Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

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The Annoyed Man
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Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#1

Post by The Annoyed Man » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:43 pm

AndyC started a thread HERE a while back about building an AR Pistol chambered in .300 Blk. On page 3 of that thread, one of our members showed a picture of his .300 Blk “pistol”, that had a rifle stock mounted on it, with the explanation that he got tired of having to disassemble the AR to put it in his backpack.

I pointed out that the weapon is legally no longer classified as a pistol due to the stock mounted to it ...... implying that there are ATF issues to consider, and a $200 stamp required. (BTW, I am open to and welcome correction if I am wrong; but if I am wrong, please provide relevant law/regs. I am trying my best to make this as factual and “opinion-free” as possible. Thanks.)

After I had answered in that thread, another member asked for clarification. My immediate answer was:
The Annoyed Man wrote:THIS has a rifle stock, therefore it is no longer a pistol:
Image

That is what I was referring to. My son has the nearly identical setup, with the same stock. He had to register the lower for an SBR and get the stamp. BTW, he worked for a NFA dealer for a while and knows what he’s talking about. Only difference is, his is chambered in 5.56, with a 7” barrel.
Also, I forgot to mention that my son built his from a previously-unused stripped receiver set, so it started life as a 7” SBR. You can put one of those cute little stocks on a 16” carbine all day long, and all you’ve got is a carbine with a cool stock. Put one on a pistol lower with a barrel of less than 16” in length, and you now have a short barreled rifle (SBR) — Per the ATF. All SBRs require registration with ATF and payment of a $200 tax.

Here is what ATF has to say about it:
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/can-i-l ... ng-firearm

Can I lawfully make a pistol into a rifle without registering that firearm?

Assuming that the firearm was originally a pistol, the resulting firearm, with an attached shoulder stock, is not an NFA firearm if it has a barrel of 16 inches or more in length. Pursuant to ATF Ruling 2011-4, such rifle may later be unassembled and again configured as a pistol. Such configuration would not be considered a “weapon made from a rifle” as defined by 26 U.S.C. § 5845(a)(4).

[26 U.S.C. § 5845, 27 C.F.R. § 479.11; ATF Ruling 2011-4]
Similarly......
https://www.atf.gov/firearms/qa/can-i-l ... ng-firearm

Can I lawfully make a rifle into a pistol without registering that firearm?

No. A firearm that was originally a rifle would be classified as a “weapon made from a rifle” if ; it has either a barrel less than 16 inches in length or an overall length of less than 26 inches. If an individual wishes to make an NFA firearm, s/he must first submit ATF Form 1, Application to Make and Register a Firearm, pay a $200.00 making tax, and receive approval of the application from ATF before converting the firearm.

[18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3); 26 U.S.C. §§ 5845(a)(3)-(4)]
  1. If the above pictured receiver was originally built into a pistol, then the firearm may be converted to a rifle of 16” or longer barrel; and it can later be converted back into a pistol.
  2. If the above pictured receiver was originally built into a rifle of 16” or longer barrel, then the rifle can never be converted to a pistol. HOWEVER, it can be registered as an SBR, and then the owner is free to put any length barrel on it he wants to.
  3. If the above pictured receiver was originally built into a pistol, and the owner attaches a rifle stock but changes nothing else, he/she has made an unlawful SBR, UNLESS the receiver has previously been registered for an SBR.
It is important to understand the difference between a brace and a stock, when considering an AR platform weapon of shorter than carbine length barrel. In March of 2017, ATF Assistant Director Marvin Richardson issued a letter of opinion in response to a January 2017 inquiry from Mark Barnes, Esq - Outside Counsel to SB Tactical, Inc. Here is a copy of that letter: https://cdn0.thetruthaboutguns.com/wp-c ... .21.17.pdf. Up until sometime in late 2016 or so, it was completely illegal to shoulder-fire an AR Pistol with a brace of any kind mounted to the buffer tube. AD Richardson’s letter is considered a “clarification” of the rules - but the actual rules have not been changed. There is STILL a legal difference between a brace and a stock. The determining factor is NOT how you use it, but the intent of the design. If the item was designed strictly as a brace for shooting it as a pistol - for instance, bracing the pistol between your torso and arm - then it is legally a brace. If the item was designed for firing from the shoulder, then it is a stock. Modifying a brace in any way - including so simple as removal of any included sling - converts it into a stock, and you now have an unregistered SBR. There are some very rare exceptions to this rule..... German Mause Model 1896 “Broomhandle” pistols were manufactured with a removable “carbine stock”, as were some pre-WW2 Luger pistols. ATF determined a while back (I have the text of the letter below, but am still looking for a link. I will provide it when I find it) that these pistols should be delisted as SBRs because they are “curios”. Here is the text of the letter:
Mr. Mitchell,

This is in reference to your email (below) in which you inquire about the legality of affixing an original or reproduction shoulder stock to a Model 1896 broomhandle semiautomatic pistol. Your email was forwarded to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) for reply.

A rifle having a barrel of less than 16 inches in length is a firearm as that term is defined in Title 26, United States Code (U.S.C.), Chapter 53, § 5845(a)(3). If a pistol were possessed with an attachable shoulder stock, the combination would be a firearm as defined. Weapons of this type are subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA).

However, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) has previously determined that by reason of the date of their manufacture, value, design, and other characteristics, the following when possessed with an attachable shoulder stock, are primarily collector’s items and are not likely to be used as weapons, and, therefore, are excluded from the provisions of the NFA:

Mauser, model 1896 semiautomatic pistol accompanied by original German mfd. detachable wooden holster/shoulder stocks, all semiautomatic German mfd. variations produced prior to 1940, any caliber.

Further, ATF has determined that such firearms are curios or relics as defined in Title 26, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 178, § 178.11 and, therefore, would still be subject to the Gun Control Act of 1968.

ATF has previously determined that Mauser Model 1896 pistols with reproduction stocks, which duplicate or closely approximate the originals, have also been removed from the provisions of the NFA. Copies of the Mauser pistol using frames of recent manufacture, with shoulder stocks, are still subject to the NFA.

If an individual possesses a pistol and shoulder stock combination that has not been removed from the provisions of the NFA, the combination would constitute a firearm subject to the provisions of the NFA. The fact that the stock was not attached to the pistol would have no bearing on this classification.

We trust the foregoing has been responsive to your inquiry. If we can be of any further assistance, please contact us.

Firearms Technology Branch
I don’t know if this ruling also applies to pre-war Hipowers with accessory shoulder stocks.

It’s a ridiculous distinction, but don’t blame me. I didn’t write the stupid law.

The PDW stock on the above pictured weapon was designed to be shouldered. Indeed, it would be extremely impractical to use as a brace. Therefore, putting a PDW stock on an AR pistol of barrel length less than 16”, immediately converts the weapon to an SBR. If you don’t have a stamp, you risk 10 years in federal “pounding your behind” prison.

Is it worth the risk? Not for me. I like most everyone on this forum, and I respect most of your opinions, but if you put a PDW stock on a weapon that started life as a pistol, with a barrel of less than 16” - without registering said weapon as an SBR - you’re playing with fire, and my best advice would be, don’t do it.

Hopefully, the owner of the above AR with the PDW stock actually does have it registered for an SBR, and no harm no foul. But I thought it was REALLY important to make sure that other respondents in that thread understood the distinctions, so as to avoid legal troubles. That PDW stock is a nice (if, IMHO overpriced) piece of kit. I wouldn’t mind having one myself. But you can be dang sure I would never put it on a pistol without first registering it as a SBR.

I will edit this post as I find out more information. And like I said, I’m happy to be corrected, if you can provide either letter of the law, or official ATF opinion/clarification letters. I’d RATHER be wrong about all of this, but I fear that I am not.

Edited to add: it has been brought to my attention that the above PDW stock is in fact a brace, and marketed as one. Chalk it up to bad eyesight. (I am having my cataracts removed in May. :coolgleamA: ) Never the less, the above content is a caution to anyone who would go through this process to make sure and get it right.
Last edited by The Annoyed Man on Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#2

Post by BBYC » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:58 pm

I'm not familiar with the receiver extension accessory on that particular AR. If the manufacturer has a determination letter saying it's a brace, not a stock, then no foul.
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Re: Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#3

Post by Soccerdad1995 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:59 pm

Are you sure that is a rifle stock? From the pictures it looks a lot like a Sig Pistol Brace, which the ATF has concluded to not be a rifle stock. If there is no ATF ruling on this specific brace / stock / whatever, then like you said, it comes down to the intent of the designers. So the manufacturer's web site and marketing would be key in making the determination, I believe.
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Re: Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#4

Post by The Annoyed Man » Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:06 pm

Soccerdad1995 wrote:Are you sure that is a rifle stock? From the pictures it looks a lot like a Sig Pistol Brace, which the ATF has concluded to not be a rifle stock. If there is no ATF ruling on this specific brace / stock / whatever, then like you said, it comes down to the intent of the designers. So the manufacturer's web site and marketing would be key in making the determination, I believe.
See my edit above. This is what I thought I was looking at:
Image

That is my son’s 7” SBR in 5.56, with a PDW rifle stock from MVB Industries on it - not a brace, as in the previous image.

So like I said, I stand corrected on the original image (bad eyesight), but this is still important info for anyone considering an AR based weapon with a short barrel.
Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself.—Hookalakah Meshobbab
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Re: Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#5

Post by Scott B. » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:24 pm

The Annoyed Man wrote: Edited to add: it has been brought to my attention that the above PDW stock is in fact a brace, and marketed as one. Chalk it up to bad eyesight. (I am having my cataracts removed in May. :coolgleamA: ) Never the less, the above content is a caution to anyone who would go through this process to make sure and get it right.
The Sig collapsing 3-position pistol brace is even more stock like than the SB PDW brace. Cracks me up every time I handle one for a customer. I used to be able to say that a stock is always better than a pistol brace. But we're quickly approaching a point where these newer designs are narrowing the gap (gap measured in features x $200/time).

At some point ATF will draw a line, or worse yet re-draw a line.
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Re: Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#6

Post by The Annoyed Man » Mon Mar 19, 2018 2:29 pm

Scott B. wrote:
The Annoyed Man wrote: Edited to add: it has been brought to my attention that the above PDW stock is in fact a brace, and marketed as one. Chalk it up to bad eyesight. (I am having my cataracts removed in May. :coolgleamA: ) Never the less, the above content is a caution to anyone who would go through this process to make sure and get it right.
The Sig collapsing 3-position pistol brace is even more stock like than the SB PDW brace. Cracks me up every time I handle one for a customer. I used to be able to say that a stock is always better than a pistol brace. But we're quickly approaching a point where these newer designs are narrowing the gap (gap measured in features x $200/time).

At some point ATF will draw a line, or worse yet re-draw a line.
In a world in which ARs with bump stocks are reclassified as machine guns, you can take it to the bank that it’s a matter of time before pistols with braces get reclassified as SBRs. I don’t think that’s a reason not to get one; I’m just putting my natural pessimism about gov’t’s lack of appreciation for individual liberty on display for you all to enjoy. :mrgreen:

If that comes to pass, then you might as well spend the $200 and upgrade from a brace to an actual stock. The braces might be pretty usable as a stock, but I’m betting that an actual stock is still a better solution.
Give me Liberty, or I'll get up and get it myself.—Hookalakah Meshobbab
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Re: Putting a Rifle Stock on a AR Pistol

#7

Post by LAYGO » Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:18 pm

I think, and I might be wrong, part of the confusion of pistol to rifle vs rifle to pistol is, when these laws were made, there really wasn't a "modular" way to make those changes without it being permanent. To make an SBR/SBS, you sawed off the barrel. It was permanent. So going from a rifle to a pistol is "permanent" in the eyes of the NFA.

Now, with a platform like the AR15, you can bounce between the 2 in a matter of seconds . . . which really highlights the obsoleteness of the laws. I'd hate for the ATF to realize it.
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