ATF changes stance on how braces are measured

Messages
2,587
Reactions
6,116
No where in the constitution does it say, “you can infringe on gun ownership rights if the guns are shorter than this size.” Conceal-ability has nothing to do with the right. Last time I checked the folks who use firearms to regularly commit violent crime don’t care about arbitrary ATF opinions and the folks who don’t use their firearms to regularly commit violent crime represent the lack of need for the law whatsoever.
 
Messages
2,587
Reactions
6,116
An AR pistol with a barrel shorter than 16" is still an AR pistol even if the OAL is greater than 26", and it was always my understanding that you could not put a fore-grip on any handgun or you made it an AOW.

Was I mistaken?
As I understood it.

Shouldering of brace: ok - it doesn’t magically make it a rifle because if you use something in a way other than it was intended it doesn’t magically make it something different. Think using a spoon to cut a steak, doesn’t make it magically a knife.

Vertical fore grip - no go

Angled fore grip - ok

Altering the pistol brace to function more like a stock by filling in the brace area with material to add to the surface area when put to the shoulder - no go.
 

Reno

Messages
10,156
Reactions
22,201
An AR pistol with a barrel shorter than 16" is still an AR pistol even if the OAL is greater than 26", and it was always my understanding that you could not put a fore-grip on any handgun or you made it an AOW.

Was I mistaken?
The defining term is “firearm”.

Once the gun reaches a certain length during manufacturing or making, notice I said gun not pistol, it no longer meets the restrictions based on the definition of a pistol.

These interpretations all reside on the manufacturer or maker of a gun. IE when you transfer an AR pistol and put a vertical grip on the forend, I’d be cautious to call it a “firearm” as it was transferred on a 4473 as a “pistol”. You would have been the maker of a “AOW” not a “firearm” as the gun started as a pistol. However if you transfer a blank AR15 receiver and make it into a “firearm” not a “pistol” it can have a vertical grip on the forend.

This is how manufacturers make the less than 18” barreled shotgun “firearms”. They start with receivers that were not originally a shotgun, and make them into “firearms” vs shotguns or SBS’s. If you took your mossberg 500 and converted it to a “firearm” you have turned a shotgun into an AOW. Take a blank Mossberg receiver and make it into a “firearm” no tax stamp required.

Silly laws for a $200 registration process really.
 

The Heretic

Messages
17,413
Reactions
40,432
The defining term is “firearm”.

Once the gun reaches a certain length during manufacturing or making, notice I said gun not pistol, it no longer meets the restrictions based on the definition of a pistol.

These interpretations all reside on the manufacturer or maker of a gun. IE when you transfer an AR pistol and put a vertical grip on the forend, I’d be cautious to call it a “firearm” as it was transferred on a 4473 as a “pistol”. You would have been the maker of a “AOW” not a “firearm” as the gun started as a pistol. However if you transfer a blank AR15 receiver and make it into a “firearm” not a “pistol” it can have a vertical grip on the forend.

This is how manufacturers make the less than 18” barreled shotgun “firearms”. They start with receivers that were not originally a shotgun, and make them into “firearms” vs shotguns or SBS’s. If you took your mossberg 500 and converted it to a “firearm” you have turned a shotgun into an AOW. Take a blank Mossberg receiver and make it into a “firearm” no tax stamp required.

Silly laws for a $200 registration process really.
Agreed - but it is all about the vertical fore-grip and not the length of the firearm. I suppose some people were thinking that since they made the OAL greater than 26" with the brace that it was ok to put a foregrip on it? I don't know about that; it would seem to me that as long as it had a barrel shorter than 16" then it would become an AOW? And if it was an AOW it still would need to be registered under the NFA to be legal.

You can put a 26" barrel on a pistol and as long as it doesn't have a butt-stock and/or a vertical grip, it is still a pistol legally.

You can also put a 16"+ barrel on pistol and a buttstock, and make it legally a rifle - and then you can put a foregrip on it and it will still be a rifle, not a 'firearm' or AOW or SBR.

And FWIW - I own two "firearms"; two Mossberg Shockwaves with 14.5" barrels. They would still be "firearms" if I put an 18" barrel on them - because they were never "manufactured" as a shotgun - although AFAIK we have not yet seen a test case of that and I don't think we ever will.

The thing is, there is nothing on the Shockwave that says that it is a Shockwave. The only way anybody would know it is a Shockwave and not a SBS would be to run the serial number thru a traceback via the ATF; comparing Shockwave serial numbers to Mossberg shotguns manufactured about the same time indicates no difference - so you can't tell just by looking.

So if I want to take my Shockwave to California (where Shockwaves are illegal due to their short barrels), if I put an 18" barrel on it, they will not know it is really a Shockwave, and as far as the ATF is concerned, as long as I don't put a buttstock on it, it is still a Shockwave.
 
Last edited:

Reno

Messages
10,156
Reactions
22,201
Agreed - but it is all about the vertical fore-grip and not the length of the firearm. I suppose some people were thinking that since they made the OAL greater than 26" with the brace that it was ok to put a foregrip on it? I don't know about that; it would seem to me that as long as it had a barrel shorter than 16" then it would become an AOW? And if it was an AOW it still would need to be registered under the NFA to be legal.

