FFL License Types

FFL License typesDepending on the type of firearm business activity you’d like to conduct, you’ll need a particular “type” of FFL license.

An FFL is a license that allows the Federal Firearm Licensee (the person/company that has an FFL license) to import, make, or sell firearms as a business.

Federal Firearm Licenses, by themselves, allow dealing, manufacturing, or importing of GCA / Title I firearms only.  These include standard rifles, shotguns, and handguns.

How Many FFL License Types Are There?

There are currently 9 different types of FFL licenses.

  • Dealers need FFL license types 01, 02, or 09
  • Manufacturers need FFL license types 06, 07, or 10
  • Importers need FFL license types 08 or 11

Here’s a summary of each FFL License type along with its purpose and what SOT class is required.

FFL License Types
  Purpose SOT Class
Type 1 FFL Dealer/Gunsmith of Firearms 3
Type 2 FFL Pawnbroker/Dealer of Firearms 3
Type 3 FFL Collector of Firearms
Type 6 FFL Manufacturer of Ammunition
Type 7 FFL Manufacturer/Dealer of Firearms and Ammunition 2
Type 8 FFL Importer/Dealer of Firearms 1
Type 9 FFL Dealer of Destructive Devices 3
Type 10 FFL Manufacturer/Dealer of Destructive Devices 2
Type 11 FFL Importer/Dealer of Destructive Devices 1

Categories of FFL License Types

Each FFL license type can be broken down into four basic categories:

  1. Collector FFL – This category can not “engage in the business of firearms.”  As the name suggests, it is for collecting firearms only.
  2. Dealer FFL – These FFLs may purchase and sell guns as a business and they may also operate as gunsmiths.
  3. Manufacturer FFL – There are two types of these FFLs: manufacturers of firearms and ammunition and manufacturers of ammunition only. Firearm and ammunition manufacturers may, of course, manufacture firearms and ammunition and also act a dealer. Ammunition manufacturers may only manufacture ammunition and may NOT act as a firearm manufacturer nor dealer.
  4. Importer FFL – These FFLs may import firearms and/or ammunition and also act as a dealer.

Here’s a break-down of the types of activities that can be conducted depending on the FFL license type.

Note that the Type 3 FFL and Type 6 FFL do not allow any business activity with firearms.  This is because the Type 3 is for collecting only and the Type 6 is for manufacturing ammunition only.

Firearm Activity by FFL License Type
  Firearms Dealer Firearms Manufacturer Firearms Importer
Type 1 FFL X X
Type 2 FFL X X
Type 3 FFL X X X
Type 6 FFL X X X
Type 7 FFL   X
Type 8 FFL X  
Type 9 FFL X X
Type 10 FFL   X
Type 11 FFL   X

You can tell which type of FFL someone has once you know what each part of an FFL number means.

The cost for each FFL license varies from $30 up to $3,000 for the both the initial FFL application fee and the 3-year renewal fee.  For a breakdown of these costs, see our article, How Much Does an FFL Cost?

FFL with SOT

An FFL holder must also become a Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT) in order to deal, manufacture, or import NFA /Title II firearms. These firearms include specially regulated items like Silencers, Short Barreled Rifles (SBRs), and full-auto machine guns.

Different classes of SOTs may engage in different activities.

  1. Class 1 SOT – These SOTs may Import and deal NFA / Title II firearms
  2. Class 2 SOT – These SOTs may manufacture and deal NFA / Title II firearms
  3. Class 3 SOT – These SOTs may deal NFA / Title II firearms

The tax-rate for SOT registration varies depending on how much you sold for some FFLs.

FFL Types, 9, 10, and 11 are the only FFLs that allow working with Armor Piercing Ammunition and Destructive Devices.

Which Type of FFL is Right For You?

So, which one should you get? Chance are, you choice is between a Type 1 dealer FFL or a Type 7
manufacturer FFL. These are the two most common types of FFLs. For example, see the graph of the distribution of FFLs in our country.

Number of FFLs by License Type

Learn more about how to get an FFL or, if you’re ready to get your own FFL, sign up for our Get Your FFL and Become an SOT courses.

I’m looking forward to having you in our industry,