A Minimalistic Carbine Kit with Simplistic Design and Compromises
Let’s get one thing straight. Creating a carbine kit for a handgun that renovates the design and function to compare to a personal defence weapon or submachine pistol is difficult at the very least. Handguns are usually not designed to be converted in such a manner without forethought. This means that when a company designs a kit to bring it closer to a carbine or similar, their are compromises that have to be made in order to make it work.
Recover Tactical are well known for designing a multitude of accessories, mainly focused on pistol accessories such as rail adapters, charging handles, magazine retainer clips and stabilizer kits. One of the products we are looking at today, is the Recover Tactical 20/20 Stabilizer Kit for Glock. This kit is also compatible with the latest iteration of Cybergun and Umarex Glocks, available in the Airsoft market.
The Recover Tactical 20/20 Stabilizer Kit for Glock is designed to provide a stable platform for the Glock platform. This specific model is designed for the 9mm double stack variants, however there are other versions of the kit which are compatible with other frame calibres such as the 10mm and the .45 calibre.
The kit comes in a variety of bundles which range in price between $100 and $190 respectively. The kit we are reviewing is the 20/20MG which includes the stabilizer frame (with charging handle), lanyard, OWB G7 Holster, and the MG9 Angled Mag Pouch which doubles as a foregrip. This bundle is the most expensive of the variety but is not necessarily essential for the kit to perform.
As part of our testing, we are using an Umarex Glock 17 Gen 5 as our test pistol (we plan to use a 9mm Glock 17 in the future when Covid is less of an issue for travel).
Initial observation of the kit shows that Recover Tactical has put a lot of thought into making a minimalistic and sleek stabilizer kit. With futuristic accents and bevelled cuts along certain controls around the pistol. Most of the functions of the pistol are still available to use. Only concern with the ergonomics so far has been that a little bit of the beaver tail is blocked off, which averts the user from getting a higher purchase on their grip.
The kit is very easy to install as it fits the beaver tail of the pistol and mounts to the front accessory rail. The clam shell design fits the pistol perfectly and stops the issue with having multiple parts to the kit. The brace is not telescopic, however we have found little issue with the length of the brace considering it is meant to be concealable.
The brace is NFA compliant but can also be used as a stock where the law permits or for use in Airsoft. The kit also provides picatinny rail attachments on both sides of the front brace and provides a replacement bottom rail to make up for the use of the rail attachment on the pistol frame itself. The stabilizer kit definitely provides more function considering it provides 3 attachment points for rail accessories such as lights and foregrips.
There is a small recessed pin/sling point at the back of the stabilizer frame, which allows for a lanyard or single point sling to be attached. This is one way of retaining the pistol which relieves the use of the holster for a more active stance on the user. The downward positioning of the sling point prevents snagging and keeps to the minimalistic design of the stabilizer kit.
Using the stabilizer brace for shooting has its compromises however. Unless you know a way to charge the pistol slide (using the front serrations or a raised rear sight), the charging handle accessory is a must to help manipulate the slide. A fairly simple design which works effectively for it’s purpose and designed so it does not block the sight picture of the standard Glock sights. We encountered a slight issue with its use with the Umarex Glock 17. This is probably due to tolerances with the slide and frame on this specific Airsoft replica and not an issue with other Glock variations.
Another compromise with the stabilizer kit is how high the brace itself is in comparison with the sight picture of the pistol. We know that the brace is intended to be used, strapped to the arm, but it is common consensus that it would be used similar to a stock in the heat of the moment. The main issue here is that it is very uncomfortable, trying to find a suitable position on the shoulder to align the pistol sights with the target. This is however, less of an issue when using an RMR mounted optic.
The brace of the stabilizer kit can fold to the right, which severely minimises the footprint of the pistol when not in use. The pistol can be fired as such, however it is not as comfortable due to how the brace rests next to the trigger guard. This is an issue for both right handed and left handed users for different reasons. As the brace is held in a folded position with a retaining notch, it is quite easy to unfold as long as you apply a little upward pressure to release it.
A right handed user would probably have less issue with it, however the trigger finger has nowhere else to go, but in the trigger guard, which can be considered unsafe to some. A left handed user would be less fortunate as it would be fairly impossible to get a firm support hand grip with the brace obstructing most of the upper portion of the pistol. The pistol could be fired with the brace folded, but we would only recommend the folded configuration for stowing the pistol or holstering.
