Learning how to buy an 80% lower in Pennsylvania can get confusing. Between media scare tactics, government overreach, and misinformation from anti-gun activists, 80% lower receiver kits have gotten a bad rap and a simple search reveals plenty of sensationalist stories but not much real information. Whether you’re a Second Amendment enthusiast, someone who enjoys the self-reliance that comes from learning how to make something with your own hands, or just someone who is curious about the facts, we’re going to take a look at what 80% kits are, who buys them, and where you can get your hands on a kit to make your own finished firearm in the comfort of your own home, garage, or workshop for private use.

What Is An 80% Lower?

display showing the various pieces and types of 80% lower handguns

Where and how you can buy an 80% lower in Pennsylvania hinges on its classification as being a part for a firearm rather than a firearm itself. An 80% lower is an unfinished lower receiver in a firearm. In order to ready it for assembly with other components, drilling, milling, filing, and other mechanical processes are used to remove material from the component. If done incorrectly, the 80% lower becomes an expensive paperweight. With careful work, however, an 80% lower receiver kit can become a functional part of a firearm that is almost indistinguishable from a commercially produced component. 

Under federal law, the lower receiver of a firearm is the part that is considered the firearm. With commercially produced lowers, this means it must have a serial number and can only be transferred in accordance with federal firearms regulations, such as residency requirements, background checks, and record-keeping requirements. As a firearm part, however, an 80% lower does not fall under the same guidelines as fully completed firearms.

I Thought 80% Lowers Were Considered Guns Now?

They are not. The process of buying an 80% lower in Pennsylvania hasn’t changed for law-abiding owners and private manufacturers, despite attempts at government overreach from both President Biden’s administration and State Attorney General Shapiro’s offices. An 80% lower kit is just as legal and just as much an unfinished firearms part as it always has been. 

Under President Biden’s direction, the Department of Justice has issued a proposed rule that would redefine what items are subject to provisions of the Gun Control Act. This rule hinges on vague classifications left to subjective determination, such as how readily a part or parts could be made into a functional firearm. The rule has not become finalized yet and will certainly face stiff opposition in the courts.

In 2019, AG Shapiro unilaterally attempted to reclassify 80% lower receiver kits as firearms within Pennsylvania. How to buy an 80% lower would have changed, but more importantly, it would have put thousands of legal gun owners in immediate jeopardy. An injunction was quickly granted, preventing this directive from going into effect.

Who Buys 80% Lowers?

80% lowers are popular because you have the opportunity to make a self-defense tool you can rely on with your own hands and without the extraneous government overreach that goes with a commercial retail sale. They’re a favorite of gun owners who value their privacy. They are extremely popular with people who want to experience the American tradition of self-reliance by making their own personal firearms at home. The community of legal gun owners who built an 80% lower receiver kit into one of their favorite firearms is growing every day, and every creator and their treasured firearm has their own unique reason and story. 

80% lower firearm vendor setup at a local gun show

Get Your 80% Lower Close To Home

So how do you buy an 80% lower in Pennsylvania and join this avid community of sportsmen, collectors, and Second Amendment enthusiasts? One of the easiest ways is to visit your local gun show. As Pennsylvania’s Largest Gun Show, Eagle Shows draw vendors from around the country to your neck of the woods. You can not only find your 80% lower receiver kit, but the other components you will want to configure your finished firearm for your preferences. 

The Process For Buying An 80% Lower

On the gun show floor, you will be surrounded by hundreds of tables of vendors. Some will be selling high-quality 80% lower kits. They may also sell parts kits for finishing out the lower, upper receiver kits, barrels, accessories, and tools. Once you’ve selected your 80% lower, talk to the vendor. While background checks aren’t required as they would be with a firearm, some may have you fill out a short form saying that you are over 18, not prohibited from owning a completed firearm, and have no intention of taking a completed firearm where it would be illegal. These are not government forms but are solely for the protection of the vendor. Be sure to ask them about whether they’re retained beyond the show. The two parties exchange payment for the part, and you become the proud owner of an 80% lower that is just begging to be finished for your collection.

Order Your Tickets And Make Sure You Get Your 80% Lower

Showing up late is not how you buy an 80% lower in any Pennsylvania gun show. Largely because this road to legal gun ownership is under attack, 80% lower receiver kits tend to go pretty fast, and the selection of kits and parts can lessen as the show goes on. Your best bet is not just to get to the show early, but to get early access to the show with VIP tickets. When you pre-order your tickets for your local gun show, you’re guaranteed early access to the event 30 minutes before it opens to the general public. Join an American tradition and buy your tickets to the next Eagle Shows gun show today.