This Accessory Helps Injured Vets Shoot Better

It is our duty as the American public to recognize and celebrate the incredible sacrifice that our nation’s finest make every single day to make us safe.
And, although they deserve the honor and the praise, there is one thing that everyone – from civilians to governments – often overlook. And that is the physical sacrifices these brave men and women have to endure – both while in service and when they come home.
Whether it is a temporary injury (such as a broken bone) or a permanent one (such as losing a limb), it’s important to remember that Army veterans are not coming back from the war unscathed. And these disabilities can rock their world – especially when they enter back into civilian life, and have to learn a whole new way of doing things just in order to function in day-to-day life.
The knowledge of the sacrifices and hardships these men and women are having to go through can make us more compassionate people. However, this awareness also makes us (as well as veterans) appreciate it so much more when firearm manufacturers recognize this as well – and actually do something to help veterans gain some freedom and control back in their lives.

That’s where the SB Tactical brace really shines. And what it was originally conceived to do. It allows someone to shoot an AR pistol with one hand with a greater level of accuracy and safety than they could without the brace. This new version, the  alphabet soup-named SBPDW is the best SB brace yet.

Unlike the original model, the SBPDW brace includes a mil-spec buffer tube. You’ll need an AR wrench to pull your old commercial tube and replace it. It’s a simple process that shouldn’t take more than five minutes. The SBPDW tube fits mil-spec AR-15 lower receivers with mil-spec bolt carrier groups and carbine buffers.

Unfortunately, the T&E sample brace I got included only the old instructions for the original version of the brace. Those instructions are basically “push this thing on the buffer tube.” That’s not applicable here.

If you get those instructions in the off-the-shelf SBPDW you buy and need help, just go to their website, or search the multitude of videos for how to accomplish the simple switch.

The most obvious change over the original version of the SB Tactical brace is the adjustable length of pull. The original brace was fixed at 6.8 inches from the back of the lower receiver on a mil-spec buffer tube. Completely collapsed, the new SBPDW brace extends 6.75 inches from the back of the lower receiver when collapsed. And it extends fully to a length of 9.375 inches.

Fully collapsed, a SBPDW-equipped AR pistol is compact and easy to store or transport. Unless you’re very small, though, if you choose to shoulder it in the collapsed position, it’s uncomfortable to shoot. In this position, I have to turn my face out to keep my nose from pressing hard against the charging handle. Then again, I’m 6’1″, so lesser shorter humans may have an easier time of it.

Fully extended, though, it’s an entirely different story. Those few extra inches make a world of difference in comfort and shootability. The fully extended brace functions much better as a stock,  albeit from a still relatively tight and compact position.

I always felt like the original brace was a kind of a big, floppy, hot rubber thingy. This isn’t that at all. The SBPDW brace is smaller on the arm, while locking in place much better.

The adjustable length of pull makes a big difference in how well the actual brace works. The farther I can get the brace attached up my forearm, the better.

That high position on the arm also allows me to loosen the brace just a bit on my forearm, which gets me a better wrist position on the pistol grip of the gun. That combination of a slightly looser brace positioned higher up on my arm made a big difference when shooting an AR pistol single-handed, as the SB Tactical brace was intended.

I’ve spent a good amount of time shooting the original SB15 brace single-handed and had a hard time with it. That hasn’t been the case with the SBPDW.

When I first started shooting this new version, my shoulder had gone out. I’ve had a pretty severe AC joint separation, and have broken my left clavicle twice and left humorous once, high on the bone. So occasionally my left arm just stops working for a while. That gave me the opportunity to spend a long day on the range with my let arm in a sling, getting used to the SBPDW brace on a Quarter Circle 10 Nighthawk .45ACP pistol.

Once I realized that I needed to square up on the target and slightly cant the gun to see through the red dot optic, I was really surprised at how easy silhouette shots at 100 yards became. Using my upper body as a turret from my hips made transitioning horizontally simple as well.

In short, the SBPDW isn’t just a much better “stock” than the original version, it’s a much better brace for the temporarily or permanently disabled shooter, too.

The only thing I’d like to see improved on the SBPDW is a more aggressively textured rear end. The soft rubber on the back of the brace does a fine job against the arm or the shoulder. It also does fairly well against a webbed vest. But it slips around a bit if shot off a slick plate carrier. A cross-hatched or otherwise textured rear would help with that.

The SBPDW brace is about twice the cost of the original SB15, but the increase isn’t just from hype. The whole thing is more durable, well made, and well thought out. The buffer tube fits tight and solid. The three-position stock releases easily with a large and easy-to-find lever, and locks solidly in place. The steel bars of the brace further add stability and durability.

Of course, this still isn’t a great stock. Don’t expect a comfortable cheek-stock-weld. At least not for me. There’s obviously no adjustment in comb height or drop. And while the length of pull is adjustable, it’s still much shorter than a proper rifle stock.

SB Tactical SBPDW Brace extended (photo courtesy of JWT for thetruthaboutguns.com

I still contend that if the original SB Tactical brace is a stock — and it wasn’t designed as one — it’s a poor one, at best. The SBPDW is still not a quality rifle stock, but it’s a muchbetter one-handed brace and can serve as a better “stock” if the need arises. It even includes (finally) a QD sling mount.

Happily, most of you aren’t disabled. More accurately, most of you aren’t disabled right now. For those of you who are, the SB Tactical SBPDW brace far outclasses the competition. For those of you who one day will be, it’s a great piece of gear that gives you options now and for when the times comes down the road.

Specifications: SB Tactical SBPDW Brace

Fit: Mil-spec AR-15 receivers
Width: 2.25 inches
Length: 6.75 inches (collapsed), 9.375 inches (extended)
Strap Width: 1 inch
Weight: 18.14 oz
Color: Black or FDE
MSRP: $299.99

Rating (out of five stars):

Overall * * * * *
The original was the best option for the disabled shooter when it was invented. This version is the best out there yet again. The SBPDW is a big leap forward in comfort for the permanently or temporarily disabled shooter, and it’s the first brace I’ve seen that makes an acceptable stock as well.

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