Tactical Tailor

Franklin Armory Announces – Reformation – 11.5” Barrel w/ Conventional Stock – No Tax Stamp

Earlier today, Franklin Armory sent out a teaser for their new Reformation firearm, debuting at SHOT Show.

Notice I called it a “firearm”. That’s because I’m not really sure how to characterize it. Franklin Armory claims it has an 11.5 inch barrel and yet is equipped with a conventional buttstock. Except, they go on to inform us that no tax stamp is required. It’s not a rifle, it’s not a shotgun.

In the limited amount of information they released, the claim that they have “received approval as a non-rifle from the Chief of the Fire Arms Technology Division.”

This is the first of their patent pending NRS firearms in the Reformation line. If it’s not a rifle or shotgun, what do you think it is?



57 Responses to “Franklin Armory Announces – Reformation – 11.5” Barrel w/ Conventional Stock – No Tax Stamp”

  1. Nick C says:

    I believe that if the rifle A) Didn’t start out life as a “rifle” and B) has a barrel of less than 16″ but an OAL of greater than 26″ it falls into the designation of firearm. I’ve looked at converting my pistol to one in the past, but I’d have to swap the barrel which I wasn’t interested in.

    Interested to see how this pans out but from the research I’ve done (which is more than passing but not extensive) it seems as it’s legal.

    • Jake says:

      But doesn’t the definition of a rifle involve having a buttstock? So regardless of the origin or history of the lower, as soon as a buttstock is added it becomes a rifle. At least that was my understanding

      • Nick C says:

        I pulled this directly from the GPO, linked from the ATF. Related to § 5845(a) (https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/pdf/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleE-chap53-subchapB-partI.pdf, page 3034) I trimmed the codes related to shotguns or clearly unrelated to this for ease of reading but feel free to read the full article yourself.

        The term ‘‘firearm’’ means […] (3) a rifle having a barrel or
        barrels of less than 16 inches in length; (4) a
        weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as
        modified has an overall length of less than 26
        inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16
        inches in length; (5) any other weapon, as defined
        in subsection (e);

        So I believe the argument here comes into play that if franklin armory doesn’t designate the gun as a “rifle” and has a barrel of less than 16″ and an OAL of greater than 26″ than it falls in some strange middle ground.

        Hard to interpret though. Basically we are all just playing with legos and if you slap together the right combo without the ATFs sign off then you’re screwed.

        • Phill says:

          How the firearm was originally “born” is irrelevant to it being a rifle. Nowhere in the GCA definition of “rifle” does the term “originally” come into play, as I recall. So you can have a stripped receiver or an AR pistol, slap a 16″ barrel and a butt stock on to meet the 26″ OAL, and it is legally a rifle even though it did not come out of the factory as such. The only firearm where this is important is with pistols. A pistol has to be made a pistol originally. This is why AR pistols or stripped receivers can legally be swapped back and forth between legal rifle configurations and legal pistol configurations without putting the owner in legal jeapordy as far as federal law goes, as there is no maximum OAL or barrel length for a pistol, so it never really stops being a pistol, legally speaking. It just also becomes a rifle. But a rifle that has it’s barrel shortened to under 16″, even if the butt stock is removed, becomes an NFA firearm because it can never become a pistol if it wasn’t born a pistol.

          • Nick C says:

            I respectfully disagree. If I purchase a pistol or stripped lower and build it into a rifle than it’s classification is (according to the ATF) a rifle, while it is in that configuration at least (for the pistol, if the stripped lower was first built into a firearm or rifle it will forever remain one of those).

            According to the ATFs letter to mossberg related to the shockwave (http://www.mossberg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Shockwave-Letter-from-ATF-3-2-17.pdf, Page 2 “Background”) you’ll notice two interesting bullets:

            “Utilizes a shotgun-type receiver that has never had a shoulder stock attached.”
            “Overall length exceeding 26 inches.”

            Later in the response you’ll note that they call out that a shoulder stock was never attached again. Now, I could hear the argument of smooth-bore coming into play, but that’s pretty standard for certain types of shotguns I’d say that’s mostly a clarity thing for the document since it’s only images and not an actual firearm being sent.

            Additionally, it’s contradiction to start with “How the firearm was originally “born” is irrelevant to it being a rifle.” and end with “[…] becomes an NFA firearm because it can never become a pistol if it wasn’t born a pistol.”. How something is initially defined does play a large part in it’s classification at any given point, there can just be varying degrees of overlap.

            • russell m says:

              This is the same rule being applied to Black Aces Pro series DT’s and Mossberg’s Shock wave

              • Paladin Strategic says:

                Not the same – the DT and the Shockwave don’t have stocks / aren’t meant to be fired from the shoulder. The Reformation, on the other hand, is meant to be shouldered. I think we’ll have to wait to find out the secret.

  2. SSD says:

    I called and asked them if it was a smoothbore and they said no. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t tell me anything else.

    Let the conjecture abound.

  3. ROB says:

    Maybe a Russian style combo bore?

  4. Tpm says:


  5. Greg says:

    Some kind of semi-auto black powder rifle? kidding kidding

  6. EODFish says:

    A theory that I saw posted elsewhere is that having the binary trigger from the factory finds a niche between the definition of a rifle and a machine gun.

    • TheFull9 says:

      With that big red label around the selector, it certainly seems along those lines. Unless it’s all just misdirection…

      • Guy says:

        That sticker comes with their binary trigger it’s just on there because it’s formal with the trigger they have.

  7. Johnny D says:

    What about the any other firearm designation? Would they still have a non SBR, if there was a vertical fore grip on it? This is a tough one.. The ATF has allowed braces and blade type stocks, all kinds of pistol exemptions. They might as well get rid of the N FA SBR requirements altogether!

  8. Awall says:

    It’s a pellet gun!!!! or paint ball….

  9. Evets Steve says:

    It’s a Phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range. BATFE has issued a determination letter that recoil-less energy weapons from the future can’t be taxed under the current laws.

  10. Chuck says:

    Not a rifle
    Not a shotgun
    Not allowed in New York

  11. Armchair Command'oh says:

    I think it is binary only, no semi.

    The NFA definition of a “rifle” is a weapon fired from the shoulder that fires one round for each “pull of the trigger”. Binary-only fires two rounds for each “pull” of the trigger so it is not a rifle. If it is not a rifle, then it cannot be an SBR.

    It is also not a “machine gun” because the NFA definition of a machine gun fires more than one round for each “function” of the trigger. Releasing the trigger is a function, so it’s not a machine gun.

    It is not an AOW because it is over 26″ in length.

    • Stan says:

      I think you’re right. And just like how the AK pistols gave the ATF a reason to ban cheap surplus 7.62×39 and 5.54×39 ammo, this toy plus the novelty “firearm” shotguns Mossberg and Remington are selling are going to give the ATFE a reason to invent a new meaning of the vague 68 Gun Control Act to further restrict firearms.

    • P.J. says:

      Photo clearly shows a semi setting. Be really dumb to include that if they were binary only.

      • Armchair Command’oh says:

        It does look like it has a semi mode. On further reflection, I think it could have a semi mode if the ATF viewed the “each single pull of the trigger” language in the definition of “rifle” to mean each and every pull of the trigger. Since sometimes it fires once (semi) and sometimes it fires twice (binary) it does not fire once each and every time, and is therefore not a rifle.

        If the ATF examiner happened to be pro-gun, that type of favorable ruling is possible. I guess we will have to wait and see what the letter says.

    • Ar500 says:

      fires one round for each “pull of the trigger”. Binary-only fires two rounds for each “pull” of the trigger

      Binary fires one round and one round only on the pull. Another round on the release. Pull and release are two separate functions of the trigger. I have never seen it suggested that adding a binary trigger to a rifle l, pistol, or shotgun would disqualify the firearm from being, a rifle, pistol, or shotgun.

      • Sam says:

        The trigger return spring pulls the trigger upward back into its initial starting position. It also pulls the forward arm of the trigger toward the direction of where the force originate, which is the coil of the torsion spring.

    • Gunsmith says:

      Incorrect. Binary triggers fire ONE shot with the pull of a trigger. It ALSO fires one shot on the release. Firing two shots on the PULL legally a machine gun. This is the only way this is legal. The ATF has deemed the release of a trigger is a separate movement from the pull of a trigger.

      And having a binary trigger makes ZERO diffeence legally for how this is a legal loophole.

      • Armchair Command’oh says:

        The machine gun definition is based on a single “function” of the trigger, which is based on moving the trigger to release the sear. Nowhere has the ATF defined “pull”. We (the gun community) have been saying a “pull” is the rearward motion of the trigger, but a legal definition does not always match the colloquial usage. A legal “pull” could mean the full depressing of the trigger and releasing it, which makes sense given the context where the word is used (in the Rifle definition). As for binary mode, depressing the trigger fires it once and releasing it fires it a second time. Depressing and releasing together is a single pull.

  12. JEFF says:

    Maybe the it identifies itself as a “pew stick” and thus is not a “rifle”. It is 2018 after all….

  13. Chosinsteve says:

    Does anyone know if you have to plaster that big red label on the side of your “firearm”?

    • Gunsmith says:

      No you do not. Certified Franklin binary installers must. The end user can remove them.

  14. Badjujuu says:

    Its 2018. It can identify itself as whatever it wants.

  15. Cam says:

    Smooth Bore…

    • ScottM says:

      They said it is not according to a previuous post

    • Gunsmith says:

      Why would anyone want a smooth bore .233/5.56. That would be horribly innacute even at close ranges. No way it’s a smooth bore. possibly if you had rifles projectiles. Notice no one sells smooth bore semi auto rifles.

  16. Kevin Moakley says:

    Interesting line on the bottom. First of the NRS line. Could that be Non Rifled Spin?

  17. Stu says:

    I had a thought.

    What if it’s electronic?

  18. ScottM says:

    It can’t be an AOW anyway because it says “No Tax Stamp”.

    Other than that, I’m at a loss….

  19. SShink says:

    A .30-caliber clip to disperse with 30 bullets within half a second. Thirty magazine clip in half a second ?

  20. TreehouseLumberjack says:

    You fools. It’s airsoft.

  21. JS001 says:

    Not a smoothbore, but would polygonal ‘direction channels’ technically hit the classification? Not terribly sure about ballistics with a 223, but possible?

  22. Ken says:

    Here’s a thought:

    “…a weapon MADE FROM A RIFLE if such weapon as MODIFIED has an overall length of less than 26 inches OR a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length.”

    What if it’s not “made from a rifle” or “modified,” but rather originally and purposefully designed to be what it is: an 11.5″ barreled “firearm” that meets or exceeds 26″ OAL?


    • Weaver says:

      That’s my thinking – and it’s consistent with the short-barreled non-shotguns being sold by Remington and Mossberg.

      They use a standard length receiver and a 14″ barrel. If you took those two items and slapped a pistol grip on it, it would be an AOW – but when sent from the factory with that extended grip thingie they have, it’s suddenly just a firearm.

      • Sam says:

        The OAL is only relevant if you remove the buttstock and make it designed to not be fired from the shoulder. It’s primarily dealing with non-AR rifles. I.e. Cutting off the stock of a BAR like Clyde Barrow did.

  23. Callmespot says:

    Has anyone looked at their recent patents?

    “Franklin Armory President, Jay Jacobson, noted, “The patent pending technology employed in Reformation will create a whole new market segment that will not require NFA approval.”

  24. GD442 says:

    My friend said that it is a rifle that identifies itself as a pistol…perhaps that is the loophole?

  25. Barry Rosenschein says:

    I think while the barrel might be 11.5″, they are pinning to add up to 16″. A couple inches on the muzzle device, easy. We don’t see where the ejection port is located. Might be a pistol caliber and located into the receiver deeper like a modified bullpup.

  26. Jeff82 says:

    The convolutions are getting ridiculous. Eliminate the NFA and GCA completely and let the free market innovate!!

  27. Bob says:

    Personally, I am in belief that the “Patent Pending” element would have to do with the semi auto selection. Since there is already a patent for the binary setting, I believe that it has to do with the single trigger option: It shoots a bullet once the trigger is “pushed” into reset. Pull the trigger gets nothing, but the push releases the hammer and shoots the bullet. Per ATF wording, it all has to do with the “Pull” of a trigger. If the hammer were to release on the Push of the trigger, it is outside a rifle (and Sbr) configuration and would have to be named a firearm.

  28. C. Howe says:

    According to the Franklin Armory website, it is defined as a “firearm” by the ATF because the barrel features “straight cut lands and grooves”. By definition, “rifling” is a pattern of spiral cut lands and grooves which cause the projectile to spin. I wouldn’t be looking for much of an “effective range” beyond CQC out of this.