Time Running Out on Pistol Braces: What To Do?

The MCX pistol with folding brace is super compact and easy to carry. IMG Jim Grant

Tombstone, Arizona – -(Ammoland.com)- If you currently own an AR-style pistol, and you also possess a brace that can be attached to that pistol, then you are subject to felony prosecution as of the end of this month unless you file, or have filed, paperwork to register it as a Short-Barreled Rifle.

The easiest way to remove your risk is to remove the brace from the gun and then remove it from your possession. In spite of what the Director of the BATFE told Congress, simultaneously possessing the gun and the brace is “constructive possession,” which is legally the same as having the brace attached to the gun.

Suppose you have a friend like me, who never jumped onto the pistol brace bandwagon and only owned more traditional rifles, carbines, and pistols, or who owns no guns at all. In that case, giving or selling your pistol brace to them is a simple way to avoid any criminal liability while we wait for the various legal challenges to the new rule to make their way through the courts. The only qualifier is that the brace must be out of your possession and control.

If you give the brace to your mom, and she tells the nice BATFE agent that she’s just holding it for you until you want it back, you’re not protected. Whoever you give or sell your brace to must own – and legally possess that brace.

There can be an understanding that if the courts invalidate the BATFE’s new “Final Rule,” your friend will give or sell the brace back to you, but it can’t be that you’re simply storing the device away from your home. The same goes for storing the brace in a locker at your range or in your storage unit. You must no longer own, possess, or be in control of the brace, and whoever does possess it must understand that it’s theirs now, not yours. You can’t have ready access to it, and you definitely can’t reattach it to your pistol until the courts declare the rule unconstitutional or it’s otherwise nullified.

Those of you who want to insist that unconstitutional laws are already null and void, remember that there are hundreds of people rotting in prison who acted on a similar belief. Until law enforcement and the courts agree that a law or regulation is unconstitutional, you can still be prosecuted and imprisoned.

To be certain that you are in compliance with the rule, it’s a good idea to replace any “brace specific” receiver extension (buffer tube) with a standard pistol version.

As long as the person who possesses the brace does not have any pistol the brace can be attached to, it’s perfectly legal. There is no law or regulation restricting the possession, sale, or transfer of a pistol brace. As mentioned, Steve Dettelbach, the Director of the BATFE, recently gave sworn testimony to Congress stating that simply removing the brace from the pistol and keeping them apart was all that needed to be in compliance with the new rule. That statement does not agree with the clearly stated requirements laid out in the BATFE’s actual “Final Rule.

The “Final Rule” offers only the following options for bringing a pistol-braced firearm into compliance:

  • Scenario 1: Turn in the entire firearm with the attached ‘‘stabilizing brace’’ to ATF (Who would do that?);
  • Scenario 2: Destroy the whole firearm (Again, why would anyone do that?);
  • Scenario 3: Convert the short-barreled rifle into a long-barreled rifle (And get rid of the short barrel, because if you keep it, that is probably still “constructive possession.”);
  • Scenario 4: Apply to register the weapon under the NFA (Paperwork must be filed before May 31, and there are other factors involved, so do your homework.); or
  • Scenario 5: Permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the ‘‘stabilizing brace’’ from the firearm such that it cannot be reattached. (Emphasis added.)

Other guidance from the BATFE offers slightly different terminology in the options. For example, on BATFE’s website, they offer a Frequently Asked Questions section that says, “Permanently remove or alter the ‘stabilizing brace’ so that it cannot be reattached,” which, thanks to the use of the word “or” instead of the word “and,” could be interpreted to leave the door cracked for the “just remove it” claim of Director Dettelbach. That BATFE website guidance isn’t the rule, though. The actual language of the “Final Rule” is what is going to be applied in enforcement and the courts, and it doesn’t leave any room for a person to keep the brace and the pistol without permanent modification.

What are the compliance options for an individual stabilizing brace FQ ATF screenbrab 5 26 2023
What are the compliance options for an individual stabilizing brace FQ ATF screenbrab 5 26 2023

Reports indicate that few people have thus far taken advantage of the “free” registration option, and it’s important to note that registration as an SBR is not an option in the several states that forbid possession of an SBR. BATFE will reject registration applications from residents of those states, and there’s a chance they, or state agencies, could then use the application itself as evidence of the person’s possession of an unregistered, illegal SBR. Folks in those states need to carefully examine their remaining options. There are also some gun and brace combinations, particularly those sold together as a unit, which are not eligible for the “remove and dispose of” option, so you need to verify how yours is categorized. Those that are not eligible for “remove and dispose” action are good candidates for filing a Form 1 and getting a free stamp.

