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Old May 2, 2019, 05:04 PM   #1
rep1954
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Pistol Grip Shotgun

Change the stock to a pistol grip on a 18.5” barreled shotgun and have a OAL of more than 26”. What have you made?
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Old May 2, 2019, 05:32 PM   #2
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At the federal level: a shotgun... with a pistol grip and no stock.
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Old May 3, 2019, 05:43 AM   #3
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Yeah, it’s a shotgun since it started off with a stock. Here’s the legal definition of a shotgun under federal law:

“The term ‘Shotgun’ 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 the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.”

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearm...nition-shotgun

Because that shotgun was originally designed with a stock (“intended to be fired from the shoulder“), it’s a shotgun, even if you take the stock off and put on a pistol grip. But if it comes from the factory with no stock, then it doesn’t meet the definition of a shotgun since it was never designed to be fired from the shoulder, so it’s a generic “firearm”.
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Old May 3, 2019, 12:39 PM   #4
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You've made a shotgun that will be difficult to control properly. Ain't nothing more useless than a shotgun with no stock. Hollywood loves 'em though.
As I recall, the only part of that shotgun the ATF's unelected civil servants care about is the OAL. Legal barrel minimum is 18" without any fuss. Less than 18" makes it an NFA thing.
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Old May 3, 2019, 11:56 PM   #5
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As I recall, the only part of that shotgun the ATF's unelected civil servants care about is the OAL
My understanding is that it has to meet both the barrel length and overall length limits or its an NFA weapon.
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Old May 4, 2019, 01:04 AM   #6
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My understanding is that it has to meet both the barrel length and overall length limits or its an NFA weapon.
I do agree. But... That's where it gets dicey, if not specific.

If it left the factory as a "shotgun" - with a butt stock - barrel length and overall length matter.
But if it left the factory as a "PGO shotgun" (aka, "firearm"), it is only overall length - and lack of a butt stock - that matters. Even a vertical fore-grip doesn't matter, since it is not a "handgun".


In theory, one could have a 5" barrel on a Mossberg Shockwave if an "arm brace" was installed that was 9" longer than the original 'birds head' grip. (Or any similar "shifting" of dimensions on PGO shotguns.)
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Old May 4, 2019, 11:08 AM   #7
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Have found pistol grip 12 gage not that difficult with little practice, houge grip and reduced recoil buckshot. So long as you comfortably point it, and not try to aim it.
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Old May 4, 2019, 11:51 AM   #8
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So long as you comfortably point it, and not try to aim it.
I can't resist, you said a mouthful. Don't ask how I know.
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Old May 4, 2019, 11:26 PM   #9
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Rep1954: You’ve recently started three different threads that asked how to legally categorize various firearms under federal law.

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=601975

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=601671

https://thefiringline.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=601622

Is there an overall question you have about firearm definitions? Is there something we didn’t properly explain in the previous threads? I encourage you to visit the ATF’s website. They explain each firearm’s definition, provide examples, and give references to the corresponding federal laws and regulations. Just Google “ATF definition [firearm type]”.
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Old May 5, 2019, 06:54 AM   #10
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Good humor, and we all need as much as we can get :>)
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Old May 5, 2019, 11:38 AM   #11
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On a Mossberg Shockwave with a 16'' barrel, if you put on a brace, now you've created an NFA weapon. The letter from the ATF defining the Shockwave states that the weapon shall not be shoulder able, which the ATF has already issued a letter stating that a brace may be shoulder able.
The Shockwave is not a pistol, its classified as an "other" so any letters allowing braces on pistols are null.
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Old May 5, 2019, 01:06 PM   #12
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(...) which the ATF has already issued a letter stating that a brace may be shoulder able.
No.
That is not what the latest letter said.
That may be YOUR interpretation, but that is not what it says.
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Old May 5, 2019, 02:44 PM   #13
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On a Mossberg Shockwave with a 16'' barrel, if you put on a brace, now you've created an NFA weapon. The letter from the ATF defining the Shockwave states that the weapon shall not be shoulder able, which the ATF has already issued a letter stating that a brace may be shoulder able.
The Shockwave is not a pistol, its classified as an "other" so any letters allowing braces on pistols are null.
That’s nonsense. Please stop giving legal advice.
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Old May 5, 2019, 07:36 PM   #14
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A few years back I went with some friends to shoot pistols at night and drills like reloading and malfunction things you might have to do inside your house in the dark .

One of the guys brought a Mossberg 20 ga 500 that he bought with a pistol grip and he added a laser sight . shooting from the hip it was accurate and fun .

In my opinion if shooting from the hip the laser is a must have to hit what your shooting at.
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Old May 7, 2019, 12:45 PM   #15
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Is there an overall question you have about firearm definitions? Is there something we didn’t properly explain in the previous threads? I encourage you to visit the ATF’s website. They explain each firearm’s definition, provide examples, and give references to the corresponding federal laws and regulations. Just Google “ATF definition [firearm type]”.
Yeah, that is where all my confusion started! It just dose not seem clear as to some configurations. I would think a virgin receiver AR Pistol with a OAL of more than 26" would be a "Firearm" without having to add a forward vertical grip. I guess a well defined "Firearm" definition is what I'm looking for and don't seem to be satisfied with what is supplied by the ATF. It's almost like saying rifled barrels are excluded from a gun configured to TAC-14 dimensions.
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Old May 7, 2019, 06:16 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rep1954 View Post
I would think a virgin receiver AR Pistol with a OAL of more than 26" would be a "Firearm" without having to add a forward vertical grip.
If you read the definition of a “pistol”, notice that there’s no overall length limit. That’s why an LCP is a pistol, a 1911 is a pistol, a 7” barrel AR-15 made without a stock is a pistol, and a 27” OAL length AR-15 made without a stock is a pistol. But if you added a vertical foregrip to an LCP it would no longer be a pistol, just as if you added a VFG to a 27” OAL AR-15 it would also no longer be a pistol.

