Braced pistols have become commonplace items in American society. After all, for a decade, ATF has told us they’re perfectly legal and okay to use on our pistols. Until they weren’t. Unfortunately, this has a direct effect on anyone with a Glock conversion kit. However, adding a 16-inch barrel to your Glock offers a solution to prevent running afoul of these arbitrary rulings.
Safeguarding Your Glock Conversion Kit from the ATF Rule
There are estimated to be anywhere between 10 and 40 million braced pistols currently in the United States. With the ATF changing the rules this past January, they’re about to create that many felons out of law-abiding citizens.
Those braced pistols that they said were okay are now Short Barreled Rifles and subject to taxation and registration under the National Firearms Act (NFA). The organization does give you some compliance options, but some are easier than others.
First off, there are a number of legal challenges currently pending regarding the brace rule. And keep in mind that it’s a rule change, not a law. The legal challenges are pretty solid, so hopefully, the rule gets reversed.
If the judges follow the Constitution, recent Supreme Court decisions, and the fundamentals of separation of powers, then it should. In the meantime, what can you do with your once legal firearm to avoid trouble?
Complying with the Rule
There are a number of things you can do to comply with the rule change. Now, I know a lot of folks are going to opt to simply not comply. Either waiting out the court battles or just because they’re tired of government overreach.
That’s certainly an option. However, if you’re trying to play by the rules or don’t want your dog shot by the ATF, here’s what you can do.
You can register your braced firearm as a Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) with ATF. They’re waiving the $200 tax until May 31st, so time is running out on that option. You can remove and get rid of the brace altogether. Keeping the brace around, even if it’s not attached, could be construed as constructive possession.
You can swap out your pistol-length barrel for a 16-inch or longer barrel, thus creating a rifle not subject to the NFA. Or you can destroy or turn your gun in to the ATF. I don’t see a lot of that happening.
The easiest option is just getting rid of the brace. Next is swapping out to a 16-inch barrel. That’s pretty easy with something like the AR platform, where you can just buy another upper.
But what if you’re running a different platform? Something like a Glock pistol with one of the brace kits like the CAA Roni and Micro Roni, the Recover Tactical 2020 or P-IX, the Endo Tactical adapter, or the Flux Brace?
Those brace kits aren’t necessarily cheap, so just throwing them away is literally just throwing cash away. Kind of a punitive measure for buying something the ATF said was legal, right? But it’s not as easy to swap out to a 16-inch barrel on a conventional pistol as it is with an AR.
Or is it?
The 16-inch Option
It’s hard to say how many of those millions of braced pistols are Glocks or similar pistols in a conversion kit. But odds are there are a lot of them out there.
One kit that I reviewed last year was the Meta Tactical Apex bullpup conversion kit for the Glock. The key difference with it was that it actually came with a 16-inch barrel, so it avoided the whole brace issue entirely. You were actually converting your pistol to a carbine which isn’t regulated by the NFA.
Well, guess what? You can buy those barrels separately and use them with a brace kit you already have.
Meta Tactical makes barrels for 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and 10mm Glocks. They also do full Apex kits for the S&W M&P 9mm. So, barrels for those might become available separately as well.
Barrels are $300 each, which isn’t inexpensive, honestly. It’s a top-quality barrel, though. It’s threaded and comes with a flash hider and a black nitride finish.
If you weigh the cost against either throwing out your current brace, which may have cost you a couple of hundred bucks already, or registering your gun as an SBR, even with the tax amnesty, it starts to look like a viable option.
For more information, please visit MetaTactical.com.
Meta Tactical isn’t the only game in town when it comes to 16-inch Glock barrels. But they do have the largest selection. CAA also offers a 16-inch barrel option for $269. However, it’s only offered in 9mm for Glock 19 or 17 platforms.
For more information, please visit CAAGearUp.com.
ZFI Inc. offers a 16-inch barrel for the Glock 19 and 17 or 22 and 23 platforms in either 9mm or .357 SIG. They’re $351.99, and advise that shipping could take up to 2 months following the date of purchase. However, if you’re looking for a .357 SIG, that’s your only current option.
For more information, please visit ZFI-Inc.com
Installation and Use
Installing a 16-inch barrel on your Glock is easy. If you can field strip your gun, you can swap the barrel in seconds. It’s no different from putting your regular barrel in place, only this one is going to extend a good way past your slide. In the case of the Meta Tactical, you’ll need to screw the flash hider in place after installation.
With the barrel installed, you now have a non-NFA-regulated carbine. Despite the additional length, I found the weight difference to be negligible. Handling was still fast, and pointing characteristics didn’t really change.
You do have more barrel sticking out, obviously, so navigating in tight quarters might require a bit of adjustment.
On the plus side, you’re going to pick up some extra velocity and gain some accuracy potential. Depending on your kit, you can swap the brace out for a proper stock if you go to the 16-inch barrel as well.
I tested the Recover Tactical P-IX kit last year with a brace and my standard Glock 17. When I reconfigured it with my 16-inch barrel for this article, I was able to swap the brace out and use the actual stock that came with my Recover kit.
I also tried the 16-inch barrel with my Endo Tactical adapter. It looked a little goofy with the 16-inch barrel hanging out there, but it functioned fine and actually still handled well. I didn’t have a Roni kit or any other setup, but they should all work similarly.
Hope for the Best and prepare for the Worst
Let’s hope the courts do the right thing and strike down the ATF’s unconstitutional brace rule. If we’re lucky, we may even make progress in rolling back the National Firearms Act in whole or in part.
In the meantime, though, if you want to play things safe, grabbing a 16-inch barrel for your Glock conversion kit is a way to keep the property you already legally purchased. If things do get rolled back, the worst case is that you have a cool 16-inch barreled carbine option for your kit.
Kind of like having a Thompson Contender pistol and the carbine kit so you can swap back and forth.