How Much and Where to Buy:
The SBA3’s MSRP is $169.99, though street price seems to be closer to $139.99. It’s very tough to find in stock, but here are a few places that carry it:
OpticsPlanet ($129.99)–> SBA3 Black and FDE
Palmetto State Armory ($139.99)–> SBA3 Black
Palmetto State Armory ($139.99)–> SBA3 FDE
Palmetto State Armory ($179.99)–> SBA3 Pistol Lower Build Kit
Palmetto State Armory ($219.99)–> PSA AR15 Pistol Complete Lower with SBA3 Brace
Brownells ($135.99)–> SBA3 Black and FDE
+ 5-position adjustable on milspec carbine receiver extension (included)
+ 6.75oz including receiver extension
+ QD cups on both sides
+ Quickly adjusts from collapsed to fully extended
+ ATF compliant
+ Made in the USA
– Difficult to adjust to positions other than fully collapsed and fully extended
– Endcap can pop off if collapsed onto end of receiver extension, though it pops right back on
– Not as durable as a stock
SB Tactical invented the pistol brace back in 2012 as a way for disabled combat veterans to maintain control of large pistols. Since then, the category has exploded with twenty-two variants made by SB Tactical alone in addition to the half dozen or so pistol braces made by different companies. You’ll find them sold at every major retailer and standard equipment on large pistols from a long list of manufacturers.
With their experience and dedication to this market, SB Tactical surprised no one in developing their new SBA3. The real question was, “What took so long?”
The answer is probably part manufacturing-related and part legal, but the result is an adjustable pistol brace that provides much of the advantages of having a stock without actually being a stock. That means you can install it on a pistol and enjoy the use of a compact firearm that would otherwise require ATF registration and a $200 tax if built as a rifle.
What makes this brace different from all the other pistol braces already offered? For starters, the SBA3 keeps the rubber wings and velcro strap setup found on all braces from SB Tactical, but the rest of the brace is hard polymer. This is what allows the SBA3 to slide and lock into five different positions on any milspec carbine receiver extension. One is included in the box, which is certainly convenient but might also be done to make a statement that the buffer tube is a pistol part and not a rifle part in this context.
Adjustment is made via an underslung lever with an action that should be familiar to anyone experienced using adjustable stocks. The SBA3 is very quick to adjust to either fully collapsed or fully extended, but its tight fight on the receiver extension means that finding positions in between is a little tricky. Most will find fully extended to be their position of preference, so that will not likely be a big issue.
An ambidextrous QD socket sits right behind that lever. Though the cups themselves are not anti-rotation, the placement means that standard swivels will be limited in rotation from interference with the brace itself. There is enough rotation to let your sling find a natural path around your body but not so much rotation to create a tangle hazard.
Shooting with the SBA3 is as comfortable as you would expect just by looking at it. Whether you brace your pistol on your forearm, your cheek, or your shoulder, the SBA3 will provide a solid connection between you and your firearm. The new elastic strap helps to keep the brace secure and the strap itself in place no matter what your method of shooting.
The only odd experience to note is that the endcap is held in place only by a few tabs, and if you close the SBA3 too hard, the back of the receiver extension will hit it and pop it off. It won’t break, though. You’ll be able to pop it right back in place… as long as you are aware it popped off and find it before walking away from it. This is something I hope SB Tactical improves on the SBA4 (or whatever they end up calling it).
The SBA3 is currently available in black or FDE. For more information, visit: SB Tactical
This video shows how to install a receiver extension on an AR15 lower. The whole assembly process is detailed, but the receiver extension installation can be found starting 8 minutes into this video: