Looking for a new pistol frame, whether you are interested in one because you want to make an upgrade to a current handgun or because you want to create a new one from scratch, can be a very involved process. Frames are not simply “accessories” in the same sense of the word that some other gun accessories are, and you need to take very special care when searching for or purchasing them.
There are a couple important reasons for this for which you need to be aware. One is that not all pistol frames are compatible with handguns from the same line, even if advertised by the same name. The perennial favorite M1911, for example, one of the most popular handguns in the world and one that has inspired countless imitations, does not take one single frame. There are several M1911 variants, and a “1911 pistol frame” is not a catch-all term.
You need to be certain that the frame itself is 100% compatible with the handgun you currently own, especially if you intend to break down the existing gun and rebuild it around the new frame. If you know what to look for on your own, that’s great, but if not, get in touch with a reputable seller or a competent gunsmith. There’s no sense selling all that money and abiding a NICS check (if required) just to end up with a piece of equipment that you can’t really use.
That brings up a whole new point. In many cases, it is the receiver of the firearm that is stamped with a serial number and thus regulated by the ATF as the actual gun. That means that purchase of a receiver (if it bears a serial number) is subject to federal and state laws and that that part is regulated as a firearm.
The thing is, many pistols do not have receivers, and instead the frame is stamped with the serial number. That means that, categorically, the pistol frame itself is the “gun.” In turn, this means that purchasing a new frame can be a right pain, requiring you to go through a NICS check or a waiting period or even transfer through an FFL. All of that will have been for nothing at the end of if you have a frame in your hand that you can’t put to use because it doesn’t fit your handgun.
All the same, if you don’t feel you can take it upon yourself to maintain an encyclopedic knowledge of pistol frames or state laws, you can lean on the help of the experts. For example, if you’re looking for a new frame to make a replacement or an upgrade, check out what’s in store at Sarco Inc. over at SarcoInc.com. There you can shop through their available frames on your own, or you can call on them for help if you need it. Give them a call at 610-250-3960 if you need a little assistance and they’d be happy to walk you through specifics.