Battle Arms Development Cali-legal AR-15 Mag Catch | SHOT 2017

Takedown Pin of the BAD Fixed Magazine Catch

Takedown Pin of the BAD Fixed Magazine Catch

The mad geniuses at Battle Arms Development are hard at it again this year with a product for SHOT Show 2017 that is entirely relevant to the AR-15 shooter stuck with California’s new firearms laws.

Battle Arms Development have designed a rather clever new way for AR-15 owners to deal with California’s new guns laws. Many of you might know the old and popular bullet-button is no longer considered a fixed magazine in California. Any semi-auto, centerfire rifle must have a permanently affixed magazine or it cannot have any assault weapon features such as folding stocks, flash hiders or pistol grips. The new law states that a magazine cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action, so Battle Arms Development devised a magazine release button that stays locked until the upper is separated from the lower. Smart. The smartness doesn’t stop there. Battle Arms Battle Arms Development created a clever rear takedown pin that functions normally, but when turned 180 degrees the takedown pin only allows the upper to separate from the receiver far enough to disengage the magazine lock pin and allow for the magazine release button to be used to remove the magazine like any standard AR-15.

I have an inkling that solutions to the fixed-magazine issue that California AR-15 owners have are all about to hit the market, but this one from Battle Arms Development really seems like a clever solution right out of the gate.

Magazine catch pin of the BAD CA Mag Catch

Magazine catch pin of the BAD CA Mag Catch

Magazine catch pin of the BAD CA Mag Catch

Takedown Pin of the BAD CA Mag Catch



Scott is a firearms enthusiast and gun hobbyist whose primary interest is the practical application of gun ownership. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he hosts and blogs for The Firearms Podcast, a podcast and blog about gun stuff by gun people. Scott is a 20-year veteran of the USAF and been a member of his base, state and the All Guard marksmanship teams. He can be reached via email at scott@thefirearmspodcast.com


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  • JT Win

    Drilling into a tight part of the receiver to place a spring loaded pin? Dig the takedown pin and A for effort, but I can’t bring myself to drilling there.

    Possibly a solution for retail rifles.

    • Sianmink

      A fully reversible solution would be preferable, but this at least manages it with minimal disruption to actually reloading.

    • Norm Glitz

      Agree. I wouldn’t want to be drilling there myself. But a fairly simple fixture might be able to locate the hole precisely enough for a decent gunsmith with a drill press or a machinist to do it.

      Battle Arms? That could be your next project!

    • Steve74

      Well, I don’t think Battle Arms expects that we will be drilling that hole in the receiver. If the angle is even slightly off or you miss the mark by a couple of millimeters millimeter or two (which is easy enough to do, since there are variances in different brands of receivers), you’re going to end up turning your receiver into a paper weight. Instead, I am guessing that Battle Arms is going to be be selling their own receiver designed to work with their fixed mag compliance system. Makes sense, since they do make or rebrand their own receivers–which are NOT cheap.

  • Warpig

    Even more clever is going feature less. Just wrap the grip with some kydex and the pistol grip disappears legally speaking. Than have no other features as per the list except you get to choose one. That’s right. Feature less actually allows one evil feature. Choose the normal mag release all you dummies! Problem solved and you do not have to registrar as a assault rifle either. That is what we are all hearing so far. Anyone think they know better?

    • Squirreltakular

      Featureless is by far the best way to go.

    • Greg

      Not sure about other states run by tyrants but now in CA you cannot have any evil features on a featureless configuration.

      • Greg

        Featureless is still the way to go. Add an ambi selector lever and you are good to go!

        • Cymond

          I held a Thordsen Custom stock while I was in CA and found it very comfortable. The old Exile Machine Hammerhead sucks, except it’s cheap.

          Personally, if I were still in CA, I would register one as a fun gun and go featureless on the rest.

    • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

      A regular magazine release is not a feature. The “features” are a very specific list spelled out in the penal code. You cannot have *ANY* of them on a semi-automatic centerfire rifle with a detachable magazine.

      Hence, featureless. Not “featureless except one feature”.

      • Warpig

        I have heard wrapping the pistol grip in Kydex makes it not a pistol grip. Similar to other designs to eliminate the pistol grip. Rifles are sold new with a detachable mag release that have no pistol grip, or the other listed evil features in Calif right now. You can buy a AK new with the mag release at gun stores right now. Just no other evil features. So, we have to wait and see what is correct here? I have heard that many are waiting on the Ca DOJ to clarify many of the new laws.

        • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

          What on earth are you talking about? You said “Feature less actually allows one evil feature. Choose the normal mag release all you dummies!”

          The Penal Code is pretty clear. We know exactly what is legal and what is not, regardless of “clarification”.

          Features are spelled out in the penal code and are: CCR 11 – 5469: Forward Pistol Grip, Flash Suppressor, Folding or Telescoping Stock, Thumbhole Stock, Grenade/Flare launcher.

          Do you see anything about a magazine release in that list? No, you don’t. Because it doesn’t exist and isn’t a feature.

          A featureless rifle has NONE of the above features, hence the name featureless. The magazine release has nothing to do with anything else.

          • Warpig

            Got it, thanks for clearing that up. The mag release is not a feature.

          • TJ

            Is the mag release a feature?

        • Blake

          You have a basic misunderstanding of the way the law is written. It says that any gun that has a detachable magazine and any evil feature is illegal. So even though you can have a detachable magazine on a featureless rifle, the mag release isn’t considered an evil feature and you can’t “pick” any of the other ones.

  • BryanS

    There is also always the New York solution. Non-compliance forcing the law to be reversed.

