Best AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tubes of 2020 – Comprehensive Review

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Are you looking for the best AR-15 pistol buffer tube? If so, you’re probably not the only one and you’re probably not the only one reading this right now.

To get you started on your search, we’ve taken the liberty of listing seven of the best AR-15 pistol buffer tubes on the market. These are what we believe are the best models compared to the low quality and cheap models overflowing the market. At the same time, we want you to walk away happy as opposed to suffering buyer’s remorse.

Before we get to our list, we’ll talk about what a buffer tube is and what it’s used for. We’ll also give you a brief guide on how you can choose a pistol buffer tube of your own.

Comparison Chart of the Best AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tubes

PRODUCTDETAILS
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Phase 5 Tactical - AR-15/M16 Pistol Buffer Tube

  • Also Comes with a Castle Nut and a Mil-Spec Style Endplate
  • Made From High-Quality Aluminum Along with a Nitrile Padding
  • Can Handle Extreme Temperatures From -20 to Well Over 120+ Degrees F
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Midwest Industries, Inc. - AR-15/M16 Pistol Buffer Tube

  • Can Be Used as a Standalone Buffer Tube
  • Crafted From 6061 Aluminum for Superior Durability
  • Includes Additional Parts Like the Lock Ring and End Plate
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Tacfire AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube Kit

  • Best AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube for the Money
  • Includes the Necessary Parts Like the Buffer, Spring, Castle Nut, etc.
  • Ambidextrous Vertical Sling Adapter End Plate for Left-Handed Shooters
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Brownells - AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube

  • Standalone Buffer Tube
  • Matte Black Anodized Coating for Added Strength
  • Crafted From High-Quality Aluminum for Superior Durability
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SB Tactical AR Pistol Buffer Tube STDT

  • Standalone Option
  • Made From High-Quality Aluminum
  • Designed to Keep the Brace Secured
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Bravo Company MFG AR15 Pistol Receiver Extension Kit

  • Hard-Coated for Added Durability
  • Made From High-Quality Aluminum
  • Includes a Buffer Tube, Buffer, Buffer Spring, and Castle Nut
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Midwest Industries Pistol Buffer Tube MI-PBT

  • Made From High-Quality Aluminum
  • Matte Black Finish for Added Durability
  • Standalone Tube for Upgrading Your AR-15 Pistol or for a Building Project
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What is a Buffer Tube and What Are They Used For?

A buffer tube is associated with the buttstock. The buffer tube houses two key components: the buffer and the buffer spring. Another purpose of the tube is that it serves as an attachment end for your AR-15’s buttstock.

The purpose of the buffer tube is as space for the buffer to function as it's supposed to. The buffer itself is designed to help you resist a good amount of the rifle’s recoil. Most of these buffer tubes have adjustable positions which make the AR-15 more usable for the shooter.

How to Choose a Buffer For Your AR-15 Pistol

One of the most important skills to have when it comes to looking for a great buffer tube is distinguishing a great quality one from a crappy one, especially when it's your first time purchasing one. If anything, it's always good to get the opinion of those who have bought buffer tubes in the past. A lot of gun forums online have members talking about why they chose a certain buffer tube. But to save you time here's the list some of them have determined as "decision driving factors":

Material

Of course, the overall quality of the product will be based on the kind of material it's made from. Almost all gun manufacturers in the United States adhere to strict standards to ensure a buffer tube is made of the highest quality. Most of the time, aluminum will be the odds-on favorite.

More specifically, aircraft quality aluminum or 6061-T6 aluminum is the top materials of choice. Durability is an important factor, since these buffer tubes are not only designed to take beatings but if taken care of properly, will last many years.

Phase 5 Tactical - AR-15/M16 Pistol Buffer Tube is made of Aluminum, hardcoat anodized.

Price

As a budget shopper, almost every purchase will be based on price. And we won’t blame you if you’re one of the many that do. There are a ton of gun accessories that are high in quality and carry an affordable price tag. Your mission is to find the same in an AR-15 pistol buffer tube, particularly if you’re also a first-time buyer as well. Remember to pay close attention to what the tube is made of and how long it will likely last.