The Federal Appeals Court for the Fifth Circuit has issued an Injunction Pending Appeal in a lawsuit brought by the Firearms Policy Coalition and several co-appellants. This injunction prevents the new rule from being enforced against the appellants, but it’s unclear exactly who is protected under the injunction. It won’t apply to anyone outside of the Fifth Circuit and might only apply to actually named appellants in the case, which is no help at all to average Joes’ who happen to own these items. We’re hoping for some clarification on this issue very soon, but until that clarification comes out, assume that the injunction doesn’t apply to you because it probably doesn’t.

This brings us right back to my initial suggestion: Remove the brace and “dispose” of it by selling it or giving it to someone who does not possess a pistol to which the brace could be attached.

That should protect you from prosecution until the whole stupid mess can go through the courts and hopefully get resolved in our favor. There’s also legislation pushing through the House, but it’s unlikely to make it through the Senate, and Joe Biden will never sign it, so don’t count on that.

I think it’s very likely we’ll see at least a few Second Amendment martyrs prosecuted over this. Don’t be one of them.

About Jeff Knox:

Jeff Knox is a second-generation political activist and director of The Firearms Coalition. His father Neal Knox led many of the early gun rights battles for your right to keep and bear arms. Read Neal Knox – The Gun Rights War.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition has offices in Buckeye, Arizona, and Manassas, VA. Visit: www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

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This is pathetic. Your “advice” should be one thing, and one thing ONLY:


Last edited 13 days ago by GeniusJoe

What to do???????

Be an American. stop being a p*$$y!!!!

You know treason when you see it. When it’s time to hide, it’s time to fight.

F biden!!! F atf!!!


And all the other UNCONSTITUTIONAL 3 letter agencies.


Arny…all alphabet agencies need to go,…,ASAP!

Knute Knute

And BTW: “Who is John Galt?” 🙂


Evidently, you’ve never read ‘Atlas Shrugged.’

Knute Knute

I obviously have. Where do you suppose I got the question from? 🙂
I don’t even know if the J. in J. Galt stands for “John”, let alone that that is where he took his username from, But I surmise that’s the case. There are many of us Ayn Rand fans out there.
Have you ever heard of the Methernitha Community in Switzerland? Or the M-L device therein?

Roland T. Gunner

Just the Cliff Notes.

Knute Knute

It was long. A bit dry and boring in places too. But a fantastic story nonetheless. Even the parts I found to be a bit boring, kind of belong there.



Death to Tyrants.

Patriot Solutions

Time is an illusion created to control the sheep, let it run the fuck out who cares.

Knute Knute

Not quite. Time is, indeed, an illusion, but it’s created by our position on a spinning spheroid. Since we’re spinning, time is created by our perception of the changing position of the stars. Which, OFC, don’t change their position. It’s our perspective that’s constantly changing. And the rate of that change is called the passage of time. It’s why a day is one Earth revolution, and a year is one complete orbit of Sol, and so on. Time was created at the same time as the solar system, so it couldn’t have been created by the slavemasters to control the… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Knute Knute

Knute, “Not quite.” What you have described is how humans on earth measure time as it could have been done for the past 4.5 billion years. It is not an illusion but a scientific fact and our spinning and orbiting only effect time in a manner described by Einstein in his theory of relativity. But time, as we know it as the 4th dimension of our 3D existence, has been around much longer than our solar system. If you are a proponent of the Big Bang Theory, then you may believe time began some 13.8 Billion years ago. If you… Read more »

Knute Knute

You are correct, OFC. I was aware that the stars move too, both in the ever expanding universe and in the rotation of the Milky Way also, when I wrote that they do not move. I just bleeped over that since the point was the passage of “time”, and I didn’t want to get overly complex.The stars don’t move fast enough(relative to the other motions we observe, OFC. In reality they’re actually moving faster) to notice the change in one short human lifetime. Unless, OFC, one is able to measure Doppler shift and stellar parallax, or use other modern techniques.… Read more »

Knute Knute

Now, how about one of my ideas for you to pick on? A couple decades ago I had an idea for a firearm that could replace some Squad Automatic Weapons at the platoon level. Instead of a belt-fed 5.56, one squad’s SAW gunner would have a .22RF, multi rotating barrel, battery powered, man portable, miniature minigun, using off the shelf parts from whatever cordless drill/impact system one likes. I like the 20V DeWalt system, but whatever. Weighing up two such motors w/their gearing, two batteries, 5 steel lined aluminum barrels for the AR-7, and estimating the bearings and steel framework… Read more »

