Franklin Armory’s DFM Approved for California Compliant ARs

The latest regulations are certainly putting the squeeze on California firearms owners. With the new laws requiring nearly wholesale updating to one’s firearms collection (or, you know, registration), owners have been in a bit of a lurch on options. Almost all options come at a significant cost, normally around $50 and require some modification to the weapon.

Fortunately for those who are in California, Franklin Armory has a lower-cost drop-in solution, the DFM. Otherwise known as the Drop-In Fixed Magazine, the magazine is now formally approved for use in California ARs. Basically, the magazine drops in from the top of the action, instead of being inserted from the bottom.

This change in feeding is critical, as it then makes the weapon a “fixed” magazine according to California state law. The action has to be “disassembled” for the magazine to be inserted or removed. Coupled with products like the MA-Loader previously covered, one can have a compliant weapon and still reload at a reasonably quick pace.

To easily remove the magazine, one does have to replace the bolt catch or remove the magazine follower protrusion. OEM weapons sold will include the protrusion installed after the magazine to ensure compliance with the state laws.

DFM magazines can be purchased for about $25 through Franklin Armory and their dealer network.


Features, according to Franklin Armory:

  •  Easily Converts Any AR into a 10 Round, Fixed Magazine Design.
  •  Requires Disassembly of the Action to Remove the Magazine.
  •  No Permanent Alterations Required
  • Suitable for use with Rifles Featuring Banned Features. California Compliant!
  • Connecticut Compliant!
  • New York Safe Act Compliant!
  • Limiting Tabs Prevent Release Through the Bottom of Magazine Well.
  • Can only be Removed from the Top when the Upper is Tilted out of the way!
  • Available as an Accessory or Installed in Brand New Franklin ArmoryTM Firearms.


TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


  • Michael Shannon

    I’m not sure what the worry is about state registration. So they ban whatever you registered. Scenario 1 Q. Where is it? A. Arizona.
    Scenario 2 If they eventually ban your “normal” AR that’s been registered why wouldn’t you save your money until they do and then convert it to CA legal or export it?

  • John Smart

    I find it hard to feel bad for Californians on this.They allowed it to happen to them.

    • KestrelBike

      Not really, unless you call a lack of armed insurrection “letting it happen to them”.

      The state is just completely full of liberals and their welfare-recipient dependants. The elections aren’t even close in most of the populated areas.

      • uncle bobedy

        Gotta agree. Democrats hold a super majority in big cities and they block Republican and Libertarian advocacy against gun control by simply getting their zombies to vote on their feelings and the lies of the gun grabbers.

        You get the calls to simply move, but then you also get the, “don’t move here Californians, just fix California”. A pretty impossible chore given no easy method of removing these snakes, legally.

        • KestrelBike

          Not to mention, the majority voters (the liberals) are reproducing a hell of a lot faster than the conservatives.

      • Paul Rain

        Lack of armed insurrection IS “letting it happen to them”.

        Did the Founding Fathers of the Union just roll over?

        Did the Founding Fathers of the Confederacy just roll over?

        • KestrelBike

          hahaha uhhh ok, grab all your guns and meet me at the front of the state capitol, let’s start this!

          [legal disclaimer: this is sarcasm]

    • KevinTheCurse

      I’m going to assume you don’t live in California or one of the other states with too many restrictions on gun rights… So what exactly did you do to get your gun rights? Apart from live somewhere?

      • John Smart

        Actually, I live in a state where we KEPT our rights, not GET them. Lobbying your local officials and staying involved in the state/local politicians business helps to do that.

  • James

    Approved by whom? Traditionally the CADOJ’s stance on just about any firearm part has been ‘try it and see if we prosecute you’. The primary way things have been ‘approved’ in the past is via citizens being acquitted.

  • Joe Moore

    Arizona is just east.

    • ParaLarry

      Arizona is 120 degrees Fahrenheit east.

      • Longhaired Redneck

        Last Tuesday, l saw 130°, but it’s not as bad as they want you to believe. I grew up in San Diego, 20+ years in Seattle. Arizona is so much better on every level, I’m sorry I didn’t do it 30 years ago.

      • Rock or Something

        After 106 degrees, 120 degrees doesn’t feel that much different anyways.

      • Scott Connors

        So are parts of California.

  • EC

    Or you know, get a new production Mini-14 (which is better than an AR-15 in at least 8 different ways) and don’t worry about having to dismantle your rifle every 10 rounds.

    The only reason why you need an AR Fixed Mag is because of an AR fixation. There are other semi-automatic rifles out there that are just as good (if not better, as in the case of the Mini-14) than an AR-15.

    • Joby

      A lot of people in california already have ARs that were in a previously legal configuration. Why buy an entirely new rifle when you can just get a few parts to make the current one legal?