Standalone or Parts Included

Depending on your current situation, you can choose between a standalone product or one with parts included. If you’re building an AR-15 pistol from scratch and have parts, like a buffer and the buffer spring, a standalone buffer tube is what you’ll want. However, if you want the whole kit and kaboodle all at the same time, obviously a kit will do.

Quick Take - The Best AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tubes

Review of the Best AR-15 Pistol Tube Buffer Tubes

Below are seven of the best AR-15 pistol tube buffer tubes currently on the market. It is important to read through each of these reviews carefully. You might have a good idea of what to look for in a buffer tube, so there may be a feature or function you have your mind set on.

Once you’re able to find one you think is worth buying, it’s better to do some in-depth research so you know what other people are saying. With that said, let’s get started by unveiling our “best overall” AR-15 pistol buffer tube:

Pros

  • Fits Nice and Tight with No Looseness
  • Function is Flawless, According to Most Users
  • The Nitrile Sleeve Makes it a Lot More Comfortable for Most Shooters

Cons

  • There is Some Spring Noise, But it’s Not Too Excessive
  • Castle Nut May Be a Little Too Small for Some Installation Tools

First, we’ll be taking a look at the Phase 5 Tactical AR-15/M16 Pistol Buffer Tube. Right out of the box, you have all three parts you can easily put together and install on your AR-15 pistol.

The buffer tube itself is machined from high-quality aluminum, complete with nitrile padding. This tube is designed to resist all kinds of chemicals and abrasions. It can also handle all kinds of extreme weather.

More specifically, this can be used in weather as cold as 20 below zero to extreme heat conditions, like 120 degrees or above. Even if it’s the hottest day ever recorded, this buffer tube will handle it. If you’re looking for a buffer tube that will stand up to weather no matter how hot or cold, you’re going to love the Phase 5 Tactical.

Also included in this buffer tube is mil-spec style endplate and castle nut. This will also accept any kind of mil-spec style buffer or buffer spring. If you have any extras laying around, keep them handy in case the buffer, spring, or both somehow end up failing. This is the closest buffer tube you can get to mil-spec.

Bottom Line

As expected, the Phase 5 Tactical lives up to the “best overall” title. This is a tough looking unit that provides a good amount of comfort for most shooters, thanks to the additional sleeve. All in all, this buffer tube fits nicely and stays secure on your AR-15 pistol.

The most impressive thing about it is that it’s useable in just about any weather conditions you can think of. If these factors don’t impress you, we won’t know what will. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, the Phase 5 Tactical buffer tube may be worth the investment.

Pros

  • Installation is Trouble-Free
  • Works With Most Sig Sauer Braces
  • Buffer and Spring Function Quite Well

Cons

  • One Reviewer Complained Their Brace Was a Little Loose for This

Next on the list, we'll be taking a look at the Midwest Industries AR-15/M16 Pistol Buffer Tube. This is one tough-looking unit made from high-quality 6061 aluminum. So it is able to withstand all kinds of abuse. And it's probably one of the best standalone pistol buffer tubes on the market.

This can also be used on most AR-15 pistols, especially the Sig Sauer brand of AR-15 pistols. It will also work with all kinds of pistol braces made by the same brand. This is measured to meet the mil-spec requirements for diameter. The Midwest Industries Pistol Buffer Tube is designed to accept all kinds of end plates. So, if you have one handy, then, by all means, put it to good use.

Also included in this kit are the following: the buffer, buffer spring, tube, lock ring, and an end plate. If you're looking for a decent kit with all the right parts, the Midwest Industries buffer tube surely won't disappoint. Now, all you have to do is install this in a matter of minutes and you should be good to go.

Bottom Line

The Midwest Industries buffer tube is tough and reliable. Plus, it has all the right parts, so you can install it in a matter of minutes. Plus, it’s mostly compatible with all kinds of Sig Sauer accessories and AR-15 pistols.

That doesn’t mean it will work exclusively with them. You can still use this with just about any AR pistol you have. The function is pretty good and works as advertised...nothing too disappointing.

Pros

  • Very Well-Built Construction
  • Cheek Pad is Quite Comfortable.
  • An Excellent Starter Kit for First-Time AR-15 Pistol Owners.

Cons

  • Spring Noise is Present, but Not Excessive.

