Accessories and Foregrips: What You Need to Know about Custom Guns in Texas

The following is a video transcript.

Can I customize my firearm? We often receive questions from members about building and customizing their guns. Are these custom builds and modifications even legal? We have good news and bad news. The good news is gun modifications and customizations are generally legal in Texas. The bad news: certain accessories and customizations could get you thrown in jail. Let’s look at some of the more common questions we receive.

Building a Gun

First, am I allowed to build my own gun? Yes. Texas law allows you to build your own firearm. You can build an AR-style rifle by purchasing a complete lower and a complete upper and assembling them together. Or, if you are a bit more experienced, you can buy a build kit, purchase individual parts, or even mill out your own 80% receiver.

Mechanical Modifications

Can I modify the trigger? There is no state or federal law preventing you from modifying the trigger pull or installing an aftermarket trigger.

Most mechanical modifications of internal parts are allowed in Texas. But be careful with binary triggers, and definitely stay away from auto sears. While binary triggers are not illegal as of right now, some law enforcement agencies view them as machinegun parts. Machinegun parts, auto sears, and other automatic weapon components are illegal unless part of a narrow exception for machineguns manufactured prior to 1986 and registered with the ATF.

Illegal Accessories

Are there any accessories that I cannot use? If you want to install night sights or a handgrip with a built-in laser, go right ahead! But there are a few common accessories that can get you into trouble. Recent justice department regulations have banned bump stocks, making them illegal to possess or own. Even if it is not installed on a firearm, merely possessing a bump stock is illegal, and it must be destroyed according to ATF standards.

Also highly regulated: suppressors. Suppressors or silencers are not banned outright, but you must register them with the federal government (with ATF form 1 or form 4) and pay a $200 tax to legally own one. If someone asks you to buy their suppressor without the proper paperwork, you should give them the silent treatment.

Foregrips

Finally, vertical foregrips are not allowed on handguns. With the growing popularity of the AR pistol outfitted with a pistol brace, many people ask about vertical foregrips. Attaching one of these to any pistol transforms the once-legal pistol into an AOW. To legally add this accessory, you would have to apply with the federal government to “make and register” a firearm and pay a tax.

As you can see, there are plenty of gun customizations that can get you into trouble. If you plan to make some changes to your favorite firearm and you’re unsure of the legality, call Texas LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

First Aid for Gunshot Wounds 2A Institute

Comment section

4 comments on “Accessories and Foregrips: What You Need to Know about Custom Guns in Texas

  1. This article was well-written on the short. If it can be re-written and published in another newsletter with links going in to more in-depth detail on certain parts that would be appreciated. One example would be the binary trigger comment. The two common brands on the market pretty much control the whole binary trigger market. For example, the Franklin. I’d be interest on the status of that particular brand and their legality and potential illegality such as the bump stock. I would hate to spend $400 just to have to turn it in or destroy it. Another specific would be the foregrip on an AR-style pistol. While I know you did not mention specifically the AR-style pistol, I’m assuming that is what we’re deriving this specific from. While we cannot use a 90 degree vertical foregrip, can we use a 45-degree forgrip? These are just two examples of what I would like to see links to so I can make an educated decision on further modifications to my hunting rifles. I hog hunt and some of these items you touched off on would be very beneficial to me. I hope I’m not alone. Texas law Shield, you do a wonderful job at keeping the 2A community apprised in Texas. Thank you.

  2. Is there any case law or records from trials where certain modifications have caused problems for owners? I also referring to things like replacing the dust cover on an AR-15 or the slide on a Glock with a “Punisher” Death’s Head or similar.

    Thanks,

  3. We need your seminars in Tyler Texas like you have done before!

  4. It’s worth noting that the last comment concerning forward grips on pistols do not necessarily automatically put you in AOW status, there is the exception of a firearm exceeding 26 inches of overall length.

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