AR-15 Pistols

AR-15 Pistols

What is an AR pistol? How can something that looks so much like an MSR be called a pistol? Well, it all comes down to legal definitions. Legally, a pistol is a firearm designed to be held and operated with one hand, characterized by its short barrel and compact size. In contrast, a long gun is built for two-handed operation from the shoulder, with a barrel longer than 16 inches and a stock.

Basically, an AR-15 pistol is built on the AR-15 platform but modified to meet the legal definition of a pistol. This means it has a shorter barrel and doesn't have a traditional stock for shoulder firing. Instead, it often uses an AR pistol brace.

Originally designed to help disabled veterans and other shooters with limited mobility, stabilizing braces, or pistol braces, make it easier to fire an AR pistol accurately without needing a stock. Unlike stocks, which are meant to rest against the shoulder, pistol braces strap to the forearm, allowing the shooter to control and aim the firearm with one hand. That's why firearms with a stabilizing brace aren't considered rifles.

AR Pistol vs SBR

When comparing an AR pistol to an SBR, the main difference is in their legal classifications and configurations. An AR-15 pistol has a shorter barrel and doesn't need special federal registration because it doesn't have a stock. On the other hand, an SBR also has a short barrel but requires a tax stamp and extra paperwork through the ATF. This makes an AR pistol a more accessible option.

Are AR 15 Pistol Braces Legal?

In the past, AR-15 pistols used a stabilizing brace instead of a stock to stay legally distinct from SBRs. The ATF initially approved braces, but in 2022, they issued a Final Rule classifying them under the NFA, requiring registration and a $200 tax stamp. However, in November 2023, a federal judge ruled in favor of plaintiffs in one case and issued a nationwide injunction. This means brace users can keep their braces for now while the lawsuit moves through the courts.

Always check the latest regulations and potential changes to make sure your setup is compliant.

AR Pistols for Sale at GRITR

At GRITR, we offer a wide variety of AR pistol models from top brands like Daniel Defense, American Tactical Imports (ATI), Diamondback, and more. Our selection includes barrels ranging from 4 inches to 11.5 inches and beyond, in calibers such as 5.56, .308/7.62, .300 BLK, 9mm, and more.


What is the best AR pistol for beginners?

For new shooters, an AR pistol in 5.56 or 9mm is often recommended due to its manageable recoil.

How is an AR pistol different from an SBR?

An AR pistol is designed to be fired with one hand, lacks a stock, and has a shorter barrel, making it more compact and lightweight. Unlike an SBR, an AR pistol doesn't require special federal registration or a tax stamp, provided it doesn't have a stock.

What's the point of getting an AR pistol?

An AR pistol offers greater maneuverability and ease of transport compared to traditional MSRs, making it ideal for home defense and close-quarters scenarios. It also doesn't require the same level of federal paperwork and registration as an SBR in case you'd like to get a more maneuverable build.

What's an AR 15 pistol brace ban?

The AR-15 pistol brace ban refers to regulatory changes concerning the legality of stabilizing braces used on AR-15 pistols. In 2022, the ATF issued a Final Rule classifying these braces under the NFA, requiring registration and a $200 tax stamp. However, a 2023 court ruling temporarily blocked this regulation, allowing brace users to keep their setups while the legal situation remains unsettled. Always stay updated with the latest regulations to ensure compliance.