Is It Easy To Build An 80% Lower?

More and more second amendment enthusiasts are choosing to build an 80% lower into their next firearm rather than deal with the government overreach that comes with a commercial firearms sale. Sometimes referred to as building a ghost gun, an 80% lower lets you take an unfinished receiver and complete the manufacturing process in your own home, garage, or workshop, then assemble a high-quality firearm you can be proud of at the range. While their popularity is increasing, so is misinformation about 80% lower kits, so we’ll take a look at what they are and how they fit within your second amendment rights.

An American Tradition Of Self Reliance and Industry

Homemade firearms are not new. This nation was founded, in part, with homemade firearms in the hands of citizens who believed in unalienable rights to the defense of their lives and property. As firearms have become more advanced, manufacturing techniques have changed but the desire to have the option of protecting yourself with a firearm you’ve built has not. Modern parts kits, such as when you choose to build with an 80% lower, help bridge the gap between modern manufacturing and traditional workmanship to help you build a firearm that is the equal of a commercially purchased model.

The ghost gun build process is largely similar to building a firearm from scratch, except the block that will become your lower receiver has been molded or machined to a specific point at the factory that allows you to provide the finishing labor without the investment in large-scale machinery needed to produce a lower that can manage modern firearm pressures and terances. This unfinished part still requires further machining and the entire weapon will need assembly before it is functional.

80% Lower Fact Versus Reality

Critics in the media and government portray the process of building a ghost gun as an incredibly simple and unskilled exercise akin to assembling a small brick building block toy. While anyone with the right tools, knowledge, dedication, and effort can build their own firearm, much as with almost any DIY project, it is not quite as simplistic as often portrayed in media scaremongering. 

  • It Takes The Right Parts – Not all kits are created equal, and choosing the right 80% lower build affects the gun build process. You want a quality part that matches up with the firearm you want to create and the tools you have on hand. Buying a substandard or incompatible lower could end up with you finishing a receiver for a gun you don’t actually want or creating the most expensive paperweight you own.
  • It Takes The Right Tools – Despite media reports that an 80% lower build is simply assembling pieces, the truth is you have machining and finishing work to do, and that takes tools. The wrong tools can leave you unable to complete your tasks or ruin your kit. In many cases, the purchase price of quality tools would be more than the firearm itself, so most people who decide to tackle a homemade firearm project have the tools for their existing hobbies or trades already on hand. 
  • It Takes The Right Skills – Using tools takes a certain amount of skill. Before working on your 80% lower build, you should hone these skills on other projects. Even using a CNC machine to do the machining, a knowledgeable person is required to setup and load the program into the machine. 
  • It Takes Work – Using an 80% lower kit is far less effort than crafting your own firearm completely from raw materials. That does not mean it is effortless. You’re going to put in the elbow grease machining and building a firearm that will stand up to the tolerances required for the pressure generated in modern firearms. 
  • It Takes Time To Do It Right – Could an experienced manufacturer with all the right tools and parts churn out a firearm in 30 minutes doing an 80% lower build? Yes. Is that the normal course of action? No. For the majority of builders, the length of time it takes varies, but you can build a quality firearm that looks as finished as a commercially produced model in a reasonable amount of time. 

The portrayal of building a ghost gun as a process that requires no thought or effort, just a machine and a button to create a firearm in minutes is not an accurate representation of our customers or the pride they take in how they express their second amendment rights. 

The Average Gun Build Process

Rather than a factory floor filled with ominous sparks and wisps of smoke, most of our customers begin their 80% lower build with research. They come to us knowing what they want in a homemade firearm, the performance specifications they have in mind, and having searched online and found that we offer the best mix of high quality and reasonable prices for parts they can count on. Armed with actionable information, they browse our inventory and get the parts and tools they will need for their build.

Once they receive their kit, they open it and familiarize themselves with the components received and the gun build process that will help them finish it out. This is when they have the opportunity to order any tools they may not have realized they need or continue their education if they find they aren’t quite understanding some of the manufacturing steps.

Once they’re ready, they begin the machining process. The old adage of measure twice, cut once is important, even with premade jigs. Time is taken to ensure they’re making precise removals and cuts. For many, this is their first time making their own firearm, and for all of our customers, there is a pride that goes with crafting your next gun with your own two hands. To our customers the details are important. They don’t want a firearm they could buy over the counter at just any gun store. They want to create something better.  

Build Your Second Amendment Heritage

We make it easier to build a firearm that will become a favorite at the range and a treasured family heirloom. Browse our selection and find an 80% lower build that fits your needs. Order your kits, parts, and equipment from JSD Supply today.