New ruling on Sig Brace for Shotguns

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A post on Shooting Sports Retailer mentions a ruling on using the SB15 Sig Brace and that shooting it from the shoulder is a no-go. However this applies only to shotguns.

“The submitted weapon, as described and depicted above … is not a ‘firearm’ as defined by the NFA provided the SicTac SB15 pistol stabilizing brace is used as originally designed and not used as a shoulder stock,” wrote Acting Chief of the BATF’s Firearms Technology Branch Max Kingery. “However, should an individual utilize the SigTac SB15 pistol stabilizing brace on the submitted sample as a shoulder stock to fire the weapon from the shoulder, this firearm would then be classified as a ‘short-barreled shotgun.’ ”

Black Aces Tactical makes tactical shotguns with stocks. They were unaware of the previous ruling the ATF made about the use of the SB15 and AR pistols.

People are now concerned if the ATF might revoke their previous ruling of the Sig Brace. We shall wait and see.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • Ratcraft

    I have yet to buy one of these for this reason. That and they just look ugly as a heII.

  • sianmink

    Only applies to AOW shotguns. Should have no effect on pistols. Carry on, nothing to get worked up about here.

  • iowaclass

    My take? The ATF is deliberately trying to make these rulings as nonsensical and contradictory as possible so that it will be easy to get the whole batch of them struck down under Heller/McDonald scrutiny.
    They are sick of it, and it makes no legal sense because the only reason for the NFA length limitations is to prevent long guns from being turned into handguns. Making a handgun bigger or longer or less concealable implicates no policy objective of the NFA.

    • ThomasD

      The NFA is bad law.

      That it leads to such convoluted (if internally logically consistent) rulings is not surprising.

      Remember, the law includes significant distinctions between smooth bore and rifled bore – effectively treating them as two different animals.

      • Anonymoose

        All gun control leads to more and more convoluted BS.

        • ThomasD

          Exactly. If you defy common sense, do not expect it to reward you.

    • n0truscotsman

      I would love to believe they are deliberately trying to put a nail in the coffin of the anti-“scary gun” coffin, but the previous behavior of the ATF indicates otherwise.

    • Xman87

      It’s completely insane. An SBR is LESS concealable than an ar pistol with no stock! Plus you know there are these things called handguns……

      • supergun

        You are right. There are handguns more powerful and deadlier. Do these people know anything about guns?

    • supergun

      I too, am befuddled by all this hogwash. Is this all they have to do?

  • tazman66gt

    I can see where the ATF is coming from, a pistol grip shotgun still has an 18″ barrel, shorter than 18″ it is either a short barrel shotgun or a AOW, any other weapon, both of which are regulated by the ATF.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Technically that’s not 100%. You can have a normal non-NFA shotgun with shorter than an 18″ barrel, so long as the total length is over 26″, and that the shotgun has never had a stock. It’s stupid, but true.

      TFB had an article on a bird’s head grip that explained this awhile back.

  • Mystick

    Another contradictory, two-faced ruling from the ATF… no surprise. What’s next, the Ruger Mark 3 barrel is a receiver/firearm on Thursdays and Saturdays, but just a barrel on the other days?

    • ThomasD

      I disagree. The ruling is entirely consistent with the (otherwise moronic law that is) the NFA.

      • Cymond

        Is this ruling consistent with the previous ruling that “FTB classifies weapons based on their physical design characteristics. While usage/functionality of the weapon does influence the intended design, it is not the sole criterion for determining the classification of a weapon. Generally speaking, we do not classify weapons based on how an individual uses a weapon.”

        Now they’re saying that the classification is dependent on how the user holds the gun!

      • Tom Currie

        This ruling may well be “entirely consistent with the … NFA” but it is exactly opposite of the ruling made by the BATFE concerning the Sig arm brace when it was originally submitted for use on AR-style pistols.

        The really freaky part of this insanity is that it isn’t JUST another instance of BATFE changing their minds about something they had previously approved. This letter says that the decision applies only to a shotgun — so now if you have a smooth bore pistol (shotgun pistol) you have different rules from a pistol with a rifled barrel (AR-pistol) ?!?

        • ThomasD

          It is not exactly opposite because one ruling involved rifled bore items legally classified as ‘pistols’ while the other involved smooth bore weapons not legally defined as ‘pistols.’

          • Cymond

            I wonder if this will effect the XO-26 which is not legally defined as a ‘pistol’.

  • Aaron Russell

    This is a civil rights violation.

    • Anonymoose

      All anti-gun policies are.

    • USMC03Vet

      Rule of law is irrelevant these days. Look at our chief executive today and his unconstitutional decree negating the separation of powers based on nothing but the knowledge that nobody in law enforcement, the legislature, or the courts will oppose his will.

  • Blake

    Thanks for the explanation.

    So that makes it an AOnaF (Any Other not a Firearm)? heh…

    Also, the original ATF opinion on the Sig brace specifically stated that the intended use of the component (an arm brace) was what matters in terms of weapon classification; it had nothing to do with how the user chose to hold the weapon.