Last edited 10 days ago by Knute Knute
Roland T. Gunner

The biggest practical hurdle I seee is still the ammunitiob itself. I would assume somebody somewhere has developed truly modern .22 rimfire projectiles/cartridges, suitable for military use, but I dont lnow of anything actually in production; and that would be an enormous cost. A few prototypes of the gun, a few thousand dollars and a decent engineer gunsmith. I got one of those a few miles down the road

Knute Knute

Ammunition is often a stumbling block. It was what kept the Strumgewehr down for years during WW2. Hitler canceled it, but the big brass kept on developing it anyway. They thought they could get Hitler on board if he could just see one in operation. It’s pretty tough to demo a firearm w/o ammo though, and nobody was making the 8mm Kurz since there were only a few prototypes of it. I imagine that was why it was canceled in the first place. At the time, Germany was using both 8mm Mauser and 9mm in mass quantities, and starting up… Read more »


What a fun idea. Of course you would need a class 7 license to take it off of the drawing board and there would be no civilian market until Hughes is repealed or ruled unconstitutional. There was a guy several years ago who did make a man portable minigun in 5.56 but you want something lighter. A military will want a weapon that does more than force the enemy to keep its head down. Though it has the significant advantage of weight, volume and cost, 22LR is not the best round out to 800 meters and a belted/linked rimmed cartridge… Read more »

Knute Knute

I just picked RPM figures out of the air that I thought would be suitable. I only weighed out the gear train from the drill to estimate the mass of the components. I would, OFC, make my own, single speed, gear train. That would save weight and also enable swapping the gearing ratio around during testing. I do intend to use the standard batteries and motors though. And also the speed control board. I didn’t mention it, but the brain box was also included in the weight estimate. It includes two bats also. It could need the extra power, and… Read more »

Knute Knute

“A military will want a weapon that does more than force the enemy to keep its head down.” This is the issue I thought to address with only some of the SAWs being replaced. I think it would be a good force multiplier to have a three squad platoon with one squad’s SAW gunner having an M-249 as now, but the second squad having it’s SAW man replaced by a designated marksman with a DMR(a semi-auto AR-10 in 7.62 NATO with optics or similar), and the third squad with the man portable rimfire(or other very small caliber) multibarrel. It seems… Read more »


“Time,” he said, “is what keeps everything from happening at once.”
Ray Cummings – “The Girl in the Golden Atom”


”An armed society is a polite society manners are good when one may have to back up their actions with their life.”
Robert A. Heinlein from ‘ Beyond This Horizon.’ 1942

Last edited 9 days ago by hippybiker

I never did appreciate being pushed around by a bunch of bureaucrats that I don’t even know. What are we supposed to do with other prosthetics that we have / use? Are we supposed to destroy those too? I guess they’ll just have to slide Memorial Day a few days on down the Calander to May 31st.

Last edited 14 days ago by USMC0351Grunt

What to do? Lock and load!


Are there any stats as to how many SBRs are used in criminal activities?
I know that , in Hollywood, EVERY bad guy and some good guys have an SBR on both arms and shoot outs that makes the body counts in the Holocaust pale in comparison.
I suspect that’s where the Congress critters get their expertise about SBRs.


To date, the only Mass Shooting committed with a Braced AR Pistol was the Boulder Grocery Store Shooting in 2022, that I’m aware of. I try to follow these closely, because of the huge amount of misinformation the Lefty Media puts our.
As for other crimes, there may be, but that’s only Mass Casualty Event in my notebook.


I like the Terms “Butters and Fudds.” To those miscreants who fit the bill, get surgery to put a flat spot on top of your heads. That’s so the Feds that you are servicing, have a place to put their Beer! Yeah! You know who you are!


My AR Pistol’s an 80% Build, so No SN, and No 4473 on it.
I may just throw a stock on it, as I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.
I’ve been living on borrowed time anyway, so I’ll try to go out with a big bang

Time to start making Gun Cotten.

Knute Knute

Easy enough to do too. Basically just treat some organic material(paper, cotton, cellulose, whatever) until its nitrated. Then wash the acids out, dry thoroughly, and ignite. The tough part is making a material size that has a certain, reliable, burning rate to use for working up loads. This long dead Canadian shows one way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irLPpr7Nf9U I prefer black powder for DIY. Plus, one can also make more energetic black powder by just leaving the sulfur out. Sulfur provides the familiar black powder smell, but its also the source of most of the corrosive residues, and also makes the powder less… Read more »


Unfortunate boating accident


Very unfortunate. I’ve had several of those the past few years – dangit. I may even re-take the Coast Guard boating safety course.


Blah, blah, blah…..sick of the “boating accident” meme.



