Tactical Machining has been in the 80% receiver business since 2008, and have AR-10, AR-15, and 10/22 receivers as well as a 1911 frame on the market. From what I’ve heard of the company they have a good reputation for quality, and the denizens of various forums seem to think they are the are some of the good guys in the business.

Monday night, they took to Facebook to try to explain why they think the Ares Armor raid occurred:

In regards to the 80% fiasco at Ares Armor, the legality of 80% receivers, and how you can avoid the ATF knocking on your door for buying an “80% receiver” instead of an 80% receiver.

It’s not an 80% lower fiasco, it’s a we we’re selling a product that was clearly not an 80% fiasco. ATF considers any dimpling or marking of either the FCG or the hammer / trigger / safety selector as a 100% receiver. The ATF details this in the determination letter they provide you after they have approved your product. Also, the ATF considers the 3D printed lowers EP produced as once a firearm and converted to an “80%” which is a no-no because ATF has proper decommissioning standards. They print the 100% lower then print the FCG section into the 100% lower. A technicality but still “wrong” in the eyes the ATF. This ENTIRE fiasco could have been avoided by the manufacturer receiving a determination letter from the ATF saying that the item isn’t a firearm.

The approved standards for 80% receivers are pretty clear cut but manufacturers are constantly looking for easier ways for customers to complete it into a firearm. Without ATF approval you could be purchasing what the ATF considers a firearm. In the past when the ATF has changed its standards on 80% receivers it notifies all manufacturers with approval determinations and gives them the opportunity to modify their product to remain compliant. They also allow manufacturers to finish selling whatever receivers are in stock that are becoming non-compliant as long as they were manufactured prior to the determination change. The ATF is very cooperative with product determinations but if you do not receive one and manufacture products that are considered firearms they will stop the manufacturer and try to determine how many firearms were sold as non-firearms. This ATF raid was not due to an ATF crackdown on 80% receivers but a crackdown on non-compliant 80% receiver manufacturers.

Tactical Machining has a determination from the ATF stating that our 80% receivers are not firearms. Make sure the manufacturer of your 80% lower has a determination from the ATF or you could end up in the same boat.

Some critics read the post as an attempt by Tactical Machining to promote their products at the expense of Ares Armor and EP Armory, while being factually inaccurate in describing how EP Armory’s 80% lower receivers are made.

Apparently, EP Armory’s lowers are injection-molded, not printed, and they claim that their build order is reverse of what Tactical Machining had written, with the sprue in the fire control group area constructed first, and the rest of the receiver molded around it, which would seem to make it compliant as constructed.

Clear EP Armory 80% Lower Receiver (via Facebook)
Clear EP Armory 80% Lower Receiver (via Facebook)

After being excoriated in the comments, Tactical Machining has since heavily altered their post to read:

Our original post was in no way meant this as an attack on Ares Armor and we wish them the best. Our intent was to clarify which 80% lowers were under attack and not the industry as a whole. We want to see the 80% industry remain strong and ensure customers rights will not be violated.

I don’t think that Tactical Machining wrote their post with any malice intended.┬áIt appears that they were simply attempting to explain their experiences with the ATF and the changes and alterations that they’ve had to make to remain compliant, and then applied that against what they thought they saw of the EP Armory receiver’s construction.

Their information was partially wrong… but they still managed to shed some light on the situation by describing their interactions with the ATF since 2008.