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ATF Seizes Airsoft Guns

SayUncle reports on this. Apparently it’s a very realistic version of the M4. I found a site that sells and demonstrates this Airsoft gun here. It would seem to have all the pin holes in the right place for accepting an M16 fire control group. Not saying it does, because it’s difficult to tell without taking measurements, but if it accepts those parts, plus a standard M16 or M4 upper, it’s effectively an M16 lower receiver, and would be considered a machine gun under the law.

Another video here, which seems to show extra junk in the lower, but it’s hard to tell if it would come out, or is a permanent part of the lower. I’m skeptical that you could punch out the Airsoft fire control on this and drop in an M16 fire control group without any modifications, but it’s really hard to tell without having one in hand to look at. Here’s a close up of the lower.

What do you think? I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who have experience with M16 lowers.

20 Responses to “ATF Seizes Airsoft Guns”

  1. Min says:

    A local radio host interviewed the gentleman these were seized from a little earlier this afternoon. From his own research with many gun-smiths it was found there is one pin location not on the airsoft version. His words, interviewer was Lars Larsson and may be on his site.

  2. Fiftycal says:

    The only “hole” that is needed is for the sear trip. That picture shows the sear trip above the selector (safety). Don’t know if the plate in front of the hammer and the roller on the top of the hammer would affect function. But if you could substitute a 16 hammer and it already has the trigger and selector, the batfags might be correct. For a change.

  3. Justin Buist says:

    I’d bet the ATF could get an upper on there and get it to fire full auto. Not saying it’s a good idea but I bet they can do it.

    In looking over the documents from the Cav Arms ordeal they deemed two halves of an AR-15 receiver to be a complete firearm because they could lash them together with duct tape and build a functional firearm on top of that.

    They’re a resourceful bunch.

  4. Diomed says:

    “Readily restor[able]”. That’s the standard it has to meet. IIRC in the ’80s that meant it could be done in a machine shop in eight hours or less. It’s on the vague side, but the government’s position has long been very generous in terms of what “readily” means.

    It doesn’t have to be safe or reliable when firing more than one round per actuation of the trigger, it just has to do it once. I don’t really care for ARs and don’t spend much time with them, but from the pic it sure does look like a low-shelf lower with an autosear hole.

  5. Justin Buist says:

    ““Readily restor[able]“. That’s the standard it has to meet. IIRC in the ’80s that meant it could be done in a machine shop in eight hours or less. It’s on the vague side, but the government’s position has long been very generous in terms of what “readily” means.”

    It’s awful generous to the government, which I presume is what you meant. You can turn a raw billet of aluminum into a proper receiver in less than 8 hours in the right machine shop and still have plenty of time to drop in the fire control parts and slap an upper on it.

    It’d be nice if they’d publish some testing procedures but that’s never going to happen because the gun owning community would find a hole in it practically overnight.

  6. Justin Buist says:

    Whoops, sorry about not closing that italic HTML tag. Half my brain is still on work and I flubbed it up.

  7. Mad Saint Jack says:

    Somewhere I read the the ATFs budget has been doubled. So I guess they are all dressed up with no one to set on fire.

  8. Joe says:

    8 hours in a machine shop? That means a pile of sheet metal and plumbing scraps is at least, what, four Stens?

  9. Jake says:

    “It’d be nice if they’d publish some testing procedures[…]”

    It’d be nice if they had some testing procedures beyond “do whatever you have to do to make it do what we want.” They can’t publish what doesn’t exist.

    I believe their lack of consistent procedures or standards, and documentation of the same, has been made an issue in more than one court case (US v. Olofson being one egregious example that sticks in my mind). Sadly, even in the one case (IIRC) where the judge raked ATF over the coals for the lack, he still allowed the test results to be admitted. Thus, they have no incentive to standardize – they do what they want, and even if it’s ridiculous they can use it.

  10. markofafreeman says:

    Joe: 8 hours in a machine shop? That means a pile of sheet metal and plumbing scraps is at least, what, four Stens?

    Heh. I think we just found the ATF’s testing procedures. It’s akin to finding bunnies and puppies in the clouds.

  11. Kevin says:

    I think everyone is missing something here.
    Can you buy one, slap a standard Ar-15 upper on it and have an unregistered semi-auto rifle?

    Under $400 for a complete unregistered lower with no embarrassing questions or California red tape…. That is a far site better than buying and building an 80% stripped receiver.

