Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing BracesThe Firearm Blog

ATF: Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces

The ATF took another step toward regulating firearms with attached stabilizing braces today by proposing an amendment to the definition of a rifle in the Code of Federal Regulations and creating a worksheet that uses a point system to determine if a firearm is a “rifled barrel weapon”. The move comes after years of the agency attempting to classify certain pistol braces as stocks.

The number of attached stabilizing braces used on pistols has skyrocketed in recent years, at one point prompting the ATF to state that braces could not be shouldered likes stock. Later reversed, the agency still maintained that use of some types of braces on certain guns would constitute making a rifle, not a pistol and could violate the National Firearms Act.

The details of the most recent proposal can be found below.

More on braces @ TFB


On June 7, 2021, the Attorney General signed ATF proposed rule 2021R-08, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” amending ATF’s regulations to clarify when a rifle is “intended to be fired from the shoulder.”

The proposed rule outlines the factors ATF would consider when evaluating firearms equipped with a purported “stabilizing brace” to determine whether these weapons would be considered a “rifle” or “short-barreled rifle” under the Gun Control Act of 1968, or a “rifle” or “firearm” subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act.

What is Proposed in this Rulemaking?

The proposed rule would:

  • Amend the definition of “rifle” in 27 CFR 478.11 and 479.11, respectively, by adding a sentence at the end of each definition to clarify that the term “rifle” includes any weapon with a rifled barrel and equipped with an attached “stabilizing brace” that has objective design features and characteristics that indicate that the firearm is designed to be fired from the shoulder.
  • Set forth a worksheet “Factoring Criteria for Rifled Barrel Weapons with Accessories commonly referred to as ‘Stabilizing Braces,’” ATF Worksheet 4999, to aid the firearms industry and public in understanding the criteria that ATF considers when evaluating firearm samples that are submitted with an attached “stabilizing brace” or similar component or accessory.

This proposed rule would not affect “stabilizing braces” that are objectively designed and intended as a “stabilizing brace” for use by individuals with disabilities, and not for shouldering the weapon as a rifle. Such stabilizing braces are designed to conform to the arm and not as a buttstock.

Sample Worksheet:

ATF: Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing BracesATF: Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached Stabilizing Braces

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