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Iowa 80 Percent Lower Laws

80 Percent Arms   |   Dec 17th 2021

Disclaimer: To get started, we want to share a small disclaimer. We are dedicated and proud supporters of everything 2nd amendment, but we are not lawyers. So, before you take what you read here and run with it, you will want to double-check all of your local or state gun laws. Make sure you are up to date on any special regulations that may apply to you and your situation. Gun laws are always changing and always do your part to stay up to date with the newest and current laws.

This information is provided as a service to the public. It is NOT intended to be taken as legal advice and should never be considered as such. Make sure to do your own research as you and you alone are responsible for your own actions.

This is a developing list of information we intend to update regularly to stay accurate and current. If you see a discrepancy or a mistake with your home state’s laws that we’ve covered, feel free to let us know so we can correct it. Thank you and stay safe!

What is an 80% Lower?

An 80% lower receiver is an unfinished and unserialized blank which requires some machining work from the end user to turn it into a 100% lower receiver, otherwise, what is legally considered as a firearm. 80 lowers are missing the trigger pocket and three holes that need to be milled and drilled out to be completed. Unless states have passed their own laws barring the possession or sales of 80% products; pending the ATF's updated decision from the most recent proposed rule 2021R-05 80% lowers are completely legal, not considered firearms and thus can be shipped straight to your front door. No FFL required. To explore the 80 lowers we have to offer, check out our multiple collections.

Are 80 Lowers Legal In Iowa?

As of this guide’s initial publish date, 80% lower receivers and frames are not considered as firearms by the ATF and are legal to ship directly to buyers residing in the state of Iowa.

Do I Need to Serialize My 80 Lower in Iowa?

If you build out your own firearms starting with 80 lowers in Iowa you do not need to serialize the lower receiver or frame as there are currently no laws requiring citizens to do so. Should you wish to serialize your lower receiver we offer  custom engraving for our lowers.

Key Gun Laws in Iowa

Other than laws regarding 80 lowers, these are the key gun laws you should be aware of if you reside or are traveling through Iowa.

Firearm Possession and Purchase Requirements

The state of Iowa recently relaxed some of their gun purchasing and possession laws. Like all states, Iowa prohibits any person under the age of 18 to possess a handgun. State law also prohibits any person from knowingly transferring a handgun to any minor (straw purchase). At this point no extra licenses or permits are needed to purchase firearms in general. Minors are allowed to possess long guns such as rifles or shotguns and can even possess handguns as long as they were given to the minor by a parent, legal guardian, or spouse that is above the age of 21. There are no waiting period for firearm purchases in Iowa.

All firearm purchases and private party transfers require a background check (Dealer Record of Sale also known as 4473 form or “DROS”). While federal law requires federal firearm license holders (“FFL’s”:) to initiate background checks on buyers prior to the sale of a firearm, federal law also allows states to serve as their own “point of contact” and conduct their own background checks via state, federal records or databases, as well as the option to use the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. Iowa is a partial point of contact for the NICS and as a result, firearms dealers conduct background checks that are processed by the county sheriffs and the Iowa Department of Public Safety (IDPS) for handgun purchasers. The county sheriffs previously would conduct checks on applicants for five-year permits to purchase handguns but continue to handle the applications for permits to carry a concealed handgun. Whereas all long gun purchase background checks are conducted by the FBI thru the NICS.

Open and Concealed Carrying

Iowa was a “shall issue'' state when it comes to concealed carry BUT as of July 1, 2021, Iowa has enacted constitutional carry which means any person at least 21 years of age may lawfully possess and conceal carry a handgun. Iowa will continue to issue ccw’s in the form of (PCW’s) or permits to carry weapons for other states’ reciprocity purposes. Open carry is also legal under the new constitutional carry law. To see more details of Iowa’s policies on concealed carry permits check this reciprocity map here.

NFA Restrictions

While the state of Iowa does not restrict any “assault weapons” it, surprisingly, does have strict regulations on all NFA weapons. Iowans cannot own any NFA weapons unless it is an antique or under curios & relics use for historical reenactments for a historical society. However, Iowa residents are allowed to purchase and possess suppressors. Do be aware that the state does count any illegal modification of a firearm’s “rate of fire” to be an aggravated misdemeanor. Essentially, it’s a very legal jargon-esque way of saying “no changing semi-automatic firearms to full automatic.”

Magazine Capacity Restrictions

There are no magazine capacity restrictions in Iowa. Enjoy those sticks, drums and belt-fed box magazines! We carry plenty of standard capacity magazines like the Lancer Advanced Warfighter L5 mag which is a 30 rounder too. Our favorite color is the translucent smoke one.

Mandatory Storage Requirements

Iowa does not have any mandatory storage requirements but you should still exercise caution because you can be tried for negligently leaving your guns accessible to children. If you need some good ideas or best practices for storing your guns and gear here are five home firearm storage options.


When in Iowa, there is no duty to retreat before force for self-defense can be used because there is a stand your ground law in place and a castle doctrine. Residents should also be aware of safe storage mandates in which gun owners will be penalized if a minor gains access to a firearm and exhibits it in a public place in an unlawful manner, or uses the firearm unlawfully to cause injury or death to any person.

Ammunition Purchase

To buy ammunition in Iowa, buyers must be at least 21 years of age regardless of caliber. Anyone under the age of 21 must have written consent of a parent or legal guardian to purchase ammo except for those above 18 years of age who can purchase long gun ammo. Iowa only prohibits the possession of ammo that contains chemical compounds or mixtures designed to explode or detonate on impact. That includes shotgun shells or cartridges which contain “exothermic pyrophoric mischmetal which is designed to throw or project a fireball.

Start Your Next 80 Lower Build with 80% Arms!

Iowa residents are completely free to build their own firearms from 80 lowers and frames without any required serialization or FFL transactions. At this time there have not been any bans on 80 percents so take advantage of your constitutional Second Amendment right and freedom to keep, bear and build your own arms while you can! Grab a  jig for 80 lowers and some buddies to enjoy that freedom together and let us know if you need any advice with your build at any point in the process. Friends, live free.