Man, I don’t know what kind of magic juju the folks at CMMG are using in the company’s new RipBrace stock, but I want more of it. I built an AR pistol a while back that took quite a few iterations and trial-and-error to get right on the buffer weight and bolt-carrier group speed. Light(er) grain-weight bullets tended to run the BCG so quickly it wouldn’t reliably pick the next round out of the magazine. It took a bit of back-and-forth before the Brownells heavy H3 buffer was installed and solved the problem.
Fast-forward to a few months ago. CMMG introduces its RipBrace, the pistol-ready version of the RipStock available for carbines (featured in our Holiday guide). CMMG reached out to me to see if I’d be interested in trying one out (seriously? This is even a question?), so I just had to build up another AR pistol (I believe we’ve already established I have an addiction…) It also gave me a chance to drop in the JM Pro trigger from Mossberg (short review: DANG. Homerun from Mossberg here) as well as showcase the sweet new Gen2 magazines from Mission First Tactical – including the *sweet* Shooting Illustrated logo.
I got the pistol together quickly, and was admiring my handiwork, when a cold dread came over me. The RipBrace ships with all the hardware needed for installation—including a small buffer—so I started to worry there wouldn’t be enough resistance to properly cycle the bolt. Mind racing, I started going over potential fixes: SureFire offers its OBC bolt carrier group designed for short barrels and suppressors, perhaps that will work; maybe I can get the H3 buffer installed, etc.
It was with no small amount of trepidation that I brought my snazzy new AR pistol to the range for testing. I grabbed a representative of three different bullet weights: SIG Sauer’s 77-grain Match Grade OTM and 60-grain HT in addition to Hornady’s Frontier 55-grain spire-point offering. Heavier bullets hadn’t proved problematic in the short .223 Rem. upper previously, so I wanted something I was reasonably sure would work (testing this past summer proved the little barrel from V7 Weapons Systems to be ridiculously accurate, making reliable hits on a 6-inch steel plate at 100 yards using a Primary Arms red dot).
First trial: running the pistol with rest support, all three bullet-weights worked perfectly. The bolt cycled even down to the 55-grain fodder, no problems. Second trial, all three were fired from a standing position using a cheek weld support. Again, no problems. Okay, I’m starting to breathe a little easier. Last test, though, was the real check: load up the remainder of ammo from each grain weight, fire single-hand. With no support other than the pistol grip, this little AR ran like a champ through the 77-grain fodder. It ate up the 60-grain offering with no hiccups as well. Putting it all on the line, I loaded the last magazine with the Frontier 55-grains and stepped up to the line: Bam. Worked like a charm. Also, the muzzle blast with the SIG Taper-lok muzzle brake is, well, interesting…
I don’t know what the mad scientists, err, engineers at CMMG did to the RipBrace to get it to work so well. Honestly, I don’t really care, because it runs like a champ. In the Micro-CQB variant I received, it’s incredibly compact, yet offers quite a few fits for the individual shooter. MSRP varies from $$199.95 to $224.95, and as always, check local laws before ordering.