    This statement now says the exact opposite: that it’s fine if you use it as an arm brace but if you shoulder it then suddenly it’s an SBS. So technically it’s illegal to shoulder this thing? That’s just whacky…

    • supergun

      Try shooting a brace against your shoulder. Kinda hard to hit anything.

  • Cymond

    Actually, the letter is signed “Max Kingery, Acting Chief”. Apparently Kingery is now in charge.

    http://www.shootingsportsretailer.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sigbraceusage.jpg

  • jamezb

    Now wait. it sounds to me this ruling was about a siG brace on an AOW…already a NFA regulated weapon, adding a stock changes it to an SBS…-195.00 in taxes…
    I dont think this can apply to a pistol…which is NOT already an NFA REGULATED WEAPON.

    • Cymond

      First, a Sig arm brace is not a stock, so it shouldn’t make an AOW into a SBS.

      Second, a pistol-grip-only 12ga firearm is only classified as an AOW if it is “capable of being concealed on the person” which the ATF defines as 26″ overall length. I’ve already posted a link to the Shockwave Technologies blog, but that blog post includes the ATF determination letters. In short, a firearm like a Mossberg Cruiser is not classified as a ‘shotgun’ because it has never had a shoulder stock. Since it is not a ‘shotgun’, it does not have a minimum barrel length, but it becomes an AOW if it is “capable of being concealed”.

      26 U.S.C. § 5845 (e):”The term “any other weapon” means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell […]”

      Of course, the most disturbing section of this letter is the part that states the firearm is legal if the brace is used as a brace, but it becomes a SBS if the brace is used like a stock. This directly contradicts the concept that firearm designs are either legal or illegal, regardless of how the individual user chooses to hold them.

      Further, the firearm in this case does not fit into any specific category, just like the Franklin XO-26. If this unclassified 12ga firearm becomes a SBS when held wrong, then what is stopping the unclassified XO-26 from becoming a SBR when held wrong?

  • USMC03Vet

    Oh course they’ll ban it eventually. Their purpose is to combat law abiding citizens that want to exercise constitution rights. Their very being is a violation of the constitution. They have the best law enforcement benefits of any federal agency and as a result they are required to be political yes enforcers.

  • The firearm in question doesn’t fit the legal definition of a shotgun, AOW, or a pistol. It would be an undefined firearm.

  • Ethan

    I think the key issue here is this:

    Putting the brace to your shoulder is not a “design change”, but putting a PISTOL brace on something that is not a PISTOL places you outside the manufacturers “intended use”. So theoretically what you do from there matters more now.

    Either way, NFA is BS that needs repealed. Plain and simple.

    • gunslinger

      never thought of it that way.

  • ThomasD

    The ruling has nothing to do with ordinary shotguns.

    So long as the barrel exceeds 18″ and the overall length exceeds 26″ you can have any stock you desire (or even no stock.)

  • BryanS

    Still got to fight them on it, and its expensive.

  • Cymond

    Here’s the entire code of 26 U.S. Code § 5845 (e) that defines an AOW:
    (e) Any other weapon
    The term “any other weapon” means any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or a revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

    Everything there is about the design of the firearm, not about how it is used.

  • Guest

    there is no such thing as a pistol shotgun. so using a pistol brace as a stock would be an sbr . of course you cant use a pistol brace on a shotgun with less than a 18.5 bbl it makes perfect sense. not saying i agree with the atf but they are correct on this one. the only use for a pistol brace on a shotgun is for it to be an sbr

  • jeff k

    there is no such thing as a shotgun pistol. so why would the person think that using a pistol brace on a shotgun…. and …. shouldering it , would be legal?

    • Kivaari

      There are smooth bore pistols. Like the Ithaca 12 ga. Stakeout. You can buy one, but must pay a $5 FET, get local police approval and wait about a year. If you wanted to make one, using a hacksaw, as soon as you get a barrel less than 18″ and OAL of 26″, it requires an ATF Form 1 and $200 FET to be approved. A years wait is a bonus. After it is made and registered as a firearm (remember that doesn’t include conventional guns) it can be transferred for $5 FET. It is an exceptionally stupid set of laws.

  • Kivaari

    If I remember correctly, the ATF, doesn’t consider a firearm a “firearm”, unless it is a machinegun, short barreled rifle/shotgun, smooth bore pistol, hand grenade, AOW, Molotov cocktail, or large IED or live ordnance such as aerial bombs, rockets w/wo warhead. Even though they control conventional guns you and I would have under “normal conditions”.
    The NFA law is truly one of the worst laws. Also keep in mind the feds wanted to include handguns the same way they handle machineguns. In 1934, an additional $200 FET, would have been just one more example of the rich v. the common man. Elitism, where we little people get left behind.

  • bruce Cambell

    I’m not sure how the ATF could make a regulation based on the shooters firing position. They can only regulate the physical form of the firearm, not the manner in which it is used by the operator. Whats next? ATF determines that shooting a handgun sideways “Gangsta” style is racist and therefore should be banned.