EP Armory, 80% Lowers, and the ATF Update

As it is plainly obvious from some of my past articles, I own an EP Armory 80% lower that I completed the machining on and have assembled.  As such, all this secrecy and lack of communication by the ATF in regards to their serving of search warrants at both the EP Armory store and at Ares Armor, has left me wondering when I can expect a letter in the mail from them, or worse, a knock at my door.

Yesterday, I received an email from EP Armory with an update, at least from their perspective, and I felt I should share it.  It contains a few links that, if you care to follow, will offer some more detail.

Our Loyal EP Armory Customers,

We have been going through some tough times here at EP Armory lately as the result of an ATF investigation into our polymer precursor receiver product (aka polymer “80% lower”). The investigation has hurt our sales, and we’ve been swamped with emails and phone calls asking about the situation and the legal status of our product. There has been lots of speculation, and rumors are going around. A lot of the information out there is wrong.

We want to set the record straight, but as hard as we have tried, we simply haven’t been able to respond to each inquiry individually. We hope this message, and information that has been published or will soon be published by our attorneys at Michel & Associates, P.C. will help answer some of these questions. You can access the available information about this investigation, related investigations, and a bunch of other helpful information, HERE.

ATF offices throughout the state of California and across the country have also gotten lots of calls from concerned citizens seeking direction relating not only to the legality of the sales of EP Armory’s product, but to “80% lowers” in general. And they aren’t happy with the vague “answers” they’re (not) getting from ATF.

Although EP Armory has been largely silent so far about the actions of ATF regulators in mischaracterizing our polymer precursor lower receiver product as a “firearm,” we have been taking concrete actions to protect both our interests, and the privacy rights of our customers. Our lawyers have been and are working hard on our, and our customers’, behalf. They are in discussions with representatives from the highest levels of the ATF to resolve the outstanding legal issues regarding our polymer precursor receiver product, and to get our property and records returned to us as soon as possible. Through these ongoing discussions with ATF officials, ATF lawyers, and lawyers with the United States Attorney’s Office our lawyers at Michel& Associates, P.C. hope to convince the ATF investigators that these polymer precursor receivers are not “firearms” under the law, should not be regulated as such, that these investigations should be concluded, and the seized records and property returned.

We need your support to win this fight! To help us fund and win this legal battle, we will set up an “EP Armory Legal Defense Fund.” We ask. . . Once we win our fight to resume sales of our EP80 polymer lower non-firearm, we will promptly ship EP80’s! You can be among the first to receive a Polymer 80% Receiver once the legal issues are resolved. And we are confident that they will be back! Of course, if you would prefer to support us by purchasing another of our products, we still have the entire remainder of our product line available, including our aluminum 80% lower receivers, which the ATF has not mischaracterized as “firearms” under the law, and which were not seized. You can order our products HERE. We appreciate your support!

From the front lines in the fight for the right to keep and bear arms,


The ATF still has not issued a formal statement regarding this whole situation.  I have been trying to stay as up to date with this whole situation as best I can.  In that regard, I attempted to submit a request for information about this situation via the ATF’s press contact links, but it appears the ATF’s website was built by the same geniuses that built the Obamacare website.  In other words, the link is dead

Unfortunately, I have no solid information that I can pass on, but rest assured, as soon as I do, you will see it here.


Matt is a full time Deputy Sheriff that has been on the job since 1996. During his time as a LEO he's attended countless training classes and is a court recognized firearms expert. Matt brings a unique perspective to TBS given his LEO experience and life time appreciation of firearms and our 2nd Amendment rights.

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  • Sean Moore

    thanks matt

  • Philip Burgess

    When I received this email, it made me think one thing immediately. “hello, yes, we do have all the information we need to contact you” Part of me is curious why they would even issue an email that contains little new information, and really only reworded. I do understand they may think some owners of their product may be unaware of the current situation. But I have yet to meet the average joe who even knows what an “80%” receiver is, much less that there are polymer options on the market. So it seems odd to think their customer base is uninformed. My only concern is that I purchased this product to have a bit of fun, to do something I never have before. Now I may get a letter from the ATF saying “hello loyal subject, you’re now a criminal- gimme gimme”
    But anyway, I suppose I’m still a kid. And this is how this kid thinks.

    • Matt atTheBangSwitch

      I had a few similar thoughts as well, but then not everyone who bought their product did so directly from them and thus they would not have received the email. Neither would others who had been considering a purchase but had not yet done so. Sharing the information we have, however little, is never a bad thing.

