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Old December 31, 2017, 02:25 PM   #1
rep1954
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To SBR or not to SBR

First I would like to start by saying that I shoot AR pistols just as well with or without a brace, standing with no rest. I prefer no brace as I like the minimal bulk and cleaner lines. I started a project of turning a Ruger 22/25. Frankenruger into a SBR and just stopped short of what I can do legally without a stamp . So my question is, can I build a cheek weld that protrudes out the back of a pistol from 1/4” rod that would run down one side of the gun and loop around just short of the length of a buffer tube and head back north to the other side of the gun and not have any use besides being a cheek weld point and not be listed as a SBR? I would think if it fell within Mares Leg LOP it would be okay.
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Old December 31, 2017, 02:36 PM   #2
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The companies that design the brace and even the Shockwave state not to alter the design.
I think by altering you have remanufactured the firearm, which would in my uneducated opinion result in the creation of a SBR or SBS.
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Old December 31, 2017, 03:10 PM   #3
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CalmerThanYou, are you understanding that this would be to short to shoulder?
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Old December 31, 2017, 03:17 PM   #4
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Yeah, my thought, and it is just a thought that the issue may be in the redesign.
Most of what I read about the brace ruling is not how it is used (arm braced, cheek weld) but the design being approved.
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Old December 31, 2017, 05:10 PM   #5
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I too think that it would be legally categorized as an SBR. The ATF's Sig brace ruling is about the brace only, not modifications to the brace.

I wouldn't SBR, it's costly, takes time, difficult to re-sell or bequeath to kin after death.

They make braces now that are adjustable. You could look at those and see if it would work for you.
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Old December 31, 2017, 06:59 PM   #6
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The people claiming it would be an SBR are being presumptuous. In order to be an SBR, it needs to have a shoulder stock: Something that’s designed to allow the firearm to be fired from the shoulder.

Here’s the problem: What’s the difference between a shoulder stock on an SBR and an “arm brace” or “cheek rest” that’s on a pistol? Often the difference between the two comes down to a judgement call. That’s why manufacturers of arm braces and cheek rests get opinion letters from the ATF.

If the OP can clearly demonstrate that his device isn’t a shoulder stock, then — in theory — he’s not making an SBR. The problem is this: Can he convince all relevant authority figures of that without possessing an ATF letter specifically stating his device isn’t a shoulder stock?
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Old December 31, 2017, 07:09 PM   #7
rep1954
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In my state this is registered as a pistol.

https://www.google.com/search?q=mare...oZGJHMlNpPkFM:
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Old December 31, 2017, 07:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rep1954
I would think if it fell within Mares Leg LOP it would be okay.
Not necessarily. There is no length requirement or limit for a shoulder stock anywhere in federal law. It simply comes down to whether any applicable authorities would decide that it’s designed to be used as a shoulder stock.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reps1954
In my state this is registered as a pistol.

https://www.google.com/search?q=mare...oZGJHMlNpPkFM:
Your state’s view on the Mare’s Leg is irrelevant to this thread. Your first concern is federal law here, and the answers I’m giving you are dealing with federal law. I don’t know Michigan law, so you’re on your own in that regard.

On a side note, the feds also consider the Mare’s leg to be a pistol, but — like I pointed out above — that doesn’t necessarily mean they’d feel the same way about your creation.
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Old December 31, 2017, 08:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CalmerThanYou
I think by altering you have remanufactured the firearm, which would in my uneducated opinion result in the creation of a SBR or SBS.
No. There nothing anywhere in federal law that says redesigning a pistol makes it into an SBR.

The federal definition of SBR is found in 18 U.S.C. § 921 (a)(8):

“The term ‘short-barreled rifle’ means a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise) if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.”

However, that by itself isn’t helpful without looking at the federal definition of “rifle” found in 18 U.S.C. § 921 (a)(7):

“The term ‘rifle’ means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger.”

