how to make an sks 922r compliant featured image

How To Make An SKS 922r Compliant

How do you make an SKS 922r compliant? Let’s find out in this article.

The SKS is arguably one of the most underestimated rifles thanks to its close cousin, the AK-47, who stole the show before they had a chance to prove their worth. True gun aficionados are well aware of this and are always taking advantage of the situation to take them off the hands of less interested parties at a bargain.

One unfortunate outcome of this situation is the tightening of regulations against the ownership or assembly of foreign guns, especially in the United States. While the spirit of the regulation is not to place any undue or unnecessary Federal restrictions or burdens on law-abiding citizens, you may unwittingly find yourself on the wrong side of the law.

It is therefore important to familiarize yourself with the regulations if, like us, you are a fan of guns. They govern the acquisition, possession, and legal use of firearms, whether you are hunting, trapshooting, target shooting, or keeping firearms for self-protection. This article is about making your SKS 922r compliant. This is the most restrictive law for an SKS owner, and we want you to be legal.

An appreciation of the SKSs background will help you appreciate the circumstances that led to the restrictive environment you have to contend with.

About The SKS

How to Make An SKS 922r Compliant


The SKS is a popular firearm for civilians in many countries, including the United States, Canada, and New Zealand. It is a Soviet semiautomatic carbine that was one of the first weapons to use the 7.62 by 39mm M43 round, later popularized by the AK47.

It was designed in 1943 by Sergei Gavrilovich Simonov, and the name is an initialism of Samozaryadnyi Karabin sistemy Simonova which means Simonov’s self-loading carbine system.

The Soviets took it out of front-line service in the early 1950s and replaced it with the AK-47, effectively cutting short its production life in Russia (its production ended in 1956). It is currently only used by ceremonial honor guards in Russia.

The SKS was reborn in China when the SKS tooling, specification, and spare parts from the Tula Arsenal in Russia were moved to the Chinese Jianshe factory. Millions of SKSs were produced in China over the next 25 years as a number of smaller factories spread all over China joined in the production. The Chinese versions were designated the ‘type 56.’

The SKS was also produced in East Germany under the ‘Karabiner S’ designation, in North Korea as ‘Type 63’, in Albania, Vietnam, Yugoslavia, and Romania.

The rifles are semiautomatic, recoil-operated, and work well in unfavorable conditions; they were created to keep shooting. Their resilience and adaptability have seen them persist into the 21st Century wars despite the existence of the improved AK-47. Their military and historical relevance make them great collector’s items.

Their signature folding bayonet that is integrated into the barrel also provides character. The bayonets are different depending on the country of origin. The Chinese version is pointy, while the Yugoslavian SKS is more of a blade.

Because of China’s massive production and exportation, the SKS is readily available and affordable nowadays, making it a popular hunting and sporting weapon in the West. The original Soviet version, the SKS45, remains the most coveted version to date, probably due to its limited production.

The SKS design lies between your typical assault rifle and a sniper rifle. Given that their original cartridge is a fixed internal box magazine with a capacity of 10 bullets, the SKSs need to be modified if they are to carry more than 10 rounds. This renders their factory versions easier to acquire in countries and states which restrict rifles with higher capacity magazines.

If you are looking to buy or build this great rifle, you probably need a rapid course on keeping it legal to avoid being a guest of the state. At this point, we wish to emphasize that what we are offering is not legal advice. These are tips collected from our legal gunslingers with many years of staying compliant. The purpose is to give you options for staying compliant without completely disfiguring your SKS.

SKS 922r Compliance

The easiest way to be compliant is to buy an already assembled SKS that is certified compliant with all the regulations. Unfortunately, the SKS is mostly foreign and has been used by militia worldwide, making it one of the key targets of the 922r regulations against foreign firearms. This is why the SKS 922r conversation remains relevant to date. Small adjustments like enhancing the limiting 10-round magazine might land you in trouble.

18 USC 922r

922r refers to the contents of title 18 of the US Code, Chapter 44, Section 922, Subsection r. Section 922 describes unlawful acts in relation to firearms, with Subsection r focusing on assembly.

Subsection 922r is concerned with the building or modifying semiautomatic rifles or shotguns from imported parts. The law applies to gunsmiths, gun manufacturers, gun importers, and end-users who assemble their own firearms.

