A recently growing market in the AR world is the AR Pistol. This recent growth is primarily due to the introduction of the pistol brace. This is a product added to the buffer tube of a pistol that has a similar look as a stock and intended to brace the forearm of the shooter to aid in balance and function. Initially designed for disabled shooters, it takes the awkward AR pistol buffer tube and breathes new life into it.
When this product first came out, there was some concern about the legal ramifications that might come with it. Judging by looks alone, the pistol brace makes an AR pistol appear to be an SBR or PDW (NFA regulated short-barreled rifles or personal defense weapon). The ATF originally posted a letter saying that as long as the product was not modified from its original design, it does not change the classification of the pistol to an SBR. Next came the question of whether shouldering the brace was allowed. The ATF answered that, somewhat vaguely, in my opinion, with a statement saying as long as it's not continuously done, then it's okay. Lastly, the ATF sent out a letter saying that the addition of a vertical foregrip will change the classification of the firearm, so those need to stay off. Otherwise, it is completely legal and a lot of fun.
SB Tactical were the originators of this product. The owner noticed the need while shooting with some disabled veterans and went about creating a new product. There's an old saying, "Go with the one that brought you." Meaning stay with the originals, and this is precisely why I list this company first. They have more experience and more options with this product than any other company. The SBA4 is the latest version of their product and is designed for all platforms capable of using a mil-spec carbine receiver extension. One key feature of this product is that it is adjustable, up to 5 different positions. Made of polymer and available in either black or FDE, it weighs 10 oz total.
They sell the brace with a 7075 mil-spec carbine receiver extension so that installation will be easy and complete with their product. The brace has a built-in 1" adjustable nylon strap that is used to affix it to your forearm. The adjustability means that no matter the length of arm or length of pull you have, the brace can be adjusted for a more suitable fit. This is a vast improvement over the fixed versions. One other benefit is integrated, ambidextrous QD sling sockets for a sling swivel. For shooters who aid in the use of a sling while shooting, this will allow your pistol the right fit and feel to do the job. Retailing for $169.99, it's a solid buy for anyone looking to get a pistol brace and have something great.
Gear Head Works Tailhook Mod 2 caught my attention because it has no nylon strap. I've used a pistol brace before, with the strap, and notice some discomfort while shooting as the nylon rubbed against my arm. Now grant it, it wasn't bad enough to make me stop shooting, but it was something I noticed. I saw Gear Head Works brace and instantly saw that I wasn't alone. In place of the nylon straps, the back of the brace is hinged at the bottom to have what I can only describe as jaws that open and wrap around your arm. The Mod 2 was the first in the industry to use an adjustable tube for length of pull. This means you can adjust the brace for maximum comfort, no matter the size of the shooter. The brace is injection molded out of reinforced polymer to give you rigidity, all while maintaining a 7 oz weight. A very well thought out design and something I'd love to get my hands on. For $199.99, it won't break the bank either.
Maxim Defense worked with SB Tactical and designed this brace. They took that technology and added their own flare. This brace comes with the parts needed to convert any mil-spec AR receiver. It runs on two solid bars for stability and adjustable length. This brace starts at 5.375" closed and will fully extend to 9.24". The weight of this brace could be considered either a pro or a con. It is the heaviest of the bunch weighing 18.59 oz. However, with an AR pistol, the gun can feel a bit front heavy. By adding weight to the rear, the balance becomes more manageable. Whether this product is right for you depends on what you are looking for and what you're capable of handling. It is made of 7075 aluminum and definitely a solid platform to shoot from. The price is a "con" for this product. It retails for $359.95 for the basic setup and can run up to $494.95 for a kit with certain buffers. It's not the brace I'd recommend for someone wanting to try out this new product but one for the true enthusiast.
When an innovative product first comes out, it's usually pricey and needs someone willing to take the gamble to see if it is worthy. The AR Pistol Brace has been out since 2017 and is showing no signs of going away. There are several other options out there, making pricing more competitive and giving the end-user more options. SB Tactical is the company I'd start with since it was their innovation. However, if you want something different, check out these other options. If you've got an AR pistol or plan to get one, definitely add this product to your gun. It makes a difference.
Check out more from our Blog.
Want more posts like this one? Subscribe to Guns & Tactics Magazine to receive email updates and special offers direct to your inbox!
* The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Guns & Tactics Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.
Prices accurate at time of writing