      Also, I like being able to swap between different calibers or from a “pistol” to rifle configuration (so long as you bought it as a receiver or pistol in the first place because laws are weird that way). Upper receivers are much cheaper than entirely new rifles. If I have an AR, I can have a .223 rifle for home defense, a .22 for plinking, a 9mm pistol with a brace for pretending I’m on a SWAT team, a .300 blackout suppressed (if outside CA) for pretending I’m an operator, a 6.5 grendel for hunting, and/or a .50 beowulf for dealing with Tyrannosaurs.

      I have been looking into a mini-30 to replace my SKS though.

      • KestrelBike

        It cost $55 to retrofit my previously-legal AR. This was cheaper than turning it into something featureless: requiring a non m4-style stock, which could have been pinned somehow, replacing the A2 flash hider with a muzzle break, and disabling the pistol-grip.

        As for registering? I’m not afraid the gov’s gonna take my guns (already on many lists for previous handgun safety certificates, buying pistols, etc.), it was the principle of it and the fact that registration apparently required taking a photo of the weapon AS-IS with bullet button, sending that in, and then not being able to change the configuration as it was registered. No thanks, and F that state and anyone who votes left.

      • EC

        Because you’re stuck then with a rifle that needs to come unhinged every 10 rounds?

        I mean what part of that sounds like a good idea to have?

        Would you rather have a rifle:
        1) That can reload normally
        2) That has to be cracked open or reloaded from the ejection port or some other crazy dance

        It’s not hard really.

        • Joby

          An SI featureless grip is $10, a magpul fixed moe stock is $30 and a thread protector averages around $10-15. You can drop a magazine just fine.

          You don’t need a maglock to keep your AR. Minis are fine if you don’t already have an AR. Unless it’s a pistol.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Could this be adapted for a FAL magazine for FALs with stripper clip uppers?

  • John

    This seems like a pretty slick solution.

    My solution was a lot more expensive, I moved my gun safe 1,120 miles East.

  • Jared Vynn

    Would be interesting to design a magwell cap to block the bottom as it’s no longer being used. Would give you a blind magazine basically. Would be attractive to FUDDs (or people like me who enjoy something different) with a side charge upper and an scr lower.

    • Marcus D.

      Then you take this mag and get that special top loader that works like stripper clips mentioned in the article. As long as the mag is fixed, it is legal and not an “assault weapon” within the regs. However, just closing the bottom of the well will reduce your capacity significantly; the Franklin mag has the same result without loss of capacity.

      I should also note that prior to the invention of the Bullet button, all California legal ARs (other than those that had been registered under the 2000 law) had fixed mags, and it was necessary to open the action and individually load each round. Capacity at the time was 8 rounds. For FUDDs that don’t care about time, it was fine–because it takes a while to reload. I should also say that the purpose of the new law was to require a return to the pre-BB rifles. Fortunately, there are already work-arounds, such as this device, more expensive devices that disable the release until the halves are (slightly) separated, or going full featureless. Featureless rifles do not have to have fixed mags and do not have to be registered.

  • Marcus D.

    The Office of Administrative Law, perhaps due to the protest letter submitted by the NRA/CRPA, has denied filing of the DOJ’s proposed regulations. The fact is, as pointed out by the NRA/CRPA’s attorney, that the regs sought to regulate things outside the scope of the new law (specifically shotguns) changed definitions in contradiction to Penal Code sections that were not affected by the new law (and without Legislative authorization to do so), instituted a registration regime that required stamping or engraving of lowers to federal manufacturers levels despite any law so requiring, imposed a requirement for the submission of digital photographs on a system that only permits e-filing of registrations (i.e. no paper forms), and other examples of serious overreaching which, contrary to the Legislative intent, actually encourages owners to legally evade the law through devices such as the Franklin mag, the Patriot Button, or going featureless.

    Currently it is not possible to register an “assault weapon” as the portal, open briefly, has been closed since the original regulations were withdrawn in January, and now it seems will stay closed for an indeterminate period of time until compliant regulations are submitted. The DOJ has already recognized that sh*t storm its proposed regs have created, and has asked the Legislature for more time to register firearms and more money to accomplish the task.

    There is NO good reason to register. Registered weapons cannot be taken anywhere except between your home and the range. They cannot be transferred to anyone in the state of California; you either have to transfer them out of state or, on your death, give them to the police for destruction. Why would you want that?

    There are practical and inexpensive methods available to avoid registration, either by creating a “fixed” magazine that can be removed only if the action is open, or by going featureless. I’ve chosen the latter. I bought a “finned” hand grip ($10), a thread protector ($8), and a 40 cent roll pin to pin the stock. Once all these changes are installed, I will be able to install a regular mag release which I already have. I encourage ALL California owners to do so. It will be totally embarrassing to the Legislature and the DOJ when, after spending millions to develop regs and the new computer system needed for the registration process few people do so.