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Earlier today we posted a piece reassuring readers that they can buy a SIG Brace for their AR pistol without risking ATF blowback. The post clarified a letter sent to Black Aces Tactical by the ATF, regarding their as-yet-unnamed SIG Braced Pro Series 5 short-barrelled shotgun variant (shown above and after the jump). The letter said the shotgun was legal – as long as the owner didn’t shoulder it. That was good enough for Black Aces’ owner and ex-Third Class Petty Officer Eric Lemoine. “We’ll send the gun out with warnings all over the place,” Lemoine told TTAG, “‘not to be shouldered’ will be in big letters and underlined, on the box, on a tag attached to the trigger, everywhere. And we’ll include the ATF letter in the paperwork” Lemoine insists that the warnings are not a legal work-around . . .


“The shotgun’s got a lot of concussion. It’s designed to be fired from a low ready position . . . You do not want that thing going off next to your face.”

Yes, well, boys will be boys. That said, any boy shouldering the Pro Series 5 with a SIG Brace risks 20 years in prison. (Just sayin’.) Black Aces Tactical hasn’t officially announced the SIG’ed-up shotgun. Lemoine says they’ll introduce the gun at $999. Customers are looking at a four-week wait – as opposed to the six to eight month wait for an AOW (Any Other Weapon) firearm. Unless sales go crazy. What are the odds?

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  1. I’m confused!! So this cannot be shouldered but a ar15 pistol with the same brace can? I know it is the federal government and all, but this seems like a new type of stupid!

    • “This cannot be shouldered but an ar15 pistol with the same brace can.”
      That seems to be what the ATF said…..
      So far the only guess I have on how this works comes down to a numbers game. 2 things keep the AR pistol a pistol. A stock that is not a “stock” and a hand guard that’s not a “hand guard”. So when this thing came along, you cannot call the hand guard on a pump shotgun “Not a hand guard”. You HAVE to pump it to cycle the next round. So you have to 2 hand it rifle style… So someone along the line was thinking that makes it very close to a SBSG only one thing away (shouldering it) but they already let the gene out of the bottle with the SIG brace. Hence the statement, “Just don’t shoulder it.” I think ATF is so poorly managed that different employees have written the organization into a corner of defacto SBRs and they don’t know how to cover their asses from the bad decision. Which one was bad you pick.
      All I KNOW is I don’t want to be one of the poor people stuck in court for owning one of these things, trying to figure out what the ATF actually meant, for my life. For those that inevitably end up blazing the way: God speed.

      • We’re one more letter from that being the policy for pistols and generic rifled firearms. Hell, maybe even just an opinion posted on their website. It’s coming.

      • Didn’t think about the pump action coming into play. You may be on to something there!!

        So the pump action becomes more regulated then the semiauto- this is a special kind of stupid going on!

      • I don’t see how the pump effects it’s pistol designation. There are bolt action pistols, the bolt like the pump requires a second hand to actuate but not to fire the gun. I wonder if you built a UK style AK/AR with no gas system in pistol form, would that qualify as requiring two hands to operate? To clarify UK guns are often built without gas systems so as to effectively convert them to straight pull bolt action rifles rather than semi autos.

    • thing is they sent that specific gun for review. if they had just lefft well enough alone and used a rifled barrel and just slapped that brace on there then it would have been just a pistol with a brace on it. but they had to poke the bear and so they end up with a limitation on the gun with a brace on it. the sb-15 or sb-47 “does not alter the clasification of a pistol” is all we needed to know and all they needed to say.

      i sent in a letter tring to pry for answers to a few things related to a mares leg stlye pistol grip i wanted to make for a semiauto sten pistol. they just could not resist adding in that the required list of features for my sten pistol would amoung many stupid things require the barrel to be welded to the reciever. so they say and so it must be. and so i will not be building that pistol anymore becuase i refuse to weld a dang barrel to anything.

