* This article contains updates as of June 17th, 2023. All udpates are shown in red – not to confuse but to show the big changes made from 2022 to June 2023. The article is not legal advice and could be out of date in a few months. Seek legal advice from a lawyer, local, or federal law enforcement.

Knowing the difference between a SBR vs AR Pistol will keep you out of jail. Really? Is it that serious? Is a federal penalty and time in prison serious? Are people breaking the law? Yes. But let us help you understand the rules and where you might get into trouble. Because without a SBR tax stamp, your short barreled firearm might be illegal.

* Unless you’re a member of the Firearms Policy Coalition or Gun Owners of America, you cannot own a rifle with a barrel less than 16″ or an overall length less than 26 inches with an attached stock OR pistol brace, without an SBR tax stamp.

This may change as the supreme court hears cases – always consult a lawyer or law enforcement if you have questions.

What is a SBR Tax Stamp

The Tax Stamp is literally a stamp, put on your SBR paperwork that allows you to purchase or keep a built short barreled rifle. It’s non-transferrable – each purchaser needs to get their own tax stamp.

The tax stamp is actually paid to the IRS. We pay this because of the National Firearms Act.

When was the National Firearms Act enacted?

The National Firearms Act (NFA) was passed into law in 1934. It made it illegal to purchase a firearm with a barrel length less than 18 inches illegal to posses (as of 2022, the barrel length is 16 inches).

The NFA imposed a tax on all new firearm sales or builds with barrel lengths less than 18 inches. It continues today with barrel lengths less than 16 inches. The tax in 1934 was $200. It hasn’t changed since 1934. Imagine what $200 felt like in 1934. Using an inflation calculator, $200 would be equivalent to about $4,000 today.

Worth it? Perhaps!

Tell me the difference between an AR pistol and an SBR?

The differences between an AR Pistol and an SBR will keep you out of prison. But what are the specifically? The criteria are pretty simple. Here’s a quick summary.

Is it shoulder fired? If yes, continue with the criteria below. If no, it’s a pistol. * Here’s where changes were made. The pistol brace was originally meant to be used by people with disabilities, unable to shoulder fire the weapon – for whatever reason. The brace was meant to allow a single arm/hand to manipulate the rifle.
Because the ATF feels users are using it to shoot the rifle from the shoulder, it’s no longer considered as a tool for the disabled and treated as a stock.

Barrel length – Less than 16″
Overall length – less than 26″

Barrel Length Differences

A rifle becomes an SBR when its barrel length is less than 16 inches.

If it has an overall length of 30 inches (4 inches more than the minimum overall length), it’s still a short barreled rifle.

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