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Front grip on a pistol??

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Pistolman36, Aug 1, 2009.

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  1. Pistolman36

    Pistolman36 Member

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    I have a Taurus PT 27/7 in 45 caliber that I love very much. Recently I was playing around with some spare parts I have and came across a vertical pistol grip for the forend of an ar-15. It attached to the pistol quite easily. I mounted the grip and loved how much control I have. While chatting, a person told me this was an illegal mod because it turned the handgun into an "other" catagory. Is this true? I took it off until I find out for sure.

    Does a front grip make a pistol illegal??
     
  2. proud2deviate

    proud2deviate Member

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    Unfortunately, yes. Unless properly registered as an AOW (Any Other Weapon,) it would be illegal.

    The reason for this is that a handgun is legally defined as being designed to be operated with one hand. A forward grip makes two-handed operation an obvious intention. Stupid, but true. Sorry:(
     
  3. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Yup. Unless you pay the AOW tax and register it as such, attaching a forward grip to a pistol is a Federal no-no.
     
  4. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Though not specifically stated in any law anywhere, the ATF has taken that position.

    The NFA law says:

    So this is one of the odd cases where ATF had taken things a bit too far. Why would adding a vertical forward grip to a pistol break the definition of pistol? Well, simply because ATF says it does.

    In one famously discussed case where someone was actually charged with this the attorney general dropped this charge before it went to trial.
    It's been argued that the AG dropped this specific charge because ATF was afraid they would lose.

    So, it's entirely possible this could be beat, but who the heck wants to be the test case?


    But, the 1968 GCA says this, in the definition of handgun:

    So, a handgun is designed to be held by the use of a single hand, but the law doesn't say it can't be modified to be held by 2 hands.

    Consider the AR15 pistol. Clearly usable by 2 hands, one hand on the magazine well. But legal.

    That's the ATF interpretation again, but it's kind of iffy. There really isn't any legal wording that covers it, so ATF tossed it into the "AOW" category on their own.

    And again, no one wants to be a test case, it would be an expensive loss.

    So in the end, best to just go along with ATFs interpretation.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2009
  5. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    What about the Kel-Tec PLR-16?
    It pretty much has a barrel shroud that would make it easy enough to fire with two hands.

    Where?
    I thought a handgun was defined as a firearm not designed to be fired from the shoulder (or something like that)
     
  6. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Well that's why barrel shrouds came under fire a few years ago, even though that moron Carolyn McCarthy called it "a shoulder thing that goes up".

    That's why I say the ATF is in kind of an odd spot on this.

    They have said that a VERTICAL foregrip is illegal, but grabbing the mag well or a barrel shroud is not.

    I think they are on shaky ground but no one in their right mind would want to fight them on it.
     
  7. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    I must not be in my right mind then..
    But I'm a poor 18 year old kid.
    I'm on my way though.
     
  8. Guns and more

    Guns and more member

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    In the eyes of the media, it makes it a high capacity automatic assault rifle.
     
  9. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    Who cares what the media thinks?
     
  10. tju1973

    tju1973 Member

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    Yes, to reiterate what others have said-- a pistol with a foregrip, without an Stamp-- is a Fed Offense--
    The same goes for a pistol with a buttstock, without a barrel of a certain length.
    The exceptions are C&R pistols that are kept historical with the stock-- ie Lugers with a stock--

    Not sure the exacts, but I would search for the info--

    Remember you run of the mill ATF guy/girl is no more evil than the local police, and they do not always know the laws to the letter-- its the paper pushers at a desk that will bust you....
     
  11. 30mag

    30mag Member

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    What sort of stamp would you have to get for the foregrip to be legal?
     
  12. HankB

    HankB Member

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    I remember during the early days of pistol metallic silhouette shooting some folks were converting XP100s to big cartridges, and building stocks with two grips. No big deal . . .

    But some bureaucrat decided to legislate from his desk, and make law where none existed.

    Most people recognize it as so much bovine excrement, but as has already been stated - nobody wants to be the test case.

    Are YOU willing to expend legal fees that will probably run well into six figures, if there's even a 10% chance you'll end up with a felony conviction? (And if you win . . . you're STILL out an awful lot of green.)
     
  13. bobotech

    bobotech Member

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    Short Barreled Rifle.

    You could then put a stock on it too.
     