      • If it came from the factory in a caliber over .50 with a rifled barrel it would be considered a destructive device, and that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms (and $200 instead of $5). I’m not sure how this was qualified as a not-AOW, since the factory-made Super-Shorty is considered an AOW because of it’s being an 18.5mm-caliber smoothbore pistol (one step below a Destructive Device).

        edit: I guess the brace keeps it over 26″, but what if you remove the brace and stick a PG-only stock on it? On a regular shotgun that doesn’t matter, but it would make this too short.

      • I’m new to the home build world (still collecting parts for my first) but as far as I know you shouldn’t have to weld your barrel for any pistol build, or a rifle build for that matter. The concern with rifle length builds is they don’t want a sub 16″ barrel to fit directly to a pistol. So a rifle build needs to be modified so that an original short barrel can’t fit. Rather than weld your extended barrel on you can modify it and the receiver/trunion in a way that makes using in modified parts impossible. How this is supposed to prevent you from simply hacksawing your barrel down when you decide to go rogue is beyond me.

    • My guess is that it comes down to the difference between there being a pistol version of the AR platform, but not a pistol-equivalent version of a shotgun. You have Rifles, Short Barreled Rifles, and rifle pattern Pistols, but you only have Shotguns and Short Barreled Shotguns. Anything else done with a shotgun is an AOW, which is where this falls in, and since a key factor in the SBS game is shouldering, something that allows shouldering without going down the SBS route violates the rules. But, again, that’s just me guessing at trying to decipher the mental gymnastics required by the ATF.

    • I think the thinking is the brace makes it over 26 inches overall length, which keeps it out of AOW status? Maybe. I can’t tell from the photo how big it is. Still, Admiral Akbar says, “It’s a trap!”

    • Further down someone said it for me,
      “As configured it is a weapon with a smooth bore barrel under 18″, meant to be fired with two hands that has an overall length of more than 26″. That meets the definition of a “Firearm” according to the CGA’68.”

      Yes, without the brace it needs a $200 stamp. Because, the brace made it just long enough to not be classified an AOW.

      • ok. so we know for a fact this is a smooth bore gun? if that is the case then they just apporved a short barrrel rifle that does need a tax stamp.

        if the gun uses fixed amunition and the barrel lacks rifling then it is concidered a “shot gun” no matter what the calibur is. if that barrrel is less than 18″ then it is a short barrel shot gun.

        so lets assume this is infact an SBS. this is very very interesting they would aprove it.

        if it is actiualy a pistol then they just ruined the pistol brace for us by writing that letter. and that pistol grip forward of the trigger is not supposed to be there either.

        see what happenes when you make too many rules?

        • Read the definition of a shotgun. Black Aces uses virgin receivers, they were never designed to be fired from the shoulder, the very definition of a shotgun. It can’t be a SBS because it isn’t a shotgun at all and it’s over 26″ so it can’t be classed as an AOW, so it falls to the catch-all GCA “firearm”.

        • Well, check your glasses, then.

          (5) The term “shotgun” means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of an explosive to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.

    • If the length is less than 26″ it would still be an AOW, but the transfer tax is only $5 for an AOW, compared to $200 for an SBS.

      • Correct my if I am wrong ,I have not checked recently, but even though the transfer is only 5 bucks you still have to pay 200 to manufacture it.

        • You are wrong. Manufacturers who have an SOT (special occupational taxpayer status) don’t pay a tax on each item, just an annual tax of $500-1000, plus other license fees.

        • Nick is only 1/2 right, SOT’s don’t pay individual tax per gun, but if you Form 1 an AOW, it’s gonna cost you $200. Any subsequent transfer will be $5 but the cost to manufacture all NFA items on a F1 is $200.

  2. I do not trust any parties involved with this thing – At all!

    It may be legal in the long run, but good grief I could build an entire field of strawmen on how this would create a fubar couple of months if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

  3. Well does this thing have a rifled barrel? I was under the impression that smooth bore pistols were illegal under the GCA.

