By Travis P
They were passed in the desperate dustbowl time. Bandits and mobsters wielding Thompson submachine guns were the talk of the decade. They filled the imaginations of dime novel writers and moviemakers alike.
In reality, though, thieves, mobsters and criminals used not only machine guns, but short-barreled rifles, and short-barreled shotguns were way overblown. Members of Dillinger’s gang used semi-auto full-sized rifles, and reportedly Dillinger only liked the Thompson because he was a terrible shot.
Like most cases where things become overblown, the government felt the need to step in and began infringing on our rights in the name of safety. The National Firearms Act didn’t outright ban short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, machine guns, and any other weapon so much as regulate and tax them to such a degree they were almost impossible to afford.
The NFA is such a bureaucratic piece of nonsense it turns out there are many ways around it. We see things like the slide fire stock which replicates full auto, or twenty dollar cranks that can do the same thing. Something else has hit the market recently and it caused a stir.
When the SB15 brace hit the blogosphere the gun world couldn’t shut up about it. The story goes that the designer was trying to build something to help his friend, an amputee veteran, fire his AR-15 pistol easier. The design resembled a very short butt stock with the center cut out for the shooter to insert his or her forearm, and then strap it in with nylon straps.
Remember how I said it resembled a rifle stock? The NFA said rifles with a barrel under 16 inches with a stock are considered a short-barreled rifle and are covered under the NFA and subject to its draconian laws. The BATF is charged with deciding if a weapon or accessory falls within the NFA standards. Surprisingly the aptly named stabilizing brace was approved.
Most said it was a gimmick, and putting it to your shoulder was illegal. Someone finally wrote a letter to the ATF and simply asked, “Can I put the brace to my shoulder legally?” The ATF came back with a big whopping “yes.” Essentially, the product is based on its intended use, and if it’s misused that doesn’t make it illegal. Using the stabilizing brace as a stock is no different than placing the rear of a Glock to your shoulder and shooting it.
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Now skip forward a bit and we arrive at the AK pistol variant of this little brace, the SB 47. I went with the Zastava M92 Pap pistol with the SB 47 brace. The M92 represents an awesome example of quality and affordability. The Zastava is built in Serbia in the same factory they produce the military variant of the M92. The quality is top-notch, the sights are excellent.
Unlike most AKs the M92’s magazine features a bolt hold-open device which works pretty well. The M92 can take every AK-47 magazine out there. You can load up the more compact 20 round “tanker” mags or jump up to a 75 round drum. AK mags are easy and cheap to find, and most are incredibly reliable.
The weapon is chambered in the standard 7.62 x 39mm round, which works quite well out of the short barrel. Recoil and muzzle rise really aren’t that much more than your standard AK. The main difference is the muzzle blast and noise created by this little beast. At low-light situations you really notice the muzzle blast.
The SB 47 isn’t the best stock in the world since it’s not exactly supposed to be a stock. The SB 47 is much shorter than a standard stock, and for big guys like me it’s not exactly comfortable, but it’s quite useable. Using it as the actual brace is okay, but it shines as a short-barreled hack.
The weapon features a great AK74SU-style muzzle break that works wonders for muzzle rise. The muzzle break is also an attractive-to-the-eye feature for the AK clone. If I was to compare it to other short-barreled rifles I’ve handled, I’d have to rate it a five out of 10 compared to a normal AK SBR. The brace may not exactly compare to a normal stock, but as a $120 wannabe stock and a lot less headache it might as well be a ten.
The M92 is a great 200 meter rifle, and the short barrel will compromise accuracy at longer ranges. At close range the heavy hitting 7.62 round will take a threat down easily enough. It’s extremely easy to wield and very handy in close quarters. The M92 makes a great truck gun; it stashes easy enough in a trunk or behind a truck seat.
It’s an extremely handy rifle, and excellent as a defensive firearm. It would also make an excellent home defense weapon. It’s compact and light, and backed by a 30-round magazine. Thirty rounds of 7.62 is hard to beat, and the tiny rifle is easy enough to control.
My test of the rifle was about 400 rounds of wolf standard ammo. I took it through its paces with a slightly modified Marine Corps Table three of the Marine combat marksmanship program. The table consists of failure-to-stop drills on multiple targets, also known as Mozambique drills, as well as hammer pairs, also known as double taps. There is also movement and fire, but it’s very basic. I went through the motions, practicing speed reloads and tactical reloads.
From the time I opened the box and pulled the weapon out I didn’t lube or clean off the packing grease, I just rocked and rolled. The weapon worked without one single malfunction, like you’d expect an AK to do. The weapon works, and works darn well. The stabilizing brace was wide enough to fit well against the shoulder.
The mags get in and out easy enough. The mag well is tight enough to fit the mags nice and tight, and the only issue I had was the Tapco polymer magazines. They were just a little too tight, and couldn’t be quickly popped out for speed reloads.
This stabilizing brace is quite the loophole when it comes to the NFA laws. The brace isn’t quite the perfect stock, but then again it’s not supposed to be. As a brace it’s OK, but as a makeshift stock it really shines.
I simply love the fact that accessories like this are able to sidestep their way around ridiculous laws. I’m hoping, and it’s a lot of hope, but maybe people will realize these laws are ridiculous and need to be overturned.