Is the Short Barrel Rifle (SBR) Obsolete?

short barrel rifle BRN-180

Courtesy Brownells

Could it be that the short barrel rifle has had its day?

Here’s the thing. The current proliferation of AK and AR pistols, especially when equipped with a forearm brace, more or less satisfy all the same reasons that most people wanta a short-barreled rifle for. And without all the pesky NFA hoops to jump through.

As these compact, handy firearms become more and more common in the marketplace, eventually it begs the question of whether it’s worth going the SBR route.

So, why would a person want an SBR?

Courtesy SB Tactical

It’s certainly not for their pristine, match-grade long-range accuracy. There’s a clear correlation between accuracy and barrel length; more turns in the tube means more stable spin and therefore a flatter and more predictable trajectory. That’s not why anyone buys an SBR to begin with.

Besides, the typical SBR is chambered in .223/5.56 or 7.62x39mm or 7.62 NATO and only one of those three is a real, honest-to-goodness long-range round with a track record of working well and reliably in that role.

Springfield Armory Saint AR-15 SBR. Credit: springfieldarmory.com

While there might be some folks who hunt with them, SBRs aren’t really hunting rifles so that aspect is really a non-starter. The standard bolt-action rifle in 6mm or larger is better in almost every regard (longer range, longer barrel for better accuracy, and they look better anyway; look at a Montana Rifle Co. gun and tell me I’m wrong) so let’s not even go there.

Barrel length all but makes an SBR a medium-range weapon (at best) or close quarters rifle in most hands. Additionally, the compact dimensions make them easier to use in a tight urban or indoor environment, so they’re also good for home defense and can easily be transported in a vehicle.

Personal defense and competitive shooting are what most civilians would use them for.

SIG SAUER MCX Rattler AR pistol. Note the pistol brace, which is NOT a stock. Credit: sigsauer.com

The AR or AK pistol has all of these same qualities. Since many are sold without a stock or with a detachable pistol brace – they’re not stocks! – that means they do not require an ATF tax stamp, the requisite paperwork, background check, months-long wait and so on.

Nearly every component you can upgrade on a short-barrel AR is also upgradeable on an AR pistol. In a home defense role or most competition ranges – such as in 3-gun – an AR pistol is going to be a little bit less precise than an SBR, but not so much that it really matters.

So, pistols do the same jobs and they don’t require yet ANOTHER license (or shelling out $200 for no good reason at all). That kind of takes the SBR down a peg or two.

TAVOR bullpup rifle

Courtesy IWI

And then we come to the issue of bullpups. A bullpup rifle accomplishes all the same jobs as an SBR and yet remains, depending upon specifications, a full-size rifle as far as the ATF is concerned. Due to the longer barrel length, they’re more accurate at longer ranges and are just as easy to wield in close quarters as an SBR.

That’s why the British have had the L85A1 and its variants, France the FAMAS, and Israel the TAVOR in military service. Granted, the former two are converting to AR-15-style platforms…but those were exactly the reasons why those rifles were adopted.

Soldiers of the French Foreign Legion (Legion etrangere) carrying the FAMAS. Note how short the rifle is in proportion to body length; it’s quite compact. Credit: David Monniaux [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Take, for instance, the FAMAS since it was mentioned. The standard model has a 19.2-inch barrel and measures around 30 inches in length, sans bayonet. The Steyr AUG, with a 20-inch barrel, measures around 31 inches in length. The Colt Commando, the SBR variant of the M16, measures between 27 and 30 inches in length (depending on the stock position) with an 11.5-inch barrel.

Carbine-length barrels in bullpup rifles bring the overall length of those foreign service rifles to the same as a short-barrel AR, and those are carbines. They require no tax stamp from the ATF so long as barrel length is more than 16 inches or overall length is more than 26 inches.

Granted, bullpup rifles come with their own sets of problems (clearing malfunctions is a pain, few are suited to lefties, many of them are expensive, you need optics to get the best accuracy out of them, etc.), but in the broad strokes they do everything an SBR does but have rifle-length barrels.

Does having the stock for a close-quarters gun really matter all that much? In 5.56/.223…maybe it really doesn’t.

What do you think? SBR had its day? Think they deserve their own niche and therefore are probably sticking around? Drink craft IPAs and want to tell everyone about it? Sound off in the comments!

comments

  1. avatar pwrserge says:

    1. It’s the L85A1, proofread, PLEASE.
    2. The myth of barrel length vs accuracy is exactly that a myth. A buddy of mine was a SWAT sniper and swore by his little 12″ bolt action. On the range, I’ve seen him do the old fly drill (hitting fly sized targets on paper at 100 yards) with depressing regularity. I’ve personally reliably nailed mini-poppers (~8″x4″) with my little Mk18 with surprising regularity out to 200 yards. With modern military cartridges, so long as you don’t go crazy short (sub 10″ for most rifles), the bullet will be perfectly well stabilized by the time it leaves the barrel and have sufficient muzzle energy for most purposes. You’re not going to be nailing 4″ steel at 600 yards with it, but that’s hardly the point of the rifle.
    3. The brace thing is an interesting argument. It speaks more to the fact that the NFA makes no god dam sense than any actual advantage to the system.

    Overall, I’m a big fan of SBRs. I have one 7.62×39 suchka and my trusty Mk18 that I’ve taken through more courses of fire on the clock than I can count. (It has well north of 10k rounds through it and still shoots like a champ.) The 16″ barrel length is arbitrary and arbitrary laws are rarely good laws. The only reason SBRs even exist as a legal concept is because, originally, the NFA was supposed to include handguns.

    Sounds like it’s time to take a chainsaw to the NFA… Open up the MG registry, remove SBRs, Suppressors, OWS, and SBSs. But we all know that this isn’t going to happen any time soon short of the SCotUS getting off their asses.

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Ballistics not withstanding. Never really cared for a stun grenade going off in my face. So, no. No SBR/pistols with arm braces for me. Not an SBR, but M1A SOCOM with muzzle brake isn’t any better. And yeah, I’ve shot them. Outside. Even pistols are loud enough inside. Bullpups. All the shortcomings the author cited are valid. Though my experience with them are limited, I would choose one over an SBR if space were a consideration. Shot both the Styer AUG (full and semi-auto versions) and Tavor. Prefer Favor.

      1. avatar sound awake says:

        my 10.5 pistol in 5.56 with a linear compensator is as docile to shoot as any of my ar pattern rifles

        1. avatar jnynetwk says:

          I just built an AR pistol and have been looking at linear compensators. Which one do you have/would you recommend?

      2. avatar pwrserge says:

        You really need to shoot an SBR built by somebody who knows what the fuck they are doing. Neither my suchka nor my mk18 have any serious flash problems. I take the mk18 to night shoots occasional night shoot and I don’t see any flash issues in perfect darkness.

      3. avatar wags says:

        Throw a silencer on there and problem solved. Also, the Tavor is a horrible platform, just ask the Brits.

    2. avatar JAMES SINGER says:

      ATF rules on SBR’s…etc, is about the money. And, ATF doesn’t receive any of that money generated by the issuance of the tax stamps. ALL of that money goes into a “general fund” at Treasury.

      1. avatar Geoff says:

        The first suppressor I made and registered I paid by check made out to “Department of the Treasury” because it is a Tax Payment. The second one was by Debit Card and guess what it showed up as on my Bank Statement? Same thing although abbreviated.

