Here’s How to Legally Make Your Own Can, Save Yourself a Year of Wait Time, and a Few Hundred Bucks
Photos by Kenda Lenseigne
Making your own firearm from a partially completed receiver is something we’ve covered extensively in the past, but there’s a perfectly legal route to achieving the sam hie ends with a suppressor, which in many ways is more effective and attractive for the average law-abiding citizen. In order to transfer a factory-made can from your local dealer, you’ll have to fill out an ATF Form 4, pay a $200 tax, submit fingerprints and a passport photo, and then wait. And wait.
After around 11 months, you might get the chance to go pick up the property you paid for so long ago, or you might just have to wait a bit longer. If this doesn’t sound quite so appealing, then you could always go the DIY route. There’s no getting around the paperwork and tax stamp, but you end up with a workable solution in weeks, rather than months. We covered the Form 1 E-File process in Issue 44, and the article is currently on , so if you haven’t already, you may want to familiarize yourself with it. There’s one departure from the procedure outline in the article, and that’s the bit which deals with describing the manufacturer of the item.
On the drop-down menu, select FMI (for Form 1 manufactured), and you’re on your way. You’ll also have to describe the length and caliber of the can you’re going to make. Tip: Some people get wrapped around the axle when it comes to fingerprints. There’s absolutely no reason to make an appointment and pay a third party to fingerprint you, when you’re perfectly capable of smearing ink on your own digits. Order a fingerprint kit from Amazon, and do it yourself in the comfort of your own home.
Once your Form 1 has been approved, which usually takes around three weeks, you can then buy a tube, spacers, baffles, and endcaps from the many online vendors that exist on the fringes of the interwebs. Due to the nature of NFA law, these will be described in rather coy terms, and you may wind up purchasing “barrel shrouds,” “solvent traps,” “oil filter kits,” or “storage cups,” all of which are largely useless for their advertised purpose, but give the vendors a fig leaf of deniability. Yes, it’s all a bunch of bullsh*t, but it’s the system we’re stuck with.
Once your components arrive, you can then set to work engraving the tube to meet the legal requirements of the National Firearms Act (see RECOIL Issue 44). You could go get this done on a laser engraver and make it look all professional-like, or you could just bust out the Dremel. We did the latter, as it’s going to be wrapped in a suppressor cover anyway. With your tube engraved, you can then drill holes in the baffles and endcap, screw everything together, and head to the range with your shiny new can. Enjoy!