    • gunsandrockets

      If only that were a solution. There has been massive noncompliance with the California ban since 1990. Instead of the law reversing, the politicians keep making the ban more severe.

      • Steve74

        The Libtards will keep trying to make gun laws stricter. They think, because the laws don’t work and don’t make us safer, the problem is the laws aren’t strict enough and more laws are needed. It’s a slippery slope to an outright ban on civilian ownership of firearms–which is the real goal. Anything to enslave us and make us more reliant on the government and the libtards that want to run it–just like in Europe.

        In any case, assault weapons bans and other gun laws are complete jokes. They are made by people that don’t know the first thing about firearms and, therefore, can’t write an effective law (thank God !). This is clear when you look at the compliance rates with the SAFE Act in NY (compliance rates in Conn. are just as pathetic as NY). In any event, after 3 years under the SAFE Act, of the estimated 1,000,000 “assault weapons” owned by New Yorkers, only 44,000 were registered with the state. Of those 44,000, a substantial portion were owned by LEOs and FFL dealers, who can’t avoid registration since they own these weapons as part of their livelihoods. So, subtract those guns from the 44,000 registered assault rifles, and you have something like 33-38,000 weapons registered by civilians. i.e., a 3.5% registration rate.

        I would guess some percentage of those unregistered “assault weapons” were converted to featureless rifles or fixed magazine rifles to legally avoid registration. However, the bulk of otherwise law abiding New Yorkers are now owners of “illegal” assault weapons. This is especially true in upstate New York, where local police and sheriff’s offices opposed the unSAFE Act and will not enforce compliance. (Thanks to all of our loyal Oathkeepers and Three Percenters!!!).

        The system for doing background checks and keeping records on ammo sales is also a total failure, since the State couldn’t come up with a cost effective way to design and implement the system. The legislature will no longer provide funding for the development of this system–so it’s a dead part of the law.

        Since the California laws seem to be heavily inspired by the SAFE Act (lucky you left coasters!), I imagine it will be just as unsuccessful there as they have been in New York and Connecticut.

        • Marcus D.

          With a $50 licensing fee, the DOJ will have almost $500 million to come up with a system an staff it (that is, assuming 10 million gun owners, all of whom will be affected if they shoot at all and don’t live near the Oregon, Nevada or Arizona borders). One would think. At least any business that intended to stay in business would be able to accomplish this feat. The State, maybe not so much. But then they get another $500 million infusion every five years on the renewals. And if they actually make money on the deal–as they do with the DROS fee, will they refund the excess? Nah, they’ll just pass a law to allow spending it on seizing guns from prohibited persons, just as they have with the excess funds int he DROS account.

  • Tim Pearce

    Is there a capacity limit for fixed magazines in California? If not, really piss ’em off and make an AR-15 with a fixed 100-round drum.

    • Sianmink

      excepting for rimfire, fixed magazines are also limited at 10.

      The magazine limit is its own law in CA and is separate from the assault weapons classification.

      • Steve74

        At least you guys in Cali have that going in your favor. Under the SAFE Act, NY makes no distinction between rimfire and centerfire cartridges. All guns with detachable magazines are limited to 10 rounds, whether rimfire or centerfire. Also, rifles chambered for 22lr have the same restrictions as all other rifles—so no M&P 15/22’s, SR-22’s etc. If I put a tapco or ati stock on my lil’ old ruger 10/22, it becomes an evil assault rifle. It’s just insane!!!

    • Aluus

      10 rounds, max. Period. Fixed or detachable. End of discussion. Only workaround for that so far has been the Kel Tec KSG shotgun as there were no shotgun laws on the books regarding multiple 7 round tube magazines. Pretty sure California just passed laws to nix those though.

  • int19h

    All these takedown pin based solutions make me wonder – what exactly constitutes “disassembly of the firearm action”, legally speaking? And could a fancy lower or upper be made to exploit that?

    I mean, in this case, all components of the rifle are still attached to each other. It’s just that the BCG is separated from the trigger group and the buffer. If that constitutes “disassembly of the firearm action”, then why doesn’t putting the rifle on safe? Either is just rearranging components in a way that renders the action unusable.

    If it’s specifically the action of “removing” (partially) the takedown pin from the receiver that causes this, then perhaps someone could come up with lower with (yet another) captive pin above the trigger, the sole function of which would be to render the action inoperable – but without cracking the receiver open.

    Bonus points for putting said captive pin where the mag release is, and making it spring-loaded, combining both functions. It could be the new and better bullet button…

    • Rusty Rebar

      According to DOJ proposed regs:

      (n) “Disassembly of the firearm action” means the fire control assembly is detached from the action in such a way that the action has been interrupted and will not function.

  • Marcus K.

    When will this be available?

  • fcarlmayo

    A very reasonable solution to the whole problem would be to start a grass roots campaign at getting RID of those legislators who are anti-gun, replace Pelosi, Feinstein and Brown and get on with the business of electing a STATE LEGISLATURE with some brains to REVERSE/REMOVE these laws from California Law. Come on, there HAS to be a majority of people in Commiefornia that can start the ball rolling, right? Only when citizens TAKE BACK THEIR GOVERNMENT can they be governed.. Right now you are subjects of the Crown. How does that feel?

  • Alex Agius

    ” Any semi-auto, centerfire rifle must have a permanently affixed magazine or it cannot have any assault weapon features such as folding stocks, flash hiders or pistol grips. ” – So surely (if you are following the law that is) its far better to make the rifle featureless? Better that the firearm looks dumb but still functions than looks normal but is a range toy

  • Tucson_Jim

    Buy an M1 Garand… it spits out the empty “clip” for you… and, requires only 1/3 the ammo to do the same job.