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Legal Update:
October 21, 2016

With the recent changes in California related to AR-15 Rifles we'll try to update you with some options.  Gov. Brown signed AB-1135 on July 2, 2016 which will have an effect on how AR's are sold and registered after January 1, 2017, when this new law takes effect.

What the signing of SB 880 and AB 1135 will do?

First off I am not an attorney, nor is any of the below legal advice. You as a firearms owner are ultimately responsible for knowing the assault weapons law(s).  I welcome any corrections you find to any of the below, if it is inaccurate.  This is all very new so ambiguity is all over the place.  The following is constructed on my analysis of the new law(s).  Please keep in mind, that the DOJ may interpret and enforce these very differently than it has been written.  I will update as new details are published by the DOJ.

California legislatures have been trying to eliminate and/or criminalize possession of AR and AK style rifles for just about 2 decades.  In 1989 California has defined an “assault weapon” when the Assault Weapons Control Act was established as any semiautomatic centerfire rifle with a removable magazine PLUS any of the following evil features:
  • Adjustable stock
  • Pistol grip
  • Flash suppressor
  • Forward pistol grip

SB 880/ AB 1135 has redefined the definition of a “fixed magazine” to be something that “cannot be removed without disassembly of the firearm action.  Essentially, we’ve all be using the bullet button loophole in the law to keep our rifles legal and the government just closed that loophole. Center Fired Rifles with a bullet button are now considered to have a “removable magazine,” not a “fixed magazine.”  

Since 2007, California AR and AK owners have been able to use a bullet button to avoid the classification of “assault weapon.”  Since the bullet button required a tool to drop the mag, it did not qualify as a “removable magazine.”  Instead it was considered to be a “fixed magazine.”  Since the rifle had a “fixed magazine” it was not an assault weapon.” Since bullet buttons don’t require the disassembly of the firearm action, even a rifle with a bullet button installed is now an “assault weapon.” 

The Change and Effect

Effective January 1, 2017 you may not purchase a rifle (even a stripped lower), that has any of the above evil features AND a “removable magazine.”  After January 1, you can’t buy a rifle with evil features from either a dealer or a private party.  You also must also register any “assault weapon” you own with DOJ before January 1, 2018.  Failure to register or remove the evil features will make you a criminal.  The “Registration Process” of you assault weapon will be done online and require a fee of $20, which is subject to change. You can only register weapons you owned prior to January 1, 2017 as taking possession of an “assault weapon” after this time is illegal.

If you register your gun as an assault weapon, there are draconian limitations on how you own and transport the gun.  You can never sell, give, lend, or trade an assault weapon to another person.  Nor can you hand down an “assault weapon” to your spouse, children, or grandchildren.  If you move out of the state, you cannot move back into the state with your guns.

What happens to my guns when I die?

When you die, your “assault weapon” essentially dies with you.  When you die, your guns will generally be handed down by bequest or by succession, usually to your spouse or children.   Your spouse or child (or whoever) has no more than 90 days to send the guns out of state, render them permanently inoperable, or to turn them over to law enforcement for destruction.  If your spouse or child has possession of the guns 90 days after your death, they have committed a felony punishable by no more than 1 year in county jail and substantial fines.

Lending my gun to my friend so he can go hunting for the day?

No. You can never lend your registered “assault weapon” to someone else for any reason. If you loan your rifle to a friend, neighbor, co-worker, etc. for any reason, you have both committed a felony punishable by up to one year in county jail. The gun is not allowed to be out of your possession. You can only let a friend use your gun if you are in immediate proximity to the gun at all times. That means, if you stay in one tree stand and your friend drives 300 yards up the road to the next hide and posts up with your gun, you have both committed a felony.

When does this go into effect?

You may not purchase a AR with any of the evil features or a stripped lower that will contain evil features after January 1, 2017.  You must register any gun with evil features with the DOJ and pay the fee before January 1, 2018.  If you do not register the gun or remove the features, you’ll be in violation of current law, which will be a felony.

Can I avoid registration of my firearm as an “assault weapon”?

YES, You can do one of two things to your firearm to avoid the classification of “assault weapon.”  You don’t need to do both, only one. First, you can install a device that requires you to disassemble the action in order to remove the mag/ reload.  Or, secondly, you can remove all evil features from your gun.  Meaning remove or cover the pistol grip, pin or install a fixed stock, change the flash hider to a muzzle break or compensator, and not install any vertical grips on the handguards.  By removing the evil feature, it is no longer classified as an “assault weapon” and you can also remove the bullet button and go back to having a standard mag release.  No more bullet buttons and no registration!  A featureless rifle can never again be turned back into a rife that contains any of the evil features.  Once you go featureless, you’re featureless forever.


