Firearms Serial Numbers

Firearms Serial Numbers

Firearms Serial Numbers
Firearms Serial Numbers
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

Washington, DC –-( A primary purpose of the Gun Control Act (GCA) is to enable firearms to be traced from the manufacturer or importer of the firearm through the firearm’s sequence of distribution.

Federal firearms laws and regulations require that the identifying information contained on firearms be accurately and fully recorded in the acquisition and disposition (A&D) records retained by FFLs.

The markings required to be placed on firearms and the records maintained by FFLs are critical in tracing firearms that are used in crimes. Symbols, numbers, and/or letters found in firearms serial numbers often identify model designations and date of manufacture and may include other coded manufacturer data that can be very important to a successful crime-gun trace.

Two regulations implementing, respectively, the GCA and the National Firearms Act (NFA), 27 CFR § 478.92 and § 479.102, specify the marking requirements for licensed manufacturers and importers relative to firearms and armor piercing ammunition, and for makers of NFA firearms. Licensees and makers of NFA firearms must legibly and conspicuously mark the firearms with the required markings.

The above regulations require markings that legibly identify each firearm. A serial number must consist of an actual number or series of numbers. However, such numbers may be accompanied by a combination of letters. ATF has consistently taken the position that “legibly” marked means using Roman letters (A, a, B, b, C, c, and so forth) and Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, etc.).

ATF has received many questions regarding whether a manufacturer may identify a firearm with an individual’s name. This may be done provided it is also marked with a number(s) adjacent to the name (e.g., “adamsgun1234”). In addition, ATF has received numerous requests from Federal firearms licensees about special characters.

A legibly marked firearm may also include, but may not be comprised solely of, special characters provided that a variance is requested and approved. We caution that the manufacturer must ensure that the serial number used should be readily located in their A&D records.

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Would you please tell me about my handgun.
Serial # V163160.
Thank You.

Randy Long

I have a drilling that was brought back after ww2-double 16 with 8.8 mm under-it has all kinds of markings under the forearm–crowns/ numbers -on both barrels H WITH A STAR BESIDE IT THEN-FLUSSSTAHL KRUPP ESSEN- underneath the fore arm–there is a crown with K m G beside it- under this there is an N 12 gr-U E- 8.8 mm- 72- 5/28- on the top of the barrels there is also an inscription on each barrel-SUHL on the left barrel and on the right is EMIL KERNER SOHN OR JOHN. On both barrels in a circle is the letters ELLISSO… Read more »

Brent white

I’m trying to find the model number and a caliber of a firearm bringing ham rifle 25 inch barrel serial number 78468 if you can help in any way I appreciate it thank you

Alex Dotson

How do I find the date of a CVA kit gun with serial code on barrel 034988


i want to buy a double barrel shot gun “bridge gun works. how can i find out how old and what its worth

H.J. Clay

S&W .32 Cal ser# 667111 on butt. Cannot locate model#. 3″ barrel 6 shot cylinder w/exposed hammer. Checkered wooden rounded grips w/no chips, cracks or breaks . End of barrel, under trigger guard and cylinder show wear. Most other bluing in good shape. Date of mdfr and value if possible pls.

Thomas E. Vaughan

Where can I find out the manufacture date of a firearm by the serial number?

roger blane

i have just got a ww greener .22 rimfire rifle martini action serial no 014021 can you please tell me the date of manufacter,