weld your cheek on that

As I said in a previous post, there are always workarounds for governmental idiocy: 

IMG_7776-001

To give you a better frame of reference, here are the “before” pictures of my AR pistol

In a beautifully coincidental turn of events, a package from Thordsen Customs arrived in the mail the same day the BATFE reversed their previous decisions and concluded that shouldering the SB15 is a Very Bad Idea™.  In any case, the SB15 came off and was replaced by one of Thordsen’s “Enhanced Buffer Tube Cover Kits”,  on which I also mounted a CAA Saddle, courtesy of a Saddle Adapter Kit.  

There were no real problems with installation; the only slight catch is that the Buffer Tube Cover is designed to go over a “normal” buffer tube and use the stock key on the bottom of the tube to center the cover.  Since my tube lacks that feature, I just had to eyeball it and go.  It is worth noting that Thordsen sells keyed buffer tubes without stock detents milled into them, so you can have both the advantage of not having to worry about centering and not having to worry about some overzealous BATFE weenie claiming you “intended” to install a “real” stock on your pistol.  In any case, the Buffer Tube Cover worked just fine with the KAK SB-15 Pistol Buffer Tube, so no worries on that count, and it gives me a little more clearance so my monkey arms are not all bound up. 

My only real complaint is that the CAA Saddle is… well, crap, which tends to correlate with my other experiences with that brand.  It gets the job done, sure, but the amount of flashing on the plastic I had to scrape off one way or another was absolutely atrocious: 

IMG_7769-001IMG_7771-001

If I had known for certain that an MFT E-VOLV would have fit, I would have bought one of those instead, but I was not sure if it was compatible with the necessary Adapter Kit to get it to mate up with the Buffer Tube Cover.  Oh well, the CAA thing works just fine, but it solidifies my inclination to shy away from that company. 

The only other change is that the previous end plate was swapped out for a rather interesting Damage Industries QD Thin Profile end plate – basically it allows a quick-detach plug to be inserted into the divot in the lower receiver directly beneath the buffer tube.  The QD gadget is then rotation-limited by the buffer tube, and happily ambidextrous to boot, which works out pretty well when coupled with a Single-Point Sling from the same people. 

The intent – which has been tested with dry-fire at home, but not live-fire at the range yet – is to adjust the single-point sling appropriately that the saddle is perfectly positioned for cheek-welding when the sling is taught, and then use my right hand on the pistol grip to push out on the firearm and the sling to pull back to create something of a dynamic tension, with my cheek stabilizing the whole thing (kind of like the middle image here, but definitely not like the bottom image).  Obviously this is an AR pistol, just like it always has been, so it is not exactly going to be the most accurate thing in the world, but it will work just fine for entertainment purposes.  My only slight glitch is that the single-point sling has a rubber strip on the inside, which complicates repositioning it; not the end of the world, though. 

Better Half asked why not just cheek-weld on the buffer tube itself, and the answers are pretty straightforward – the bare metal is uncomfortable, the recoil spring inside is loud when not dampened by surrounding material, and most AR sights are optimized for having material on the buffer tube.  Basically, this all comes down to user comfort. 

As folks on the Book of Faces have noted, the Thordsen rig is not immune from the BATFE whimsically changing their minds in the future (Thordsen posted the current letter they have from the BATFE), but I figure it has two things going for it.  First, it is not a “stabilizing brace” or “arm brace”, and thus does not fall under the purview of the recent bout of F-Troop idiocy, and, second, it does not have the “foot” of a actual stock, and thus the likelihood of idiotic people ruining a good thing by bombarding the BATFE with “clarification” letters is markedly diminished.  Yes, I do believe that they would have eventually reversed their “shouldering it changes nothing” decision, just because even the imbeciles at the BATFE would eventually realize how badly that was endangering the validity of the NFA*, but I have absolutely no doubt that idiots looking a gift horse in the mouth and bombarding the BATFE with “mother, may I?” letters accelerated that process precipitously. 

