Appeals Court: SIG Muzzle Brake is Suppressor Component

sig mpx brake suppressor lawsuit

SIG’s extended muzzle brake is, in the eyes of the law, a suppressor component. The U.S. District Court of New Hampshire upheld the lower court’s ruling in favor of the ATF. “[The] gun SIG Sauer seeks to market includes a ‘silencer’ under the National Firearms Act,” reads the ruling.

Announced at SHOT Show 2013 and put into production about a year later, SIG’s permanently-attached muzzle device has always been a little controversial. It was originally touted as a brake that could be converted to a suppressor with a threaded adapter sleeve. The idea was that SIG could sell the MPX carbine and customers could buy an adapter separately. This would give shooters the instant gratification of getting the carbine right away and let them get in the NFA-waiting line in their own time.

It was marketing genius, and an engineering solution to a regulatory problem. By permanently attaching the muzzle device to the barrel, the MPX brake also brought the overall barrel length to over 16 inches long, preventing the gun from being NFA-regulated, too, as a short-barreled rifle. The suppressor adapter was to be the only NFA-regulated component.

Whether the brake legally counted as a suppressor component was up for debate immediately. The ATF quickly determined that it was indeed part of a silencer, making it an NFA-regulated component by itself. SIG filed suit against the ATF’s determination in 2014 and, late last year, lost their first lawsuit.

The appeals court agreed with the lower court’s ruling and agreed with the ATF. The ATF’s case argued that the device did not function “safely” without a sleeve, and that installing a sleeve effectively made it a silencer.

The MPX has a handguard that extends beyond the first baffles of the muzzle device. This is why the ATF determined that the device was unsafe and required a sleeve; the gasses leaving the muzzle were directed toward the shooter’s hand, putting the user at risk. In a certain light, it may seem like the ATF determined that the device was a suppressor — after converting it to a suppressor.

SIG may decide to press the issue further, although there are other reasons the appeals court ruled in favor of the ATF. “Further supporting ATF’s finding that this part is a monolithic baffle core is … that this part is identical to the monolithic baffle core that SIG Sauer uses as the interior of the complete silencers that it sells; that SIG Sauer used the same part number to identify the part in question here and [for] the core of its removable silencer; that SIG Sauer labeled this part a ‘silencer’ on its invoice; and that the part included threading at the muzzle end that made it easy to encase the part to produce a complete silencer.”

The court also agreed with the ATF’s arguments that the brake is unusually large, particularly for a pistol-caliber carbine, and dimension-wise, similar to monocore baffles used in silencers, not brakes. The fact that the device was threaded to accept an adapter to convert to a suppressor without modification was also part of their decision.

SIG argued that the part was oversized to bring the overall barrel length up to over 16 inches to exempt it from NFA-regulation but ultimately the court ruled that the device was designed as a suppressor component first, then re-classified as a brake. SIG had “basically taken the cap off [of its] silencer, welded it onto the gun, and [was] just going to sell it as a muzzle brake.”

See Also: ‘It’s a Silencer,’ says Federal Judge in SIG Case Against ATF

The next step would be to take it to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court has been lukewarm towards gun-related cases recently. The Supreme Court passed on making a ruling on whether or not “assault weapons” bans are constitutional last December. The court also greatly expanded the ‘domestic abuser’ standard, by establishing that a person can lose a constitutionally-protected right over a misdemeanor crime. They did, however, toss out a finding that stun guns and other electronic arms are not protected under the Second Amendment, putting the issue back to the lower court.

Following the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, the Supreme Court also only has eight justices, which means there are no tie-breaker judges in the case of close decisions. Scalia was a strong supporter of gun rights and a staunch originalist, sticking to the tenets of the Constitution, Bill of Rights and common law.

{ 15 comments… add one }
  • PanteraSteve August 13, 2016, 8:55 pm

    Why not just buy a few of the old Paladin Press books on how to make a homemade silencer that are for sale right now Amazon?!! Then they can say the books are just as Evil!
    Bottom line is we as a country are going to hell in a handbasket and 97% of the population are just sheep, so it looks as though we’re on our own unless a miracle happens in November…….
    Be safe🇺🇸✊🏼

  • SGT-N August 5, 2016, 9:35 pm

    Point is moot. The SIG Sauer MPX Gen2 comes equipped with a Keymod handguard, a large flashguard/compensater, and an updated 30-round mag. The only thing that I don’t like are the BUIS. I’m going to replace them with a set of Troy sights to go with the Meoptra red dot. I have a second mag on order and some good 147 grain ammo coming. Hillary will not like this rifle, but she has to win, and the Democrats, which is an oxymoron, need to take both houses of Congress to do anything about it. Vote your sport this year.

    • SGT-N August 5, 2016, 9:37 pm

      Sorry about the double. I really don’t know what happened to cause it.

  • SGT-N August 5, 2016, 9:35 pm

    Point is moot. The SIG Sauer MPX Gen2 comes equipped with a Keymod handguard, a large flashguard/compensater, and an updated 30-round mag. The only thing that I don’t like are the BUIS. I’m going to replace them with a set of Troy sights to go with the Meoptra red dot. I have a second mag on order and some good 147 grain ammo coming. Hillary will not like this rifle, but she has to win, and the Democrats, which is an oxymoron, need to take both houses of Congress to do anything about it. Vote your sport this year.

