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AR-15 complete upper receiver

© Motohide Miwa, Creative Commons License
Definition: Simply put, the receiver holds the mechanical parts of a gun. These parts include the trigger housing and bolt carrier group. Most firearms have a single receiver although a few--most notably the AR-15 and the AR-10--have both a lower and an upper receiver.

In most cases, the receiver is the only ATF-controlled part of the gun as it is marked with the gun's serial number. From a legal standpoint, therefore, the receiver is the gun. In the case of a gun with two receivers, the lower receiver is typically the serialized part. The exception to this rule is in the case of a short barreled gun which is regulated in totality by the ATF.

Generally, the term receiver is used in regard to long guns. The receiver of a handgun is usually called the frame.

Also Known As: frame, body, upper, lower

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