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In most of my equipment posts I mention "we are demoing this" or "we went to a demo of that" and a couple people have asked what that means so I'll explain it.

I own a company that is federally licensed to manufacture firearms, to include suppressors, machine guns, "assault rifles"... just to name a few. To do this I had to first get an FFL (mine is type 07).Type 07 means that I'm a manufacturer that can also sell firearms. and then pay a Special Occupation Tax (SOT) that allows me to make and sell NFA firearms.

In most states an FFL 01 (normal gun dealer) and an FFL 07 who pay their respective SOT would have the same rights in terms of buying and selling. In MA under the MGL a dealer in NFA items (FFL 01/C3 SOT) can not sell or posses suppressors, only an FFL07/C2 SOT can. Confusing isn't it?

Anyway...
With regards to machine guns:
Any dealer/MFG in NFA items can purchase machine guns but there are really three types of machine guns in this world:
1. Transferable, means any person can purchase and own so long as they are eligible and pay the appropriate tax.
2. Pre May 1986 Samples: available ONLY to dealers, military units, and Law Enforcement Agencies. Dealers can purchase and sell these to other dealers with no restrictions, if at any time they cease being a dealer they can personally own the gun.
3. Post May 1986 Samples: available only to military units, and Law Enforcement Agencies, and dealers with a demo letter from Law Enforcement. What this means is a dealer can only purchase a "post sample" at the request of a Law Enforcement Agency.
Typically a department that's interested in modernizing would contact a local dealer and provide a letter of interest (demo letter), the dealer would in turn secure the firearm(s) in question, at his or her own expense, and then demo it for the department. The BATFE is VERY specific in the number of same model guns a dealer can demo (2) but doesn't limit the number of different types of guns or sub variations of models a delaer can demo at a single time.

Example: A dealer may only secure two hk MP5SD3's but he can get up to two of each of the MP5 variants (MP-5 a2, a3, a4, sd 2, sd 3, sd 4, F, K etc and so on) as well as allowences on caliber variation.

After the demostration the department could place an order but it doesn't have to...ever.
I've done demos where a department looked at no less then 12 different types of subguns and just didn't have the budget for what they wanted. No big deal, I made a couple good friends and was glad to help the department out. I've done demos where the department purchased direct from the MFG after a demo I did for them. Again no big deal as the MFG was greatful for my participation and it made me look good in their eyes on later deals.

"Regular guns"
Often it's hard to make a department level choice for a sidearm based on a few quick examinations of a gun. Some departments have quite protracted selection and evaluation programs for their sidearms, some smaller departments buy based on cost over performance. In any event your local dealer may be able to help you in securing demo handguns and long guns either directly from the MFG or through distribution. These guns would be "on loan" to your department for any number of weeks and even months. At the end of the trial period, they either go back to the MFG or the dealer gets them at a significant "used gun" discount.

In conclusion, if your department is interested in upgrading their firearms be it sidearms or subguns, contact your local dealer to see if he or she can help you get demo guns for your evaluation.
Your local dealer is there to support YOU and your department.

Below a sample demo letter, normally printed on department letterhead. Change the name to yoru delaers name. Consult your local dealer first, they may have a demo letter they like to use.
Sample Demo Letter
 
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