    3. avatar supergun says:

      Excellent comment. Personally, my pistols do the same job as the short barrel pistols with the braces. Actually, they do better.

    4. avatar Gog says:

      “There’s a clear correlation between accuracy and barrel length“. WRONG. I gave up reading there.

      Too bad ttag allows just anyone to write for them instead of using writers who actually know what the are talking about.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        Well, it was true for ye olde iron sights…

        1. avatar Viejo Torro says:

          The author claims accuracy is degraded because the bullet isn’t stabilized by the short barrel. What may actually happen with Iron sites is that you area suffering from a shorter site radius.

      2. avatar Just Sayin says:

        Exactly. I stopped reading also.
        This “There’s a clear correlation between accuracy and barrel length; more turns in the tube means more stable spin and therefore a flatter and more predictable trajectory.” is complete crap and has been scientifically proven to not be true. AND it was republished on this very website.
        Duh’oh ¡! (facepalm)
        But TTAG got my click…

        https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/10/daniel-zimmerman/the-truth-about-barrel-length-muzzle-velocity-and-accuracy/

    5. avatar UpInArms says:

      ” The myth of barrel length vs accuracy is exactly that a myth. ”

      I can’t tell you where to find the study, but the San Diego PD, years ago, set out to find out the same thing. What they found is barrel length is largely irrelevant to accuracy. The more defining factor was the weight of the barrel. Heavy barrels are more accurate than lighter ones, regardless of length. Their conclusion was the shock wave created by igniting the cartridge travels down the barrel and distorts it, impeding accuracy. It would seem that a long, light barrel would be less accurate than a short, heavy one.

      1. avatar barnbwt says:

        See: HK G36, Mini 14

      2. avatar jsallison says:

        Be less whippy from asymmetrical harmonics.

        Short war story ensues: Looking through our sights while firing the coaxial machine gun on our M1’s I’d notice the tracers would disperse laterally with ever other round drifting left, the one’s between drifting right, from point of aim. When you installed the M240 in it’s mount there was an aluminum ‘can’ we called a smoke box that was clamped to the barrel to keep the gasses from entering the crew compartment. These were notoriously hard to close. It was a simple clamp lever like you’d find on an oil filter wrench.

        The solution turned out to be dead simple. Loosen the can’s mounting bolts until you could wiggle it by hand, mount the M240, close the can and tighten the mounting bolts. They were binding against the barrels and when you relieved the strain the bullet stream tightened right up. Became quite the tack driver afterwards, for a machine gun. Almost as good as a dialed in M2HB at the Commander’s Weapons Station. (Never let my gunner know he could outshoot old sarge’s .50 with his puny coax. ;))

    6. avatar Anthony Clark says:

      I think the 10 1/2 inch ar pistol is superior to a s.b.r. in any urban setting weather survival home defense ect… Especially if you live in a concrete jungle.

      1. avatar Robert says:

        @ Anthony Clark. There are some advantages AR pistols have over SBR’s, but your concrete jungle has jack squat to do with it. To read that you actually said, a 10.5″ AR pistol is superior to an SBR (let’s assume same barrel length), “especially in the concrete jungle” was laughable. I hate assuming, but it sure sounds like you likely own a 10.5″ pistol, and you do not own or have owned an SBR. If you did, I still cannot imagine how an AR pistol will function better in a city. Other than you don’t own an SBR. I guess that would in fact make your pistol better. Because you perhaps don’t own an SBR.
        Saving myself a tax stamp? Well, my PDW braces cost about the same as a tax stamp, one would cost even more if I hadn’t gotten for a great deal on an E&E. The main advantage an AR pistol has over an SBR is interstate travel. So some guys say they can drive around with their AR pistol on their front seat. If I’m in a situation where I need to have an AR on my front seat, I’m probably not caring who sees what I have on my front seat and it will likely not be a pistol (AR). I prefer my SBR’s over my AR pistols because of cheek weld and commonality of stock. Same stock, same cheek weld, all very familiar to me from my 10.3 to 16″ rifles. I’d better check and make sure my SBR’s don’t have any concrete jungle allergies though. 🙂 Only other comment about longer barrled rifles, let’s say 5.56 has over shorter barrels is better terminal velocity. At least when I read the ballistics data on my ammo, and the number in the velocity column gets bigger the longer the barrel, that’s my conclusion..

    7. avatar DangerDave says:

      PWRSerge, what you are saying is basically treason. The laws we have in place are there for a reason, and if you violate those, you can be charged with violating a federal law and get your firearms taken away. Stop giving bad advice to gun owners.

      1. avatar Stephen M says:

        How do those boots taste?

        1. avatar DangerDave says:

          That’s funny, I asked Serge the same question yesterday in another article.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          and you’re still a mouth breathing retard Dave.

        3. avatar DangerDave says:

          See Serge, when you call me a “mouth-breathing retard,” I laugh because I can appreciate an old school juvenile schoolyard insult from when I was a child. But as an adult, I’m calling you a hypocritical ignorant moron who I have zero respect for. And I think people like you are bad for guns,gun ownership, and gun rights because you are just as much of a dickhead in real life as you are here, and people find that and you extremely off-putting. I feel like that discourages people who are future potential gun owners who were on the fence about getting into it as a hobby at the very least, and people that disagree with your ideas vote anti-gun as part of the worse aspects of your existence. Etc I’m sure there are others.

          And for those that read my comment up there, my SBR comment violating federal law was me being facetious. I’m very Libertarian and think SBR’s having a $200 tax stamp is ridiculous.

        4. avatar pwrserge says:

          Dave, that’s why you’re a mouth breathing moron.

          Libertarians are only different from socialists in the particular flavor of unicorn farts necessary to make their world view a reality.

          Socialists: “Venezuela wasn’t REAL socialism, we’ll do it right.”
          Libertarians: “Somalia wasn’t a REAL stateless society, we’ll do it right.”

        5. avatar DangerDave says:

          Once again you are calling me names like an immature child while I’m pointing out very noticeable character flaws, mainly your hypocrisy and assuming things about people when you don’t know jack! You’re proving me right yet again with your Libertarian comment!

          And the greatest part is that the whole time you’re sitting there thinking you’re right and that you have me nailed as a person, it’s me who’s reading you, you ignorant old fart. You’re one of those people that use religion and government when it suits your personal agenda to discriminate against people, but, say for example, when Trump goes out and bans bump stocks, you’ll make up a million excuses as to why he gets a free pass.

          I’m going to say it again, and notice I’m not using immature schoolyard insult like you have twice now. As a man, I have zero respect for you as a person. I think you are the lowest of the low.

        6. avatar pwrserge says:

          Davie, if my world view depended on the respect of ignorant morons, I’d be crushed. Sadly for you, it doesn’t. Run along and toke up kiddo. It’s the only way you get through the day and you know it.

        7. avatar DangerDave says:

          Toke up? Is this what this is about? My god. I don’t smoke. If I did, who cares? Once again, I find myself repeating myself as nauseam with you. Let me make this clear for you, dickhead: You are the world’s worst kind of hypocrite. You are not magically smarter than someone who has smoked weed before. You come across as a very dim bulb, and I’d estimate you are in the 60% for IQ. I can see why you love to use your discriminatory tactics on people, you’re not very smart and you haven’t brought up a single salient point yet.

      2. avatar Shwiggie says:

        Treason? Are you serious? What you’re saying in your post is that you believe anyone who breaks or in this case simply opposes federal firearm laws (particularly stood and pointless ones like NFA) should be executed as traitors.

        People these days seriously don’t act like they know what treason actually is.

        1. avatar Shwiggie says:

          “…particularly *stupid* and…”
          I hate typos.

        2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Just more Statists. They are literally everywhere. Those that worship the State. These types only understand two things, out of everything on planet Earth:
          1. The State is always right
          2. When the State is wrong, see rule #1
          Sounds an awful lot like every other religious fundamentalist don’t it? What more can one expect from morons that can’t think any deeper than, “lick the boot…. lick the BOOT… LICK the BOOT…”?
          Whether they wear their diapers on their ass or on their head, they’re all full of crap. One thing dave has got correct(by accident, OFC) is; such people ARE exceedingly dangerous. To themselves AND everybody else. The only good religion is one that leaves others the fuck alone. But there is no such religion on this planet. Fucking with others is why they join up in the first place. Like Dave.
          IMO, naturally. I can’t see in his head any more than he can. Because Statist’s heads are just big empty holes. Not a brain cell in sight.

        3. avatar DangerDave says:

          Shwiggie, if you think I’m serious about the treason comment, I have bad news for you. I’m being sarcastic purely for the purpose of calling out Serge on his hypocrisy on what he has said in other articles.

          May Freedom ring and let performance drive our firearms industry, not stock and barrel lengths.

      3. avatar Rattlerjake says:

        BS!!!! The majority of laws do two things 1) restrict individuals from doing or owning something they have every right to do/own, and 2) provide government with leverage and controls over the individual.

        The only laws we really need are those dictating the mandatory punishment for specific crimes (ie: death for murderers and other violent offenders). Strict mandatory sentencing is a far more effective deterrent than any prohibition, especially when you consider that executing violent criminals removes a problem permanently. As well, we wouldn’t have prisons full of people who did nothing but violate a BS prohibition.

    8. avatar Hannibal says:

      I’m glad this is the first comment. It’s unfortunate that the comments section has better ‘truth about guns’ than the article itself which just repeats canards.

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        It wasn’t always that way. When RF was in charge the items were well thought out and mistakes(which always happen) were caught and corrected quickly. Now they just cater to the sheeple. I guess there’s just so many more of them, than people with brains that still function.
        Why bother to research or correct errors of fact? The brain dead will never notice… And the few that do can just be ignored. I can see their points all right, unfortunately many of them are on top of their heads. This is probably why one article contradicts the next. The thinking goes something like; “Why bother to be correct and consistent? Each item will please somebody, and the sheeple will never notice that we just made it all up in the first place. And that will give us lots more time to sell ads that we can camouflage as articles. And once again, the sheep will never know, and the thinking few that do notice, we can just ignore or shout down until they shut up.”

    9. avatar wags says:

      Agreed, my buddy has a 12″ 6.5 Grendel he is easily shooting MOA at 400 yards.

  2. avatar Zundfolge says:

    Next time the D’s are in charge they’ll crush the pistol brace like a bug. THEN SBRs will be a thing again.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      One of the reasons I’m paying close attention to the court outcomes in the bump stock ban. It’s a test case for them regulating around the NFA since there’s no way in hell they’ll actually get the votes to pass real gun control bills.

      1. avatar DangerDave says:

        It’s hard to believe that Trump campaigned on protecting gun rights, but he was the person solely responsible for introducing the bump stock ban. How are you guys going to vote next election?

        1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          Im going to vote for the man who has singlehandedly reformed our federal judiciary. Im sure the domestic enemies in the democrat party would’ve filled those seats with nothing but filthy, subhuman Liberal Terrorists™️. So, in the end, it doesn’t matter who’s running (although the judicial nominations alone should be enough for anyone to choose Trump) I’m going to vote against the democrats. Every time. Every election. For the rest of my life. Period.

        2. avatar pwrserge says:

          That’s right Libertardian Dave… there’s no possibility that nuance is a thing and that politics occasionally requires you to take short term losses for long term gains… Nope. Libertardian Dave just understands politics so much better than everyone involved. Because fuck people who have been studying the subject for decades, Libertardian Dave is here to tell them how to do their jobs. Why if only Libertardian Dave had been organized Somalia when it turned into ancapistan… Why then human nature would magically have rewritten itself and human green and hunger for power would have disappeared overnight.

          You’re an arrogant dumbass Dave. I hate to break this to you, but the world is not black and white. 99.999% of it exists in shades of grey. But I’m sure your moral absolutism will make you feel much better in the cattle car on the way to to gulag.

        3. avatar DangerDave says:

          That’s really interesting. Neither of what both of you have said prevented Trump from moving forward with his agenda of taking away gun rights though. Yet, if Obama could’ve done the same thing, for some reason he didn’t. Really makes you think. Just don’t think too hard guys. Have a nice day.

  3. avatar Pilot says:

    I only ever SBR’ed one rifle, my FEG AMD-65. And only because the weld holding the brake on broke. I figured I might as well get a stamp for in and make it like God intended. But other than that, I’ve just been making AR pistols with shockwave braces on them. I don’t see the point in shelling out $200 for a $600-800 firearm. I would love to put stocks on my pistols so they look better and I can get a good cheek weld, but not $200 love to.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      Yeah, for a $600 plinker, it makes no sense… For a rifle that tops out over $5k once you add up all the parts and other gear strapped to it… much more logical.

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        Yeah, but no matter how much of uncle’s BS one can put up with, I still always come back around to the restriction on leaving the State. That is ridiculous and stupid, even by the ATF’s non existent standards. That’s the deal breaker, for me. I just refuse to play. I’ll build pistol braced PDWs instead.
        But I wouldn’t have the slightest use for a pistol brace, IF SBRs were legal.

  4. avatar Viejo Torro says:

    Not an expert on rifle accuracy but everything I have read argues that barrel construction for example is the barrel rigid matters. Far more then length. I was issued a twenty inch M16A1 and by all accounts the M4 carbines with optics match it’s accuracy. What the bullup brings to the table is velocity and that matters
    As to the idea that the At pistol with a pistol brace makes an sbr obsolete. Seems to me you are putting a lot of faith in an ATF letter. Ask former bump stock owners about that.

  5. avatar Tim says:

    Personally, I’m a fan of pistol-caliber SBRs for some of the use cases mentioned in the article, and in general, I feel like the short barrels for rifle cartridges is a waste of powder.

    But then, I don’t drink IPAs and I want those damned kids to get off my lawn.

    1. avatar Clay-in-UT says:

      I agree, but I think that these pistols truly shine with 9,40,10, & 45 rounds ok maybe 300Blk. I can easly hit 100yrd targets with iron sites (CZ Scorpion) with no grand flash or bang.

    2. avatar J says:

      I jumped thru the hoops to sbr my scorpion back in 2015 and I’ve never regretted it. Now i am thinking about building a ar pistol M933 and sometime in the future getting it form 1ed.

  6. avatar Jolly Roger That says:

    This is putting a lot of faith in the ATF to stand by an opinion that it has reversed at least twice now. If and when a Democrat (or a particularly spineless Republican) takes the Oval Office, everyone who is so smug about their shitty braces right now will be caught with their pants down as ATF flips again.

