SB-4708

I urgently glanced over my shoulder to ensure I wasn’t the unwitting victim of one of Eric Holder’s notorious gun-running schemes. The AR pistol in front of me had a 10” barrel and what looked like a fixed, M4 collapsible stock on it. “It’s not an SBR,” the owner quickly replied. “It’s a brace.” “Don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining” came immediately to mind. I had seen this piece of equipment online and immediately thought it was an SBR work-around. You could have told me that the brace was not intended to be used as a stock until you’re blue in the face and I would have called you a liar, naive, or worse. That is, until I met the inventor and learned about the inspiration behind the brace’s invention . . .

SB-4701

Alex Bosco, owner of SB Tactical and inventor of the pistol stabilizing brace, told me about a close friend of his. An avid shooter, hunter and,  like Alex himself, a veteran. Unlike Alex, though, he was disabled. Without the use of his left arm he could no longer fire rifles unsupported.

So he started shooting the next best thing: an AR pistol. It was heavy, difficult to aim and loud. But it was a gun and nonetheless fun. Unfortunately, an RSO at their range arbitrarily deemed the AR pistol too uncontrollable for Alex’s buddy to shoot and decreed that he would have to shoot from a rest if he was going to shoot at all. This upset the disabled veteran considerably. The biggest reason he had bought an AR pistol was so as not be confined to a chair while shooting.

Adversity, however, is the mother of invention and this brace is no exception.

Mr. Bosco envisioned a product that looked like an extension of the pistol instead of a prosthetic device. The prototype he developed worked exactly like he conceptualized and posted his creation on AR15.com’s forum where it was greeted with roughly equal amounts of excitement and skepticism.

SB-4704

The majority of the skepticism was rooted in the ATF regs dealing with SBRs and many people wondered if Mr. Bosco’s contraption was legal. He had very little knowledge of the subject and did what anyone without experience dealing with the ATF would do: he asked them. It took a few weeks, but the ATF replied with a letter stating something along the lines of, “It is a prosthetic brace and not a stock; therefore it is legal.”

SB-4706

After many sleepless nights of scouring the web and trolling through hundreds of gun forums, Mr. Bosco realized that nothing like his prototype existed. Taking a huge financial risk, he patented and produced the first batch of pistol stabilizing braces. His hard work and dedication paid off. Since then, both SIG and Century Arms have partnered with SB Tactical selling the brace both alone and coupled with an AR or AK pistol.

Normally I wouldn’t go into such detail with a back story in a product review, but in this case it really puts everything into perspective. Despite urban legend, the pistol stabilizing brace was not created to circumvent the NFA. It was designed to allow a veteran who lost the ability to do the things he loved, recapture that joy.

SB-4705

After the invention of the stabilizing brace for the AR platform came the evolution to the second most popular rifle caliber pistol on the market, the AK. There are some particular obstacles that have to be overcome with AKs over ARs, namely the lack of buffer tube to which to affix the brace. Since most AK pistols have a special flush rear trunnion, there’s no obvious way to attach anything to the rear of the gun without modifying the receiver. The AK pistol brace solves this by affixing between the pistol grip and the receiver, secured by the same bolt that connects the pistol grip.

SB-4702

The lockup is tight and the brace, despite its spartan appearance, is comfortable against bare skin. I took a Micro Draco and a PAP M92 to the range to try out the SB-47 Pistol Stabilizing Brace and the results were encouraging. With the brace, the Draco became an extension of my body, the Micro Draco is very light so one-handed firing is easily accomplished and not fatiguing. The PAP on the other hand weighs much more and had a longer barrel making the brace a necessity if aimed fire is required. The brace is adjusted VIA a velcro strap and was easy to fit to myself, my very petite wife, and a heavyset buddy whose forearms are a good 5” wider than mine.

SB-4707

I’m sure you’re wondering if this is a gimmick. I would say absolutely not, especially if you only have the use of one arm or hand. The SB-47 greatly increases weapon retention and stability while reducing wrist fatigue since the counter-balance action of the brace distributes a lot of the pistol’s weight to your forearm. Blaming the brace for being misused as a SBR stock is like blaming a gun for shooting someone. It’s not the object’s fault.

SB-4703

If you’re like me and have the use of both arms, the brace makes wielding relatively impractical weapons much more, uh, practical. While I would rather have a stock, this thing wasn’t designed for people with a working set of mitts. Adopting a dated weaver/teacup stance makes firing the AK pistol, like a pistol, infinitely more effective.

Specifications:

Length – 10.5 inches
Width – 1.5 in at narrowest part,2.5 inches at arm loop when closed
Height – 5.5 inches
Weight – 21.75 oz
MSRP – $139.95

Ratings (out of five stars):

Durability  * * * * *

The SB-47 Brace is made of very thick polymer that didn’t crack, fray or peel when installed or roughly handled. I found no flaws and despite my tossing the brace and rifle into the back of a pickup during the review, it only showed mild signs of use. The velcro straps may need replacement eventually, but could easily be replaced.

Comfort * * * * 1/2

During my torture test I put 960 rounds through a PAP M92 utilizing the SB-47 Brace. I did so with nothing on my arms. While my biceps were sore the next day, my skin wasn’t. The brace’s soft polymer is rigid enough to get the job done without beating up your arm. That said, getting used to not being able to move your wrist is awkward at first, but gets easier with practice.

Fitment * * * * 1/2

The SB-47 easily adjusted to all sized individuals I tested it with. From 6’+ guys with massive forearms to 95 lb. women, the SB-47 snugged securely to all them all. Adjusting the velcro is easier than tying a shoe and can be accomplished with easily with one hand or, in the absence of one, your teeth.

Overall * * * * *

The SB-47 is an excellent solution for disabled shooters and a viable, if unorthodox, one for owners of rifle caliber pistoleros who can’t handle the recoil of their compact fire-breathers and don’t want to go the NFA route. While not as useful as a shoulder stock, the SB-47 is still a better solution than firing unsupported and succeeds in it’s goal: making shooting AR & AK pistols easier.

38 Responses to Gear Review: SB Tactical SB-47 Stabilizing Brace

    • Mostly Im sure to get around NFA rules. If nothing else when I get around to my AK build it will almost certainly be a pistol so I don’t have to deal with the UAS parts issue.

    • I could see some anti government prepper whack job buying AR pistols for use as SBRs when society collapses and there’s no ATF to tell us “no-no.” They would be handy for portable self defense.

      Of course, you’d have to be a whack job to think about things like that. Our Republic will last forever, $17T in debt is sustainable, the Iranians just want peace, and if you like your insurance you’ll get to keep it.

    • Chicago does not allow long guns as an AR style. But, they are prohibited by state law from regulating handguns. So you can have a (really really loud) home defense weapon that fires .223.

  1. ATF Opinion letters are only for those whom they are addressed.

    Other than that, it is entirely up to the arresting officer (read state NFA laws some time. Even if you are within your rights, you CAN spend a night in jail.), and beyond that, if the ATF in the future deems them stocks. Welp. Sorry.

    Don’t look to sig or century for a refund. They won’t do it.

    Neat concept though. Hope it stays legal.

  2. I feel like a lot of reviews and comments, both on TTAG and other places, specifically avoid how effective the brace is in place of a stock when the weapon is shouldered. Can you shoulder the rifle with the brace? Are we all avoiding the answer to that like the elephant in the room?

    • He talks about it in the SIG AR brace review, the “Legal Stuff” paragraph.:
      http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/06/rabbi/gear-review-sig-sb15-pistol-stabilizing-brace/

      From Gear Review: SIGTac SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace:

      “As the cuff portion of the brace is made of somewhat firm rubber, a shooter can use the Pistol Brace as a shoulder stock when braced against the body. The concern: doing so would turn the pistol into an illegal short-barreled rifle. According to ATF’s logic, conclusion and ultimately its Approval Letter – no. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (and Really Big Fires) sent inventor Bosco a definitive missive, downloadable here, stating that . . .

      the submitted forearm brace, when attached to a firearm does not convert that weapon to be fired from the shoulder and would not alter the classification of a pistol or other firearm. While a firearm so equipped would still be regulated by the Gun Control Act, such a firearm would NOT BE subject to NFA controls.

      The aforementioned paragraph allows the brace to be used on a firearm (pistol or rifle) without converting it to a weapon that would be subject to NFA rules. This also opens a can of worms, but more on that later.

      Shouldering the pistol brace would be a misuse of the brace. By that, I mean it would be used in a manner not consistent with its intended purpose. Using a device in a manner that’s different from its intended purpose does not necessarily make its use, or the device itself, illegal.

      Shouldering a pistol buffer tube does not turn an AR pistol into a short-barreled rifle. Use of a bipod mounted on a pistol as a forward vertical grip (see Ruger 10/22 Charger pistol with bipod) does not convert the pistol into an illegal AOW. Likewise, firing a pistol using two hands does not convert it into a rifle even though the definition of a pistol is a firearm designed to be fired with one hand.

      The ATF approved the use of the product as a brace for shooting a pistol one-handed. Using it differently than intended does not change the classification of the device or the firearm. Case closed.”

      I think the AR and AK brace are constructed of similar materials, so this may apply to this AK version.

      • no offense, as this is a detailed answer, but it still doesn’t answer the “elephant in the room” question. that question is the reason people are buying these stocks. oops, I called it a stock. I mean brace – I swear.

        • Probably a fair percentage may get one simply because
          it’s a new toy with the added bonus of ticking antis off.

        • I’d prefer people leave the “elephant in the room question” alone.

          I swear, some of you people are the reason we can’t have nice things.

          You know that the alphabet agencies troll Google and more specifically this site all day, right? ::facepalm::

    • Can you shoulder the pistol with the brace? Of course. Is it as effective as an adjustable stock? Depends how short your arms are. For me, I’d have to be wearing body armor, with shoulder protectors, and thick straps from a pack for the brace to be the correct length.

