Arm Braces or short barrel rifle

This is important read if you are into AR type pistols with Arm Brace.

I have been reading and trying to watch any information on the arm brace rules from ATF.
Here is what I recently read and would like to share and get your thoughts or any updated information you might have.

I personally have several pistols that fall into the rule. And could maybe mean a large cost as well as loss of the arm braces cost.

I’m seeing some places saying the new rule started August 1, 2022. Other that its still in a wait period.

Here is the most recent options I can find. It’s from the Shoot On web site Stay Legal information.

Last summer, the BATFE signaled their intent to eliminate the “stabilizing brace” exemption because they felt legal gun owners were abusing the design intent of the stabilizing brace, using the devices as a “shoulder mount workaround” as opposed to the intended purpose of stabilizing an AR pistol against the support arm. Cries of protest from the shooting community and industry notwithstanding, the BATFE moved forward with their plan to remove the stabilizing brace exemption for AR pistols, effectively classifying former AR pistols with stabilizing braces as NFA short-barrel rifles.

We were alerted to the timeline for this rule implementation with the publication of Introduction to the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions-Fall 2021, which dropped on January 31, 2022. According to BATFE published documentation, the final rule will go into effect in August of this year. So, as of this writing, everyone who wants to continue legal possession of their AR pistol with an arm brace has about four months to submit NFA Form 1, pay the $200 NFA tax stamp, and receive final approval from the BATFE to convert their pistol to a short-barrel rifle.

You may be wondering why, with such a large number of firearm owners being impacted by this rule change (the cost to the individual being, at minimum, the financial loss of their arm brace or $200 for the NFA tax stamp), the BATFE would not at least “grandfather in” all existing AR pistols with stabilizing braces? Well, you can wonder all you like, but it’s not happening. According to the BATFE, “Without this rule, public safety will continue to be threatened by the criminal use of such firearms, which are easily concealable from the public and first responders.

Since this new regulation will certainly not be rolled back during the span of the current administration, we are left with few options. Here they are per the BATFE:

  1. Options for Affected Persons

As mentioned, ATF wants to assist affected persons or companies and is providing additional information to aid them in complying with Federal laws and regulations. Below are options for those persons that may be affected upon publication of a final rule.

  1. Current Unlicensed Possessors

In order to comply with the provisions of the NFA, current unlicensed possessors of a firearm equipped with a “stabilizing brace” and a barrel length of less than 16 inches that would qualify as a “short-barreled rifle” as indicated on the ATF Worksheet 4999 contained in this proposed rule would need to take one of the following actions before the effective date of a final rule.

(1) Permanently remove or alter the “stabilizing brace” such that it cannot be reattached, thus converting the firearm back to its original pistol configuration (as long as it was originally configured without a stock and as a pistol) and thereby removing it from regulation as a “firearm” under the NFA. Exercising this option would mean the pistol would no longer be “equipped with” the stabilizing brace within the meaning of the proposed rule.

(2) Remove the short barrel and attach a 16-inch or longer barrel to the firearm thus removing it from the provisions of the NFA.

(3) Destroy the firearm. ATF will publish information regarding proper destruction on its website,

(4) Turn the firearm into your local ATF office.

(5) Complete and submit an Application to Make and Register a Firearm, ATF Form 1 (“Form 1”). As part of the submission, the $200 tax payment is required with the application. Pursuant to 27 CFR 479.102, the name, city, and state of the maker of the firearm must be properly marked on the firearm. All other markings, placed by the original manufacturer, should be adopted. Proof of submission of the Form 1 should be maintained by all possessors. Documentation establishing submission of Form 1 includes, but is not limited to, eForm submission acknowledgement, proof of payment, or copy of Form 1 submission with postmark documentation.

Obviously, options 3 and 4 are non-starters. Option 1 results in the financial loss of the stabilizing brace and reduces practical function of the firearm. Option 2 has merit, but it nullifies the firearm’s mobility and CQB effectiveness — the very reasons many personal defense practitioners acquired an AR-platform pistol in the first place.

For most of us, option 5 is the best option. By submitting Form 1, paying the NFA tax stamp, and receiving BATFE approval, the AR pistol with a stabilizing brace becomes a legal-to-possess NFA short-barrel rifle. Yes, you spent $200 on the tax stamp, but you saved the cost of the arm brace (should you decide to keep it) and can now shoulder the rifle for operation. Better yet, in our opinion, this allows you to install a proper buttstock, providing much-improved function and accuracy potential.

I will continue with more of their great suggestions for what its worth in the future if there is any interest.


