More and more gun owners are choosing to build their ARs, AKs, and more in the form of a pistol. There are many benefits in doing so such as no barrel length restrictions, being compact, and more. More about this can be discussed at a later date; however, a determining factor whether you have a pistol or a rifle is whether you attach a brace or a stock (respectively). There are copious amounts of braces on the market now just as there are stocks and there have been great advances since the first braces hit the market years ago.
Tippmann Arms' T5 brace happens to be one of the newest braces I picked up and I am giving a try. The brace is easy to install as many are. It utilizes a standard carbine buffer tube which makes it easy to swap if needed. Originally, many braces were not adjustable and made use of the pistols awkward or slightly difficult, but the addition of these adjustable braces have made a world of difference. Not every shooter is built the same and the adjustablility is ideal for letting others use your firearm.
A great feature offered is how stiff the brace is under use. Many braces on the market are pliable and flex under pressure. While shooting it this makes it not only uncomfortable, but harder to control under use. Greater flex and movement can lead to inconsistencies which we do not typically see with a stock compared to a brace. One reason that the brace is stiffer is due to the design of how it would fix to your arm. Typically, we see velcro as the form of securing the brace, yet there is formed aluminum on the rear of the T5 brace. Now while the brace itself does not flex there is still a little bit of wobbling from side to side. I am going to try to remedy this myself, but it would be nice to see tighter tolerances from the factory.
As I just mentioned, the brace has spring formed aluminum on the rear instead of the traditional velcro straps for "bracing". I don't anticipate the metal pieces going anywhere under normal use, but they are held on by a bolt and nut. Since recoil likes to make parts work their way loose under shooting conditions I made sure to add Loctite in advance. With my preparations I can say I have not experienced issues with the rear brace pieces becoming loose or falling apart.
The brace itself has QD pockets built in for use of a sling with your pistol. While the pockets do not inhibit rotation of the mounts themselves, they are at least placed on both sides for easy use. Being a left-handed shooter, I was glad to see QD mounts on both sides.
The latch to adjust the brace is easy to utilize for changing your length of pull, but not loose enough to accidentally activate. Typically, I add a ranger band on my stocks and braces to the latch so it cannot be moved without intention. I haven't had this issue yet with the T5, so I am going to continue running it without until I feel the need to.
I have found myself gravitating towards use of my AR pistol with this brace installed due to the rigidity and my level of comfort with braces in this configuration. I have been running the SB Tactical SBA3s almost exclusively for a long time now, and I may be changing some things due to the T5. Tippmann's T5 is very similar in shape and size to the SBA3, but the stiffness of the brace allows me to return to the same position countless times without deforming the rear of the brace. My more flexible braces with velcro in the rear often begin to flex and deform over time while the T5 has proven quite rugged due to its metal construction. I will comment that the brace does have more of a "plastic" feel to it than others and this material probably contributes to the looser tolerance on the buffer tube causing a little bit of side to side wiggle.
In the end, the T5 seems like a great option for a competitive price. If you are used to similar braces that tend to bend or deform under use then this would be a great option to consider. There are surely steps that I would like to see made in the future to fix the slight intolerance on the buffer tube, but this is nothing that I cannot remedy in the meantime. I am happy to see new braces being released with the craze surrounding AR pistols and many others. I will continue to run Tippmann Arms' brace at this time as I have found it to offer something that some of my other braces do not.