Honey Badger SBR Decision Put on Pause, A Possible Reason for Classification

The ATF is putting the brakes on their decision to reclassify the Honey Badger Pistol as an NFA-regulated SBR for the next 60 days. (Photo: SB Tactical)

Q, LLC., makers of the famous-turned-infamous Honey Badger Rifle and Pistol, received a stay on the decision by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (or BATFE or just ATF) to reclassify their Honey Badger Pistol as a short-barreled rifle, or SBR. The stay will remain in place for 60 days.

The ATF issued its decision to reclassify the Honey Badger Pistol as an SBR recently, leaving gun owners and gun industry leaders angry and confused. The ruling came out of nowhere and didn’t come with an explanation further upsetting the community.

The Honey Badger Pistol, like many other “large format” or rifle-based pistols, comes equipped with an SB Tactical stabilizing brace. Just about all American gun companies today offer products furnished with braces and they have become widely accepted by gun owners.

Unlike SBRs these AR-based pistols are not regulated under the National Firearms Act, or NFA. For no clearly defined reason, the ATF issued a cease and desist letter to Q ordering the company to stop selling their Honey Badger Pistol as a non-NFA-regulated firearm, that the braced version of the Honey Badger was an SBR.

They Honey Badger Pistol was a pistol, then an SBR, but it’s a pistol again, for the next couple of months, anyway … (Photo: Q)

The public backlash was immediate and industry-wide. Major manufacturers including Q and SB Tactical along with gun-rights organizations and manufacturing associations alike demanded that the ATF reverse their decision and at the very least, explain their reasoning.

In what is hopefully part of a larger change of heart, the ATF put a pause on their cease and desist letter, issuing a 60-day stay on the decision to classify the Honey Badger Pistol as an SBR. It’s a pistol again for the next two months.

The ATF will use the time to better determine if and how the NFA applies to the Honey Badger Pistol. After the 60-day period the ATF will decide whether to withdraw or extend the suspension of their cease and desist letter.

The reasoning behind their decision to reclassify the Honey Badger Pistol was never officially clarified and it left a lot of gun owners and manufacturers wondering what the future was for braced pistols. Q published one photo that might explain the ATF’s decision.

Q shared this photo which may explain the ATF’s decision to reclassify. (Photo: Q)

In that photo they show that the Honey Badger Pistol measures just over 13.5 inches from the face of the trigger to the end of the brace with the brace fully extended. The ATF generally requires that braces measure no longer than 13.5 inches.

That photo also shows the brace measured incorrectly. In order to determine the length of the brace, the measurement needs to be taken parallel to the bore of the firearm. Other measurements are not accurate and can increase the reported length of the brace.

If that measurement was the reason why the ATF reclassified the Honey Badger Pistol, that photo shows how it was measured and why it shouldn’t disqualify the firearm’s pistol status. But it could also be a complete coincidence unrelated to the ATF’s stay on its other letter.

See Also: ATF Declares the Q Honey Badger Pistol an SBR, the Industry Responds in Force

For now, Honey Badger owners can breathe a sigh of relief. They won’t have to register their pistols as SBRs, separate them, or sell them off for fear that they have an unregistered NFA item. But this could change shortly.

This also serves as a warning for anyone holding a braced pistol with a long or telescoping brace. The ATF may consider these firearms to be regulated under the NFA if the braces are too long in their extended position.

While there’s a lot more hassle making or buying short-barreled rifles, this is a reminder that with the NFA, not even pistols are hassle-free.

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About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 54 comments… add one }
  • Gerry October 19, 2020, 10:55 pm

    The article didn’t mention the critical element of the story. This “reclassification” was issued by an ATF Field Office instead of HQ, which is unheard of and is a major breach of chain of command. Not saying HQ won’t ultimately decide to agree with the underlings that took it upon themselves to usurp their superiors’ authority, but some ass-chewing for embarrassing the Bureau will take place prior to any further talk on the subject.

  • Frank Henry Wasmer October 19, 2020, 1:15 pm

    this is ridiculous. the only people affected by stupid gun laws are law abiding citizens. Criminals do not follow the law. They could care less what the law requires. They will saw off barrels and stocks to make a SBR to use for criminal activity. In the meantime law abiding citizens are denied a useful firearm that they would not use for anything but lawful activities.

  • Mark M Roland October 19, 2020, 9:02 am

    Best way to fix a Broken System?
    Stop Complying with It.
    That Easy

    Haven’t ask Permission, Don’t require their Aqusense

  • Matthew Thacker October 19, 2020, 8:59 am

    I wrote a letter to the a president about this and to AG Barr on the abuse of power the BATF has ive the American citizens and the Constitution. This thing on pistol braces has been going on for 6 years. If they didn’t want us to have them they should have made that determination in the beginning, now that over 3 million of the things have been shipped to law abiding citizens, now they want to change their determination . This should not be legal. They are finding out that more Americans would rather buy one of these than pay 200.00 for a SBR tax stamp.,their losing money so what to do, make them illegal and tell us if we don’t want them go to jail register it as a NFA weapon. Extortion at the very least. We do everything in our power as lawful citizens but that’s still not enough for them. Six years of flip flop on whether we could shoulder them or not. Much ado about nothing. Braces don’t make a weapon fire any differently, if anything they make pistols safer, giving a stable base to hit the target instead of holding a 6 pound weapon out in front of you wobbling all over. The NFA has to be repealed. There is no proof that short barred rifles or silencers are used in or cause any more crime. The fact is control, and money. If I have a concealed permit I’ve been checked out. It means I’m legal to carry a gun concealed, if I was a criminal would I go out of the way to get a permit. My point is only us that jump through all the hoops put in front of us to own firearms are the ones that catch hell from government agencies for trying to do the right thing.

  • Steve in Detroit October 19, 2020, 5:40 am

    Biden is going to have beto boy take all the guns, he made that clear earlier this year.

  • Chris Cline October 17, 2020, 1:06 am

    From what I can ascertain, there is NOTHING in this and is MOST likely the result of an incorrect measurement made by the ATF. As the article says, the maximum Length Of Pull (LOP) allowed is 13.5″ and the measurement is taken from the rearward most face on the back of the pistol brace to the front face of the trigger, PARALLEL to the bore. According to the ATF photo showing the measuring tape, which is CLEARLY NOT PARALLEL with the bore, but is in fact at an angle, the LOP on the Honey Badger is 13 9/16″. WELL, 13 and 8/16″ is the same as 13.5″, so according to the ATF, the LOP is 1/16″ out of compliance. I would bet that if the measurement was taken CORRECTLY, that would knock that extra 1/16″ off the ATF’s measurement, making it 13 8/16″ or in other words 13.5″, which is what the ATF states is the maximum Length Of Pull for a Pistol Brace. So, unless something else comes to light, the ATF caused all the hate, discontent and worry in law abiding gun owners because the ATF ITSELF doesn’t know how to take a proper measurement of their own rule! WHAT CRAP!

    • ATheoK October 17, 2020, 10:29 pm

      Agreed, Chris!

      The picture shows an improper method for measuring “Length of Pull”!

      It’s hard to believe the BATF are supposed to know the laws; as they abundantly make clear, the BATF does not know firearm laws!

    • Dave October 18, 2020, 12:39 am

      This is what happens when we have un-elected bureaucrats trying to control our lives. They are the swamp dwellers.

    • FAL Phil October 19, 2020, 3:04 pm

      What’s the cosine on that angle?

  • Firegoat October 16, 2020, 9:32 pm

    I think it’s ridiculous anyway,
    An SBR being a CLass III.
    How is it any more concern than any other semi auto?
    It’s good for home defense because one can put it beside the bed and it don’t get in the way of the alarm clock, so I guess that’s the basis for it classification? That is as stupid as classifying the suppressor a Class III
    I’m sorry but making it shorter doesn’t make it a belt fed M-240.

  • john sabin October 16, 2020, 6:55 pm

    The A typical story of THE DOG NAMED STAY…just in case >>> come here stay, STAY come here,, MEANING? just for those whom may understand my humor..