@LarrySr I saw the writing on the wall long ago and converted all my pistols to SBR. Actual stocks are better than braces anyway.


Thank you sir for the breakdown on this :+1:t2:


Did you by any chance think about just taking the brace of completely making it just like it was from the factory a pistol. I have to many in my collection to go through all the individual permits so I figured I would pick out 2 or so most expensive favorites and make the rest stock. :wink:

And do you have any other information on a confirmed date this rule takes effect? I 'm actually spending the day studying web sites. :flushed:on this rule. Like everything else there seems to be more opinions than facts. :wink:

And thanks for the reply.

PS. SBR Tax Stamp

As mentioned previously, transfer or registration of an SBR requires payment of a $200 tax stamp with the NFA. This is a one-time tax per owner and it is not an annual fee. The tax must be paid every time the SBR transfers to a new owner. In the AR pistol vs. SBR debate, this is the pistol’s primary advantage.

ALSO. once it’s a registered SBR you would need written permission from ATF to travel across state lines with the SBR. As a pistol you don’t.


@LarrySr There’s talk of an amnesty to waive the $200 tax for brace owners to register. I never thought about just taking the brace off and running the buffer tube. I built all of them from scratch and would rather SBR them instead of running the tube. Also, the permit to travel with an SBR is a minor inconvenience for sure, but it’s not that bad. It’s a 5320.20 and usually takes about 4 weeks to come back. They’re also good for a full calendar year. I have a couple for competition shooting to take my SBR to Pennsylvania and North Carolina. I have a friend who has them for just about every state in the East.


On a funny side note, I posted this video to Instagram this morning. My wife and I have been doing this “What are you doing?” Series with different ideas for a while now hahaha.


Cute, With the exception of age, Nancy and I could make one like that. :rofl:

PS yes sir. I did read this today as well. :+1:
amnesty to waive the $200 tax for brace owners to register.


Good to hear about waiving the fee. I wonder if you will have to leave it with a brace or if you will be able to swap a stock on it


I don’t mind filling out the paperwork and I hope the $200 fee is waived. Then I’ll junk that brace and get a decent stock.


It pisses me off because it’s just a de facto gun registry


I don’t know about this. What happens to people that live in places where sbr’s are illegal anyways? I have a bad feeling about this, I don’t trust the aft, I think this might be a scheme to get more peoples info on what they own. But its just my .02 cents worth. I think the NFA and GCA should be abolished, that would be a better solution.


That’s where I’m at. Have to switch my stuff to 16”.


The figures are all over the place when it comes to how many are out there. So I can only think it’s all about registering firearms and MONEY$$$$$$$$$.

Here is just one example from Silencer Central web site:

Exactly how many pistol braces are in use in the US is unknown. The ATF says that somewhere between three million and seven million braces have been sold just in the last ten years. The Congressional Research Service says the total number could be between 10 million and 40 million braces, and there’s just no way to know for sure.

That’s a lot of money :flushed: and a lot of new registered guns for ATF to play with.


You can leave it or put any kind of stock on it if it’s registered as a SBR.



I’m just wondering if they “pay” for the stamp if it will only be valid for the brace configuration.


September 5, 2022
According to a status report on Second Amendment Foundation v. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the ATF received 211,564 comments during the public comment period on the proposed pistol brace rule.

“The agency has since processed all of those comments and is presently in the process of drafting the final rule, which includes preparing responses to comments and engaging in other deliberative activities. The agency currently expects to publish a final rule in December 2022.”

From that date you would have 120 days to comply. However it apparently it isn’t over with as far as the litigation.

Second Amendment Foundation v. Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms,
The parties respectfully request that they be permitted to file an additional joint status report
on or before January 6, 2023, indicating whether this matter should remain stayed. In the event that the parties are of the view that the stay should be lifted, they will include in the joint status report a proposed schedule for continuing this litigation.
Dated: June 27, 2022

Larry :us:


That’s a nugget of info I’d figure I have learned b4. Been sitting on the decision for a couple years. I flat never have a month’s notice before leaving the state. But safe bet I’ll be south of the mason dixon near 100% of the time so an annual pass into 'bout 20 states would be infuriating but manageable.

I am still betting Bruen will take this mess apart between November 2022 and January 2023 - fingers crossed.


Amen to that so do I. I even think a lot more including Trumps executive order prohibiting bump stock will eventually go south.

I’m trying be very optimistic with this current supreme court. Not so much with the one that can’t figure out what a female is. :wink:


Does this rule also apply to non-AR PC pistols with stabilizing braces? Like AP5/MP5, MPX, Rattler, PC Charger, etc?


I would suspect it applies to all braces, regardless of platform.