The subsection is titled ‘Assembly of Nonsporting Semiautomatic Rifles and Shotguns from Imported Parts’ and reads as follows:

  • No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for, or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.
  • The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
    1. The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof, or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or
    2. The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the provisions of Sec.178.151; or
    3. The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into or assembled in the United States prior to November 30th, 1990, or the replacement of any part of such firearm
  • For the purposes of this section, the term imported parts are:
    1. Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings, or stampings
    2. Barrels
    3. Barrel extensions
    4. Mounting blocks (trunions)
    5. Muzzle attachments
    6. Bolts
    7. Bolt carriers
    8. Operating rods
    9. Gas pistons
    10. Trigger housings
    11. Triggers
    12. Hammers
    13. Sears
    14. Disconnectors
    15. Butt stocks
    16. Pistol grip
    17. Forearms, hand guards
    18. Magazine bodies
    20. Floor plates


Section 922 (r) does not prohibit the importation, sale, or possession of parts which may be used to assemble a semiautomatic rifle or shotgun in violation of the statute. However, 18 USC subsection 2 provides that a person who aids or abets another person in the commission of an offense is also responsible for the offense.

Therefore, a person who sells parts knowing the purchaser intends to use the parts in assembling a firearm in violation of section 922(r) would also be responsible for the offense.

Determining Compliance With 18 USC 922r

The underlying principle of this regulation is that guns that are not suitable or readily adaptable to sporting purposes should not contain more than ten of the listed parts from foreign sources. The targeted guns are ideally foreign surplus rifles as captured under section 925(d)(3) of the United States code.

The SKS in its basic form is technically not classified as an assault weapon and should be exempted from these rules, but the subtle differences based on country of origin and modifications may cause your weapon to breach the 922r conditions.

The rifle is also a relic firearm, allowing you to import it as an original with all its foreign parts. You can own the collector’s grade Russian SKS45 in America and still be compliant with 922r regulations. The problem starts when you get to modifications; you open it up to 922r regulations instantly.

Your firearm would not be subjected to these regulations if imported into the United States or assembled before 30th November 1990. The ability to demonstrate this automatically makes your SKS 922r compliant, regardless of where the parts were imported or produced in the US. You can learn more about how to identify when and where your SKS was made from this elaborate article about their history.

The twenty items in the list are referred to as ‘compliance parts’ when addressing 922r. Several parts that make up the construction of a firearm have not been included in this list. Important components like firing pins, safety levers, and sights have been omitted. This allows you to legally get an actual SKS in the United States (assembling it wholly from American-made parts just doesn’t sit right).

You should also be prepared for compliance contradiction based on interpretation of the rules. For instance, what you consider the operating rod on the SKS is labeled by the ATF as a piston extension. This excludes it from the list of compliance parts, so it won’t count against you if it is a foreign part. That is one less piece you need to replace.

To eliminate the guesswork from your strategy, submit your official firearms regulatory questions to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and get official answers. This way, you are sure these measures will make the SKS compliant.

carbine sks assault rifle historic weapon close up

SKS 922r Compliance Parts

Your typical fully assembled SKS rifle will have 14 parts that are subjectable to 922r regulations. These are the receiver, barrel, bolt, bolt carrier, gas piston, trigger housing, trigger, hammer, sear, disconnector, buttstock, forearm or handguard, the magazine body, and the follower.

Some additional parts are included in most new age SKSs but are not traditional parts that you should consider. These are the floor plates that come with replacement magazines, attached muzzle devices, or pistol grips.

You will be looking at replacing a few parts with US-manufactured parts for the SKS to reach compliance. To be safe, you can replace one or two extra parts to create a buffer in case you fall short. Adding the US-made parts or removing parts from other countries.

Barrel extensions, mounting blocks, and operating rods are not considerations an SKS owner should worry about.


The magazine requires special mention when addressing SKS 922r compliance because it is one of the internationally acknowledged shortcomings of the rifle. Every new owner wants to replace the 10-round mag with at least a 30-round mag to bring it at par with the AK-47. It also has the largest impact on 922r compliance.

The magazine has three parts on the compliance list: the body, follower, and floor plate. It is one of the most effective ways to facilitate compliance. Inserting a foreign-made magazine increases the count by three. Replacing it with an American-made version reduces the count by three.

How to Make An SKS 922r Compliant – Conclusion

Making your SKS 922r compliant is not about the number of American-made components but rather how you limit foreign-made components. The original SKS should be compliant by default, but we hardly use it in its original form anymore.

Once you start upgrading your rifle, you automatically subscribe to the class that needs to be compliant with the law. You need to be conversant with the current regulations and keep updated with the latest amendments to stay relevant.

Check out this video for a personalized summary of how to go about making your SKS 922r compliant.