  • Joseph J Marotta IV October 16, 2020, 6:47 pm

    A HONEY BADGER AND A SKUNK ARE NOT THE SAME ANIMAL, THE SAME APPLIES HERE IT IS A PISTOL WITH A WRIST BRACE STOCK NOT AN SBR !

  • Joseph J Marotta IV October 16, 2020, 6:43 pm

    It is a pistol with a Wrist braced stock !

  • Lee Macon October 16, 2020, 6:39 pm

    You people are a bunch off fucking idiots. You’re saying Biden will take our guns, the same shit that was said when Obama was president for 8 YEARS. Did you clowns ever pay attention to the fact that most of our gun laws that involve restrictions came during REPUBLICAN presidential tenures? Of course not because it doesn’t fit your narrative that Dems will take your guns.

    • R.D.Mercer October 18, 2020, 8:59 pm

      I hope they take your guns. You can’t even read well enough to tell this article isn’t about your daddy and how you love being his @$$ slave. I really hope you stop smoking the crack and posting the pics on your laptop.

    • J. Rhodes October 19, 2020, 12:00 pm

      True…0bama and his monkey Biden could not and never will take Americans legally owned guns.

      They both are way short of manhood to accomplish such a task as are you.

      Your Democratic Party is evolving into the Nationalist Socialist Workers Party and American Patriots will resist domination by the new American Nazi Party (formerly the fascist American Democratic Party).
      Biden PROMISES to disarm Americans if he is elected, you believe that he won’t.?

      That makes YOU the Idiot.

    • FAL Phil October 19, 2020, 3:07 pm

      This is the second election in a row that the democrats couldn’t get someone through the primaries that was not corrupt. I think you got bigger fish to fry than gun issues.

    • John Boutwell October 19, 2020, 4:55 pm

      You are an idiot, but I am sure you have been told that many times!

  • Zupglick October 16, 2020, 6:21 pm

    I guess I’m odd man out.
    I don’t own any AR pistols because I think they are a dumb idea.
    But to each their own.

    • BR October 17, 2020, 1:34 pm

      I agree with you, why anyone would want a rifle caliber hand gun must be morons, maybe all you people that post shooting these guns should not shoulder them, duh, show them illegal activities and this is what you get

      • Jon October 19, 2020, 7:12 am

        Agree with both of you.
        These “pistols” are just a work around to posses an SBR.
        They make a short package and easy to handle.

        • Fal Phil October 19, 2020, 3:08 pm

          I am failing to see the problem here. We didn’t make the rules. We are just following them in a way that gets us what we want.

  • Johnny B Goode October 16, 2020, 3:28 pm

    GunsofAmerica reported this fairly, but some of the conservative press did a disservice to the AR pistol community in their reporting.

    It was intuitively obvious that the HoneyBadger issue related to pull. Some of the blogosphere sources omitted any mention of pull length, focusing instead on the perceived peril all AR pistol owners face because of this.

    Guns of America reports, without a lot of supporting evidence (but that’s okay for now) that “The ATF generally requires that braces measure no longer than 13.5 inches.”

    In todays journalism environment, actually reporting the source behind each claim is more like “investigative reporting” (although it hardly qualifies as “investigative” in the current media circus unless there is a villian and a victim).

    So, just looking at pictures of the HoneyBadger with the pistol brace extended is enough for a reasonably interested AR pistol fan to know that’s on the long side. As long as any. So that was probably the issue.

    Guns of America correctly reported the length of pull issue, implying that the hypotenuse of a triangle is longer than the base.

    Measured correctly (according to GofA’s account of ATF practices) it might still hang 5 over the line, so to speak. One wonders why a gun manufacturer would tread so closely to such a consequential line, but, you know, ‘Murica! and Freedom! so huraah! to them for testing the waters.

    And the conservative blogosphere knows what it needs – clicks on headlines, stir up the base and whatever else. But it would be easy enough to report that the HoneyBadger has a longer pull than most AR Pistols so the average AR owner has little to worry about other than a Congress, Court or Executive hostile to 2A principles.

  • Ed October 16, 2020, 2:03 pm

    I own a honey badger and the first thing I did was efile a form 1 for a sbr due to my physical disabilities and needing a vertical grip in the front. I guess be prepared to file a form 1. I know it’s 200 and you shouldn’t need it. But if Trump gets re-elected you should be fine. Probably the Trump administration put a stop to this ruling.