  • Donald Silvernail August 5, 2016, 9:11 pm

    Anyone who has one of those fake can’s screwed to the front of their guns better watch out. The ATF will realize that they can’t allow people to use/possess those as they are just the other half of their own argument. That may be a version of a suppressor baffle on the front of that Sig but does it function as a suppressor or just look like part of one? A toy gun may look just like a real gun – but does that mean, in this brave new world, that it is?

  • Carl O'Quinn August 5, 2016, 12:54 pm

    As a former Class II manufacturer and suppressor designer, I can tell you the ATF was absolutely correct in carrying this case to court and the court ruled correctly against SiG. As a matter of fact, the “design” of the “muzzle brake devise” that SiG originally used on MPX Carbine was extremely close in design to a patented suppressor design owned by me. This “devise” was in fact a “one piece suppressor insert”, that my company used in all of it’s suppressors for twenty years and SiG was well aware of the one piece suppressor insert, design and usefulness. This insert took the place of the multiple piece baffles and spacers used in conventional suppressors for years. In deference to SiG’s position on the issue, it was not a muzzle brake but in reality a suppressor part. All an individual would technically have to do would be to thread the back of the “muzzle brake” and screw a tube over it and guess what? You have a suppressor!!

    While I a not a big fan of the ATF bureaucracy, they were right and SiG was wrong.

    • Danny August 10, 2016, 10:37 am

      I agree 100%. They should have known better. All they did was muddy up the water. They could have designed it just like Tactical Solutions SB-X barrel for the 10/22 that has a shroud that gets it to the 16″ needed to not be a SBR and still allow a suppressor to be attached to the threaded barrel inside the shroud keeping the overall length with a suppressor close to 16″.

  • KurtW August 5, 2016, 11:15 am

    By that brilliant metric, the barrel itself is a component. Following such inarguable genius, the receiver is, too, and then the trigger……and the stock……..

    Da shin bone conneted to da leg bone…… Da leg bone connected to……

  • Ken August 5, 2016, 10:23 am

    Then according to their theory, the “threads” on the muzzle of any firearm is “part of a silencer”.

  • Brett August 5, 2016, 9:32 am

    My question is why does it matter? Why is a sound suppressor device illegal to begin with? Who cares, we have to put sound suppressor devices on our cars, our motorcycles, we have laws on how loud you can play your music but we want our guns as loud as possible. Why? Does it make you feel any safer? Also the size restriction of 16″ make no sense. Are guns more dangerous it they are shorter. This is an arbitrary number pulled out of thin air, why not 15″ or 17″ or even 32″. Why does a rifle have to be a certain length? Show me the scientific proof on why I am safer with a gun that is at least 16″. It just doesn’t make any sense. But then again when you get the government involved all common sense gets thrown out the window.

    • Mahatma Muhjesbude August 5, 2016, 6:22 pm

      Exactly, or put another way in the land of Totalitarian absurdities, You can’t drive a class B truck anywhere near a crowd of more than 50 persons without an automatic speed governor limiting its speed to five miles per hour max? But even at that speed, it can easily crash through a storefront window of a pizza parlor and smash and crush dozens of sitting patrons?

      It’s amazing to me how much money Sig spent on a lawsuit that was basically a waste of time when they should have just sued the BATFE for violating and infringing upon the Constitutional right of the people to own whatever fucking kind of gun they want so they could sell a lot more of their weapons without any ridiculous totalitarian Fiat restrictions?

      They even have enough influence and money if they got together with other class II or III businesses and with the help of the NRA and other pro 2/A groups start a class action lawsuit and take that all the way to the SCOTUS? That way in the meantime they might be able to keep selling them. and if Donald got in and the Scotus became ‘Real’ again, maybe Sig would be able to sell their Suppressed SBR’s anywhere after we start repealing ALL these illegal Acts of Tyranny?

      Seems like Sig had bad legal advice?

  • ALFRED August 5, 2016, 8:48 am

    I’ll buy a Sig just for their willingness to fight.

  • Gunny August 5, 2016, 5:37 am

    The ATF has it out for Sig . Sig loses every case that goes forth .

  • Cam August 2, 2016, 1:28 pm

    Well if that’s the way they think them I better get rid of all this large washers because with a threaded pipe I can make a silencer. So could not all washers potentially be a baffle? Heck, I have a friend that at first I thought he was making a silencer. But found out he was turning down aluminum and center drilling it to make metal feet for his audio equipment.
    Looking at the design I think they could be used as as internal suppers or baffles.
    Atf proves again how stupid it is when the expanded their interpretation to say that any part of a silencer is a silencer. All because they didn’t want silencers easily repairable.
    Court them proves they are retarded too, by agreeing with them 2 times.
    The atf needs to be disbanded.

    • deanbob August 5, 2016, 11:11 am

      Is the ATF retarded, or just has an agenda they are pushing (part of the statist mindset)?

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