6 Best AR-15 Pistol Braces

Here are the 6 best AR-15 pistol braces based on design, aesthetics, durability, and price. These work with mil-spec or commercial buffer tubes or it comes with proprietary designs.

*Be sure to check your local state law before buying a pistol brace

Note: As of May 2022, On June 7, 2021, the Attorney General signed ATF proposed rule 2021R-08, “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached 'Stabilizing Braces,'” amending ATF's regulations to clarify when a rifle is “intended to be fired from the shoulder.”

SB Tactical SBA3

SB tactical sba3 brace

SB Tactical SBA3 is by far the hottest selling AR15 pistol brace on the market for its direct attachment to a standard buffer tube for adjustable positions.

Adjustable Position - Change length of pull to your preferred configuration

Good Aesthetics - The SBA3 looks and feel like a First Tactical low drag stock that look great on most AR15 pistol builds

Easy Install - Fits any 6 Position MilSpec buffer tube (When ready to SBR your AR, just replace the brace with a stock without messing with the buffer tube)

strike industries pdw brace

Strike Industries PDW brace ranks number 2 on our list for its slick look on any highly customized PDW style AR15 pistols for tight space maneuverability and a comfortable cheek-weld and stabilizing interface.  

Ultra Compact - Retract the brace all the way in for much more compact concealment or PDW carry

Better Vehicle & Tight Space Maneuverability - It doesn't add burden when operating in and out of tight spaces by eliminates any snag hazards and abrasion zones 

Quick Deployment Latch - Simply pull and lock the length of pull

Standard Bolt Carrier - Works with standard length BCG

maxim defense pdw brace

Maxim Defense PDW brace is very similar to the Strike Industries, but it features a completely different buffer system for different builds.  The brace features the same adjustable length of pull as other PDW stocks, and it can be easily replaced with a legal Maxim Defense stock when SBR form is ready.

maxim defense pdw buffer system chart

Different Buffer Weight - H1, H2 & Pistol buffers can be used for centerfire or pistol caliber ammunition

QD Sling Ready - Attach sling to built in anti-rotational sling mounts on each side of the stock housing

Weight: 18.59 oz 7075 T6 aluminum

5.375” closed
6.875” 1st position
8.375” 2nd position
9.24” fully extended

gear head works tail hooks

The Tailhook is a ATF approved pistol brace design that uses a rigid foldout support arm design to counterbalance muzzle weight to stabilize an AR pistol against the shooter’s forearm. 

The Tailhook pistol braces are much easier to operate than other braces on the market because it's easier to wrap it around the forearm.

Proprietary Buffer Tube - It accepts any carbine length spring and buffer

Greater Flexibility - Adjust the brace on the fly to different shooters.

Works On Other Pistol Builds - Billet machined design work on AR15 pistols as well as other buffer tube configured pistol builds

gear head works tailhooks brace

The Tailhook Mod 2 is an upgraded version of the original Tailhook. This one features a stock alike feel.

Adjustable Length of Pull - Pull in and out to 5 different positions like the SB Tactical SBA3

Much More Durable - High impact reinforced polymer in 3 colors, it remains light weight and rigid.

Compatible With Existing BCG - Keep using the same carbine length spring and buffer

Shockwave Blade - Best For The Money

kak industry shockwave blade pistol brace

The Shockwave blade brace is the best for the money pistol brace. It's a slim fin alike design that gets the job done, but it may not feature the look.

Even though this was the very first design on the market, but we highly suggest checking out the Magpul BSL pistol brace

If you want other upgrades, please check out our AR15 accessories guide here


Are Pistol Braces Legal ?

As of 2022, pistol stabilizing braces are legal to configure a pistol.

In June 2021, the ATF redefined rifles by specifically excluding AR pistols and braces from the definition. Instead, this newly-proposed definition would move braced-AR pistols out of the pistol category and into the NFA-restricted short-barrel rifle realm 

See official ATF documents here

Can You Shoulder The Brace Like A Rifle?

Yes, you can shoulder an AR pistol fitted with a stabilizing brace, and please do not modify the brace. However, the specific wording uses the terms “incidental, sporadic, or situational use.”

The ATF’s interprets the law that you’re legally allowed to shoulder, but they also obscurely discourage the practice.

The part of the definition “in its original approved configuration” suggests that it is only legal so long as the brace is not modified or improved for use as a shoulder stock. 

Removing the adjustment straps may constitute “redesigning” the brace into a stock, converting your AR pistol into an Short Barrel Rifle (SBR)

Should You Shoulder The Pistol While Zeroing The Optic?

As far as zeroing the optic on a centerfire rifle chambered pistol. The best way is to stabilize the firearm and apply good shooting fundamentals