  • True2A October 16, 2020, 1:00 pm

    Ok, so I’m an NRA Lifer, among many others I own numerous black rifles including SBRs and AOWs. EVERY time I’ve seen one of these “arm brace” AR pistols being shot, at some point the shooter shoulders and fires it as an SBR. The “arm brace” is just Symantec’s. Let’s call a spade a spade.

    • Wow October 16, 2020, 8:39 pm

      Semantics? Surely you aren’t referring to the antivirus company.

      Maybe because the NFA is complete and utter bull excrement, and your stamp collection is a sham – don’t be upset that somebody else innovated where you capitulated.

    • ATheoK October 17, 2020, 10:37 pm

      “EVERY time I’ve seen one of these “arm brace” AR pistols being shot, at some point the shooter shoulders and fires it as an SBR.”

      Indeed?

      And that floppy arm brace did exactly what when pressed against the shoulder?
      Bent up?
      Bent sideways?
      Bent down?

      Floppy arm braces fail to support or back up the firearm when it is shot. Unlike full shoulder mounting butt stocks with backplates.

  • Justa Reader October 16, 2020, 10:12 am

    Part Devil’s advocate, part just being objective: That “brace” was designed to be a collapsible rifle stock. The military Honey Badger was designed to be a replacement for the MP5k type _rifle_, which has a collapsible _rifle_ stock, and designed to be fired from the shoulder, just like the civilian 94A3 (and like the 91A3 and 93A3), which are _rifles_. It is fair to argue that many or even all of the NFA rules and many or even most of the ATF’s “rules” are arbitrary and downright silly (and many are, IMO) but this one appears to be at least consistent with longstanding rules about putting rifle stocks on pistols. I’d suggest that if Q hadn’t tried to put its toe so close to the (arbitrary) LOP 13.5″ line, this situation would not have occurred. In other words, if the “brace” had only extended to some arbitrary length like 10.5″ or 11.875″ and well shy of the 13.5″ this would not have been an issue. And if gun owners are fair and objective, a 13.5″ LOP is factually and objectively in the range of rifles, not pistols, braced or not.

  • Arthur Sido October 16, 2020, 9:47 am

    This should be a reminder to the “Vote JoJo” types. While Trump is squishy on the 2A, he is a world better than Joe Biden and one of those two is going to be sworn in next January. Your self-declared morally pure high ground won’t mean shit when Biden is banning all of your favorite firearms.

    inb4 “bUt mUh bUmpStoCkZ!”

  • Clint October 16, 2020, 9:37 am

    If you are a long time shooter, and NRA member, you may recall several stories about the ATF and their lengths to prove their point of the guilt of a gun owner. My favorite was the one where they actually loaded 5.62 ammo with the primer a bit high in order to make an AR15 fire full auto in test firing, and convict the owner of possessing an illegal machine gun. I am guessing their determination that any owner of a semi-auto that fires more than one round with a trigger pull for any reason, including bad ammo or just an odd event, owns a machine gun. My shooting buddy would have been guilty, when his new out of the box S&W 459, when we took it to the range back in 1988, on the first pull spit out 14 rounds non stop. He sent it back to S&W, but if an ATF guy had been there, they would have arrested him.

  • Rob October 16, 2020, 9:36 am

    Sounds like they ATF decided on their own to just measure it. If they’re looking at a firearm I’d think they’d call in the manufacturer. We’re looking at your firearm. We have some concerns. Could yo come down and talk to us?
    The other question is – why now? Why didn’t they make this determination when it was built?

  • Ralph M Bach October 16, 2020, 9:23 am

    I bought an AR-9 but hated the brace and removed it. Gun makers and buyers must demand the ATF give a clear and written explanation for their decision.

  • Lan Cawthon October 16, 2020, 9:23 am

    It’s obvious to me the issue was suspended until after the election. If Pres Trump wins, it will be reversed. If Biden wins, all our pistols with braces will require tax stamps and registration.

