Tag Archives: BATFE

The Pistol Brace Test is a Stone Cold Nightmare

With a 71-page proposed rule to clarify when attached stabilizing brace accessories convert pistols into illegal short-barreled rifles now open for public comment, we disastrously attempted to apply it.

In a test with a pair of unloaded large-format AR-style pistols, I sat down with my buddy Ben Philippi to honestly wade through the minefield of potential disqualifiers on proposed ATF Form 4999 to determine if a pistol/brace combos selected– which are legal now– would continue to be so should the rule goes into effect as-is.

And it didn’t work out very well.

The proposed rulemaking, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces” as of June 24, has 102,000 public comments.

The last day to file comments is Sept. 8.

Kafkaesque Pistol Brace Rules Released

There are between an estimated 3 and 7 million (that’s a big swing) stabilizing braces on the market right now, all of which got there after the SB15 brace was released just a decade ago. ATF has been notoriously squishy on the legality of braces, especially at the intersection of its use on a handgun to the point that it turns a pistol into an illegal short-barreled rifle or SBR. Unregistered SBRs can get you a dime in the federal hoosgow.

You sitting in the federal hoosgow, looking to trade a pack of mackerel fillet to make unwanted friends in the shower:

“What are you in for?” says the broker

“I added a plastic stock that is not a stock to my pistol and the ATF found out and, it turns out, they ruled it was a stock,” says you.

“That mack got soybean oil or water?”

“Water…”

Zipppppp

Anyway, to keep clear of just what is illegal or not, the DOJ today released a proposed rule that is so simple it has a 71-page explainer to it. It includes a new ATF form (#4999), a two-sheeter that walks you through if your pistol with a brace on it is legal, or an SBR in three easy-to-figure-out sections.

Heavier than 64 ounces and between 12 and 26 inches? Boom, just failed Section I on ATF 4999, head to Section II.

There, if you earn a maximum of three points, proceed to Section III. Have over four points, and you are out of compliance and have an extremely dangerous SBR. So dangerous it only magically becomes safe for the public to own after you pay a $200 tax and wait 10 months for the paperwork to clear. 

At Section III, you can earn a maximum of three more points to keep your brace/pistol combo legal. Four or more, which can be earned even by installing “peripheral accessories” that would show you “intend to shoulder” your pistol, such as a bipod and/or short eye relief optics, or BUIS sights and it’s an SBR even if you passed Section II.

Sounds “simple”, right?

Check out these three examples in the proposed rule. One is (barely) legal, with 3 points in both Sections II & III; the second is an SBR, with 8 and 5 points in each section, and the third is also hot with a combination of 23 points on the worksheet.

 

The thing is, the photos, to the average user, look almost identical.

It is almost as if the feds want to make it so complicated and sow so much confusion and angst over the legal use of braces that most gun owners won’t even bother in an abundance of caution.

HEYYYY-OH!

Worse, what about the average gun owner who bought one of these, legally, at their local gun store thinking it was neat or cool, then they take it to the range five years from now (the proposed rule has no grandfathering) and a picture from that trip makes it to social media and someone casually tags the ATF in it. 

Oof. 

If you are one of the 4+ million Stabilizing Brace Owners, now is your time

Federal regulators on Friday set off the starting pistol in the race to establish what stabilizing brace makers term the largest firearm registration scheme in American history. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives scheduled its proposed 15-page “Objective Factors for Classifying Stabilizer Braces” to publish Dec. 18 in the Federal Register, the official journal of the federal government, for public inspection. Americans have two weeks to provide feedback on the plan, which could be the last chance to make their voice heard on the issue before ATF moves forward.

Written comments on the ATF proposal must be postmarked by, and electronic comments must be submitted on or before Jan. 1, 2021, by midnight Eastern time. SB Tactical is also encouraging members of the public, who are concerned about the issue, to reach out to their lawmakers in Congress as well as the White House.

More background on the brace issue in my column at Guns.com here and here.

The Maxim 50, err 47

The first “silencer” was developed and patented by Hiram Percy Maxim in 1909 and he continued to patent new designs into the 1930s, when he withdrew from the market in the wake of the National Firearms Act of 1934, which placed a (for then) outrageous $200 tax on transferring the devices, which had to be registered with the federal government.

