The SKS and 922(r)
There has been much confusion regarding the customization and use of aftermarket parts of the SKS. After much reading, questions and a couple of phone calls, I finally got a handle on the legalities of modifying my SKS’s.
This article is my attempt to help anyone else suffering from the same dilemma I was. That dilemma is what is and is not legal.
= = = = = = = = = =
The amended Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), 18 U.S.C. Section 922(r), states the following:
It shall be unlawful for airy person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) of this chapter as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes except that this subsection shall not apply to —
(1) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof or
(2) the assembly of any such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the… [U.S. Attorney General]
Also, 27 C.F.R. Section 478.39 states
“…(a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.
(b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
(1) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof or (2) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the provisions of [§478.151(formerly 178.151)]; or (3) The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into or assembled in the United States prior to November 30, 1990, or the replacement of any part of such firearm.
(c) For purposes of this section, the term imported parts [tabulated below] are.
- (01) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings, or castings.
- (02) Barrels.
- (03) Barrel extensions.
- (04) Mounting blocks (trunnions).
- (05) Muzzle attachments.
- (06) Bolts.
- (07) Bolt carriers.
- (08) Operating rods.
- (09) Gas pistons.
- (10) Trigger housings.
- (11) Triggers.
- (12) Hammers.
- (13) Sears.
- (14) Disconnectors.
- (15) Buttstocks.
- (16) Pistol grips.
- (17) Forearms, handguards.
- (18) Magazine bodies.
- (19) Followers.
- (20) Floor plates.
Therefore, it is a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(r) to assemble such a rifle or shotgun from more than 10 of the imported parts specified in 27 CFR § 478.39. However, assembly of certain semiautomatic rifles or shotguns using 10 or fewer of these imported parts is not prohibited under this section.
Further, please note that an SKS carbine, in its original military configuration, consists of the following parts derived from the list presented above:
- 01. Receiver
- 02. Barrel
- 03. Bolt
- 04. Bolt carrier
- 05. Gas piston
- 06. Trigger housing
- 07. Trigger
- 08. Hammer
- 09. Sear
- 10. Disconnector (According to ATF. the part that aligns the trigger bar with the sear, is considered to be the disconnector for 922(r) purposes.)
- 11. Stock
- 12. Handguard
- 13. Magazine body
- 14. Follower
- 15. Muzzle attachment (Yugoslavian SKS only)
= = = = = = = = = =
The BATFE considers certain features to be “non-suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes. These are the infamous ‘evil fetures’ that were listed in the 1994 ‘Assault Weapons Ban’. The features are;
- 01. Grenade launcher
- 02. Grenade launcher sight
- 03. Night sights,
- 04. Bayonet
- 05. Bayonet lug (Only applicable in some areas)
Note; Some states have enacted their own laws which retain the illegality of having any of these items either attached to your weapon or in some cases, even in your possession. Check your local laws to confirm whether you are legally allowed to possess.use such items before doing so.
= = = = = = = = = =
Therefore in order to bring your SKS into 922(r) compliance you have two choices. Remove ALL ‘prohibited features’ as listed in the ‘Prohibited Features’ section or bring your weapon into compliance by having no more than 10 items from the ‘Imported Parts’ list.
The problem seems to occur when a person gets the count wrong or gets confused about what does/does not constitute a countable part. The biggest example of this in the case of Tapco weapon accessories for an SKS rifle.
Tapco lists it’s T6 stock as 3 U.S. compliant parts. Technically this is correct, the kit consists of a stock, handguard and pistol grip. However this is somewhat misleading as the SKS does not come with a pistol grip from the factory, therefore the pistol grip does not count. Leaving the Tapco kit as counting for only 2 parts.
Looking at he above example, you can see how many people could get confused. The solution is actually very simple, though it took me months to figure it out when I first got into SKS rifles.
The key to this is to remove parts first. 922(r) is an exercise in subtraction, not addition. Remove enough parts so that your weapon only contains 10 ‘Imported Parts’ and then replace the items you removed, with 10 or more U.S. parts and you’re done.