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How The ATF Crushed The AR Pistol Market

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How The ATF Crushed The AR Pistol Market

It was like a gift from the AR Gods.

Amid much skepticism at last year’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, Sig Sauer promoted an invention that would within a short few months utterly transform a market that had remained on the fringes of the shooting public. With a seemingly minor ruling from the nation’s top firearms regulator to an obscure suburban Colorado police department, the new accessory proved the catalyst for an explosion in popularity of the AR-style pistol, giving once-reticent purchasers a new reason to consider the short-barreled oddity.

But within less than a year — and after hundreds of blog posts, YouTube videos and letters to the agency questioning its use (or misuse) — the ATF reversed itself, turning some would-be users into potential felons and throwing the entire AR pistol market into disarray.

This is the short and tortured story of the Sig Sauer SB-15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace, or “Sig Brace,” that at once launched a new industry in the AR market and called into question the Depression-era rules that govern firearms in a very different world.

Ugh, What’s That?

Quietly launched midway through 2013 by inventor Alex Bosco and his company SB-Tactical, the SB-15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace was intended to help disabled shooters operate an AR-style pistol one-handed. The flexible plastic cuff wraps around a shooter’s wrist or forearm and an integrated Velcro strap secures the brace in place.

The idea was hatched in 2012 when Bosco was shooting with a disabled friend who was asked by a range officer to stop shooting his AR-15 pistol because of poor control of the firearm.

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