The Meaning of FFL: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of FFL? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the abbreviation FFL, including its definition, usage, examples, and more!

Your writing, at its best

Compose bold, clear, mistake-free, writing with Grammarly's AI-powered writing assistant

What does the abbreviation FFL stand for?

According to NRA Blog and FFL Consulting Group, the term FFL stands for Federal Firearms License. This license is issued by the federal government to numerous different types of entities including people, partnerships, corporations, or other lawfully established businesses that require said license such as dealing or manufacturing firearms. People who import, manufacture, or deal in firearms or their importing or manufacturing, along with the importing and manufacturing of ammunition, need a Federal Firearms License. This license is not for people who have a personal collection or who ship firearms from state to state, but for someone who engages in the business of firearms. 

In 27 CFR 478.11, said person is defined as a person who devotes their time, labor and attention to dealing firearms as a regular course of business or trade. This has the principal objective of livelihood and profit through the repetitive purchase and resale of firearms. This does not apply to a person who makes occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby or collector or curios.

There are many different types of FFL. A Type 01 nad Type 02 FFL refers to a Dealer in Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices, Including a Pawn Broker. This type of license also includes gunsmith activities. A Type 06 refers to a Manufacturer of Ammunition for Firearms Other Than Ammunition for Destructive Devices or Armor Piercing Ammunition. Next, a Type 07 refers to a Manufacturer of Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices. A Type 08 references an Importer of Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices or Ammunition for Firearms Other Than Destructive Devices, or Ammunition Other Than Armor Piercing Ammunition. A Type 09 FFL is for a  Dealer in Destructive Devices, a Type 10 is required for the Manufacturer of Destructive Devices, Ammunition for Destructive Devices or Armor Piercing Ammunition, and a Type 11 is necessary for an Importer of Destructive Devices, Ammunition for Destructive Devices or Armor Piercing Ammunition. Most people have the Type 01/02 license.

In order to get an FFL, a person or firearms dealer must file an ATF Form 7 (Application for a Federal Firearms License) and submit fingerprints, photos, and execute the form under 18 U.S.C. 924. To apply, you must be 21 years of age or older, not be prohibited from possessing firearms under provisions of the Gun Control Act or Federal Firearms Act of 1938, not have violated the Gun Control Act in any way, not willfully fail to disclose material information or purposely make a false statement, and have a  premises from which to conduct business. FFL dealers and an FFL holder must comply with all of these as well as local law. They must also pay an application fee and pass a national instant criminal background check system. Someone who has an FFL must have a Firearms Transaction Record. A log of these forms is required to be kept on hand in order to show to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives if necessary.

According to Rocket FFL, one can also become an SOT, or a Special Occupational Taxpayer, which means you can work with silencers (suppressors), short barreled rifles (SBR), machine guns and other NFA firearms. It may seem like there is a lot to go through to get this type of federal firearms license. It is both necessary for arms regulation, international traffic, and commerce to make sure that this directorate of defense trade controls is under control. 

There are numerous things that can make someone a prohibited person and prevent them from getting an FFL, which are listed below. 

  •  Someone who is the subject of a restraining order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or the child of an intimate partner, or
  •  Someone who is a felon
  •  Someone who has been committed to a mental institution
  •  Someone who is a fugitive
  •  Someone who is an illegal alien
  •  Someone who is an unlawful user of any controlled substance
  •  Someone who is under indictment for any crime punishable by more than a year in prison
  •  Someone who has been adjudicated as a mental defective
  •  Someone who who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence
  •  Someone who has been convicted of any crime punishable by more than a year in prison (whether or not they were ever sentenced to or served a day in prison)
  •  Someone who has a dishonorable discharge from the military
  •  Someone who has renounced their U.S. citizenship

According to The Free Dictionary, the FFL definition can stand for much more than just Federal Firearms License. This term can be used to mean many other different definitions. However, these are far less common and should be used sparingly. If you do decide to use one of these other shorthand definitions, you should be sure that you provide the reader or listener with proper context so that you do not create confusion, especially if you are using a slang term on a social media site like Facebook or Twitter. Learning new words can be difficult, but this list makes it easy! When in doubt, use the full meaning of FFL. 

  •  Fuel Fabrication Laboratory
  •  Flat Fluorescent Lamp
  •  Food For Life (vegan/vegetarian food relief organization)
  •  Friday Fun Lunch
  •  Film Fund Luxembourg (audiovisual productions)
  •  Fédération Française de Lutte (French: French Wrestling Federation)
  •  Light Frigate
  •  Forces Françaises Libres (French: Free French Forces)
  •  Fifo Flush
  •  Final Fantasy Legend (video game)
  •  Finished Floor Level (architectural notation)
  •  Feminists for Life of America (Alexandria, VA)
  •  Fantasy Football League
  •  Friend for Life
  •  Fédération Française du Lipizzan (French: French Arabian Horse Federation)
  •  Flexible Fiberoptic Laryngoscopy
  •  Fast File
  •  Full Frontal Lobotomy (band)
  •  Foo for Life
  •  Freshly Fallen Leaves (soil science)
  •  Fixed Floor Level (architecture/building)
  •  Federal Firearms Licensees
  •  French Foreign Legion
  •  Fat Frank Lampard (football)
  •  Forward of Friendly Lines (US Army)
  •  Full Funding Limitation (accounting)
  •  Films for Learning
  •  Florida Forensic League
  •  Failed Fuel Location
  •  Frech Foreign Legion

Overall, the acronym FFL stands for


  1. FFL – What does FFL stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  2. Buying and Selling a Firearm: What is an FFL? | NRA Blog 
  3. Federal Firearms License | What Is It And Do You Need One | FFL Consulting Group 
  4. FFL Requirements – How To Qualify for a Firearm License [2021] | Rocket FFL