Currently, there are over 1.3 million suppressors on the NFA’s NFRTR list, in all 50 states (law enforcement and dealers have to register theirs as well) with the devices approved for civilian use and ownership in 42 states, and for use in hunting in 40 of those.

Well, SilencerCo last week introduced a brilliant idea: a .50-caliber in-line 209 muzzleloader with a 9-inch “moderator” welded to the end of the barrel, making possibly the first commercially available suppressed black powder rifle. Since the ATF says BP guns are primitive weapons, and the can is permanently attached to said primitive weapon, then it is not a NFA-regulated suppressor.

Which means that, as far as Washington is concerned, it can be bought online via mail-order, and shipped to your door everywhere in the country with no tax stamp or NFA paperwork.

SilencerCo is sending me one to T&E, and it looks simple and very cool.

Touting a significant reduction in recoil and smoke as well as 139dB sound performance, the overall length of the system is 45-inches while weight is 7.4-pounds.

They recommend 100 grains of Blackhorn 209 powder and projectiles that do not have wadding or plastic that separate upon firing, for example, Federal B.O.R. Lock Z or Hornady FPB rounds.

Unfortunately, while the feds say the Maxim 50 is 50-state complaint, at least three states disagree, so they are just shipping to 47 states at the current time.

Still, 47 is higher than 42…and the genie is out of the bottle.

There are now over 5 million NFA items on the books, including 1.3 million suppressors

The number of National Firearm Act items saw a huge jump in the past year — including a 50 percent increase in suppressor registration and 39 percent bump in short-barreled rifles registered — according to new data released by federal regulators.

The report provides an overview of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons logged under the NFA as of April, and updates figures released in February 2016.

In the 14-month period between reports, the total number of NFA items of all kinds has climbed to 5,203,489 — an overall increase of more than 800,000 items.

While the numbers of AOW’s, machine guns and SBSs all saw negligible increases, the biggest jumps in the 14-month interlude came in the numbers of registered SBRs and suppressors.

More in my column at Guns.com

The beauty that is an M2 60mm mortar with reusable ammo

The hard working heavy weapons guys at ordnance.com broke out their sweet M2 60mm mortar and give an impressive performance showing off their Training Re-Usable Mortar Projectile (TRUMP) round.

Designed by mortar tube genius Edgar Brandt, the M2 was adopted by the U.S. military in 1940 as the country edged closer to World War II. The 42-pound company-level artillery piece was portable by a three-man crew and could lob hero sandwich-sized mortar bombs out to nearly 2,000 yards with the reasonably accurate (for a mortar) M4 collimator sight.

The M2 was so groovy that the Army and Marines kept it in use not only through WWII, but Korea and Vietnam as well, only replacing it in 1978 with the now-standard M225 LWCMS (Lightweight Company Mortar System) which, ironically, is heavier.

The above video by ordnance.com runs through the unpacking and set up of the M2, which is super informative if you aren’t a mortar guy, then proceeds to break out their new TRUMP shell, which uses a 20-ga full blank to give some boom to the impact down range. The shell is projected by a 20-ga half blank.

As far as legality, they advise that, “The 60mm mortar is classified as a ‘Destructive Device’ by the BATFE, and you must have an NFA approved Form 1 or Form 4 for legal possession. The 60mm TRUMP ammunition is not classified as a Destructive Device by the ATF, but it is a restricted sale item, and is only available to individuals that possess a valid/approved Form 1 or Form 4 for their 60mm mortar.”

The noise the mortar shell makes as it whistles back to the ground is enough to give you IBS.

Fire in the hole!

If you have a ‘solvent trap’ you may want to rethink your reason for having it

"solvent trap"

“solvent trap”

SD Tactical Arms of Prescott, Arizona announced on social media last week they are no longer able to sell their popular line of  “solvent traps,” which made up their bulk of their business, as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives advised they could be interpreted as being unregistered suppressor parts.

“As of today the ATF shut down our business of selling solvent traps,” noted SD. “This is 99% of our income. They have put 3 Veterans, my wife and son out of work. They said I can’t sell freeze plugs. NAPA can’t even sell them to us because they are a suppressor part. They said all I can sell is complete suppressors.”

