There was a time in my life when I was working night security at a construction site. Being ex-military has its perks… This job paid well, and it was only for a few months. The employer said that I had to carry a short-barreled rifle (SBR). That is the type of security they wanted. It was, shall we say, a sensitive construction site.
An SBR is any firearm with a barrel length of less than 16 inches, or overall length of less than 26 inches. In order to carry an SBR, gun owners must go through the process of registering for one. Thankfully, I had gone through that process two months before I got wind of this job. Funny how things turn out sometimes.
After I got the necessary paperwork in order, I ordered my stock. There are many different options to choose from, and I decided to go with a GLR440. I had already invested money in the tax stamp from the ATF, and I wasn’t looking to spend a ridiculous amount of money on the stock.
Legality of SBRs
A lot of people aren’t aware of the possible illegality of owning a handgun and stock, so let’s back up and see what that’s about. Adding a stock to a handgun converts it into an SBR, and in the eyes of the U.S. government it is only legal if your state says it is legal. Some states disallow the use of SBRs and short-barreled shotguns (SBSs) altogether. Some states allow them with various restrictions, and other states will allow you to carry one with no restrictions.
According to federal law, a person may not be in possession of items that could potentially make up an SBR, unless they have the required permit. This means that if you own a gun, and also have a shoulder stock in your possession – regardless of its proximity or relation to the gun in question – you are in violation of federal law. I cannot stress this enough: research your weapons, people. You don’t want to buy a stock or other addition for your handgun, and then find yourself facing possible jail time for not spending two extra minutes researching your local firearm laws.
Luckily, I live in a state where it is no problem. The only time-consuming thing is waiting for the ATF to approve the Form 1 (aka request to manufacture a firearm). So, back to what I was saying – order a shoulder stock only after you have received the proper paperwork from the feds. BTW: I have heard that it can take up to almost a year to get your Form 1 approved, so sit tight. I read on some forum that there are only several dozen employees going through the mountains of SBR requests. That may be completely false, but considering it takes them almost a year…? well, it may be true.
The day arrived. I got my permit. I got my GLR440, connected it oh-so-easily to my Glock 17, and I was good to go. I worked that job for about 6 months. It was supposed to be a 3-4 month job, but somebody screwed up. The construction was held up for weeks, while the workers ironed out all kinds of kinks. The day would finish, and I would be there to make sure that nothing was touched or removed, and that nobody infiltrated the site. In the morning, the workers would appear at 7 AM, and I would get myself to bed and sleep.
After those 6 months, I honestly never wanted to work security again. I did a lot of guarding in the service, but being on the graveyard shift every. single. night. It takes a lot out of you. Walking, sitting, patrolling the confines of silent, deserted construction site. Wow. That was tough. Like I said, it was a sensitive location, so they allowed no smartphone, no tablet. Wouldn’t do that again so fast. After some time, you seem to lose all sense of self. I am not a night creature.
I only had to draw my weapon once in the in almost 200 nights on the job. I would spend some time at the range once every two weeks (another job requirement). The GLR440 did a great of minimizing recoil, increasing precision, and getting me into a solid, well-grounded position, fast. With a stock like the 440, you have 4 different positions to choose from.
The GLR440 is made from reinforced polymer, much like parts of the Glock itself. That is why, like the Glock, it is a durable, strong, and reliable piece of weaponry.
And I drew that weapon once, with intent to fire. One night, about 3 months into construction, I heard a noise coming from the farther side of the site. It was about 3 AM, and by then I was used to scanning quickly and finding a stray dog or cat. The workers aren’t too keen on keeping things clean, so sometimes strays end up there in search of food.
I got to the source of the noise, and found myself almost face to face with what was probably a meth-head looking for a place to light up. With no warning whatsoever, the guy’s eyes widen and I can see him moving towards me, ever so slightly. I react quickly, push him back a few feet with my full force, and then lift my weapon and take my stance, just as he reaches for a knife that he had concealed in his back pocket. I give a holler as I take a few more steps back (to broaden my range), and he freezes. I needed to get out of his stab radius, and I did so quickly. I yell at him to drop it, and he does, immediately. We stand there for a few seconds, eyeing one another, and then he just turns around and takes off. My guess it that he saw that I had the higher ground, weighed his options, and decided to bolt.
It was the only time in civilian life that I had to draw, and thankfully I didn’t need to pull the trigger. One thing was for certain, the ease and convenience of the GLR440 had proven themselves, and I was very happy with the way it and I both performed. My grip was firm and solid, and with the help of the GLR440, I presented a much greater threat. He made the right move, taking off like that. With a knife in his hand, this guy was only milliseconds away from getting a bullet in his shoulder. I was far enough to anticipate and stop anything he could have done. Cool, and relatively calm, with the GLR440 pressed against my shoulder, I handled the situation. If he would have made a move on me, it was good to know that I was ready.
Even after a lot of training, you don’t know how you are going to react to certain situations until they happen. And when they do, you find out if the training had seeped into your brain well enough to create muscle memory, automatic responses, and proper reflexes. In my case, it did. I reacted instinctively, and I am happy that I did. Right after I had a post-confrontation cigarette, I reported the incident to my employer. In almost 200 nights, that was the only thing I had encountered. So, once again – be sure that you are not in violation of any laws before you create or otherwise obtain your SBR.
I hope you found my story entertaining and informative. Although it takes some work to legally own a shoulder stock and convert your handgun to a SBR, I think it is worth it. The shoulder stock can extend the range of your gun making your gun effective at longer distances. The advantage to that is easy to see. It also allows you to be more in control of the recoil. This will allow you to make more rapid shots. There are all sorts of conversion kits on the market. It doesn’t matter if you own a Glock 17 or Glock 37 there is a kit that will allow you to convert your pistol to a SBR.
I have seen mixed reviews on the real advantage of a full SBR kit (barrel and all). The take-away that most agree with is that these kits will make your Glock look super cool. Whatever you choose remember to file the proper paperwork. Jail is not a fun place!