With all the rage for AR pistols these days, there have been a handful of models of pistol braces that have risen through the ranks to make their claim to fame. Looking for something unique and lightweight, I stumbled upon the Gear Head Works Tailhook MOD 1. Weighing in at 4.5 oz and being less than an inch thick, this ATF-approved brace definitely fit the bill. Thin, lightweight, foldable, and comfortable enough to be shouldered? Count me in!
I’ve been using this Tailhook MOD 1 for about 6 months, and it has performed well. While being fairly simple with little to go wrong, I have had zero issues performance-wise to date. Designed to allow a pin insert to control clocking, I have had zero issues with the whole brace twisting on the buffer tube. The pin plus the clamping force of two screws seem to hold the Tailhook rock solid. Being made from anodized aluminum, the brace has held up well, and I see it continuing to work for a long time to come.
Using the MOD 1 as a brace was surprisingly pleasant. With the side folding down to create the perfectly rounded rest for your forearm, it is well balanced and comfortable. This makes shooting your firearm one-handed much easier allowing you to maintain a visual of your sights without the gun just bouncing all around. I will say installing it backward will not allow you to look through your sights and will cant the gun too far high and right. I was pretty confused when I first tried to use it because of this, but after a friend picked it up and used it the other way I now see how well it works. In all the pictures, I have it set up for a left-handed shooter. When installed correctly, the MOD 1 will fold away from your weak hand.
Having a QD sling swivel mount on a brace was a dealbreaker for me, and the MOD 1 provided all I needed. The QD slot has held up as it should while utilizing a limited rotation sling swivel to keep my sling from rotating around in circles. The location of the QD slot has been the only downside I have found so far. Being a right-handed shooter, I like to mount my sling around and on the right side of the stock or brace, and then on the left side of the handguard. The MOD 1 only has a QD swivel on one side of the brace, and that happens to be on the side opposite of the arm you would be shooting with. If you are right-handed, the QD mount will be on the side facing your weak hand. Being one who doesn’t shoot one-handed all that often and just shoulders braces anyways, this has zero effect on me and I just run it backward. If you intend to shoot one-handed, having your sling on the opposite side is also not a big deal. This just makes correctly shouldering slightly harder trying to get the sling out of the way when bringing the AR up to a firing position.
The locking mechanism has a nice chamfer and spring to allow it to easily be swung and locked back into place. It has a deep enough groove that I have no worries about it breaking loose and flopping around.
Overall, the MOD 1 is well-engineered and built. It provides a great shelf for your forearm which provides a very comfortable counterbalance for your large framed handguns. It is lightweight, functional, and provides good surface area for shooting if y’all know what I’m saying.