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AR-pistol Stabilizing Brace Background

AR-pistol Stabilizing Brace Background

A recently released letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has reversed a previous decision by the bureau on AR-15 stabilizing braces to the excitement of firearm enthusiasts throughout the nation.

Not familiar with the story? Read on to learn more about this one-of-a-kind device, originally created to help a wounded veteran shoot after losing an arm in combat, and the behind the scenes struggle to have the brace made available for use by the general public.

AR-pistol Stabilizing Brace Background

In 2012 Alex Bosco, a Navy veteran, engineered the AR-pistol stabilizing brace for a fellow soldier who lost their arm during a combat operation. The device, which works by fitting onto the buffer tube of AR-15s, makes shooting with one hand easier and improves shot accuracy.

Shortly after the invention, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) approved the device for use by the general public and Bosco sold production rights of the device to Sig Sauer.

However, soon after the product launch, users of the brace realized that it could easily be classified as a short-barreled rifle (SBR) if used in certain ways, and sought clarification from the ATF. This resulted in the ATF publishing an open letter in 2015, which called into question the legality of the device, as the letter stated that “the act of placing an AR-15 pistol on the shooter’s shoulder constituted a ‘redesign’ of the firearm, instantly turning it into an unregistered SBR,” and, in turn, a federal felony.

This confusion over the legality of the AR-pistol stabilizing brace led to a major dip in sales for Sig Sauer, as customers became hesitant to risk felony charges that could arise from the use of the innovative device.

New Letter from ATF Reverses Initial Opinion

After two years of confusion following the 2015 open letter from the ATF, an updated determination letter was released by the ATF this April. The letter reversed the bureau’s previous decision, stating “with respect to stabilizing braces, ATF has concluded that attaching the brace to a handgun as a forearm brace does not ‘make’ a short-barreled rifle because in the configuration as submitted to and approved by FATD, it is not intended to be and cannot comfortably be fired from the shoulder.”

The clarifying letter from the AFT does, however, state that any modification to the device to undermine and change it’s purpose as a brace, such as removal of the attached arm strap or permanently affixing the brace to the buffer tube, does constitute a redesign and is prohibited by law.

Interested in Learning More?

If you are interested in learning more about both state and federal gun laws, the team of firearm training experts at our Nashville gun range is here to advise! Whether you are looking for information on obtaining a concealed carry permit, seeking out training for use of a specific firearm, or simply want to ask a question, we’ve got the answers. Feel free to contact our Nashville area gun shop today to learn more.