Recently, the BATFE has “ruled” that it is now (for now) legal to shoulder rifle type (AR, AK, etc.) pistols that have what is termed an arm brace on the rear of the weapon. From what I read, the ruling originally made by the BATFE back in 2015 said that shouldering the brace was considered a “redesign” of the weapon, and thus made it into a “Short Barreled Rifle” (SBR). The BATFE has now reversed that opinion, and you can read about it here.
On the shotgun front, we now have 14″ barreled shotguns with a birdhead grip, that are not classified as “Short Barreled Shotguns” (SBS) or “Any Other Weapon” (AOW). This is apparently because Mossberg figured out that if you start with a brand new receiver and register it as a “Firearm” instead of a “Shotgun”, the only length restriction for it was an overall minimum length of 26″ instead of that plus a minimum barrel length of 18″ (requirement for a standard shotgun) as long as it never had a buttstock or regular 18″ or longer barrel on it when built.
Regardless, I have been watching this for a while now. I have owned an AR pistol for almost two years, and recently purchased a Mossberg 590 Shockwave. Although I thought the original ruling on the illegality of AR’s pistols being shouldered was ridiculous, I’m also was not foolish enough to get pinched by doing it. My AR pistol was plenty accurate by shooting it with other methods that were not shouldered, but just as stable.
Why concern yourself with getting something like an AR pistol, when you can have a 16′ rifle. True, you can have a 16″ rifle, but can you legally carry that rifle loaded in your vehicle like you can a pistol. I don’t know about you, but I know of a few people that had something that was considered illegal (firearms wise) in their vehicle, and ended up in an accident which revealed that illegal item, and that ended up causing even more problems than just the accident would have. If you don’t plan on having any accidents, let me know, cuz………yeah, whatever.
If given the option, you always choose to have a rifle for self defense if at all possible. Anyone who does not agree with that, does not understand the realities of self defense and the degree to which a rifle user can dominate a handgun opponent in a fight. Here’s another example. In my state of PA, you cannot legally carry a loaded rifle in the state forest unless it is hunting season, and you have a license. Guess who can LEGALLY carry his AR “pistol” in the woods….. Yup, ME.
Guys who talk about having their “Minuteman Kit” in their vehicle, but are using a rifle aren’t really what I’d call a “Minuteman” since they have to dig out their rifle and load it. It’s not instant access, is it? I already mentioned PA’s rifle requirement in the state forest, but here’s another requirement. If you have a long gun in your vehicle, it must be unloaded and cased. Guess what doesn’t need to be unloaded and cased in your vehicle in PA? Yup, you guessed it, a rifle type “pistol”. The brand and model you get isn’t as important as understanding the advantages to having a rifle type pistol, especially if you have a carry permit.
As to the Mossberg 590 Shockwave. When I found out about them last year, I started doing some research and determined that they were not just a gimmick, but had some legitimate uses besides that of door breaching. I have owned a Mossberg 590 (20″ barrel, 9 shot) since 1988 when they were adopted by the military. Over the last 29 years it has had thousands of rounds through it, and never had one issue. I carried a 590 in Iraq (18.5″ barrel, 6 shot), and it’s function was flawless when in use.
One of the reasons I am partial to Mossberg’s pump shotguns is because of the placement of their safety. It is completely ambidextrous, and having not only hunted with, but also qualified with and carried an Rem 870 as a duty weapon ( and it’s “less than optimal” placement of the safety for a lefty), I appreciate the convenience and accessibility of the Mossberg safety by either hand.
The 590 Shockwave is a 14″ barreled, birds head gripped, 6 shot (5+1), 12 gauge with an overall length of 26.5″. What are some of the uses I’ve come up with for the Shockwave? Well, let’s see, can you think of a better gun to have in a tent when you’ve been woken up at 0130hrs by a bear intent on getting those krispy creme donuts you left sitting on your pack? Would you rather have a pistol or a short shotgun in that instance considering you are half asleep, it is dark, and a bear moves pretty fast, unlike you.
What about you guys who have those nifty mantle or shelf gun holders near your front door. Look up the penetration levels of 00 Buckshot, or even better yet, #6 birdshot, compared to a 9mm. Read those, then tell me whether you think a shotgun is better than an average pistol (9mm) for an apartment. When I went out and shot it the first time, I took some birdshot hunting loads with me to see if it was at all viable as a small game gun.
Both at 10 and 15 yards the pattern on an 8 inch target with #6 high brass was in the 80% range for shot on target. This target was over another bigger target to see approximately how many shot missed it. Would I chose it as my primary small game gun? Of course not. Would it work in a pinch for small game? Absolutely! Of course it would be easily maneuverable in a vehicle, due to it’s short overall length, and as already mentioned, people, especially military and LEO’s, automatically think of this as a door breaching gun, and it definitely would excel at it.
If you have a need for a very compact “Long gun”, and are able to buy either one of these types of guns, I highly recommend them. Are they a necessity? Generally not, but that is situationally dependent. What they are is convenient, and a lot of fun to shoot, even after what they can do for you in a defensive situation.
I know some of you get pissed off when people discuss legalities, and the laws pertaining to guns, but here is how I look at it. Can you get SBR’s and AOW’s in most states? Yes. Are they highly restricted concerning their transportation? Yes. You can either try to comply with what is on the books so you don’t have to worry about getting caught with a National Firearms Act (NFA) weapon and catch a Federal charge, or you can use what is legally available and make it work for you.
It’s easy to say things like “I don’t give a shit what is legal, the second amendment gives me the authority to Fill in the blank (carry concealed, own a unregistered SBR or AOW, etc.)”. Although I agree with your premise, when the reality of that statement hits you in the face with jail time (loss of freedom, probable loss of your job, and hefty fines, not to mention how it will effect your family economically and emotionally) simply because you wanted to violate a law you thought didn’t “apply to you”. In hindsight, you will feel like three kinds of a fool, and wish you had the opportunity to change what you did. Is what the Gov does to people in these instances wrong? You bet it is, but it doesn’t change the “real time reality” for the individual that gets caught one bit, does it?