So, for the love of God, shut up and stop asking stupid questions you do not really want the answer to. 

(* – I am not a lawyer and all that, but before this most-recent “clarification” letter I could totally see an argument being made along the lines of, “So, DC v. Heller mentions that firearms ‘in common use for lawful purposes’ are protected by the Constitution.  Y’all at the BATFE have indicated that shouldering a pistol with an SB-15 is lawful, in that it does not change a firearm into an NFA-regulated device, and given the number of SB-15s in circulation right now, they are certainly ‘in common use’.  So if shouldering something that looks like a stock – but is not – is ok, why is shouldering something that is a stock not ok?”  Obviously, this is no longer valid with the most-recent letter, especially given how they called out and “revoked” the previous letters, but I have to wonder if this thought occurred to them.  Only their underwear will ever know.)  

well, that is that

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Screwing Up a Good Time decided to go ahead and make itself clear regarding “stabilizing” “arm braces” on pistols.  The takeaway you should take to heart is as follows: 

The pistol stabilizing brace was neither “designed” nor approved to be used as a shoulder stock, and therefore use as a shoulder stock constitutes a “redesign” of the device because a possessor has changed the very function of the item. Any individual letters stating otherwise are contrary to the plain language of the NFA, misapply Federal law, and are hereby revoked.

Any person who intends to use a handgun stabilizing brace as a shoulder stock on a pistol (having a rifled barrel under 16 inches in length or a smooth bore firearm with a barrel under 18 inches in length) must first file an ATF Form 1 and pay the applicable tax because the resulting firearm will be subject to all provisions of the NFA.

Or, to put it another way, if there is a picture of you firing a pistol with your SB15 or equivalent item braced against your shoulder, and the BATFE gets their grubby little mitts on it, you could be facing up to and including 10 years in prison. 

I particularly like how they specifically call out the previous letters and “revoke” them.  I wonder if the people who wrote them still have their jobs?  Given the state of “civil service”, I would wager yes. 

Of course, the fact that anyone at the BATFE still has a job is a damning condemnation of “civil service” if there ever were one. 

(Originally brought to my attention by WizardPC.) 

quote of the day – noequarter

A separate discussion of my last post has cropped up on the Book of Faces, wherein NoeQuarter mentioned something I kept meaning to inject into my previous posts and completely forgot about: 

Well the Atf have probably been losing money over people choosing the sig brace and not filing for the sbr tax form.

As of 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives was processing 200,000 NFA-related applications a year, which was a growth of over 380% from 2005.  Each of those applications carries a check of $200 (assuming they are not for Any Other Weapons, which only cost $5 to transfer), which results in around $40,000,000 in revenue for the New York Avenue Boys.  Obviously not all applications are for short-barreled rifles (I would bet the plurality, if not majority, are for suppressors), but if people are buying “pistol braces” instead of paying tax stamps, well, that is unrealized revenue for the BATFE, and we just cannot have that. 

And after the BATFE came out and said, “Using such an accessory improperly would not change the classification of the firearm per Federal Law,” you know and I know and everyone knows why people were buying SB-15s – to brace their AR pistols on their forearms, of course. 

Anywise, things have changed, and while the potential impact “pistol braces” had on the NFA tax stamp market may not have been the motivating factor in the BATFE’s changing opinions, it is always good to remind ourselves that the Bureau’s roots can be traced back to part of the Department of Treasury, originally as the “Revenue Laboratory”.  The revenoors may have diversified from their original purpose, sure, but the government rarely gives up a source of revenue – any source of revenue – without a fight. 

Just look at how many toll roads persist in keeping their tolls long after their construction has been paid for… 

next build – canex’d

So I was going to write a post about how my next firearm build was going to involve Ruger’s re-released Charger in a Nordic Components AR22 Stock Kit with an SB15 attached to the back end, but then the BATFE, in their infinite wisdom, went and said this:

Consequently, the attachment of the SB-15 brace to an AR-type pistol alone; would not change the classification of the pistol to an SBR.  However, if this device, un-modified or modified; is assembled to a pistol and used as a shoulder stock, thus designing or redesigning or making or remaking of a weapon design to be fired from the shoulder; this assembly would constitute the making of a “rifle” as defined in 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(7). 

