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 . . .
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.