If you’re one of a handful of AR-15 pistol owners who would rather look for a buffer tube without breaking the bank, the Tacfire AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube Kit might just be exactly what you’ll need. These are available in three different models, but each of them will function just as well as any other pistol buffer tube once you have it installed.

This has all the parts you need to ensure that this puppy is working on all cylinders, which obviously includes the buffer and the spring. But we’re not done yet. This also has an ambidextrous vertical sling adapter end plate, which will be more beneficial if you happen to be a left-handed shooter.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget all the essential parts that keep it all together, like the castle nut. If you’re looking for an excellent buffer tube kit that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, the Tacfire brand AR-15 pistol buffer tube kit will definitely be worth the investment on your end.

Bottom Line

This holds up quite well for a budget buffer tube. In fact, it’s quite sturdy and the construction is top quality. The cheek pad included provides a good amount of comfort as well. Plus, this will accommodate left-handed shooters thanks to the end plate included. So, whichever hand you shoot with, it will still work just as good.

This has all the parts you’ll need in order for the installation to go as smoothly as possible. Just install this in a matter of minutes and away you go to test this out at the range. If you’re looking for a good buffer tube for your AR-15 pistol, but would rather keep in a certain price range, this Tacfire pistol buffer tube might just do the trick.

Pros

  • Very Affordable Price
  • Excellent Quality. Can Last You Years, if Not Decades
  • Very Lightweight and Doesn’t Add Any Unnecessary Weight to Your Pistol.

Cons

  • Installation May Be a Bit of a Challenge
  • Some Have Complained About the Brace Sliding Around After it’s Installed.

Next on the docket, we’ll be taking a look at the Brownells AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube. This is a standalone product made from high-quality 6061-T6 aluminum. In other words, this puppy is as tough as it gets. And it will take on all kinds of abuse as well. It is built like a tank and aims to last you a long time.

If longevity is high on the list of priorities, this AR-15 pistol buffer tube will most likely stand the test of time. This will accept most braces and can also handle all kinds of buffers and buffer springs.

Since this is a standalone product and not a complete kit with all the parts you need, they will need to be purchased separately. Thankfully, the tube itself is priced quite reasonably, so you don’t have to worry about spending an arm and a leg on all the other parts that go with it (like the buffer, buffer spring, end plate, etc.).

If you have the right parts but need a pretty durable item to fit your AR-15 pistol, the Brownells AR-15 Pistol Buffer Tube might be exactly what you're looking for. Since it will accept all kinds of additional parts, you'll have no trouble assembling them and putting them together in a matter of minutes. If you're building an AR-15 pistol from the ground up, this is something you'll need for a nice addition to the project.

Bottom Line


If you’re just looking for a standalone tube, this Brownells option might be the answer. Sure, we could have included “no other parts are available” as another con. But this is for those who may already have those parts set off to the side. This is also something you’ll need if you’re taking on the challenge of building an AR-15 pistol.

Nothing is more satisfying than building your own pistol customized to fit you best. Plus, it will give you a good idea of how you can make it more reliable in the situations when you need your AR-15 pistol most.

Pros

  • Rock Solid Construction
  • Excellent for an Upgrade or an Addition to a Building Project
  • Keeps the Brace Nice and Secure, so it Works as Advertised.

Cons

  • Does Not Include a Castle Nut.
  • May Be a Little Heavier Than Expected and May Add Additional Weight to the Pistol.

Next, we'll be taking a look at another standalone buffer tube. This time, we'll be taking a look at the one from the SB Tactical brand. This product is designed to minimize the amount of brace rotation that might happen with your AR-15 pistol. In fact, it's also designed to keep the brace in place so it won't slip off. You definitely don't want that to happen to you, especially in situations where you need to use your pistol.

The tube is made from high-quality aluminum, which is impervious to all kinds of damage. Not even the weather itself will be a match for a lightweight, aluminum product like this. If you're looking for a simple upgrade on your currently existing AR-15 pistol or if you're looking for a product for an AR-15 pistol building project, this SB Tactical buffer tube might be worth the investment.

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a tactical style buffer tube for your AR-15 pistol, the SB Tactical is probably the best choice. This standalone item will definitely be useful if you have the necessary parts. All you’ll need to do is install it and have it ready to go for a test drive at the range.

