Class 3 Firearm Explained: Types, Regulations, and Licensing Tips

Did you know that even though class 3 firearm are really powerful, you can legally have them in most places in the United States? But, to own one, you need a special kind of permission, and you have to follow some strict rules set by the government.

This article is here to make the world of class 3 firearm easier to understand. We'll talk about the different kinds of class 3 firearms, the important rules about them, and how you can legally own one. Whether you already know a lot about guns or are just starting to learn about them, this guide will help you understand everything about these powerful firearms.

Class 3 firearm

What Is a Class 3 Firearm?

When we talk about class 3 firearms, we often hear about something called "NFA firearms." So, what does NFA stand for? NFA means National Firearms Act. It's a law in the United States that was made a long time ago, in 1934. This law helps to control certain types of guns and weapons that are very powerful or different from regular guns.

NFA firearms include some really special kinds of weapons - not the usual guns you might see. They are weapons like machine guns, which can shoot many bullets very fast, and silencers, which make guns quieter.

Then, there are short-barreled rifles and shotguns, which are like regular rifles and shotguns but have shorter barrels. And there are even more types, like destructive devices – these are really big guns or bombs, and they are extremely powerful.

Why are these guns special?

Well, because they are so powerful or different, the government decided that people who want to own them need to follow extra rules. These rules are there to make sure that these guns are used safely and don't end up in the wrong hands.

So, when we talk about class 3 firearms, we're talking about a special group of these NFA firearms. They are fascinating but also come with big responsibilities. That's why it's important to know all about them, especially if you're thinking about owning one.

Types of Class 3 Firearm

As already mentioned, there are some really interesting types of firearms. Each type is unique and has its own special features. Let's take a look at some of the main types of class III firearms:

Machine Guns: These are the guns you might see in movies, which can shoot a lot of bullets very quickly, one after the other. They are powerful and can be used for things like professional shooting competitions or by law enforcement.

Silencers: Also known as suppressors, silencers are devices you attach to the end of a gun to make it quieter when it shoots. They don't make the gun completely silent like in movies, but they do reduce the noise a lot.

Short-Barreled Rifles (SBRs): These rifles have shorter barrels than normal rifles. Because of their size, they are easier to carry around and can be very useful for certain types of shooting activities.

Short-Barreled Shotguns (SBSs): Similar to SBRs, these are shotguns with shorter barrels. They are handy for moving in small spaces and are often used by people who need a powerful gun that is also easy to handle.

Destructive Devices: This category includes really big guns and explosives. These are not typical guns and are usually used by the military or in professional settings.

Any Other Weapons (AOWs): This is a special category for guns that don't fit into the other types. They can be really unique, like a pen that is also a gun or a cane that can shoot.

What is a Class 3 Firearm License?

Something really important if you're interested in class III firearms is the Class III Firearm License. What is it exactly? Well, it's like a special permission that you need to own or deal with class III firearms.

In the US, guns and firearms are regulated, which means there are rules about who can have them and how they can be used. For regular guns, you usually need a basic license. But for class III firearms, because they are more powerful and special, you need this Class III Firearm License.

Getting this license means you have to go through some extra steps. It's not just about proving you can use a gun safely. It's also about making sure you understand all the laws and rules about these special guns. The government wants to make sure that these powerful weapons are only in the hands of people who will use them responsibly.

How to Get a Class III Firearm License?

Getting a Class III Firearm License might sound complicated, but it's really just a matter of following a few important steps. Let's break down the steps.

Step #1 – Get an FFL

First things first, you need to get an FFL (Federal Firearms License). This is a license given by the government that allows you to handle regular firearms. Think of it as the first big step in your journey to getting a Class III Firearm License.

To get an FFL, you have to fill out some forms and send them to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). They will check to make sure you're allowed to handle firearms. This includes looking at your background, making sure you haven't broken any major laws, and that you're planning to use the guns safely and legally.

Step #2 – Become an SOT

After you get your FFL, the next step is to become an SOT (Special Occupational Taxpayer). This is a special status for people who want to deal with NFA (National Firearms Act) items.

To become an SOT, you need to pay a special tax and fill out more forms. This is like telling the government, "Hey, I want to do more than just handle regular guns."

Becoming an SOT is a big deal because it means you're taking an extra step to show you're serious about handling these powerful and unique firearms.

SOT Registration Cost

Becoming an SOT isn't free. There are some costs involved. These costs are like fees you pay to the government to say, "I'm serious about handling these special firearms, and I understand all the rules."

The cost of registering as an SOT can vary depending on what you're planning to do with the firearms.

For example, if you're going to sell them, the cost might be different than if you're just going to make them. These fees help cover the cost of the government checking to make sure you're following all the rules.

It's important to budget for these costs when you're planning to get into the class III firearm business. Think of it as an investment in doing things the right way.

Owning a Class III Firearm

Owning a Class III firearm is a big deal. If you're thinking about owning one, there are some important things you need to know to make sure you're doing it safely and legally.

#1 - Obtain Licenses

First, you need to have the right licenses. We talked about getting a Class III Firearm License and becoming an SOT. These are crucial steps. They show that you understand the rules and are serious about following them.

#2 - Safe Storage and Use

Then, there's the matter of safely storing and using your Class III firearm. These guns are not toys. They're powerful and need to be handled with care.

