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FFL License Types: Which FFL Is Right For You?

Once you’ve decided you want to start a firearms-related business, one of the first things you need to do is get a Federal Firearms License or FFL. But before you can get your FFL, you need to decide which type of FFL you need. If, for example, you want to manufacture firearms, you don’t want to get an FFL that only allows for their sale.
Who wouldn’t want to sell these bad boys?
On the other hand, if you only plan on selling firearms, you don’t need to bother with an FFL that allows for their manufacture and import. And once you get into destructive devices, that opens up a whole other can of worms. There are currently nine different types of FFLs, each of which falls into one of four different categories:
  • Dealer FFLs
  • Manufacturer FFLs
  • Importer FFLs
  • Collector FFLs
To help you figure out which type of FFL you need, I’m going to walk you through each type of FFL.
Types of FFLs ATF
(Photo: ATF)
For each one, I’ll tell you what it lets you do and what it doesn’t. I’ll also cover costs, so you know how much it takes to apply for each FFL type and renew your license. FFLs need to be renewed every three years, regardless of type.
scarface money
Don’t worry, we’ll tell you how much you’re looking at spending…
Lastly, we’ll take a look at what other documentation you might need to get the full benefits of each FFL type, such as Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) status and a Federal Explosives License (FEL). Like FFLs, SOTs come in different types, referred to as classes, so we’ll tackle those as well. Disclaimer: I am not an attorney, and this article should not be taken as legal advice. It’s merely a guide to get you started. For legal advice or further information on the law, please speak to an attorney. With that out of the way, let’s talk FFLs.

Dealer FFLs

These first three types of FFLs are for people who want to buy, sell, or trade firearms or destructive devices. Under the NFA, destructive devices are basically anything that explodes or fires an explosive, gas weapons, and guns (except sporting shotguns) with a bore larger than a half-inch. You don’t need an FFL to just sell ammunition, but states and local governments may have their own requirements.

Type 01 – Dealer in Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices

Type 01 FFLs are by far the most common type of FFL among both gun shops and home FFLs. A Type 01 FFL allows you to buy and sell firearms as a business and allows you to work as a gunsmith.
ATF Application
Without a SOT, you’re restricted to only selling firearms under a Type 01. (Photo: ATF)
But it does not allow you to manufacture firearms or ammo for sale. You need a Type 01 FFL to deal in NFA items, but you’ll also need to tack on a Class 03 SOT. Without the SOT, you’re restricted to the sale and purchase of non-NFA items only. But even with the SOT, you still can’t sell destructive devices.
Suppressor ATF Stamp
Want to transfer these? Gotta have that Class 03 SOT.
Type 01 FFLs are also not for pawnbrokers. It does not allow you to receive firearms as collateral for a loan. Type 01 FFLs cost $200 for the initial application and last for three years. It then costs $90 to renew the license for another three years after that.

Type 02 – Pawnbroker in Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices

If you’re a pawnbroker and want an FFL as part of that business, Type 02 is the way to go. Type 02 FFLs are essentially the same as Type 01 FFLs, but also allow for pawnbroker activities.
Pawn Stars Meme
The reason for the distinctions is that some firearms in your possession won’t be legally your property. Expect to undergo more frequent inspections than Type 01 FFL owners do as a Type 02 FFL. This is because firearms sold at pawn shops are more likely to be used in crimes. Like a Type 01 FFL, a Type 02 FFL costs $200 for the initial application and $90 to renew every three years. Again, to be able to deal in NFA items, you’ll have to get a Class 03 SOT as well.
variety of silencers
Again, the fun stuff requires that extra Class 03 SOT distinction.

