U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- The National Firearms Act of 1934 is a tricky thing. If you have a rifle with a 16-inch barrel, then you are in full compliance with the NFA. If you have a rifle that has a 15.9-inch barrel, then you are guilty of a crime. The ATF would like you to pay a fee of $200 for a tax stamp, provide fingerprints, mug shots, and wait months and months for the honor of owning a short barreled rifle.
There is a way to experience the thrill of owning an SBR without having to pay the ATF a bribe to exercise your rights as an American. People are buying AR and AK pistols and adding stabilizing braces. Since these braces are technically not stocks, they do not fall under the NFA. The barrels on these guns do not have any length restrictions on them since they are not rifles.
A while ago I did a review on a brace made by SB Tactical for my CZ Scorpion EVO3 pistol. I was impressed with the SBTEVO brace's workmanship. It was just as good as a standard stock without going through the hassle of jumping through the hoops of the NFA. In fact, it is still my bedside gun. When SB Tactical asked me if I wanted to try out their new SB-Mini brace and their SB STDT AR Pistol Receiver Extension buffer tube I had just the thing to test the brace to its limits.
I also recently did a review on a 10.5-inch Radical Firearms complete AR upper receiver chambered in .458 SOCOM. I installed it on my complete Anderson pistol lower receiver and headed out to the range. It was a blast to shoot, but it did kick like a mule. If the SB-Mini could tame this beast, then it could handle almost anything.
When the SB-Mini brace and the SB STDT Pistol Receiver Extension buffer tube arrived at my door, I couldn't wait to get them on my Anderson pistol lower. I removed the old buffer tube and installed the new SB Tactical buffer tube. The the new buffer tube measured 8.3 inches in overall length. The SB STDT added about one additional inch over the Anderson pistol buffer tube that was installed previously on the lower receiver.
SB Tactical made the SB STDT out of airplane grade 7075-T6 aluminum. SB Tactical then finished the buffer tube with a type III anodization process. They designed the SB STDT to minimize the rotation and the slippage of their braces. This buffer tube is a must when buying an SB Tactical brace.
I picked up the SB-Mini brace to put it on the buffer tube. The one thing I noticed about brace is that it is very light. SB Tactical made the brace to weigh only four ounces. It can also fit on any tube with a diameter from 1.2 inches to 1.25 inches. The SB STDT that I was using for testing is a 1.25-inch diameter tube.
The SB-Mini Brace slipped right on the end of the buffer tube. Installing the brace on the buffer tube was effortless. Even though it was easy to go on the buffer tube, it seemed to hold pretty well. I tried shouldering the brace which isn't the attended use according to SB Tactical. It was the perfect length. I would love to see an adjustable length SB-Mini in the future.
SB Tactical intends the SB-Mini Brace to be strapped on the arm of the shooter to provide a method stabilization for pistols. I chose to shoulder the brace. There is a misconception that the ATF doesn't allow a brace to be shouldered. They did in the past state that a brace wasn't allowed to be shouldered, but then reversed their decision. SB Tactical has the letter on their website for download to confirm this ruling.
The next day I was excited to get to the range. I grabbed my AR with the SB-Mini Brace installed, Some Freedom Big Bore ammunition and my range bag and headed to the range. When I fired the .458 SOCOM without a brace in the past, it felt like firing a 20 gauge shotgun. I knew the brace would mitigate the recoil, but I wasn't sure how much it would help.
I shouldered the pistol and pulled the trigger. It kicked, but most of the recoil was mitigated. The SB-Mini brace made a massive difference from the first time I went to the range. I put about 40 more rounds through the gun. Without the brace that would have been quite a feat with an AR pistol chambered in 458 SOCOM, to fire as much, as fast, and as accurately as I did with the brace.
SB Tactical made the SB-Mini brace comfortable. I was able to pull the brace tightly into my shoulder without any issues. The brace also did not rotate like a lot of the braces I have used in the past. I think this was a combination of using the SB STDT buffer tube and the SB-Mini brace itself.
I decided I needed to try to use the SB-Mini brace the way SB Tactical intended. I strapped the brace on my arm using the adjustable nylon strap and put another 20 rounds of the Freedom Munitions .458 SOCOM Big Bore ammo through the pistol. I was concerned that the brace might come off the buffer tube from the recoil. To my delight, the brace stayed put and didn't come off the buffer tube.
The SB Tactical SB-Mini Brace comes in two colors. The one I got was black, but customers can order the brace in FDE. I would like to see SB Tactical add more colors, like a sand color. I think they would have a lot of excitement with more color choices.
A couple of strong selling points for me has nothing to do the brace itself. The first selling point is that this brace is made in the US. I like the idea of helping out American manufacturing. The second point is that a veteran designed this brace. Being a spouse of an active duty military officer this does makes a difference to me.
If you are looking for a minimalist brace, or if you just don't feel like putting out $200 for a tax stamp for a right you already should have, then this might be the way to go to build your SBR-like pistol. The SB-Mini will set you back $119.99, and the SB STDT Pistol Receiver Extension will cost you another $39.95. SB Tactical does offer military, law enforcement, and first responder discounts at the time of this writing.
SB Tactical can be found here.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.