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Just before the SHOT Show, our friends at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and really big fires) issued an open letter on the redesign of stabilizing braces. That letter seemed to indicate that using an AR pistol brace in a manner other than that for which it was designed (read: shouldering it) is a no-no. Now, the most prominent seller of these braces, SIG SAUER, has issued the following press making the point that, contrary to social media scuttlebutt, pistol stabilizing braces are legal to own, install and use . . .


Newington, N. H. (February 20, 2015) – SIG SAUER, Inc. has issued the following statement relative to the January 2015 open opinion letter issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding the SB15 and SBX Pistol Stabilizing Braces.

BATFE Technical Branch issued an open opinion letter dated January 16, 2015 regarding the Pistol Stabilizing Brace (SB15 and SBX) which is marketed by SIG SAUER®. Contrary to several statements subsequently made in social media, this opinion letter did not make or otherwise declare that the SB15 product is illegal. The BATFE letter stated that the SB15 is a product “which is legal to own, legal to purchase and legal to install on a pistol.” SIG SAUER believes that the PSB enhances the shooter’s experience and offers the products as an accessory and pre-installed on a number of pistols. In all of its opinions, BATFE has consistently stated that a pistol with a stabilizing brace attached remains a pistol under the Gun Control Act when used as designed.

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  1. So… Nothing has changed? I don’t think anyone was under the impression that owning one became illegal, just shouldering. How is this breaking news?

    • I was under the same impression. The ATF didn’t ban the brace, they just tried to scare people into not using it incorrectly. Which clearly worked.

        • Ranges won’t even allow readily available ammo for my ak74 so they also won’t dictate how I shoot. I feel sorry for anyone that cannot get out in the wilderness and away from people to shoot. I know I miss out on some great socializing by not going to the range but it also means I do what I want and don’t worry about anybody but me being safe. That is liberty.

    • I’m with you. It still seems like they are avoiding talking about shouldering it, witch is what i thought was in question.

    • Just the “evil” SS109/M855 ammo for it will be illegal.
      Or it was all a marketing stunt to have another “panic” rush to purchase and raise prices to feed your Sig Braced heater.

      • The use of “evil” SS109/M855 ammo with it will be legal only if it’s shouldered which will be illegal.

    • Seriously. This is a non-statement. Nobody said the braces were illegal, only that SHOULDERING them has, as far as the ATF is concerned, become illegal. In no way does this statement from Sig refute that or change that. It’s legal to use as designed. Fine. That means strapped to your arm. We all knew this and nobody, “social media” or elsewhere, EVER said otherwise.

    • Working where I do I have a keen nose for rodents and I smell a VERY large rat here. As the old Bene Gesserit saying goes: “The first step in evading a trap is knowing of its existence.” Consider what we know. The ATF first banned then approved, banned again and now approves the pistol brace. What smells badly is that this has made sales of AR style pistols soar. NOW they are saying that green tip .223 ammo is “armor piercing” because it “may be used in a handgun”.

      As specious as that argument is think about who we’re dealing with here. They KNOW from their technical division that the Law Enforcement Officers Protection Act specifically banned by metallic properties only those bullets MEANT for use in a hand gun not a rifle round loaded in an oddball handgun. Look at the T/C contender series which fire all manner of rifle rounds. This WAS brought up in the old hearings and explained to the legislators . Thus they opted for the metallurgical properties instead of the mere ability to defeat Class III soft armor. Otherwise they would have banned 99% of hunting ammo.

      By insidioiusly giving the green light for AR braces they have expanded the market and now can trap us into having an “armor piercing handgun”.

      • I think the SIG deal and the following submissions trying to take advantage of the original ruling put AR pistols on the BATFE’s front burner. Out of that meeting about AR pistols came the XM855 ban. I don’t subscribe to the trap theory, because I doubt anybody in this administration is that clever.

      • 99% of hunting ammo would be banned if armor piercing is banned? You haven’t hunted much before, have you? Hunting ammo is the OPPOSITE of A-P. It would practically fragment against a ceramic armor plate. That’s what it’s designed to do–EXPAND–not GO PIERCING THROUGH!