You can put a 26" barrel on a pistol and as long as it doesn't have a butt-stock and/or a vertical grip, it is still a pistol legally.

You can also put a 16"+ barrel on pistol and a buttstock, and make it legally a rifle - and then you can put a foregrip on it and it will still be a rifle, not a 'firearm' or AOW or SBR.
Correct, some where under the impression that the brace was a part of the gun and therefore can be included in the measurement. As with rifle barrel overall lengths a pinned device that extends beyond the rifles barrel can constitute a legal overall 16” barrel. No determination had been made to constitute what parts pinned or non permanent make a gun a “firearm”.

Before there were braces, and folks just ran featureless buffer tubes to make pistol ARs the length was determined by measuring from the end of the bare muzzle to the end of the buffer tube. With a 7.5” barrel, it was impossible to get a 26” overall length to make a “firearm”. Then came braces, and adjustable braces, and collapseable braces or folding braces. That could extend much further than the featureless buffer tube. Using that extra length allowed to increase the overall length to over 26” using various barrel lengths. Some braces are so long they will measure to 26” gun overall length with a 7.5” barrel.

The confusion lies in what is considered a measurable part. This determination helps clear up the muddy waster some. At least until someone creates another device to skirt around the ATFs determinations again.
 

The Heretic

Messages
17,413
Reactions
40,432
And I am given to understand that the ATF has said that any 'brace' that makes the LOP more than 13.5" is not considered to be a 'brace'?

I have thought of adding a folding brace to one of my Shockwaves, but such that it is still 26"+ when folded. It can be done. But I decided against it - the folding knuckles are just too expensive.
 

Reno

Messages
10,156
Reactions
22,201
And I am given to understand that the ATF has said that any 'brace' that makes the LOP more than 13.5" is not considered to be a 'brace'?

I have thought of adding a folding brace to one of my Shockwaves, but such that it is still 26"+ when folded. It can be done. But I decided against it - the folding knuckles are just too expensive.
I think that’s what they have determined. That’s why SB Tactical ships the SBA3 and SBA4 with a 4 or 5 position buffer tube vs the 6 position standard tubes.

So folks using a standard tube and a SB adjustable brace, could be in trouble.

Honestly, if people would stop poking the freaking bear, all of this wouldn’t even be an issue until the first guy gets charged with something and takes it to court. The fact everyone and their mom in the gun community sends the ATF love letters asking them to “clarify” things, is the #1 reason we keep getting more and more restrictions.
 
I think that’s what they have determined. That’s why SB Tactical ships the SBA3 and SBA4 with a 4 or 5 position buffer tube vs the 6 position standard tubes.

So folks using a standard tube and a SB adjustable brace, could be in trouble.

Honestly, if people would stop poking the freaking bear, all of this wouldn’t even be an issue until the first guy gets charged with something and takes it to court. The fact everyone and their mom in the gun community sends the ATF love letters asking them to “clarify” things, is the #1 reason we keep getting more and more restrictions.
Yep, people need to learn to keep their yaps shut and mind their own business.
 
Messages
2,009
Reactions
3,115

The Heretic

Messages
17,413
Reactions
40,432
It is new because it makes it more difficult to build an AR into the >26” “firearm” category and add a forward vertical grip without needing an AOW stamp.
Ok - I was unaware of that particular configuration - I always thought that an AR pistol was an AR pistol until it was a rifle and that the foregrip would always make a pistol an AOW.

So is there some other way to make an AR with a barrel shorter than 16" and a foregrip that isn't an AOW?
 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Arms Collectors of SW Washington Gun Show
Battleground Community Center
912 E Main St, Battle Ground, WA 98604, USA
Cerberus Training Group - Run the Gun Pistol
Cerberus Training Group
47 Cattle Dr, Goldendale, WA 98620, USA
Cerberus Training Group - Run the Gun Rifle
Cerberus Training Group
47 Cattle Dr, Goldendale, WA 98620, USA

LATEST RESOURCE REVIEWS

  • HighLine Firearms
    5.00 star(s)
    Upstanding Vendor!
    Have worked with this business twice and both times were outstanding! Will definitely keep going to him when I'm up in that area! Shoot, will...
  • Oregon Arms & Ammunition
    5.00 star(s)
    Hellcat OSP
    I almost put "Limited "Covid induced" inventory" as a Con, but thought that wouldn't really be fair to them! The aftermath of Covid has depleted...
  • Vancouver Weapon Werx
    5.00 star(s)
    I have done a lot of deals here
    Gary's easy to work with when in town.
  • Vancouver Weapon Werx
    5.00 star(s)
    Excellent Business!
    I have been going to Vancouver Weapon Werx for years and know both owners quite well. The only downfall is I go there to purchase or have a gun...
  • SafeFire Indoor Shooting Range & Retail
    5.00 star(s)
    A great, safe place to go shooting
    Love this place!! Great staff, the range masters are friendly, helpful and alert. This is a safe place to shoot. The store is kind of low on stock...
    • GWS
Top Bottom