Let’s get this straight – it is illegal to own a rifle with a barrel length of less than 16″ unless you get special permits and pay $$$$. The government many years ago decided in all its infinite wisdom that the American citizen can own a 16″ barrel carbine – but 15″? Nope. That is a highly dangerous weapon not covered under the 2nd Amendment.
Due to their compactness and maneuverability SBR’s (short barrel rifles) are very desirable but most people just do not want to go through the hassle of applying for the permits and paying the money to obtain one. Attempting to stay within the law but celebrate the 2nd Amendment(and make money) Sig Sauer developed the “Sig Brace“. The Sig Brace attaches to the buffer tube of an AR pistol and then is strapped or “worn” on the shooter’s arm. Well – this is how the use is presented. The reality – and I do not publicize this outside the membership area – is that these are commonly used as stocks – not braces. Installation of the brace on an AR pistol provides something that is very SBR-like.
There is another brace available called the Shockwave. Very similar to the Sig’s intended use the Shockwave has a hard plastic “blade” that rests up against the shooter’s forearm to stabilize the pistol while shooting. Looking at the Shockwave it is obvious as in the Sig most people use it as a stock – thus obtaining an SBR without the permits and fees.
So – what’s the problem?
The problem is the ATF is not full of a bunch of idiots and while you can legally assemble a SBR-like AR pistol the ATF has come out with statements related to these “braces”. They have basically stated that if you use it for its intended purpose it is perfectly legal. They have also said that IF you place the brace against your should you have “redesigned” the firearm and the user COULD be charged with having a short barreled rifle.
Ridiculous. Somehow the gun is redesigned just by touching it to your shoulder. That’s the government for you.
So, should you take your trusty AR pistol and slap a brace on it?
I say “yes”. As far as I can tell there has been no one convicted of possession of a short barrel rifle due to having a brace mounted to an AR pistol. The ATF is not actively arresting, charging, and prosecuting those that shoulder a brace. I would not recommend going to a public shooting range and shouldering one of these braces – nor place pictures of you shooting in that manner on social media. I believe that would be an invitation for law enforcement to ask questions. Lets avoid that.
What would I do?
Here is my own AR pistol with a Shockwave brace attached.