Leaving aside their positively horrific grammar (seriously, learn what a semi-colon is and how to use it), apparently the act of taking an AR pistol with an SB15 brace attached and placing it against your shoulder “makes” the firearm in question a rifle.  It is worth noting that this was written by Max M. Kingery, the Acting Chief of the Firearms Technology Industry Services Branch; on the other hand, these paragraphs were written by Earl Griffith, the Chief of the Firearms Technology Branch: 

FTB classifies weapons based on their physical design characteristics.  While usage/functionality of the weapon does influence the intended design, it is not the sole criterion for determining the classification of a weapon.  Generally speaking, we do not classify weapons based on how an individual uses a weapon. 

FTB has previously determined (see FTB # 99146) that the firing of a weapon from a particular position, such as placing the receiver extension of an AR-15 type pistol on the user’s shoulder, does not change the classification of the weapon.  Further, certain firearm accessories such as the SIG Stability Brace have not been classified by the FTB as shoulder stocks and, therefore, using the brace improperly does not constitute a design change.  Using such an accessory improperly would not change the classification of the weapon per Federal Law.  However, FTB cannot recommend using a weapon (or weapon accessory) in a manner not intended by the manufacturer. 

Now, the former blockquote – from FTB # 907010 – arguably supersedes the latter blockquote – from FTB # 903050 – just on account of being “newer”, however, here is the stickler: neither of these are legally binding, in any sense of the word.  Both are simply “opinions” provided by the BATFE and only applicable to the specific case / question that they are responding to. 

Which, as far as I can tell, means the BATFE is trying to set people up to be an example.  The unfortunate truth is that we will not “really” know if the SB15 is legal to use as a stock until the BATFE does make an example of someone and the case goes before a court… But, suffice to say, if you have any pictures online of you using one from the shoulder, I might suggest taking them down at your earliest possible convenience. 

(And for those people who incessantly whine, “Just get the tax stamp and make an SBR,” my answer remains, “No.”  Having to pay $200 and pass a background check that verges on a proctology exam all for being allowed the “privilege” of shaving an inch off your rifle’s or shotgun’s barrel is completely and utterly asinine.  I am all for finding any and all workarounds for that particular piece of archaic idiocy, and I sincerely hope the prevalence of the SB15 can and will be used to overturn the National Firearms Act, in part or full.  I am not particularly optimistic about that happening, but I still support the attempt.) 

(I do have to wonder what happens if you put a Glock in a stockless RONI and hold it up to your shoulder, though…) 

on background checks

One of the favorite “arguments” circulating amongst anti-rights cultists these days is that the only reason one would oppose “universal background checks” for firearm purchases is because one is concerned about not passing them.  Obviously this is complete and utter nonsense, but let us take a moment an examine how nonsensical that position is. 

I oppose “universal background checks”.  In fact, I oppose any background checks for firearm purchases – having to prove innocence to exercise a right is wrong.  Having to pay to prove innocence (what, you did not think NICS was self-supporting, did you?) is an absolute outrage. 

alisonamartingoebbelsSo, according to “gun sense” “logic”, I should not be able to pass a background check… except…

– I have maintained three separate security clearances with two separate branches of the United States Government. 

– I applied for, received, and renewed by Type 3 Federal Firearms License, and am an FFL in good standing with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. 

– I applied for, received, and updated a tax stamp allowing me to own a National Firearms Act-regulated device, and still lawfully own that device. 

– I applied for and received firearm-carry permits from three separate states, most recently in March of this year. 

– I have purchased numerous firearms from FFLs, including filling out the federally-mandated Form 4473, most recently in April of this year. 

