The NSSF On The Moronic Myths of Microstamping

By: Larry Keane

458 Socom Primer Jim Grant
Microstamping is both impractical and currently impossible. IMG Jim Grant

U.S.A. -( Microstamping has reared up as gun control schemers elevate it as a sophisticated means of “gun safety,” a sly euphemism for gun control. Proponents of the unworkable, unreliable, and ineffective concept keep their heads in the sand regarding the feasibility of microstamping mandates because they can’t face the truth. It doesn’t work.

Boondoggle Backstory

Microstamping is unproven and unworkable technology, using a laser to imprint a shallow unique identifying code on a handgun’s firing pin, transferring the mark to a spent cartridge casing once it has fired. Gun control politicians push the “technology” to “reduce gun violence.” In their minds, microstamping connects the dots on crime, a criminally misused firearm, and the criminal. Except that’s not realistic and forcing gun manufacturers to implement microstamping on new guns, or retrofit existing firearms, only limits lawful firearm ownership.

Todd Lizotte, who holds the patent for the sole-source microstamping technology, recognized this reality in a peer-reviewed study. “Legitimate questions exist related to both the technical aspects, production costs, and database management associated with microstamping that should be addressed before wide-scale implementation is legislatively mandated.”

Third-party researchers agree. Forensic firearms examiner Professor George Kristova wrote, “Implementing this technology will be much more complicated than burning a serial number on a few parts and dropping them into firearms being manufactured.” The University of California at Davis, hardly a gun-rights redoubt, reported, “At the current time it is not recommended that a mandate for implementation of this technology be made.”

A National Academy of Science study concluded that “the durability and survivability of markings on the bullet are still major concerns. Bullets would also be likely to suffer the corrosive effects of blood and other substances.” An Iowa State University study stated that “legitimate questions exist related to the technical aspects, production costs, and database management associated with microstamping that should be addressed before wide-scale implementation is legislatively mandated.”

That bottom line is microstamping doesn’t work. Lizotte himself agreed that alphanumeric codes are often illegible under even perfect conditions. Electron microscopes couldn’t detect legible codes in testing. Even under perfect conditions, it would take at least 10 spent cartridges to make an “educated guess” to piece together a legible code. More practically, this technology can easily be defeated with sandpaper or a nail file as the microstamping mark is only 25 microns (half the diameter of a human hair). Criminals already obliterate serial numbers etched into a firearm frame.

Little Digits, Big Problems

California ignored these impossibilities and passed a dual-placement microstamping mandate in 2007, despite the firearm industry testifying the technology doesn’t work. Then-California Attorney General and now Vice President Kamala Harris certified the law in 2013, along with California’s Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale. Since then, firearm manufactures have introduced no new handguns to California. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 2847 into law in 2020, reducing the microstamping requirement to a single place, but speeding up the number of handguns falling off the list of those approved for sale in California. For every new handgun added to California’s Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale, three older models must be removed. When the initial microstamping law took effect, there were 953 pistols on the roster. As of November 2020, there are only 497, as any modification to a model even to improve the safety and reliability of a handgun constitutes a new model requiring microstamping.

California Dreaming

California is the only state to enact microstamping, but other states are considering it. Connecticut tried once before in 2009 but the bill was defeated. Democratic state Rep. Jillian Gilchrist introduced HB 5584, trying to require the impossible technology in her state again this year.

California’s considering going back to dual-placement requirements, which it just rolled back a year ago. Democratic Assemblyman David Chiu, who wrote the single-placement law, introduced a bill just weeks ago to up the requirement back to two places on a cartridge. It’s still unworkable and the requirement to speed up the removal of handguns off the roster remains. It was never about solving crime. It has always been about eliminating handguns.

On the federal level, microstamping legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008 by then-Congressman Xavier Beccera (D-Calif.), who became California’s attorney general after Vice President Harris won election to the Senate. Becerra is now President Joe Biden’s Health and Human Services Secretary nominee awaiting U.S. Senate approval. He would join an administration itching to throw roadblocks in front of the firearm industry and deprive law-abiding Americans of the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

About The National Shooting Sports Foundation

NSSF is the trade association for the firearm industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of thousands of manufacturers, distributors, firearm retailer s, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations, and publishers nationwide. For more information, visit

National Shooting Sports Foundation

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Don’t ban guns. Just require the impossible. These are the same people that legalized recreation marijuana.