Type 09 – Dealer in Destructive Devices

Type 09 FFLs allow you to do everything Type 01 FFLs do, but you can also buy and sell “destructive devices.” However, a Type 09 FFL doesn’t exempt you from the need to register and buy a tax stamp for any destructive devices you buy for personal use.
Can’t have a missile without a license. Bummer.
Because destructive devices are regulated under the NFA, you’ll still need a Class 03 SOT to sell them. The FFL alone is not enough. And if you want to deal in explosive destructive devices, you’ll need a Federal Explosives License too.
M79 Grenade Launcher
ATF says this M79 Grenade Launcher is also a no-go unless you have that Type 09 FFL. (Photo: Wikipedia)
A Type 09 FFL also isn’t cheap.BONUS: Shoot better. Download our exclusive shooting targets for FREE ($47 value) It costs $3,000 for both the original application and for your renewal every three years. That’s a pattern you’ll notice for all the FFLs related to destructive devices. There’s not a huge market for destructive devices either. So, make darn sure that you’re actually going to sell destructive devices before applying for the FFL.
On the other hand, you can make good money selling them even within the small market. And it’s worth noting that some states don’t allow civilians to own destructive devices anyway. Again, do the research. Ensure you can get and sell them in your state before trying to get a Type 09 FFL.

Manufacturer FFLs

The next three FFLs are for people who want to sell firearms or destructive devices and also want to manufacture firearms or ammo for sale to others. This includes assembling a firearm from a kit or from purchased parts, as well as from parts you made yourself. Remember, you don’t need an FFL to manufacture firearms or ammo for personal use.

Type 06 – Manufacturer of Ammunition for Firearms Other Than Ammunition for Destructive Devices or Armor Piercing Ammunition

An FFL Type 06 is for those who want to make and sell small arms ammunition (not ammunition for destructive devices or armor piercing ammunition). If you’re an experienced reloader and want to be able to sell your loads to others, this is the way to do it. It costs just $30 for the initial application and for your renewal every three years, so you don’t have to sell a lot to make it worth the investment.
Want to sell your creations? Gotta have a Type 06 FFL to do it.
However, an FFL Type 06 does not allow for the manufacture or sale of firearms. So, if you want to be able to sell firearms, even if you only plan on manufacturing ammo, you’ll need to go with an FFL Type 07 instead.

Type 07 – Manufacturer of Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices

A Type 07 FFL is the second most common type of FFL behind Type 01. It allows for the manufacture and sale of both firearms and ammunition — except armor-piercing ammo, ammo for destructive devices, or destructive devices themselves. Additionally, if you have a Class 02 SOT, that includes the manufacture and sale of NFA items (aside from destructive devices, their ammo, or armor-piercing ammo).
45 Colt Reloads
Want to sell both guns and ammo you build? Apply for a Type 07 FFL.
Want to do custom gun sales? A Type 07 FFL is the move for you. Coupling it with the Class 02 SOT really opens up options for what you can make and sell, inlcuding things you can charge a lot more for. At the same time, it costs just $150 for the application and for renewal. So, it’s easy to make your money back.
Spongbob Sell
This type of FFL is good for people who want to manufacture firearms as their primary source of income. But it also works for those who make firearms as a hobby and want to sell them so they can turn around and buy parts for their next build.

Type 10 – Manufacturer of Destructive Devices, Ammunition for Destructive Devices or Armor Piercing Ammunition

If the Type 07 isn’t enough and you want to also be able to deal in destructive devices, their ammo, and armor-piercing ammo, you need a Type 10 FFL. And again, because these are NFA items, you’ll also need a Class 2 SOT. And, if you want to be able to deal with explosives, you’ll also need an FEL.
Slow-Motion Armor Piercing Incendiary
Slow-Motion Armor-Piercing Incendiary
Like the Type 09 (Dealer in Destructive Devices), the Type 10 FFL isn’t cheap. It costs $3,000 for both application and renewal. There’s not a huge market for these kinds of items, but the ability to manufacture and restore them in addition to just sell them does open the market up wider for you.

Importer FFLs

None of the above FFLs allow you to import firearms from other countries, so if you want to be able to do that, you’ll need one of the next two FFL types.

Type 08 – Importer of Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices or Ammunition for Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices, or Ammunition Other Than Armor-Piercing Ammunition

The Type 08 FFL is the basic license type for importers. It allows you to import and sell the majority of firearms and ammo, but not destructive devices, ammunition for destructive devices, or armor-piercing ammunition. If you want to be able to import other types of NFA items, you’ll also need a Class 01 SOT. A Type 08 FFL costs $150 for both application and renewal.