These rifles are featureless and do not meet the definition of an “assault weapon”

AR Pistols?

AR pistols have the same requirements as AR rifles, with a few kickers just to make you even angrier.  While a rifle simply needs to have a compensator instead of a flash hider, a pistol is prevented from having “a threaded barrel, capable of accepting a flash suppressor.”  This means that your AR pistol must have a compensator that is permanently pinned and welded to the barrel. In addition, handguards (sometimes called “rails”) are considered to be an evil feature.  Therefore, it really isn’t possible to make a pistol featureless.  Your AR pistol is an “assault weapon” as of January 1, 2017 and must be registered with the Cal DOJ before January 1, 2018.  You can use a crack action bullet button as described to avoid registering.

What about 80% Lowers?

I you’ve built your AR rifle or AR pistol on an 80% it’s an “assault weapon” if it contains any evil features.  If you wish to keep those evil features on your gun, then you are required to serialize it and register it with the Cal DOJ before January 1, 2018.   If you make it featureless, then you are fine.

Does this mean I can remove my bullet button and use a standard “free state” mag release?

Yes.  Your AR or AK style gun is classified as an “assault weapon” regardless if you are using a bullet button, so why not switch it to having a free-state mag release?  Understand, you MUST register your gun with the DOJ as an “assault weapon” OR make it featureless before you do this.  If you have a free-state mag release and your gun is not registered as an “assault weapon” or featureless, then you are guilty of a felony.

Bolt Action Firearms

These new laws only apply to semi-auto center fire rifles.  Your Bolt Action Rifles are not affected.

What about my 22lr caliber rifles?

The law specifies “centerfire” guns.  22lr caliber guns and other rimfire guns are not affected.

What about my Glock/ 1911, etc. pistol?

SB 880/ AB 1135 define an assault pistol (I swear I didn’t make up that term) as having “A shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel that allows the bearer to fire the weapon without burning the bearer’s hand, except a slide that encloses the barrel.“ That basically means an AR-style handguard.  Handgun slides like you find on a Glock are exempted.  Bottom line, this doesn’t affect your semi-auto 1911/ Glock-style handguns.

Will you be able to purchase stripped lowers after January 1, 2017?

Yes.  You can still purchase stripped lowers after January 1, 2017, however, they must NEVER have an evil feature attached to them.  All lowers and rifles purchased after January 1, 2017 MUST be built as featureless rifles.

Can You sell your rifle after January 1, 2017?

No.  If it contains any of the evil features OR is registered as an “assault weapon”, then you cannot ever sell, trade, lend, transfer, donate, or pass it down.  That rifle is attached to you forever and dies with you.  You cannot sell an “assault weapon”.  You can sell a featureless rifle, but only if it was never registered as an assault weapon.  See next item below.

Can I turn my “assault weapon” into a featureless gun to sell it?

Yes.  You can turn your registered “assault weapon” into a featureless gun and sell, trade, transfer, or pass it down.  However, you must “DE-REGISTER” the gun with the DOJ.  There will be a process for DE-registering a registered firearm.  Once the firearm is De-registered and made featureless, then it cannot ever be turned back into an “assault weapon.”  It must remain featureless forever even by the new owner.

What if I live out of state and am moving to California, Can I bring my rifle with me?

No.  California strictly forbids the import of “assault weapons.”  If you bring your gun into California after January 1, 2017 then you are a felon the moment you cross the state line.   After January 1, 2017 all rifles must be made featureless before they come into the state.

The only exception to this is for military personnel being transferred to the state of California on orders.  If you are ordered to California, then you may bring your “assault weapons” with you, but you must register them with the Cal DOJ and then all of the other rules regarding sale, transfer, lending, inheriting, etc. apply.  Military personnel on orders are the only people who can register an assault weapon after January 1, 2018.  Anyone else coming into the state must make their rifle featureless or leave it behind when they move.

We hope this helps clear some of the “Gray Area” from around the new laws.  If you have any Questions or Concerns, please, feel free to contact me directly at
 [email protected]. 


Training with Bullet Buttons:

We receive many questions surrounding training with Bullet Buttons, as they are required for the majority of civilians within the State of California.  "How do you train with your Bullet Button?" Failure to train with the equipment you are currently using will result in a failure to function under a stressful encounter when you may need to deploy your skills to survive....

