X Products came out with a nifty little device a while back that uses blank 5.56 NATO cartridges to launch soda cans through the air. It was a really cool and fun concept, and we’ve had a blast using it. Apparently the ATF has caught wind of this little ray of fun and sunshine and decided that it must be stamped out at all costs. X Products received a love note from the firearms regulators the other day stating that their product is now considered an “Any Other Weapon,” an item which is highly regulated under the National Firearms Act. The hyper-regulatory brainiacs consider the can luncher a “shotgun” meaning your SBR tax stamp won’t cut the mustard here. In short, anyone who owns one of these things without paying the tax stamp for the privilege may be a felon in the eyes of the ATF. Here’s the letter from X Products . . .
We recently received a complete evaluation from the [ATF] on the legal status of the Can Cannon dated: August 26th, Received September 11, 2015. The evaluation of the Can Cannon as currently produced is in and of itself not a firearm and not controlled, however when placed on a rifle receiver is considered a (SBR) short barrel rifle, and when placed on a pistol (AOW) any other weapon.
We are submitting a revised design to address the issues in the [ATF]’s determination letter. We will update our customers throughout this process.
For any questions or inquiries about this matter, please email email@example.com
A copy of the determination letter will be available on our site shortly.
X Products LLC
The problem here is that the ATF has defined this item as a shotgun. Since the “barrel” of the gun is smooth instead of rifled (the soda can is the projectile in this case) they can’t call it a rifle so the type reverts to a shotgun.
Shotguns must have a barrel length of 18 inches or more, and since the shroud for the launcher is only 11 inches and change, it doesn’t meet that standard. Therefore the firearm is considered an AOW when attached to an AR-15 pistol lower receiver. There’s no mention about what the gun would be considered when attached to a “rifle” lower receiver, but due to their determination, chances are it would either be a short barreled rifle or shotgun.
The ATF is going out of its way these days to make life as a law-abiding gun owner as difficult as possible. Admittedly it was arguably X Product’s fault that they started selling these things without an ATF opinion letter, but it seems that in this case the ATF is just being as pig-headed and obstinate as possible for no good reason.