Short Barreled AR-15s are all the rage these days. They’re light, easy to maneuver, and the recoil from a 5.56mm NATO round is still negligible even with the reduction in weight. The only problem is that in order to get one you need to jump through the ATF’s hoops, pay a $200 tax, and tell them every time you travel with it. In short, it’s a pain. Franklin Armory recently announced a new gun that lets you have all the fun of an SBR without any of the paperwork by exploiting an interesting loophole in the law in a frankly genius way.
A rifle, legally speaking, is designed to be fired using a stock. This doesn’t have a stock and so doesn’t meet the definition. A pistol, legally speaking, is a weapon designed to be fired using one hand. Because this gun has a forward grip it was designed to be fired using two hands and doesn’t meet the definition. That allows it to be classified as an AOW or “Any Other Weapon,” but AOWs have to be less than 23 inches in overall length. This weapon is just a hair over 23 inches, and so falls out of that definition as well. Therefore it’s still a firearm, but not subject to the NFA. As long as you don’t carry it concealed, that is.
The ATF, in a letter to Franklin Armory, confirmed all of this legal stuff was true. That paved the way for them to start selling a gun specifically designed to meet those exact criteria, the XO-26b, and you too can own one for the low price of $1,149.99! Each one comes with a copy of the ATF’s letter, just in case your FFL starts giving you that quizzical look.
Or you could build one, I suppose.
Anyone want to take bets on how long it takes the ATF to reverse their decision?
[UPDATE:] We’ve since reviewed the firearm in question. Click here for the full review.