Right to Know: What is a Pistol Brace?

Many people are wondering:

What exactly is a pistol brace?

The component attaches to the rear of a pistol and rests around the user's forearm. Also called a stabilizing brace or arm brace, the device does just what its name suggests. It distributes the weight and adds another point of contact between the gun and the user. The added points of contact help control the gun and thus makes it easier to shoot accurately. As a factual matter, the likelihood that the person's bullets will impact they are aiming at and not an innocent bystander if they use a brace.

pistol brace ban


Here are some legitimate questions that we hope to answer.

  1. Why is this helpful firearm accessory the subject of the gun control debate?
  2. What exactly are pistol braces?

Why Are Pistol Braces Being Talked About at All?

On April 8, 2021, President Biden gave a speech on the topic of gun control. During the speech, he proposed the Department of Justice (DOJ) decide on pistol braces. Here are the actual words from the FACT SHEET pulled from the White House.gov website:

The Justice Department, within 60 days, will issue a proposed rule to make clear when a device marketed as a stabilizing brace effectively turns a pistol into a short-barreled rifle subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act. The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.

Joe Biden got one thing right. Pistol braces do make the firearm more stable and accurate. Isn't that a good thing? Don't we want people to be able to shoot guns accurately? Would anyone purchase a product designed to make a gun LESS stable? Or would someone pay money to attend a class hoping to become LESS accurate?

joe biden gun control

President Joe Biden knows an awful lot about AR-14's and the AFT.

Joe, your pants are on fire.

However, Joe Biden made a false statement. He said that a factor in concealing an AR pistol is if it has an attached brace. This statement is not true. As a matter of fact, adding a brace makes the gun arguably LESS concealable. Check out the included photo. Which one looks easier to conceal?

pistol brace biden

For example, it speculated that the shooter used a Ruger AR pistol. If true, that would mean the gun is roughly 25 to 27 inches in length. It certainly is not impossible to conceal an AR pistol. And compared to a rifle, it is more concealable. However, is a gun of that size practical to conceal? Not can it be concealed, because anything can be concealed But is it practical? ?Furthermore, concealment does not seem to have played any role in the incident.

This may be the type of firearm used by the shooting in Colorado. Is a gun around 25″ – 27″ in length easily concealed?

Understanding Pistol Braces and Short Barrel Rifles:

To understand what is going on concerning pistol braces, we need to have a basic understanding of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and how the ATF defines certain items. The NFA is the legislation that regulates the following:

  1. A shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length
  2. A weapon made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of fewer than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length
  3. A rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length
  4. A weapon made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of fewer than 26 inches or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length
  5. Any other weapon, as defined in subsection (e)
  6. A machinegun
  7. Any silencer (as defined in section 921 of title 18, United States Code)
  8. A destructive device
[26 U.S.C. 5845; 27 CFR 479.11]

What Are Short Barreled Rifles?

AR pistol brace

In the hand, perfectly legal. Shoulder the gun, and watch out.

The scope of this article is concerned with numbers three and four in the list.

Part of the ATF's definition of a rifle is a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder. The part of the rifle that goes into the shoulder is called a buttstock.

A firearm held in the hands is a pistol. Therefore, a pistol does not have a buttstock.

Pretty simple right?

Here is where the political wordsmithing begins.

Some pistol braces designs could be placed in the shoulder when firing. However, do not misunderstand. The design of these braces is still for the hands. They just can be more easily put in the shoulder due to their design.

Once in the shoulder, the firearm is no longer a pistol by the ATF's definition. The mere act of putting the gun into the shoulder magically transforms a pistol brace into a buttstock.

The firearm is now a short-barreled rifle (SBR) and is subject to the NFA's strict regulations. Anyone possessing one without the required tax stamp and registration would be committing a felony.

Law-abiding one minute. Felon, once the gun is in the shoulder. Weird how that happens, huh?

NFA flow chart what guns are legal

confused by the ATF's logic in classifying guns? Here is a helpful flow chart to make it easy.

What does all this matter?

Some might say, what is the big deal. How will stopping someone from holding a gun a certain way make society safer?

Others likely feel giving up braces to the government is just the right thing to do. Are giving up a brace, resisting a firearm, or face a fine or jail time are even reasonable choices for a people governed by a document like the US Constitution?

Remember Joe Biden said:

The alleged shooter in the Boulder tragedy last month appears to have used a pistol with an arm brace, which can make a firearm more stable and accurate while still being concealable.

What do braces have to do with mass shootings?

Do mass shooters use pistol braces?

He is simply exploiting the tragic deaths at the hands of a radical criminal in hopes that people will somehow associate pistol braces with mass shooters. This is dishonest and misleading.

I cannot find other mass shootings where the firearm used was an AR pistol equipped with a stabilizing brace. And I've looked at a lot. In fact, I'll soon publish a post telling you just how mass shooters got their guns and what guns they used.

Of course, we shouldn't turn away from having essential discussions about firearm legislation with those who disagree with us. Especially when it comes to AR-15's and crimes committed with guns, we should try logic and facts first.

SBR vs AR Pistol

This is a great illustration from www.luckygunner.com
Which gun is more concealable? Which is more lethal? One of them is regulated more than the other. Make sense?

The real agenda is people control.

However, the American people are not all stupid. We see the attempt to regulate pistol braces for what it is. Not an attempt to save lives or anything like that. It is not even an attempt to fix the ATF's shifting opinions on braces to help owners remail legal. No, it is for none of those reasons.

The gun control folks hope to get a small victory in the attack on ‘assault rifles' by attacking pistol braces. We cannot overlook the big picture.

With pro-gun legislation sweeping across the country at the state level, the federal gun grabbers are working an asymmetric attack on gun rights.

The public has been gaslighted for too long when it comes to firearms. We desperately need to engage folks with logic. Understanding what a pistol brace is may seem trivial, but it is not. Speak not only to people who agree with you but others.

Be informed, and speak the truth.

If you like our content, consider checking out the Concealed Carry Podcast where we talk all about issues related to being a legal, responsibly armed gun owner.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Christopher Tinsley on April 15, 2021 at 3:53 pm

    Such a inaccurate ideology to say it stabilizes a pistol better . When you could simply hold a pistol on any fixed object and stabilize it . Like a counter or a pole or a car hood . This is simply idiotic to
    Make people pay a tax to use a brace . The ATF
    Has been after this for a long time . Wake up people . Guns don’t shoot people ! People using them do . What about the machete carrying guy who ran into the capitol policeman ! Did the car
    Commute the murder or the machete ? No
    The person did . You don’t see Biden saying anything about that now do you..Democrats need to quit treating law bidding citizens like a bunch of
    Dummies ! We are not ! Enact the laws on the books and quit the crap!

    • Pyromaximus on May 18, 2023 at 10:37 pm

      Well said these people on both sides are nothing but disgusting con artist trying to make a buck off Chuck! They’ll offer their book or training classes to tell you something you might already know or misguided you with their experiences and ideologies ugh. Some things never change and these type of people love death and war otherwise they wouldn’t fight so hard for something unless they’re living in a fear bubble constantly on the lookout for the bear and dragon haha.

  2. Barry Wingate on January 22, 2023 at 7:51 am

    Does this mean that a Browning Hi power Wood holster shoulder stock is now illegal ?

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