AR Pistol Braces and
the Real Avid Gun Vise


The plastic side provides a solid hold without scratching valuable gear.
Those grooves are great for barrels and other parts too.

The Real Avid Master Gun Vise is the handiest tool on my bench.

The AR Pistol Brace Conspiracy

Remember the good ol’ days when we all could enjoy a good conspiracy theory while laughing at how generally ridiculous it seems? I miss those. Nowadays, no matter how outlandish a conspiracy you can concoct, most will listen, ponder for a hot second, then knowingly nod and say, “Yeah, I could see that being true….”

Here’s one for you.

You may or may not care about AR pistols. Maybe your handgun passion is laser focused on classic sixguns chambered in a caliber starting with “4,” ending with “5” and carrying a “Colt” suffix. That’s okay, I love you for it. But if you don’t give a hoot about AR pistol issues, you should. And here’s why.

I’ve been pondering the “why’s” behind the administration’s focus on redefining ATF rules regarding AR pistol braces. If you’re not familiar, it boils down to this.

Devices engineered to make an AR pistol shootable with one hand can also be used to help brace the pistol against the shoulder.

To “solve” some statistically nonexistent “gun crime,” the feds are proposing new rules that would essentially outlaw these devices and the guns on which they’re mounted. Current AR pistol owners, millions of them, would either have to surrender their guns, register them with the ATF as short-barreled rifles (while sending Uncle Spendy $200), or become an overnight federal felon.

You heard that right. We’re going to reduce crime by turning millions of law-abiding gun owners into felons.

The worst part of the move is it’s happening with absolutely no legislative activity. Congress, the only body empowered to make federal law, isn’t involved in the process. By a simple policy change, a federal agency, under direction of the White House, is quite literally re-writing the law.

Why the focus on this particular issue? It’s not exactly the type of bold “gun crime” move promised by the Biden administration. It’s somewhat of a niche issue that solves no statistically significant problem.

I think they know a “big issue” legislative battle isn’t winnable with a razor-thin majority in the Senate, opposition of virtually all elected law enforcement leadership, and the always-looming next election. The mid-term election pain caused by the ’90s “assault weapon” ban burns fresh in the vote-counting cerebral cortexes of politicians.

First, this type of move represents an “easy” win to satisfy the base. “See? We are taking swift and decisive action on gun crime!”
Second, and more dastardly, devious, frightening, and perhaps brilliant, is the “test the waters” nature of this action. The proposed ATF policies will mint millions of “insta-felons” from law-abiding citizens, literally overnight. Will millions of Americans dutifully follow the new rules by turning in their guns or applying for ATF permission? This, in my opinion, is the big experiment. Can the executive branch succeed in eroding gun rights, piece by piece, simply by changing the rules? You can bet there will be plenty of eyes on two vital statistics: the number of new short-barrel rifle applications and the number of guns and/or braces turned in.

If people obey this new rule in large numbers, it sets a scary precedent for future moves just like it. If it works in some measurable way, you can bet your next croquembouche the second and third acts are in the planning stages. New “rule changes” by the ATF might include revised definitions of legal magazine capacities. Or perhaps they’ll find a way to classify semi-automatic rifles, pistols, or shotguns as “machine guns.” The sky is the limit.

There is a zero percent chance, up zero percent from a previous high of zero chance of gun-banning politicians being happy with an inconsequential AR pistol re-definition win. You can bet your bippy that’s just step one.

Even if this initiative fails, there’s a victory of sorts inherent in the process. Average Joes and Janes, who don’t follow Second Amendment issues as we might, will become even more desensitized to the efforts to steal gun rights piecemeal. Like a 2″ diameter multivitamin, the next intrusion on rights will be swallowed just a bit easier.

Get involved in the fight now. If you don’t care about AR pistols, at least care about the next steps.

They’re coming for the things you care about too.

Here’s the secret. The ball joint locks solid with just the friction handle below.
For extra rigidity, insert the Torq-Lok pin.

Every time I visit the man cave to do most anything, I end up
using the Master Gun Vise as a spare pair of hands.

The jaw covers are reversible between foam inserts and hard plastic. Note the locking pins.

Mighty Vise

Roy has enough specialized tool gear in his workshop to fabricate the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. I’m not impressed. I can make most anything in my workshop as well, provided it can be constructed exclusively with nails, a small rock and duct tape.

Okay, so I may be lagging in the workshop cold war tools race, but I have something that’ll shade Roy green with envy — the Mighty Vise.

That’s not the real name, and I risk getting in trouble with the fine folks over at Real Avid by referring to it as such. But even they have to admit, the Master Gun Vise is awfully comfortable in a mighty superhero cape. I’m sticking with Mighty Vise, because it’s just so darn useful for just about anything.

The Master Gun Vise (MGV) is like traditional vises in one way only. It has jaws that will open and close with a rotating handle.

That’s about it as far as similarities go. You mount the MGV to your workbench, right on the front corner, providing a solid base for a ball and socket joint which supports the vise jaws assembly. And this is where the magic starts. If you’re already skeptical about the possible rigidity of a ball and socket support system, bite your tongue and read on.

The ball mount system includes a friction clamp handle that lets you orient the vise unit any way you like in all three dimensions. When the jaws are where you want them — forward, backward, or even sideways — lock the handle and the unit becomes solid enough to do torque application work on things like barrels and receiver extension nuts. If you want more rigidity, insert the Torque-Lok pin right through the ball and socket joint. Ain’t nothing moving when you do that.

If you’re like me, you might have an old bench vise mounted to a workbench. The jaws are likely checkered with some pattern sure to abuse the finish of any gun or part you secure, so perhaps you’ve bolted or duct-taped wood or aluminum blocks to the inside of the jaws to prevent marring and gouging of expensive toys.

The jaws on the MGV are made for gun work. The “built-in” steel jaw plates are flat, so you can apply near infinite pressure. Or, you can slip on the reversible Gun-Fit sleeves over each jaw. One side offers a plastic “flat surface” with inset grooves for holding barrels and other oddly shaped parts. Flip the sleeves over and you have opposing closed-cell foam blocks for holding, well, just about anything. I use this setup more than anything as an extra pair of hands when cleaning or tinkering with accessories. Oh, these also have locking pins for serious “make it fit with brute force” work.

The Real Avid Master Gun Vise is, bar none, the handiest tool on my bench. It’s great for cleaning, repairing, tinkering, installing, inspecting, assembling and disassembling. Heck, you can even use it to mount optics with the precision leveling knob. Check it out!

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