We all remember when “The SIG Brace” hit the market in 2013, forever revolutionizing what it meant to controllably wield a large pistol. Free of exclusivity restrictions, SB Tactical, creator of that original pistol-stabilizing brace, has spent the last couple of years innovating sleeker, lighter, cooler new minimalist designs for your wish list.
Their newest for the AR pistol platform: the SBA3.
Much to my surprise, the ATF-compliant SBA3 handgun ships complete with a receiver extension (pistol buffer tube). It’s a 7075 aluminum, five-position length-of-pull adjustable, standard mil-spec job and should not alter the firearm’s classification under NFA laws.
Yes, you read that right, it’s a mil-spec carbine receiver extension rather than some weird “pistol” thing. Realizing that, I then understood why it’s included in the box: Your pistol build doesn’t have a mil-spec carbine extension on it.
The best part? It’s adjustable! No longer are you and your range buddies stuck with a arm brace that’s too short or too long for your…forearm. Or wherever you like to brace it.
That’s as short as it goes, seen in the photo above.
And here it is fully extended. Simply squeeze the front of the release lever upwards to unlock the brace and move it between the five positions. This is similar to many AR-15 stocks fitted to the lower receiver, so it will be familiar to most users.
Most of the SBA3 brace is hard plastic. Notable exceptions include the made-of-steel integral, ambidextrous QD sling socket insert on each side, the flexible rubber arms, and the adjustable nylon strap. Overall it looks and feels good. A lot nicer in quality, finish, and feel than a standard mil-spec M4 stock with a carbine buffer tube, for instance.
For those who like to brace against their cheek, the SBA3 is awesome. Its shape makes for a fantastic cheek weld.
For those who like to brace a brace against the inside of their arm, the SBA3 works well there, too. Its relatively skinny profile, slightly curved-in sides, and flexible rubber are comfortable and provide good control.
For those who stick an arm through an SB Tactical brace and strap it on, you’ll find the SBA3 is really tight. And the strap is short. Though the rubber arms are flexible enough to properly accommodate my forearm, the strap is far too short to get around and hold the brace on. It only fits on my wrist. Which is great, except I can’t reach the pistol grip like that. (EDIT: SB Tactical reached out to inform us that this was a production mistake and other than a small batch, SBA3s do come with a sufficiently long strap.)
Out on the range, the SBA3 was awesome. Having that length adjustment is great. Extremely convenient. I was able to collapse it down for transport then quickly move it between positions for bracing inside of my forearm, on my cheek, and on my shoulder.
Well-designed and well-made, the SBA3 fits precisely on the receiver extension and locks securely into each adjustment hole. It’s simple, comfortable, adds QD sockets where I like ’em for a third point of contact, and just flat-out works for the ways I prefer to use a pistol-stabilizing brace.
This thing is pretty much perfect.
Specifications: SB Tactical SBA3 Pistol Stabilizing Brace (SBA3-01-SB)
Includes 7075 mil-spec carbine receiver extension
Two integrated QD sling sockets
Fits: any firearm that accepts an AR-15 receiver extension
Weight: 6.75 ounces
Max Width: 1.8 inches
Strap Width: 1 inch
Cavity Depth: 6 inches
Color: BLK (black), FDE (Flat Dark Earth), ODG (Olive Drab Green) and Stealth Gray
Note: The package does not include a buffer, spring, end plate, or castle nut
Ratings (out of five stars):
Function * * * * *
I’ll primarily brace similar products on my cheek or on my shoulder. In those cases the SBA3 is a full-on, five-star, made-in-the-USA product. Braced inside of the forearm, it’s more like a weak four-star performer, and for arm-through-the-brace use, it basically sucks. But I don’t care. It’s an alternative to a tax stamp and for how I use this — and for how most of us use a pistol-stabilizing brace — it earns top marks. Did I mention it’s an adjustable brace?
Quality * * * * *
As plastic and rubber go, the SBA3 brings ’em together in the nicest way. Fit and finish are great. For aesthetic purposes, the only thing I would change would be shaving down the little mold line along the top and bottom.
Aesthetics * * * *
Cool factor is here. This brace gives the shoulder stock look, which gives your AR-15 pistol the SBR look. Which is another reason many of us add a pistol-stabilizing brace in the first place. It is US veteran-designed and balances out the aesthetic of the firearm, and the SBA3 does it in grand fashion.
Overall * * * * *
Is it the best brace out there? Yes, SB Tactical’s new SBA3 pistol-stabilizing brace is quite possibly the best pistol brace on the market. This is a great product that flawlessly combines form and function in a lightweight package.
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