The challenge in many industries is not always building a better mousetrap, but improving the one you already have. Nowhere is that more evident than in the AR Pistol realm. This corner of the AR world was occupied by dedicated aficionados who saw a place for this unique design. To make it something to appeal to the masses would take some doing, however.
Yet that is exactly what happened with the arrival of SB Tactical and their game-changing “SIG Brace.” This device not only opened the door on the AR pistol market, but it also opened a Pandora’s box of regulation controversy. The ride from there to here was wild and interesting, to say the least. However, SB Tactical stuck with it not only as a manufacturer but as a representative of the gun community in dealing with the ATF.
- SB PDW
- Type: 3-position adjustable pistol-stabilizing brace
- Extension: Leverless extension, simply pull to release
- Features: Complete assembly, ready-to-install, including a proprietary buffer tube (does not include buffer/spring). It’s compatible with mil-spec bolt carrier groups and carbine buffers.
- Length: 6.75 in. (collapsed); 8.125 in. (mid); 9.375 in. (extended)
- Weight: 18.14 oz.
- Strap Width: 1 in.
- Attachment: QD attachment point at 6 o’clock position on housing
- ATF compliant, US veteran designed and proudly made in the USA
- Product Includes: complete assembly, adjustable nylon strap
- MSRP: $299–$320
- Manufacturer: SB Tactical
In April of this year, SB Tactical announced that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) had issued a reversal letter containing a clarification of the Bureau’s position on the lawful use of SB Tactical braces. The new clarification of the opinion letter states, “an NFA firearm has not necessarily been made when the device is not reconfigured for use as a shoulder stock – even if the attached firearm happens to be fired from the shoulder. To the extent that the January 2015 Open Letter implied or has been construed to hold that incidental, sporadic, or situational “use” of an arm-brace (in its original approved configuration) equipped firearm from a firing position at or near the shoulder was sufficient to constitute “redesign,” such interpretations are incorrect and not consistent with ATF’s interpretation of the statute or the manner in which it has historically been enforced.” The take away from this is that use of the brace does not mean you have created an SBR. It also clearly states though that you can’t start tinkering with the brace and “redesigning” it. So long as you follow the manufacturers and ATF guidelines, you are good to go!
Fast forward to today and the dust on the issue of using “braces” has been settled and SB Tactical is marching forward. Gone are the days of their sole “SIG brace” as their offerings have grown to include what has become my favorite brace, the SB PDW Brace. This brace is the first AR pistol brace ever designed to be collapsible. It harkens back to the collapsible stock many of us grew up loving on the MP5. The stock is also similar in appearance to the design from Maxim Defense. In fact, SB Tactical worked with Maxim on this new design to create a fantastic product. The collapsible nature of the brace allows shooters of all sizes to get a good fit. The brace provides shooters three positions to work from. This is really helpful when the gun needs to have a very small footprint as well. Collapsing the brace down makes storage of your AR pistol a breeze and can even make it a better fitting vehicle gun as well. When you are ready to use it, just depress the lever and the brace will lock into place on any of the notches you choose. Once locked in, the brace stays firmly in place. The brace maintains its traditional forearm loop that’s part of the primary design of all their braces. It is also a quick reminder that these braces were originally designed to help physically challenged shooters. The innovator of the brace, Alex Bosco, was shooting with a disabled combat veteran when the range master asked Bosco’s friend to stop firing for safety concerns due to lack of control. Determined to help his friend and other wounded combat veterans, Bosco had an idea. He produced the first Pistol Stabilizing Brace prototype in his garage. From there the brace was launched and SB Tactical was born.
I personally use the SB PDW on a custom AR pistol that I take with me as a vehicle gun. The brace allows me to store the pistol safely while still having quick access to it. Once deployed it allows me to get a cheekweld and in turn use the pistol as I would a full-size AR. I believe it is the best of both worlds. My brace has been solid and hasn’t hinted at becoming loose or breaking down mechanically at all. I have found this to be the case with all the braces I have seen come from SB Tactical. These are unique and solid additions to any AR pistol. Especially if you are serious about the gun you are carrying. The SB PDW is a big step forward from SB Tactical and yet somehow, I believe they will find a way to top it.
For more information about SB Tactical, click here