Imagine the explosive growth of the ‘after-market firing pin’ industry, immediately following passage of any micro-stamping legislation…

John Dow

Microstamping is right up there with “smart guns” – it’s not about safety, it’s not about reducing so called “gun violence”. It’s about making it harder and more expensive for John/Jane Q. Citizen to exercise their natural rights and to be free of government control.


there is a good law make the people who deny someones right to self defense,liable if they get killed just as if the killed them themselves. and make it federal so communists get jailed for life for their behavior. I bet half of the jailed would be from comifornia and the next biggest group new yak


Until all guns are micro stamped, wouldn’t a buyer just avoid those with it? Politicians and bureaucrats are the stupidest people when it comes to believing unproven hype. California is also notorious for requiring industry to adopt unproven or even undeveloped technology to meet their demands to remain in business. Electing ignorant people to represent us is our demise, like Newsom requiring Californians to wear two masks in public. If elections are rigged like I believe they are, we’re screwed already.


one sure way around this whole thing, if it ever does get made mandatory. Simply use a stolen gun. And there WILL be a hot blackmarket for “technicians” to obliterate the already very vulnerable markings oin the pin anyway. Or, before this takes effect, if it does pass into law, simply lay in a large stock of common firing pins, no marks. Or bogus marks, just to confuse the gullible gummit poohbahs. That’s always fun to do. Eedkits. They already make it criminal to steal guns, for felons to have them, to use stolen guns in crimes, to obiterate exising… Read more »


I read somewhere that the firing pin won’t be the issue (easy to alter), it’s the breach. As the round is fired, the shell casing expands and is embossed on the brass wall. These vipers only care about disarming the law abiding.

Ryben Flynn

There are a lot of patents for items that are just useless and never make it to market. Microstamping is one of them.


and there are some patents that legislators have invested in and they will make sure that laws are passed requiring you to have that product like Jerry Brown Sr. and the catalytic converter in kommiefornia


ANd dont forget about the catalytic convertors now mandated nationwide on ALL new cars, sometimes up to SIX of them on one car, at an installed cost of somewhere around $300 each… and no, if yours gets clogged up, you CANNOT go buy a used one from a junkyard, even if it is in perfect condition. Why? Suz Unca Stoopud sez so. And what real difference do those devies make? Not much.


The United States is smack in the middle on the list of murder rates by nation. If you eliminate the 5% of counties responsible for 70% of murders, we are basically Norway. And note: Those counties that make up the 5% responsible for 70% of murders are all run by democrats. The point is, never put democrats in charge of reducing crime. Heck, while pushing gun control they are freeing violent felons and calling for drastically shorter sentences for all crimes, while democrat prosecutors are refusing to press charges for deportable offenses against illegal aliens.


I’ve read similar statistical analyses in the past but cannot remember where; for reference can you provide the source for the “5% … 70%” ?


They need drive the crime rate up and have more crimes with guns in order to justify the confiscation of all guns.


The use of “Myth” in the title gives undue credit to the term “Microstamping”.

“Myth, a symbolic narrative, usually of unknown origin and at least partly traditional, that is especially associated with religious belief. … ” (from:

The only part of the definition which is applicable is “… religious belief. …” Gun-control advocates have “religious fervor” (though “obessive blind faith” may be more accurate).


more like a load of hardened high tensile concrete between their ears……..


Just for argument sake say that this micro stamping works. If I was going to shoot someone I would go to a shooting range first and pickup some brass on the ground. Use a 9mm revolver and drop someone else brass at the scene of the crime!


Then the “controllers” will revert to the other failed approach of attempting to maintain databases of the “rifling marks” left on a “fired projectile” from every barrel which is licensed to a specific owner and “provenance” tracing ownership since manufacture.

Bottom line no one and especially not “politician / legislators” can fix “stupid” and corrupt cognitive processes.


you reveal something rare about yourself in this plan: you are FAR MORE intelligent and rational than the average criminal schmuck. Really, you woud not even need to use your revolver. Scatter a good mix of spent range brass in different calibers. Now they don’t even know what round handgun they are looking for. Then your own would just be one more stamp to chase down. Of course, as soon as you get home (or somewhere else secure) after the “incident”, stash the handgun you did use, and start carrying something else. Then if they find you and “ask a… Read more »


It’s very easy to figure out if this is a good thing or not. It’s like this. If a democrat wants it, you know it’s bad. If kommiefornia wants it, you know to turn your back on it and not have it in your state. Kommiefornia is the perfect example that all of us need to pay attention too as what not to do in your state. Even their own college, the United Peoples Republic of Davis Kommiefornia says technology isn’t ready for it yet. Remember, this is a town where bicycles rule and down town is blocked off so… Read more »


It would be more technologically feasible to stamp the foreheads of legislators who vote for this kind of law (and governors or presidents who sign off on them), with, “ACCESSORY TO MURDER”, for making it harder for victims to obtain guns for self-defense.


I think they should be chipped and our phones go off whenever they are in the area.


Hah, you got me there!!! When I read the word “chipped” I thought you were one of those clowns from anohter site that are always suggesting this or that poitician get inserted feet first into a decent sized wood shipper. THAT would be a bit more permanent as far as solutions go,would it not?