Type 11 – Importer of Destructive Devices, Ammunition for Destructive Devices or Armor-Piercing Ammunition

You’ve probably noticed a pattern by now (or can at least read the section header). So, you can guess that a Type 11 FFL allows you to do everything a Type 10 does, plus import and sell destructive devices, destructive device ammunition, and armor-piercing ammunition. Once again, to take advantage of those additional options, you’ll need a Class 01 SOT. And for any explosives, you’ll need an FEL.
Explosives Sign
Gotta have that FEL to deal with explosives.
Like the other FFL types related to destructive devices, it costs $3,000 both for the initial application and renewal later. This FFL is very hard to get and will generally only be approved for importers who work with certain government agencies, relevant museums, or suitably wealthy private collectors.

Collector FFLs

New to guns? Check out our online Beginner Handgun Course that teaches all the important stuff you need to know. This last FFL is a bit different from the other types. It’s not for people doing business with firearms but for collectors of Curio and Relic (C&R) firearms. According to the ATF, C&R firearms are firearms that fall into one of these three categories:
  • Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas of such firearms;
  • Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, state, or federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  • Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

Type 03 – Collector of Curios and Relics

A Type 03 FFL does not allow you to engage in selling, manufacturing, or importing any type of firearm, including C&Rs as a business. Instead, a Type 03 FFL simplifies the process of building a collection of C&Rs by exempting you from having to deal with federal background checks and forms for each qualifying firearm that you buy.
Just want to deal in old guns? You can get a Type 03.
Bonus, it also saves you trips to the gun shop for transfers every time you buy a C&R firearm. That said, it doesn’t free you from relevant state or local laws. So, you may still have to deal with a background check or other hoops if mandated by those laws. A Type 03 FFL also does not exempt you from requirements for NFA items, even if they meet C&R qualifications. Type 03 FFLs are quite affordable, costing only $30 for both the initial application and for your renewal every three years.
not bad meme
Finally, if you want the convenience of a Type 03 FFL for building your personal collection but also want to have a business that sells, manufactures, and/or imports firearms, you can get both a Type 03 FFL and the relevant type of Dealer, Manufacturer, or Importer FFL. You can even use the same application to apply for both; just be sure to check each FFL type that you want to apply for in the proper section of the application.

How to Get Your FFL

Once you’ve decided which type of FFL you need, you’re ready to get started with the application process. You’ll first fill out your application, including a passport photo and fingerprints, and send it to the ATF alongside your application fee. You’ll also need to send a copy to your local Chief Law Enforcement Officer — probably either your city’s chief of police or your county sheriff — to give them notice that you plan to obtain an FFL.
Eddie Murphy Sheriff
Once the ATF has gone over your application and conducted a background check, you’ll have an interview with an Industry Operations Investigator who will make sure the information you’ve given is correct. They will also make sure you’re aware of federal, state, and local requirements for the type of business you’ll be licensed for. If you’ve decided since submitting your application that you actually want a different type of FFL, you can let the IOI know at this point, and they’ll make the change for you.
ATF IOIs at work in Miami, Florida. (Photo: ATF)
They’ll also inspect any premises you’ll be using for your business to make sure it complies with federal, state, and local laws. Hopefully, you were getting it set up properly while you waited for your application and background check to be processed. Once all that’s done, the ATF will make its final review and either issue or deny your license.
The whole process takes about two months from the time the ATF receives your application. If all of that sounds a bit complicated, there’s a good reason for that…it kind of is. Even once the paperwork, photo, and fingerprints are sorted, you still have to make sure that your place of business is ATF compliant.
ATF Meme Guy
Always watching…
Navigating it all can be tough to handle on your own. But, fortunately, you don’t have to.

Need Help Getting Your FFL?

RocketFFL and FFL123 each provide comprehensive guides to help you through the application process. Their guides help you fill out your application, explain everything you can (and can’t) do with your FFL, ensure that you’re ready for your IOI interview and inspection, and more.
Rocket FFL
Rocket FFL
How do you know the help you’re getting is good? Each site was created by an expert to ensure all information is up-to-date and accurate. Trust us, both RocketFFL and FFL123 know their stuff!
And at less than $50 bucks, the courses are well worth the investment to make sure your FFL application process goes right the first time. Then you can get started with your gun business as soon as possible.


