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What’s Legal? Semi-Auto Pistol Accessories

Well you just got home with your new front grip for your semi-auto M-11 and you are getting ready to install it…...


A lot of people don’t realize attaching all those cool grips and stocks to your semi-auto pistol is a federal offense, even though they're all OK on an NFA-registered full-auto gun.

I have created a chart below to show what you can & cannot do on a semi-auto pistol. I have also included some basic information on what type of permit you need to make that configuration legal.

Disclaimer: I am not lawyer so don’t blame me if my interpretations are wrong. When in doubt, don't do it until you get confirmation that what you intend to do is indeed legal -- stay on the right side of the law and conform to ATF rulings!


Semi-Auto MAC Legalities Chart
A. Illegal SBRs
Installing any type of butt stock on your pistol turns it into a illegal “Short Barrel Rifle” aka SBR. It doesn’t matter if the stock is fixed, folding, or collapsible.

To legally install a rear stock on your pistol you will need to create / register it as a SBR with the BATF on a "Form 1" *BEFORE* you install the accessories.

B. Illegal AOWs
Installing any type of front grip on your pistol turns it in to an illegal “Any Other Weapon” aka AOW. A “grip” is a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s). Basically any thing that looks like a pistol grip or even the nylon "loop" grip you find on full-auto versions. Heat shields and barrel extensions are always horizontal and do not count as “grips” so they are ok.

To legally install a front vertical grip on your pistol you will need to create / register it as a AOW with the BATF on a "Form 1" *BEFORE* you install the accessories.

C. Legal Pistols
These are ok. Pistols with items such as barrel extensions, heat shields & fake suppressors are legal. Just makes sure you do not install a front vertical grip or rear stock. If you replace the upper with one with a 16" or longer barrel installed (not just a barrel extension), such as this one from Lage Manufacturing, it transforms your semi-automatic pistol into a carbine rifle which is then allowed to have a rear stock, but ONLY while in that long-barrel configuration.
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