So, is the OP’s creation designed or redesigned to be fired from the shoulder? That’s the only question here. Those arm and cheek braces aren’t generally considered stocks because someone at the ATF has made a judgement call that they aren’t intended to allow the firearm to be fired from the shoulder. However, don’t forget that the ATF doesn’t make the law, they’re simply offering their opinion on it.
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Old December 31, 2017, 11:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Theohazard View Post
Not necessarily. There is no length requirement or limit for a shoulder stock anywhere in federal law. It simply comes down to whether any applicable authorities would decide that it’s designed to be used as a shoulder stock.
Wait a minute, so if one were to manufacture their own stabilizing brace for a pistol, why couldn't it be used to be fired from the shoulder while the Sig brace is okay to fire from the shoulder?
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Old December 31, 2017, 11:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthTellers
Wait a minute, so if one were to manufacture their own stabilizing brace for a pistol, why couldn't it be used to be fired from the shoulder while the Sig brace is okay to fire from the shoulder?
Who said it couldn't? There should be no difference between a home-built brace and the SIG brace in that regard.

With the SIG brace, the ATF has offered the opinion that since it's designed as an arm brace that's not intended to be fired from the shoulder, it doesn't make a difference how it's used after that: Shouldering it doesn't change its intended use. So if the ATF offered the opinion that a home-built brace isn't intended to be fired from the shoulder, it shouldn't be any different. But since this is all about interpretation of law, that could change depending on who's interpreting it and when.

Keep in mind that at one time the ATF interpreted federal law differently. They decided that shouldering a brace "redesigned" it into a short barrel rifle (see the federal definitions I quoted above). This wasn't the ATF just making up laws, this was them interpreting existing federal law (even if many people think it was a poor interpretation).

People are way over-thinking this. The ATF doesn't make up law, they simply offer up their take on existing laws. Yes, they do enact regulations that essentially have the force of law in many respects, but they haven't enacted any regulations in regards to the arm brace issue. Everything published by the ATF in regards to the arm brace issue is their interpretation of the existing federal laws I've already quoted.
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Old January 1, 2018, 01:17 AM   #12
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Yeah, and the ATF's opinion can change depending on political pressure or whoever works for the bureau at the time.

So, federally it's the ATF that offers up their opinion and the opinions the brass forms are the regulations that the field agents follow. Basically, if Trump wanted, he could issue an Executive Order saying that all pistol braces, be they from Sig, another manufacturer, or those made in someone's garage, are ok to be fired from the shoulder and not requiring SBR tax stamps and registration, yes?

Then, are there states and cities that could issue their own ruling saying that a pistol brace that is shoulder is re-manufacturing it as an SBR? I know some states do not have any specific laws regarding SBR's or other items in the NFA Act so long as federal laws are observed, but some states do ban SBR's and other NFA items.

Idk, sounds like braces used as buttstocks could become the next thing to be banned after bump stocks.
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Old January 1, 2018, 01:55 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthTellers
Basically, if Trump wanted, he could issue an Executive Order saying that all pistol braces, be they from Sig, another manufacturer, or those made in someone's garage, are ok to be fired from the shoulder and not requiring SBR tax stamps and registration, yes?
No. This is all regarding federal laws, and the president can't change federal laws with an executive order.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TruthTellers
Then, are there states and cities that could issue their own ruling saying that a pistol brace that is shoulder is re-manufacturing it as an SBR?
They'd have to pass a law saying that.
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Old January 1, 2018, 06:20 AM   #14
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I think I need a better description of what my intentions are as brace and shoulder keep arising in the conversation here and neither exist with what I want to do. While a lot of good questions and answers have been brought up here I will try to define my intentions better. Imagine you are looking straight down on a Ruger MKIII Target pistol with a 5 1/2” barrel. On the left side of the gun a 1/4” diameter rod is mounted via screws just below barrel level and runs out towards and beyond the back of the gun for six to seven inches. At this point while still looking down on the top of the gun the rod then makes a 180 degree turn and runs forward to be mounted the same as it was on the left side of the gun thus allowing you a cheek rest which is a non moving, non adjustable item. In this whole description I have not mentioned the words “pistol brace or shoulder”. If one were to take this device mounted on a gun and put it to their shoulder it would render the guns sights as useless as doing the same with a 1911 or Beretta M9. I have never seen the term “cheek rest” used as something that makes it possible to fire a gun from the shoulder as many rifle stocks do not even have a cheek rest although you can add a adjustable, slip on, or a tied on cheek piece to a rifle stock. Is there a NFA ruling that requires a gun to have provisions to be shouldered in order to have a cheek rest? I never understood the whole NFA SBR thing anyway. Why is it okay to have a SBR after you paid $200.00 for a tax stamp? It must be to pay all the people who process all the SBR paperwork. Yeah, yeah that’s it. It has to be, of course it’s the only thing that makes sense.

