In November 2012, disabled veteran Alex Bosco received a letter from the ATF regarding a prototype of a stabilizing brace he invented to aid him in shooting an AR-15 pistol one-handed. The device, called SB15 made of medical-grade rubber—the same type of material used to make prosthetics—fits over the buffer tube of AR-15 pistols. After slipping the device over the AR-15 pistol’s buffer tube, the user is then supposed to secure the pistol-stabilizing device around their forearm using the two attached Velcro strips.
SIG Sauer since purchased the pistol stabilizing brace design from Bosco and now sells it separately and on its PM400 AR-15 pistols. Century Arms also found a way to put the brace on an AK-47 pistol and sell one that fits the PAP M92 PV, PAP M85 PV, Draco, and C39 pistols called the SB47.
Many people began using the brace to shoulder their weapons, instead of shooting them one-handed. The device looks similar to a TAPCO AR-15 rifle stock. When using the stabilizing brace to shoulder the weapon, the AR-15 and AK-47 pistols look deceptively like a short-barreled rifle (SBR). Though legal, the ATF considers the short-barreled rifle a Title 2, Class 3 restricted weapon requiring a tax stamp, paper work and registration with the ATF. To learn more about building and owning an SBR, read “How to Build a Short-Barreled Rifle (SBR). Of course, “misuse” of the product drew questions from the gun community.
The ATF went on record saying the SB15 and SB47 pistol-stabilizing device classifies as a “forearm brace” and since intentionally designed to aid in shooting the AR-15 pistol one-handed, putting the device on your pistol and shouldering it does not constitute turning your pistol into an SBR.
The ATF and Bosco want you to know, however, that shouldering the pistol with the use of the SB15 or SB47 is not the manufacturer’s intended purpose and therefore constitutes “improper” use of the product. You will not see SIG Sauer displaying improper use. In fact, SIG Sauer’s marketing reminds us the product is supposed to be strapped around the user’s forearm to aid in shooting the AR-15 pistol better. The company also donates a portion of the proceeds of each sale made from the SB15 to the Honored American Veterans Afield Organization. Remember, Bosco developed the brace to allow shooters with the use of only one hand to shoot the AR-15 and other similar pistols. Those without much strength in their arms due to age or injury will also find the brace beneficial.
Though the brace fits over pistols with 1 to 1.2-inch AR-15-style buffer tubes, the gun community is an ingenious lot by finding other ways to “improperly” use the SB15. Modeling after Century’s AK-47 pistol with the brace, I know others who have fashioned their own connectors to attach the SB47 on their AK-47 pistols using few parts. The owner of the setup I met calls his set up “essentially an SBR without the paperwork.” Using a machinegun hinge, “pig nose adaptor” and an AR-15 buffer tube, he made a folding SB47 for his AK pistol.
Demonstrating the brace properly, by attaching it to his forearm, the owner showed me how he could not see the sights properly and had to turn the gun gangster style—by tilting the gun sideways—to get any kind of sight picture. However, when putting the brace up against his shoulder, the sight alignment worked out as is should.
He told me the brace makes the otherwise hard hitting AK-47 pistol a rather soft shooter, due to how soft the rubber on the brace is, making it an excellent recoil absorber.
AR-15, AK-47 and other pistol-grip only type carbines are difficult to shoot. I have met plenty of people who do not see the point in one, but with this brace making them easier to aim, shoot and control. These types of pistols make great home defense weapons and truck guns. In fact, his AK-47 pistol with the SB47 attached folds up to fit in his gym bag—and all perfectly legal.
At less than $150, I would say the SB15 and SB47 pistol-stabilizing brace is not just a fad, toy or gimmick. For those with disabilities, missing an extremity or injured, it allows you to enjoy shooting AR-15-and AK-47-type pistols accurately and effectively. In addition, for those without the budget for a tax stamp, or more importantly patience, the stabilizing brace provides the answer to the “poor man’s legal SBR”—of which there never was before.
Bosco’s product is truly innovative in concept and follow-through. As long as the ATF sticks to their word, I anticipate seeing the SB15 and SB47 a lot more. I don’t know one shooter who would complain about having one in their arsenal.
What do you think about this product? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section.