As for the VFG, note that under the definition of a pistol it needs to have been designed to be fired with the use of a single hand. Since there’s no clear dividing line where a pistol becomes too long to fire with the use of single hand, the ATF hasn’t pushed any regulations that limit the overall length of a pistol. But, the ATF has decided that the addition of a VFG to any pistol makes it cease to be a pistol since it’s now specifically designed to be shot with two hands. The reason why the ATF has decided that a pistol with a VFG under 26” OAL is an AOW and a pistol with a VFG over 26” OAL is a generic firearm is because 26” is the limit of concealability of a rifle and a shotgun under the NFA. And remember, an “AOW” is the catch-all category of NFA firearms and a generic “firearm” is the catch-all category of a non-NFA firearm.

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Originally Posted by rep1954 View Post
I guess a well defined "Firearm" definition is what I'm looking for and don't seem to be satisfied with what is supplied by the ATF.
There is no specific definition under federal law because a generic “firearm” is simply something that is legally a firearm under federal law but doesn’t fit into any of the specific firearm types.

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Originally Posted by rep1954 View Post
It's almost like saying rifled barrels are excluded from a gun configured to TAC-14 dimensions.
It simply comes down to the legal definition of a pistol. If you took a TAC-14 and configured it to fire a sub-.50 caliber pistol or rifle cartridge it would be a pistol. And that’s simply because it would fit under the definition of a pistol since a pistol is defined as being intended to fire a bullet, whereas a TAC-14 is designed to fire shotgun shells.
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Last edited by Theohazard; May 7, 2019 at 07:55 PM.
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Old May 7, 2019, 06:33 PM   #17
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PGOs really suck from a control and recoil standpoint; the bird'shead grip is better but not as good as a regular shoulder stock
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Old May 8, 2019, 11:32 AM   #18
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It simply comes down to the legal definition of a pistol. If you took a TAC-14 and configured it to fire a sub-.50 caliber pistol or rifle cartridge it would be a pistol. And that’s simply because it would fit under the definition of a pistol since a pistol is defined as being intended to fire a bullet, whereas a TAC-14 is designed to fire shotgun shells.
Wouldn't it be a rifled barrel or smooth bore barrel that determined if it was a pistol or a firearm? I know it sounds dumb but if a gun was built to be non shoulder fired, longer than 26", and with a barrel less than 16" chambered for let's say 44 magnum with a smooth bore be a "firearm"?
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Old May 8, 2019, 03:28 PM   #19
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The shockwave and similar are simply called "firearms"; they are neither a rifle or a handgun or a shotgun
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Old May 8, 2019, 08:35 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by rep1954 View Post
Wouldn't it be a rifled barrel or smooth bore barrel that determined if it was a pistol or a firearm? I know it sounds dumb but if a gun was built to be non shoulder fired, longer than 26", and with a barrel less than 16" chambered for let's say 44 magnum with a smooth bore be a "firearm"?
The federal definition of “pistol” can be found in 18 U.S.C., § 921(A)(29) and 27 CFR § 478.11:

“A weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).”

Notice that a rifled bore isn’t mentioned anywhere in that definition. So unless there is some case law or regulation that I’m not aware of, there is nothing in federal law that requires a pistol to have a rifled barrel. The reason Taurus doesn’t make a Judge with a smooth bore is because then it would be designed and intended to fire a .410 shotgun shell and therefore it wouldn’t fit the definition of a pistol. But with a rifled barrel Taurus can claim that it’s designed and intended to fire .45 Colt ammo and therefore it’s a pistol; the fact that it can also shoot .410 shotgun shells is secondary.

I also used to think that a smooth bore made a pistol into an AOW (or a generic firearm if over 26” OAL). But it doesn’t appear that a pistol needs to have rifling to legally be a pistol. But that’s just based on my layman’s reading of the relevant laws; I’m no lawyer.
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Old May 8, 2019, 08:42 PM   #21
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For many years the ATF put out a booklet on identifying NFA weapons.
It plainly stated that smooth bore pistols were classified as Any Other Weapon.
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Old May 8, 2019, 08:56 PM   #22
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Vintage Ordnance builds a reproduction WWII 45 ACP Liberator that has a rifled barrel compared to the original which had a smooth bore. Their website says it’s to comply with federal regulations.
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Old May 8, 2019, 09:21 PM   #23
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You’re both right, and I was wrong in my last post. Apparently the ATF says that a smooth bore pistol has been designed to fire shotshells even if it’s not chambered in a shotgun cartridge. Even though rifling isn’t mentioned in the legal definition of a pistol, I suppose the reasoning is that a firearm designed to fire a bullet would have rifling and a firearm designed to fire shot wouldn’t. So I was over-thinking things now and I was previously correct before: A smooth bore pistol is an AOW (at least according to the ATF):

https://www.atf.gov/firearms/firearm...arms-section-8
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Old May 9, 2019, 08:40 PM   #24
rep1954
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I know it sounds dumb but if a gun was built to be non shoulder fired, longer than 26", and with a barrel less than 16" chambered for let's say 44 magnum with a smooth bore be a "firearm"?
Any thought on this?
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Old May 9, 2019, 09:02 PM   #25
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I suppose it would be a generic firearm at that point. On a side note, barrel length wouldn’t matter in this case. Barrel length is only a factor with shotguns and rifles.
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