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Old January 1, 2018, 09:01 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rep1954
I think I need a better description of what my intentions are as brace and shoulder keep arising in the conversation here and neither exist with what I want to do.
It doesn’t really matter what your device is specifically intended to do, just so long as it’s not a stock. So that doesn’t change anything I’ve already posted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rep1954
Is there a NFA ruling that requires a gun to have provisions to be shouldered in order to have a cheek rest?
No, the ATF hasn’t issued any rulings at all on this subject so far, not even on the SIG brace. So far, they’ve simply issued opinion letters on the subject. And no, they’re not of the opinion that federal law requires a gun to have provisions to be shouldered in order to have a cheek rest.
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Old January 1, 2018, 09:55 AM   #16
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Anymore, with the onerous and discriminatory CLEO sign-off gone for individual NFA Form 1 and Form 4 applications, it's just simpler and cleaner to F-1/F-4 any firearm you want to SBR.

Yeah, it's still $200, along with the photos & fingerprint cards, plus the 5-7 month wait (although that timeline is said to be getting shorter), but once you get the stamp you're go to go, rather than risk being caught someday at the mercy of changing political winds which might cause the reversal of an earlier BATFE "opinion letter" that said "OK" to making what's effectively a stamp-less SBR ... but now it's an NFA violation.

That said, then there's the issue of what - or whether - your State allows regarding the various NFA toys.

Last time I checked, Michigan had legalized the possession and use of SBRs, SBSs, and silencers, provided you've got the federal/BATFE approvals (i.e., the stamped & signed F-1s & F-4s).

In fact, I recently read where MI now allows the use of cans on firearms while hunting, which is also the case with many other states in which cans are otherwise legal to own.
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Old January 3, 2018, 05:32 PM   #17
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Although you can remove an SBR from the registry, its best not to SBR a rifle, unless its absolutely necessary, or creating an SBR enhances the overall value of all the components (such as when one divorces a sear from an HK rifle by SBRing the HK). The problem is that once you SBR a rifle, it becomes worth zero, until you decide to remove it from the registry.

Unless its something very specialized and cool, like a Benelli M4 SBS, most SBS ad SBRs are worth nothing. Go to GB and check on how many bids people have placed on SBRs, new and used. Zero.

People don’t want a used SBR because of the $200 and wait period. If they’re gonna do the stamp and wait, they want it new.

Even if you say that you’ll never sell it, your heirs may one day end up with this SBR and not know it’s an SBR.
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Old January 4, 2018, 08:28 AM   #18
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Good points, MGTony
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Old January 4, 2018, 09:00 AM   #19
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Tony, don’t forget that an SBR is only an SBR if it’s currently in SBR configuration. That means if you remove the features that make in an SBR (even temporarily) you can treat it like a normal Title I firearm. This includes interstate transport and transferring it to other people. Keep in mind that in order to re-configure it as an SBR, all appropriate laws need to be followed as soon as it’s back in that configuration. Also, it’s a darn good idea to write the ATF a letter requesting its removal from the NFA registry if you’re selling or gifting it to someone else.

Check out section 2.5 of the ATF’s NFA handbook:
Quote:
Firearms, except machineguns and silencers, that are subject to the NFA fall within the various definitions due to specific features. If the particular feature that causes a firearm to be regulated by the NFA is eliminated or modified, the resulting weapon is no longer an NFA weapon.

