint it. Cutting the 80% lower Is it hard to finish an 80%? You’re definitely going to need some specialized equipment such as a drill press. However, if you have the patiences and an aptitude for the mechanics of it, you can do one yourself. Here’s Youtuber AKCustom showing you how its done.
Here are some of the top 80% lower manufacturers:
Anderson Manufacturing is one of the big AR part manufacturers out in the market, with plenty of experiences. With these lowers, you’re buying from people who’ve been making AR parts for many years. Because they are established, you can find their lowers in most local gun shops. The quality of these 80% lowers are off the charts. Anderson puts their reputation on the line with each piece that they make. If you get one of their 80%ers, and you do your part with the machining correctly, you’ll end up with a reliable, well-done product.
Polymer80 is the other contender for 80% lower in polymer. Yes, they specialize in polymer 80% lowers…hence the name. They also offer tons of cool colors which is for you to personalize your builds to your liking. These lowers offer you the AR builder a chance to turn this into a working rifle for competition, hunting or home defense.
This is one of the big dogs when it comes to the 80% lowers. Did you know that they also make 1911 80% lowers, 10/22 80% lowers and even .308 lowers. Tactical Machining also offers fully lower which obviously requires FFL paper work. They have a number of 80% lower jigs that are perfect for putting together your build. Trying to drill these lowers freehand is going to be scratched and damaged, get the jig.