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On the History, Benefits, and Original Regulation Surrounding Pistol Braces

On the History, Benefits, and Original Regulation Surrounding Pistol Braces

Posted by MCS GEAR UP on Feb 21st 2023

The thing about AR pistols is that they are hard to control, especially with one hand, which sort of defeats the point.

It would be a lot better for AR pistol builders if there were some way to enjoy greater stability and recoil mitigation without dramatically (or permanently) altering the platform.

There is, and it’s called a pistol brace. Here’s what you need to know.

An Unlikely History: Where Did Pistol Braces Come from?

The cool thing about pistol braces is that they have an unlikely history. What you may not have known is that pistol braces were actually invented to benefit shooters with disabilities. They’re also relatively new to the world of firearms.

An Army veteran by the name of Alex Bosco is actually the inventor of the first pistol brace.

One day, while at the range with a friend with a disability, Bosco witnessed his friend struggling to control the recoil of the weapon.

Apparently, as a result, the range safety officer instructed his friend to stop firing. Bosco wanted to create a device that would enable similar shooters with a disability to fire, one-handed, with greater control and confidence.

So, in 2012, he created the first pistol brace, a device that attaches to the firearm platform and has a fin protruding from it, which can be strapped onto the shooter’s forearm. He pioneered the first company to produce this device, SB Tactical, and submitted the design to the ATF for approval.

Notwithstanding the ATF’s recent about-face, originally, the bureau approved the device and said that it was free from the restrictions of the National Firearms Act, meaning that individuals could purchase and use them without applying for an NFA tax stamp.

Not only did the ATF originally declare that the first pistol braces were proverbially kosher and free from the restrictions of the NFA, but the shooting industry was quick to adopt the new technology and before long, SB Tactical was not the only company producing them.

The interesting tidbit about this whole historical cascade of events is that these devices were originally intended to assist shooters with disabilities shoot pistols and AR pistol platforms with greater stability and confidence, especially when they could only use one hand.

Today, SB Tactical still produces a large share of the braces on the market, but other producers such as Maximum Defense Industries, Strike Industries, and Dead Foot Arms have all designed their own models with the aim of claiming their portion of the market demand pie.

So, that’s the history of pistol braces - a relatively new addition to the world of shooting accessories - in a nutshell.

How do they work and what is their basic purpose?

What’s the Purpose of a Pistol Brace?

Also known as a stabilizing brace, a pistol brace attaches to the back of a firearm platform, commonly an AR pistol, and consists of a lightweight aluminum fan or fin. This fin typically is outfitted with straps that can be secured around a user’s forearm. Designs and styles vary, but often braces are made from lightweight, skeletonized aluminum.

Securing the stabilizing brace to the forearm of a shooter in this manner increases the surface area contact between the shooter and the weapon and offers a number of distinct benefits over free, one-handed firing.

For one, the pistol brace stabilizes the entire platform. It makes it easier to keep the sights trained on a target.

Second, the pistol brace helps control recoil and makes it less difficult to control the AR pistol while firing. This helps control muzzle flip, too.

A brace can also help a shooter develop confidence while handling and firing a weapon, whether or not he or she has any physical disabilities.

Some pistol braces are also made from lightweight, skeletonized aluminum that doesn’t greatly affect the balance of the weapon. Others are configured with M-LOK slots that make them easy to attach to the firearm, or enable them to be expanded with shooting accessories.

Overall, these braces enable greater proficiency, safer firing, better accuracy, and a superior ability to control a firearm when firing with one hand.

                                  pistol with a brace

Does Everyone Like Them?

No, actually. Some shooters feel that shooting an AR-pistol with a brace attached makes the platform feel clunkier and harder to control, which is ironic considering the purpose of the pistol brace in the first place.

Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop shooters from creating their own builds using them.

Brace vs. Buttstock

Finally, before we wrap up with article, we need to cover an important but basic topic - the difference between a pistol brace and a buttstock, because these two are not the same thing.

A buttstock, more commonly known simply as a stock, can be fixed, folding, or adjustable. The stock attaches to the receiver, frame, or buffer tube, and is used against the shooter’s shoulder to stabilize the platform.

A pistol brace is not laid against the shooter’s shoulder, though it does stabilize the weapon by affixing to the forearm.

In short, stocks are designed to be fired from the shoulder, and pistol stabilizing braces are not.

Who Should Use a Pistol Brace?

If you are a disabled shooter that has a hard time controlling a pistol or AR pistol while firing with one hand, you are a good candidate for a pistol brace.

Otherwise, if you enjoy shooting a pistol or an AR pistol but you are a smaller framed shooter or are recoil sensitive, a pistol brace might make sense for you, too.

Since pistol braces can easily be removed from the gun and don’t require you to shoulder the firearm, they’re the ideal modular solution for some shooters.

                                          Pistol Braces

Quality Pistol Braces at Great Prices

Here at MCS Gearup, we carry a wide range of high-quality, customizable pistol braces for shooters of all different backgrounds and needs.

We sell MCK pistol braces, AR pistol braces, and skeletonized, anodized aluminum braces as components of AR kits that also include pistol grips and charging handles. Take a look at our collection via the link above, and if you have any questions about compatibility, get in touch with us at or at 239-848-6757.