How to Legally Own an SBR (Part II: Paperwork)

Posted: October 27, 2012 in Education
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This article is the second part of “How to legally own an SBR” (short barrel rifle). The first article focused on the measurements and everything leading up to the paperwork. This article specifically covers SBRs but can apply to short barrel shotguns, suppressors or other class III weapons.

Once you have obtained the measurements and the basic information off of the firearm you want to convert to an SBR, you will now need to fill out the proper paperwork, or the ATF Form 1. There are basically two ways to do this, first is the primary way of obtaining your fingerprints and photograph for the Form 1, however, that may be an issue for some.

In order for the ATF to review and approve your Form 1, you must have approval (signature) from the Chief Law Enforcement Officer (CLEO) in your area. Depending where you live, this may not work as some CLEOs will not sign the form. That’s where you go to the second option, a Trust, or an NFA Trust.

An NFA Trust is a way for an individual to be in possession/control of an NFA item by putting it under another entity. The Trust will allow a person to be the Trustee, or controller of all items in the trust, i.e. all your NFA items. The best way to accomplish this is to contact a trust lawyer in your area who specifically does NFA Trusts. You only need to get one Trust for all of your NFA items so it is a one time deal.

Once you have your NFA Trust made, now you can get to work. Here is how you fill out the Form 1 using an NFA Trust. If you are permitted to own a Class III item as an individual then the paperwork is fairly simple and some of this article will still apply. Let’s go line by line on how to fill out the Form 1:

1: For most of us we will mark “a” as you will typically have to pay the $200 for the stamp.
2: For NFA Trusts, you will mark “Corporation or Other Business Entity”. This is because you are not buying it as an individual but as an entity, or Trust.
3a: If you are registering this as a business, you would fill this out, if not, leave blank.
3b: The applicant’s name is the name of your trust, for example “John Doe NFA Trust”. The address will typically be the Trustee’s address where the item/s will be stored.
3c: Self explanatory
3d: The county where the item will be stored.
3e: The main telephone number, most likely the Trustee.
4a: The name and location of the firearm should be on the receiver, (example: ABC Firearms Co, Tampa, Fl).
4b: Type of firearm made is an Short Barrel Rifle for the purpose of this article.
4c: Caliber, self explanatory.
4d: Model, self explanatory.
4e: Barrel length, self explanatory see the first article “How to Legally Own an SBR” to see how to measure lengths.
4f: Overall length, from tip of barrel to the end of the buttstock fully extended. Do not measure temporary parts of the firearms, i.e. flash suppressor or buttstock pad, these are not permanent fixtures.
4g: Serial Number: Self explanatory.
4h: Additional Information will be what you will have engraved on the firearm once you convert it legally to an SBR, this is required by the ATF. For this article you can put “John Doe NFA Trust, Tampa, FL”
4i: State why you intend to make firearm: Keep it simple, an example is “Personal and recreational use”.
4j: More than likely you will say no, if you are unsure read the definition with the Form 1 1k.
5: Odds are you are not an FFL, if you are you probably won’t need to read this anyway, leave blank if you are not an FFL.
6: Special Occupational Tax Stamp: Once again, if you are not an FFL, leave this blank. This also means for 6a and 6b.
7: Signature: Self explanatory.
8: If you are the Trustee an example will be “John Doe, Trustee”.
9: Date: Self explanatory.
10a-e: Self explanatory.
12: This is where you would affix your photograph if you are not using a Trust.
13: Once again, if you are permitted by the CLEO in your area to own an SBR or Class III weapon, they would fill this out. If not, you are using an NFA Trust and leave blank.

Once you fill out the Form 1, print off two copies and sign both. Additionally, you will print off a copy of your NFA Trust and submit with both copies of the Form 1.

In your NFA Trust, the the last page will typically be a “Schedule A”. This is where you list all properties or money that the trust owns. Your Trust should be “funded” before you send your application to the ATF. You should be able to put any piece of property or money in the Trust in order to fund it. If you want to put money in the Trust in order to fund it (for example $10), put the $10 in the Trust and list the $10 in the Schedule A as property owned by the Trust.

You should now have everything you need to mail off to the ATF:
-2 copies of your Form 1 signed
-1 Copy of your funded NFA Trust
-1 Check for $200 made payable to the Department of the Justice

Remember, this article only serves as a guide and in no way be taken as legal advice. Please consult proper legal consultation for proper advice regarding firearms and NFA laws. Additionally, if you see any inaccuracies in this article, please feel free to email,

Here are some pistols that are relatively easy to legally convert to an SBR:
-DS Arms SA58
Century Arms C93 Pistol
Sig Sauer P556




  1. […] following originally appeared at the Defense Firearms Blog and is reprinted here with […]

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