    • Let’s just say…that some wrenches can mistakenly be used as hammers. Most wrenches make poor hammers. This wrench makes an excellent hammer. 🙂

  3. I hunt deer in an area where I may not use a rifle but may use a shotgun or pistol. I guess this might be more accurate than my smoothbore shotgun and more powerful than my .357 revolver.

    • Hi Duke, I think you’re better off with the shotgun and Brenneke slugs. From a machine rest this short LOP “pistol” may give you more effective range range than your slug gun, but the ergonomics are so poor on this and the ergonomics on a shotgun are so good that in the field your slug gun will give you more effective range. Also, would your hunting ammo even expand inside the game from a 10″ barrel? Slugs do the job quite well even at low speeds
      For example, you may rest the forearm of your shotgun on a daypack in the prone firing position, whereas with the short barrel and curved AK mag getting the forearm of this “pistol” resting on anything would be tough.

      Another example would be the snap shot when surprised by a deer. The short LOP is horrible for snap shots on this “pistol” whereas you can custom fit your shotgun just right to your body. You can also use hasty slings and such with your shotgun that probably won’t work well on the “pistol”.

      Honestly I don’t see a niche for a braced pistol in my hunting or home defense needs. The only possible advantage I could see, versus say a side-folding VZ2008 rifle, might be in the vehicle defense category in that you can keep a round chambered and the magazine inserted in the “pistol” when driving. With the stock folded, a VZ2008 is quite handy around vehicles and the 7″ longer overall length when the VZ2008 is folded vs this pistol is all velocity enhancing, sight radius lengthening, barrel length. 16″ is not at all unwieldy. I think all the hype around the brace is the desire to poke the ATF and the antigunners in the eye, it’s the SBR apple in the Garden of Eden. Personally I’ll pass.

      • Agree 100% with the lethality of 12ga vs 7.62×39 from a pistol.

        I have a barreled/headspaced M-92 kit to build/sell/? and the notion of a brace/sling/pistol/sbr has delayed build just because I can’t decide. Not my first AKM build, but, don’t really savor the headache with SBR without advantages like adding a suppressor. (but, that’d be 2 stamps, uggh)

        Suppressed air rifles are so much easier…..

  4. I want to know, how, if you only have one hand, you are supposed to put on the brace on your own. Just my personal opinion, but if I only had one hand, I would stick to supported shooting with a proper rifle.

    • A bone tumor broke my left shoulder. The immobilization harness didn’t fit me right, it was designed for someone with longer arms. It pulled my arm in ways it was never supposed to go. I managed to set up my mother’s sewing machine, cut the stitching, reposition the wrist cuff, and sew it back down – all with 1 hand.

      I think I could manage to shove my arm into a tube.

  5. That’s your choice I guess…but it’s a little bit like saying that if you’ve lost your legs overseas you should really stay to a slow car that is easily geared up for a handicapped person. You should stay away from a mustang or corvette because you’re reaction time is just not up to par to drive one.

    • I don’t see the logic there. Just because you are in a Vette dose not mean you are doing 180mph where ever you go. In fact I dare say that the average commuter goes exactly the same speed on a given commute either in the Vette or the wifes caravan.

      Nearly any car sold in the US today possesses more than enough capacity for speed to kill you and just because a vehicle has 300-500 horsepower dose not mean its so responsive that it is any more difficult to control.

      • My response was to Arod saying that if one was missing a hand they should stick to supported shooting with a proper rifle. My parody was trying to emphasize the fact that those handicapped should do whatever they feel comfortable doing…period. If said person wants to shoot an AK and use this brace as a support then great…why try and steer him or her away? If one was handicapped would you steer them off to an easier car to drive if what they really wanted was something different? Not to mention in response to Arod…the vast majority of people who lose an arm replace it with a prosthetic one. How would put the brace on? With the assistance of a prosthetic device.

  6. It shoulders well, increases the accuracy of follow-up shots and increases accuracy to full stocked ak levels. Best $147.00 I ever spent!

  7. In my mind, the greatest benefit from this contraption is that it allows the shooter to get a good cheekrest like an AR pistol buffer tube.

    YMMV

  8. Opinions are like a..holes, everybody has one. But sometime what comes out of them should only be in the privicy of your home.

  9. Obviously we know we are capable of shouldering the brace… and its legal to have it on our pistols… so y push the subject if its legal…. just avoid doing it in front of the law to avoid any problems and sleep good good knowing your not breaking the law by having that on your rifle pistol or “sbr”

  10. Those of you of a certain mindset and you know who you are. Please leave the USA if you have to be explicitly explained the purpose of everything you may or may not do then go to where there is no choice to be made it is made for you. The rest of us will buy a legal product and decide for ourselves how to employ it without asking all around the internet is this ok.

  11. “The rest of us will buy a legal product and decide for ourselves how to employ it without asking all around the internet is this ok.”

    To this we say …amen !

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