Whether you need it for an upgrade or just as an add-on to a build, you’ll need a buffer tube that is well-built, super tough, and can last you a long time. If these check off a lot of boxes on your wish list, you may have found your buffer tube in the SB Tactical.

Pros

  • Construction is Very Solid
  • Very Affordable for the Price
  • Excellent Starter Kit for First-Time Buyers

Cons

  • None

If standalone buffer tubes aren’t your thing, maybe you do need a kit after all. How can we blame you? It saves a ton of money and a lot of time trying to track down the parts you need.

With that said, we’ll be taking a look at the Bravo Company MFG AR15 Pistol Receiver Extension Kit. If you’re looking for a product that will not only fit AR-15 pistols but also pistols similar to it, this is the kit you’ll want. It is made from high-quality 7075-T6 aluminum and has a black anodized coat for added durability. If you’re looking for a buffer tube that will resist just about anything that dares to try and damage it, you might like the Bravo Company pistol receiver extension kit.

This will work with any carbine buffer and action springs. So if you have these handy, this is a buffer tube that will fit them in perfectly. This will also perfectly fit ATF-compliant pistols like the Sig Sauer Tactical SB15 pistol.

This comes with all the parts you need to put it all together and installation will be a breeze. In fact, it takes a matter of minutes. The good news is, you won’t have to track down every single part. If you just want the whole kit and kaboodle and want to install and test drive it later that day, then the Bravo Company Pistol Receiver Extension Kit might be exactly what you’re looking for.

Bottom Line

The Bravo Company product is built to last. The materials will prove that. Once installed, you’ll have a reliable buffer tube ready to work no matter which application you use your AR-15 pistol for. This is also an excellent kit to buy if you’re looking at a starter kit.

And like all good starter kits, they don’t cost an arm and a leg. If you want a kit that is excellent in value and won’t suck the life out of your bank account, this offering from Bravo Company should be a finalist on your short list.

Pros

  • Super Durable
  • Very Solid Feel
  • Very Tight Fit. Keeps the Brace from Slipping

Cons

  • None

For our final buffer tube on the list, we’ll be taking a look at the Midwest Industries product. This standalone buffer tube is made from high-quality aluminum with a black matte finish for extra durability and protection. Also, this will come in handy if you’re simply looking for a decent upgrade over your current buffer tube.

Alternatively, you can use it as an addition if you’re going down the “build your own pistol” route. This is an excellent buffer tube if your current one doesn’t keep the brace in place. Once secured, this will make sure your brace will stay in place for as long as possible. If you hate dealing with loose braces, you better make sure you have a pistol buffer tube that will put a stop to it. And what better choice than the Midwest Industries Pistol Buffer Tube?

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an upgrade or a new addition to your latest AR-15 pistol building project, the Midwest Industries product just might be the pistol buffer tube you need. This is easy to install and will work with all kinds of buffers and buffer springs.

No matter which ones you use, they make sure this buffer tube will be reliable and long-lasting for many years.

Conclusion

The best AR-15 pistol buffer tube is out there. What you need to do now is determine what exactly you need. If you’re building a pistol from the ground up, a standalone tube might be your best option. If you’re looking for a better upgrade, an entire kit could be the solution. Either way, you’ll want a buffer tube that will make your AR-15 pistol more reliable than ever. Just choose one of the seven listed above, install it, and give it a go at the range.

People Also Ask

To help you with your search for the perfect AR-15 pistol buffer tube, we’ve decided to add a couple of frequently asked questions. These were asked by people who want to know more information about the legality of these parts as well as the difference between a carbine and pistol gas system. Here are the following questions:

Is it Legal to Attach a Rifle-Length Buffer Tube to an AR Pistol?

As far as we know, the ATF has not stated that a rifle-length buffer tube is illegal to attach to an AR pistol. However, the debate on the legality is up in the air. It’s important to do your own research to determine whether or not it is legal to do so in your jurisdiction. It’s good to err on the side of caution so you don’t face any potential legal headaches. Alternatively, when in doubt, don’t.

What is the Difference Between a Carbine and Pistol Buffer System?

One of the distinct differences between a carbine and pistol buffer system is length. A pistol-length system is shorter in length and more reliable compared to the carbine buffer system. However, some say the tubes themselves are pretty much the same exact length. Another thing that some AR-15 owners say is that one of them has less spring noise than the other. 

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