Unintended consequences of long NFA application wait times

Until eFile came along, it took me 8 – 10 months to get each NFA stamp back from the ATF. If I had gone the individual route instead of using a trust, my processing time would be even longer since I would have had to set an appointment with my chief law enforcement officer, fingerprinted, etc.

Anyway, one unexpected consequence of waiting for so long is that I wound up buying multiple items to convert to short barrel rifles, some of which became obsolete by other short barrel rifles as time went on.

Before we dive into my mistakes, we have two goals with our SBR firearms:

  1. Both of us wanted portable weapon systems, preferably in rifle calibers. This was my primary goal.
  2. She Shepherd is 5’ 2” and has short arms. While she was capable of running a full-sized AK47 pattern rifle, the ergonomics, balance and weight were not ideal for her. We wanted something more, well, She-sized.

My first pair of stamps were for my Mini Draco and my Glock 19. I knew I wanted a super short, Krinkov-inspired AK47 and I thought a super compact 9mm PDW based on the Glocks we already trained with would be a good choice for She Shepherd.


As time ticked on, I figured I might as well get a jump start on my next SBR projects. I applied for two more stamps, this time for a PPS-43C and an AMD-65 AK47. I thought we could use the PPS-43C as a house PDW for the She Shepherd, and I would use the AMD-65 in the home instead of dealing with the epic muzzle blast from the Mini Draco.



The problem was I hadn’t learned anything from my first pair of projects due to the long ATF processing times. This was also before I learned more about AR pistols.

So, first pair of stamps finally come in. I had problems with the KPOS enclosure I purchased. Installation was difficult, the factory instructions were wrong, and I had reliability problems with various types of ammunition even though the host Glock 19 was 100% reliable.


While the paperwork for our second pair of SBRs was underway we experimented with the Tavor bullpup rifle. In short, we both hated it.


Untitled-6However, I had acquired a ton of AR15 magazines and 5.56×45 ammunition while we owned them, and that led me to consider an AR pistol.

Several of our friends had them, and despite being around for a few years, more and more training groups were considering them viable alternatives to short barrel rifles.

The second set of stamps came in. The PPS-43C turned out to be more complicated to convert to an SBR than I expected. As of this writing the stock is still fixed in the folded position.

The AMD-65? Well, converting that was pretty easy, but by then I was getting more and more curious about short barreled ARs. I haven’t fired the AMD-65 since I got my stamp back, and I’ve moved on to better firearms for my purposes.

We built an 11.5” AR pistol for She Shepherd (which now has a stamp) and my quest to go shorter plus my dissatisfaction with the ACE folding stock adapter on my AK led me to research my own AR project.


My last pair of NFA items? Well, as we like to say around the house, THANKS OBAMA. The ATF announced they may reform how trusts apply for NFA items last year, and I decided to submit two more firearms for SBR status, just in case it became exponentially difficult (or impossible) to get CLEO signoff in a future world.

One application was for the aforementioned AR pistol that She Shepherd loves, and the other was a Serbian Zastava PAP M92 pistol, which has turned out to be the easiest SBR conversion ever but might also not see a ton of range time.


The long NFA wait times gave me too much opportunity to think about new projects without living with the old ones. Instead of waiting to get the stamp for the Glock and testing out the KPOS, I wondered it if would be better to have a longer barreled, heavier (and larger) PPS-43C. There was too much uncertainty, and I didn’t want to wait almost a year in case I made the wrong decision about the KPOS. So I submitted an application for the PPS-43C, and wound up using neither on a regular basis.

So, standing where I am now, knowing about AR pistols, .300 Blackout, and after carrying an AK47 SBR for almost 17 months, would I do it all over again?

Definitely not.

I’ve already recommended that people investigate AR15 pistols instead of SBRs. Unless you have a very specific application or you “just want XYZ” there isn’t much reason to submit to the scrutiny and restrictions of an NFA-registered SBR instead of running an AR15 pistol.

That being said, B. R. Kurtz’s SBR Skorpion got me itching …. Maybe if eFile gets going again I’ll add something else to my collection.

“Gun control” is a silly thing. If one of the purposes of the NFA is to reduce the number of short barrel firearms in circulation, the long processing times had the opposite effect. Instead of trying one or two firearms out at a time and reselling them (as I have done with some of my handguns) I now have six SBRs plus a very short AR15 pistol.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.

3 Comments on "Unintended consequences of long NFA application wait times"

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  1. David says:

    I’m surprised you disliked the Tavor. Can we expect an article on your thoughts on bullpups? FWIW, I’ve got a Tavor and an AUG A3 NATO, and find both of them superb.

    Oh, and my G17 SBR stamp finally came. Just gotta pick it up next week.

  2. Peter says:

    Wait, you disliked a Tavor?! That’s….well…crazy talk.

  3. B R Kurtz B R Kurtz says:

    The Skorpion and the MasterPiece Arms MAC are sweet little SBRs. They have an operationally small realm; but I do find them tagging along more often than say my SBRd Sterlings or AR SMG. That being said the Sterling is my favorite with the AR SMG being next in line.

    I very much DO think the AR Pistol is the way to go, if avoiding NFA issues is the goal or necessity. Honestly, had the AR pistol been available to me, I might (MIGHT) not have gone the SBRd AR route.

    Bullpups are neat concepts with some advantages; but they do have a vastly different manual of arms–not unlearnable; but different. Ultimately a SBR gives us the same weapon in the smaller package we desire. Perhaps the best option is a SBRd Bullpup (picture a FN P90)

    As in all things I think we have to decide WHAT WE WANT each weapon platform to do. MY Sterlings and AT SMGs are Go To War guns, the MAC and Skorpion are more covert options, easier to carry; but less useful in some situations.

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