The ATF’s Reversal on the SB Tactical Pistol Stabilizing Brace Leaves Questions

SB Tactical is to be commended for continuing to press the issue with the ATF. Their Pistol Stabilizing Brace products are not only important for disabled shooters, they have also served as a rallying point for the discussion of the shortcomings, inconsistencies, and obsoleteness the NFA. They are doing important work on behalf of gun owners everywhere.

If you own a brace product, you are right to be smiling today. This is a victory. However, you should realize that this decision (read the decision letter at The Firearm Blog) is likely specific to the SB Tactical line of products due to language describing how some braces can be attached in such a way that adds length. The ATF appears to see this type of functionality (the ability to add length) as serving “no other purpose than to facilitate use as a stock”.

I’ll say it again… This is a victory. It is encouraging to see the ATF roll back a nonsensical, indefensible, and unenforceable decision regarding the shouldering braces. In that sense, it has provided some clarity on one specific product. However, the pistol brace marketplace has more than one player. This decision may have thrust us further into the murky waters of confusion by drawing what seems to be a potential new distinction between braces that slip on and those that attach somewhat permanently with the ability to add length.

Did the ATF just draw a distinction between various kinds of braces based on how they can be attached? Can we expect to see an opinion paper clarifying their position on braces that can be used to add length? I am not a lawyer but this would appear to lead back to the same sort of argument that just exonerated the SB Tactical Braces. Do owners of braces like the Shockwave Blade who attach the brace in such a way that adds length, “redesign” the pistol into an NFA item?

The relationship between gun owners, pistol braces, and the ATF continues to be a dynamic one. I expect that this decision and the distinctions that it appears to draw will create more questions (and likely more confusion) in the near future.


Both Shockwave Technologies and Gear Head Works have now made statements that the ATF has clarified that their products may be shouldered too.

You can read the Gear Head Works statement on their Facebook page:

Shockwave Technologies posted their statement on their website and it includes clarification on the “permanent attachment” and “length of pull” issues:

Hopefully, a letter covering the contents Shockwave Technologies’ findings will be issued soon.

2 Responses to The ATF’s Reversal on the SB Tactical Pistol Stabilizing Brace Leaves Questions

  1. Arminius April 25, 2017 at 14:48 #

    This was posted today on Shockwave’s website:

    Recommend you check it out.

    • Matt April 25, 2017 at 15:38 #

      Thank you!

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