Breaking News: Chinese Company Exporting 80% AR-15 Receivers

After three decades of executive orders and trade sanctions from three different presidents it is hard to work out exactly what firearms can be exported from China. Certain shotguns, which lack “evil” features and which are not made in either of the two main state-owned gun factories, are imported into the USA legally, but it seems lawyers in either country have failed to find any other glaring loopholes that would allow guns to be exported from China and imported in the USA.

One company, Wotech Industrial Co., Ltd of Shandong, China took note of the panic buying and and the increased interested in DIY firearms form consumers unable to purchase a gun or unable to afford the guns that were available to purchase. Wotech is advertising 80% forge AR-15 lower receivers for $50 a piece. The company says that is has the ability to supply 3000 tons of AR-15 lowers per year.

wotech factory

The Wotech Industrial Co. Factory


Wotech Industrial Co. forged AR-15 80% lower receiver.

Wotech Industrial Co. Receiver Partially Completed
Wotech Industrial Co. Receiver Partially Completed

The recievers Wotech is offering are forgings made with Aluminum 6063 and  Aluminum 7075. The minimum order is 100 pieces. They can offer additional machining if required by the customer (for a price). Delivery takes 4-5 weeks.

This is all perfectly legal. An AR-15 lower is just a hunk of Aluminum with 80% of the work done needed to turn it into a real firearm. It significantly cuts down the time and equipment a home gun maker would need to make their own. It is possible (but not recommended) to finish an 80% receiver with nothing but a drill, ruler and a vice (a jig, drill press, calipers, diamond files and other common tool are recommended). You can read our series on making an AR-15 at home from scratch.

TFB making an AR-15

TFB writer Thomas Gomez completing an 80% AR-15 lower.

If China starts exporting parts kits (stocks, trigger comments, gas system etc.) local US companies may be able to produce  very low cost budget AR-15 rifles by combining them with locally-finished Chinese receivers. At least one other company is producing AR-15 internals. Eastern-Star Precision Industrial Co.,Ltd. is marketing an AR-15 bolt assembly and bolt carrier …





Maybe 2014 will be the year of the Chinese AR-15.

Many thanks to Ian K Friedman, Esq. for information.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Chief Homeslice

    80% is just an arbitrary, made up number. You can’t say 80% of the work is done.

    • KC

      right, but you can say that it’s not a firearm. Which is all China export restrictions and the BATFE care about.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      eighty-percent just refers to a mostly done but close to being shootable receiver. Or in other words paperweights that might one day be crafted into a gun and not classified as a gun by the BATFE. The actual percentage is neither here nor there.

      • LCON

        I am not surprised the CQ series may not have any major sales but lots of little groups who can’t get colt and want ARs.

    • simpleman

      80 %= all parts purchased including an unfinished lower
      you drill the holes 10%
      and you assemble it -10%
      gun = 100%

      go’s bang

  • John Daniels

    “Wotech is not advertising 80% forge AR-15 lower receivers for $50 a piece.”

    “(stocks, trigger comments, gas system etc.)”

    A few minutes of proofreading would make these articles much more pleasant to read.

    • Jesse

      You figured it out just find. That is easy to miss even if proofread.

  • Andrew Tuohy

    3000 tons of AR15 lowers, that is, let’s see, carry the two…holy crap that’s a lot of lowers.

    • whodywei

      That’s about 8,547,008 (machined) or 4,081,632 (rough part) per year.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Still not enough 😉

  • Jason Noyb

    I wouldn’t trust cheap Chinese crap when it comes to firearms.

    • Yutrzenika

      We get Chinese guns up here and Canada, their M14 clone is built to the same tolerances and quality as a Springfield, and I’ve heard nothing but good things about their clones of other guns. The Chinese stuff is crazy popular here.

      • Doc

        Hell, people are building poly lowers and they work just fine…I see no problem with a full metal chinese lower as long as it was mil-spec. It couldn’t be any less durable than the poly crap!

        • simpleman

          a cheap china crap gun is better then no gun. it’s a liberty arm, good enough to get you a real one when moose hunting opens

      • The M14 copies are well made no doubt about that. The only complaint was at one time the steel was a bit to brittle.
        They shoot well though.