The ATF’s murky FFL waters can seem daunting, but with the right help, it’s a breeze. The first step, of course, is understanding the difference between the types of FFLs and deciding on which suits your goals the best.
Ready to start your FFL journey?
Again, if you’re still feeling confused, check out RocketFFL or FFL123 for additional resources on getting your FFL business off the ground. Do you have an FFL? What’s your type, and how was the process for you? Let us know in the comments below. Not ready to commit to setting up an FFL business but still want to play with some fun stuff? Check out our guide on How to Buy a Suppressor Online. Written By Megan KrissMegan Kriss is an avid recreational shooter by day, and writer/editor by night. She has an extensive linguistics and writing background, and has written for everyone from Allstate to celebrity plastic surgeons. She also has experience in international affairs and political policy analysis.Read more…

CZ 75 Handgun Review

The CZ 75 pistol is one of the most legendary handguns of the 20th century. It stands tall alongside some of the most well-known and widespread handguns in the world, such as 1911Beretta 92, and Glock 17. It was one of the first “Wonder Nines” and helped popularize high-capacity 9mm handguns.

History of the CZ 75

CZ 75 handgun review
Unlike the other pistols mentioned, the CZ 75 was developed on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain. Before and during the Cold War, Czechoslovakia was known for weapon design and production. Unlike other Warsaw Pact countries, the Czechs designed their own weapons. One of the weapon designers was František Koucký. After his official retirement, he was offered a chance to design a 9×19 Parabellum handgun and was given complete freedom. What he created was the CZ 75, in 1975 (imagine that). Originally intended for export, it later became a popular sports handgun in Czechoslovakia. Worldwide it became renowned as an innovative and effective handgun. Many variants and clones have been produced, and it is still a popular pistol for collectors, sports shooters, and professionals.

CZ-75 Design and Features

The CZ 75 is a short recoil-operated, tilting barrel semi-automatic pistol. Most versions have a manual safety and are single-action/double action. Some recent versions sport a decocking lever as part of the manual safety. The frame is all steel. The slide rides inside the rails instead of outside, giving this pistol a more tight fit compared to other handguns. This handgun also has a lower bore axis compared to most other handguns, leading to less muzzle flip during recoil. 9mm Parabellum is the most common cartridge for which CZ 75s and their variants are chambered, though you can also find them in .40 S&W or even.45 ACP. The magazines are double-stack.

CZ 75 Specs

Caliber: 9x19mm ParabellumWeight: 2.5 lbs unloadedOverall Length: 8.1″Barrel Length: 4.7″Width: 1.3″Height: 5.4″Capacity: 12 to 26, depending on magazine and caliber

Variations of the CZ 75

CZ 75 B/BD – B models have an additional internal firing pin safety as well as some other minor improvements such as a ring-style hammer. BD models replace the safety with a decocking lever. CZ 85 – Slightly more modern than the original, the CZ 85 has ambidextrous controls. Also available in B and BD models. CZ 97 – A .45 version of the CZ 75. The CZ 97 is also available in B and BD models. CZ 75 P-01 – The model of choice for the Czech National Police, the P-01 is more compact, has an aluminum alloy frame, and sports a barrel accessory rail. CZ 75 P-07 – A polymer frame version of the original, this version is also available in .40 S&W and is supposed to have an improved trigger pull.
CZ 75 SP-01
CZ 75 SP-01 Model
CZ 75 SP-01 – Another ambidextrous full-sized model, the SP-01 version also has a barrel accessory rail as well as an extended magazine. It is basically the most modern base model of the CZ 75, and there are sub-models such as the Tactical (ambidextrous decocker), Shadow (more ergonomic grip and better sights), and Phantom (polymer frame and customizable grip). CZ 75 Automatic – This variant has selective fire! They may have a compensated barrel. A second magazine can be attached to the front end of the frame, turning the magazine into a foregrip. There are quite a few other variations like the CZ 75 D PCR, the SA, the P-06, and the slightly ridiculous TS 9mm Czechmate.

Clones of the CZ 75

With the CZ 75 being so popular, it was inevitable that other companies would want to copy that success. Here are a few of the most common clones: IWI Jericho 941/Magnum Research Baby Eagle – This pistol is based on the CZ 75. Functionally it is very similar, though aesthetically it is different. It also has a polygonal bore instead of traditional rifling. EAA Tanfoglio Witness, Springfield P9 – These are basically straight-up clones of the CZ 75. Different versions are available but they are all based on variants of the original CZ.