This means learning how to use them properly, storing them in a safe place where they can't be stolen or used by someone who shouldn't have them, and always being aware of the laws about where and how you can use them.

#3 - Keeping Up with the Paperwork

Also, owning a Class III firearm means keeping up with the paperwork. There are forms you have to fill out and records you need to keep. This paperwork is a way of letting the government know that you're using your firearm in the right way.

How to Purchase NFA Firearms?

Buying NFA firearms is a bit different from buying regular guns.

First, you need to find a dealer who is licensed to sell NFA firearms. These dealers have special permissions and understand all the rules about these types of guns. It's important to buy from a licensed dealer to make sure everything is done correctly.

Once you find a dealer, you'll need to fill out some paperwork. This includes forms that go to the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives).

The paperwork asks for your information and details about the firearm you want to buy. It's a way for the government to keep track of these powerful weapons.

After you submit your paperwork, there's usually a waiting period. This is when the ATF checks your background to make sure you're allowed to own an NFA firearm.

Finally, once your paperwork is approved and the waiting period is over, you can complete your purchase.

Using Your Class III License for Personal Use

Having a Class III license isn't just for people who want to sell or make Class III firearms. You can also use this license for your own personal enjoyment and protection. This means if you're a gun enthusiast or someone who wants an extra level of protection, a Class III license can be really useful.

Class III license opens up a world of possibilities for personal firearm use, whether it's for enjoyment, collecting, or protection. Just remember to always prioritize safety and responsibility.

class 3 firearm license for personal use

TradeSmart's Premium Firearm Accessories

At TradeSmart, we offer a range of high-quality firearm accessories that complement your Class III firearm experience. From tactical backpacks to safety kits, our products are designed with your needs in mind.

Tactical Backpack

TradeSmart Tactical Backpack is not just a bag; it's a comprehensive solution for safely storing and transporting your Class III firearms and accessories. Designed with multiple compartments and specialized pockets, it ensures that every item has its place, from firearms to ammunition.

The inclusion of TSA locks adds an extra layer of security, safeguarding your valuable items against theft or unauthorized access. The backpack's high capacity, capable of holding over 50 pounds without losing its shape, makes it ideal for extensive use.

Its durable Cordura™ Fabric and branded YKK heavy-duty zippers speak to its quality and longevity. Whether you're heading to the range or on an outdoor adventure, this backpack is your reliable partner, keeping your gear organized, secure, and easily accessible.

Professional Gun Safety Kit

When it comes to firearms, safety should always be the top priority. TradeSmart Professional Gun Safety Kit is meticulously designed to enhance your safety experience. Available in a variety of colors to suit your style, the kit includes NRR 28 Shooting Earmuffs, NRR 33 Shooting Earplugs, and ANSI z87.1 certified Safety Glasses.

Earmuffs for Shoting

TradeSmart NRR 28 Shooting Earmuffs are a fusion of comfort and advanced noise reduction technology. Available in five appealing colors, these earmuffs are designed to fit everyone comfortably with their universal sizing.

The soft ear cushions and plush headband ensure all-day comfort, even during extended periods of use. The earmuffs feature a unique, 6-layer noise reduction system, providing superior protection against harmful noise levels.

Lightweight and compact, they are easily foldable, making them convenient to carry and store.

Shooting Earplugs

TradeSmart NRR 33 Shooting Earplugs redefine the standard for hearing protection. Crafted from high-quality German BASF foam, these earplugs offer not just superior noise protection but also unparalleled comfort.

They are designed for universal fit, making them suitable for a wide range of users and activities. Each pair is individually wrapped, ensuring hygiene and convenience.

These earplugs are not limited to the shooting range; they are versatile enough for use in various scenarios like travel, sleep, or DIY tasks.

Safety Glasses

TradeSmart ANSI Z87.1 certified Safety Glasses are an essential component of your shooting gear. Available in clear and tinted lenses, they cater to different preferences and needs.

These glasses are not just about protection; they are about comfort and style too. The thin, flat arms ensure a snug fit without discomfort, while the anti-scratch and anti-fog features maintain clear vision and prolong the lifespan of the glasses.

The high level of UV protection, rated at UV 400, safeguards your eyes from harmful UV radiation, making these glasses a must-have for any shooting activity or outdoor exposure.

Hard Carrying Case

TradeSmart Hard Carrying Case is the ultimate storage solution for your shooting safety gear. Designed to fit 2x safety glasses and 1x shooting earmuffs, it offers organized and easily accessible storage for your essentials.

The case is not just about storage; it's about protection too. The heavy-duty strong stitching ensures durability, while the compatibility with all brands' shooting gear adds versatility.

Available in five colors, it allows you to personalize your gear, matching it with your style.

For more information on our products and how they can enhance your firearm experience, visit our website or contact us directly. At TradeSmart, we're committed to providing you with the best solutions for your firearm needs.


In wrapping up, getting into the world of Class III firearms can be an exciting journey. Whether you're a seasoned gun enthusiast or new to the scene, understanding these specialized weapons, their regulations, and the licensing process is crucial.

We've walked through what Class III firearms are, how to get the necessary licenses, and even how you can use these firearms for personal enjoyment and protection. We hope this guide has given you a clear understanding and helpful steps to navigate the complex but fascinating world of Class III firearms.

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