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?