By Mike Keleher
I have been watching all of the news about 80% frame kits this Spring. You know, plastic or aluminum frames that have to be drilled and finished at home – they are sold as being only 80% complete frames.
They are generally being offered in two formats, Glock pistol based and AR lowers. They have been big sellers for the past few years for hobbyists and people wanting to create their own custom firearm without government regulation.
With tough talk about “ghost guns” by Biden and his call on the legislature to “do something” and BATF looking to publish some stringent regulations in May, sales of these uncompleted frames have gone from “selling like hotcakes” to nuclear inferno during April.
BATF is miffed at Polymer80 (the largest seller of 80% frames and parts) for selling the plastic frames and drill bits along with all of the Glock like parts to fill up the completed frame to make a live pistol. They never moved against the original kits that just included the frame, the jig and drill bits- but adding in all of the parts for the whole gun was apparently too much for them.
If you still want to get an 80% frame to build your own legally assembled at home pistol or AR (and your old Uncle Mike highly recommends you do, in case they disappear altogether) you should get a move on- they are flying off the shelves.
Demand is so big, the small parts to finish the pistols are getting harder and harder to find. Get yours now. AR platforms and Glocks are the hotrod cars of the gun world. You can buy after market parts and just drop them in to your heart and bank account’s content.
Oh, and anything already purchased/built by legal owners won’t be outlawed later if new regs and laws are passed…and there are literally millions of them already legally purchased with BATF blessings.
I am providing a list of online sellers below who tell me they still have 80% frames in stock if you want one…or three. The pistol frames are easy to finish off with tons of online videos to help you. Tools are not a hang up. You can do it with just a hand drill, a pocket knife and a bit of sandpaper. Fun and educational! Some extra tools like a Dremel can be helpful, but you can really do it with just the drill, knife and sandpaper, and in fact, the less power tools you use, the less chance for error.
The retailers below send me email ads daily, and they are “in stock” when the email goes out- no guarantee when you get around to making an order. These came in to my inbox all in one week, I am sure I deleted more than this. I am inundated with gun stuff emails. I don’t think a live human being has emailed me in about 10 years.
Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in these companies- other than they just keep taking my damn money…they are good that way.
PRIMARY ARMS. They have Lone Wolf Freedom frames (made by Lone Wolf) for Glock 19 /23/32 and 38 builds for $149. They also carry the Polymer80 PF9SS frames to build a very much in demand single stack compact Glock 43 for $120. They build the same as other 80% type frames, just one less pin in the frame. (Note G43 parts are ridiculously scarce right now. Impossible to get a silly plastic $7 trigger housing for less than $70 and even a $15 trigger bar assembly is generally only available in after market offerings between $150-$400.) Original and cheap OEM Glock parts are currently all gone. I even called Glock to try and schmooze some G43 parts using my Glock Armorer Certificate. The rep told me they have no spare parts. None. Every part they make is going into the production line for fully assembled pistols. I also told me if I ever see them offering spare magazines again for sale it would be an indicator they are getting caught up on spare parts.
80 PERCENT ARMS. They offer their own in-house frame, the GST9 which is Glock 19/19X/19L and even G17 compatible for $149. 80 Percent Arms also has some AR 15 80% lowers in stock made of anodized aluminum for $119 and a .308 anodized lower frame for $129 and $139. It is pretty rare to still find anodized 80% frames for these rifles. They also seem to have a few blemished receivers in stock- I don’t know about you, but anything I build is going to have blemishes and used roughly-I would not balk at saving $30-$40 on a factory discounted blemished item. They also have the increasingly rare to find ins stock 80% AR9 frame- to build a 9mm carbine compatible with Glock magazines for $170.
KM TACTICAL. Offers a unique sale on Polymer80 PF9ss (the G43 single stack 6+1 9mm frames) two for $200. They also have Polymer80 PF940C frames for Glock 19 and Glock 23 builds for $149. They show in stock AR anodized AR frames for $60 and Polymer WarHog AR .308 polymer frames for $90. (You can use the .308 frame to mount other calibers too like 6.5 Creedmore, .243 and others…go bananas.) They also currently list Polymer 80 AR G150 lowers for $75.
SHORT ROUND SUPPLY. Lists Polymer80 Frames for Glock 17 and Glock 19s for $149.
LONE WOLF DISTRIBUTION has some of their Timberwolf house brand G19 frames which can house Gen 3 and Gen 4 parts in stock for $149. They are back ordered on G17 and G20/21 frames. They purportedly sell more after-market Glock parts than any other retailer.
Photo credit: Lone Wolf Distribution.com
Again, these are just a few of the retailers showing in-stock. Shopping for the parts to finish them off is always a challenging hunt for me. Just how fancy you want to make your build oft times get balanced against somethings called “Wife Version 1.0”, Food Budget” and “Do I really need a $300 pistol trigger?”
Even if you just buy a frame and put it on the shelf for “someday”, consider the value of having one set aside if government regulation impedes or prevents new ones coming on to the market in a week or a year from now.
If you worry you don’t have the skill set to build your own 80% frame, check out yer Old Uncle Mike’s previous caveman level mistakes and learning-by-doing to assure you even a near idiot can do it!