ATF Reportedly Approves Shouldering the Shockwave Pistol Brace

As we reported earlier in the week the ATF issued a new opinion letter to SB Tactical proclaiming that it is once more legal to shoulder and fire the company’s pistol arm brace. There were a couple caveats to that approval, namely that the brace needs to be unmodified from the version which was approved by the ATF (arm strap and all). TTAG’s sources had indicated that other products were not included in the approval, but the people behind the Shockwave brace say that they have been given the all clear from the ATF as well.

From the Shockwave Technologies website:

I just got off the phone with a very nice gentleman at ATF Tech Branch—who was fielding these calls today. (He was, understandably, very well versed on the subject—and very nice about it even though he’s been on the phone all day, repeating himself ad nauseam.) I identified myself and asked him specifically if the letter that’s making the rounds is limited to one company’s products–or if it applies to all pistol stabilizing braces. He said: “The letter covers all pistol stabilizing braces, including the Shockwave Blade.” So that settles that.

He then gave me a bit of further guidance for our customers:

1) By “permanent affixing,” ATF considers that to be adding permanent Loctite to the large set screw that secures the Blade into the dimples in the KAK tube. As long as you don’t red Loctite the set screw in place, ATF considers it to be “temporarily placed” and “perfectly okay to shoulder.” (He didn’t beat around the bush on this topic.)

2) “Length of pull”—for lack of a better word regarding pistol braces—begins to enter a “gray area” above 13.5″. Above 13.5″ begins “to enter shoulder stock area.” (His words. I believe this has to do with the “comfortableness” aspect.) On an AR-15, the “length of pull” for the Blade is approximately 13.13″, so no issues there. But if you use the Blade on a firearm that requires a large adapter of some sort, please make sure that you only use the dimples up to the point that you remain below the 13.5″ length. Stay below 13.5″ and according to ATF, it’s okay to shoulder a Shockwave Blade.

So there you have it. Anything you read to the contrary on a web forum, social media site, or industry blog is simple misinformation by people who are not being completely honest.

I will note that it sounds like Shockwave has not received this news from the ATF in writing. I’ve personally been given verbal instructions by the ATF before on their interpretation of the law which were later proven to be 100% inaccurate. So I’m wary about trusting anything that someone claims to have been told over the phone by an unnamed ATF employee.

Unless you have an SB Tactical brace in its original configuration, shoulder at your own risk.


  1. avatar Old law prof says:

    Thank God for smartphone audio taping. I have an app that automatically records every call in or out. I clear the drek weekly.

    1. avatar Norincojay says:

      Not that this matters, but in Florida if you record someone without their permission it can’t be used in court as evidence against the accused. I found it strange. This has nothing to do with warrants given to wiretap.

      1. avatar RocketScientist says:

        Just start off each call by saying “all calls are recorded to ensure quality service”. They’ve been notified. Legal eagle.

  2. avatar -Peter says:

    And why would anyone want to SBR their AR pistol now?

    1. avatar Soylent Green says:

      As I see it, the stamps allows you to get That last 10% of function that a real stock brings and alliance of vertical grips

    2. avatar Pwrserge says:

      VFGs on a short barreled AR are rather important. Since your hand guard is going to be carbine length, at best, you will have a tendency to put your hand somewhere it doesn’t belong. AFGs are a great compromise, but awkward to use when they are that close to the magazine well. I actually swapped out an AFG for a VFG on my Mk18 for just that reason.

      1. avatar Soylent Green says:

        I have handstop on it now, but once approved I’ll have a vfg to go with it.

        Absurd I have to wait 9months and pay 200, and be fingerprinted, just so I can add a vfg. I wonder how many staff they would have to add to bring the wait down to under a month?

        Here’s hoping this brace BS is evidence that can be used later to dismantle the the NFA.

        1. avatar Norincojay says:

          As long as the permanent length of the weapon is 26″ or more you can use a vertical grip. On an Ar that is 11.5″ barrel with normal length carbine(pistol) receiver extension. Or 10.5″ with the Midwest Industries Sig Brace receiver extension which is longer than a typical carbine extension.

        2. avatar General Mills says:

          I have a vertical grip brace that straps to my support hand.

    3. avatar Swarf says:

      Holy crap. Is there some sort of Cliff’s Notes cheat sheet for AR types/calibers/action and what combination of gack is legal with what?

      All this has got me thinking of moving in to the AR world, but they have made it difficult to not build something jail-worthy.

      1. avatar Guardiano says:

        Just stay away from ATF agents.