  4. OK, lawyer here. This is nonsense.

    The NFA is a excise tax statute on defined objects — not conduct. If the object is subject to tax then it is subject to tax regardless how it is used. Whether or not the use conforms to the manufacturer’s recommend usage is immaterial to the tax — one way or the other. The use of the object not in accordance with the usage recommended does not change the object nor make it any more (or less) subject to the excise in question and the (absurdly idiotic) administrative regime implementing the tax.

    If this goes forward then the ATF extends its regulatory regime to conduct differing from their approved conduct in a way that they interpret to invoke the NFA — vice the simple defined tax status for an object — Thus bump-fire, tannerite etc., etc., can all become NFA-susceptible.

    Alternatively, this may become a honeytrap… (” OOPS! — Sorry, we goofed! — Administrative inspections, all around !!” Cue onerous conditional criminal non-prosecution agreements … )

    Seriously, this is an opportunity for much mischief.

    • OK, lawyer here. This is nonsense.

      And a damn polite lawyer to boot. As an impolite lawyer, let me double down on what you wrote — the ATF is bullsh!t.

    • THIS!!!^^^ the ATF has forgotten its purpose and is now policing behavior rather than collecting taxes! The agency has got to go.

    • As merely a contentious lawyer, I’ll offer an alternate theory. The ATF went all mushy on the SIG arm brace, thinking “finally, a good pistol handicapped people can use.” So far, so good. Then they watched Hickok45 pick up a 300 Blackout ‘pistol’ with a SIG arm brace and handle it, through almost the entire video, as a short-barreled rifle. They had a moment of clarity and realized they’d f’d up when they fell for the “arm brace” bit. “If I hollow out and undercut my shotgun’s stock does it become an arm brace? Does that, length factors aligning, make my shotgun an AOW?”

      Still, I think the Americans With Disabilities Act clearly mandates favoring the conclusion that an arm brace is an arm brace, even if occasionally used as a neck, chest, shoulder, or, hey, ankle brace. The possibilities are almost endless, and the ATF is a scam operating on the authority of a defective statute. (And by the way, how does blowing off a $200 excise tax become a felony, but Sharpton blows off 4.5 million in income and FICA taxes, knowingly, but still walks free and flies first class? Justice my ass.)

    • Come to think of it, if this flies time to retract a good chunk of reasons that the hd shotgun is dead, just sayin.

  5. Yet another awsome “the Emperor has no clothes” call and most everyone cowers behind “shhh… you’ll get us in trouble.”

  6. The problem is the vertical (in this case horizontal) grip on the thing. I believe it even states that in the letter.

    Remove the grip it becomes a pistol and you can shoulder the thing all day. Its the grip+sig brace combo that makes it magically illegal in the ATF’s opinion.

    Same rule would apply to an AR pistol.

  7. As configured it is a weapon with a smooth bore barrel under 18″, meant to be fired with two hands that has an overall length of more than 26″. That meets the definition of a “Firearm” according to the CGA’68.

    Without the brace, it’s less than 26″ long = NFA AOW

    With the brace, it’s over 26″ long = Title 1 Firearm

    But because it has a smooth bore barrel less than 18″ long, and because of the way the NFA is worded, if you conceal it on your person, even with the brace, it becomes an AOW.

    It’s arbitrary and idiotic, but that’s how it’s written.

    I’ve got no idea how they came to the conclusion than shouldering the brace makes it an AOW though. That one makes no sense at all to me.

    • “I’ve got no idea how they came to the conclusion than shouldering the brace makes it an AOW though. That one makes no sense at all to me.”

      They didn’t come to that conclusion. They came to the conclusion that shouldering it makes it a SBS.

  8. Something is either illegal or its not – how its used is no basis for legal redefinition. The ATF knows this, or they wouldn’t have approved the Sig Brace for any reason to begin with.

    I imagine this new product is just another way to highlight the absurdity that is the NFA, because the whole purpose of the brace is to enable one-hand firing, which a pump-action precludes.

    • Approximately nobody shoots an AR pistol with the SIG brace one handed, but for perhaps a few “for giggles” shots. I have yet to see it done at my range.

