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Ultimate Guide to Short Barreled Rifles and Shotguns – The Legal Brief!


Welcome back to The Legal Brief, the show
where we CRUSH the various legal myths and misinformation surrounding various areas of
the gun world. I’m your host Adam Kraut and today we’re
talking about short barrel rifles or SBRs and short barrel shotguns or SBSs. We’re digging a bit more in depth into the
National Firearms Act or NFA to find out what exactly an SBR or SBS is. While these firearms are becoming increasingly
popular amongst gun owners, there are still a number of individuals who do not know what
they are and often times illegally assemble them. Take gun shows for instance, how many of the
people who are buying uppers with barrel lengths than 16 inches know what the NFA is or how
it applies? My guess, not enough. Which leaves the question, what exactly is
a SBR? In order to answer that question, we are going
to have to look at two areas of the law. Our old friends the National Firearms Act
and the Gun Control Act. If you want to watch the videos I did on those,
you can check out The Legal Brief playlist on YouTube. Under the NFA we do not find the term short
barrel rifle in the definitions, but we do have the term firearm. In the pertinent part, the term firearm is
defined as “a rifle having a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length, and a weapon
made from a rifle if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches
or a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length”. Under the GCA we find the term Short Barreled
Rifle which is defined as “a rifle having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches
in length and any weapon made from a rifle (whether by alteration, modification, or otherwise)
if such weapon, as modified, has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.” The regulations mirror the statutory definition. As you can see there are two criteria for
determining whether the firearm is a short barrel rifle or not. First, the firearm in question is a rifle,
which means that it is a “weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended
to be fired from the shoulder AND designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the
energy of an explosive to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each
single pull of the trigger.” So basically, if you shoulder the gun, it
has a rifled bore and it goes bang only once when you pull the trigger, it is defined as
a rifle. The definition in the NFA is similar and encompasses
the same traits. It also has a barrel or barrels less than
16 inches in length. Or the firearm in question was made from a
rifle and has an overall length of less than 26 inches. Simply put, the barrel length of the rifle
is less than 16 inches and/or the overall length is less than 26 inches. So besides having a barrel less than 16 inches
in length, you could have a rifle with a barrel that is over 16 inches in length but an overall
length of less than 26 inches which would make it a short barrel rifle. Turning to what is a SBS, we again see that
the term is not defined in the NFA. However, the definition of firearm provides
“a shotgun having a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length and a weapon
made from a shotgun if such weapon as modified has an overall length of less than 26 inches
or a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length.” Under the GCA we find the term Short Barreled
Shotgun which is defined as “a shotgun having one or more barrels less than eighteen inches
in length and any weapon made from a shotgun (whether by alteration, modification or otherwise)
if such a weapon as modified has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.” Again, the federal regulations mirror the
statutory definition. Once again, there are two criteria for determining
whether the firearm is a short barrel shotgun or not. First, the firearm in question is a shotgun,
which means that it is a “weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended
to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the
energy of an explosive to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a single
projectile for each single pull of the trigger.” Sounds kind of similiar to our rifle definition
doesn’t it? So basically, if you shoulder the gun, it
has a smooth bore and fires shot or a single projectile like a slug, it is defined as a
shotgun. The definition in the NFA, once again, is
similar and encompasses the same traits. It also has a barrel or barrels less than
18 inches in length. Or the firearm in question was made from a
shotgun and has an overall length of less than 26 inches. Simply put, the barrel length of the shotgun
is less than 18 inches and/or the overall length is less than 26 inches. So besides having a barrel less than 18 inches
in length, you could have a shotgun with a barrel that is over 18 inches in length but
an overall length of less than 26 inches which would make it a short barrel shotgun. The key difference to note between the two
is the barrel length. For rifles it is less than 16 inches and shotguns
it is less than 18 inches that puts it into the purview of the NFA. However, when determining whether a firearm
is a short barrel rifle or short barrel shotgun, the criteria for overall length remains the
same, that being an overall length of less than 26 inches subjects it to the purview
of the NFA. Hopefully that clears up what a short barrel
rifle and short barrel shotgun are. If you guys liked this episode, you know what
to do, hit that like button and share it around with your friends. Have a question you want answered on this
show, head over to The Legal Brief section on theguncollective.com. Be sure to check out my website adamkraut.com
for more information on my quest to serve YOU on the NRA Board of Directors. Don’t forget to like The Gun Collective
on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Full 30, Snap Chat and wherever else you can catch
us on social media. And as always thanks for watching!

100 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide to Short Barreled Rifles and Shotguns – The Legal Brief!

