ATF Released New Proposed Pistol Brace Rules


Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached “Stabilizing Braces”


Direct Link to Proposed Rule 2021R-08 (PDF, 4.2 MB)


On April 7, the White House stated,

The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.

taken from,

FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initial Actions to Address the Gun Violence Public Health Epidemic

WASHINGTON D.C. –-( On Monday, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) released its proposed rule on pistol braces.

It starts by saying that any brace that the manufacturer intends to be fired from the shoulder will be considered a short-barreled rifle (SBR) and subjected to the National Firearms Act (NFA). The document further creates a points system that would allow the ATF to make most pistol braces SBR.

The maximum length of a pistol would be 26 inches. That would make any AR15 style pistol with a barrel over seven inches an SBR regardless of any other determination features.  The measurements of a seven-inch AR pistol from the rear of the buffer tube to the front of the gun are 25 inches.

The document reads:
“Given the public interest surrounding these issues, ATF is proposing to amend the definition of ‘rifle’ in 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11, respectively, by adding a sentence at the end of each definition. The new sentence would clarify that the term ‘rifle’ includes any weapon with a rifled barrel and equipped with15 an attached ‘stabilizing brace’ that has objective design features and characteristics that indicate that the firearm is designed to be fired from the shoulder, as indicated on ATF Worksheet 4999.”

1  point: Minor Indicator (the weapon could be fired from the shoulder)
2  points: Moderate Indicator (the weapon may be designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder)
3  points: Strong Indicator (the weapon is likely designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder)
4  points: Decisive Indicator (the weapon is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder
The ATF would consider any gun with a score of four or more points an SBR.  Firearms over 13 ½ inches would automatically be an SBR.  If a pistol has a standard buffer tube, then the firearm would be assigned two points. The ATF would consider any gun that is over 120 ounces unloaded an SBR.

More confusingly, if a firearm has flip-up sights, then the ATF would give that gun one point towards becoming an SBR. The ATF would assign a gun with a red dot two points.  The ATF doesn’t see why a shooter would use a red dot pistol on a pistol.

The ATF would assign any gun with a hand stop two points.  That would put any firearm with a hand stop halfway to becoming an SBR.  The ATF would consider any gun with a secondary grip as an SBR.

The ATF encourages all companies to resubmit their sample firearms to the ATF’s Tech Branch to be reexamined.  It would cost the companies thousands of dollars for almost no chance of getting another determination letter stating that they can sell their gun as a pistol.

Even if a manufacturer’s product scores under four points, the ATF could determine that the company is trying to circumvent the NFA.  The ATF could choose to charge the company with a crime.  This power could discourage companies from selling braced pistols even if the ATF rules it is a pistol.

The ATF firearms like the Mossberg Shockwave and the TAC-14 will be considered Short-Barreled Shotguns (SBS).  There is no way to get any “shotgun-based” guns that could make it through the new regulations.

The ATF gives gun owners several choices.
The first choice is turning the guns into the ATF.  The ATF says this choice would be at “no-cost” to gun owners.  This move is gun confiscation.  The second choice would be to install a barrel that more than 16 inches long.  The third choice is to pay a $200 tax stamp and register it as an SBR.  The final option would be to modify the brace and not sell it to anyone in the future.

The document gives some alternatives. These alternatives include making the rules just guidance. That chance would mean that they would not have the force of law.  Other alternatives include grandfathering all firearms with braces or forgiveness of the tax stamp fee.

The comment period will open soon for pistol braces and the comment period on unfinished frame and receivers at still open.

Read the proposed rule here:


  1. ATF worksheet 4999 is a goldmine of future felonies for the ATF. I keep up to date on arm braces and NFA law but I can’t understand some of their terminology in the worksheet. What is the average gun owner going to do?

    I wonder if this worksheet was written by the same brain trust that decided that touching an arm brace to the shoulder redesigns the firearm? This level of elementary school reasoning is terrifying when it is backed up by squads of militarized agents that have no problem killing you or sending you to federal prison over their unconstitutional regulatory whims.

  2. This rulemaking proposal repeatedly uses the term “objective”, yet reveals a complete ignorance to the true definition of the word.
    This rulemaking proposal seeks to amend wording to the definition of “rifle”. That definition is written into the Gun Control Act. It was created by an act of congress. Only congress can alter it in any legally enforceable way. Without a legal means to alter the definition of “rifle”, the ATF has no way to create a new category that meets the current definition of “short-barreled rifle”, since the firearm in question must first meet the definition of “rifle” to apply. This illegal attempt to alter the congressionally created definition of “rifle” puts the ATF in the realm of operating under “color of law”. Heads should roll.

    These rules are void on their face, and the ATF knows it. But there is currently no punishment for enforcing them, even when a judge rules them null and void. Why not keep throwing turds at the wall? They stick for a little while.

  3. The ATF which does not exist Constitutionally is making rules which based on laws which are unconstitutional. Good thing the NRA supported both the NFA of 1934 and the 1968 Gun Control Act and are proud of it no less. So much for the NRA being a “gun rights” organization. Let’s not forget it was Donald Trump that proudly stepped up “enforcement” of unconstitutional Fed gun laws.

    There is progress on the State level with efforts to nullify Federal Gun Control. This is where the fight needs to happen. State as parties to the compact have the authority to nullify federal over-reach.

  4. This article, short as it is, is full of misinformation. I guess the author couldn’t be bothered to read the ATF 71 page proposal. Red dot sights by themselves do not add points. I don’t know what AR pistols the author has been measuring, but I have a 10″ barrel on mine and it’s under 26″ from flash hider to buffer tube. Over 26″ does not automatically make it a SBR; it only “becomes” a SBR if you add a brace “accessory” to it. Do better, Loose Rounds.

    • eat a dick guy who has never commented before and then comes on here to talk shit to me about a news story written by some one else

    • You are absolutely correct. This article has been spread across the web now with this 7″ barrel disinfo. TOTALLY ERRONEOUS and yet here it is. You’re the only person I’ve seen that had the guts to speak the truth thus far.

        • Who gives a fuck?

          *You* re-posted the article, dude. Not me. You’re the guy writing supposed news articles for a website that caters to the firearms community.

          But I get it, some rando on internet hurt your feelings with constructive criticism, and now you have to lash out. Go ahead.

          • Ok guy that has spent a month spurg spiraling at the owner of a internet website that hurt your feelings.

            and yes, who gives a fuck what the ATF says

  5. A month?

    Not only don’t you read so well, you don’t count so well either. But, I’m a fag that takes it up the ass and comments online to sound macho, so what do I know?


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