        • sauerquint

          The complaints about their receivers and bolts were all over the place, and not one was substatiated by any sort of test results. Too hard, too soft, too brittle, too whatever it takes to get you to buy something more expensive. It was all opinion driven, and had about as much substance as your typical gun shop chatter.

        • Yellow Devil

          Ironically, many of the Springfield M1A parts are made in South Korea and Taiwan, if I recall correctly.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      China produces plenty of crap, sure, but they also make our Macbooks, iPhones, Dell laptops, Samsung Galaxy Note etc.

      The guns exported from China to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. are made in government arms factories. The same factories making the PLA guns and their military export guns. The examples I have seen are rough. Not up to the highest USA and European standard, but they work, and I can guarantee you people would buy them.

      • Jason Noyb

        Maybe it would be worth the try….

      • Roger Mao

        u see, people still dont understand the difference between cheap stuff and crap. and please allow me to rephrase it Steve: the whole world now is made in China.

        gun shop chatter is fine, but why bother specifically mention Chinese crap? dont u have shitty stuff made in the land of freedom?

        nonetheless, i got a friend in Canada who always wanted to go bear hunting. but u know what, for the first rifle in his life, he bought a Sauer 90 chambered in 8mm Mauser (which as i remember took him at least a year from the placement of order till he finally receive the gun) and a Zeiss victory plus a 800 bucks muzzle device (what can i say the guy is rich and he doesnt really know what he was doing) simply because the idiot dragged him into hunting told him that all American guns suck. and he specifically mentioned that the best guns are made in the Europe, more specifically Germany.

        now if i were there when he was buying the gun, i would definitely save him at least couple hundred bucks since he is rookie after all. but ask this to urself before ur verdict, are u the guy fancy the European nobility?

      • Charlie Taylor

        They may assemble those devices, but the almost all the components are coming from the U.S., Taiwan, or South Korea.

      • Ben Poulin

        Seeing as these are unfinished 80% units, poor workmanship and sloppy trigger group holes wouldn’t be the manufacturer’s fault… 😉

    • Nicholas Mew

      Certainly better than Kel Tec though.

      • RocketScientist

        Ahhh, another Kel-Tec hater. How many kel-tec products have you owned? For how long? Let me guess… you saw one at the range, or have a friend’s friend’s who said his was junk? No Kel-tec does not make dead-nuts-reliable weapons systems that have combat-ready levels of reliability. . But they make very reasonably priced products that have as-good-as or better reliablility when compared to the firearms marketplace as a whole, and top-notch customer support. Not to mention many of their products are truly innovative and 100% made/designed in the US. No I’m not shill or employee for Kel-Tec. I’m just the owner of a P3AT I carry when running that has never once failed to feed a round or fire when its supposed to, and the owner of an SU-16C that cost and weighs far less than any AR i’ve come across, folds in half (and can be shot while folded) and has taken every bit if abuse I’ve thrown at it without breaking a sweat (including living on the floorboard of a trail-truck for several months, being my go-to camp/pack rifle, getting wet, dirty, muddy, etc). The ONE time I had issues with it, it was quickly diagnosed by a call to Kel Tec. Turns out when I disassembled it (beyond the point Kel Tec says you are supposed to) I had lost a small spring in the magazine well. they sent me a replacement free of charge, as well as some of the frame screws just in case). Yup, what a $hitty product/company…

        • Nicholas Mew

          I hate Kel-Tecs Quality control. They have great designs and ideas, but spotty assembly and quality.

        • Bert Reynolds

          If you are supposed to be a rocket scientist and miss an important piece upon reassembling a pistol, then you fail. Pistols ain’t space shuttles. It is because of that error that I hereby disqualify your statement about Kel-Tec not being absolute junk shite, and discredit your scientific acumen. You couldn’t possibly know what you’re talking about.