    1. avatar doesky2 says:

      Let’s be accurate, the ATF had a period in time where you couldn’t shoulder a brace.

      The only REAL effect of that ruling was that there was a period in time where people didn’t videotape themselves shouldering it. Besides that….carry on. Ho Hum.

      But yeah, the azzholes might go for a total ban and then we’re talking pain.

    2. avatar barnbwt says:

      Hell, Trump himself would ban them if one gets used in a nasty mass shooting. Just a matter of time. Thin ice indeed, made thinner by his heavy hand.

      It’s just a stupid piece of plastic, guys.

  7. avatar Mark N. says:

    I learned last weekend that KelTech makes a bullpup in .223 that is actually California legal. Goes for about a grand. Nifty little thing.

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      If you’re referring to the RDB, I have the non-california design, and am pretty happy with it.

      Only quirk I’ve found is that it doesn’t like steel-case ammo, which is mentioned in the manual.

      1. avatar LazrBeam says:

        Searched for these on the Interwebz and the MSRP is from $1275 to over $1400 for one model. Dug a little further and Sportsman Guide has the basic model for $799 ($759 if an SG club member). Betcha it can be found for even less at a favorite LGS.

  8. avatar strych9 says:

    To me the brace vs stock thing comes down to three basic factors that are all personal preference.

    1) Do you just WANT a stock? Sometimes this is a valid enough reason to do something. I mean sure a brace maybe be functionally equivalent but some people want THAT gun not the functional equivalent thereof.

    2) How OCD are you about accuracy? Some people try to squeeze every last 1/4MOA out of a gun just because they can. They know an SBR isn’t going to take a gnat at 600m but that doesn’t mean they can’t make it as accurate as possible given the limitations of the platform.

    3) What’s more physically comfortable for you? If you’re going to invest hundreds to thousands in a firearm then there’s no reason for it not to fit your body. If the brace works well for you then good ’nuff, if it doesn’t then what’s the point in having this thing in the first place, put a stock on it?

    So, has the SBR had it’s day? I think that’s like asking if the revolver has had it’s day. Some people look at a revolver as old tech from a bygone era or feel it doesn’t fit their desires/objectives while other people still love them for a variety of reasons. I’d say it comes down to a combination of personal preference, desired outcome and what works for your brain and your body.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Good post.

      “So, has the SBR had it’s day? I think that’s like asking if the revolver has had it’s day. Some people look at a revolver as old tech from a bygone era or feel it doesn’t fit their desires/objectives while other people still love them for a variety of reasons. I’d say it comes down to a combination of personal preference, desired outcome and what works for your brain and your body.”

      The comparison doesn’t really work here because part of the choice between SBR or braced pistol for some comes down to an arbitrary infringement in law. Choosing a revolver, for many, doesn’t have that component. For example, I’m sure that there are plenty of people that would rather have a true collapsible stock on their less-than-16-inch barreled AR (pistol). However, because of NFA, they might choose a close enough second in something like the SBA4 pistol brace. It uses the same buffer tube and, if infringement against SBRs is someday no more, it is a trivial matter to pull the brace off and attach a stock in mere seconds.

      1. avatar Anner says:

        Counterpoint on arbitrary infringement on law: If I lived in NY and was limited to 5rds, I may gravitate towards revolvers simply because it is what it is and and the novel-long arguments in that regard.

        Similarly, 1911s and firearms optimized in footprint exploded in popularity in the late 1990’s due to the 1994 AWB. If folks were limited to 10rds, may as well make the gun as small as possible (G26, at the time), or carry a bigger cartridge (.45ACP…though I won’t dig into the fallacy of that terminal ballistic argument). The logic may have ignored several legitimate arguments against those two trends (availability of pre-ban mags, adopting a non-1911 action, availability of compliant and effective alternatives), but the sales records show what people were thinking.

        All said, I put a brace on anything and everything I can, given it’s intended purpose, and own zero SBRs.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Yup, that’s why I wrote “for many” in “Choosing a revolver, for many, doesn’t have that component.” Places where there might be a capacity ban were in my view at the time of writing. Still, the SBR or brace decision, overall, I believe is more about NFA or non-NFA for a large group of consumers. I choose braced pistol for lack of NFA (can cross state lines without further thought, not worried about leaving it somewhere with someone else, can resell it easily in private sale, etc) and because a braced pistol falls under concealed handgun licensing in Ohio.

  9. avatar jwtaylor says:

    Wow.
    Beyond the entire section about barrel length and accuracy, which was wrong on a couple of different levels, the statement that SBRs are rarely used as hunting rifles is ignorant to the point that I wonder if it was put in purely as clickbait..
    Have you heard of the 300 Blackout?

    1. avatar Jon says:

      Good to see you back. I was beginning to wonder if you are still employed here.

    2. avatar Chris from SC, now in VA says:

      I literally made it to the “longer barrels are more accurate” part and scrolled to the comments. TTAG needs an editor…

      On the topic of the article, it is more difficult for me to use a brace than a real stock on an AR. My only concerns are fast and accurate (think USPSA PCC), so I have no problem with buying a stamp.

  10. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

    SBR are not less accurate, it’s just their range is limited. At 100 yards the groups will be the same as a 16” gun. “Effective range” and “accuracy” are not the same thing.

  11. avatar Knute(ken) says:

    To answer the headline question: NO! The SBR is not obsolete, the NFA is. Is there even one person who believes that the people with pistol braces wouldn’t RATHER have a real stock? The only reason for braces(other than perhaps a very few people with only one arm) is to get around the insanity of the NFA.

    1. avatar TheUnspoken says:

      I would upvote this if I could, well put and lays the blame on the right place. Just like when the assault weapon ban sunset and everyone didn’t promptly begin a mass murder purge, the NFA rules need to sunset as well. People would buy a bunch of SBRs and silencers and machine guns … And safely use them just like their existing braced pistols.

    2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      Many thanks. In fact, I think one would be hard put to find even ONE violent crime per year committed with braced pistols, silencers, or full autos. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any. There could be a couple, but if not non-existent, they are exceedingly rare.
      So we must obviously spend a huge amount of time and money regulating all of this nothing. So goes liberal ‘logic’ anyway.

    3. avatar SoCalJack says:

      +1

  12. avatar Rusty Shackelford says:

    Braces suck.

    My 13.5″ .308 stays sub MOA until it goes transonic (furthest I’ve tested this is 528 yards in warmish weather).

    My 12.5″ 5.56 will print 2 MOA groups at 300 yards all day long, so long as everything else is in place (shooter, ammo).

    My 11.5 A2 style SBR will hit 2/3rds IPSC steel out to 300 yards all day long *GASP* even without a free floating handguard *DOUBLE GASP*

    Braces have an advantage of not waiting, costing less (debateable, roughly only $100, brace cost v. stamp), and not needing a permission slip to travel across state lines (also a non issue, my 5320.20 took 23 days from when it went in my mail box to when it came back). Those are the advantages. I’ll deal with those minor inconveniences in order to have something that is outright better.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      With my carry permit, “pistols” can be carried concealed, loaded, on my person, in a back backpack. And more importantly, a braced pistol can be carried loaded on the front seat of my car. These are the most important reasons why these are preferable to SBRs.

