Best is a strong word — often subjective — and you may notice some decent pistol stabilizing braces missing from this article. So, instead, let’s just call this Jeremy’s shortlist of my favorite pistol braces, whether that’s for an AR pistol or for other large-format pistols. In no particular order . . .
Suffice it to say that this adjustable brace, which fits any standard mil-spec AR-15 carbine receiver extension (buffer tube), is among the most useful on the market. It provides a fantastic cheek rest (for those who use a brace in that manner), a QD socket on both sides, quick adjustment, and solid ergonomics overall. All in a lightweight package. And, of course, it looks flawlessly at-home on an AR-15 pistol.
For those wishing they could instantly extend their SBA3 from fully collapsed to the extended position of their choice by simply ripping the brace rearwards — no squeezing of a lever necessary — check out CMMG’s new RipBrace. Both a short PDW version and a standard version are available.
Gear Head Works Tailhook MOD 1: If simple, minimalist, lightweight, and aluminum (rather than polymer/rubber) are boxes on your checklist, the Gear Head Works Tailhook MOD 1 tops the list. Read TTAG’s full review here.
With a QD socket on both sides and its extremely simple install and operation, the Tailhook MOD 1 balances weight, durability, convenience, and utility like few others. Due to its sleek and small design, it typically looks better than the competition when installed on a smaller pistol or PDW such as a B&T TP9 or an HK MP5, etc.
If small and aluminum top your requirements, also give a look to the DoubleStar Strongarm.
SB Tactical FS1913: SB Tactical’s new FS1913 will begin shipping this month. TTAG already has its hands on one, but the full review isn’t yet ready.
This is the brace for pistols equipped with an M1913 Picatinny rail on the rear of the receiver, such as the SIG Rattler seen above. The brace portion is fairly small and light, and is molded directly onto an aluminum skeleton left-side-folding strut. I think it’s the best thing going for Pic rail-equipped pistols.
That said, some folks will prefer a collapsible brace to this folding brace. SB Tactical has an app for that, too, in their MPX PSB.
Strike Industries AR Pistol Stabilizer: at an MSRP of $39.95, Strike’s AR Pistol Stabilizer provides simple utility at a low cost.
This is probably where most of y’all expected to see a KAK Shockwave Blade, but it just doesn’t butter my biscuit. Thanks to Strike Industries’ AR Pistol Stabilizer’s compatibility with any standard pistol buffer tube and its ambi QD sockets in addition to a sling strap slot, it gets my nod among the blade style braces.
Honorable Mention: PDW brace systems like the SB Tactical SBPDW, Strike Industries Viper PDW Stabilizer, Maxim Defense CQP Pistol PDW Brace, and others aren’t my cup of tea. They’re extremely expensive, heavy, and typically offer very poor and awkward cheek rests. Though it looks like Strike’s Viper PDW Stabilizer does a good job on that last point. They do all look pretty darn cool, though.
Technical Note: while an SBR — a short barreled rifle — is regulated by the NFA, enforced by the ATF, and is a special class of firearm requiring registration, payment of a $200 tax, and other restrictions (e.g. on crossing state lines), a pistol with a stabilizing brace remains just a normal pistol like any other. This is because a pistol brace is not a shoulder stock. Whether you’re adding a brace to your pistol build for assistance in stabilizing the firearm, for aesthetic reasons, or to incidentally shoulder (which is currently allowed under ATF’s interpretation), a pistol brace / arm brace / pistol stabilizing brace is a fantastic addition to a large-format pistol with significantly less red tape and restriction vs. registering and owning an SBR.