        Seriously though, I’ve never seen a news story about “dude arrested for having a stock on his AR Pistol.” When and where has this actually happened? I mean there was one story where the Baltimore PD had a shootout with a dindu armed with an AR pistol, but that was the first time I’ve ever seen one mentioned in the news. I had already heard that story first-hand from one of the officers involved, but the news outlet seemed confused as to what they were actually reporting, and chose not to speculate too much on what “AR pistol” actually meant.

  3. avatar Lucas D. says:

    Judging by the all the recent “whatevs” rulings to come out on the various loopholes we keep finding, it sounds like someone high up at the ATF really doesn’t enjoy his job.

    Good for him. Here’s hoping he pulls a Milton and burns the place down on his way out.

  4. avatar Boba Fett says:

    Reading through this, I just busted out laughing. You have to laugh at it. The whole thing is so fucking silly.

    1. Lol I started laughing at the dimple semantics.

      1. avatar Norincojay says:

        Red or blue or we lock you up.

  5. avatar RTinIA says:

    Hey, TTAG. The shockwave doesn’t come with an arm strap. That should have been obvious when you were choosing photos for this article

    1. avatar j5689 says:

      He wasn’t referring to the Shockwave when he was talking about the strap, he was still talking about the SB Tactical brace, that’s why he mentioned the strap.

      He says “the brace needs to be unmodified from the version which was approved by the ATF”. The Shockwave was approved by the ATF in that same strapless configuration so it would be O.K. to shoulder just like it is.

    2. avatar Swarf says:

      That was part of the point.

  6. avatar Abraham Froman says:

    My defense in court: I know a guy who knows a guy who read a facebook post saying you could shoulder the blade.

    1. avatar Pwrserge says:

      You defense in court is actually much simpler. ATF opinion is not the law.

  7. avatar Hoplopfheil says:

    The fact that the ATF has to rule on appropriate dimple placement, and allowable colors of loctite should illustrate just how ridiculous the entire NFA is.

  8. avatar barnbwt says:

    You hear that, boys? Sure sounds like Red Loctite is now considered a “permanent attachment” for muzzle brakes to reach 16″ barrel length to this reader! I wonder if Blue Loctite on your Romanian AK pistol grip means it’s not permanently attached for 922r counting purposes? Some idiot go write a letter!

    These people need to be horsewhipped on national television for either incompetence, or refusal to demand a better legislative framework to operate within; if they recognize the laws are so terrible as to make their enforcement job impossible, I’d be open to revising them to at least make sense as far as enforcement, even if not repealed outright as I desire.

    1. avatar Paul Antonio says:

      Use purple Loctite; it’s stronger than nothing, but less “permanent” than even blue Loctite.

  9. avatar Norincojay says:

    When I read the letter it seemed pretty generic about all pistol braces. Considering they used the terms “pistol braces.” The letter isn’t “law” but guidance. The letter could be used in court. There seems to be lots of “unnamed sources” being sited one way or the other. Either way it really depends on a cop seeing you or range master. If a cop doesn’t like it even if it’s an original SB brace you could be showing the letter to a judge. I’m sure not all cops keep up to date on these letters. Some cops probably don’t even realize sbr need a stamp. Do they bring measuring tape to measure barrel lengths to ranges?

  10. avatar George in RI says:

    Good news for folks like me in states that outlaw SBR’s at the state level.

  11. avatar Swarf says:

    So it used to be “Never shoulder, never forget!”

    Now it’s “Loctite Red, concrete bed!”

  12. avatar Justin Schmidt says:

    Who honestly gives a damn? The entire purpose of these pistols is for us to give the ATF a middle finger. Buy a pistol and vfg and shoulder the damn thing. Even if you put it on youtube so what?? Show me ONE court hearing if a person that was charged a FELONY for shouldering one of these?? It just doesn’t happen. The ATF has other shit to worry about besides who’s shouldering what.
    With that being said which one of these is actually comfortable to shoulder? Sbm4, sbx, or shockwave

  13. avatar Jay says:

    What’s the point of this article? They are showing a KAK brace but saying that one person at the ATF rendered an opinion on the SB Tactical arm brace! Talk about misleading dribble!

  14. avatar Chris says:

    Basically there is still no proof you can shoulder a shockwave. If KAK really spoke with the ATF why did they not get a name of the person? I will only shoulder the SB tactical brace because they have a letter I can keep in my range bag. Shockwave doesn’t have a damn thing as it is right now.

  15. avatar Valorius says:

    NFA is federal law, not state, so if you’re in a state which has not passed separate legislation, a local or state cop has no jurisdiction to arrest you for a brace anyway.

    1. avatar David says:

      Can you give law that proves that?

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