Lawmakers are always looking for ways to make it harder for law-abiding citizens to obtain and own firearms that will be effective for self-defense. Fortunately, the firearms community is smarter than they are. When legislatures pass a law saying device X is no longer legal, the gun community finds a way to create a piece of machinery that performs like the outlawed device without being the outlawed device.
The Reformation, a new product from the Franklin Armory, is a prime example of this. It is a firearm that functions like a short barreled rifle (SBR) without being a short barreled rifle.
After the still largely unexplained Las Vegas shooting, we experienced a lot of controversy surrounding bump fire repeating weapons. These achieve performance similar to fully automatic weapons without being technically fully automatic. In light of the fact that these topics are pretty sensitive, (though it might be more accurate to say that enemies of the 2nd Amendment are the ones who are overly sensitive), we thought it would be a good idea to offer a lawyer’s perspective on the definition of the Franklin Army Reformation.
So we asked an attorney who specializes in gun laws to help us understand what the Reformation is, and how the law defines it.
Now, what makes the Reformation interesting is its ability to function like an SBR without hitting on any of the inconvenient legal hang-up associated with SBRs. It does this with its rather unusual approach to the interior of the barrel. Franklin Armory built straight grooves into the barrel. This enables the gun to not be considered a shotgun since shotguns are defined as having a smooth bore. It also enables the gun to dodge the rifle category, because legally, a rifle has corkscrewing rifling grooves.
Now, it’s important to note that on the surface the advantages of this weapon are purely legal. In itself, the gun does not function better than a true to form shotgun or a real rifle. Short barrel rifles with traditional corkscrew grooves are superior in general.
The major advantage of this weapon is it does not break the law as often as other guns do. It’s legal in more states, and it’s legal for more types and categories of owners. It is classified under existing federal laws as a firearm plain and simple and does not evoke any of the extra controls that shotguns and rifles tend to get caught up in.
While you may be disappointed with the fact that the only real advantage to the Reformation is its proficiency at being a legalistic jammy dodger, there are ways to make it just as good as a rifle. Number one is the fact that Franklin Armory makes specialized ammunition for this gun that completely makes up for the lack of twisting barrel grooves.
They make a round that looks like a Nerf football with fletching extending out the back. This stabilizes the round in flight so that there is no tumble. But the gun, interestingly, also takes regular ammunition. Normal off the shelf SBR ammo will suffer from greater tumble rates and have an effective range that’s limited to about 50 yards. However, as the president of the Franklin Armory, Jay Jacobson, points out a tumbling bullet will create a pretty horrifying wound channel. Think about it from the criminal’s point of view… Not too nice, right? On top of that, a tumbling projectile is almost certain to never over-penetrate, meaning you don’t have to worry about shooting targets you don’t want to shoot.
So the Reformation can perform just like an honest to goodness SBR, and it has a few functional quirks that might make it an excellent choice for home defense. Its legalistic profile makes it more practical to travel with, if say, you’re taking the family camping or going on a special hunting trip.
But best of all, the Franklin Armory Reformation does an excellent job of proving that no matter how hard lawmakers make it for honest and decent people to get guns there are many ways to beat them at their own game.
~ American Gun News