  14. DMK

    DMK Member

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    AOW (Any Other Weapon) if you don't want a stock.
     
  15. eye5600

    eye5600 Member

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    In Connecticut, the AWB is forbids pistols with any kind of grip on the barrel. I believe the idea is to disallow grips that make the weapon easier to fire from the hip.

    So it varies by state.
     
  16. Phatty

    Phatty Member

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    TexasRifleman summed up the answer best. There was a significant discussion as to this exact issue several months ago. If I recall, the general consensus was that adding a forward grip to a pistol is technically legal, but as TR mentioned the ATF takes the position that it is illegal, so you're risking a criminal prosecution by adding the forward grip. Even though you'd probably beat the charge in the end, the many drawbacks of enduring the criminal prosecution just aren't worth it.

    Edit: Here's a link to the earlier discussion: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=5600498
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2009
  17. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Rather than start a new thread, I'll throw my question in. How does the ATF reconcile that most modern pistols are designed and built to be fired by two hands? Curved and serrated trigger guards anybody?

    I'd be curious to see what the ATF has to say about pistols that are currently offered and designed to be fired with two hands from the factory. That list would include
    -Glock
    -CZ
    -H&K
     
  18. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    There is a big difference between being ABLE to fire with 2 hands and being "designed and intended" to be fired with 2 hands.

    The definition of handgun is:

    I can guarantee no handgun maker states that their design is "intended" to be fired with 2 hands.

    That you CAN do it doesn't change the definition. If some gun maker were to be dumb enough to describe their firearm that way they would suffer the consequences.

    You CAN fire many rifles with a single hand, but that doesn't mean that they were designed with that in mind.

    As usual, and I should add it to my sig, "gun laws are stupid".
     
  19. atblis

    atblis Member

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    So you're trying to tell me this wasn't designed to be fired by two hands? The front of the trigger guard is simply for styling purposes?

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Zoogster

    Zoogster Member

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    The current view upheld as law by the ATF is that a vertical forward grip turns the handgun into an AOW.

    They justify this because a pistol in federal law is defined as a firearm designed to be fired by one hand. A shotgun or rifle both have stocks. So they have declared it to be an "Any Other Weapon".

    An "Any Other Weapon" without a $200 tax stamp, FBI background check, and other state and federal requirements is in violation of the NFA.

    So it is a major felony to attach a forward grip to a pistol according to the ATF.


    Yet horizontal grips, seem to be perfectly fine, especially those which are not grips like barrel shrouds and rails on things like AR pistols.
    Yet it appears even those which are actually grips are allowed.

    For example these are legally sold as pistols:

    [​IMG]

    Removing the horizontal wood grip and adding this vertical forward grip
    [​IMG]
    would be a felony according to the ATF.
     
  21. Frank Ettin

    Frank Ettin Moderator

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    Some modern pistols may have features that facilitate the use of the weak hand in support. But they remain primarily one handed weapons. Or do you really want the BATF to go after all everyone who owns a Glock?
     
  22. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

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    Correct. It was designed to be fired with one hand. That you CAN use 2 hands doesn't change that. It's a one handed weapon and you will not get the manufacturer to say otherwise.
    So yes, that is purely for styling purposes if you were to ask a US based manufacturer. :)

    You're trying to make sense of a gun law and I can assure you that you won't be able to do that.
     
  23. Diamondback6

    Diamondback6 Member

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    Actually, the 1927A5 is in a gray area, since it's built from "rifle" parts--there are A5's that were built with the vertical foregrips and are still Title I, the version I heard at the Thompson board on MachineGunBoards.com (which has at least one ATF agent among its active posters) was that they had to stretch the barrel 3" over the original TSMG to get its OAL long enough to be Title I.
     
  24. atblis

    atblis Member

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    Do these ATF letters mean anything in court? This really needs to be challenged in court.

    I think I'll write some leading letter about the one handed thing and get them to firmly commit to the "designed to be fired by one hand" crap, and then try the Glock thing on them referencing the previous letter. It should be good for a chuckle. I suspect their argument will be that it is designed to be fired in both manners (one handed and two handed), and it can still be fired in the one handed configuration which is the primary intent...or some other BS. I am getting a headache. Enough.
     
  25. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    they don't want it easier to fire from the hip because its clearly more deadly than accautly aiming
     
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