Molon Phuck Que !
( come and find it )


When it’s time for boating accidents, it’s time for Nuerenburg trials and hangings.

Disband the atf or kill all they send.


Yep, “just doin’ their job” doesn’t cut it. The front liners seem to be oblivious of the fact that the cowards issuing their orders always stand behind the front liners, never in front of them. If this is ends up going where I think it will end up, the front liners will be cannon fodder. Do they realize that? Enforcing unconstitutional directives for a paycheck?

Mike L

How about updating this to say “Join the FPC” and be done with it?

Deplorable Bill

Well folks, tomorrow IS the day. If the unconstitutional government continues on their present course of lawlessness there are but few choices. We can turn in our equipment. We can destroy our equipment, or we can become felons —– just like some other felons you might have heard of; Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Adams (both), every man and woman who has ever stood up for freedom and GOD given rights etc. The WORD of GOD says to be armed; Luke 22:36, the constitution says to be armed; The second amendment. I am much more scared and respectful of the LORD than… Read more »


To learn who rules you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize –


Call me crazy, but I think laying low and putting up with ATF screwing a couple of harmless people singled out to make an example of (as long as it’s not you) is a recipe for bolder tyranny down the road.

Bump stocks and ghost guns led us here. Where to next?


New laws saying that the old rules/laws cannot be changed from what they were. LIke the second amendment cannot be altered like it is now and has been since 1934. No more registry, no more serial numbers, no more SBR, pistol brace, sound suppressor, bump stocks, FRT or sawed off shotgun rules = ATF concentrates on terrorists rather than selling guns to drug cartels.


If you are a member of the Firearms Policy Coalition you are covered by the 5th Circuit preliminary injunction. The judge clarified that the plaintiff, FPC, includes all the members of the nonprofit. I joined before the clarification even though I don’t possess a pistol with a brace. Not my cup of tea. I’d prefer a real SBR but I don’t want to waste $200 on the tax nor 11-12 months not being able to enjoy it after I paid the retailer for it. Been there done that with a suppressor I received in November after 12 mo’s for the… Read more »


And I think that’s BS too. Giving a temporary reprieve to one group and not a blanket reprieve to all owners smells of Special Interests. The “Rule” is Unconstitutional and all 40+ million Brace Owners are covered while this works its way through our corrupt Judiciary.


FYI, when you form 1 an SBR, THE WAIT is usually a week to a month.


I’ve been waiting on my form 1 SBR since January 16th. My brother since Jan 28th. Still says “processing”. I know of 4 that just came in in the last few weeks that only took about 100 days.

Roland T. Gunner

I have 9 SBR’s registered on Form 1’s, and not one has taken under 6 months to come back approved.


Is an AK pistol still a pistol according to Lord Dettelbach’s fiat ruling?

Deaf Smith

So this begs the question.

If you have an AR rifle that came with a collapsible stock.. and you have this AR pistol. And you replaced that collapsible stock with a fixed one on your AR rifle.

Now it don’t take a genius to take the buffer tube off the ‘pistol’ and attach a collapsible stock you have sitting around. Now are you in ‘constructive possession’???


You from Deaf Smith Co. Texas?

Deaf Smith

No… But I am a Texican. Deaf Smith was Sam Houston’s head of the scouts and spies here! Also Deaf Smith County is were Skeeter Skelton was Sheriff. I was reading Skeeter’s columns in Shooting Times way back in 1970! Thus I like that handle!


That’s a cool handle. I lived in Hereford from ‘69-‘72. My first wife was from Amarillo. We use to do a lot of partying in Amarillo and Clovis. Those were some really great days back then and I sure do miss them. Lots of rodeoing and partying. Take care.

Knute Knute

I, too, read Mr. Skelton’s stories ravenously, until hearing of his death in ST, many years ago. My favorite was about him catching an escaped convict in his yard, in the middle of the night, in his underware, with a Ruger Super Blackhawk.
He said the felon had thought about shooting it out, but then said that he thought better of it because: “That nikked cowboy had the biggest gun ever I see”. 🙂


All you need to have is a short upper with a legal lower = 5.56 pistol and another fullsize AR and the ATF should be able to find you liable for constructive possession because you can change the lower half and have an SBR. My thought is, keep the legal lower with the pistol connected together and the legal rifle mounted together and then they have to prove you intended to change them. If you can keep them in separate safes the better. Having them not together and disassembled could mean you could choose to put them together in any… Read more »

Roland T. Gunner

Mr. Knox, I was a fan of your dad, and I have become a fan of yours as well; but there is some sketchy ooinion in this article.