We are close to half way through the grace period of the new ruling pertaining to how the ATF view’s the super popular AR Pistols. In particular, the braces that make them so popular.
Before They Sunset
I don’t know if anyone can really predict what is going to happen. We will all have to wait to see how the various appeals and lawsuits filed will affect the outcome. In the meantime, many have decided to invest in the various types of AR Pistols currently available. Adding them to their existing inventory. This may be the last time you are offered the opportunity if the ATF has their way. Something to consider is even if the ATF gets its way and imposes a ban you still have options. Removing the brace can circumvent the ban while still providing you a viable defensive option.
A Normal Check Weld
Not every AR Pistol will fall into this category, but a lot are small enough they can still be used in a non-traditional method. Years ago when the primary long gun for assaults was the venerated H&K MP5 we worked tirelessly to improve our skills under a variety of conditions. Some of those conditions required us to shoot while wearing protective gear such as gas masks up to full on hazmat suits. In these conditions you absolutely could not achieve a traditional check weld. Due to the respirators worn the bulk and placement of various features denied access. The usual space the butt-stock would interface with the shoulder pocket was no longer available, thus denying access to a normal check weld.
The “Sling” Method
Along came the “sling” method for shooting the sub-gun. Believe me, it wasn’t as sexy as it sounds when you spent hours in a gas mask. However, it was essential everyone be able to do their job none the less. The sling method worked partly because the sling designed for use with the MP5 was a three point sling. All but extinct in today’s rifle sling options, the three point sling was excellent on the sub-gun. What made it unique was a portion of the sling traversed down the side of the upper receiver producing force or as it would turn out stability.
Seeing Your Sights
Flash forward to modern times and AR pistols. Should the worse occur, one of the options would be to completely remove and dispose of the brace. If you run a sling on your AR pistol you theoretically should be able to accurately engage targets inside close range with relative ease using the sling method. To do so, you may need to adjust the tension in your sling. At full extension you want enough stability through the tension to see your sights. In this position, you should be able to achieve a decent sight picture whether using iron sights or red dot sights. Even set on the lowest magnification, low powered variable optics will be challenging. The necessary check weld to avoid scope shadow may prove too inconsistent for true defensive use.
More Skills in the Skill Set
With proper tension through the sling, you should achieve a consistent and acceptable sight picture. With a little practice, you can find what might have started out cumbersome to be manageable. Even rapid fire drills with high round counts can be successfully achieved. As can reduced targets at close range when precision is required. Dry fire is a great option to help familiarize yourself with the nuance of this method. The good news is even if the ATF does not get their way, this is still a viable option you might consider exploring. There is little chance I will choose to run the sling over deploying the brace if given the option. But, if I do decide for whatever reason to run the sling, I’m skilled enough to allow the situation dictate.
Like millions of Americans, I’m not happy about the ATF’s decision to change their minds. Don’t despair as you can still make a AR pistol work with just a sling.