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ATF Response on Firing AR-15 Pistols from the Shoulder with SIG Sauer Pistol Brace

by G&A Online Editors   |  April 4th, 2014 20

The SIG Sauer SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace has become a popular accessory for AR-15 pistols in the past year. The removable buffer tube attachment was originally developed for a disabled veteran to improve the ergonomics of the AR-15 platform.

Since the introduction of the pistol brace, many folks have questioned the legality and advisability of shouldering an AR-15 pistol with the brace attached. A recent letter from the Firearms Technology Branch of the ATF dated Mar. 5, 2014, may answer some of the questions floating around the firearms community.

The letter (below) addresses specific reasons why “[the ATF] have determined that firing a pistol from the shoulder would not cause the pistol to be reclassified as an SBR”.

G&A wants to know from our readers: Does this letter give you the confidence to legally shoulder an AR-15 pistol?

G&A always emphasizes safe handling of firearms and advises that users follow federal, state and local laws and all manufacturer directions when using the pistol brace.


  • WhiskeyPunisher

    The feds may not consider it an sbr but I wouldn’t want to be the test case here in CA.

    • Mi

      Then why live there?

  • Ron

    Don’t have an AR15 pistol and don’t plan to get one let alone the SB15 attachment, but for those who already have that rig or plan to get one, I think I would always have a copy of that letter in my possession while carrying it or shooting it.

  • M

    With letter in hand I would try it. But I live in one of the free states.

  • Chimookman

    If I had the pistol I would carry the letter with me.

  • corey

    Most people fire a pistol with two hands, even though it is designed to be fired with one hand. It’s still a pistol because it was designed to be fired with one hand. You could fire any pistol from the shoulder if you wanted to (not that it would be advisable, or that many would want to), but by doing so it wouldn’t become a SBR because it was still designed to be fired with one had. The BATFE is full
    of subtle contradictions regarding the NFA. However I actually believe they got this one right and in a logical fashion. What you have to be aware and careful of, is not all states define weapons the same way the Feds do. What may be considered a non-NFA weapon on a Federal level, may still not be legal in your state. If your state would happen to decide the brace was in fact a stock, then it could still be considered a SBR by that state.

  • Jake

    The NFA needs to be repealed. It is an affront to the second amendment and it’s ridiculous that we actually have to worry about this kind of stuff.

    • Wuz nt Me

      Amen to that! Why isn’t any major pro-2nd Amendment group even saying that? Why the hell isn’t the NRA working towards that? I’m a member but, I think they are pansies for not taking that stance.

      • Mitchell Gray

        If you become a Life Member you can vote in NRA elections. Get enough life members together that agree that the NFA should be repealed and we can make the NRA start pushing that.

        • Wuz nt Me

          I am a life member and I had no idea I could vote… All I ever get from them is spam mail to get me to upgrade my membership.
          Thanks for the tip. I’m going to be looking into that.

  • Wuz nt Me

    Um…. this makes no sense. As I understand it, if I put a buttstock on an AR15 pistol I would go to jail BUT, in this letter they say it really doesn’t matter. How is a buttstock any different than a “receiver extension” if either of them allow you to shoulder the weapon?
    However, I really could care less what the ATF thinks. If I had an AR15 pistol with a buttstock on it that would not make me a murderer or a ninja assassin or a rapist or a thief or a terrorist.. That doesn’t mean I’m going to put one on. If I thought my safety and personal self defense required a buttstock on an AR15 pistol then I wouldn’t be asking permission from the ATF or anyone else…. Luckily, I can get along fine with what I have so there’s no need for me to risk the wrath of the overlords.

    • Ryan

      The Sig brace is not a butt stock.

      • Wuz nt Me

        riiiight *wink*
        My question was, how is it any different than a buttstock?

        • Ken Brooks

          shhhh… it’s a Shoulder brace…. stop ASKING questions you really don’t want answers to

        • Stephen

          Its designed to go around your forarm

          • Wuz nt Me


  • howler1968

    If one of these is used in high-profile crime and the anti-gun crowd sniffs it out,the ATF will get a WTF phone call from the WH and a countermand letter will be forthcoming.

  • Jev Adiah

    Playing with fire.

  • Tim Niedert

    If I’m not a criminal and I can afford a Dillion mini gun or a 155mm self propelled it should be my choice not the Federal Governments. I get tired of people saying “Gun Rights” it’s not a Right if another man can take it away!

  • Bill

    I hate to be a party pooper here, but those who constantly bang the drum to the tune of repealing the NFA sound a lot like the crowd who continually call for the forfeiture of congressional salaries in light of their utter failure as a governing body. Neither of these things are ever, ever, EVER going to happen, and it’s a waste of energy believing and/or advocating otherwise. What we need (and possibly stand a chance of getting) are some original and workable ideas for modifying the NFA to reflect the fact that we no longer live in the 1930s.

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