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The Midwest Industries Pistol Brace Compatible Beam (MWI Beam Brace) and Ruger’s PC Charger are a match made in gun heaven. With the ability to accept either select Ruger magazines or Glock 9mm magazines, the PC Charger is a popular choice for enthusiasts. The fact that it’s got a strong aftermarket doesn’t hurt either. Of course, at a bit over five pounds, it can benefit from a brace. This is now the third brace on mine, and it’s been a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. My first brace was okay, but the hinge was a definite weak point. The second brace was much sturdier, but the hinge was too bulky. And it only allowed for folding in one direction. Thanks to Midwest Industries, I now have one that’s just right. The hinge can be set to fold either way, is super strong, and not too bulky.
Midwest Industries Pistol Brace Compatible Beam
First, I need to point out that the MWI beam brace is a $149.95 accessory designed to be used with a Gear Head Works Tailhook Pistol Brace. It could be used with other butt plate attachments on rifles or SBRs as well. But for pistols, the Tailhook is the way to go. It’s a skeletonized aluminum beam that’s hardcoat anodized. At one end is a mag phosphate-finished 4140 steel hinge. The full-length locking lug and large surface engagement area speak to its long-term durability. Midwest Industries even found a place on the underside for a QD sling socket, coupled with one on either side as well.
With a little effort, the MWI beam brace can be switched from right to left side folding. Either way, it adds 7 inches in overall length when open, and only 3/4 of an inch when folded. That durability does come at a small price, in the form of an extra 13 ounces. But on the tail of a pistol that’s already over five pounds, it’s not so noticeable, and probably helps with balance. As expected from Midwest Industries, it’s 100% made in America.
Just like every other firearms upgrade or maintenance project, this one starts with verifying that the firearm is unloaded. In my case, I also had to remove the existing brace. Can’t say that I was sorry to see it go either. It was sturdy, but because it only folded to the right, I had to mount my charging handle and magazine release on the left. This worked, but wasn’t my ideal. Enough about the past though. To mount the Midwest Industries Pistol Brace Compatible Beam, align it on the rear Picatinny rail, and tighten the screw with the included wrench. That’s it. Oh, slide the Tailhook on and snug it down after verifying alignment.
If you prefer to switch the direction it folds, you still need to install it first. That’s because it’s not really possible to be folded from open, without being attached to a rail for leverage. Once folded. the two small screws that attach the beam to the hinge are exposed. They can then be removed, the beam rotated 180 degrees, and reattached. Then loosen the hinge from the rail, and flip it over. Now you’re folding in the opposite direction. Note that Midwest Industries includes the necessary wrenches and some red threadlock so nothing shakes loose.
Why do I think this is the perfect brace?
As I hinted at, I had some issues with my other braces. The first one worked, but felt flimsy. And that second one only folded one way, due to the huge protrusion on top of the hinge. Theoretically, it worked mounted either way, but didn’t leave enough hand clearance. Right-side folding interfered with some controls. Moving them to the left didn’t seem like an issue until I attached a sling. That made things awkward, with the charging handle potentially hitting me, but less accessible at the same time. With the Midwest Industries Pistol Brace Compatible Beam, I can fold the brace to the left. This means the charging handle and magazine release can be returned to the right-hand side. No more issues when carrying it with a sling, which was one of my goals. By the way, I don’t sling it folded. That’s just for storage.
Shooting with any brace installed makes it much easier to hit targets farther out, or stay on target. In this configuration, the MWI beam brace is just that much more solid. The QD sockets give me even more sling options, and aesthetically, this looks better than the other two as well. It’s the one brace that doesn’t require me to compromise, and helps stabilize this platform, as well as similar large-format pistol or PDW-style firearms.
Operation of the folding mechanism
Configured to fold to the left, the brace is easy to open and close. Grasp the beam behind the hinge with your right hand, placing your thumb just forward of the Picatinny rail. Push with your thumb while pulling with your hand, and the hinge will open. Swing it around, and it stays in place under a bit of tension, so it doesn’t rattle. Yet a slight tug will pull it away and back into the locked open position.
Once locked in place, the Tailhook can be opened and used as a brace for one-handed shooting. Of course, the overall length of the MWI beam brace is too short to use as a shoulder stock. Its length of pull would be a short 12.25 inches. Although the rounded top of the beam allows for a cheek weld. And even with my muzzle device attached, overall length is only 25.25 inches. So it’s legal as of the publication date.
Midwest Industries mentions the following on their website: *End user is responsible for any ATF requirements while using pistol brace* and “It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure that possession and use of this item is in compliance with all relevant federal, state, and municipal laws or statutes.” I’m not going to speculate on the pending decisions regarding braces, as they are always arbitrary, and will more than likely be subject to a legal challenge. In the meantime, I am going to enjoy shooting my braced Ruger PC Charger, as it’s always been one of my favorite 9mm range toys.
I’d like to thank Midwest Industries for providing their Midwest Industries Pistol Brace Compatible Beam for my testing and evaluation. It’s another high-quality, American-made product right at home on my American-made Ruger PC Charger.