      All the SIG brace bizarreness has done is empirically demonstrate that somewhat shorter rifles really aren’t a danger. If a bank robber or button man wants to conceal a powerful weapon under his coat, he just cuts it down, conceals it, and goes about his business. Then dumps it. That hasn’t changed. If the job isn’t worth the sawing and tossing, why bother with a gun? Cops pick up sawed off shotguns all the time, usually in the possession of complete morons.

      I really don’t get the “oh, they could conceal it!” worry. Any perp who can’t conceal a 16″ barreled Tavor or collapsed-stock AR should find a new haberdasher.

  9. This story — along with the comments — illustrate the absurdity of the National Firearms Act of 1934, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and the interpretation and implementation thereof at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

    And what is the absurdity you ask? The fact that none of us are sure whether the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives considers a shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches and a pistol grip (or in this case an arm brace) to be a pistol, a short-barreled shotgun, or “Any Other Weapon”. And none of us are sure whether such a shotgun requires no tax stamp, a $5 tax stamp, or a $200 tax stamp.

    The only two logical conclusions, in my opinion, is that the legislation along with its interpretation and enforcement are designed to entrap good people and discourage others.

    • The whole NFA and the ATF should both now burn in the fires of the Vagueness Doctrine.

      “Under vagueness doctrine, a statute is also void for vagueness if a legislature’s delegation of authority to judges and/or administrators is so extensive that it would lead to arbitrary prosecutions.”

      Having such confused definitions of firearms cross-pollinating each other is a text book case for the “authority..” of “…administrators…” leading “…to arbitrary prosecutions”.

  10. Putting the absurdity aspect of this aside (see my comment above), if you want to play it safe (according to the ATF’s rules as best we can figure), just install a rifled barrel on that shotgun and remove the forward grip. And voila: it is a pistol. No more concerns about short barrel shotguns, pistols with smooth barrels and “Any Other Weapon” status, or anything else.

    And before anyone shrieks that your pattern opens up really fast when you shoot shot out of a rifled barrel, I will simply state that it may be a good thing in a home defense shotgun!

  11. Is that one of the “new” Sidewinder kits on this not-AOW until you shoulder it AOW? They call it the Sidewinder Venom I believe. From what I’ve read the old Sidewinder kits were crap, feeding problems galore. Haven’t seen any word if the Venom series is any better.

  12. 10 foot pole? Nah, it’s Christmas time. How about thirty-nine and a half feet? Nope…gotta be the full 40 before I get in eye sight of that thing.

  13. While I agree the NFA is silly as is the ATF for that matter, I wouldn’t touch a Sig Brace. Sorry I’m not going to be a test case, the $200 stamp might pay for an hour worth of legal consultation when a confused cop arrests you for this.

    You may be right but it may cost $100k to prove it.

    Not worth it.

  14. I can tell you this much, it is not worth the base price of 1179.00 they are asking for it. You expect you’ll eventually get a Friday gun when buying a S&W, Ruger, Glock, or any weapon in the 500.00 price range that is mass produced on an assembly line. However, when you lay down over a grand, you expect a higher level of quality. The model I bought was just over 1300.00, when it arrived at the gun shop, it was obvious there is no quality control at Black Aces. The little things started adding up quickly. Surface rust on the barrel, shinny dings on the black finish on the receiver from what looks to be from an end mill bit, Oh, the loose screws and pins in the box that I had to figure out where they all went back to, and a safety switch so loose that every time I pulled the trigger, the recoil would engage the safety. Basically turning it into a single shot. And, they have the balls to push sales of this thing to law enforcement with “” LEO discount codes””” … They can’t guarantee a quality firearm to an average joe like me,,,, I sure would not want to be the officer that has to bet my life on this black aces junk. I made the mistake and bought it, thought it would be good to tote with me hog hunting. I was wrong. Should have know better when all the youtube videos of the DT are from black aces. Well one was from Guns America, and I’m willing to bet he was using a T&E gun that black aces made certain was in top working condition before they handed it to him.


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