Officer Firearms Requirements
NOTICE: Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached "Stabilizing Braces"
The purpose of this notice is to inform Departments of a ruling made by the US Department of Justice concerning firearms equipped with stabilizing braces. This notice is not to be construed as legal advice.
On January 13, 2023, the U.S. Attorney General signed the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) final rule 2021R-08F, Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached "Stabilizing Braces," amending ATF's regulations to clarify when a rifle is designed, made, and intended to be fired from the shoulder.
The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 31, 2023, and owners of such devices must take action by May 31, 2023. Any weapons with "stabilizing braces" or similar attachments that constitute rifles under the NFA must be registered no later than May 31, 2023; or the short barrel removed and a 16-inch or longer rifle barrel attached to the firearm; or the "stabilizing brace" or similar attachment must be permanently removed, disposed of, or altered such that it cannot be reattached; the firearm can also be turned in to your local ATF office; or the firearm is destroyed in accordance with ATF guidance.
The rule outlines the factors ATF would consider when evaluating firearms equipped with a purported "stabilizing brace" (or other rearward attachment) to determine whether these weapons would be considered a "rifle" or "short-barreled rifle" under the Gun Control Act of 1968, or a "rifle" or "firearm" subject to regulation under the National Firearms Act. The rule's amended definition of "rifle" clarifies that the term "designed, redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder" includes a weapon that is equipped with an accessory, component, or other rearward attachment (e.g., a "stabilizing brace") that provides surface area allowing the weapon to be fired from the shoulder, provided other factors, as listed in the definition, indicate the weapon is designed and intended to be fired from the shoulder.
Additional information may be found in the attached
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document authored by the ATF. An additional FAQ is available at
https://www.atf.gov/qa-category/final-rule-2021r-08fQuestions should be directed to either the ATF, or private legal counsel. Information from the ATF may be obtained by contacting: Denise Brown, Office of Regulatory Affairs, Enforcement Programs and Services, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, U.S. Department of Justice, 99 New York Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20226; telephone: (202) 648-7070.
NOTE TO OFFICERS: Title 37 §203.52 (b) (1) (i) states that “a weapon may not be carried on duty for which the officer has not qualified.”
Each year, MPOETC establishes and publishes minimum standards for annual firearms qualifications. Beginning in 2020, MPOETC required all certified officers to qualify on a standardized course of fire for the primary duty weapon (handgun). Departments that wish to use a different primary duty weapon course of fire may submit that request and a copy of the proposed course to
RA-SPMPO_FIREARMS@pa.gov for approval. Starting in 2022, departments are required to qualify officers using either a previously approved course of fire or the standard MPOETC course listed below.
2022 Qualification Requirements and Handgun Course (Mandatory)
ATTENTION: Due to continuing issues associated with procuring ammunition, the requirement to use duty ammunition for the first phase of qualification is
waived through the end of 2023. Departments should document what ammunition they use for qualification but are not required to request approval from MPOETC for this modification. MPOETC will revisit the issue of ammunition availability in January 2024.
MPOETC encourages firearms instructors to use the other standardized courses of fire available below when qualifying officers on weapons other than their primary duty weapon (handgun).
Adverse Light Qualification Course of Fire (Optional)Shotgun Qualification Course of Fire (Optional)Patrol Rifle Qualification Course of Fire (Optional)
Municipal Police Instructors (Firearms)
Municipal Police Instructors (MPI-Firearms) are certified by MPOETC in two-year increments (renewable) and authorized to conduct firearms training at certified municipal police academies. Individuals wishing to be MPI-Firearms certified by MPOETC must be employed by a certified police academy and the certified police academy must submit the request for certification.
Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors
Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors are certified indefinitely by MPOETC to conduct annual qualifications for law enforcement officers who were previously trained and qualified on a particular weapon system. Individuals who have successfully completed formal training as a law enforcement/police firearms instructor and wish to be certified by MPOETC as a Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor should submit an application with supporting documents as stated on the application form.
Application for Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor
Certified Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor List