Gone are the days when firearms were considered the “military stuff.” Nowadays, almost every other person prefers owning a firearm for safety purposes or because they want to have a collection. Whether you want to buy a firearm for safety purposes or for your collection, you will often come across the term 80% lower and stripped lower. However, some of us cannot differentiate between the two as we don’t have enough knowledge. 

An 80% lower gun frame consists of important components such as the trigger and safety controls and holds the magazine. However, when we talk about the stripped lowers, these are just the receiver frames that don’t consist of any other components. Below are six basic differences between an 80% lower and a stripped lower that will help you understand both terms better. 

1. Background Check Requirement

A stripped lower is considered a firearm even though it doesn’t contain any other important parts that make it functional. Therefore, it requires a background check. While on the other hand, the 80% lower isn’t considered a firearm and doesn’t require a background check. 

2. Drilling 

The 80% lowers require some drilling and a jig to function properly, but a stripped lower is ready to be used the moment you buy it and doesn’t require any drilling or hard work. 

3. Customization

An 80 percent lower will allow customizing your firearm, whereas the stripped lowers can’t be customized as they are completed by the manufacturers already. 

4. FFL (Federal Firearm License)

No FFL, or Federal-Firearm License, is required when purchasing an 80% lower because it isn’t considered a firearm. However, in the case of a stripped lower, FFL is required. Also, a firearm built at home doesn’t require any serial number. Therefore, no serialization is required if you buy an 80% lower. 

5. Quality 

The stripped lower is more reliable in terms of quality as professionals have built it. In addition, these lowers are built using CNC machines, giving them the perfect finish and better quality. Though the firearms built with 80% lowers are also reliable, the stripped lowers are preferred more if you want premium quality. 

6. Cost

Last but not least, an 80% lower is more economical than the stripped lowers. Therefore, buying 80% lower can save you a considerable amount of money if you have an inflexible budget. 


Both of the lowers have pros and cons, but you can make a wise decision if you know what will work best for you. For example, if you love DIY projects and can afford to invest some time and energy in the process, then go for an 80% lower. And, if you are fine with all the hassle that the paperwork and serialization process might require, then a stripped lower is a better option as it will save you from further firearm building hassle. We hope you can now weigh in on the pros and cons of buying a simple or stripped 80% lower and figure out which one is more suitable for your next gun DIY project.


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