          • RocketScientist

            As for my qualifications, I actually AM a rocket scientist, in that I have PHDs in mechanical engineering and materials science, and work for a major aerospace company. I have designed/built/tested components for a variety of different launch vehicles (aka rockets) not to mention the ISS, SpaceX’s Dragon capsule, the upcoming ORION crew capsule, the latest Mars rover, dozens of satelittes and a myriad of various defense products. As for the lost spring, as I stated above, this was in an SU-16C, which is a RIFLE not a PISTOL (the rifles are the one with the longer tube-y thing coming out the front). And it was not routine disassembly, I had dismantled the gun beyond the point neccesarry for routine cleaning, or reccomended by the manufacturer. I had removed several of the permanently installed frame screws and cut awayt part of the polymer in an effort to modify the mag well to accept some polymer aftermarket AR mags rather than the standard metal ones (and even knowing this, Kel-Tec was willing to provide support/parts free of charge). Many manufacturers would have simply told me I ahd voided the warranty by my actions and refused to provide any support other than to tell me to take it to a professional gunsmith (trust me, I have had that conversation with Colt and Springfield before). The spring that was misplaced was part of the mag release/bolt hold open mechanism, and even without it the gun functioned well, only it would occaisionally hold the bolt back on a non-empty mag (not exactly an “important piece”). If you tell me you have never re-assembled a complicated mechanism only to find you left out a small peice, then you are lying, or have minimal experience with complicated assemblies. This happens all the time, even in the space industry. That is why there are so many ‘engineering controls’ and processes in place to detect such an incident (careful parts tracking/counting, weight checks, FOD procedures, etc). Whats important is not that it never happens, but that it is always discovered/detected.

          • Bert Reynolds

            Yes yes, it’s true. I have made mistakes upon reassembly of ‘complicated’ mechanisms. However pistols aren’t complicated, and I don’t have TWO PhDs. TWO PhDs!!!!

            And then your response, total overkill. I confess I didn’t read your novel as I don’t have the time, but you should learn the art of being concise.

            Kel-Tec is garbage.

          • RocketScientist

            I sorry for making answer too hard for you to read. I write again use small words so even dummy understand. SU-16c is no PISTOL, is RIFLE. Also, me losing small part no mean Kel-Tec is garbage, it mean I make mistake. Kel-Tec offer to fix my mistake for free. This mean Kel-Tec is GOOD company. I done now, it make head hurt write like dummy so you can read. Please go back to ditch digging or disability-check cashing or whatever you do and stop trolling here.

          • Bert Reynolds

            Hey Professor Genius how about NO. I won’t stop posting here! I’m going to go out on a limb and accuse you of being a liar. You are a liar Mr. ‘Rocket Scientist’. Your ‘two PhDs’ are imaginary figments. Produce some credentials.

            Kel-Tec suuUUUUUUUuuuucks.

  • KC

    I had this same idea, as did I’m sure hundreds of others. What I think is going to be interesting is if the ATF reconsiders this an imported part or a domestic part. Also I feel that for the first time ever we’re going to consistently have to worry about 922(r) compliance with AR15s

    • gunslinger

      interesting for sure. because the reality of it is that it is not a gun part. it is not a receiver. it is not a bolt, or mag or anything else. not a lawyer, but i would argue it is still a raw component, and finishing it in the US would make it a US domestic part. im guessing that Magpul uses the plastic beads and injection molding. does each one of those beads used constitute an imported part?

  • Patrick Mingle

    Out of curiosity why 80% or is that just a number? And what are the specifics to when it becomes a firearm?

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      It’s a made-up number that has no actual bearing in law or real significance. It’s essentially a marketing term that refers to a hunk of metal that resembles a receiver to a real firearm, and could be turned into an actual firearm receiver if some more work was done to it, but has been determined by the ATF to NOT be a firearm. Someone at some point said “it’s got 80% of the work done” so the term “80%” stuck. Legally though, just remember, it’s meaningless. All that matters is wether or not the ATF has determined the hunk of metal to legally be a receiver.

    • simpleman

      beware, that one guy who made madi griffens, the ATF jammed the parts together and said look you can shoot, even though it was still unfinished and he was convicted.

  • Brandon

    “Minimum order is 100 pieces”
    Group buy, anyone?