    • Just saw a fairly new AK pistol with an SB-15 for sale at my LGS. This statement by SIG is a marketing move, I would guess. They’ve probably seen a sharp decline in sales since the latest ATF statement, and are reaffirming that they aren’t illegal if used “properly” which if you are completely ambulatory is a really awkward way to shoot a gun.

    • It’s “breaking news” in the same way as CNNs old rehashed stories that they call breaking are. In the sense that they really hope that you won’t notice those last words: “when used as designed”. IOW, use it in some other way, and it might not be legal. The same as what the last BATF letter said. Which brings g up an interesting question, how are persons supposed to know that if they hold it wrong it might mean ten years in the slammer? Does Sig intend to mold a picture of a guy shouldering it with a circle and a line through it, on every brace?

    • It’s “breaking news” in the same way as CNNs old rehashed stories that they call breaking are. In the sense that they really hope that you won’t notice those last words: “when used as designed”. IOW, use it in some other way, and it might not be legal. The same as what the last BATF letter said. Which brings up an interesting question, how are people supposed to know that if they hold it wrong it might mean ten years in the slammer? Does Sig intend to mold a picture of a guy shouldering it with a red circle with a line through it, on every brace, or what?

  2. The issue was never about possession being illegal, it was about shouldering being illegal. Unless that has changed, I am still selling my AK pistol tomorrow at the gun show.

    • I unloaded M92 with SB47 in November. I do have an AR pistol in 300blk but no brace for it. I would have kept it but I had a feeling something was coming down the pipe. Good luck on selling it.

    • And why are you selling your pistol? Because the ATF wrote a threatening letter that has absolutely no legal value? What law would they accuse you of breaking? Failure to file a form one? The letter says, “Any person who intends to fire a stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol from the shoulder needs to file a form one…”

      This is what they’ve always said and what they should say. Now, if you have your brace and every once in a while shoulder it what are they going to charge you for? What crime? And do you really think anyone is going to actually charge you?

  3. Something tells me the ATF really doesn’t want anyone to really get arrested for this. I can imagine the legal mess appeals and everything would cause with it. All it’ll take is one overzealous LEO and then the shitstorm will begin. Not sure how likely it is to see it.

    • I agree there. You know the first person that is persecuted under this opinion (as opposed to this being something tacked onto a legitimate prosecution for some crime), is going immense resources lining up behind him/her to have this opinion thrown out in court.

    • Exactly. I don’t know why people make/made such a big fuss out of this. This BS will bring to the forefront the whole NFA/SBR issue. I doubt that we will ever see anybody prosecuted for this.
      I’ll keep my “braced” pistols, thank you.
      It is amazing how people run scared about this BS. Really? And we talk about standing up to tyranny.

      • Totally with you. Don’t have one yet, but I still plan on building one. ATF should have left it as is, cause the first person they come for and try to prosecute, ATF is gonna have a difficult time with thier was/wasn’t, good/bad BS memorandems. there is a good chance the house of cards they have built can finally come tumbling to the ground.

        • Exactly my point, Chotto. The legal question arises as to exactly what constitutes a law? Is it “any statement made by any person who happens to be employed by the ATF”? Is it defined as “any offhand statement made by a fraudulent POTUS during one of his rambling speeches”? OR, is the definition of a law STILL a bill written and passed by Congress and/or a state legislature and then signed into law by a Governor and/or a President? I’m eager to find out what they have made up, because I have a United States Constitution which is very clear as to what constitutes a “law”.

    • Frank, Do you really think that the BATFE cares one bit about how much trouble, hassle, and expense one would face if he were charged under this thoroughly unconstitutional ruling? I have yet to see any law mentioning this accessory for your AR pistol. I have seen a ‘letter from the BATFE’ but a ‘letter from the BATFE’ is not a law. Laws are passed by Congress and/or by state legislatures and are then signed (or not) by Governors or Presidents, thus making them laws. Just because some guy in a suit who was appointed to a position in some bureaucracy makes a statement doesn’t make law. I’m very eager to see the result of them (anyone) trying to enforce such an unconstitutional travesty. Either we are a nation of LAWS, or not. Just because Barry Bozo makes a speech in which he makes some statement doesn’t give that statement the power of a legally passed federal law. At least not in my copy of the Constitution of the United States.

