Ever since people realized the benefits that AR-15 & AK pistols had as both a customizable firearm, a unique way to make your own rifle, and as a way to get around tricky legal fees, they’ve been on the rise in popularity. But there’s always been one thing keeping them from being all around better than their rifle counterpart, and that’s the lack of a stock.
No matter how you do it, adding a stock to an AR-15 or AK pistol turns into a short-barreled rifle in the eyes of the ATF, and owning one of those will run you a steep $200 fee along with the registration that comes with it. Without a stock, however, AR-15 & AK pistols are just that, pistols, but with the recoil that comes with a firearm like them and their front-heavy nature, firing it accurately is a challenge.
The original solution to this was stabilizing braces, which saw the buffer tube extending past the butt of the gun in order for you to put you against your shoulder and manage recoil. However, with the way you have to hold to pistol to manage that and with that way its shaped to dig into your skin, they’re bound to get uncomfortable and obnoxious within the first minute on the range.
More recently, there’s been another solution that’s popped up. AR pistol braces. This addition is a simple, instant solution to stabilizing your AR-15 or AK pistol, and as of 2017 it officially does not turn your pistol into a short-barreled rifle. Some are improved versions of a standard stabilizing brace, designed to be far more comfortable and intuitive, while some take it a step further and fasten themselves to your forearm for maximum control.
While pistol braces are generally allowed without stepping into any gray areas these days, laws change from state to state. Be sure to double check your local laws before getting a pistol brace of your own.
They may all seem similar at first, but when you start comparing form, function, price, and the pistols that they’re built for, there are plenty of factors that go into buying the right brace for your build. Here are some of the best pistol braces to help start your search.
If you’re new to the AR pistol scene, and you’re looking for your first brace just improve your accuracy and help get comfortable with your new weapon, the Shockwave Blade is the perfect place to start. It’s the most affordable brace on the market, and its simple design means that it’ll be ready to use in a quick minute, and you’ll firing your pistol with more accuracy and comfort than ever right after it’s delivered.
This is one of the most basic braces you can come across, but don’t let that fool you. This is a high quality item that’ll stay sturdy and reliable after plenty of use. The Shockwave Blade only weighs 5 ounces, meaning that for all the benefits it provides it barely adds any weight to your build. The dimpled tube makes hold tight to your gun, keeping it secure and from rotating or loosening up.
It’s important that the Shockwave Blade comes with its own dimpled tube, as modifying a pistol brace that doesn’t have one to have one, as well as modifying your pistol brace in any way, is against the law.
Its simple design makes connecting it a breeze, as its designed for buffer tubes up to 1.25 inches in diameter, and opens itself up to some extra additions to have it work best for you.
Of course, its exceptional price tag is due to it not coming with any of those modifications. If you’re looking to add a gun sling to this brace, which is easy due to three clear attachment points, you’ll have to go out and buy your own.
The Shockwave Blade is available on its own, or as a full package that provides the tools to modify weapons that aren’t already made with a brace in mind.
As an entry-level pistol brace for a great price, the Shockwave Blade doesn’t do much, but it’s still a great way to improve accuracy and comfort.
If price is no issue for you, and you’ve already got a premium AR pistol and are looking for one of the best braces to go along with it, SB Tactical has plenty of options. The most stylish and versatile option they offer is without a doubt the SBPDW Brace. As the name implies, this brace is meant to assist and enhance a personal defense weapon, and it works to make the safety and security it offers as simple as possible to get a grasp on.
The SBPDW Brace has three lengths that are easily adjustable on the fly. The longest length allows your cheek to get right up against the buffer tube, giving you accuracy better than any other brace can manage. The shortest length allows you to keep the weapon up close and controlled, without sacrificing much of the accuracy and speed that a brace helps provide. The middle length is a fine mixture between the two, and is probably where you’ll keep the length at most of the time.
Everything is built-in and requires no extra assembly. Attaching this brace takes just as long as switching a buffer tube out, and that means you’ll be getting a high level of utility and versatility as soon as you get this brace out of the package. Having everything built-in does cause a small issue with the cheekweld, as you’ll be touching three pieces of metal which can get uncomfortable pretty quickly. However, if you hold you head up high enough, you’ll still get plenty of accuracy and stability for this brace without the needing to touch the metal.