  • Winfred Brown October 16, 2020, 9:12 am

    If Biden wins it will be an SBR. Beto our future gun ZAR. Plans on moving all assault weapons (semi autos) into the NFA. Heard him say it in person, and substantially raise the tax stamp to the cost of a car. This was basis of the law in the beginning. So he is simply modernizing the law. Within 6mo I dissolved my trust. Screw em. I’m older and it’s obvious where we are heading. Look at the trend over 40yrs.

    • Rob October 16, 2020, 9:38 am

      You’re right. “Progressives” means progressively make things worse. Erode rights, march towards communism. Ever noticed that the Communist party stopped running a candidate in 2008? They said there was no difference between the Communist and Democratic party so there was no point in running a candidate any more.

      • It's Me October 16, 2020, 1:49 pm

        Rob, Rob, Rob. Do you ever do any research?
        1. Which “Communist Party”?
        I quickly and easily found 7 extant socialist parties and 3 defunct ones.
        2. You have no clue what you are talking about, do you? You just pull this stuff out of your but and call them facts. Or, at best, listen to too much talk radio and actually believe what they say.

        So lets see the FACTS. Here is a list of some extant socialist parties and what they do:
        Workers World Party – Has put forth candidates from 1980 to 2016.
        Party for Socialism and Liberation – Has put forth candidates from 2008 to 2020. AMAZING! Right when you said there were no more communist presidential candidates. Look! There’s a group that STARTED running in 2008!
        Socialist Party USA – Has put forth candidates from 1976 to 2020.
        Social Democrats, USA – From their founding in 1972 to today they have only, at most, endorsed candidates.
        Democratic Socialists of America – Since their founding in 1982 they have, at most, endorsed candidates.
        Socialist Workers Party (United States) – Have put forth candidates from 1948 to 2020.
        Communist Party USA – As communist a name as you can get. Probably the one you were thinking of. And……..drum roll please………. They stopped putting forth candidates after 1984. Maybe they decided to align with Regan, since he did so well in that election? Since 1984 they do “not endorse candidates from other parties”.

        Wow, who would have guessed. You were completely wrong.

  • Tom Benton October 16, 2020, 8:26 am

    I have owned an AR pistol for years. It has a hard plastic brace. It was allowed by the ATF. I am not paying for a tax stamp or giving it up. If the ATF wants it , knock on my door. I am a 71 year old retired doctor who has hunted and used firearms since age 7. I have never violated a law but If I were to violate one, this would be it. The anarchy in the streets verifies the need to possess firearms for self defense. If law enforcement decides to violate the Constitution then possession of firearms to prevent Government Tyranny is validated. As an aging American I subscribe to the creed, “ Live Free or Die “

    • Dave Emery October 16, 2020, 2:29 pm

      Nice attitude Dr. I’m right there with you.

    • James Miller October 16, 2020, 4:52 pm

      To steal a phrase…”as I get older, life in prison is less of a deterrent.” BTW, we are the same age, Doc!

    • Happy October 17, 2020, 3:52 pm

      I saw a meme showing Judge Barrett with a blank notepad showing “the list of Democrats required for her confirmation.” My dearest hope is that she can apply originalists intent and we can quickly dismantle the ATF. Wouldn’t that be a world? Where you don’t have to go ask for permission to purchase something that was a natural right guaranteed by an Amendment?

  • Bullschnike October 16, 2020, 8:14 am

    Yeah and it’s crap like this that makes me think the ATF is a bunch of idiots and if the public made enough noise we could get them disbanded and the NFA repealed…

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn October 16, 2020, 7:57 am

    A product waiting for an “incident” and a lawsuit sure to follow.. And I’m an AR-platform owner.

  • Mel Brooks October 16, 2020, 7:28 am

    Comments on the original article on the Honey Badger had Commies and concern TROLLS coming out of the woodwork to blame POTUS and the NRA. I posted at least 12 times refuting each of you and not one wrote back again. WATCH OUT FOR CONCERN TROLLS. They are worse than gun-hating Antifa faggots.

    So, now that there is a 60 day Stay, are these same American-hating left-wing radicals going to come to this site and praise the POTUS and tell us they are renewing their NRA membership?

    No, I didn’t think so.

    To the rest of you working to expose them, God Bless.

