The question often comes up of what the difference is between an AR Pistol and a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR), and why one requires a tax stamp while the other does not. So we wrote an article on the differences between the two entitled “AR Pistol vs. SBR” where we discussed that an AR Pistol could not have a buttstock and is not intended to be fired from the shoulder. A recent ruling from the ATF has stated that a pistol brace, or stabilizing brace, used on a pistol is considered legal and would not cause the pistol to be reclassified as a SBR. Check out the transcribed video below posted by Mrgunsngear on YouTube that goes over the recent ruling and showcases the firing of a pistol using the stabilizing brace.
“Welcome back everybody, today we are going to be talking about shouldering pistols with the stabilizing braces that are out there. Obviously, this one is the SV 47 for AK pattern weapons, but there is also the Sig one out there for the AR style weapons. Up until very recently, this was a very controversial issue within the gun community. ATF has put out a ruling, a letter, which I will put a copy of the link at the end so you can actually see it, but they have clarified that there is no way to illegally fire this weapon as it is considered a pistol, and this stabilizing brace is considered an approved accessory for pistols so in fact it is legal to fire from the shoulder. So what we are going to do today is talk about that a little bit and what I have found doing it in my experience, the pros and cons of it, and then the legal aspects of it that also need to be covered because not everything is a go, at least not of yet. So that’s what we will be talking about today coming up in the video.
One disadvantage that you are definitely going to have with the SB 47 or any sort of pistol stock on there is length of pull from the prone position so it is certainly not ideal for that. Unless you are short like 5′ 4” and under but it is definitely a trade off when you are standing up right and squared off it is certainly not bad at all, but in the prone you probably do want a little bit more length of pull.
Many of you are may be asking why I would ever add this on the pistol when I could just SBR it and go through that process? Well a lot of you out there haven’t gone through that process and don’t understand what comes along with it. So just a quick overview because I do have several SBR that you have seen on the channel.
First off you have to pay a $200 tax stamp. A lot of folks are morally opposed to that, I was for a long time too and I had to just bite the bullet because unfortunately the laws that we live under in this country say we have to. You may be morally opposed to it and refuse to do it, same thing with registering the firearm; you have to actually register the firearm which again, a lot of people are just morally opposed to.
On top of that you pay your tax stamp and you get a 6-12 month waiting period depending on where you live. I have had a couple of stamps come back recently that took literally 12 months to get back so the wait is getting longer and a lot of folks simply don’t want to wait for it.
Another disadvantage to it is traveling across state lines. Myself, I travel a lot and taking these guns, SBRs, require special permission from the ATF. It takes time so if you are trying to plan a trip out you have to plan a couple of months in advance and wait a couple of months to wait for your special permission slip from the government to come back and say you can travel across state lines with it. Now when you add this, as long as the state that you are going to allows for your pistol to be brought into that state, then it is 100% legal. That is a BIG advantage, huge in fact, that is a big advantage to a lot of folks including myself.
Now a few things you need to be mindful of if you are going to do this. You can not add a vertical grip to a pistol. That is something that has been very established by the ATF, they have put that out for a long time and it has always been the case as far as I know. So if you are going to use these guns for defensive use or anything like that don’t put a vertical fore grip on there. If you are going to add a light, add a light, however avoid that vertical fore grip. You also want to avoid modifying the brace here, so don’t put any fillers here where your arm is assigned to go. Don’t add duct tape or glue or anything like that because that to it, because that can blur the very fine line these stocks are skirting. Those are some tips for you that I would certainly avoid doing and reasons behind why you would want to pick one of these up vs. a stock.
With out question, the stock definitely lets you to reach out further then you would be able to without the stable brace on there. Shouldering it definitely increases the range, you can keep that front site stable and reach out beyond anything you would be able to do with a pistol.
Bottom line is this stabilizing brace turns this, what was a very limited use pistol, into a very usable short length gun. It can be used as a home defense, can be a great truck gun, and you can do that all without paper work. All in all, although it looks a little funky, I think it is an excellent thing that we are able to use these as shoulder stocks legally and it is official that we can and you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Definitely a good thing in my opinion!”
See the letter of the ATF’s response HERE.
While it may not be traditional it is definitely worth the consideration for your pistol build. The new ATF ruling on the pistol brace being a legal way to fire an AR pistol, means better stabilization and further reach. This “weapon accessory” will surely continue to gain in popularity.
EDIT 06/26/14: We have had a few questions regarding the use of a vertical grip VS the Magpul Angled-Fore Grip (AFG). Here is the ATF response in regards to the AFG: HERE