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        But notice that the advantages to the braced pistol are all legal ones. Not a real, physical reason in sight. Only that its easier because it’s what uncle happens to allow. For now… Until he decides to make you into a criminal, sans notice. Like bump stocks are currently. Lots and lots of people who don’t keep up on news, but just bought one and forgot it. They’re all felons now, without even knowing it.
        No society can survive such idiotic lawlessness from above. Not for long they can’t. Never have in history. They can for a short while, but they soon fail as the population realizes it doesn’t matter what they do or don’t do, they are all going to have to petition uncle(and pay whatever he asks) for permission to exist. And many will just decide that since everybody in such a lawless society is subject to imprisonment at all times anyway, they might just as well become a real thug and profit from it.

        1. avatar Rusty Shackleford says:

          Boof. Where to begin.

          Concealing a pistol in a backpack. We’ll start with that. Carrying a handgun (as in a non-braced, traditional thing that comes to mind for the layman), is preferable for concealment. Period. Hence why people conceal them. Carrying around a rifle caliber pistol, or pistol caliber pistol for that matter, in a backpack, is by definition, less concealable. Adults with backpacks, satchels, et cetera, warrant more attention from anyone looking for someone who may be armed; from the average person who has situational awareness to someone who’s job it is to notice these things.

          Carrying it loaded in your car is another issue. I live in a state that allows all sorts of things, including loaded anythings in the vehicle (except drivers, they tend to get a DUI or DWI). Your local laws may vary. I lived in a state where getting a license to carry a concealed firearm was not going to happen, so I did what I had to do and left. I left family, friends, roots, and moved. I still visit, and I don’t regret it.

          Gubmint coming to take yer gunz? Sure, it happens. Laws do change, as do the times. Is the government going to, with a stroke of the pen, enact a law that would reduce their funding (make the NFA illegal-er) so that they can then request tax increases to fund law enforcement to enforce the new laws? That sounds like a big gamble to me. They have their bird in the hand. With bump-stocks, they did not. If they make SBRs, Machine Guns, Silencers (their word, not mine), Destructive Devices (that is a sack of wet cats we don’t want to get into, trust me), SBSs, and AOWs outright outlawed, in 2018 they would have lost an estimated $33,371,970 (~25% of their annual budget) in tax collection on transfers and non-SOT manufactured NFA firearms. That’s a lot of dough in a year, and more than likely a lot more than they’d be getting in funding increases via tax increase.

          As for the point of the article, I implore anyone reading this (all one of me) to google “barrel length vs. velocity” and pull up a TTAG article that literally refutes the length v. accuracy nonsense that the half-smart writer, wrote.

          Thank you for your time.

        2. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Rusty:
          Boof. Where to begin?
          I guess, here:
          https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/10/daniel-zimmerman/the-truth-about-barrel-length-muzzle-velocity-and-accuracy/
          Next, accuracy and velocity are two different things. One can have a very accurate but slow cartridge, as well as a very fast but inaccurate one. I would recommend learning the difference. You’ll be confused until you do.
          Also, none of this was relevant to my post that you responded to. It was on the stupidity of the ATF, not on the advantages or disadvantages of SBRs -vs- braced pistols in general. Perhaps you intended it to go elsewhere?

        3. avatar Rusty Shackelford says:

          I’m accutely aware of the accuracy of SBRs. The first half of my response was to the poster above yours, the ‘gubmint takin yer gunz’ part was aimed at you. If you read my first post, I have a few SBRs that are relatively accurate in comparison to people’s perception.

        4. avatar Knute(ken) says:

          Rusty:
          Again, I never said any of that. I didn’t say shit about anybody coming for anything or anything about a registry. All I said was; “The NFA is a supremely insane and stupid statute that needs to be reformed”. Except with reasons and examples. You might understand if you go back and read it.
          And if not, there’s always remedial reading courses around.

        5. avatar Rusty Shackelford says:

          The point of the paragraph was to satirically address your logic that with a stroke of a pen, that SBRs will become illegal-er, like the bumpstocks you brought up. If you couldn’t infer that, perhaps you should take a remedial reading comprehension course.

          Also, all gun laws are an infringement. The reality is that people who shouldn’t (by societal standards, not by black and white law) have them will get them if they want them.

          If it would help, I’ll remember the name and the next time (this was a first for me, normally I just read all of the idiotic comments) I can address a comment sentence by sentence, based on literal explicit statements rather than assume the person reading the comment will have the ability to connect dots.

      2. avatar jwtaylor says:

        The rules for carrying how you carry rifles differ from state to state. In Texas, you can carry a rifle loaded in your vehicle. You can carry it in a case or not.

        1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          Texas is an aberration. We don’t pass judgement based on exceptions to the rule. The advantages of a pistol over an SBR are too numerous to list (everything from carrying, including across state lines, to “unauthorized” possession by a friend or relative without being present, to ease of selling, should the need arise). Conversely, there’s only one advantage of having an SBR and that’s the longevity of legality of the brace, particularly after the bump stock debacle.

        2. avatar jwtaylor says:

          TBSL
          No sir. The only advantage of the brace is legality. When it comes to performance, a stock is superior in every way.

  13. avatar The Huscarl says:

    The only reason why AR pistols and the like exist is because of illegal ATF regulation. The fact that people are buying them in droves shows that the SBR is not obsolete because all of the people buying rifle-cartridge pistols would instead get proper SBRs if they could.

    It’s like saying (before Trump’s ban) that machine guns were obsolete because bump stocks were on the market. The only reason they existed was because of a regulation-made niche. Get rid of all gun control legislation and bump stocks would go out of business because people would prefer actual machine guns.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      Actually, you’re wrong. I would still prefer a pistol for 2 reasons…With my carry permit, I can carry my 9” 300blk pistol concealed and loaded on my person in a backpack if I wanted to. But most importantly, I can carry it loaded on the front seat of my car should I choose to. Both of those things are illegal in my state with a rifle. So no, there’s no advantage for me to own an SBR.

      1. avatar The Huscarl says:

        Every reason you listed why you would prefer a rifle-caliber pistol was still pointing to government regulations. So I’m still right. If you didn’t have to worry about your state’s laws or the national laws, which would you prefer, an SBR, or a rifle-caliber pistol?

        1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          I see no difference between the quality of the sb braces and traditional stocks. All laws aside, I’d choose the stock because they are much cheaper. But we don’t live in a country without laws, so I choose the pistol. As reality dictates now, there’s not a single reason to choose an SBR over a pistol. Zero.

  14. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    A lot of the popular brace options cost $150-200, or you need adapters to get it to mount to your pistol, where stocks might be $30-75. It is nice to have options, a brace saves the wait time and cost of a tax stamp, plus engraving, photos, fingerprints… Plus some don’t like registering a gun with the government or paying an extra tax, and I get that….

    If you are already buying suppressors, then you are already in the NFA world so having a complete SBR with a true stock isn’t much of a jump. Plus for an AR, you only register the lower, so you could swap out uppers, calibers, etc and minimize dup stamps. Though you might have to be careful to not make other non-sbr rifle lowers you have around into accidental SBRs. But that could happen with having pistols and rifle lowers around as well…

    It is a silly rule anyway, and the braces and rifle pistols have demonstrated how ridiculous it is, along with the silly rifle import bans, barrel bans and parts counts. Yet I haven’t seen much political effort taken to fix this, other than those simply calling to ban all scary semiautos…

  15. avatar Shire-man says:

    .460 out of a 5″ barrel is plenty accurate for 100+ yards. Why wouldn’t you hunt with an SBR? The less you carry in the easier the drag out.

