August 2014

SIG ‘Holds’ on ATF Silencer Suit

The firearms agency agrees to look at “muzzle brake” again.

Gunmaker SIG Sauer has agreed to “stay” its civil suit against the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives while ATF reviews a sample of a muzzle brake that the agency called a silencer.

The MPX-C’s permanently attached muzzle brake (arrow) is 9.5 inches long with a conventional barrel that’s only 6.5 inches long. Add them together and voilà — 16 inches of barrel, so no SBR. Hard to hear how ATF said that skeletonized brake is a silencer.

By agreement, approved by the U.S. District Court of New Hampshire, SIG will “stay” its lawsuit against the ATF until Sept. 17. In the meantime, both sides agree, SIG will send the ATF a sample of its muzzle brake for review and the ATF will issue a third ruling by Aug. 6.

SIG sued ATF because the company alleges the agency wrongfully classified a SIG “muzzle brake” as a silencer. SIG claims that gun silencers are “subject to burdensome legal requirements” and by calling its muzzle brake a part for a silencer, the federal agency is subjecting the company to “economic injury.”

Faced with the federal lawsuit, the U.S. Attorney’s office notified SIG that the agency would reconsider its two prior decisions that call Sig’s muzzle brake an item “intended only for use” when making a silencer. The ATF asked the federal court to give it time to “review the matter and issue a new decision,” according to court records.

Backstory: The gun maker’s suit, filed in the U. S. District Court of New Hampshire, states that SIG submitted a SIG MPX machine pistol with its muzzle brake to the ATF on April 4, 2013 for evaluation. The SIG MPX submachine gun operates with a fully closed and locked rotating bolt system, has a gas-operated short stroke piston system, and allows the operator to change barrel length, caliber and stock configuration in the field.

The semi-auto carbine version, the MPX-C, has a 6.5-inch barrel with a 9.5-inch-long muzzle brake permanently attached, making the overall barrel length 16 inches. Because the MPX-C meets the legal barrel-length minimum, it was supposed to be sold as a conventional rifle without going through the expensive and time-consuming NFA process.

SIG claims the muzzle brake “effectively reduces recoil and muzzle rise when a shot is discharged” and as such, it’s not subject to regulation under the federal Gun Control Act.
“If classified as a silencer, no market exists for the subject device given that it will not silence, muffle, or diminish the report of a firearm and yet it would still be subject to the burdensome requirements set forth above as if it really is a silencer,” according to the suit.

Of course, silencers are subject to specific marking, record keeping, and transfer restrictions. Accordingly, SIG alleges that since silencers are “subject to burdensome legal requirements,” ATF is subjecting the company to economic loss of sales of the MPX-C.

The ATF ruled that the device is constructed as a silencer component known as a “monolithic baffle stack,” the suit states. SIG asked the BATFE to reconsider, while reporting that sound meter testing proved the device amplified, not muffled sound, when a gun with it was fired.

Ruger American Rimfires Now Include Threaded Barrels
Gun Tests readers who own 22-caliber suppressors should be aware that Sturm, Ruger & Co.’s American Rimfire line of bolt-action rifles are now available with threaded barrels in 22 LR, 22 Magnum, and 17 HMR.

Two stock lengths are available: full-sized (13.75” length of pull) and compact (12.5” length of pull). All six models feature 18-inch cold hammered-forged barrels with a 1⁄2-28 thread pattern and a factory-installed thread protector.

All list for $359. The specific model numbers are as follows:

Full Size No. 8312 17 HMR
Full Size No. 8305 22 LR
Full Size No. 8322 22 WMR
Compact No. 8314 17 HMR
Compact No. 8306 22 LR
Compact No. 8324 22 WMR

Mike Fifer, Ruger CEO, said, “These new threaded models are just one more way we’re raising the bar on rimfire bolt-action rifles.”

They also feature Ruger Marksman Adjustable triggers, Power Bedding integral bedding block systems, two interchangeable stock modules, and 60-degree bolt actions.
Additional features include a Williams fiber-optic front sight and 10/22-style adjustable “V” slot folding-leaf rear sight. A 3⁄8-inch rimfire scope base is machined into the receiver, which is also drilled and tapped for Weaver #12 bases (not included). Models chambered in 22 LR feature the detachable, flush-mounted 10/22 BX-1 10-round rotary magazine and accept all 10/22 magazines, including the BX-25. Models chambered in 22 Magnum and 17 HMR use the detachable, flush-mounted JMX-1 9-round rotary magazine.

Viridian Introduces Taclight For S&W Shield
Viridian’s new Reactor TL (RTL) taclight fits the popular Smith & Wesson M&P Shield carry pistol. The RTL taclight has a 140-lumen light with constant or strobe settings, and ECR (Enhanced Combat Readiness) Instant-On technology, which illuminates the light at the instant of draw without buttons, sliders, or unfamiliar grips. Every Reactor comes with an ECR Instant-On holster. To arm the ECR function, simply turn on the light before holstering. The light will automatically turn off when in the holster. Upon draw, the light instantly activates. Each Reactor includes a free holster and two sets of batteries.

Viridian suggests that users select the constant mode for scanning and searching. Select the strobe mode in a self-defense situation. Being hit by a strobing light can cause an adversary to experience dizziness and confusion, the company claims.

Compiled by Gun Tests staff. GT