What I Like About the CZ 75

I prefer shooting the CZ 75 over most other 9mm handguns I have fired. The weight of the gun and the low bore axis keeps the pistol from leaping far away from the target after each shot, so successive shots were faster and easier. The controls are in the right place for me. I appreciate the SA/DA action, and I also appreciate the exposed hammer. The added ability to control the condition of the gun is, to me, a positive. There’s something about the Cold War-era look of the handgun that has visual panache for me. It looks like a rugged gun, which is what it is. Speaking of rugged, this is a very reliable handgun. You have to try pretty hard to make it fail to shoot. It is plenty accurate, too. Overall, I enjoy shooting CZ 75s and the later models, though there are some things I do not appreciate as much.
CZ-75B Rude
CZ-75B Rude Model

What I Don’t Like About the CZ 75

With a steel frame and steel slide, the CZ 75 is heavy. When out of ammunition, you could probably get great results by throwing it at your target. So carrying it all day will be more fatiguing than with other guns. There are aluminum and polymer-framed models which alleviate this problem The trigger is located a bit further away from the grip than on most handguns. For people with smaller hands, you have to really reach your trigger finger out there to get it to fire. Ergonomically, this pistol is a bit clunky in my hands. Thanks to the double stack magazine the grip feel thick and blocky, so it fits my hands more poorly than, say, 1911.

Buying Advice

As this is a rather prolific pistol with many variants and clones, it is not too difficult to find one for sale. Czech-made CZ 75s are probably the highest quality, though there is nothing wrong with any of the clones. Some of them have beaten the original in international shooting competitions! Because it has such a long history and there are so many variants, you can spend anywhere from four hundred dollars to fifteen hundred and get a solid CZ 75 or upgraded model. But should you? Compared with other handguns, the CZ 75 is rightly considered a classic. However, if you are buying it for a purpose, there will probably be a different pistol that will suit your needs better. For concealed carry, there are many smaller and lighter pistols. For target shooting, expensive CZ variants are a winner, but so are other purpose-built handguns. For plinking, there are more modern and fun guns out there. There are also better options for hunting. As a good, basic choice for a handgun, the CZ 75 and its derivatives are a solid choice. For someone new to the shooting who is seeking their first handgun, it is a good all-around pistol, reliable and safe. If you are a collector, there are more than enough models to keep you collecting for a long time. As a nightstand gun, it is one of the better choices—though remember to keep it safe from any children! I would recommend bothering a friend with one to try the gun before you, ahem, pull the trigger on buying one yourself. I had the good fortune to try out a CZ 85 first myself.
Kim Jong-il's Chrome CZ 75
Kim Jong-il’s Chrome CZ 75

Final Thoughts

The CZ 75 is a pretty gosh darn good gun! It may not be the best at anything, and may not fit everyone’s hands as well as other choices, but there is a reason over a million of them have been produced and countries from America to Asia have copied this Czechoslovakian design. If you have a specific purpose in mind, something else will probable serve your needs better. But for collecting, home defense, or fun, I would gladly recommend the CZ 75 to anybody.

What’s the most unique firearm that you have owned?

I collect unusual firearms…. this little Cobray Double Barreled shotgun with a 2-inch barrel is kind of cool.
A shotgun derringer is very hard to shoot.
DBD41045 You would think this is would be a “sawed-off shotgun” and totally illegal, but no the law clearly says the destructive device must have a bore greater than 1/2″ and this is .45 — .05 inch under the line. .410 shells.
It has a rifled barrel so is not a “shotgun”.
It also shoots .45 Long Colt rounds. Which is a crazy powerful round, a .45 on steroids.
So the theory I use is the first shot is the shotgun round, which would form a cloud of pellets everywhere in the general direction you are looking, and the second shot is the “aimed” .45 hollowpoint. It is no fun to shoot though. Takes your hand off when you fire it with those very small grips. Made by some guy named Wayne Daniels in Ducktown, Tennessee. Really unique pieces.
They are still making guns under the name Leinad (Daniel spelled backward).
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