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I got the stamp for my PS90. I love it!
    And yeah, with Portland being home to a bunch of micro breweries, I love me some good IPA.

    1. avatar M1Lou says:

      I’m looking at putting in the paperwork for my PS90. It just screams to have that short barrel.

      1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

        You’ll enjoy it so much more!

  17. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    I can see the practically of an SBR chambered in .950 JDJ until then it’s a pass

  18. avatar IN Dave says:

    They both have their merits. My first brace was when I was waiting for my tax stamp to arrive. That was when you really only two brace choices and they were both subpar to the collapsible stock. Now there are a wide range of choices. I still like my SBR but the tax stamp and the wait time is not really worth it right now. It is also nice that you can cross state lines or not worry as much about storing a brace in the car. That being said I will not have more pistol braces then what I can afford to buy tax stamps for. The next antigun president can easily say the atf made a mistake however they can’t order you to destroy them like they did the bump stock, it would be an illegal SBR and you need to buy a tax stamp to keep them. I think where a SBR is still the king is when we are talking about bans. If they come out and ban all AR15s then you could have a change of keeping an SBR because you could argue that it is not an AR15, it is an SBR because the ATF says it is an SBR. The ATF accepted your money and sent you a tax stamp saying it is an SBR. Not saying you would when but you would definitely have a better chance as it has protected legally owned ar15 machine guns in areas that have since tried to ban “assault weapons”

  19. avatar Juice says:

    The manufacturer and cost have more to do with the accuracy of a barrel than length does.

    As to the original question, it’s all a matter of your priorities regarding paperwork, ergonomics, function, etc. You can say “a pistol with a brace is just as good” but if the NFA was gone tomorrow, would you build a pistol over an SBR?

    Which leads me to my next point: lets throw the whole discussion out and the NFA along with it.

  20. avatar M1Lou says:

    I just put in to SBR my Tula AKS-74U. It has a fake can on it now. I’ve wanted a Сучка from when I got into AKs. It needs that shorty barrel so I can put the booster on or a can. I have a KNS adjustable piston on the way!

  21. avatar Baldwin says:

    You can’t conceal an SBR. Even if SBR’s suddenly become non-NFA items, you still have the problem of legally concealing because they’re rifles. Braced pistols? The only issue is their overall size but that is a rapidly diminishing problem (pun intended). Braces, red dots, and current high output lights have revolutionized self defense firearms. I’m loving it!

    1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

      ^This!

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Depends on the state. In Texas I can carry a rifle (SBR or not) in my vehicle, loaded, in a case or not.

      1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

        The same here in Montana. Wyoming too. And many other western States. We’re still the land of rifles hanging in pickup truck rear windows. A few years ago our local flowershop got a .22-250 through their window, when the guy had left a loaded rifle in the rack with a small child, who decided to pull the trigger. Nobody got hit, but it sure made everybody hit the deck 🙂

  22. avatar Dave in WI says:

    Didn’t see it mentioned above, but a huge advantage (WI law anyway) to the pistol brace over SBR is the pistol can be carried concealed in vehicle(with CCW) and also LOADED,

  23. avatar Gunfreek says:

    The 6.5 Grendel has recently reared its little head on my bench. Surpassing the .300blk and .223 in a 12″ barrel has made it the new whitetail reaper in my neck of the woods. Coupled with a SB PDW brace, its smaller than anything I’ve ever carried and more deadly than most of the sub 16″ options on the market. Perfect for heavy brush or thickets. Very capable out to 300yards in a PSA 12″ barrel/bcg. No sense in SBR’ing these days. Pistol ARs can be carried across state lines with the proper CCW permit. The same cant be said for big brothers regulated guns.

    1. avatar Erik Weisz says:

      .458 and .375 socom both also make a lot of sense at that length.

  24. avatar Cruzo1981 says:

    I hate paying the $200. I do understand the brace and have used them. For me though, a stock just looks right. I’ve got 2 SBR’s and have 1 more in the works. I have 2 more lowers I’m going to SBR and then possibly one more. Saying SBR’s are obsolete because of braces is just an opinion. Everyone has one about braces. We all have the same opinion on the ATF and NFA…

  25. avatar D says:

    Now that braces are adjustable , there is no reason to SBR. The pistol also removes all of the nfa restrictions. You can have a pistol in the passenger compartment of a car and you can free travel nationwide anywhere pistols are legal for your license

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      “you can free travel nationwide anywhere pistols are legal for your license”

      Be careful. AFAIK, not all states consider them pistols. This, of course, seems to be ever changing.

    2. avatar Robert says:

      I travel a lot for work. Not by car though. Last time I checked, I wasn’t making cross country trips in my truck. Yes, you can travel interstate with an AR pistol, but if the bulk of my time is in my state and when I do leave the state it’s at 32,000′ then your point is pointless. I’ve got a 10.3 with a PDW stock (not brace) and it collapses shorter than my 300BLK w/ an 8.3″ barrel. It has a PDW brace on it too. The beauty of the brace, is you can build or buy an AR, slap a brace on it and start slinging lead out in the back 40, whereas you are going to be waiting for a short time for your stamp. Last form 1 I did, I waited less than 90 days. Since I didn’t have zombie hordes at my door, I was cool waiting. I much prefer an SBR with a real stock as I and other have mentioned, you can get a repeatable cheek weld that for me is the same with my other AR’s with a similar type optic – Aimpoint or EOTech. It’s the same for me.

    3. avatar B.D. says:

      No reason?

      Lol… how to spot the guy who has never shot, owned, built, carried or used in any way, an SBR.

      1. avatar Thomas M. says:

        I know guys with SBRs who largely leave them in the safe nowadays. Reason, “I do not have to ask the King’s permission to travel with my AR pistol.”

        Several state they would never again build another SBR. They do not think they are perfect but they think the are the more perfect option.

  26. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    I jumped through the SBR/suppressor hoops for my PS90. All in the name of home defense, where accuracy may or may not come into play. HEY, at least I should still have my hearing…provided the invader doesn’t kill me first, or destroy my hearing with his/her firearm before I’m able to stop their attack.

  27. avatar Darkman says:

    There is no such thing as an obsolete firearm. Regardless of age or design. As long as it does what it was designed to do. It still holds a place as a tool.

  28. avatar Groz says:

    Should the heading read “Guns from Beginners” instead of “Guns for Beginners?”

    Once the barrel length vs. accuracy myth was trotted out, I lost all interest in the article.

  29. avatar Hannibal says:

    “There’s a clear correlation between accuracy and barrel length; more turns in the tube means more stable spin and therefore a flatter and more predictable trajectory…”

    Not really. Not past a couple of inches anyway. By then the bullet is not going to magically twist more. Barrel length past a minimum will increase velocity and range, not accuracy.

    Repeating these myths is pretty sad for “the truth about guns.”

    As to SBRs… pistols with ‘braces’ could be made NFA or straight up illegal tomorrow (or whenever the next shooter uses em) Remember bump stocks?

  30. avatar Chuck says:

    Yep, it’s the reason my last two builds were both AR pistols. Why pay $200 to the A**holes Toting Firearms Club Offshore Retirement Slush Fund for the privilige of owning what shouldn’t have been illegal in the first place? If the SHTF, I can always mount a regular stock as violating the ATF’s silly rules will be the least of concerns.

