How to Properly Destroy Firearms


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How to Properly Destroy Firearms


What are ATF’s Acceptable Destruction Procedures?

  • Use an oxy/acetylene torch (not band sawed)
  • Must remove at least ¼ inch of metal per cut
  • Must be made at angles and completely sever the receiver in at least 3 critical locations (specified by model)


Acceptable method of destruction is to completely melt (smelt), shred or crush the firearm receiver.  These torch cuts are acceptable alternatives to shredding.



  1. Must pass through the forward wall or barrel mounting area
  2. Must pass through the rear wall
  3. Must pass through an area having a critical fire-control-component mounting pin and/or the slot in which the operating handle reciprocates


An unserviceable firearm is not destroyed and is still regulated as a “firearm” under Federal law. Any method of destruction must render the firearm so that it is not restorable to firing condition and is otherwise reduced to scrap




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Last Reviewed August 14, 2019