Can You Legally Shoulder A Sig Arm Brace?

The video above is the sorta gun nerd stuff that I’m sure interests more than just a few of us.

Attorney Adam Kraut, a contributor for The Gun Collective, takes a deep dive into the weeds of the SIG Brace controversy, asking the question: “Can you legally shoulder Sig Arm Brace?”

The short answer is no, you can’t.  The ATF can come after you for violating the law if you shoulder a stabilizing brace.   And Kraut says as much in the video.

However, the point he also makes based upon his legal interpretation of certain definitions, i.e. rifle, that one can theoretically shoulder a brace if they did not make or remake, design or redesign the brace.

In other words, if you purchased a firearm with the brace already attached or if you borrowed a friend’s at the range you can theoretically shoulder the brace because you, yourself, did not make or remake, design or redesign the brace.

Instead, what Kraut argues is that while you may be “misusing” the firearm, i.e. putting it to your shoulder, you — as the borrower of a friend’s or a buyer of an existing firearm with a brace —  have not redesigned or modified the product with the intent of shouldering it.  Plainly stated, misuse does not count as (re)making, modifying or (re)designing the firearm.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking, that’s not a loophole one wants to exploit in practice.  And again, I agree.  I wouldn’t want to test it out either. In theory. though, Kraut’s argument makes sense by the letter of the law.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

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  • Shoulder Braces April 25, 2019, 9:14 am

    I heard from the grapevine tax stamps are going to be going down in price for SBR’s but if you are shooting on your property, by all means, don’t let me tell you what to do,but on a public shooting range yes you will get in trouble especially since there are undercover police officers everywhere,stay safe LONG LIVE 2A

  • chris quake April 20, 2018, 4:38 am

    Who would have thought hero and all around good guy Vint Bonner (John Payne) in the Restless Gun, were he around today, could be charged by the ATF for turning his Peacemaker into a SBR when he attached the stock he carried in his saddlebag.

  • Jarrett Pyle June 21, 2017, 4:17 pm

    Hello my comment is I have a Sig Sauer MPX 9mm and it came with the Sig brace, mine is a generation 2 and I was told bye the gun shop that I bought it from that I can’t shoulder the weapon or add a vertical grip on the keymod rail but I can add an angled forward grip like a Magpul or whatever……. I’m not a huge fan of Magpul, can’t remember exactly but I would like to add an angled grip, and I put a Sig Sauer Romeo 4 read Dot and it is actually more comfortable to put the pistol on my collarbone and cheek it so it’s really close and tight on my face and since it’s a 9mm there isn’t really any recoil not much anyway I mean it’s a 9mm for god sakes I just would love to get a response from somebody to make sure that’s completely legal if I do get the forward angled grip not the vertical grip like I would prefer but the angled grip I would really appreciate an answer from somebody who knows what they’re talking about that would be awesome and greatly appreciated so everybody have a great day thank you in advance for any help you might be able to give me……..HAVE A GREAT Day AND

    • Bruce W. Brozman January 15, 2018, 11:09 am

      I just added a tactical flashlight instead of a grip and it works just fine!

  • Bradley Bourn June 12, 2017, 4:30 pm

    Barrel lengths, buttstocks now called shoulder braces – Screw the whole thing. The federal government went after a family in Idaho when the father, who needed money, succumbed to a two year request from a “friend” (a crook turned fed snitch) to saw a barrel of a shotgun off a 1/4″ shorter than the legal limit. For that horrible crime (sarcasm) 300 Federal agents descended on his home and shot his dog dead, shot his 11 year son dead, and shot his wife in the face while she was holding her infant daughter on her hip. This is a Constitutional crisis. The two NGAs should be revoked in their entirety. As American’s we should shoulder every buttstock in protest, civil disobedience to unconstitutional oppression is the only answer. And you gun writers who carry on this dribble are part of the problem. You should be leading the way, so since you are not, get the hell out of the way…

  • Roger Caster April 28, 2017, 9:26 am

    WHY can’t they give us a YES or a HELL NO in plain English so every one understands and no one gets in big trouble because they don’t understand lawyer talk.I have a 10.5in pistol that I had to quit shooting untill Sig came out with his brace . Then I could shoot it for a short while until my arm strength would not let me hold it up any more so I could shoulder it and keep shooting. I am 80 years old and loosing stength in my arms thats why I got the pislol because it was lighter and I could hold it.
    I have a handicap tag on my vehicles ! Do you think they could help a old man out with a handicap sticker for his pistol so he can keep shooting

  • Edster December 6, 2016, 8:15 am

    Now, I’m in a quandary. I purchased a SigSauer P516 “pistol” with the brace attached, several years ago…before all this “ATF ruling” reinterpretation nonsense came into being. From the start, I have shouldered it and don’t see it as shootable any other way. The public range where I go to practice has now banned the act of shouldering my P516. I wonder if it will be totally banned one day. Should I sell it while I can?

