How to Find Affordable Stabilizing Pistol Braces Without Sacrificing Quality

Most of you have heard of the ATF ruling regarding stabilizing braces. If you have not yet, for some reason, here’s what you need to know - now, any braced firearm having a barrel shorter than 16 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches is considered an SBR and is subject to the registration and a $200 tax. For more information, read this post about the ATF brace ruling.

As always with ATF gun control ideas, the ruling aroused much controversy and made millions of the owners of AR pistols and other braced guns angry. But what ATF has come up with isn’t a pistol brace ban per se.

In this post, we’ll get things clear about stabilizing pistol braces and provide a shopping guide. So, let’s dive in.

What You Need to Know About Pistol Braces in 2023

First, what is a pistol brace, and how is it different from a buttstock? Stabilizing braces were originally developed to help combat veterans and civilians with disabilities shoot more accurately and comfortably. It’s designed to be strapped to the arm to provide one more point of contact for gun stabilization.

Until January 31, 2023, the main difference between a pistol brace and a buttstock was that the use of a buttstock on a firearm categorized it as a rifle, in other words, a gun designed to be fired off the shoulder. And if a rifle fitted with a stock had a barrel of less than 16 inches and an overall length of less than 26 inches, it was deemed a short-barreled rifle (SBR), i.e. an NFA item.

The revolution of braces was that since they were not supposed to be pressed against the shoulder, braced guns weren’t considered rifles. That’s how we had AR pistols - braced SBRs you didn’t have to register and pay the tax for.

However, any gun considered a braced pistol until January 31, 2023, is an SBR today. Even if you’re a veteran who uses the brace as intended, you must comply with the new ATF ruling. That’s a sad reality. But, since the ruling became effective, millions of shooters have voiced their opinions. Hopefully, ATF will listen to reason.

Why Buy a Pistol Brace in 2023

Pistol braces are gun accessories and, thus, aren’t regulated by ATF, so you can still own them without registering. However, aren’t they kind of useless now? Actually, no.

Whether or not ATF sees it, there still are people with disabilities, and some of them want to shoot their firearms. And since there’s no better way to manage a gun one-handed than a stabilizing brace, there will always be demand for these accessories.

The bad news is that now, you have to fill out paperwork, undergo a background check, submit fingerprints, and pay the $200 tax to the ATF. But the good news is that if you owned your AR or AK pistol before the ruling, you can register it and get a tax stamp for free. But don’t forget to do it before the grace period expires, which is on May 31, 2023.

If you’re ready to stand upon rights, you can take your braced pistol to the local ATF office for an appraisal. If you prove that you use the pistol brace for stability, not for shouldering, the ATF may allow you to keep your firearm as it is. If you’re lucky, you can eventually change your current brace for a higher-quality one.

Besides, because of all the fuss around pistol braces, some of them are getting cheaper. If you intend to continue to use your pistol with a brace, now is your time, as you can run against a decent discount.

Hunting Quality Pistol Braces

If you’re looking to change your stock pistol brace with a higher-quality aftermarket one, now is a perfect time. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Look for sales and discounts: Many retailers offer periodic sales or discounts on their products, and GRITR Sports isn’t an exception. Keep an eye on our promotions and take advantage.
  2. Consider buying used braces: While buying used products comes with some risks, it can also be a great way to save money on a quality pistol brace. Besides, many shooters are now selling their braces to exchange them with regular buttstocks, as long as the brace makes no difference from the legal point of view for most shooters owning AR pistols. Just be sure to thoroughly inspect any before purchasing it.
  3. Check with local gun stores: Your local gun store may have deals or promotions that aren't advertised online.
  4. Read reviews before purchasing: Before making any purchase, be sure to read reviews from other gun owners who have used the product you're considering. This can give you valuable insights into the performance and durability of the brace.

Now, let us recommend some options to make shopping easier.

The Best Pistol Braces

SB Tactical AR Pistol Braces

SB Tactical manufactures the best AR pistol braces. It’s a small wonder because they actually invented stabilizing braces in 2012.

The SBM4 brace features a minimalist design that provides excellent stability and control, while also being lightweight and easy to install. It is made from high-quality materials and has a durable construction that can withstand heavy use.

The SBA4 brace takes things one step further, offering even more adjustability. It features a five-position adjustable length of pull, allowing you to customize it to your specific needs, and an integral ambidextrous QD sling socket.

The SB Tactical PDW brace is another popular option for AR pistol owners. It’s a 3-position adjustable, super-compact design making your firearm easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Despite its rugged construction, the PDW brace is surprisingly lightweight, only 18.14 ounces. If you want an even lighter and shorter design, go with the SB Tactical HBPDW brace.

SB Tactical AK Pistol Brace

The SB Tactical AKTF fits standard AK47/74 pistols without needing an adaptor. It’s a left-folding design featuring an advanced steel hinge that ensures the brace stays safely locked when extended and folded. Furthermore, the pull-through design grants swift deployment. Finally, it includes an integral QD sling socket, allowing quick maneuverability while maintaining functionality.

SB Tactical HK MP5/MP5K Pistol Brace

Finally, the SB SBT5A is a great SB Tactical folding brace for your HK MP5/MP5K. It features a precision machined 6061 hard-coat anodized aluminum endplate with an integrated QD socket that makes attaching or detaching the sling from your weapon quick and effortless.


Now you know that pistol braces are not banned, and if you need to use one for any viable reason, do it. Just make sure you comply with all regulations considering braced guns. And don’t forget to check out what GRITR Sports has to offer in case you want to replace your pistol brace with a more advanced one.


What is a stabilizing pistol brace?

A pistol brace is a stabilizing device the shooter straps to their arm to manage a gun one-handed.

Are pistol braces illegal now?

Stabilizing AR15 braces and similar devices are not considered NFA items and, thus, are not banned by ATF. However, pistols with braces are now short-barreled rifles and must be applied for a tax stamp.

Can I still buy an AR pistol?

AR pistols are still available for purchase but are shipped with an exposed buffer tube and no stabilizing brace or stock.

Mar 1st 2023 Gritr Sports

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