Just What is an “Any Other Weapon” and How Are They Regulated? The Legal Brief Breaks it Down

As Adam breaks it down in “legalese”, the AOW or “Any Other Weapon” is indeed the “bastard child” of the National Firearms Act. Unlike most of the National Firearms Act firearms, the cost to transfer is $5 – yet the cost to make one is still $200. How does that make sense?

Adam attempts to break it down, starting with the definition:

Any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length from which a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammuntion.


Basically, this means a weapon that generally does not look like a firearm like pen guns, knife guns, etc. The definition also encompasses some short-barrel smooth bore shotgun “pistols” (but does not include Judge-type revolvers which have a rifled bore). This continues to go into further obscure firearms from the early part of the century.

For the full story, hit up the video below for details on what, exactly, an AOW is, their regulation, and its impact on us all as shooters.

Nathan S

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


  • DIR911911 .

    good explanation, but could really do without the tries at humor with the editing in the beginning. when trying to discuss serious matters hearing quagmire really makes me start to doubt that you know anything.

    • USMC03Vet

      Youtube is for entertainment, not legal advice.

    • Mattie Dimes


    • TonysTake ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

      Seriously? How can we take this comment seriously unless you are serious about a very serious topic? Humor is the only way we can take this serious restriction on our right to keep and wear sleeveless shirts seriously!

  • Bill

    Only the government could make a single sentence stretch out for nearly an entire paragraph and still expect us to figure out what it means…no bullet points (get it)?

  • Maxpwr

    I’m not for judges overturning law in general (except when the law is unconstitutional which you can argue applies to the NFA), but you can clearly see how the AOW definition with a VFG is a stretch of law and serves no practical purpose. We used to have a legal concept that a law must have a rational basis. A town could outlaw green paint, but if there is no legal rational basis to do so then such an arbitrary law would and should be overturned.

    A pistol with a second forward grip is no more dangerous and is actually less concealable (which isn’t the issue it was in the 1930s when the NFA was passed) than a “standard” pistol I grip with two hands albeit over the same grip.

    We have a bizarre firearms law in the US which doesn’t pass the rational basis test. It’s like big rifles are legal, small pistols are legal, but if it falls in some arbitrary 10″ zone or the rifle is too small or the pistol is too big or doesn’t look like pictures of guns from the 1880s then it’s illegal.

    A good judge would throw this out as not rational and SCOTUS should uphold that decision.

    Need to include overturning SBS, SBR, and AOW with the suppressor laws being overturned as part of the NFA.

  • James

    Here’s how retarded the AOW crap is:

    I have a NAA mini .22 lr revolver. Totally legal. Small enough to conceal 100% in a pocket and fire from said pocket.

    That’s fine.

    I also have a small leather wallet style holster. If I want to put my LEGALLY owned gun into a damn HOLSTER of my choosing, then I’ve just magically made an AOW and need to fill out forms, take pictures, send in fingerprints, get my CLEO to sign a paper, pay $200, and wait 6 months to a year for a tax stamp.

    W. T. F.?

    Luckily for me my buddy has a mfg license and “manufacturered” an AOW by putting the gun in the holster for me. Then I still had to do all the aforementioned bullshit minus the $200 tax (still paid $5 for the transfer) to take it back home.

    The whole NFA at the very least needs major revamping but I’m more in favor of just doing away with it altogether.

    • Doctor Jelly

      The way I understand it, a wallet holster is not illegal and does not have to be registered. However, a wallet holster with the ability to discharge the firearm without removing it from the holster (such as a hole to allow your finger through the trigger) is and does.

      • TennTexan

        That’s exactly what James said… put the gun in the wallet holster, and it’s an AOW. Neither item is restricted on its own.

        • JAMES

          Indeed. The gun is legal. The wallet is legal. The gun IN the wallet is an AOW. I didn’t even keep the gun at wallet at the same time. The day I ordered the wallet off ebay I took the gun to my buddies shop. Never had both in my possession at the same time cause it’s my understanding that one could be nailed for intent to mfg. if you have both at the same time. Not taking any chances I left the gun at the shop and brought them the holster.

          Sooooooooo dumb.

        • Doctor Jelly

          No, that is not what I said.
          A wallet holster where you can pull the trigger without removing it from the holster is illegal (sans registration). A wallet holster without a hole (or other means to fire the weapon while concealed in the holster) is not illegal. Again, this is just my understanding of the law.
          Thus, if you have a hard on for extra concealment in a wallet holster, not illegal. If you’re obsessed with shooting a gun dressed up in a wallet outfit because ninja or something, then yes, register it.

          • TennTexan

            A “wallet holster” that allows the gun to be fired without removing it from said holster is not “illegal (sans registration).” The wallet holster itself IS NOT an AOW. It is only when you combine the gun and the wallet holster that you have “made” an AOW requiring registration.

  • TonysTake ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

    What a way to make a living!

  • TonysTake ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

    And then we have more serious matters to contend with, like how to make the little lady happy with the plans you made for dinner. You know full well she won’t eat sails but you ordered escargot anyway. mm mm mm, Bad on you. U ain’t getting nun tonight. So, should you buy her a pink Ruger.308 or a dozen pink roses? Your answer will be my clue if you two should stay toget5her or not.

    • TennTexan

      What in the name of John Moses Browning are you rambling about?

  • FulMetlJakit

    So, a M6, Chiappa Triple Threat or any other combination/drilling would fit, if configured with a barrel length between 12 and 18 inches and with a pistol grip, from the factory?
    I hope manufacturers are listening and SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
    Or we work to repeal/rationalize this clusterf*ck. Much prefer the latter.

    • Cymond

      Actually, the original USAF M6 had 14″ barrels, and there are some in private hands, but supposedly they’re a quite expensive due to rarity.

      Just to be clear, there are several subsections to AOWs.
      A combination/drilling needs to have barrels between 12-18″, but it’s allowed to have a stock.
      A smoothbore “pistol” AOW can have barrels of any length, but cannot have a stock.