  4. Nobody argued that they were illegal, it’s just illegal to use them otherwise than as intended by its designer. It’s one of those “I’ll take you downtown if I feel like it” kind of law that is very useful to oppressive regimes. You better tow the line or I might just take you in for that minor infraction.

    • 10 to 25 is not what I would consider a minor infraction. ‘Arbitrary and capricious’ is much more fitting.

      • The minor infraction is putting the piece of metal on your shoulder. The penalty should always be severe for such minor infractions.

        “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kinds of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of lawbreakers – and then you cash in on guilt.” Dr. Floyd Ferris – Atlas Shrugged

      • And that will open yet another Pandora’s box: if you can’t shoulder a Sig brace, can you shoulder a buffer tube? As in a normal AR pistol? That’s not “as designed” either. Will a rubber cap on the end be an illegal SBR? Or will it be fine, just so long as you dont shoulder it? Or will it depend on the mood of the cop who sees you?

  5. OMG! It has never been illegal to own!

    It surprises me how many people don’t get this!

    I had someone tell me a few days ago that 3D printers are illegal because people have been printing weapons with them…. Their not illegal.. I’m in the process of doing researching the best one to buy.

    It almost feels like people just skim an article or news segment and they fill in their own blanks.

  6. Yes it is, and now they using this brace to ban 5.56 ammo. We win one and loose a bigger one else ware.

  7. This “news release” is a waste of our time. Nothing changed. There is nothing to say.

    ATF never said they were illegal. They just said that shouldering one, means it isn’t a pistol anymore. Obviously, the ATF is wrong in their interpretation. Shouldering a pistol, or shooting it with two hands does not make it cease to be a pistol.

  8. If a Sig Tac brace is shouldered in the woods and no ATF agent is around to see it, does it become an SBR?

  9. They may be legal to own, but I still won’t buy one until the ATF reverses that last decision (Where is Alan Gura when you need him?)

    Before the last decision, I was planning on purchasing one to create a sister for my SBR that I could take across state lines without filling out paperwork, but as it sits, this would probably be just as much of a problem as the SBR. At least I can fire the SBR as intended without risking jail time.

    May still go ahead and get the pistol and just keep the buffer tube blank. Could I go to jail for shouldering a buffer tube?

    • They may be legal to own, but I still won’t buy one until the ATF reverses that last decision (Where is Alan Gura when you need him?)

      I assume he’s waiting for someone to get arrested for this silly BS

      Why let the ATF scare you? Document you using it in the correct manner as proof you used it correctly. Snap a few photos of said activity. What you do in your own time is your business. just make sure there isn’t a camera around. While I believe we should be justifiably paranoid about a gestapo like agency, there is no predator drone spying on you….yet.

  10. Tim, you better check your email. I uncovered a recent BATFE letter where they consider shouldering a bare buffer tube on an AR pistol a “redesign” into an NFA item. I emailed you late last night at your “info” email address. Please follow up.
    Thank you – Randy

  11. AR pistols and the ammunition pre date the 1986 act that the current crap is based on. It’s a last gasp of Holder and friends to do what harm they can, plain and simple.

    Dan Zimmerman, great post there, Mr.Obvious.

  12. This feels like one of those times I am listening to my teenage niece talk about her on again, off again, on, off, on, off boyfriend. Good grief. BATFE(RBF) is a bunch of drama queens.

  13. Breaking? No, sorry. Not breaking. Just makes TTAG seem retarded.

    “Breaking” would be appropriate if the BATF retracted their logically broken statement that shouldering the brace is illegal.

  14. I got this directly in an email from SIG today and at first thought they’d gotten further clarification from BATFE. Silly me. What happened to their promise to “address our concerns” and “vigorously defend” the braces?

    • Same thing that happens to every other promise made by any corporation anywhere. Forgotten as soon as it’s released.

  15. So let me get this straight… touching the pistol brace with my shoulder constitutes willful construction of a short-barreled rifle. If it touches the center of my chest, it is not willful construction? How about my upper arm? If I were to say, sit down and prop the brace up against my leg, would that be willful construction? How do we tell the difference between shouldering the brace and “upper arm-ing” the brace? If I were to remove the brace from said pistol and then use my forearm as a forward brace, would I be constructing an AOW?