The SBPDW Brace also comes with its own nylon strap in a one-size-fits-all fashion. If you want some extra stability by strapping the brace to your arm, SP Tactical offers that without needing to go out and by your own. It’s a welcome addition to an already excellent brace.
It’s not cheap, but it’s worth the price. If you’re looking for the best personal defense weapon brace for your AR pistol, the SBPDW Brace offers premium versatility.
If your fan of what SB Tactical has to offer, and with their quality who could blame you, but you don’t quite have the budget for the SBPDW Brace, or it just wouldn’t fit with your pistol, the SB Tactical Mini is a perfect alternative.
Just as the name implies, this brace is perfect for smaller AR & AK pistols. The whole thing is only 3.5 inches long and only weighs 4 ounces. This makes it the smallest, or most mini, item on the list, as well as the lightest. It doesn’t do much, on account of there not being any room to fit any extra additions into this brace, but its bare bones design is what helps keep the price down while still remaining a high quality item.
For some AR pistols, this is an aesthetically perfect addition. A skeleton, streamlined, and all-function look is a pretty unique look, and if you’ve already got a pistol that fits that definition than this is the perfect brace to finalize it.
It’s fitted with a Velcro strap for your forearm, and the back plate is friction fitted to prevent sliding, giving you excellent accuracy, stability, and control over your firearm all within this small package. When it comes to getting the most out of this brace though, you’ll have to work with what you’ve got. Its small size makes it a horrible cheek rest, but with the strap and friction you won’t need to rest your cheek for the smaller weapon you’ll be using this with.
It’s not quite as cheap as the Shockwave Blade, but it’s still very affordable. For a few extra features and the right pistol to pair it with, this is an excellent brace at a great price.
As one of the major names that helped make AR & AK pistol braces popular and available, a SIG Sauer product is a purchase with guaranteed quality. This brace is a bit different than some other pistol braces. Rather than the strap being a welcome but optional addition, this brace is designed around the use of its elasto-polymer strap. Don’t be fooled, just because this brace has a different approach doesn’t mean it isn’t as effective as the others.
The first thing you’ll realize about this brace is how absolutely comfortable it is. The elasto-polymer strap feels much better against than skin than nylon or polymer, and with a one-size-fits-all design you can get it tight enough that you never have to worry about it coming loose or sliding up and down your arm.
The SBX Pistol Stabilizing Brace is already incredibly light, but this feature makes it feel like it hardly weighs anything at all, and because of its smooth design this strap functions well as a cheek rest as well as an arm and shoulder brace. The strap and the brace itself are both very sturdy, and will stand up to plenty of use due to the high quality material they’re made of.
It’s a bit specific with what it will take, only designed for buffer tubes between 1 and 1.2 inches in diameter, but that range should still fit most AR & AK pistols. The only real downside to this brace is the price. It’s a fairly expensive addition, especially since the strap is the only unique feature it really has, but for the quality of the item and the utility it offers, it’s hard to say it’s worth anything less than a premium price for what it’s offering.
As a pistol brace that’s guaranteed to stabilize your build, enhance your accuracy, and as one of the most comfortable braces on the market, the SBX brace is a great buy if it falls within your budget.
You’ll notice that there’s a lot of SB Tactical braces on this list. That’s no mistake, all the additions they make have got great quality are a welcome way to improve your pistol’s accuracy and stability. Of course, that means that all of them are a bit expensive on account of the name you’re buying from, but at the quality you’re getting, the recognizability, and the bragging rights of your own SB Tactical brace do make each of them worth it. The SBA3 is no exception.
Another thing you’ll notice is that it looks very similar to the SBPDW Brace, which is to say it’s an incredibly cool and stylish brace, but this one doesn’t have the added bonus of adjustable length. This brace does have its own merits, however, and the lack of adjustable length knocks a pretty penny of the price tag.
This pistol brace is designed to be as comfortable as possible no matter how you’re using. Shooting feels as natural as ever with this brace attached, whether you’re just using the nylon strap or using it as a shoulder brace. Where this really shines over the SBPDW Brace is that this brace has a smooth design that makes it perfect for cheek-wielding, and quality material keeps it from sliding out of place and messing up your shot. It’s a versatile brace no matter what, and it’s a quality addition to any AR pistol.
For its price and its lack of unique function, however, it falls in a bit of a strange middle ground. It’s a high quality item to be sure, and well worth the price, but if you’re in the market for a pistol brace and have enough of a budget to afford this one, you might be better off bumping your budget up a little more and grabbing the SIG SBX Pistol brace instead. This brace does have a pretty great design though, and that might be enough for you to differentiate it from its competitors.
This is another great option provided by SB Tactical, and it’s just the slightest bit cheaper than the SBA3. It has a slightly different design as well, which may aesthetically fit different pistols than the SBA3 might not. Much like all of SB Tactical products, this a safe bet to go with even without knowing the specifics of it. It’s high quality and everything you’d want in a proper pistol brace.
The main draw of the SBM4 over other braces is that it’s designed to be light without sacrificing any size or durability, and it does this job pretty well. The SBM4 is as comfortable as any top shelf pistol brace, and its soft rubber build allows it stand up to constant use while also being an excellent shoulder and cheek-wielding brace.
The rubber build may not seem much different from the usual polymer build that most braces go for, but you’ll find that it does a great job of reducing the amount of discomfort that comes from the brace jabbing back into you. If you’ve got a powerful AR pistol with a lot of kick to it, you’ll want this brace over any other.
To accommodate for it’s lightweight and comfortable design, this brace does come with a few disadvantages. One of the big ones is that it won’t fasten to dimpled buffer tubes, which can be a major issue for some. Using the nylon strap is a necessity when using this brace to keep your weapon stable, as it’s guaranteed to wobble around a bit while you’re shooting.
A lack of effective fastening is a big hit to utility, but this is still a top quality item. It functions great and offers a great way to control powerful AR & AK pistols, and for what it is it has a pretty affordable price.
This is a pick for a serious AR & AK pistol enthusiast looking to make their weapon function just as well as a rifle does. The Maxim CQB is in no way an entry level brace, and despite it being an incredibly high quality item, a purchase of a brace like this is hard to justify. It’s more of a luxury than a necessity, and that’s why it has to go so low on this list. All that said, the price isn’t bumped up just to turn this into a prestigious item. This personal defense weapon brace is as top shelf as you can get, and if you can justify spending the money to get one for yourself, there’s no brace better than this one.
The price is due to the intricate construction of this piece alone. It does away with the hard polymer design of other braces, and opts for metal instead. Aluminum alloy, to be exact. This gives it unrivalled durability, no matter how much use or how much damage you throw at it. This brace is built to last a lifetime, and you won’t even have to be careful with it to make it last that long.
It manages this without sacrificing comfort in the slightest. This brace feels amazing now matter how you’re holding your weapon, and it doesn’t add any complication either. Hooking this up to your AR pistol is quick and easy.
It does all this, and then it adds adjustability on top of it. This brace has four adjustable lengths that can be switched around on the fly, a bump up from the SBPDW’s three positions, and it makes so that everyone can find the length that’s right for them from this brace.
It has a few extra features as well. With QD mounts and a proprietary buffer tube, this brace gives you more options than any other brace on the market, and if you can’t find a way to get comfortable with this piece of pure craftsmanship, then it isn’t the Maxim CQB’s fault.
It’s an expensive addition, no doubt about that, but the price isn’t unwarranted. As an unrivalled item when it comes to pistol braces, the Maxim CQB has every excuse to charge its premium price.
With AR-15 pistols being the more popular build by far, not many braces are built specifically with the AK pistols in mind. The SOB47 doesn’t forget about the underdog, and it offers a level of quality that the AK pistols deserve.
Just like every other pistol brace, you’ll be getting exceptional stability and increased accuracy by using this addition, but it does have its difference. The main one is its method of attachment. Rather than hooking to a buffer tube, this brace has a pair of prongs that hooks it underneath the pistol’s grip. It’s unique, and doesn’t act as a detriment in any way, it just makes installation that much easier.
The nylon strap is comfortable, it doesn’t jab into when you’re firing, and it has pretty satisfactory cheek-wielding potential. It’s a durable construction, and it’s designed to be a one-time perfect buy for all your AK needs.
It’s no more expensive than most high-end braces, and if you’re a dedicated AK pistol user than this is a must buy.
Unlike the AR & AK pistols themselves, something to keep in mind is that these braces are not ever to be modified. They teeter on a legal edge as it is, and trying to make them any closer to a stock than they are is against the law. The slightest adjustment is considered an illegal modification to your brace, so finding one that works the best for you is critical. If the one you order is being too uncomfortable to use, then you’ll have to get used to it. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy a new one.