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How To Make Your AR-15 California Compliant

Make Your AR15 California Compliant


It has been said that, if it is fun, it’s banned in California. That’s possibly a little harsh, but they definitely have their own take on many things, including the build standard of your AR15 /.308 and what you can have on your gun. This means that the nice people in Sacramento have passed some over-reaching laws with tedious details in regards to some guns .


Some time ago, California mandated that all semi-automatic rifles should be “featureless,” meaning that they must lack any features deemed to be “dangerous” by the state, which is a pretty vague by anyone’s standard. Such features generally make the rifle easy to manipulate and shoot or even more concealable and make it a more of a problem weapon to the law-makers. Bear in mind that the ruling applies just as much to AK47 pattern rifles or any other semi-auto rifle platform as well as the AR15 style of weapon, but let’s focus on the gun in hand.

Basically, A featureless rifle as determined by California State law-makers is one that does not have any of the following parts or elements:

  • pistol grip
  • thumb-hole stock
  • telescoping/folding stock
  • flash eliminator
  • grenade or flare launcher
  • forward pistol grip

One of the biggest issues with “Californication” of your weapon is the fact that CA law disallows detachable magazines, meaning that you have to split your upper and lower receivers to release the magazine. In answer to this, the bullet button was created with California gun owners in mind who needed a solution to the strict assault rifle ban and other gun laws in the state that prevented them from being able to use their weapons to their fullest capabilities.

The bullet button is a device that was invented by Darin Prince back in 2007. The purpose of a bullet button is to allow you to quickly detach your magazine. In order to do that, the Patriot Pin and the ARMaglock allow you to simply pull a pin which then splits the hinged upper and lower receivers. While the action is open, these two accessories make it so that they only release an empty magazine, thereby disassembling the action. Then, it is just a simple affair of throwing in a fresh magazine and closing the action. It may not be as fluid as just throwing magazine after magazine into your AR but it beats disassembling your gun almost completely just to get a few rounds into it.

Stocks: The good people in Sacramento have said that stocks must be fixed – not folding or telescopic stock (sometimes called a collapsing stock), and must not have the thumb-hole feature that many find helps steady the rifle under sustained firing. You also can’t have the short pistol grip loved by many so it’s a fixed stock or nothing in California – well, not nothing; you have to have a stock.

Flash eliminator: These are designed to hid the muzzle flash from the user at night, as opposed to anyone else, but to the California lawmakers, they sound bad, so are prohibited. Flash eliminators came as either birdcage or multi-prong and they have a larger internal diameter than the barrel, thereby allowing the muzzle flash to disperse without the blinding flash. They are useful, but not in the Golden State.

Underslung Grenade or Flare Launcher: This one isn’t very surprising, nor is this option very popular. Which goes to show how out-of-touch most anti-gun legislatures are.

Forward Pistol Grip: This is another accessory that the Californian legislators consider to be something that a crazed gunner would fit to their weapon, so you can’t have one. This is a shame since, when you are trying to select targets quickly, being able to control the front of your gun helps a great deal.

But what about the law regarding both AR pistols and 80% lower receivers in California? AR pistols must follow the new laws and not have a threaded barrel nor hand-guards. This means that you’ll have to either pin or weld an approved muzzle device in place and not have handguards. New builds with 80% lower receivers are still legal, but you have to stay in line with the new laws. Any new builds cannot be made into a tactical weapon and the law required that from Jan 1, 2019 all completed firearms had to have a serial number. So, if you buy an 80% lower and complete it into a finished rifle, you need to serial number and register it.

So, your Californian AR is going to be pretty vanilla. If you have spent time and money building a good range of AR’s and want to use them in California, you are going to have to spend a good deal of both converting them to the State standard. Sure, you can still play around with things like caliber and a few other accessories like scopes, but by making an AR featureless, it takes away the whole reason for owning one in the first place. Undeniably, the AR was made for customization and if you prevent that, then you just have another standard rifle rather than a fun gun that you can really make your own.