    Following this to its logical conclusion, touching any part of the grip of my Glock pistol to my shoulder would also constitute constructing a short barreled firearm, if I “intended” to hold it there. The verbiage in the ATF document clearly states that holding a pistol with two hands at the same time also is constructive of a short barreled rifle… huh???

    What lawyers honestly think this illogical conundrum has an pig’s chance of growing wings in court? I can’t see this “interpretation” by the ATF holding any water at all.

    As far as the M885 ban threat goes, when the actual bullet they are proposing to ban does not meet the requirements set forth IN THE LAW, how can this action proceed without a lawsuit from the NRA et al? The ATF has no legal basis for this ban. Where are the pro-gun lawyers/lobbyists?

  16. I would pay to see a prosecution where the ATF tried to explain to the judge that when Joe Bob brought his MPX pistol his shoulder he was actually (seriously, you can’t make this up) REDESIGNING the brace.

    Based on this, I’d suggest people continue to buy and use the braces however THEY see fit.

  17. “Breaking news” since SIG probably need to sell more and TTAG always does what SIG says. I wish TTAG wouldn’t be so obvious in kissing some manufacturers butt and dissing others. There goes objectivity

  18. “That means strapped to your arm. We all knew this and nobody, “social media” or elsewhere, EVER said otherwise”

    Er…no…I hold my Glock against my shoulder it doesn’t become an SBR either….and the ATF
    know it. Unless the ATF wants to post agents at EVERY range and shooting spot in the nation all
    they have done is destroy further what little legitimacy they had left. I see folks shoot M85’s and M92’s WITH THE BRACE and FROM THE SHOULDER
    at my local range daily now. Folks STAND IN LINE to take a turn shooting them FROM THE SHOULDER. I assume from the tone of the Badge Lickers here we are all to march down and turn ourselves in for
    such crimes. Not seeing anyone myself….kinda like
    all those folks who won’t turn in their evil rifles
    in Connecticut and New York. There ARE limits….

  19. So if I put the brace on my leg or nose am I redesigning it?? M855 has been illegal in a handgun, it has only been tolerated”?” due to the exemption. The law has not changed , the exemption has been removed. The problem is since standard 223 hunting rounds will penetrate a vest, and every caliber up to the 460WM will penetrate a vest out of a “rifle”, we are back to 1968 when they tried to ban all ammo that would penetrate a vest. Remember to watch for the other hand, because that is the one that will cause harm.

  20. This is just so they can still justify banning M855 to the people (us) even after the uproar…

    • Unfortunately our so called “Friends” that call themselves pro gun lobbyists have sold us out. They want the M855 banned.

      They’ll be kicking in the doors of people like me while the tacticool crowd gets a useless piece of plastic that’ll either go out of style or be banned later.

      Sometimes I really question the intelligence of the people on “our side.”

  21. I am still selling my perfect condition KAK tube and SB15 brace as a combo deal. Was thinking eBay…

  22. Someone really needs to write the BATFE to clarify, in light of their decision that shouldering a Sig Brace “redesigns” it, if shooting a pistol with two hands “redesigns” it into an AOW.

  23. I think the fact is the brace and other devices similar to it has ALWAYS been legal and the ATF is talking out of their asses. What you do with your property as it doesn’t make it legal without intent to start with. The brace is still legally defined as not a stock. Just using it like a stock doesn’t magically or legally change that it is. So everybody who likes to shoot the braces with comfort…continue doing so and just don’t talk to the ATF…ever.

  24. Can’t wait for the novelty of these things to wear off…tired of seeing discussions and blog posts about them practically every other day.

  25. Another question is, since the “cheek pieces” have been “deemed” legal by the ATF as long as you don’t touch your shoulder with them, what is the legal limit as to how close you can hold your “brace” or “cheek piece” to your shoulder? Is it 1/4″, or 1 inch, or how about one tenth of an inch. As long as you’re not “touching” your shoulder with your brace then you’re legal. This is the result of asinine unelected bureaucrats trying to “make law”. The very act of which is openly unconstitutional.

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