  1. An interesting thought since code cays rifles use explosive to fire a singe projectile per pull of the trigger. What does that mean for shotshell loads for rifles or the experiential duplex loads that were made.would firing such items possibly cause your rifle to be considered an illegal machine gun?

  2. Kind of an odd question that I thought of while watching this video. According to the definition you provided, would a Savage 212 be a rifle? It is chambered in 12gauge but is designed with a rifled barrel to fire a single projectile.

  3. I'm interested in hearing more about the SBS. I know how the SBR works and planning on doing one soon but don't know anything at all about SBS except the length requirements

  4. adam, where is the line drawn between an SBR, and an AR pistol? if I build an AR with an 8 inch barrel, and a bare buffer tube, is that an NFA fire arm?

  5. If I attach a rifled barrel to my shotgun, can it be 16 inches long? It would no longer fit the description of a shotgun seeing as it would not be a smooth bore.

  6. Adam, great videos!  I would recommend going further into the explanation of this, referencing how the barrel and OAL is measured.  Most people do not know how to properly measure a barrel, or the OAL.  For those reading this, barrel length is measured from a closed breech, with a dowel or something similar.  Muzzle devices must be removed, unless installed permanently.  OAL is measure in the shortest configuration possible (i.e. stock collapsed, muzzle device not on the firearm, etc.).

  7. I'm willing to wager that the 16/18" barrel length restrictions were based on whether the firearm could be concealed when held underneath a typical overcoat that men wore back in the 20's and 30's…completely irrelevant, useless law nowadays.

  8. Then wouldn't exchanging a smoothbore 18" barrel with a 16" rifled barrel on a shotgun be legal? You would be technically remaking it into a rifle… right? *scratches head

  9. Adam, So as per the definition of a shotgun being "designed to be fired from the shoulder" if you have a Smooth bore weapon that fires 12 gauge but has no stock and was not designed to be fired from the shoulder, and was under 26" in length and/or had a barrel under 18" in length, what category would that fall into?

    -Tom

  10. Then there's the whole space occupied by the likes of firearms like the Franklin Armory XO-26 – barrel too short to be a rifle (and no buttstock), OAL too long to be an AOW, not a pistol either, and perfectly legal to put a VFG on. No tax stamp necessary.

    Or the Black Aces Tactical DT shotgun, barrel <18", no buttstock (SB-15 brace instead), VFG, and box magazine fed. Again a no stamp gun.

    Ironically, Canada, with all it's inane restrictions on restricted/prohibited firearms and magazine capacities, has no SBR/SBS nonsense to contend with. Want a VZ58 with a 10" barrel and shoulder stock? No problem once you get your firearms license.

  11. I do know that if you have an adjustable butt stock then when measuring the overall length you have to extend said butt stick to full open position.

  12. 1st and foremost, Happy Thanksgiving. If you have made an AR that has an overall length of 26'' or more, but a barrel length less than 16'' is it considered a SBR? Do both rules have to apply, or only one or the other? That's what is the most confusing about it all. I would think that if the rifle has an overall length of 26'' or more, it should be considered legal, even it has, or had, a barrel of, say 7 1/2'', and it can be shouldered. And in the grand scheme of things, the NFA was created in 1934, it's outdated kind of thinking, and just outdated in general, like me!! I'm 74, the NFA was created 8 years b4 I was born, for Christ's sake!!! And explain why a barrel of less than 16'', with an extension on it, making it 16'', has to be pinned and welded to the barrel? WTF is up with that ruling? I don't know if people know it or not, but if you do that to an AR, you'll never be able to get your gas block tube assembly off!! There's not enough room to pull it forward to clear the barrel nut, which means you also won't be able to ever get your barrel off, should you decide to change it at a later date. These are just the observations and ramblings of an old man.

  13. Does this mean that a rifled barrel mossberg 500 with a barrel length of 16 inches and an OAL of greater than 26" would NOT be considered an NFA item (provided it did not begin life as a smooth bore)? It sounds to me like the GCAs language allows one to redefine what would traditionally be a shotgun into a rifle.

  14. Mossberg makes a firearm that shoots 12ga rounds, has a 14 inch barrel and a "birds head" pistol grip that makes it over 26 inches long. Black Aces Tactical designed a pump firearm that shoots 12ga rounds with an 8 1/2 inch barrel, a vertical grip (to operate the slide) and a Sig brace that makes it over 26 inches…. neither are NFA items. can you explain why?

  15. are the definitions then stating that if the over all length is under 26 inches and was designed and manufactured that way by a reputable manufacture and has not been modified is it omitted from your NFA?