      • Ryan

        Matt, no offense, but you’re a LEO, an “only one” according to the folks in charge. If they come across your name on a list and then find out you are LEO, they skip it and go on to the next one. Remember, you are allowed to buy things us mere mortals can’t. I have friends who are LE, and they have no issue buying a Spike’s Tactical SELECT FIRE AR-15. If I, as a mere mortal, wanted a RDIAS, first i’d have to save a lot of coin and then jump through BATFE hoops for months on end. So much for equality under the law. Again, this is not to bash you personally or your chosen profession, just stating facts.

        • Matt atTheBangSwitch

          Ryan, I have no clue where you live, but it sure as hell is not in the state I live in. No person, LEO or otherwise, can own a selectfire weapon here. The only entities legally allowed to own them here are law enforcement agencies and the military.

          Don’t think the ATF would not jump at the chance to arrest a local cop on weapons charges. In fact, during my career, exactly that has happened to at least 3 local cops just in my county.

          Don’t kid yourself, the ATF does not play favorites.

          • Reef Blastbody

            Exactly. For federal things like SBR/MG/AOW, a LEO *might* not have to worry about getting the county CLEO to sign off on NFA stamps, and avoid having to set up an NFA trust, but by no means does the “brass pass” get you the really fun toys with no questions asked.

            Heck, here in CA, the only things being a LEO gets you are the ability to buy standard capacity magazines for your rifles/handguns and buying handguns that aren’t on the CA “not unsafe handgun” roster. No longer are LE automatically exempt from the CA 10 day wait. If they have a letter on department letterhead stating the handgun is for duty use, then they get to skip the wait. But for a BUG or personal weapon, they wait 10 days right along with the rest of us “great unwashed”.

            And the door slammed shut a year or so ago statewide for LEOs getting love letters from their employers allowing them to own and legally register new “assault weapons”. Those that have them can keep them after they retire/separate, for now anyway. Many urban departments (LAPD, SDPD, SDSO, etc) had policies in place to where they wouldn’t issue letters for LEOs wanting to drop magazines on personally owned rifles, period. The main source of the letters were the more rural LEAs where budgets weren’t there to purchase and maintain patrol rifles in the armory, but if an individual officer was motivated to qualify, the CLEO would sign the letter and let the officer purchase one out of his own pocket and carry it on duty.

            In his last official opinion as state AG (just prior to swearing in as governor) , Jerry Brown issued an opinion that upon separation from active duty, LEOs had no “good cause” to retain personal possession of an “assault weapon”. At that point, they’d have the same options as someone inheriting an “AW” from a deceased relative: turn it over to the cops for destruction or transfer/sell it to someone out of state.

          • Ryan

            I’m in Georgia, and we do have pretty lax firearm laws. I forgot you’re in the Peoples Republik of Kommiefornia (bless your heart). Regardless, when it comes to firearms laws you’d be hard pressed to find one that didn’t have an LEO exemption. LEOs in NY sure as hell aren’t walking around with 7 round mags. And didn’t DHS place an order for a couple thousand select-fire ARs a couple years ago? I guarantee that federal LEOs in Kommiefornia have select-fire rifles.

  • SPIN

    BATFE = Too big to prosecute … period. This is the exact reason organizations not authorized by the people (CONTUS) should be abolished today. Our COTUS is specific law and should be followed, plainly. Politicians that use the color of added law are not lawmakers, they are law fakers. We The People want our money back on this failed attempt by law fakers to subjugate the people … return this illegal regime for a refund out of the law fakers pockets.

  • James Hough

    Having read through the documents including the various letters between EP Armory’s attorneys and the ATF, am I to understand that EP Armory knew that the ATF viewed the polymer lower as a “firearm” by at least July of 2013 yet it persisted in selling them? The ATF may well be incorrect in its understanding of the manufacturing process, but it seems a risky venture to go forward selling, having not verified that the ATF understands and does not view the polymer lower as a firearm.

    The July 2013 letter indicated the ATF viewed the polymer lower as a firearm, then I did not see letters until February and March of 2014 in which the ATF continues in that opinion. Did EP Armory EVER get a letter from the ATF confirming that it could sell the “80%” polymer lower as a non-firearm? Again, I am not “siding” with the ATF, but I think it is significant to know what EP Armory knew about the ATF’s opinion as they continued to sell the “80%” polymer lowers.

    • Aka Aka

      Asking the ATF if an 80% polymer lower can be sold as a non-firearm is asinine and shouldn’t even be required. The 80% lower is about as effective as a firearm as my coffee cup….. actually that’s not a bad idea I mean since an 80% polymer lower is soooo deadly and easily usable as a firearm how about we all send.. pictures and tech specs for our favorite coffee mugs to the ATF and ask them to classify them.

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