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FFL License Glossary of Terms

When FFL123 customers get ready to obtain an FFL License, they enter into a new domain. This new domain presents with many new terms and many new acronyms within the firearms industry (FFL License Glossary). We find it helps customers to read through glossary of terms to help them better understand the content of our guides. The better you understand these terms, the easier the ffl process will become.

1. FFL

– Federal Firearms License


– Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

3. NFA

– National Firearms Act. Created in 1934 to deter civilians from purchasing “gangster” type weapons such as silencer, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, and the like

4. Long gun

– rifle or shotgun

5. GCA

– Gun Control Act. Federal law enacted in 1968 which regulates the firearms industry and firearms owners.


– National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The system used to perform background checks on firearms transactions.  Created by the Brady Act.

7. DBA

– Doing Business As, your trade name

8. Hand gun

– a weapon with a short stock designed to be held and fired with one single hand

9. Receiver

– also called lower receiver. The serialized portion of the firearm, which the ATF also considers a firearm.  ATF treats as a handgun for FFL transfer purposes.

10. Firearm

– any weapon designed to expel a projectile by the use of explosives or the frame or receiver of such a weapon. The ATF’s exact definition can be found in the Gun Control Act of 1968 under 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3).

11. A&D Book

– the official record of a FFL holder accounting for every firearm that has come in and/or gone out of inventory. This book is required by ATF.  Can be digital as well.

12. Silencer

– any device which muffles the report of a firearm. ATF officially calls them silencers.

13. Suppressor

– same thing as a silencer. A device which muffles the report of a firearm.

14. Transfer tax

– The $200 tax fee that the federal government charges for the transfer of a NFA weapon to a non-licensee, a Form 4 transfer.

15. NFA Transfer

– any transfer of a NFA item (silencer, SBR, SBS, machinegun, etc) from one person or entity to another.  Non-NFA dealer required to pay $200 transfer tax to federal government.

16. ATF Form 1

– Application to Make and Register a Firearm. Form submitted by an individual to ATF before making an NFA item to put into NFA database.

17. ATF Form 2

– Notice of Firearms Manufactured or Imported. Form submitted by a dealer to ATF to put NFA item into the NFA database.

18. ATF Form 3

– Application for Tax-Exempt Transfer of Firearm and Registration to Special Occupational Taxpayer (National Firearms Act). Used to transfer NFA items (silencers, SBR, SBS, etc.) from dealer to dealer, manufacturer to wholesaler, wholesaler to dealer, etc.

19. ATF Form 4

– Application for Tax Paid Transfer and Registration of Firearm. Used to transfer NFA items (silencers, SBR, SBS, etc.) to a non-licensee.

20. ATF Form 5

– Application for Tax Exempt Transfer of Firearm and Registration of Firearm. Used to transfer NFA item tax exempt because (a) the firearms is unserviceable and is being transferred as a curio or ornament (b) firearms is being transferred to or from a government entity (c) firearm is being transferred to a lawful heir (d) other (specify).

21. ATF Form 7

– also called ATF F 5310.12. This is the application for a federal firearms license

22. ATF Form 4473

– the form filled out for an over-the-counter gun sale

23. FFL Application

– the set of four (4) forms which must be filled out to apply for a FFL.  Called a Form 7 or ATF F 5310.12.

24. Transfer

– the act of having a customer fill out a Form 4473, running the NICS check, and upon “proceed” releasing the firearm to the approved recipient.

25. Internet FFL Transfer

– when a customer purchases a gun through the internet, the gun must then be sent to a FFL dealer in the state of residence of the purchaser. The recipient FFL dealer will then perform the NICS check before releasing the gun to the purchaser.

26. Class 3 dealer

– jargon term referring to a FFL dealer who also has the SOT upgrading allowing said dealer to sell NFA items like silencer, short barreled rifles, etc.

27. SOT

– Special Occupational Tax. The fee that FFL dealers pay to be able to buy and sell NFA weapons (silencers, SBR, SBS, etc.) Also used to refer to the license holder, i.e. SOT Dealer.

28. Class 3 License

– the class of SOT a dealer has when the FFL held is a type 01.

29. Class 2 License

– the class of SOT a dealer has when the FFL held is a type 07.

30. FFL Type 01

– Dealer in Firearms/Gunsmithing

31. FFL Type 02

– Pawnbroker

32. FFL Type 03

– Collector of Curios and Relics

33. FFL Type 06

– Manufacturer of Ammunition for Firearms

34. FFL Type 07

– Manufacturer of Firearms/Ammunition (can buy, sell, make, assemble, repair)

35. FFL Type 08

– Importer of Firearms/Ammunition

36. FFL Type 09

– Dealer in Destructive Devices

37. FFL Type 10

– Manufacturer of Destructive Devices

38. FFL Type 11

– Importer of Destructive Devices

39. Brady law

– the law which requires FFL dealers to conduct a NICS background check on firearms transactions

40. Machine gun

– any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot automatically buy a single function of the trigger; the frame or receiver of such a weapon; a device which can convert a semi-automatic weapon into an automatic weapon (such as an autosear) or a combination of devices which would accomplish the same thing; or a combination of parts from which a machine gun could be fashioned if under the control of a person. For the exact definition of a machine gun see 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b).

41. SBR

– Short barreled rifle. A rifle having a barrel(s) of less than 16 inches in length or a weapon made from a rifle which in its modified state has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel(s) less than 16 inches. For ATF NFA definition see 26 U.S.C., § 5485(a).

42. SBS

– Short barreled shotgun. A shotgun having a barrel(s) of less than 18 inches in length or a weapon made from a rifle which in its modified state has an overall length of less than 26 inches or a barrel(s) less than 18 inches. For ATF NFA definition see 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53 § 5845(a)(1).

43. Curio/relic (C&R) firearm

– Must fit in one of three categories. (1) Was manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date but not including replicas thereof, or (2) certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest, or (3) derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or from the fact of their association with some historical figure, period or event. See 27 CFR 478.11.

44. AOW

– Any Other Weapon. Any weapon or device that can be concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive; a pistol or a revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell; weapons with combination rifle and shotgun barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading; and any such weapon which can be readily restored to fire. For official ATF definition see 26 U.S.C. § 5845(E).

45. Assault weapon

– A weapon capable of automatic fire (see: machinegun). However, in current rhetoric, the term “assault weapon” is used to refer to semi-automatic rifles with cosmetic features that make them look like their fully automatic counterparts.

46. Destructive device

– Any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas; bomb, grenade, rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces; missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce, mine, or similar device; any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device.

47. Title II Weapon

– Another term for NFA weapons (silencers, machine guns, SBR, SBS, AOW)

48. NFA Gun Trust

– An entity created, usually by a lawyer, to purchase NFA weapons. Commonly used when the purchaser is buying in quantity or would like to lend the NFA item to friends/family.  Popular when CLEO refuses to sign Form 4.  Federal government currently working to close this loop hold, as no background check is required of anyone within the trust.

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