  16. For all you guys asking if I can do this or that, ask your sheriff. This video and response page are a good spring board to get you in the neighborhood of what is legal, however, these are not legal advice

  17. So does the nfa break if you create a rifled shotgun with an overall length of at least 16 inches but less than 18? It doesnt meet either definition fully so would it just be considered a "firearm" or "other"

  18. One thing not mentioned that I'm curious about. What if I have a rifle that has a barrel length of 16.1" and a collapsible stock that when extended fully makes the overall length greater than 26" but being short I don't extend it all of the way out and as fired it's under 26" when i'm shooting it? One other thing if you don't mind. How is it that any a firearm with lands and grooves in the barrel can't be more than .50 caliber or it's a destructive device, yet a rifled barrel on a 12 gauge shotgun intended for slugs is about .72 caliber and perfectly legal?

  19. adam please help define for those who do not know OAL with folding stocks and barrels with perm attached muzzle devices. such as.. The ATF procedure for measuring barrel length is to measure from the closed bolt (or breech-face) to the furthermost end of the barrel or permanently attached muzzle device. Also that OAL is measured with folding stocks closed or open. clearing this ATF sillyness up will help our gun community greatly. you may even want to touch on Pistols only having one vert grip point… Thank you sir.

  20. Question about SBR, SBS, & Silencer purchasers via Silencer shop Kiosk. Ok, I have seen on Silencer shops website about this Kiosk thing which supposedly makes the process run smoother and hopefully faster. Have you heard about this or is it a unicorn dream to think that the ATF will actually try something new to make the process of NFA items ownership go faster.

  21. Adam, Have you already reviewed the "official word" on folding stocks and how they relate to overall length (measured open? measured closed?). I've heard different opinions. I've only found one reference to folding stocks and shotguns, but not folding stocks and rifles from the BATFE.

  22. The NFA and GCA make me sleepy…when I can't sleep at night I read their confusing laws and regulations. Puts me right to sleep.

  23. You should not want people to comply with the NFA. You should be pushing as many people as you can in to willfull noncompliance. It's the only way. They can't and won't arrest all of you. You can't outsnake the snakes. All of these stupid 'acts' you guys imagine you're going to pass are bogus and will never amount to anything. Mass noncompliance is the only way.

  24. The Asylum Weaponry Gatekeeper was NEVER designed to be fired from the shoulder. Could you do an episode on if the gatekeeper is legal or not?

  25. That's a whole bunch of time wasted coming up with a whole bunch of technical bullshit that defies logic and reasoning. And our tax dollars are paying these fucktards. Abolish the Criminal organization that is the ATF!!! Bunch of self-appointed, unelected, freedom hating leaches.

  26. How do the "Takedown" rifles or 2 pc. rifles fit into the NFA? technically they are shorter than 26". And you know the gov't loves a good ol' technicality

  27. So since "18 USC 921 [A] [7]" stipulates that an SBR under their definition is a single shot, semi auto, pump or bolt action (or just about anything other than full-auto), would you need a second tax stamp to put a barrel under 16" on an already-registered (non-pistol) machine gun?

  28. I'm frustrated with YouTube I'm subscribed to your channel but your videos aren't showing up in my list, this is a month of videos till today I've missed. What can we do to tell YouTube were displeased with this?

  29. What if I make an AR-15 pistol and register it as such. Then put a but stock and appropriate tube on it. Is it a sbr even though the lower is a registered pistol?

  30. what if my barrel is under 16 inches but full extended its longer than 26 inches ? does it count as an sbr and fall under nfa being as it is only one of the check marks ? < – — someone commented this cause it sounds interesting id like to know more on this if anyone has any info regarding it

  31. Just want to point out that if a Criminal is planning a shooting, sawing down a barrel would be the least of their concern

  32. Thinking of a build , !2 gauge double barrel converted to fire 50 S&W . 12" barrels permanently installed within the 12gauge barrels . just wondering about legality.

  33. 2nd admendment supporters please sign and what my Petition to Modernize the National Firearms Act to something that allows Americans to purchase legal firearms with greater ease.

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/review-and-update-nation-firearms-act-nfa

  34. So modifying my AR rifle from a 16" barrel to a 10.5" barrel since it was originally a rifle I go by the overall length and if that's the case than as long as it's OVER 26" after being modified it's still classified as a rifle?

  35. an SBR is something the "SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED" on. period. BAN THE NFA AND ATF FOR ACTIVELY INFRINGING ON OUR CONSITUTION…… F-U-C-K THE BATF!

  36. I have a qustion regarding sbrs: If I want to use one for home defense is it better to have one in pistol caliber such as 9mm rather than a rifle round like 5.56 or 330 blackout if I want to minimize the risk of overpenetration? Anyone who has knowledge or experience about this is welcome to give input.