    Can we blame that shotgun “pistol” manufacturer (Black Aces Tactical) for stirring up the ATF dust? Some other poster mentioned that shotguns are never considered pistols and attaching the brace to change the classification to a SBS started it all after they contacted the ATF for “reassurance. Anyone know?

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn August 19, 2016, 10:06 pm

    Simply because we have a right to do something doesn’t make it right to do that something. Go ahead, test the resolve of the ATF. You might win. Test the resolve of a judge or a judge with a jury? Shout all you want as you’re hauled off to jail and your house is repossessed in order to pay your legal fees. They’re stupid guns with minimal practicality and will only make defending the Second Amendment more difficult. We will never convince the Clinton’s but we do need the help of the gun-less masses who vote, write letters, and thus can be our allies or foes. It’s our choice. So ban them? Not necessarily. Ignore them. Convince would-be buyers that there are better alternatives that won’t break the bank on buying ammunition and are just as much fun. Oh, and tell their manufacturers that their products are stupid and that you intend to marginalize them.

    • Travis Jenkins August 20, 2016, 10:46 am

      In a country where speaking your mind and sharing your views is becoming endangered if you are conservative in your beliefs, I respect your opinion. However, consider that expanding gun rights in every aspect possible should be the goal of all enthusiasts. Lately gun owners are acting like the Republican Party, divided. Was stand to lose a lot more by not sticking together to prevent the gun grabbers from taking complete control of the government. Who really cares if you happen to touch your shoulder with a part of the firearm that wasn’t intended to be used that way. Did you ever use a screwdriver as a pry bar? What would the tool police or the people at Stanley tools think about that?
      Maybe they should confiscate your tool box and ban you from home repair projects. I’m just thinking out loud here….

      • m January 5, 2017, 7:10 pm

        So, here is the dilemma as I understand your argument… (and I’m on your side… just so you know – I think the rule is silly but I think rather than being critical of the rule gun owners need to stop arguing and unite)… but there is no rule/law/otherwise other than warnings and just bad practice against using a screwdriver as a prybar… The brace was made for a pistol style AR and the fact that they let it go this far is something. Now, mind you there is another type of “restricted tool” that you have to pay a special fee to own and trying to use your screwdriver in this capacity is another matter. No driving your car into the lake doesn’t make it a boat (though it may make it an anchor or scrap metal…) but if you have to have a special registration for a motor boat – making a car that floats and works like a boat may very well make it a boat in that sense and force you to get a registration for a motorized craft on public water… So we’re really just splitting hairs and forcing the point so much that they may just outlaw the braces in the long run just because they’re creating so much headache for them. If it’s a pistol, it’s a pistol. If you want an SBR then you have to get the paperwork done…. for now that is the real issue. Now, as gun owners unite and vote, maybe we can get the SBR restrictions changed…. that should be the goal, not to find ways around the current rules. Just my opinion…
        Also, if all the internet/youtube commandos keep telling the ATF how they’re “getting away” with something because the “letter of the law” doesn’t “EXACTLY” say this or that… then what can we expect other than the government to make the language more and more clear until the point that we all end up looking like California… now there is a mess for gun owners!!

  • DaveGinOly August 19, 2016, 2:35 pm

    The premise of the ATF’s argument is that “use” can “redesign” an object, making it something other than that which was designed (a forearm brace, when used as a shoulder stock, actually becomes a shoulder stock). If this is true, then a user should be able to take something that’s illegal and “redesign” it into something legal by using it for a different purpose as if it were a legal object – such as mounting a vertical foregrip on a pistol – which is illegal – and using it exclusively as a monopod – supports for pistols are perfectly legal. This is obviously so much hooey. If you put something on your gun and it’s illegal, it’s illegal, no matter how you use it. (I’m sure the ATF would agree with that). If you put something legal on your gun, you can’t make it illegal by using it as if it were something else. Legally, a “handgun” is a firearm designed to be used with one hand (hence the prohibition on pistol-mounted foregrips). Does grasping the handgun with two hands (as is the modern technique) “redesign” the gun, making it illegal? What nonsense!

    • m January 5, 2017, 7:16 pm

      yes it seems like nonsense to me too, but figure if you have a car and need a boat, and the boat must be registered. If you make your car float and function as a boat, you’d have to register it to have a legal motorized water craft regardless of if it’s “technically” still a car. Parks and Wildlife/ Dept of Natural Resources (or whatever they’re called in your state) would want their money too for you using your “Car” as a “boat” for travel on the water… I think we’ve all gotten too caught up in the “let’s argue semantics” and not active enough with getting the current rules changed. If the anti-gun people in California can sign patitions to get anti laws on the vote, why can’t the millions of gun owners and those groups who are supposed to help support us get pro laws on the vote so that we can get the current SBR/Suppressor laws changed? Just my 2 cents.

