Q’s Honey Badger is a nifty little pistol. It is quite small in terms of overall length, which I happen to really like in any pistol. I truly don’t want or need a 10” barrel unless I’m using it to hunt Iowa Whitetail Deer. For just about any other application, I’d prefer a shorter barrel and a very short overall weapon length. Q has been part of a pack of industry leaders with that obvious goal in mind.
When it comes to pistol anatomy, I’ve done some pretty wild stuff in my shop in efforts to customize weapons for a customer’s needs or requests. The pistol brace was a great invention. For years the problem of a high barrel centerline made using weapons in this configuration a real chore. The stability simply wasn’t present. The wrist brace helps with this problem immensely. That’s part 1 of the consideration. The ability to ‘shoulder’ a weapon like a pistol is part 2.
When in the field, competing, or sighting in any number of weapons, I’ve used just about any and every method of stabilization possible in order to achieve a more solid hold on a weapon, which is foundational to safety. Additionally, when you’re solid you’re also consistent. When you’re consistent, you achieve accuracy. I get paid to build and customize guns for the purposes of accuracy.
Whether I’m bracing my trusty 1866 Yellowboy in the crook of a tree limb, laying my 6.5PRC chambered precision rifle across sandbags, pulling my BRN-180S pistol in tight to my shoulder, or bracing my 460SW X-Frame against the window opening of my cozy little deer hunting hut, I’m seeking at every turn to stabilize my weapon for safety and performance. There is no other reason I choose to do so. Which is why this whole, “Oh, you can’t shoulder that weapon, you sure can with this one that is a half-inch longer,” or “Bracing your gun against a tree is cheating,” or whatever silly things people say are just plain asinine. Weapons are weapons by configuration, period. The inherent nature of any weapon doesn’t change by virtue of being shouldered, slung, leaned against a tree, or across some sandbags.
Only a mental midget, post-modern progressive liberal, or bureaucrat would say otherwise.
So why all this ATF hassle for builders of AR Pistols?
Has Q stepped over some line with a well-built pistol? Is this a shot across the bow of the pistol stabilizer industry? Is Q being targeted, or is there more injustice on the horizon? If you take a step back and look at just how stupid some of these regulations are, you get a sense of how poorly conceived they were in their origination. I mean, seriously… Who gives a tinker’s damn about the differences between a 16” barreled carbine and a 15.9” barreled carbine? The whole idea behind some arbitrary and magical barrel length that blossoms an SBR is pretty darned silly. Unless the ATF intends on stating any weapon that has a barrel less than 16” suddenly illegal, the entire premise of a “Short Barreled Rifle” is the equivalent of a strawberry size wart on Helen of Troy’s snoot… The entire “SBR” precept is ugly, unbecoming, and no longer necessary if it ever was? With the innovations of our current and future industry, a serious case can be made for the “SBR” to simply go away.
I don’t have any personal stake in Q. I am not taking a position of solidarity with Q. Rather, I’m asking you to seek truth here. I can’t for the life of me differentiate a qualifying difference between the intentions and applications of the brace on the Honey Badger and any of the braces you can buy right here at Brownells.
I hope this gets sorted out pretty quickly. There is no reason for the power of the government to bleed a business dry with legal fees and losses of revenue. Especially when I can’t even find the proverbial hair that is being split. …And my perspective comes from that of a gunsmith and the owner of a custom shop.
My wife would tell you I’m none too bright. She’d probably be right. But, I’m pretty good at what I do, and there are no intelligible differences in the Q product I can find, other than the outspoken nature of the owner. Could that be the problem? I’m forced to ponder this possibility. Wisely, Q offered a letter crafted by a lawyer back to ATF.
Another possibility? There are grumblings that many in positions of authority with various agencies, bureaus, and departments continue to find themselves at odds with the President of the United States. Some might say playing this card just before the election would stir up one particularly motivated group of voters. This idea looks far-fetched to me. However, in full disclosure, we’ve witnessed it recently with other pockets of government… *cough* FBI… Hey, don’t look at me like I’m nutty. I couldn’t even pound the keyboard with these kinds of thoughts if we hadn’t seen so many examples of bad actors using their positions for anything but their job description and the mission statement of their departments. I’m not being honest with you if I don’t offer this possibility. You’re thinking about it too.
So, what are pistol brace owners and pro-gun advocates to do in the interim? For those of you who want to be part of the solution, which should be all of you, I’d use any number of the “Take Action” campaigns to make your voice heard. NRA has one as does the FRAC (Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition). It’ll take you seconds to use either or both. I highly recommend you step in and help out, whether you believe you have skin in the game or not because you do. House Representative Matt Gaetz has been vocal as well, so it isn’t just free-born Americans that are hollering here.
In June, my colleagues and I sent a letter to the ATF demanding they stop crafting secret rules restricting the possession of pistol braces by American citizens.
I sent a follow-up letter yesterday after receiving no response. The ATF must stop abusing its enforcement authority. pic.twitter.com/HBm0N1YaFH
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) September 30, 2020
For the unfortunate owners of the Q product, I wish I had better news for you.
But the first thing I’d consider is pushing the two pins out of your lower and taking the top end off – separate them. You can also register your receiver as an SBR. That online eForm from ATF is moving along at a pretty brisk pace these days. Here’s the letter from Q to customers for your edification.
I’ve thought long and hard about a ‘workaround’ for this, and there isn’t a lot that customers can actually do besides the suggestions in the letter Q offered them. I’m of the rock-solid opinion, which I believe I can quantify, that there is no true value in the firearm definition of Short Barreled Rifle (a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length). When you think about it in those terms, you begin to see just how much time and energy is being wasted on things like this by our government. Weapons come in more configurations now than a handful of wheel guns, a single shot 8ga shotgun, and a lever rifle – get over it. Firearms have innovated past the design limitations we had decades ago. There are times you realize that past practices should be righted. Half the stuff on the NFA qualifies for reconsideration. Ditch the SBR qualification.
Once you consider this properly, you’ll see that SBS falls squarely in the same category. Don’t get me started on whether cans should be an NFA item…
About Michael Ware:
Michael is a Christian husband and father to two children. He owns and operates Controlled Chaos Arms, a premier custom weapons shop in the Midwest. He serves as Chairman of the board of Directors at the Iowa Firearms Coalition. The pursuit of truth drives him in research and his writing.
Michael enjoys shooting, hunting, and fishing throughout the Midwest and Rockies. An avid outdoorsman and tireless supporter of all Second Amendment virtues, he can be found in his gun shop, in a tree stand with his kids, or on Capitol Hill lobbying in support of Freedom and Liberty at any given time.