  37. For everyone believing that Trump is going to "save" your gun rights and either repeal the unconstitutional gun acts such as the NFA or even the New York State "safe act" (we call it the stupidity act here in New York), you are absolutely kidding yourselves! I can't believe everyone has been dupped once again, I voted for Trump but only because I didn't want to see another Clinton administration but I definitely wasn't thinking he was even going to entertain the idea of repealing these Acts. The NRA, first of all has no authority to compromise or bargain with anybody's Constitutional Right, even if you think along those lines you have to admit that when it comes to our Second Amendment, the words couldn't be any simpler yet this supposed 2A rights group has compromised on every single unconstitutional gun act. They compromised and for over 80 years not even attempted actually constitutionally challenging the National Firearms Act of 1934 even though it's a clear outright violation of our Second Amendment, a form of bribery and also a clear violation of our Fourteenth Amendment as well. They compromised on the Gun Control Act of 1968, the Hughes Amendment, even the Clinton Crime bill, the draconian NYS "safe act", Massachusetts, California and Maryland all with unconstitutional gun acts since 2012 and now THIS! Now they actually want to give in to the banning of a piece of plastic novelty toy and even allowed the massive bump stock misinformation to go out on all media outlets without using they massive amounts of money we give them to make factual statements concerning the device on a factual basis! Instead, they want to give this back to the ATF that already determined them to not be in violation of any " act" whatsoever! In fact, the NRA has compromised on every single unconstitutional gun act, EVER! They definitely do one thing for us religiously, rid our bank accounts of that pesky money, they definitely do that.

  38. Soooo what does it take to own an sbr??? This is like the 4th video ive seen of people reading laws but not really answering the question. Can someone put it in normal guy language?

  39. Adam, are there any special laws pertaining to an original M6 Aircrew survival weapon that makes it legal to own? I believe it may have 14" barrels.

  40. so it says that the barrel is less than 16" "OR" overall length under 26". so by using the OR you could have a barrel of 10" action of 8" and a Buttstock of 8" which in turn would be 26" in overall length. This would or would not be considered SBR? open for discussion and if someone knows the legal support behind it that would be great

  41. So, if the barrel is rifled, and the firearm is designed to shoot more than one projectile, then it falls outside the definitions of either rifle and shotgun… and so you can do whatever you want with it, QED?

  42. Another scenario where people who don’t know anything about firearms are the ones put in charge of restricting them. The only thing the barrel length changes is the accuracy of a single shot on all guns and/or the spread on a shotgun. If someone with malicious intent really wanted to conceal a gun on their person, no law can stop them from getting a hacksaw and shortening the gun. If anything, it hurts more people because responsible gun owners are forced to use large weapons that may not fit in nearby areas or will they be able to respond to a home invasion with proper close quarters arms. Sad!

  43. ok pretty sure I got it but never hurts to ask right? so if my ar rifles barrel is 16 inches and the whole rifle itself is 26 inches or more it's a rifle and not a sbr? cause I just built my first ar and it's an overall length of 32 inches and the barrel is 16 inches so I just wanna be safe lol

  44. A year old, but how does this work for being military on orders in a gun hating city (DC) and living in VA where on can purchase rifles/shotguns and not pistols, owning a license from another state? Are NFA items handled as pistols are for sales? Do I need to be a resident of the state (aka license from that state) to fill out a form 4? These shops refer me to an NFA lawyer. You guys come to mind!

  45. I may be missing something but if I build a ar15 with a barrel less than 16"in length but an over all length of 26"+ can I put a buttstock on it? Is it a rifle ?

  46. Can you have a regular shotgun and make it a Short Barrel shotgun and pay the $200 tax stamp fee and be legal? Or does an SBR or Short Barrel Shotgun have to be assembled by a company?

  47. What is the legal shortest length for a Remington 870 with a "RIFLED" barrel? The law says smooth bore is a shotgun with a minimum 18 inches in length.

  48. No, it did not clear it up, I read the statute , but is was not clear, that one or both criteria are required. are both required or only one where the shotgun is concerned, either 18 inch barrel , or max length of 26 inches, or both . would one that was shorter than required get you into trouble or would both be required to not be in violation ????

  49. It's a rare thing Canada has advantage over USA regards gun laws. In Canada, if shotgun is manual repeater, overall length of 26 inches, is considered a sporting shotgun.

  50. Question: If I make an AR-15 from an 80% lower receiver for personal use, can I use a shorter than 16" barrel without registering it "LEGALLY"?

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