Can You Put A Folding Brace On A Pistol?

can you put a folding brace on a pistol

When I purchased my first Glock back in the ’90s, there were no fancy gadgets for handguns to dream about. Most folk who might have had a disability or were an amputee would get denied a gun license, or if they had one, they would favor a revolver over a pistol, and in a case like that, can you put a folding brace on a pistol?

You can put a folding brace on a pistol. The most common firearms the brace is used with are the AR-style.  Although the brace is not designed for every type of pistol, there are some non- AR brands that it can be used with. The brace was designed to assist amputees in firing a pistol with one hand. 

There are several great folding braces on the market, from quick installation varieties to adjustable and rapid extension models. However, not every conventional pistol can have a folding brace fitted, and they should solely be used as forearm braces for stabilization. In the last few months, heated debates surround the use of folding braces as rifle stocks on AR pistols, making them the subject of controversy. This article looks at the best way to approach putting a folding brace on a pistol. 

Who Would Need A Folding Brace On A Pistol?

The folding brace or stabilizing brace was designed for a military veteran who had lost an arm, and this enabled him to shoot without assistance. Currently, people who would need a folding brace on a pistol would be;

  • The disabled
  • Amputees 
  • Aging gun owners
  • Anyone who uses an AR pistol

Are Folding Braces On Pistols Legal?

Putting a folding brace on a pistol is legal since the ATF legalized its use in 2012. Specifically, the AR pistols are better when used with a folding or stabilizing brace due to them being unwieldy. 

The folding brace makes it possible for the pistol to be handled better. It improves accuracy for the shooter and gives more control. Before the design and manufacture of the folding brace, AR pistols, in particular, were very unappealing to gun owners. 

The folding brace straps onto the forearm with Velcro securing it for one-handed shooting. It is well known that the folding brace can double as a rifle stock. 

Can You Put A Folding Brace On A Pistol? 1

What Is The Difference Between A Folding Brace And Rifle Stock?

A folding brace was designed mainly to give amputees and any gun owner with a disability the means to fire a pistol with one hand.

A rifle stock is designed to give the pistol an extension to be pushed against the shoulder and shot like a conventional rifle. 

The Five Best Folding Brace Brands

These are the five best and most popular folding braces available on the market. They are;

Strike Industries Viper PDW

  • Made for AR pistols
  • Rapid deployment system
  • Sleek, angular design

Maxim Defense CQB Pistol PDW

  • Made for AR pistols 
  • Most expensive folding brace on the market
  • Lightweight and a durable aluminum alloy construction
  • Adjustable length
  • Easy installation

SB Tactical MPX PSB

  • Made to fit Sig Sauer MPX
  • Easy installation 
  • Adjustable to three positions and is fully collapsible. 

Recover Tactical® 20/20 Stabilizer Kit – Glock –

  • Compatible with over 40 Glock models
  • Quick installation
  • Includes paddle holster
  • Includes charging handles

SB Tactical SBA3 

  • Made for AR pistols
  • Most popular brace available on the market
  • Fast and simple adjustment
  • Includes a QD socket to attach a sling 
AR 15 rifle

Why Are Rifle Stocks On AR Pistols Illegal?

When you put a rifle stock on an AR pistol, you are effectively turning it into an AR-15. Therefore, if you do not have the correct tax stamp for that assembly, you will effectively be in possession of an assault weapon. 

An AR pistol usually has no stock bit comes kitted with a buffer tube or a similar piece of equipment. In addition, the AR pistol has to have a barrel that is shorter than 16″ as a legal requirement. 

The AR pistol works so well with the folding brace because it gives it a tremendous amount of stability, even for non-disabled persons. In addition, the pistol can be drawn from the holster designed to work with the folding brace with ease.  

Which Are The Top Six Pistols That Can Use A Folding Brace?

The Armalite pistol or AR pistol has certain features that set it apart. It has to have a barrel that is less than 16″ in length. It is allowed a vertical foregrip provided the barrel is less than 16″ long. Most importantly, it cannot be fitted with a buttstock, only a folding brace for stability. 

These are the top six pistols that can use a folding brace;

#1 SIG Sauer MCX VIRTUS Pistol

#2 Armalite Eagle-15 Pistol

#3 Daniel Defense MK18 Law Tactical Pistol

#4 Ruger AR-556 Pistol

#5 Palmetto State Armory PA-15 Pistol

#6 Glock 23 .40 S&W Compact  

Is A Folding Brace Easy To Install?

Most folding braces are pretty simple to install. Like with the Glock, some braces just slide over the top of the pistol.  They then get bolted together below, and you are ready to go. Other folding braces are a lot more complex and require a detailed assembly.

Here are some of the tools you might need to fit your folding brace;

  • Vice
  • Wrench
  • Receiver extension
  • Hex key
  • Buffer retainer

Every folding brace will come with a complete set of instructions from the manufacturer, and it would be best if you follow the steps carefully to avoid any accidents. If you are unsure of how to do the installation, there are a few instructional videos we can recommend you look at.

Helpful Tip – never force a brace onto a pistol to make it fit; always ask your local gun shop technician for assistance. 


The folding brace has sold millions of units worldwide to gun owners needing that extra stability either for sport shooting, in tactical operations to keep the other hand free or for military veterans to help get their self-confidence back.

Using a folding brace on an AR pistol should be done with the right intentions and with the safety of yourself and others considered.

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