MG9 Angled Mag Pouch
The MG9 Angled Mag Pouch is an interesting idea which involves combining an angled foregrip with a magazine holder for quick magazine changes. In reality, it does a very good job at both and could be considered as a usable function as a single product for other applications such as that on a pistol calibre carbine. This mag pouch uses friction as a form of retention for the magazine and only requires the user to pull on the magazine to release it. The MG9 usually fits on the bottom rail of the stabilizer kit.
The G7 holster fits the stabilizer kit and is provided with its own pistol adapter which can fit other pistol variants outside of the Glock variants. The pistol adapter is a negligible weight which takes up the pistol frame rail space, however provides it’s own bottom rail, much like the brace. The design of the holster is minimalistic which compliments other products in Recover Tactical’s repertoire. The good thing about the holster is that it is very easy and intuitive to use and manipulate. The holster works similar to the MG9 Mag Pouch and uses friction based retention to hold the brace and/or pistol adapter. One unique feature of the G7 holster is that it is ambidextrous and can be fitted on either side of the hip.
Thorough testing of the G7 holster has shown that it is able to keep holstered in disruptive activities due to the level of travel needed to unholster and just the right amount of force (which is adjustable) needed to unholster the pistol. The holster can be adjusted at different angles but does not have an adjustable height as is. The only issue had with the holster is the height placement on the belt, this could be because of certain body lengths and could be remedied with a low ride holster accessory.
UR20 Upper Rail
As mentioned before, shooting with the stabilizer kit can be uncomfortable if using pistol open sights due to the awkward placement of the stock. This can be remedied with raised electronic optics, which has proven to be more suitable for the stabilizer kit. Recover Tactical provides further accessories which solve these issues for the kit.
The UR20 Upper Rail is a right side rail replacement for the 20/20 stabilizer kit, but is not provided as a bundle and is sold separately. This accessory provides an extra picatinny rail which is raised above the pistol for the attachment of an electronic optic. Although quite a simple function, the UR20 remedies the biggest compromise of the Recover Tactical 20/20 and would be considered an essential accessory to purchase alongside the stabilizer kit.
The use of an electronic optic such as an RMR allows for an easier and more comfortable placement of the brace. Shooting with the UR20 Upper Rail feels more natural and is designed with the same minimalistic vision as the rest of Recover Tactical’s products. The way this attachment has been designed makes us believe that it may have been initially part of the main design, but left as an optional accessory.
CR20 Cheek Rest
If the raised UR20 Upper Rail was not enough to make the Stabilizer kit comfortable, the CR20 Cheek Rest provides a raised platform on the brace, to allow for a more horizontal point of contact for the face. As mentioned before, the design of this cheek rest is minimalistic and fits the design of the stabilizer kit seamlessly. We personally did not think the UR20 needs the CR20 to function as we already had a comfortable shooting platform with the use of the raised rail platform and our optics solution.
This however does not factor for users of different body profiles and hence, we are delighted to see that Recover Tactical has thought about the needs of different users and applied this to their design in the form of modular accessories.
It is hard to highly rate the Recover Tactical 20/20 Stabilizer kit without all the accessories (especially the UR20 Upper Rail). It is a cleverly designed product with small downfalls due to the fact its a conversion kit that has to deal with limitations on a pistol. Other conversion kits do exist that do a good job, but they also have compromises of which Recover Tactical has improvements upon.
Our main pro benefit of the Stabilizer kit is how compact and slick the design is when utilised with a Glock pistol. It is quite easy to conceal and is great for anyone who wants to do a close protection style impression. The installation of the kit is simplistic and only requires an allen key tool to complete.
Our only major con with the Stabilizer kit is the initial use of the brace with the open pistol sights. This kit is designed to be used with electronic optics, which sit proud of the pistol slide. This con would be completely eliminated if the UR20 Upper Rail were to be used with an electronic optic, as we found shooting more comfortable.
Overall this kit is a good attempt at creating a functional and minimalistic conversion for the Glock pistol. It is fairly priced in its modular form and allows for the user to determine what they truly need without having to purchase all the accessories for the kit in one go.