There was a time when the SB Tactical SBA3 Brace was hands down the best AR pistol brace on the market. That’s arguable now (could the SBA4 be better?).
However, even if the SBA3 isn’t the undisputed king anymore, it’s still an outstanding pistol brace. It’s still one of my favorites. There’s just more legitimate competition now.
Though, I must admit that it has a weakness or too, even if it makes me sad to say it.
But there are a lot of reasons I use this brace a lot (until the ATF ruins everything). Here’s all the evidence I’ve gathered from shooting with this brace quite a bit.
SBA Tactical SBA3 Brace Review: Brace Yourself (for the ATF to Ruin Everything)
The SBA3 was probably the first pistol brace that was truly viable and comfortable for all types of shooting, including accidentally firing your pistol from the shoulder.
There’s just no other brace that’s as stable as the SBA3 in both one handed and accidental two-handed shooting.
No, it’s not perfect. And I’ll get to that. Here’s what I think about the SBA3 after using it on a few of my AR pistols.
The real strength of this brace is how well it’s designed. SBA Tactical came up with a really awesome design for this brace.
First, the two piece construction is super smart. The cheek piece is polymer. And the brace is rubber.
The SBM4 has a rubberized cheek piece. And I hate it. The rubberized cheek piece pulls on your face when you accidentally get a cheek weld. It hurts. And it sucks.
The SBA3 has a polymer cheek piece. So it feels like a normal stock when you unintentionally shoulder your pistol.
And the body is angled a bit. That way you’ll get a good cheek weld, even though you weren’t really trying to shoulder your pistol when the brace hit your cheek.
Then the rubber bottom piece is rigid enough to provide solid stability. It’s wide enough that it doesn’t create a pain point if you suddenly find yourself with your pistol shouldered.
I never liked the blade type braces. That thin piece of plastic hurts. And it doesn’t even offer any added stability for amputees. The blade brace doesn’t even support veterans.
The SBA3 doesn’t cause any pain during accidental firing from the shoulder. And it actually works when you’re one-handing that AR pistol.
However, the rubber piece is also this brace’s biggest weakness.
Mine is still in good shape. But I know several people with SBA3 braces who’ve had that rubber piece tear, which makes that stabilizing piece floppy and not that useful without something like the SBA3 Split Fix.
So the SBA3 brace’s durability isn’t as strong as a standard carbine stock. But a stock turns your pistol into a rifle. Then you might need to pay for the $200 SBR tax stamp. If you want a sweet AR pistol, you’ll have to deal with the potential durability liability of the brace.
One more minor note: the QD socket is smartly placed. It’s not my favorite position to attach a sling. But, if you like to attach your sling to the rear end of your pistol, the QD sling socket is in a good spot.
I know that you’re not trying to shoot your AR pistol from the shoulder.
But say you’re like, “Woops!” And your pistol brace happens to hit your shoulder and you happen to crank off a consistent string of fire before you can get the brace out of your shoulder. What then?
Well, it’s nice if your brace offers enough stability to make sure those rounds hit the target. Otherwise, you could have a massive safety issue on your hands.
That’s why I experimented with the SBA3. I needed to make sure that accidentally shouldering your AR pistol wouldn’t cause any safety issues.
And, good news, the SBA3 is super shootable. However, it works best if you accidentally place the brace a bit lower on your shoulder.
The rubber bottom half simply isn’t as rigid as a stock. If you like to place your stock super high on your shoulder—so that just the toe of the stock is in your shoulder pocket—you may find that the rubber piece flexes more than you like.
The best position for accidentally shouldering your pistol is with the plastic piece a bit lower. That way the most rigid part of the brace is in your shoulder.
Then, the recoil won’t flex the rubber, and you’ll be able to ensure that all your shots go in a generally safe direction during accidental shouldered shooting.
Also, if you’re shooting your pistol one-handed, this brace is excellent. The rubber piece and the elastic strap deliver enough stability to help keep your shots from drooping low.
Now, the elastic strap could be stronger. The stretchiness causes this weird muzzle bounce when you shoot. It makes shooting consistent strings of fire a bit tricky.
The SBA3 Split Fix solves this problem, though. Actually, just get a Split Fix for this brace if you have it. You’ll love it.
Lastly, this brace is adjustable (unlike the SBM4, which I hate). That way you can place the stabilizing strap on your forearm wherever it works best for you. The adjustability also helps keep you from sending errant rounds during unintentional shooting from the shoulder.
The buffer tube fit is pretty snug. It takes a little bit of force to get the brace to slide. And I almost always slide it too far. But this is a tiny issue. A snug fit is better than a loose fit.
Overall, though, this brace is super nice to shoot. And it helps keep you from sending rounds off into the nether when you accidentally slap your pistol brace into your shoulder. When looking for pistol brace, you should only get the top-grade quality there is for safety and longevity purposes.
Bracing (for the ATF Pistol Apocalypse)
I love AR pistols, because I strongly dislike paying $200 for less barrel. Why do I have to pay more? The bullets fly out of the gun slower.
But I digress. AR pistols are awesome. And the SBA Tactical SBA3 is an awesome brace that makes your AR pistol as versatile as possible. It’s a strong enough brace for even larger calibers like .308.
The rubber brace portion might be a little bit of a durability issue. On the whole, though, this might be the best pistol brace you can get. If you need a brace, consider this one. The SBA3 is super shootable (and therefore super safe).