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Has the ATF changed their mind about the Sig brace?

John Pierce

Staff member
May 5, 2006
Over the last week I have had a flood of emails from clients wanting to know what I think about the ATF’s seemingly ever-changing position on the Sig brace and other similar products.

For those of you unfamiliar with the issue, let me give you a brief history.

Back in March of this year, a police officer from Colorado wrote to the ATF asking whether firing an AR pistol from the shoulder using a Sig brace as a shoulder pad would cause the pistol to be reclassified as an SBR. The ATF response, shown below, seemed to provide a reasonable response to the question.
The key parts from the letter are:

“[W]e have determined that firing a pistol from the shoulder would not cause the pistol to be reclassified as an SBR … [ATF] classifies weapons based on their physical design characteristics … Generally speaking, we do not classify weapons based on how an individual uses a weapon … Using [the Sig brace] improperly would not change the classification of the weapon per Federal law.”

This seems pretty clear right? And it certainly lead to an explosion in sales for the Sig brace.

But nothing should be taken as a given where the ATF is concerned.

Eight months later … on November 14th, the ATF responded to a request by Black Aces Tactical to classify a shotgun design with an OAL of 27 inches and equipped with a Sig Brace as a firearm not subject to the NFA. In their response, the ATF granted Black Aces’ request based upon the OAL but went on to make several comments seemingly at odds with the earlier letter.

Read the rest of the post (with embedded copies of the ATF letters) at my law office blog .


Jan 14, 2012
earth's crust
Of course, opinion letters by admin agencies are nice to have; sometimes justice depts will give some credence to them but not always. They really have no affect on the law. I have seen some agency letters that clearly are not in harmony with the actual code or statue that they speak to.

I think its a little bit of entrapment myself and would never find anyone guilty of anything that seems to be in congruence with an agency opinion letter.

Go ahead, get one. Its OK. BAM! Twenty years in the slammer.

MSG Laigaie

Campaign Veteran
Jan 10, 2011
Philipsburg, Montana
poking the bear

I got this in my mail this morn. I find the weapon kind of fun, and I find the author and his co-horts a bit dumb.
He must have researched the product before manufacture and the batf letters are everywhere. Still he plays the fool by actually showing pictures of himself and his minions shouldering the weapon. Cr@p like this is commonly referred to as "poking the bear: and I think it will make things difficult for those of us who use the product.


View attachment 12304


Regular Member
Jun 19, 2013
Nashville, TN
good thing I don't have a sig brace!!!!!!:cool:

I noticed a different person penned the latter two letters. "acting chief". I wonder if the old guy got canned? People who take pics shouldering a sig brace just don't seem wise to me. You already know it's a gray area... why are you dancing around in it? Go shoot your gun, you don't have to show the world what you're doing.