Rare Breed Triggers squares off against the ATF in a battle over its FRT-15 trigger system, challenging The Bureau’s assertion that its trigger falls under the NFA.
This comes after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives notified Rare Breed in early July 2021 that its FRT-15 meets the ATF’s definition of a machine gun.
As such, the trigger would be classified under the National Firearms Act.
But why would a trigger be considered a machine gun, and what is the implication for those who already have an FRT-15?
Keep reading to find out.
Table of Contents
What is the FRT-15?
At the center of this war between manufacturer and the ATF stands the FRT-15, or Forced Reset Trigger.
Announced in 2020, the FRT-15 offers a drop-in style assembly but adds a unique feature to it.
The FRT-15 assembly works by forcibly resetting the gun’s trigger after each round fires.
In essence it works like this, the round fires and bolt cycles, then the FRT-15 cocks the hammer and resets the trigger simultaneously.
This allows for quick firing of the gun by the user.
The ATF’s Position
The ATF sent a letter to Rare Breed Triggers in July 2021, informing the company that the FRT-15 would be classified as a machine gun per the National Firearms Act.
According to the NFA, a machine gun constitutes “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”
Classification under the NFA means users must register the trigger assembly and pay a fee to legally own it.
But hold on, there’s more. The Hughes Amendment of the Firearms Owners Protection Act precludes average citizens from owning machine guns.
(Learn more about the Hughes Amendment and machine guns in our guide here!)
Therefore, the classification would effectively render the FRT-15 inaccessible to most Americans as the possession or sale of the FRT-15 would result in civil or criminal prosecution.
But Rare Breed contends the FRT-15 is not a machine gun.
Rare Breed Challenges the ATF
Rare Breed’s owner and lead counsel Kevin Maxwell filed court documents in early August 2021, arguing that per the ATF’s definition, a machine gun must fire more than one shot by a single function of the trigger – which the FRT-15 does not do.
While the FRT-15 does enable users to fire a firearm quicker, the company says the trigger assembly is still a semi-automatic trigger capable of only one round per trigger pull.
“In other words, a ‘machinegun’ is not defined under federal law by how fast it can fire – but rather by the method in which it can fire fast,” the filing says.
Further, Rare Breed clarifies that the FRT-15 does not act as an auto sear – a tool most often seen alongside machine guns resulting in full-auto function.
“Thus, by definition, the FRT-15 does not make a semiautomatic rifle into a ‘machinegun.’ Rather, the only thing the FRT-15 does is enable a shooter to accomplish a faster follow-up shot because of the speed at which the trigger resets.”
To see the FRT-15 in action and to hear Rare Breed’s response to the ATF claims, check out the video from Rare Breed below.
Rare Breed’s request for emergency injunction is still pending, waiting for an official decision in the U.S. District Court system, meaning no official actions have been taken against FRT-15 owners.
Pew Pew Tactical will stay on top of this developing story and bring you updates as they come.
Is the FRT-15 a machine gun or just a fun part? Let us know in the comments below. For more on gun laws as they relate to the NFA, check out our guides to the National Firearms Act and The Hughes Amendment. Or see what else the ATF is up to in attempting to reclassify frames/receiver and pistol braces.
Rare Breed Triggers & ATF Battle Over FRT-15 Trigger is written by Jacki Billings, Editor for www.pewpewtactical.com