The ATF Published Their Final Rule on Pistol Braces, Stabilizing Braces, Accessories Used to Convert Pistols into Short-Barreled Rifles

Final Rule makes clear that when manufacturers, dealers, and individuals use stabilizing braces to convert pistols into rifles with a barrel of less than 16 inches, commonly referred to as a short-barreled rifle, they must comply with the laws that regulate those rifles, including the National Firearms Act (NFA). Certain stabilizing braces are designed to attach to pistols, converting them into short-barreled rifles fired from the shoulder. Therefore, they must be treated in the same way under the rule.

The rule went into effect on January 31, 2023, the date of publication in the Federal Register. The rule allows for a 120-day period for manufacturers, dealers, and individuals to register tax-free any existing NFA short-barreled rifles covered by the rule.

Pistol Brace Regulation Summary:

  •   •  All firearms formerly designated as a pistol with Stabilizing Brace (meeting certain definitions) are now classified as Short Barreled Rifles (SBR), a firearm controlled by the NFA (National Firearms Act).
  •   •  Individuals
    •        •  May register the firearm with the ATF as an SBR and keep the brace.
      •               •  The registration form must be submitted by May 31.
      •              •  The markings on the gun must be used in the registration process.
      •               •  The Tax fee of $200 is waived.
      •               •  Specific instructions are available on the AFT site. Forms:
    •        •  May permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” such that it cannot be reattached.
    •        •  May remove the short barrel and replace with a barrel of 16” or longer
    •        •  May surrender the firearm to your local ATF office
    •        •  May destroy the firearm
  •   •  Rules for Current FFLS
    •        •  Pistols with braces which now qualify as SBRs may not be transferred
    •        •  Braces must be removed
    •        •  If they choose, each qualifying firearm may be registered as an SBR by filing the appropriate forms
    •        •  Customer-owned, non-registered NFA items in the CSA Guns gunsmith area cannot be returned to the customer with the brace attached

Possessors of these newly classified firearms have 120 days (May 31, 2023) to comply with the regulation.

Implications on Classifications

  •   •  Previous ATF classifications involving “stabilizing brace” attachments for firearms are superseded and considered null and void as of January 31, 2023.
  •   •  Firearms with such attachments MAY be submitted to ATF for re-classification.
    •        •  Refer to accompanying ATF guidance on existing firearms with “stabilizing brace” impacted by this rule.

Options for possessors vary by classification of the possessor as stated above.

Detailed questions should be directed to the ATF:

Transfers and New Acquisitions

  •   •  To transfer after January 31, 2023, the SBR must first be registered in the NFRTR, and then a Form 4 must be submitted and approved.
  •   •  Any SBR with a “stabilizing brace” that is newly made or acquired after January 31, 2023, will be subject to the regular NFA Form 1 (or Form 2 for qualified SOT holders) application process and making tax.

ATF Resources

ATF – Contact

  •   •  For questions regarding the application of the final rule, contact the Firearms Industry Programs Branch at Firearms Industry Programs Branch:
  •   •  For technical questions regarding firearms, contact the Firearms and Ammunition Technology Division at:
  •   •  For questions regarding the rulemaking process, contact the Office of Regulatory Affairs at

For questions about the eForm process, utilize the “Ask the Experts” tab within the eForms application.