List of ATF Approved Pistol Braces

Introduced in 2012, pistol stabilization braces have transitioned from a niche accessory to a common feature on firearms from nearly every major manufacturer. Originally designed to aid shooters with limited mobility, these braces are now at the forefront of a complex legal and regulatory discussion involving the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). This discussion has intensified as the ATF navigates the challenges of ensuring public safety while respecting the rights of gun owners.

Historical Overview

Over the past decade, the ATF has issued multiple opinions and rulings on pistol braces, reflecting an evolving stance on their legality and application. In 2017, a pivotal ATF letter clarified that attaching a brace to a pistol does not convert it into a short-barreled rifle under current law, provided it is used as intended.

However, the legal landscape shifted once more in January 2023 when the Department of Justice issued a final rule clarifying that the use of stabilizing braces to convert pistols into rifles with barrels less than 16 inches necessitates compliance with all regulations pertaining to short-barreled rifles under the National Firearms Act (NFA). This ruling aims to close loopholes that have allowed for a circumvention of stringent NFA regulations, reflecting ongoing governmental efforts to regulate these devices amidst growing safety concerns.

Legal and Public Safety Implications

As the use of pistol braces has become more widespread, their impact on public safety and legal frameworks has been scrutinized. Originally, the ATF sanctioned the use of pistol braces, acknowledging their utility for shooters with disabilities. However, the agency and public safety advocates have raised concerns that these devices can also be used to convert pistols into more potent and concealable short-barreled rifles effectively. This transformation typically requires rigorous NFA compliance. This dual nature of pistol braces poses significant challenges for regulators striving to balance lawful use against potential misuse.

Recent regulatory efforts have focused on tightening the rules to prevent the misuse of pistol braces without imposing undue restrictions on law-abiding citizens. In light of these developments, firearm owners and enthusiasts must stay informed about the legal status of their equipment and ensure compliance with the latest ATF guidelines and DOJ rules. Staying updated helps in adhering to the law and participating actively in discussions and advocacy regarding firearm regulations.

Compliance and Practical Advice for Firearm Owners

Understanding and complying with the evolving pistol braces regulations is essential for all firearm owners. The National Firearms Act (NFA) sets forth stringent criteria for firearms modifications, and the incorporation of a pistol brace can alter a weapon’s classification, impacting its legal status. Firearm owners should be vigilant in reviewing the specifics of any ATF guidance to ensure their configurations comply with current legal standards.

Here are practical steps firearm owners can take to ensure compliance:

  • Regularly Check for Updates: Stay abreast of any new ATF rulings or DOJ guidelines that could affect the status of pistol braces.
  • Consult with Legal Experts: Before modifying firearms, consult with legal experts or attorneys specializing in firearm law to avoid unintentional violations.
  • Educate Yourself and Others: Engage with educational resources and community discussions to understand the broader implications of pistol brace regulations on rights and responsibilities.

By proactively managing compliance, firearm owners can safeguard their rights while ensuring their setups do not inadvertently contravene federal laws.

List of ATF-Approved Pistol Braces

  1. ATF letter approving Shockwave pistol brace
  2. ATF letter approving Trinity Force pistol brace
  3. ATF letter approving Black Aces pistol brace
  4. ATF letter approving Sig Sauer pistol brace

While there has been some back-and-forth at the ATF about shouldering a brace, it should be noted there is no legal prohibition from doing this as you would a stock. According to the ATF, you can have ‘brief’ contact with the shoulder. Until they decide it’s not ok….again.

The true advantage of the pistol brace is circumventing the National Firearms Act paperwork associated with short-barrel rifles.  With a pistol brace installed, an AR15 with a barrel length shorter than 16 inches isn’t an SBR that requires a $200 tax stamp anymore; it’s a pistol.

To get into the weeds of the pistol brace ban and how we’ve beat it, check out our article ‘Pistol Brace Ban Updates and How the ATF is losing‘.

SB Tactical Pistol Braces | ATF Approved

SB Tactical has been at the forefront of the AR Pistol Brace debate with the ATF and DOJ, encouraging them to provide clear guidance to the public on what constitutes a brace and the standards to which they are measured.

SB Tactical has submitted the SBA3 brace to the ATF for review, but the ATF has still not issued a statement or letter on it. Although SB Tactical has not given up attempting to continue discussions, the ATF has, more or less, gone dark on them.

Knowing the reputation of SB Tactical and the fact that they are willing to work alongside the ATF and DOJ regarding these laws and regulations leads me to believe the braces they manufacture are well within the legal guidelines of a pistol brace. In addition to that, the ATF has never asked them to stop manufacturing and selling pistol brace products. So get them while you still can.

list of atf approved pistol braces 2023

SBA3 AR Pistol Stabilizing Brace

Designed for all platforms capable of accepting a mil-spec carbine receiver extension, the SBA3™ is 5-position adjustable, dramatically enhances versatility, and features a minimalist design with an integral, ambidextrous QD sling socket.

SBA3 Brace Specifications

  • Fit: All platforms capable of accepting a mil-spec carbine extension
  • Length: 6.75", 7.6", 8.25", 8.75", 9.5"
  • Weight: 6.75 oz
  • Width: 1.8"
  • Cavity Depth: 6.0"
  • Strap Width: 1.0"
  • Color Options: Black, FDE, OD Green, Stealth Gray


at Pro 2A Tactical
Prices accurate at time of writing

SBA4 AR Pistol Stabilizing Brace

Designed for all platforms capable of accepting a mil-spec carbine receiver extension, the SBA4™ is 5-position adjustable and features an integral, ambidextrous QD sling socket.

SBA4 Brave Specifications

  • Fit: All platforms capable of accepting a mil-spec carbine extension
  • Length: 7.5", 8.25", 8.8", 9.5", 10.25"
  • Weight: 10 oz
  • Width: 2.25"
  • Cavity Depth: 6.75"
  • Strap Width: 1.0"
  • Color Options: Black, FDE, OD Green, Stealth Gray

SB Tactical SBA4 AR Pistol Stabilizing Brace

at SB Tactical
Prices accurate at time of writing

How To Install and Remove The SBA3 Brace

The installation and removal of the SBA3 brace are simple and take only about 15 minutes to complete. Removing the SBA3 brace is even easier. The video below explains how to install and remove the brace in detail. You can also download the written instructions from the SB Tactical website.

Which is Better SBA3 or SBA4?

The SBA3 brace and the SBA4 brace are both great AR pistol braces. The major differences are that the SBA3 brace weighs less, is shorter, and slimmer than the SBA4 brace.

The SBA4 brace, on the other hand, is more rigid. The QD attachment points on the SBA4 are located toward the front of the brace rather than toward the rear like they are on the SBA3, and just as with the SBA3 brace, there are attachment points on both sides of the brace.

Check out our blog on AR Pistol Laws where we break down the best pistol brace options amid the ATF letters.


As regulations continue to evolve, understanding the legal landscape surrounding pistol braces is more crucial than ever. Firearm owners can navigate these changes effectively and responsibly by staying informed, consulting experts, and actively engaging in community discussions. We encourage readers to check back regularly for updates and to participate in advocacy efforts to shape fair and practical firearm legislation.

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