  31. avatar Read More Write Less says:

    More uniformed opinions from a TTAB writer…
    Status quo upheld.

  32. avatar ToddC says:

    Three advantages of the AR pistol over an SBR. 1. I can cross state lines without permission from the ATF. I’m quite close to my state line. Literally cross a creek and I’m in New Hampshire. 2. My wife or friend can “possess” my pistol without me. 3. I can have a loaded pistol in my vehicle should I decide it’s needed.

  33. avatar James Haan says:

    Let me tell you what, an AK74SU or krinkov needs to be a SBR, they look ridiculous with a brace

  34. avatar Tyler Kee says:

    Well this was a delightful read for my evening. You were all over the place. Sometimes with some questionable insight, other times with downright falsehoods, and a dash of that OG Farago clickbait charm. And yet, here I am pissing in the wind and/or arguing with strangers on the internet. I guess it worked. Let’s walk through some statements you’ve made.

    ***Accuracy***

    “There’s a clear correlation between accuracy and barrel length (yep – shorter barrels are stiffer, more consistent, and therefore more accurate all other variables being equal); more turns in the tube means more stable spin (no it doesn’t) and therefore a flatter (time of flight dictates drop, not spin) and more predictable (LOL wut? – nah consistency and predictability walk hand in hand and shorter barrels are more consistent sooo….) trajectory.

    Also, Ash Hess wants to talk – https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2019/03/21/kac-employee-wins-a-dmr-match-with-an-sbr/

    ***SBR Chambering***

    “Besides, the typical SBR is chambered in .223/5.56 or 7.62x39mm or 7.62 NATO (LOL Wut again. Do you have any citations for this?) and only one of those three is a real, honest-to-goodness long-range round with a track record of working well and reliably in that role.

    You’ve failed to mention 300 BLK, 6.5 Grendel, or 6.8 SPC as well as numerous other wildcats that all do real well in a SBR role. 5.56 loaded with heavy for caliber bullets does awesome things at pretty serious distances, even if it starts slow. My weak sauce 75 gr handload out of a 12.5” barrel beats a 20” hot rod 55 gr load (3200+ fps) for energy at the 400 yard line and is a better wind beater from 250 yards. And it’s still shorter, even with a hearing safe can on the end soooo….

    ***Hunting***

    While there might be some folks who hunt with them, SBRs aren’t really hunting rifles so that aspect is really a non-starter. The standard bolt-action rifle in 6mm or larger is better in almost every regard (longer range, longer barrel for better accuracy, and they look better anyway; look at a Montana Rifle Co. gun and tell me I’m wrong) so let’s not even go there.

    No, we should go here. Everything you said here is foolish. SBRs are awesome hunting rifles because they’re short enough to screw a can to and still stay in a manageable overall length. Or you can plug up and have a truly nimble bush, woods, truck rifle. And then also bullets come out the end (accurately) and kill stuff dead because modern bullets are all about impact velocity now. Foolish.

    ***Bullpups***

    Read literally any review of a bullpup – expensive and the trigger SUUUCCCKKKSS. In theory, awesome. In practice – yuck

    ***Pistol Braces***
    Regarding those pistol braces – If they were better than a regular stock, people would put them on non NFA rifles, but they don’t. The whole “Is it a pistol? Can it cross state lines easily” thing is a very viable reason to own a “pistol” Or if you live in a place where NFA items are defacto banned. Basically, where the dumb dumb government gets in the way of your good times. SB Tactical would cease to exist if the NFA went away tomorrow.

    ***Final Thoughts***

    You’ve written some good stuff in the past, but you are truly showing your butt with this article. It’s foolish and not up to the standards that your predecessors followed. You need to watch out for JWT because he might roll up a copy of something LItz wrote and beat you with it. You’re better than this. But I fell for it. So here we are.

  35. avatar Philip Bracciale says:

    It’s not the 200$ tax stamp
    Its the waiting period.
    Plus the laws of a sbr change state to state

  36. avatar B.D. says:

    *Reads title*

    Lol. No.

  37. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

    It’s funny, but I was just thinking tonight how much I’d like to SBR a Henry Mare’s Leg.

    If I could afford the Mare’s Leg right now, that is. Gosh darn, those ain’t cheap!

  38. avatar Ark says:

    The instant that a Democrat takes the White House, they will order the ATF to reclassify pistol braces as stocks, just like Trump ordered them to reclassify a piece of plastic as a machine gun. It’s been fun, but the day is coming for pistol braces. Everyone knows they’re a stock.

    1. avatar George from Alaska says:

      It’s my feeling that ARK speaks the real truth here. I had hoped that by now even one lower court would have ruled favorably on the bump-stock issue. I own a couple of registered machine guns and found that the Fostech stock in particular was incredibly able to fire quickly, It’s a different set of muscle memories than a typical M-15 or MP5 type but only took a little practice to become as effective as a registered.
      The SB type pistol braces look, feel and act like stocks and now that people are able to occasionally shoulder them as long as they leave the basic design alone they are OK? If the bump stock fails at the Supreme Court level then so will go binary triggers and pistol braces. They are already in Diane Feinstein’s newest “assault rifle ban” proposal. The only reason it didn’t go forward after the Las Vegas shooting was the Trump statement about banning bump stocks.
      I have SBR’d most of what I have wanted and own one pistol brace. I was going to have a vertical grip on my braced pistol but realized that that would be a felony… but an angled or pinky device is OK?? Then I found out that if your “firearm” is 26″ overall you can have a vertical brace… but apparently not in Pennsylvania according to their long and convoluted State ban on things…. And do I measure my braced pistol with the stock closed or folded or extended or open?? ATF written policy has traditionally been that the firearm is measured with the stock open or fully extended but the experience of citizens has been different with different ATF agents in different states without bans on the items.
      I paid full retail $248 a couple of years ago for an adjustable SBT brace. It’s nice and sturdy and adjustable. It fits awkwardly on my arm and is far more comfortable when occasionally shouldered.
      $200 for a real SBR stamp is not bad at all, an easy form, photos and fingerprints again, a wait and you have a registered NFA item. I don’t think the Registry will ever be under attack… after all they now have all the info on us for those items – total registration. I could care less.

    2. avatar Thomas M. says:

      The Dems can do what they want. My compliance rate will be ZERO.

  39. avatar Ray barr says:

    The sbr isn’t obsolete. It’s just problematic. Instead of getting stand part & stock for best stabilization. Have to get different parts that aren’t as stable. The nfa is obsolete.

  40. avatar Snake Plisskin says:

    Pony up the 200.00 make it an SBR as opposed to a pistol with a brace. I can see the ATF letter as a pistol has low-hanging fruit that could go away at any time courtesy of our progressive friends. The bump stock issue was an ATF letter also, if memory serves and we all know what happened with that.

  41. avatar John says:

    As has been previously mentioned, ballistics. Ballistics run out before accuracy becomes a problem. The real issue with SBRs (this encompasses all rifle cals but just using one as example) is that rifle rounds depend on high velocity to do what they do. All that flash and noise is FPS being lost. 223/556 ball loadings rely on high velocity to break apart to be most effective. Once they go below around 2500 FPS this does not occur any longer. All it does is poke tiny needle holes with no breakup, no yaw. Until someone comes up with a way to duplicate rifle velocities in an SBR size package, no thanks. Ok, I take that back for a range toy, yes. For life preservation, no.

