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Franklin Armory’s Reformation Revealed

By now you have probably been speculating just what the hell Franklin Armory did to redefine what we would normally think of as a short barreled rifle to become a non-NFA Firearm. Countless people have fired the Reformation at Media Day at the Range only to be told to report to Franklin Armory’s booth on Tuesday to see what exactly the tech behind the gun is.

We got to run a Reformation at a private range session in Carson City, Nevada over a week ago.

It is not a smooth bore as some have offered, that would undoubtedly make the Reformation a short barreled shotgun.

Nor is it a permanently attached barrel to the receiver making the minimum 16” requirement measurable from the crown to the ass end of the receiver. Although, that theory could possibly be floated for some other enterprising manufacturer in the future if they choose to put in the work.

Even though Franklin manufactures binary triggers, it has nothing to do with firing only on the release, or else we would have seen some very short trap shotguns decades ago.

Yeah, it’s not a 410 or a muzzle loader or any other sleight of hand. This was a bold new concept born of thinking outside the box or throwing the box away.

And, no, the stock is not a brace; it is a fully fledged butt stock.

reformation press release













Well then, what is it?
The innovators at Franklin Armory took a unique approach to solve the problem of a “shortish” rifle that would require no tax stamp in certain areas or to give shooters who cross state lines an easy option to take their rifles with them by adapting straight-cut lands and grooves.

That means that the barrel imparts no spin on the projectile. According to ATF’s tech branch, this means that the Reformation is “not a rifle”. The concept has been around since match lock guns and early shotguns; however they were pushed aside as gun makers continued to innovate and spiraled rifling improved along with bullet construction.

Those of us who are rifle shooters know that the system of lands and grooves within a rifle’s barrel make our projectiles faster and more accurate. Longer or heavier bullets crave a faster twist rate for stabilization in flight.
Franklin’s Reformation does not offer this.
Neither does your handgun for the most part and with the Reformation we aren’t exactly talking thousand yard shots or even 500 yard shots. This was intended for CQB range. Maybe out to 100 yards. With 5.56mm NATO ammunition, we were able to achieve 3 to 4 MOA.


However, 5.56 will not be what the company is focusing on with the initial launch of this firearm. The initial intent will be 300 Blackout. The 5.56 guns were built to take advantage of the cheaper ammunition options in order to make the experience of the Reformation to shooters at Media/Industry Day at the Range.

When Franklin starts shipping the Reformation it will be in 300 Blackout, which has positive and negative attributes for this firearm.



Let’s start with the good.

One of the advantages of 300 Blackout is that it is a versatile round available in subsonic and supersonic loads. Subsonic 300 Blackout rounds are the ballistic equivalent to subsonic 9mm. when fired through a silencer, they have a similar sound signature.

Shooters who choose not to go the SBR route due to the $200 tax, the excessive wait times, being listed in a “federal registry” or simply cannot fill out a single page Federal Form (or have a dealer who cannot do the same) now have an option that gives them the short barrel length, the use of a stock and let’s face it: a firearm that allows them to thumb their noses at the NFA.

Plus certain versions of the Reformation ships with the Franklin Armory Binary Firing System. Check out their videos and see if you can tell the difference between Binary and Full auto fun. It is damn close enough in our estimation.

Shooting the Reformation presented no problems. It ran like a good firearm should. We experienced no mis-feeds, stovepipes, jams or what have you.



So that’s the good. Now let us look at the short comings.

Even though I had a few hours to play with the Reformation at a closed range and did not witness any key holing or signs of tumbling in flight, the potential is there. This is significant if you want to run suppressed as an out of the barrel tumble could result in a strike to your can’s mount, a baffle or end cap.

By the same token, I did not have a chronograph with me so the change in velocity could not be measured at the muzzle or even at key points down range.

We simply need more time to test out what may happen before we can give it our full endorsement. We were shooting in a pistol bay at a public range to have a degree of privacy but it limited our range to 50 yards, at the most. Hopefully in the near future we can link up with Franklin Armory for more aggressive testing. To get more answers for you.

The other area of concern is the rail in question and how it can limit the choice of a suppressor or silencer or muffler. Thinner cans may fit under the rail, but eyeballing a few of our QD muzzle devices had the folks at Franklin Armory shaking their heads as well.


Lastly, the MSRP may be a stickler for some, particularly those who balk at the $200 registration fee. However, for a large number of shooters, this is their only avenue toward a short barreled firearm, provided their jurisdiction does not have a local law redefining what a rifle is from the Federal level as some potential firearm owners discovered with similar firearms that fired a 12 gauge shotgun found out over the past year.

With all that said, we believe the finished product will offer better options for the rail and a proprietary ammunition design from Franklin to aid in stabilization while the projectile is in flight.


You will need to stay tuned for those developments.


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