SB Tactical SBPDW Brace For AR-15 Pistols

A trend that can be no longer ignored or dismissed, as a passing fad is the number of pistol models stemming from what was typically associated with rifle pattern weapons via removing the buttstock. AR type pistols are dominating this genre via weapons featuring shorter than 16″ barrels sans any rifle stock with only the buffer tube protruding from the rear of the receiver. The AR buffer tube soon proved an advantage on these large pistols for numerous reasons. The buffer tube appendage was adapted to accommodate various types of braces to aid in supporting large non-typical handgun forms. SB Tactical led the way in this process with AR braces and then adapter kits for pistols other than AR types.

SB Tactical is not merely a manufacturer — they led the crusade in getting the January 2015 BATF Open Letter modifying/negating their initial positive position on shouldered handgun braces overturned in March 2017. Yes, it was in SB Tactical’s interest to do this. However, resources were spent with no guarantee SB Tactical would be successful as evident by the March 2017 BATF refining statement.

Adjustable Brace

SB Tactical recently added the SBPDW adjustable brace to their already impressive stable of brace models. Designed in conjunction with Maxim Defense, the SBPDW Pistol Stabilizing Brace is 3-position adjustable and compatible with AR mil-spec bolt carrier groups and carbine buffers. For individuals who don’t have legal access to an NFA Class 3 Short Barrel Rifle (SBR), the brace stabilized pistol converted long arms may well be the closest they can get to achieving rifle-like firepower in such compact packages.

sb tactical, sbpdw, brace, pistol brace, new guns and gear
The SBPDW brace is designed to work on pistol using AR-style buffer tubes adapted to facilitate installation of a brace. It advances pistol brace concept thanks to its adjustability.

Along these same lines, the expansion of states issuing concealed carry permits along with honoring other states permits is another reason why large format pistols are so popular. Many will argue there is no defensive/tactical value in such a non-traditional pistol — just use a full- size rifle or typical handgun. However, some will be lured to the braced AR pistol for the intriguing nuance of maintaining handgun status with a semblance of SBR rifle performance. The ability to be transported more discretely than a full-size rifle may translate into it being the weapon most readily available if a situation arises unexpectedly while away from home. The fact that a braced pistol is classified legally as a handgun offers users who have a concealed carry license a certain amount of flexibility compared to a true rifle or NFA SBR classified weapon.

Enhanced Design

The SBPDW is the current epitome of the brace concept started by SB Tactical thanks to its adjustability. The SBPDW Pistol Stabilizing Brace is a 3-position lever-less adjustable brace. The SBPDW comes with its own proprietary mil-spec buffer tube (minus buffer and spring) that changes out the existing buffer tube on the pistol intended for use. The SBPDW is compatible with mil-spec bolt carrier groups and carbine buffers. Thoughtfully, a QD attachment is included at the 6 o’clock position. I tried out the SBPDW on several different platforms to get a feel for it — It doesn’t disappoint.

Related Stories: Beretta APX Pistol: Modular, Durable And Exceptionally Reliable

sb tactical, sbpdw brace, brace, ar pistol brace, new guns and gear
Attention to detail shown with QD sling attachment point under the SBPDW.

When considering SBPDW equipped pistol for serious defense or tactical role, it would be best to view it through the lens of a personal defense weapon (i.e. the name choice) versus a rifle. An SBPDW equipped non-standard pistol is more potent and offers longer effective range than a traditional pistol if trained to use effectively and appreciate its nuances. The AR pistol has proven capable of overcoming many of its limitations in terms of effectiveness beyond 25 yards thanks to advancement/adaptability in how best to deploy the AR pistol i.e. SB Tactical.

We might as well speak about the gorilla in the room when it comes to weapons turned into pistols from designs more associated with rifles. What does a braced AR pistol offer in terms of real utility in its pistol form and how best to deploy it? The SBPDW brace enables techniques of deployment that maximizes potential. A favorite technique is floating the SBPDW brace on the cheek, not shouldered, providing three points of contact for more stability and thus accuracy. This is not a newly discovered technique. There are reports from back in the Cold War of Czech Special Forces running their Skorpion machine pistols in a similar fashion. It was used by early practitioners/advocates of AR pistols using only the projecting buffer tube. We have come a long way from this when viewing the adjustable SB Tactical SBPDW. While not optimum and not nearly as effective as a shouldered stock, the method proves superior to attempting to hold via traditional pistol method, especially when the goal is rapid-fire rounds downrange with accuracy being paramount. Attentive training will pay dividends in finding what works best for individual users.

sb tactical, sbpdw brace, ar pistol brace, new guns and gear
SBPDW installed on AR pistol. Attention needs to be paid to make sure the receiver configuration doesn’t interfere with rods adjusting length.

Related Stories: MAXFLO 3D Suppressor: You Need One — Or Two!

Discreet Carry

A weapon like an SBPDW equipped pistol has its own advantages in terms of handling, ease of concealability and increased portability that is hard to resist when compared to a standard length rifle. Most individuals struggle with the balancing of weapon carried versus discreteness. This is why handguns are the prevalent choice of weapon carried. It’s not because handguns are the most effective choice — just the easiest to have around at all times in most social settings.

sb tactical, sbpdw, brace, pistol brace, new guns and gear
The SB Tactical SBPDW brace was created in collaboration with Maxim Defense.

In an effort to determine the utility of the SBPDW braced AR pistol a plate rack featuring multiple 6″ round targets was engaged at 25 and 35 yards combined with a steel ¼ scale silhouette target at 75 yards. This was an effort to establish typical field accuracy with a SBPDW braced pistol compared to prior experiences and expectations with a more traditional handgun from. A pistol with SB Tactical SBPDW brace and red dot optic leaves typical thoughts of handgun performance in the dust. With practice and training the real potential of an SBPDW brace equipped pistol will be evident in both CQB role and out to distances impractical for a typical handgun.

The argument there is no defensive/tactical value in a braced non-traditional pistol will continue especially for those who haven’t tried an SBPDW equipped AR pistol. It’s not for everyone, but the intriguing nuance of maintaining handgun status with a semblance of AR rifle performance coupled with the ability to be transported more discretely than a full-size rifle may translate into it being the weapon most readily available if a situation arises unexpectedly while away from home or main weapon location.

SBPDW Specifications

Fits: Mil-spec AR-15 receivers

Width [max]: 2.25 in

Length: 6.75 in (collapsed), 8.125 in (mid), 9.375 in (extended)

Weight: 18.14 oz

Color: Black, FDE

MSRP: $299-319

For More Info:

SB Tactical

Buy it on

Comment On This Post

Video Destination for Firearms & Hunting Enthusiasts

Be in the Know. Join the GetZone Newsletter

Hottest Firearms & Gear ▸ Tips, Tricks & Skills ▸ Shoot/Hunt Adventures ▸ Manufacturer & 2A News ▸ Deals ▸ Exclusive Sweepstakes

Get on the list. Enter your email address *
  • What interests you most? (Check all that apply)
  • By giving you my email address, I am giving you permission to contact me for marketing and other purposes, as explained in the Privacy Policy
    Don't Show This Again