Firearm Engraving FAQ

Do I have to serialize my 80% build firearm?

There is no Federal requirement to serialize your home built firearm (yet). California is of course, different. The new law requires that all finished firearms must bear a serial number by January 1, 2019.

You can still buy 80% completed lowers, but for those self-manufacturing in California, you must apply for and apply a serial number from the California Department of Justice.

As of January 01, 2019, you will need to submit a Unique Serial Number Request (USNR) from the California Department of Justice on the CFARS ( California Firearms Application Reporting System) website at

You must apply for a serial number BEFORE you start self-manufacturing your firearm. You then have ten (10) days to put the serial number on the firearm after you complete it. After, you must report it with digital photos in the CFARS system within 30 days of the date the serial number was issued.

CA DOJ’s CFARS has detailed information on how to apply for and receive a serial number.

What are the standards for marking a firearm?

You can see the full requirements on the ATF website here, but these are the core components:

Manufacturer (Your Name)
City & State of Manufacture
Model (Optional but recommended)
Caliber or Gauge
Serial Number

  • Must be conspicuously engraved, cast or stamped (impressed) on the firearm frame or receiver.
  • The serial number cannot duplicate the serial number appearing on any other firearm from this manufacturer / model combination.
  • The engraving, casting or stamping (impressing) of the serial number must be to a minimum depth of .003 inch and in a print size no smaller than 1/16 inch.

Note: We make no claims of being legal experts and are not providing any legal advice. If you have legal questions, please contact a competent firearms attorney.

Can I drop off my completed firearm for you to work on?

Yes! You can drop off your 80% or fully completed firearm for serialization or custom engraving work.

Call To Arms Gun Works is a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) Type 07 (Manufacturer).

What options do I have with what I engrave on my receiver?

This is the fun part. As long as you provide all the information required (see above) you can name your firearm “George” if you want. We very much encourage you to be creative and personalize your receiver. You can see some examples here.

What do you use to engrave firearms?

We use a Vision 1624 Router/Engraver. It is a highly accurate and precise machine with a wide range of options for marking.

Discuss your needs with us and we can recommend different depths and styles depending on if you are going to refinish your firearm after engraving or not.


ATF FAQ can be found here.