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In firearms, the term "lower" typically refers to the lower receiver, which is a crucial component of certain firearms, especially rifles and AR-style firearms. The lower receiver is the part of the firearm that houses the trigger group, the magazine well, and serves as the foundation for attaching the stock and other parts of the gun.
Here's a brief explanation of the role of lowers in guns:
AR-15 Lower Receiver: In the context of the popular AR-15 platform, the lower receiver is the serialized part of the firearm, legally considered the actual firearm according to U.S. law. It contains the fire control group (trigger, hammer, and sear), which enables the firearm to be fired. The AR-15 lower receiver also houses the magazine well where the ammunition magazine is inserted.
Stripped Lower Receiver: A stripped lower receiver refers to the lower receiver without any internal components, such as the fire control group. It is essentially a blank canvas for building a custom AR-15 rifle, allowing the user to choose and install their preferred trigger, grip, stock, and other parts.
Complete Lower Receiver: A complete lower receiver comes with all the necessary internal components, including the trigger group, buffer tube, and stock. It only requires the attachment of an upper receiver to form a fully functional AR-15 firearm.
Lower Parts Kit (LPK): A lower parts kit includes all the necessary internal components for assembling the fire control group in an AR-15 lower receiver. It is commonly used when building custom AR-15 rifles.
Polymer Lowers: Some manufacturers produce lower receivers made of polymer (plastic) instead of traditional aluminum. Polymer lowers are generally lighter and may offer cost savings but are still durable and functional.
Serialized Component: In many countries, including the United States, the lower receiver is the serialized part of the firearm, making it the legally controlled and tracked component. Other parts of the firearm, such as the upper receiver and barrel, can typically be purchased without the same level of regulation.
It's important to note that the regulations and laws surrounding firearm components, including lower receivers, vary by country and region. In the United States, for instance, lower receivers are subject to federal laws and regulations, including background checks and restrictions on the sale of firearms to certain individuals. As such, the purchase and assembly of firearms, especially custom builds, should always be done in compliance with local laws and regulations.