How To Own A Machine Gun

Bigshooterist recently posted up this video explaining machine gun ownership. It is very basic and simple. I think he should have given some current values of the lightning links and drop in sears. They are as expensive as a full auto lower. For an M16/AR in full auto you are looking anywhere from about $20k-$30k.

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Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at


  • nova3930

    Step 1: Have a lot of money.
    Step 2: Make sure money isn’t required to eat.

    • Roy G Bunting

      Entry level machinegun or a car. Yeah, Machine gun ownership is pretty much out of the reach of 2/3rds to 3/4th of he US population, on cost alone.

      • PK

        Then there’s the little annoyance about only around 176,000 pre-86 transferable MGs for the 100,000,000+ firearms owners. Even if they were free, we simply couldn’t each own one as things currently stand.

      • Nicholas C

        Yes however a machine gun would not depreciate in value.

        • BillC

          My house value has risen dramatically in past two years of owning it. Then again, it’s not really that much a big deal since any other place I want to live, those house values have risen too.

          • HH

            and houses crash (2007). Plus Houses require piles of ongoing $ injections unlike my MG collection.

          • Sgt. Stedenko

            Plus even when paid for, you still don’t own the house.
            Just see what happens when you dont give big brother his annual property taxes.
            There are no annual taxes with a MG.

        • Zachary marrs

          Considering a machine guns value is largely artificial due to various laws, i wouldn’t say that.

        • That comment made my day…

      • BillC

        I once had the exact amount for a M60. The wife wanted a house and a car. We got a house and a car instead.

      • Bill

        Sure, but we don’t have a realistic picture of demand. Like art, there are a limited number of machine guns and Monets, a limited number of people who want either, and a limit to what some people are willing to pay.

        I don’t know that I’d buy a FA version of anything I have now if the price were the same and there weren’t any special regs. I don’t have any need for one, or a shotgun for trap, or an antique SAA.

        • buzzman1

          I am very impressed with how much more controllable modern ARs are on full auto than they were 20 years ago. Saying that you still have to shoot a lot to use them effectively. I wouldnt want a bunch of untrained people running their rifles on full auto cause it would be only a short time until they would be illegal again with all the stray rounds flying around.

          • Bill

            There was a 3-letter agency range outside of Washington that was shut down several years ago due to rounds landing in upscale residential lawns and swimming pools, likely launched by over-enthusiastic agents during subgun qualifications.

          • buzzman1

            Wouldn’t doubt it. Some people I’ve seen remind me of newbie water skiers. Just like the when the skier falls they don’t know when to let go and the shooter doesn’t let up on the trigger.

        • nova3930

          My thought has been that yeah I could scrape together enough for one of the POS FAs like a MAC-10, but I couldn’t afford to feed it on a regular basis. Least not enough to make it worth having.

    • Good point!

    • Ab

      Time to learn gardening.

  • Martin Grønsdal

    isn’t the de facto easiest way to own a machinegun in the US to start a firm, dealing weapons?

    • PK

      Easiest? No, the easiest is still to buy one. Cheaper? Well, it depends. If you look at the costs of starting a legitimate business, say an 07 manufacturing FFL with 02 SOT, even with only basic machinery and tooling, in a building you already own, you’ve saved as far as what an MG will cost, but if you’re not actually in the business, you’re committing a number of felonies, including: tax evasion, fraud, etc.

      It may be cheaper on a per-MG basis, but it certainly isn’t easier to get an FFL than to save up, find an MG you want, and file a form 4, and that’s aside from the questionable legality of obtaining an FFL without true intention of business.

      • Nicholas C

        You don’t need to have machinery. My friend is an 07/SOT. He assembles and modifies guns to be full auto. But he outsources the actual machining.

        • PK

          Might want to mention to him that the ATF frowns on posties being manufactured off premises. I got into it with the IOI a while back on exactly that behavior. So long as the receiver isn’t getting converted off premises, it’s fine. Weird how the person (or LLC, or what have you) holds the FFL, but only to manufacture on site!

        • Kjk

          This is probably a dumb question. but I always thought they couldn’t make any more full autos for regular ppl. Who are the customers he’s converting them for, Police, etc? can’t they just buy them like that from the manufacturers? If they are for civilians how is that legal?