    • Happy October 17, 2020, 3:59 pm

      Actually the people against the NRA are against the NRA’s methods and the fact that the largest fraction of gun legislation was written by them. All the “Fudds” who walk around saying “Yeah you shouldn’t have that! You should just have a hunting rifle like me, that’s all you need.” You see those people proliferating through the comments of this article. I’m, unfortunately, an NRA Life Member, and Wayne LaPierre and Chris Cox used all of the money I gave them for “hookers and blow” (Yeah I know not exactly true but the sentiment when they intentionally cause a situation, then cause “PANIK” cause they are running out of money to waste illegally).

  • out4trout October 16, 2020, 7:27 am

    It doesn’t take a genius to see exactly what is going on. In anticipation of Sleepy Joe winning the election, the ATF is on standby to immediately implement the Democrat’s gun control agenda. The are salivating at the prospect of turning millions of gun owners into instant felons. Again this will be just the opening round if the Democrats win in November. Per Biden you can expect Bob “the fake Mexican” to be leading the charge.

    • FAL Phil October 16, 2020, 9:05 am

      How can you be a felon if you took the brace off and destroyed it? Or lost it in the ocean while you were fishing?

      • Rob October 16, 2020, 9:40 am

        I think they’re right on with the picture. I think it’s the stock distance that’s the issue.

  • Herman October 16, 2020, 6:58 am

    If Biden/Harris win on November 3, the classification of this gun will be a moot point. It will be banned anyway, together with our regular-length AR 15’s, Mini 14’s, AK’s and all semiautomatic firearms (including pistols) that have “high-capacity” (what? More than five rounds? More than three?) magazines. Registration and confiscation will be the law of the country, and we’ll be lucky if we can keep our semiautomatic and pump shotguns and our lever “thutty-thutty.” And of course the “stand-your-ground” laws will be abrogated, the castle doctrine will disappear, and the right to self-defense will be gutted out. Biden/Harris look at Australian and British gun control as the models to imitate. They want to do away with the Second Amendment. Go to the polls and vote against these un-American “swamp creatures” even if you don’t like Trump. Freedom is at stake.

    • Allen October 16, 2020, 1:02 pm

      Already got a jump on the gutting of those laws in MO, WI, Portland, etc. they just sit back and when you exercise your rights they move in and prosecute you. Progressive PAs get indictments and ruin your lives whether they get to convict you or not. Not just on self defense cases but all kinds of cases. They’ve switched strategies and went around the 2nd Amend. Go ahead keep your guns and even use them. They don’t give a rats ass about the scum bags that we defend ourselves from. It’s not about making a criminal into a victim or about Brionna Taylor. It’s about using them to make us into criminals thus making everyone with a gun a criminal in waiting. It’s about demonizing police not about Taylor, no matter what side of this you land on or what you think the police did or didn’t do wrong. They view you the exact same way. You can do nothing right when you defend yourself in their eyes and in the eyes of a lot of Americans. You are the problem. Period.

  • Vincent October 16, 2020, 6:35 am

    I am in the process of buying a Honey Badger do I still have to get a tax stamp?

    • Jay Smith October 16, 2020, 7:44 am

      I would say , no.

    • Rob October 16, 2020, 9:48 am

      Not just a tax stamp. You need to find out if you can even own a SBP where you live. Some places like California – that’s a NO. I think Mass. is the same way. IANAL, so please check with a lawyer or the NRA for good advice. Then you’d have to follow the rules for a SBP if you can own one. It may be no big deal, could be a really big deal. I live in Maryland and there is no way I’d buy one right now. They could ban it tomorrow. I’d find something else. Keep in mind buying anything right now is really tough. The gun shop near me they can’t keep an AR platform in stock. Often a shipment is sold out by sundown.

    • Andrew October 16, 2020, 10:20 am

      What Honey Badger?
      You’re taking it boating after a test fire, right?

    • Max Slowik October 21, 2020, 12:08 am

      Call Q. Before the stay they were offering to reimburse stamps for anyone with a Pistol that was determined to be an SBR. https://www.facebook.com/UNPOSSIBLEbyQ/posts/2861393477429121

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