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Using standard M193 ball ammunition the difference in MV of a standard 16″ carbine barrel and a 12″ SBR barrel is barely 200fps. Taking that out to 300 yards, the difference is only 158fps, and the difference in energy delivered at 300 yards is a mere 75ft/lbs.
      The difference becomes even less with newer 5.56NATO rounds.
      The reality is, unless you are going out to 20″, there is very little ballistic advantage in a standard carbine length vs an SBR, if using a 5.56NATO chambered gun with NATO rounds.

      1. avatar john says:

        Are these stats you are providing backed up by any testing you can direct me to?

        https://rifleshooter.com/2015/12/223-remington-5-56mm-nato-barrel-length-and-velocity-26-inches-to-6-inches/

        http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/barrel-length-studies-in-5-56mm-nato-weapons/

        I like facts and testing I can refer to. If you look at the article (1st link) about testing of barrel length from 26 to 12, using 55,62 and 68gr projectiles. What you are stating does not seem to be reflected here. A 12 inch barrel is registering around 2600fps at the MUZZLE and the loss in velocity in other areas appears substantial. The second link provided for additional substance on my point.

        1. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Ballistics by the Inch for the velocity data and Shooter for the ME.

          And yes, the first link you provided backs up exactly what I said. 16.5″ lists a MV at 200fps above 12″. I said just under 200 between 16 and 12.

  42. avatar ErikinTexas says:

    long-barrel rifles are superior, because they get the bayonet out there further away and prevent blood spray from getting on your church clothes. FACT

  43. avatar HL says:

    If you want a legal vertical foregrip, gotta go SBR. A foregrip on a pistol (brace or no) makes it an AOW, which requires a stamp.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      Which is why the AFG outsells every vertical foregrip on the market.

      1. avatar HL says:

        They just kinda suck…for me anyway. YMMV.

  44. avatar PHILIP says:

    Personally, when it comes to iron sights I have always shot better with a longer sight radius, so I’ll continue to use my SBR over the pistol versions. even with handguns where I used to own a Colt Trooper Ml III with a 6″ barrel which I used not only target shoot, but twice took down deer years ago.

  45. avatar Get some grammar says:

    I stopped reading at “it begs the question.” In fact, it does the exact opposite. Words matter, and anybody misusing them is usually wrong about everything else, too.

  46. avatar Silence DoGood says:

    “…There’s a clear correlation between accuracy and barrel length…”

    Yes, all else being equal, shorter barrels are stiffer and therefore offer BETTER precision, not less. Competitive shooters prefer longer barrels because a higher MV offers less lag time and greater danger space, both of which increase the shooter’s error budget by enough to offset the longer barrel’s lesser precision.

    Longer barrels are NOT more accurate. That’s just nonsense.

  47. avatar Disgruntled Floridian says:

    SBR’s for civilians are basically obsolete unless you are going for a clone build like a Mk18 or a krinkov. But also if you’re going big bore like 458 Socom, 450 Bushmaster, 50 Beowulf, etc I think it still makes sense to have a stock over a brace. I imagine there would be less chances of bruising at that point. Other than than those instances, I think an SBA3 or a Tailhook are superior.

  48. avatar Silence DoGood says:

    Are Shorter Barrels More Accurate? As a general rule, the answer is yes. A shorter barrel will be stiffer, pound for pound, since you can run a thicker contour (diameter) with the same weight. As you increase diameter, barrel rigidity rises to the 4th power of the increase. But if you lengthen a barrel, stiffness declines in proportion to the cube of the length. So a barrel that is just a few inches longer and a bit thinner can be half as rigid as a 20″ max contour barrel (More details). The added stiffness of fat 20-22″ BR barrels raises barrel harmonic frequency to the point that barrel vibration becomes a non-issue (provided the bedded action is rigid as well). Common sense tells us that it is easier to make a shorter piece of steel perfectly straight, and with less bore length to drill, there is less chance of a flaw in a shorter barrel. Benchrest competition proves that short barrels, in the 20-22″ range, give maximum short-range accuracy in 6mm, assuming you use a scope. For a gun with iron sights, longer barrels offer increased sight radius which helps the shooter aim more precisely. And don’t think that a 26″ or 28″ barrel can’t be very accurate. We’ve seen 28″ barrels deliver 5-shot groups in the “ones” at 100 yards.

    https://www.6mmbr.com/barrelFAQ.html#24642

  49. avatar Silence DoGood says:

    “…more turns in the tube means more stable spin …”

    This is also equally incorrect. More turns in the barrel implies greater velocity. More velocity necessarily means a greater overturning moment, which requires greater rigidity of spinning mass to remain stable. Bullets become MORE stable as they fly downrange, not less, because velocity decreases (and overturning moment along with it) but rate of spin (and accompanying angular momentum) are relatively undiminished.

  50. avatar Do Not Comply says:

    If we all protested the NFA by not following it, mass non compliance could force its way to SCOTUS to finally repeal it, just like Prohibition on alcohol was repealed.

  51. avatar Phil LA says:

    AR pistols aren’t SBRs until they are again. If bump stocks can be defined under the NFA then so can braces. And the next Dem controlled White House will go straight for the pistols on the M855 “armor-piercing pistol ammo” grounds.

    Personally, 16” is just less hassle and less ban-likely (granted, not by much).

    That being said, I would want a 11.5” 5.56.

    1. avatar Knute(ken) says:

      What could you possibly do with an 11.5″ barreled 5.56, that a 9.5″ .300 BLK(.300 whisper) wouldn’t do better?
      Unless you just want it. That’s a good reason too. Or just so happen to have 10,000 5.56s lying around… etc.

      1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

        Exactly. In fact for civilians, the 300blk (with a 9” barrel) is the hands down choice. The versatility is unmatched with super and subsonic capabilities. Even better with a can. For military applications, or in the unlikely event of ongoing civilian engagements, 5.56 is the choice. But for normal self defense purposes and training, even with the additional cost of each round, 300blk does everything better. Finally, just something to think about as civilians……there’s not a justifiable scenario where having to use a rifle for self defense at more than a 100 yards, let alone 300 yards, doesn’t get you sent to prison for murder. Just about every legal scenario is gonna have you at 25 yards (or less) and max 50 yards. That means even 200+gr subs, with bullet drop, is a very viable SD choice. If you are prepping for a go to war scenario? Sure, keep a 5.56 nato rifle (or upper) around (and a few pallets of ammo). But for those purposes, a 16” barrel is optimal. And if that war is in an urban environment? I’m still taking 300blk with a can.

      2. avatar Phil LA says:

        300 vs 5.56? Ammo cost. And while I do reload, its a PITA to keep 100 rds a week.

  52. avatar Geoff says:

    Unless you NEVER plan to leave your home State, the the SBR may be for you. $200 Tax and all.
    IF you even make a trip to another State for whatever reason, you can’t take the the SBR with you unless you get permission from the ATF first.
    Otherwise get the AR Pistol which can go anywhere, unless the State you’re going to bans it.
    I built a 10.5″ 300BLK AR Pistol.

  53. avatar WI Steve says:

    Once Shockwave introduced the much more affordable Blade, the pistol brace made sense. If you live in a free state and pay more for a compromised brace than a $200 stamp and a normal stock, you’re a fool IMO.

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