Firearms - Guides - Importation & Verification of Firearms, Ammunition and Implements of War - ATF Form 4590 - Factoring Criteria for Weapons

Policies & Procedures

ATF Form 4590 — Factoring Criteria for Weapons

ATF Form 5330.5 (Form 4590) is intended for informational use only. Copies are provided for your review to promote a better understanding of how ATF determines the importability of handguns but may not be submitted for consideration by ATF as the form is used by ATF only.

The ATF Form 4590, Factoring Criteria for Weapons, was implemented as a result of the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). Following the enactment of the GCA, the Treasury Department established an advisory council known as the Firearms Evaluation Panel to provide guidance in determining an import standard, and to identify which firearms met this standard for importation into the United States. The panel focused its attention on handguns and recommended the adoption of a factoring criteria to evaluate certain types of handguns. The resulting factoring criteria for handguns is a one-page worksheet utilized by ATF’s Firearms Technology Branch to calculate a numeric score that is used in determining whether a certain handgun may be legally imported into the United States.

  • Form 4590 establishes certain standards and prerequisites for imported handguns. Those qualifying benchmarks establish the minimum size and weight requirements for handguns under consideration for importation. Each submitted sample can accrue additional points based on the cumulative evaluation of its configuration, design, and enhanced safety features that further contribute to overall sporting and safety characteristics. The factoring criteria apply only to complete firearms, not actions, frames or receivers.
  • Generally, domestically produced firearms are not subject to the factoring criteria as long as they remain within the United States. However, if a U.S. made handgun were exported, it would be subject to the factoring criteria before it could be imported back into the United States. An exception to this rule is provided if the person who exported the firearm is the person bringing it back into the United States. In such an instance the sporting purposes test does not apply. 18 U.S.C. § 925(d)(4).
  • Handguns that are classified as surplus military curios or relics are also subject to the factoring criteria. Failure to obtain a sufficient numeric score on ATF Form 4590 would prohibit their importation.
Last Reviewed September 22, 2016