      • Gmoney February 14, 2017, 12:23 pm

        M…while I understand the correlation your trying to make it is not the same to compare to someone modifying a car to a boat…a car was not made for the water, if some mechanic wants to change the purpose of the car to be a watercraft then of course he has a register it as a boat. The point here is that the guns purpose has not changed, it was made to shoot a projectile before the brace is added and still made to shoot a projectile after a brace is added…its purpose has not changed. What everyone is arguing about is prior to this BS ruling, it was clear in that if you ADDED or CHANGED something on your weapon that the ATF deemed modified its definition to another classification of type then you knew if you added or changed that item then you were going to run afoul of the ATF….the difference here is that the ATF has not said that…they already ruled that added the Brace does not constitute a change or modification…shoot it with the brace around your arm your ok…lift it 8 inches and put it against your shoulder and its illegal…this would be like the ATF saying for anyone (mostly thugs) that turn their pistol 90 degrees would be illegal….or in many peoples cases uses their rifle slings to brace their arms for a more accurate shot…thats the difference, it goes from the letter of the law and clarity to point to, vs perception of ones use and one ATF agent!

  • Rand August 19, 2016, 11:31 am

    In an emergency anything is legal. Always practice for emergency conditions.

  • Darryl F. Mansfield August 19, 2016, 9:56 am

    A very good video – I understood exactly what you were trying to communicate. But then I am a retired lawyer, and as you know, we do not think like most people. It seems like the writers of the various gun laws are desperately trying to pigeon hole people into the position that as soon as a firearm designated and manufactured as a pistol (which also meets some other qualifications) touches the shoulder during the shooting process, it magically converts to an SBR. But, I agree with you, that if you purchase a pistol with a shoulder brace already attached, and then during the shooting process brace it against your shoulder, the shooter has not remade or redesigned anything to change the firearms character from a pistol to an SBR. I am sure the feds will continue to tweak the laws until nobody can understand what they are saying. And, that the law and its definitions will become so confusing that the govt. will be able to argue that the gun can become or be classified as anything the feds want it to be regardless of weather their position is logical or realistic. Well done indeed!

    • m January 5, 2017, 7:25 pm

      look at the crazy rules that just happened in California!!! in many of the videos even the gun shop people don’t seem to know for sure exactly what the new rules are… and all the youtube talking heads are speculating on what will or will not be legal … I think the problem (and I doubt that you meant it like this, but…) the “pistol with a shoulder brace already attached…” would actually be an SBR. I think that if you buy a pistol with the “Sig-brace” or other similar brace on it it’s supposed to be for a pistol. (I don’t think the Sig-brace was originally designed or approved based on the paperwork to ever be a “Shoulder brace”.).

      Now, if you could put your normal handgun to your shoulder an fire it with just a fat grip or something (so that the slide doesn’t smack you, or your cylinder gap doesn’t burn you…) by the current rules the way I understand them it also becomes an SBR? but who is really going to do that? So yeah- I agree it’s not very consistent and getting more confusing every time people start asking for more clarification…

  • David August 19, 2016, 8:25 am

    If I remember correctly the ATF made a ruling in January 2015 after receiving numerous letters about shouldering the Sig arm brace. Basically what the ATF said was if the brace was installed on a AR pistol with a barrel length under 16″ and the pistol was shouldered using the Sig arm brace then it would be considered manufacturing an SBR (short barreled rifle) which is an an NFA item and the person responsible would need to submit a Form 1 and pay for the $200 tax stamp for the pistol in that configuration to be legal.

    • Trevor Teague August 19, 2016, 9:59 am

      This whole issue is ridiculous. Would shouldering just the pistol tube make the pistol tube magically a stock?

      • Mahatma Muhjesbude August 19, 2016, 12:25 pm

        This whole issue is ridiculous bullshit for another reason.

        We are all too stupid to end it immediately. I’ve been telling everybody the simple, Constitutional solution for years now.

        Simply repeal all the gun laws. ALL of them.

        We the People still have, but for a short time if Hellbitch wins, the power to do that. Then we don’t have to submit like Muslim women slaves to the arbitrary and capricious control of the BATF!

        Which we should dismantle soon after the gun law repeals, anyway!

      • Arluv August 21, 2016, 6:57 am

        Yes…according to the latest ruling, shouldering a pistol regardless of it having the brace attached would change the weapons classification.

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