> TEOTWAWKI Blog: On the recent SIG brace opinion letter...



On the recent SIG brace opinion letter...

Well, the recently uploaded ATF letter r.e. the SIG Brace has taken the gun interwebs by storm.

If this is news to you, here is a Linkwith a run down on the new, seemingly contradictory letter around firing the SIG brace from the shoulder.

Now the gun community has responded with its usual disappointing array of bickering, in fighting and panic. Responses include:

1. I told you so! It was too good to be true.

2. Why do stupid people keep asking the ATF questions? If all the morons would stop asking questions, we wouldn't have problems like this!

3. The letter is a fake, looks like a bad photoshop job.

The real response should be:

1. The ATF has a completely backwards way of sharing opinions and rulings. Instead of having a website where their opinions are posted and written in clear, easily understood English, gun owners are supposed to contact the ATF individually for said information. The the ATF sends them a letter back, which the recipient may or may not scan and share with gun owners.

A terrible way to share important information, don't you think?

2. This is another example of the arbitrary, silly nature of the NFA laws and the ATFs ability to opine on and enforce said laws. What does the latest response actually mean? Here is a good dissection on how the new letter may mesh with the ATFs previous opinions from TTAG. It seems reasonable, and in my opinion probably what is meant in the ATF response.

Basically, the issue seems to be intent of the manufacturer. So if you intend the AR pistol to be a pistol when building it, then it's a pistol. If you intend it to be an SBR, then it is an SBR. One could build an SBR and have the sig brace as the stock, or one could build a pistol and have it function as a brace. The two firearms could be identical, the only difference being the intent of the builder.

That puts the ATF into the thought police business. Determining intent is generally going to require a mind reading machine to enforce. If you are building a pistol, say it is a pistol and build it with components that the ATF has approved for said use, then it is a pistol.

Maybe they'll come up with a ritual and some incantations that builders can chant whilst assembling their guns. One spell for pistols, one for SBRs. Or maybe we should all throw back our heads and cry "By my hands and these tools, I have made a pistol!" And record it for the ATF to view if they ever come knocking.

Unfortunately, the ATFs letter doesn't exactly offer the above clarity. We will have to wait around for more letters, maybe a lawsuit or something for clarity.

Now, these shenanigans have helped me realize the unstable ground the SIG brace pistols stand on. It's a situation that is about as clear as mud, thanks to the NFA and ATF, and the "go/no go" can be changed by an ATF opinion letter. It's a bunch of dumbness that I am quickly losing interest in devoting resources into. And, if you were to use your AR pistol in a self defense situation, who knows how that would shake out.

As stated in my previous post, I am mid process on building an AR pistol. I am reconsidering moving forward with that project, and instead just putting together a 14.5 incher with pinned comp.

There's only 4 inches of difference between a pinned 14.5 carbine and a 10.5 inch pistol, and you pay a pretty hefty price for those 4 inches. The SIG brace compromise and the associated drama versus a real stock, lower velocity, more muzzle blast and flash, etc.

I wonder how badly the price of second hand SIG braces is crashing these days?


  1. Where they ATF will get you is if you take and post a picture of yourself with the SIG arm brace on the shoulder. Trust me someone will do it. Another would be if your at a public range and are using the brace as a stock. Once they have probable cause they will run a search warrant on all your electronic storage devices looking for pictures of you using it as a stock. Why because we like posing with our guns!!!

    1. There are a gazillion pictures of folks shouldering sig braces on the interwebs, and a letter from the ATF to a police officer saying it is ok to do so - that the use of the firearm doesn't change its NFA status. This new letter may or may not contradict the earlier "ok to shoulder but not a stock" letter.

  2. How about we go back to marking receivers with "pistol"? Wouldn't that solve the intent issue?

  3. Get a bullpup. Still 16 inch barrel and smaller than most SBR.
    Rifle performance in a more compact package.
    Now I just need to add that Tavor to my collection...

    1. If you rate or value the Tavor or pups generally in comparison to a pistol, then the pup has some validity. But you still have a stupid-heavy pistol that can't be holstered. But if you compare a pup to a carbine, the pup fails in every category except length and tacticool. Real shooters don't use pups. Real shooters might have to use them if the mission requires it. Check which rifle the special forces of the Tavor country of origin uses... Ain't a Tavor.

    2. I like the idea of the Tavor, but the nonstandard weapon system, bad stock trigger and price to play make it a nonstarter for me. If they we $1200 with a decent trigger, different story.

    3. Yes. And I should have said MOST real shooters. I overstated it. Thereis a guy on a rifle team iI used to train with who had a Tavor. Trigger was atrocious. He bought a $350 drop in trigger to fix the problem. It went full auto with the new trigger followed by a failure to eject... Every time. Also, there is NO gas adjustment and Tavor will not feed reliably with a can on. Too much pressure. He got it to run with low pressure Walmart 55 gr. It's a real waste of time and money. Never mind mag changes and shooting on the left shoulder!

  4. Some more good discussion here: http://blog.princelaw.com/2014/12/26/whoops-we-atf-did-it-again-arbitrary-determinations-over-the-sig-brace/

  5. you could get the pistol buffer which is a good bit shorter or even go no buffer with a gas piston gun. i'm always getting contrary info from different atf agents. at one time m16 bolts were "illegal" in semi guns and years ago you couldn't possess any auto parts while owning a semi gun or it was considered an attempt to make it auto. i don't play in the gray areas because they can change their minds to suit the situation.

  6. I'm also in the process of building an AR pistol. This does not change my plans. An internet buddy (Arctic Patriot AKA Justin) had one before the Sig Arm brace. He had a piece of foam around the stock and it worked fine. Dude was rocking targets out to 200m+ with it.

    I would like to get a Sig Arm brace but if that doesn't work out oh well.

    1. Updated to include: After your post I got to looking at options. The bullpups that actually work are $1600+ so bin that. Honestly the stupid arm wrap part of the SIG brace bothers me anyway and $ 120ish for a little piece of plastic is a lot of money. I got to looking and stumbled into the Thorden Custom Enhanced Builders Kit http://www.thordsencustoms.com/shop/AR-PISTOL/p/ENHANCED-AR-PISTOL-BUILDERS-PACKAGE-x3607311.htm. Looks like it will give a good cheek to stock and increase surface area on the butt to dampen felt recoil. Also the storage tubes could be handy. Best of all unlike the Sig brace it seems reasonably priced.

      Recent ATF opinion aside between the two I would prefer to have this product. As such I plan to purchase one for my upcoming 11.5in build.

  7. A good read on this-

  8. I still like my arm brace no matter the ruling, no matter the rule.

    Every tool has it's use and when you really need the pistol w/brace for more than target shooting, I suppose it doesn't matter much what anyone has to say until the AAR (if there is one). A real SBR isn't something everyone wants to do paperwork for.

  9. Pretty good study here on Barrel length on the AR platform. Might help when building your AR pistol or AR builds in general.


  10. We asked a ATF agent to come to our office and explain the short barrel rifle and the 80% receiver and a few other questions. This is the senior guy in the state - close to retiring and he basically said he doesn't have the authority to determine compliance or non compliance and that everything has to be shipped off to HQ for a determination. He's pretty frustrated with the agency. He gave us some generic flyers. Keep in mind even if the ATF allows it - your state may not.