More in my column at Guns.com

Getting shot while you are getting stabbed

grad-rs1-knife-gun

In the late 1990s, the Global Research and Development (GRAD) Company designed the world’s first production fixed blade knife that held a multi-shot firearm inside its grip.

GRAD produced four knives, three of which contained working 22LR double-action revolvers.  The knife in each case was a high-quality 440C heat-treated high carbon stainless steel single edged fixed blade. Inside the grips lay the cylinder for the revolver with a 1.75-inch rifled barrel. In the lower half of the knife handle a spring-loaded trigger lever could be pulled down and when depressed would fire the revolver. The barrel’s muzzle was shrouded by the top half of the grip and fired over the top of the blade through the hilt of the knife.

To load and clean the revolver, the grips separated and folded open, allowing access to the concealed gun.

They came in several variants.

The Hybrid Standard Edition of the knife had black aluminum checkered grip panels and held a 5-shot revolver.  A deluxe 22-karat gold-plated Millennium version of the Standard had a highly hand polished blade and frame.

grad-milime-knife-gun grad-milime-knife-gun-s grad-milime-knife-gun-as

The Hybrid Bayonet held a 6-shot revolver and mounted to the standard NATO bayonet lug carried on the M16/AR-15 style rifle. The bayonet version could be fired either mounted or unmounted to the rifle. The knife only version, the Model RS1N, was the base knife with no barrel or firing assembly.

grad-knife-gun grad-knife-gun-2
Across all versions, less than a thousand of these weapons were made. The company history is murky; they seem to have folded around 2007 and as such have no warranty or production to fall back upon.

The firearms versions are all NFA Title II weapons and are transferable under the $5 Any Other Weapon clause. When new and still in production they sold from $699 for the Standard models to $1999 for the gold-plated series. Today if you can find one today, they basically worth whatever the market will pay and are rare at any price.

And the ATF generally frowns upon keeping and/or selling them or any other neat AOW such as cane guns without the proper paperwork, as exemplified by a pair of Big Pine Key FFL holders last week.

Enjoy the silence: There are more than 900,000 legal NFA-compliant suppressors out there

hk 91 with suppressor and m1 garand silencerco photo

New data released last week by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives shows FFL numbers rebounding, over 9 million firearms produced in 2014, coupled with healthy import and export activity.

The statistics are part of the agency’s 2016 Annual Statistical Update of Firearm Commerce in the United States.

Sweeping in its context, the report gives the public a rare glimpse into the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons logged under the NFA as of February 2016. While this figure includes Post-86 Dealer samples, SOT production guns up for sale and LEO guns as well, most of these are in civilian hands.

Comparing last year’s report with the new information shows the aggregate number of NFA items of all kinds have climbed to 4,436,096, adding over a quarter million devices to the registry in a twelve-month period from February 2015.

This includes:

2,545,844 Destructive devices (mostly live ammunition over .50 caliber in size)
902,805 Suppressors
575,602 Machine guns
213,594 Short barreled rifles
140,474 Short barreled shotguns
57,777 AOWs (pen guns, cane guns, shorty shotgun pistols)

Suppressor numbers have just reached for the cheap seats in the past five years. In 2011, there were 285,087 cans registered– meaning U.S. silencer ownership has more than tripled in the past half-decade.

More in my column at Guns.com.

Suppressor numbers nearly 600,000 nationwide, becoming mainstream

Once the fodder of Hollywood spy movies and pulp fiction novels, the NFA-compliant suppressor is becoming ever more common in its use and adoption with numbers at an all-time high.

No matter whether you call it a silencer, a suppressor, or just a can, the mechanism defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 as any device for silencing, muffling, or diminishing the report of a portable firearm, is shedding decades of misinformation and rapidly becoming more and more mainstream. According to figures released by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives earlier this year, there were, as of March 2014, no less than 571,750 legal suppressors listed in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record (NFRTR).

As benchmark in the increase in the number of yearly transfers done on NFA items, such as suppressors, in 1984 the ATF collected just $666,000 in transfer and making taxes on these items. Three decades later, with no increase in the tax rate, the ATF collected almost $18.2 million in transfers, according to its 2013 figures, an increase of over 2,700 percent.

suppressed 1911as
Read the rest in my column at Guns.com, where I get the low-down on the suppressor industry from the head of the American Suppressor Association.

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