I was out at the range the other day and noticed I had chance to run a few different braces side by side.
For a long time I didn’t see the point of a pistol brace. Not that long ago we were not suppose to shoulder them. That made me think they were pointless. I also thought they were ugly, and I own a few short barreled rifles so making a braced pistol seemed silly.
The ATF finally pulled they head out of their ass and decided that shouldering a pistol doesn’t make it a rifle. We should consider our selves fortunate that our tyrant government didn’t instead decide that using two hands to shoot a pistol made a rifle. But just take a look at VA to see what our elected officials would really like to do. I learned that these braces were not just a gimmick, and some of them work well. They also keep you from having to pay a $200 stamp tax and keeps travel between states simple.
Back to the topic at hand. SB Tactical, inventors of the pistol brace, make models that fit on a wide variety of pistols.
In this picture, we have a Tailhook brace above on a B&T telescoping stock/brace. Below is a SB Tactical brace for a B&T gun. SB Tactical braces have a split on the bottom and you slide it over your arm and velcro it in place.
This photo from SB Tactical’s website shows how it is intended to be used. I’ve found that on some of the SB Tactical braces, the velco strap is too short for me to use it that way. On all the SB Tactical braces, I’ve found it to be unpleasant to painful to use as intended.
The cheapest SB Tactical braces for the AR15 can be found for about $100, prices go up from there. I do like how the SB Tactical braces provide a good cheek weld.
SIG came up with a brace called the “Pivoting Contour Brace”. This PCB brace is often called “the helicopter brace” by detractors because it can spin 360 degrees.
The end of this brace clamshells open to reveal the strap.
Velcro allows you to adjust the strap length to fit your arm or forearm.
In this picture, I have the strap looser than I would prefer for proper brace use, but it is functional. I see many detractors to this helicopter brace online, but having used it myself, it is my favorite of the strap type braces. The rotation easily accommodates right or left handed shooting, and unlike the SB Tactical braces, it is comfortable to use. The PCB comes standard on some of the SIG pistols versions of the MCX and MPX. They also fold to the left and attach to a vertical section of picatinny rail. Not a viable option for your average AR15,
The Tailhook is the brace I have most recently purchased. Unlike the SB Tactical and the SIG PCB this one does not use a velcro strap. Instead you install it for left or right handed use, and there is a hook that folds out and goes under your arm to support the gun. Fast and simple.
This brace is simple, easy to use. The main criticism I could give is that if you set it up for one hand, you can’t really use it on the other side.
While I could hold and shoot a pistol with a Tailhook set up for the right hand, I could not angle or move it to a place where I could aim left handed.
I would suggest to Gear Head Works, makers of the Tailhook, to make an ambidextrous model. But realistically it would cost more and have a very limited market. Lefties can already just install a Tailhook revered to open on the left side.
A lesser but more critical complaint would be that the screws included were very soft, and stripped as I installed the brace. I’d suggest they spend the few pennies more per screw to buy a better quality screws.
I do like how the Tailhook has a QD socket on the side opposite the side opposite the hook.
All these various brace options let us make these large awkward pistols into something practical. It is great that we have these options.