  • michael

    in a million years, i would never buy one from them

  • Lance

    Hope they make there CQ receivers and parts there CQ is as close to a spec A1 rifle you can get to w/o getting into M-16A1 parts kits.

  • dan citizen

    Great, now we’re going to have to deal with tens of thousands of AR’s with the safety positions marked “FARE and SAFETY”

    • wow, just wow

      Hopefully they leave off the “WOK AND WOLL” position.

      • BOB


      • EP101

        dude, that’s so racist…

        • Bert Reynolds

          Dude, do something constructive & go strum your folk guitar. Racist jokes are funny. Get the fvck over it already. Or not. You can’t change the way the world works no matter how hard you may whine and waste other people’s time. If you’re offended go cry to your mommy I’m sure she’ll kiss it better.

          Khumbaya and all that shite is becoming verrrry boring. Take your PC and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

    • dubbs

      No ,”Fires” and “safely” along with,inscribed ( post production uneven dremel tool work) that proclaims”Amerigan Patrotic Assalt Carbon” ,calber 55.6 ( bit made in China is always correctly spellex)

      ..then later those bastards with bargain bin BRD will whine about the crack the low grade aluminum upper and lowers( barely 6066 grade) uneven machining, inability to fit even lower tier US AR parts

      We are seeing the start of the lTw great American nation, and we as americans are to blame

  • Nicholas Mew

    Still Waiting…..

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Keep on a waintin’ 😉

    • whodywei

      80% SVD receiver with parts kits…that sounds like good idea.

  • Eric S

    Why to I get the sinking feeling this will bring down more heat on home building firearms. There’s already one bill about banning transfer of 80% receivers of scary black rifles, I don’t think this will help much.

  • Cymond

    Lowers are one thing, but a bolt? That’s a pretty high-stress part. I’ll stick with actual carpenter 158 steel bolts from a known source, thank you.

  • TangledThorns

    I’m not a fan of China but I wouldn’t turn down their ammo if they could sell it here 🙂 Pretty sad we can get ammo from almost anywhere except China.

    • Twinkie

      Thank Tianamen Square. Our reprisal to that was to ban imports of ammo and military arms from China.

      • BOB

        That sure taught them!

      • Ergo

        it was norinco selling weapons to criminal gangs.

        • dubbs

          A FACT….

      • John

        Tienanmen Square had absolutely nothing to do with the Chinese-specific import ban. The original 1994 EO import ban on Chinese rifles and handguns was because Labnau accidentally imported several hundred MAK-90s with full-auto receivers that nobody noticed were machine guns until they were already in gun stores.

  • s

    add ATF “AOW” fee/tax/license ($200) and it is cheaper to buy a lower receiver somewhere else…

    • hking

      You don’t have to pay any fee to the ATF for a unfinished hunk of aluminium no matter where its made. Its not a gun, in any way, so the ATF has no power.

    • gunslinger

      I thought the AOW tax was only $5 (Things like shotgun pistols?) the $200 would be for SBR or suppressor/silencer (what is the correct term?)

      • Paul Epstein

        The tax to manufacture them, and register them initially, is still $200, the tax to transfer them between owners however is only $5.

  • Over it

    You better bet there are already less than upfront dealers passing stuff from China without telling consumer.

    • Bert Reynolds

      I’ll wager PSA and others are going to jump all over this. China’s smart, they’ve gotten us hooked on their cheap labor like dope dealers get junkies hooked on smack. If you think the Chinese will be indefinitely plagued by quality control OR are inherently destined to produce poor quality you would be wrong. They know exactly what they are doing. It’s part of their endgame.

  • sam

    don’t buy Chinese crap buy these

  • John Rambo

    China should really stick with AK’s and SKS’s. I prefer my AR’s to be American made…

  • NotThatGuyAgain

    America’s Rifle should be made in America by Americans. Just say no to China.

    • Solomon

      America is based on the free market. Just say yes to cheaper products if they are of similar quality.

  • Xavier

    Well, here in the Philippines we’ve actually had Chinese(NORINCO) made M4-clones and M16A1-clones(full auto ones at that) for quite a while… little close to a decade. No one has heard any complaints, and a lot of local builds have actually been based off their receivers.