          • Nicholas C

            NFA is not limited to just machine guns, SBRs for people and LE.

          • Kjk

            Yea it you said he modifies stuff to full auto. Who are the clients?

          • Nicholas C

            LE. He has a demo letter

      • David

        Add $2500/year for itar registration for rifle manufacturers. That killed it for me. I bought a Colt M16 instead

  • HH

    Just saw an ad for a Registered Lightning Link from Ruben Mendiola for $16,000 I think.

    • Craig

      You sure did. I passed on buying one in 2008 for 4.5k.

      And an sp1 conversion with two m16a1 uppers for 8k.

      I have trouble sleeping some nights.

  • HH

    He states in the vid that drop in auto sears and reg. lightning links cost about the same. More accurately, RDIAS cost about 2x RLL. But his point is simply that ALL MGs and conversion parts are ridiculously expensive.

  • thedonn007

    A bump fire stock or pull and release trigger will have to do the trick for me.

  • Audie Bakerson

    If you don’t have 16,000 you can go get some pens, paper (better yet, postal tubes) and envelopes and write every candidate for congress and senate and demand they introduce NFA repeal legislation.

  • ChierDuChien

    I’d wait til after the election.
    If Hillary is elected with a democrat Congress, that 25K weapon will have to be turned in for a $500 rebate. The SCOTUS will be anti-gun too so there will be no appeal.

    • HH

      not true. Actually MGs as regulated by ’34 NFA may be more protected than your semi AR15. HC can’t and wont mess with MGs in any serious way.

  • Wolfgar

    I have seen Frankfort Armory M-16’s go from $12 to $14000 recently. There are still relatively good buys if one looks hard enough and has a little luck. The pre-86 dealer samples can be retained by former NFA dealers in machine guns if they give up their license but must be sold only to another NFA dealer and not to any individual.

    • Craig

      Wolf, Frankfurt, Sandra and sgw conversions are all going for 18k to 19k right now. I know it’s nuts, but they are selling for that on Ruben’s site, Mr. Spiwak’s and on Sturm.

      That was Colt m16a1 territory only a few years ago…

  • Nicks87

    Other than the limited fun factor machine guns are ridiculously impractical, a waste of of time, money, and a hassle. I bought a Harley Davidson instead.

    • HH

      What a knucklehead thing to say. 99% of the guns we shoot are for fun- whether that be at the range or when hunting. Most gun (including MG collectors/shooters) are not head banging door knock-down operator types.

      FA shooting is fun. Not “limited fun” but FUN (all caps) for plenty of folks. Personally I’d choose MGs over Harleys every day of the week and at any price point. But to each his own.

      They do consume time, sometimes are a hassle (like most hobbies), and def. cost money though. All true. The “waste” part though is where you are wrong.Any day I’d gladly compare the appreciation of my MGs over the years to the depreciation of your Harley…

      • Nicks87

        At least I can ride my Harley whenever I want (weather permitting). Try riding your machine gun… In fact try taking it anywhere besides the range and your home without drawing the attention of law enforcement. Plus, how much money do you piss away in ammo costs? I agree to each his own but, Investment my @$$, more like bottomless pit you throw money into.

  • Mojopin

    I bought my RR AR 15 for 14k now it’s selling for 18 to 20 in 2 years, not a bad return on value for something I enjoy using.

  • Don Ward

    Step 1: Get invited to a Christmas party at Nakatomi Plaza.
    Step 2: Slip away to change your clothes before the building is taken over by European terrorists.
    Step 3: Kill one of the terrorists and take his weapon.

    Now you have a machine-gun!

    • forrest1985


    • Evan

      Yippie-ki-yay motherfvcker!

  • smartacus

    When they were still below $9,000; i could understand the idea of getting one or even two.
    But $16,000??? i’ve lost my appetite.
    I’m looking at a used BMW M3 and a Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG for about the same price.

  • Jeff Zimba

    Thanks for the share TFB! If I can assist in any way please do not hesitate to ask. Lots of great information here! – Jeff

  • Lee Attiny

    Its amazing that something as simple in design as a lighting link could go for $30k. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t atleast tempted to crank one out on the mill but I’m guessing they wouldn’t let me use it in federal prison.