As of January 31, 2023, ATF’s “FACTORING CRITERIA FOR FIREARMS WITH ATTACHED STABILIZING BRACES” (the “Ruling”) became effective.  (Link to the Ruling)

Prior to the Ruling, ATF had issued letters to the manufacturers confirming that certain stabilizing or arm Braces (Arm Braces) were designed to be fired one handed thereby making the firearms they were attached to pistols.  ATF claims they were wrong and has rescinded all those letters.

The Ruling attempts to clarify when a rifle is designed, made, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.  In essence, ATF claims that just about any component such as an Arm Brace or even a receiver extension tube attached to a firearm which allows it to be fired from the shoulder makes that firearm a rifle.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) defines a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) as a rifle with a barrel less than 16″ in length and makes it illegal to possess such unless it is registered to you.   THE PENALTIES FOR ILLEGAL POSSESSION OF AN SBR ARE SEVERE!

If you have an Affected XCR, the Ruling lists the ways you can legally comply with the NFA.  You must comply by May 31, 2023 or the ATF may take action against you.  Here’s the list.

1. Remove the short barrel and Install a 16″ or longer barrel. This makes the firearm no longer an SBR. The biggest problem with this option is that we may not be able to make enough 16″ barrels before the May 31, 2023.  Also, we do not currently make 16″ barrels for XCR-L Micros and Minis, and XCR-M Micros.  (Note: We may be able to make 16” barrels for the XCR-L Mini in the future.)  This option is not feasible unless you already have a 16″ barrel for your XCR.

2. Submit through the eForms system an Application to Make and Register a firearm, ATF Form 1 (“E-Form 1”) found at  Normally, one must pay a $200 tax to register his SBR.  Under the Ruling this tax is waived.  Once you apply, you get a copy of the application, you can keep the XCR with the Arm Brace just as it is until you receive your approval or disapproval.  (Note: There are millions of people who will be registering their SBRs so the approval may take some time.  Even if it takes years, you’re protected as long as you keep a copy of your registration while you wait for the result of your application.)

3. Permanently remove and dispose of, or alter, the “stabilizing brace” such that it cannot be reattached, thereby removing the weapon from regulation as a “rifle” under the NFA.  Normally, it’s not legal to make a pistol from a rifle.  In this case, the ATF will allow it. If you have an Affected XCR, you should remove the Arm Brace from the folding hinge rearward. Or you can remove the whole Arm Brace with the hinge.  We’ll post how to do this shortly.  We make a “Pistol Cap” which replaces the complete Arm Brace Assembly.  The Pistol Cap has a QD sling swivel mount hole right in the middle so with a single point sling, you can still stabilize your XCR like you would an MP5K. 

The ATF wants you to dispose of the Arm Brace or alter it so it cannot be reattached to the Affected XCR.  In other words, you don’t want to be in possession of the Arm Brace with the Affected XCR lest they prosecute you for constructive possession of an SBR.  You could have a friend or family member not living with you hold onto the Arm Brace in the event the Ruling is overturned by the Courts.    Arm Braces alone are not a banned or illegal.

4. Turn in the Firearm to your local ATF Office.

5. Destroy the firearm according to ATF guidelines found at

In conclusion, here are our thoughts. We don’t like the NFA one bit. However, it is the law until changed by our elected representatives or the Ruling is struck down by the courts. The ATF has been making rules because Congress has passed laws allowing them to do so. If you don’t like it (and we don’t), you need to elect people who understand the Constitution and the very important role firearms play in it. We’re not going to get a Congress and President to make any changes for two more years at best. We hope and pray the courts will strike down the ATFs Ruling, but there’s no guarantee this will happen before May 31, 2023. (Support the effort of those fighting the legal battle by donating to GOA and Firearms Policy Center.)

The options above not perfect. You have till May 31, 2023 to comply. If you want to play it safe and live in a state where SBRs are allowed, you may want to consider registering your Affected XCR on an E-Form 1.  There are some advantages: You don’t have to pay the $200 tax. You can continue using it no matter how long the approval process takes if you keep a copy of your registration application.  If you didn’t build it yourself, you can adopt the markings already on the firearm.  (Normally you need to mark with your name, city, and state.)  Once approved, you can remove the brace and add the original butt which has more length adjustment.  

What’s the downside? The ATF will know who you are and have pictures of you and your finger prints. Many of you already have suppressors or other NFA items. If that’s the case, they already know about you.  If you don’t already have NFA items, the ATF could find you buy going to each manufacturer and demanding a list of firearms with Arm Braces were sold.  If you can lawfully possess any firearm, your application to possess an SBR should be approved. 

You could just wait and pray the courts stop this madness. The problem is you only have until May 31, 2023. If you’re going to register your Affected XCR, you should do it sooner rather than later.  If you don’t want to register it, you can remove the Arm Brace.  We’re pretty sure none of you are going to want to donate your Affected XCR to the ATF or destroy it. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Robinson Armament Co.

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