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Q LLC and the ATF: A Tale of Woe

[Featured image by Johnny Danger Photography]

By now, news has begun to circulate regarding the BATFE's choice to send a cease and desist notification to the premium firearms company known as Q LLC regarding their Honey Badger pistol and similar products. On the surface, this looks like what we have come to expect from the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives: a distinct lack of clarity, with sudden, lightly worded decisions that place the burden of responsibility on the manufacturer to either bend the knee or submit an appeal at their own expense. The official letter, dated August 3rd, includes this statement from the BATFE:

ATF to Q screenshot

The pistol configuration of the Honey Badger, as well as the Sugar Weasel and Mini-Fix are sold with stabilizing braces. On the outset, it would appear that the brace proprietary to the Honey Badger is the target of the BATFE, but this assumption falls apart when reading the cease and desist letter.

The BATFE has changed their minds several times regarding the use of braces. At first, they were allowed. Then right before SHOT Show 2015 they were determined to be illegal to shoulder. Two years after that they changed their minds again.

mk 18 pistol braced

The popular SBA3 Brace/Law Tactical Folder has become so common for ideal backpack or trunk setups that this new turn from the BATFE is certain to cause disruption.


This latest move by the BATFE is a classic example of targeting not an industry giant such as Daniel Defense, or someone as integrated across the industry as SB Tactical, but Q, an icon in itself, and strategic target.

SB Tactical Stands with Q

The manufacture of braces available for a wide range of firearms, SB Tactical has voiced their support for Q with the following statement:

SB Tactical, in conjunction with the Firearms Regulatory Accountability Coalition, Inc., (FRAC), and the National Rifle Association, stands in solidarity with Q, LLC. and is disappointed by the recent ATF actions in classifying their Honey Badger pistol as a short-barreled rifle. This classification is based on a seemingly arbitrary set of criteria and promises to create unnecessary confusion and anxiety amongst millions of legal gun owners and the industry as a whole.

The ATF is saying, in part, that they will not evaluate an accessory as a stand-alone product, but that the characteristics of the entire firearm influence their decision. Characteristics such as optics chosen, magazine capacity, how the gun is marketed, or length of pull will “holistically” determine a firearm’s NFA classification. Moreover, the ATF has, to date, refused to clarify or state what characteristics define a Pistol Stabilizing Brace. They have stated that “they will know it when they see it”.

This arbitrary approach is creating confusion and uncertainty for millions of law-abiding citizens, manufacturers, retailers, and wholesalers. SB Tactical is the inventor of the Pistol Stabilizing Brace and is deeply committed to our customers, the Second Amendment, and the rule of law. The ATF’s approach is unfair and unlawful.

SB Tactical will, undoubtedly and unwaveringly, continue to support Q, LLC. We are tirelessly working with congressional leadership, the White House, and the Department of Justice to ensure that legal gun owners’ rights and the rights of manufacturers are not in jeopardy. It is our hope that the ATF’s latest policy interpretations, politically motivated or not, are corrected and that the confusion created can be reversed.

Running along the fault line between the use of braces, and the seemingly arbitrary distinction between a regular rifle and a shorter option, for an organization that treats an SBR like a belt-fed machine gun, there's reason for skepticism. It is the arbitrary nature with which the Bureau both interprets and enforces the law, at the cost of taxpayers who do not seemingly have a say in the legitimacy of their decision. Thankfully Q is still able to make an appeal.

This lays out what could very well be the battlefield for the freedom of Short Barreled Rifles. A data-based approach to show their relative infrequent use in violent crime, as well as the hill to die on, so to speak, when advocating for a more clear legislation regarding the BATFE's responsibilities and authorities are rarely asking for a better example.

Do Your Part

We as Americans are duty-bound to act as both the voice of the Governed, as well as those who remind both elected and unelected officials that they serve at the behest of the people. Here are multiple ways to directly get involved:

One-Click Link to Contact DOJ:

White House Comment Line:

  • (202) 456-1111 / Email

Residents from the following states have the opportunity to contact their representatives:

  • Kansas – Sen. Jerry Moran (R) – Chairman of the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) which is responsible for funding the ATF.
    • (202) 224-6521 / Email
  • South Carolina – Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) – Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is responsible for ATF oversight.
    • (202) 224-5972 / Email
  • Ohio 4th District – Congressman Jim Jordan (R) – Ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee which has jurisdiction over 2nd amendment issues.
    • (202) 225-2676 / Email
  • If you’re not from one these States, you can find your representative’s contact information here:

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More on Pistol Stabilizing Braces:

3 responses to “Q LLC and the ATF: A Tale of Woe”

  1. Joe says:

    The emails will get filtered out if they are not from the lawmaker’s districy.

  2. John A Bird says:

    Build whatever you want, put a stock on it and use it specifically for tactical purposes. Our government agencies have no right to tax you for the purpose of shouldering what they classify as a pistol, it’s a gun!

  3. Al Engelhart says:

    Their timing could not have been more well thought out qllc is in the hot seat for something that was already pre-approved by the bureau of alcohol tobacco firearms and explosives more commonly referred to as the ATF. With the election this close at hand all the politicals have a different focus point. ATF is using the election as a distraction. To single out one manufacturer is going against honest gun owning citizens to change the law in midstream somewhat arbitrary approach it seems to be an ulterior motive here by the ATF . Contact your congressman your senators and the doj and the four mentioned link above.

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