Current law within our Golden State is something we have to live with and be able to work within.  There are many tools out there that will allow you to operate your BB with some ability to enhance your reloading capability.  Here are a few examples, thumb or finger stylus used for writing on palm pilots, bullet attached to a retractable keychain attached to your tac vest, a simple bullet between your teeth, the use of a roofing nail cut down and inserted into a right glove middle finger...The Ultimate Bullet Button Tool (
UBBT) has come out with an attachment to the bottom of magazines that allows the operator to use the new mag to release the BB, remove the old mag and insert the new.  I think this is the best option out there as you will have one on each mag in your possession and never have to reach for anything but the replacement mag to make the mag change.  The options are seemingly endless and are only limited to your imagination.

For ALL Magazine manipulations, I prefer a 10/20 or 10/30 style mag.  The longer magazine gives you some extra real-estate to grab onto when inserting/removing, especially when clearing malfunctions.  I prefer a magazine with a UBBT attached with a rubber Mag-Pul bottom. We teach Tac Reloads and it allows you to retain your magazine for future use as needed.

Finally, as Instructors, Law Enforcement Officers, and residents of California, Gray Ops feels we have the obligation to teach all of our students within the legal parameters of our current statutes.  As an individual you have the right to choose.  Once you get on the range you can use whatever tool you normally use to operate your bullet button.  The most important part of your training is you train the way you are going to fight!  If you are going to have a fully operational BB when your weapon is in your home then it would be in your best interest to train that way…. 

You can always go featureless and avoid the BB altogether…

Gray Ops hopes this answers your questions, yes a BB will be a slower process but it is not the end of the world by any means…We welcome your questions and/or concerns.

Let the Criminal be the next "Victim" 


Zombie Tactics Video Review: Thordson Customs Ultimate Bullet Button Tool, "Ingenuity Over Tyranny"

For additional information on the Ultimate Bullet Button Tool please visit their web site:

Thordsen Customs    http://www.thordsencustoms.com/shop/ULTIMATE-BULLET-BUTTON-TOOL-UBBT.htm

New Product from Thordsen Customs:
The Ultimate Bilateral Magazine Release (UBMR) is a revolutionary new device and the latest innovation from Thordsen Customs LLC. California AR-15 enthusiasts can now have complete ambidextrous control of their firearms and for the first time, right handed shooters can perform efficient tactical magazine changes with their Bullet Button AR-15. 

I just had a UBMR installed on my training rifle and will now be using this for all my trainings.  Currently I've only had the opportunity to practice with my new UBMR, and like it.  I've always been a left handed reloader and with the UBMR it makes reloading so much easier.

The installation is simple and the modification to the lower is the addition of two small holes that are tapped to accept the screws that hold the UBMR to the lower.  The holes are drilled into the mag will area and in no way effect any of the internal parts of the firearm.

Here is a link to a video showing the UBMR in action.
 UBMR Video

Visit Thordsen Customs web site for a list of current dealers and approved installation locations.

One other major change coming in 2017 is possession of anything other than a 10 round magazine is going to be illegal.

SB 1446, Hancock. Firearms: magazine capacity.
(1) Existing law prohibits the sale, gift, and loan of a large-capacity magazine. A violation of this prohibition is punishable as a misdemeanor with specified penalties or as a felony.
This bill would, commencing July 1, 2017, make it an infraction punishable by a fine not to exceed $100 for the first offense, by a fine not to exceed $250 for the 2nd offense, and by a fine not to exceed $500 for the 3rd or subsequent offense, for a person to possess any large-capacity magazine, regardless of the date the magazine was acquired. The bill would require a person in lawful possession of a large-capacity magazine prior to July 1, 2017, to dispose of the magazine, as provided.
By creating a new crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law creates various exceptions to the crime described in paragraph (1) above, which include, but are not limited to, the sale of, giving of, lending of, importation into this state of, or purchase of, any large-capacity magazine to or by the holder of a special weapons permit for use as a prop for a motion picture, or any federal, state, county, city and county, or city agency that is charged with the enforcement of any law, for use by agency employees in the discharge of their official duties, whether on or off duty, and where the use is authorized by the agency and is within the course and scope of their duties.
This bill would make conforming changes to those exceptions by including possession of a large-capacity magazine in those provisions and would establish additional exceptions to the crime described in paragraph (1) above, including exceptions to allow licensed gunsmiths and honorably retired sworn peace officers to possess a large-capacity magazine.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.

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