In fact, now that I look at the list, I am quite certain I have passed more background checks than the overwhelming majority of the useful idiots claiming I could not pass background checks. 

Despite being endorsed by the Moms Demand Action New York Chapter Leader, Alison A. Martin (do not bother looking for her Twitter account – she deleted that one, and the one she created after that one, shortly after the screencap to the right), the notion that “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear” is patently false and a demonstrably dangerous road to go down

The irony, of course, is that those self-same “gun control” supporters who want every firearm transaction background-checked and vetted throw an absolute hissy fit if you in any way suggest that people should have to verify their identity before casting someone else’s vote.  And, in fairness, a large number of them at least superficially speak out against the NSA’s surveillance, but given that “gun control” supporters are statists by dint of that support, I have to wonder how deep that objection actually runs. 

No, I do not oppose “universal background checks” because I cannot pass one – I can, and I have literally more times than I can count.  I oppose them because they are wrong, because they are an unjust limitation on a Constitutionally-protected right, and because they fly in the face of every tradition of jurisprudence in the United States.  Hell, can you imagine the hue and cry if the same restriction were applied to any other right mentioned in the Constitution? 

plr16 + sb15 = ?

So, what would happen if I took one of these

Kel-Tec_PLR-16

…replaced its existing pistol grip with one that could accept an AR-15 buffer tube

KelTecSUPistolGripARStockAdapter

…inserted one of KAK’s pistol buffer tubes into it: 

KAKSB15BufferTube

… and then wrapped a Sig SB15 Arm Brace around it: 

SB15

My understanding of the BATFE compliance letter (IANAL and all that), the PLR-16 started out as a pistol, and neither attaching the AR-15 buffer tube nor the arm brace changed that, so one should still be in the clear.  Furthermore, “constructive intent” only seems to apply when you have no other purpose for the parts you have on-hand except violating the laws (IANAL again), so the fact that I happen to have a spare carbine buffer tube and stock is irrelevant on account of my still having the AR15 they came off of (they were replaced with a Magpul UBR). 

The question only comes up because my SB15 is winding its way towards me as we speak, as is one of KAK’s pistol buffer tubes, and I have been pricing out AR-type build options and prices once I have a steady stream of income again.  It appears that purchasing and kitting out a PLR-16 is marginally cheaper than using the bare, never-built AR-15 lower I have in my safe as a basis for an AR pistol, plus the PLR would not have the stupid-assed buffer tube hanging off its back end if/when the BATFE finally recants their approval of the SB15.  OTOH, it is a Kel-Tec, which can open up a whole ‘nother can of worms in and of itself. 

Anywise, just idle speculation. 

full of smoke and fury

I have an increasingly irrational, or perhaps irrationally increasing, desire to make a short-barreled, in-line muzzle loader rifle. Why? Because it would be fun.

So far I have determined that building one off a T/C Contender, T/C Encore, H&R 1871, Rossi S50, and a few other frames/actions would be a Very Bad Idea in the eyes of the government (at least, as I understand it, and it is probably always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to the authoritarian halfwits at the BATFE), that the muzzle velocity will, of course, suffer, and that the smokescreen from setting it off would be somewhere on the order of "epic". Is there anything else I should consider / be aware of, given my knowledge of black powder is… limited.

Anything other than "this is plain bonkers", that is.

Oh, and the serious reason behind doing this? Muzzle loaders, aside from the specific models mentioned above, are not considered "firearms" by the BATFE, and, as such, are not regulated in any fashion – you can, literally, purchase them online and have them delivered straight to your door. Likewise, they are not, so far as I can tell, regulated by the National Firearms Act, which means slapping a short barrel on one – arguably useless though it may be on a black powder rifle – requires no exorbitant tax stamp. Plus, with the general cost and unavailability of ammunition these days, BP might be a cheap way to get some actual trigger time.

Or, at least, it would have been until it started looking like the Boston bombings might have used black powder / gun powder, which means we can look forward to all kinds of interesting restrictions on either/both in the near future. So much for that plan.