For example, a shotgun with a barrel length of 15 inches is an NFA weapon. If the 15- inch barrel is removed and disposed of, the remaining firearm is not subject to the NFA because it has no barrel. Likewise, if the 15 inch barrel is modified by permanently attaching an extension such that the barrel length is at least 18 inches and the overall length of the weapon is at least 26 inches, the modified firearm is not subject to the NFA.
Obviously, when re-configuring the firearm from an SBR to a normal Title I firearm, you need to follow the rules set forth in ATF Ruling 2011-4 (firearms originally made as rifles can’t be configured as pistols, and having the parts for an SBR in “close proximity” to each other with no other “useful purpose” for having them could be seen as constructive possession of an SBR).
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Old January 4, 2018, 03:59 PM   #20
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Edit: defer to Theohazard on this issue
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Old January 4, 2018, 05:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machineguntony
ATF has said that once a rifle, the firearm can no longer be a pistol. So it’s a one way street.
Not if it started life as a pistol. It’s only a one-way street if it started life as a rifle. Since his firearm is starting as a pistol, if he SBRs it he can remove the stock and it goes back to being a pistol. Check out Ruling 2011-4.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Machineguntony
Remember that you can’t have parts of the SBR around your other title 1 firearm because of the possibility of constructive possession.
Not necessarily. According to the Supreme Court and ATF Ruling 2011-4, those parts are fine being in “close proximity” to each other if there is a “useful purpose” for having them. For example, I have an extra 8.3” 300 BO upper for my 10.5” 5.56 SBR. I can have that upper lying around my regular 16” AR-15 parts since the fact that I also have a registered SBR gives me a “useful purpose” for having that short upper.
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Old January 4, 2018, 05:12 PM   #22
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If I ever owned and SBR or SBS, yes I would notify the ATF that you've reconfigured the gun into non NFA territory. I would sell the upper or the barrel though and include a proof of sale, unless the upper/barrel is what's considered NFA regulated. Idk, I've always thought that it was the lower/frame that had the serial number.

From all I've read, I think I'm never going to SBR anything and will just pay the hefty sum for a Sig brace or adjustable Sig brace and put that money towards a company and workers that actually adds value and creates something in the world instead of gov't that exists solely to redistribute wealth through draconian tactics via taxes.

There's only two pistols I want to Sig brace and shoulder fire and that's a Ruger Charger .22 and a 9mm with a 9 or 10 inch threaded barrel. Can do it with the Charger now, but that particular 9mm I'll have to wait on. Hopefully Ruger comes out with a pistol variant of their new PC carbine.

From what others on TFL have said, the SBR/SBS novelty wears off quickly... probably much more so now that the pistol brace exists.

So, as pertains to the OP's question, I wouldn't SBR anything. Do as much as you can now with a Sig brace as I don't think a higher cheek weld recontructs the brace to be fired from the shoulder. Before the ATF said it's okay to shoot them shouldered, there was a tactic to "cheek fire" them in which the brace never touched the shoulder, which at that time was legally making it an SBR.

I wouldn't put anything on the rear portion of the brace though, because that's where the shoulder touches it. That could be construed to be making it into an SBR.
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Old January 4, 2018, 08:55 PM   #23
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I have four SBRs, three AR pattern and one 10/22 pattern (Charger). I wouldn't go back. I've had more than my $200 worth of fun with them.

The Charger can be a pistol again, simply by removing the full stock and dropping it in a pistol stock.

The ARs can be rifles again, simply by replacing the 10.5" uppers with a 16" upper.

What's not to like? I only shoot my full size ARs when hunting (which is why I have them), everything else sees an SBR.

As said above IF I were getting rid of them, I'd have them removed from the registry and sell them separately as complete uppers & lowers, or a complete Charger, no great money lost.

If I feel the need to take a 10.5" AR out of state on the spur of the moment, I have a complete pistol lower (with KAK brace) hanging in my gun room for any rare whims like that.
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Old January 4, 2018, 09:33 PM   #24
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I don’t know that an SBR can be made back into a pistol. I learned something new today. Of course, since I’m a chicken when it comes to violating NFA laws, I’ll have my lawyer verify this.
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Old January 5, 2018, 12:20 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machineguntony
I don’t know that an SBR can be made back into a pistol. I learned something new today. Of course, since I’m a chicken when it comes to violating NFA laws, I’ll have my lawyer verify this.
I don’t know if he specializes in gun laws or not, but if he doesn’t, here’s how to point him in the right direction.

If you look at my references in post #9, you’ll see that the definition of an SBR under federal law specifically defines it as a rifle with certain length characteristics. And the Supreme Court ruled in US v. Thompson Center Arms Co. in 1992 (further clarified in ATF Ruling 2011-4) that a firearm which was first made into a pistol and was subsequently made into a rifle can always be turned back into a pistol.
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