Building Ghost Guns the Legal Way

Federal laws allow firearms to be 
legally made by someone who does not hold a manufacturer’s license, provided they are not for sale or distribution and the firearms stays in the maker’s possession. State and local municipalities may have different laws.

It is typically legal to build ghost guns without a serial number, paperwork, or background check as long as it is for your own personal use. If you do all the work yourself and the firearms stays in your possession, the federal government does not have to get involved and does not need to know the specifics of your gun.

Out of the box, an 80% receiver is typically incapable of accepting a slide or trigger assembly. Starting out with an 
80% lower receiver or frame enables you to create a ghost gun outside of the conventional laws that govern firearms sales. Lawmakers do not consider the bottom assembly to be a gun on its own. By buying a frame that is only 80% complete, you do not have to include a serial number or involve paperwork on a federal level. No background checks are needed when buying your own gun and no serial number means no tracking. Keep in mind these laws only apply at federal level so you may be required to check your state and local laws.

What to Keep in Mind Learning How To Build Ghost Guns

Full view popular of popular ghost gun, AR 15.

If your experience with guns is little to none, assembling your own can be dangerous or even deadly. Practice does make perfect and for those who already have basic firearm knowledge, the DIY aspect of building your own gun can be quite satisfying.

Not only does buying a ghost gun kit ensure your complete privacy but customizing your own gun is a great way to learn about the function and assembly of firearms.

To truly stay off-the-books, paying for a DIY kit with cash is always best. You may also want to consider purchasing your kit with a prepaid credit card, not associated with your bank account.

What Kind Of Tools Are Needed?

There is more than one way to go about building a DIY gun and achieving the best results. Basic knowledge of common tools is a requirement to do this correctly.

Here are some tools you may need to complete your ghost gun:

  • A set of metal files in different sizes.
  • Coarse and fine-grit sanding paper.
  • Quality firearm lubricant.
  • A nylon hammer since using a metal hammer may damage the frame.
  • Drill press and vise.
  • Dremel, or other rotary tool with a sanding drum.
  • Power drill may be an option for you.
  • Completion jigs.

In addition to the above tools, a template is mandatory. The correct template allows both sections of the gun to line up exactly where they need to.

Finding A Frame

Working drill press, tool used to build ghost guns.

You will need to choose the frame that you want to customize as the base of your ghost gun. You’ll find a diverse selection of 
new products at JSD Supply. Shop by category or brand and find all the essential pieces you need to legally build a gun in your own garage. Our expertise in DIY guns is paramount when learning how to build ghost guns and when ordering your kit online.

An 80% lower receiver is available in both polymer and aluminum. One is not necessarily better than the other and your choice of material is typically based on personal preference. Although the polymer can be easier to machine, sometimes the templates that are used with polymer receivers can be easily damaged by the tools you use to machine the receiver.

After researching whether a polymer or aluminum frame will be a better fit for you, next research which category or style fits your needs best. What your frame is made out of could affect your ghost guns and their assembly, requiring different tools and different templates for each. The template is your guide, showing you where to mill out the material for the trigger pocket and where to drill the holes. Different frames require different templates.

Finish The Frame And Assemble The Gun

In order to turn your receiver into a ghost gun, the excess polymer or aluminum needs to be removed so that the slide and trigger assembly can be attached. There are various 80% lower receivers available online, both with polymer and aluminum frames. Consult your instructions and template for each different frame you finish.

Typically, to finish the remaining 20% of your frame, you will need to machine the main fire control group pocket, hammer/trigger pin holes, trigger pass-through hole, and safety selector holes on your frame. Then, with the proper frame kit, you may easily complete your firearm.

The frame requires a jig to machine it into a fully functional ghost gun. This is a device that holds your frame and helps guide the tools you are using on it. Exact placement and drill-bit sizes are marked on the jig. You must drill a perfectly straight hole, so take your time and be precise. A good tip when drilling is to not go through the entire frame from only one side. Make sure to alternate drilling from each side until the drill bit breaks through.

After assembling the needed supplies to customize your ghost gun, secure the frame in the jig using the vice, making sure it is level. To ensure minimal movement, tape the ends of the jig. Remember to use cutting oil when drilling or milling metals. Although a quality cutting oil should be considered, WD-40 may be used as a substitute. The oil lubricates the cutting tools and aids in keeping the temperature down, helping to prolong the life of your drill bits and end mills. When learning how to build ghost guns, you will find out that the quality of tools you use will directly affect your finished product both in functionality and aesthetically.

Not all templates are created the same. While they all come with two side plates and a top plate, the top plates come in a variety of styles depending on the 
brand or category of frame. A top plate with numerous holes may be an advantage since you can drill more holes in the receiver and remove more material while machining ghost guns. The top plate provides a template for you to machine out the material that needs to be removed. Whatever material you are drilling or milling, make sure to take your time and pay attention to the little details. If you drill or sand too far, you will not be able to reverse the damage.

Enjoy Your Ghost Gun

Savor the feeling of satisfaction knowing you have finished your own gun. Completing your custom firearm is a great way to learn more about the function and assembly of your gun. You are now the proud owner of a legal gun that does not exist on paper.

Before taking your new firearm for a test shoot, inspect your final product’s frame and slide to ensure proper functionality. JSD Supply wants to help you stay legal at all times and has been delivering firearm kits to people since 2013. We take your privacy seriously. 
Contact us today for your next DIY gun project or for questions about how to build ghost guns.