    • dubbs

      Sorry, but,the Phillippines LEARNED LONG
      AGO FROM THE US HOW TO MAKE BETTER GUNS..IE ROCK ISLAND!!! Norinco ARs are shitty, shot one in canada( they gpt a 5 rd mag rule up there) not even close to am Olympic arms or DPMS, but a,tad above a Hesse/ Blackthorne-.

      Even the Hong Kong police use LMTs instead of the cheaper norinco copy( WONDER WHY?????…)

  • dt

    I have sourced from mainland China and Hong Kong for the last 10 years. When it comes to the bottom line – getting paid – any factory that wants to stay in business maintains good QC standards or they know they wont get paid.

  • disqus_XQTYMFVKlf

    Here in New Zealand we get alot of cheap Chinese firearms (ie Norinco) and accessories, its awesome stuff and works well, finish might not be 100% but as long as it goes bang who cares.

    My Roni G2 for Glock gets used weekly (well over 1000 rounds through it) all the Chinese made accessories (rails, bushnell trs25, magpul pts sights, MS2 sling) has functioned flawlessly.

  • jamFRIDGE

    I don’t see any reason why you’d buy these over a PSA $50 forged stripped lower.

    • Scott

      Stripped lower from PSA has a serial number and requires a FFL for transfer. These, like other 80% lowers, do not, and therefore do not require a FFL. You can have this hunk of aluminum shipped right to your door. You finish it, and you have a serial number-less rifle. This is legal, as long as you don’t transfer it. That doesn’t mean you’ll never have issues, but you’re “legal” (play stupid games, win stupid prizes). As far as being “Chinese”. As long as it’s within MilSpec dimensions and the buffer extension area is sturdy enough, it won’t matter. Build the rest of the rifle with quality parts, and you shouldn’t have any issues.

  • Ben Poulin

    I contacted them. They are “capable” of making these… However if you want them, you have to pay for tooling to convert their machines over, and order in the 10’s of thousands at a time… Not exactly for the end user. However if you want to import a bunch of them doing a group buy would work out great.

  • Muaddib

    $50 for a 80% lower or $38 for a complete lower, not a difficult choice.

    with the exception of people hoarding .22lr the panic is over.

  • dubbs

    Hell…no! I’d SPIT on any of you so called “patriots”, especially those who rant about how evil regulations, taxes, unions and Obama are, BUT are quick to bolster the pockets of the red chinese militaries pockets by endless,purchases at,Wally world of cheap chinese products!

    The AR 15 is AMERICA! Better to buy parts from the dozens of Florida and other states milling and forging shops than to get a chinese knockoff( bet some of you sorry asses will argue, “its my buck, and the quality is,comparable”-reality? No , it isn’t!!!)

    Every product bought with ” made in china” is a fellow skilled american and semi skilled one out of work! That means,less tax revenue for American roads, schools, fire depts, libraries, street lights, and our own military!!

    Can’t wait til DIY AR carbines start FAILING and you find cheap bastards like dpms used “made in china” parts for kits.

    Some will argue that the chinese ak clones or the crude attempts at bolt guns and shotguns( like the pardner pump- worst POS in the world, would take the “Mexican mossberg”, aka maverick 88) are “just as good”. Consider the fact that opium smoking , cave living Talibaners are cobbling together”almost as good” aks with junk metal, and filipino backyard gunsmiths are turning out pot metal 1911s- I DOUBT you’d bet your life on either one!!

    Is the 10 to 10 dollars less worth it? No, not to shoot poorly made and low QC clones( made the MISTAKE of owning a Norinco M-1A clone back when I didn’t KNOW better-got a real springfield M1A, and that “almost”( never ) as good met the hacksaw blade when the reciever cracked, and I found out a REAL american M1A receiver couldn’t be shoe horned in as a replacement.

    For those of you cheap skates still not convinced, remember the Alaska Airlines flight that crashed off the California coast in the 90s ??! Perfect example of chinese metal working skills! A substandard bolt assembly cost the lives of 90 Americans