  12. (Same post done at SayUncle)

    At SHOT Show we were looking at all of the airsoft offerings with an eye towards tactical training purposes. We talked to the guys at KWA extensively concerning some of their higher-end guns which were very, very realistic. Literally when breaking them down the resemblance to an actual AR rifle was incredible right down to the bolt and recoil system. That said, they assured us that they had to have their lowers approved by the ATF and that while everything looked very similar, it would be nearly impossible to alter the lowers to accept an AR upper and that the materials certainly were not rated to withstand live fire stresses. The magazine well is too small, the holes are in the wrong location, and the take pin holes are not even close (we all know that even a few hundredths of an inch is a HUGE difference for something like this.)

    With the amount of work involved it would be FAR easier and FAR cheaper (the high-end airsofts can run $600+) to buy an 80% receiver and simply do the work if that were one’s inclination…and anybody with the skills and knowledge to do the work would KNOW that!

  13. Ian Argent says:

    Interesting…

    And, 8 hrs in a machine shop? Then everyone with a 2×4 and a handgun is in constructive possession of a SBR; along with everyone with a rifle!

  14. Exactly Ian…it’s just like the current GSG-5 SD barrel shroud issue. Anyone who would have the intent and skills to convert the shroud into a suppressor would also be able to add a friggin’ tube if it was needed. Anything is theoretically POSSIBLE if no limits are imposed, the rules usually state that the item cannot be “easily” converted. Neither the SD or the airsoft cases I’ve seen were technically impossible but they were exceedingly difficult and generally required more effort and expense than made any sort of sense.

  15. Ian Argent says:

    The thing is, with a 2×4 and a dremel tool, in an hour I could have a shoulder stock for *any* handgun. 8 hours and some additional hardware lets me have a *good* one.

    SBS/SBR would seem to be an artifact of regulating handguns tighter than longarms. Consequently, converting a longarm to a “handgun” (easily concealable firearm) must be especially restricted. Given that as of Heller, handguns are protected arms, this suggests that the SBS/SBR restrictions of the GCA are particularly subject to legal challenge. Basis could be that putting a stock on a handgun makes it more accurate at home, and therefore more useful as a home-defense arm (taking out SBR); and that shortening a shotgun makes it more handy in the home, ditto (taking out SBS).

  16. Diomed says:

    “It’s awful generous to the government, which I presume is what you meant.”

    Yes. They’re there to say “no”, not to help you. Victory is figuring out a way to do something they can’t say no to.

    They’ve actually been in the process of putting together a procedures manual for the last several years, thank the NFATCA for getting that going. Though I’ll believe it when I see it – simply because when there are defined procedures, that makes it much easier for the scum, er public, to come up with ways to circumvent them.

  17. Sebastian says:

    Yes. They’re there to say “no”, not to help you. Victory is figuring out a way to do something they can’t say no to.

    This is truth.

  18. Ian Argent says:

    Yes. They’re there to say “no”, not to help you. Victory is figuring out a way to do something they can’t say no to.

    That’s the attitude that had me wondering if an effective airgun in .38 caliber or better could be built (looks likely); just to piss off the PTB in NJ. (The law says an airgun, spring gun, etc of less than 3/8 in and capable of injury is a firearm).

    OTOH, given that it’s NJ, the courts could just up and decide the legislature didn’t mean to exclude larger caliber airguns…

  19. Skeptic says:

    Here’s what the importer says on their website:
    http://airsoftoutletnw.com/index.php/20100226156/Airsoft-News/Airsoft-An-Industry-Without-Standard.html

    “Now we at Airsoft Outlet Northwest, being the rational individuals we are, went out and had a gunsmith check the true compatibility of these replicas and found the following information:

    * The upper receiver of an AR15 fits onto the lower of the WE TTI M4
    * The stock trigger pack in the WE TTI cannot strike the firing pin of a AR15 bolt
    * The body of the WE TTI lower is several mils thinner than an AR15 lower, and shims would be needed for any AR trigger pack to work
    * The trigger pack of an AR15 appears to be able to fit onto the lower receiver of a WE TTI M4, one of the AR15 trigger pack retaining pins is impossible to insert without major modification, and the hammer isn’t operable with the WE TTI lower.

    So essentially these Airsoft replicas cannot even operate an AR15 trigger pack without heavy modification with a precise tooling system operated by someone who knows the specific measurements to drill and tap the WE TTI lower receiver.”

  20. Andrew says:

    It’s the Muzzies!!! A sneaky way to get around full auto sales and get one they can modify to full auto. And the create havoc in this Country!!!

    Where did I put my Thorazine??? OK, found it!!

    Gulp.

    I’m better now!

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  1. SayUncle » More on ATF Seizing Airsoft guns - [...] more discussion on the issue of airsoft guns that can be converted to machine guns. Seems to me that…
  2. Quote of the Day: Government Relations | Snowflakes in Hell - [...] From Diomed, in the comments: Yes. They’re there to say “no”, not to help you. Victory is figuring out…
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