21 Nov 17

“AR Pistols”

Yesterday, at the ITOA Convention (Illinois Tactical Officer’s Association) in Oakbrook, IL, I had the opportunity to handle Springfield Armory’s “Saint Pistol.”

SA’s “Saint” line of “standard” ARs has been popular, and we’ve had students bring them to class. All have run fine!

However, this “Pistol” version features a 7.5″ barrel with an “arm-brace”on the end of the buffer-tube. Overall length is 26.” With a Law Tactical folding buffer-tube, the whole package is even more compact, and would fit within most briefcases!

The Saint Pistol also features a clever gas-deflector, which channels muzzle-blast forward, instead of to the side. Noveske makes a similar one, which I’ve seen in action. The Saint’s version is quite compact.

The Saint Pistol I handled was in 5.56×45, but I’m sure a 300Blk version will join the fray shortly!

Other “pistols” that fall into the same category include Inland Mfg’s M1 Carbine/Pistol. I shot this gun several weeks ago in TX. Again, compact, but the copy I shot had no stock at all. Just a pistol grip.

Robinson Arms “XCR Pistol” is another adaption of the same idea, as is SIG’s “Vertus” Pistol, and Daniel Defense’s DDM4/300, et al.

The whole idea is to offer the American consumer a SBR (Short-Barreled-Rifle), which is not an NFA weapon, and thus not subject to interminable delays, burdensome NFA paperwork, and transfer taxes.

When you manufacture a weapon in this country, and call it a “rifle,” minimum barrel length is sixteen inches. When you manufacture a “pistol,” barrel-length is not restricted, but the weapon may not have a shoulder-stock.

At least the foregoing represented the “rules,” until recently. Then, some manufacturers started putting “arm-braces” on the buffer-tubes of ARs and selling them as “pistols.”

ATF has gone round and round over this issue for the past decade, changing their minds several times.

In fact, DJT may remove SBRs (and suppressors/silencers for that matter) from NFA status entirely, which will make the foregoing discussion irrelevant and of interest only to historians, but that has not happened yet.

Currently, at least, “arm-braces” are apparently okay, and the shooter may even use them as a shoulder support/index. So, this class of weapons has now become effectively, SBRs!

But, since they fall under the “pistol” description, state-issued CCW permits apply to them.

So in many states, where it would be profoundly illegal to have any kind of “rifle” (in any condition) in the cab-portion of a vehicle, one may legally have one of these “pistols” (fully loaded and ready to fire) on his lap, or on the seat next to him, or the seat behind him, so long as he has a valid CCW permit!

Thus, while many think there is no practical reason to own one of these, there may be a legitimate political one!

The most logical caliber for these “pistols” is 300 Blk, as with this caliber you pay less of a velocity-loss penalty owing to a short barrel than is the case with 5.56×45. However, either are satisfactory for most tactical challenges within 100m

I’ve had students show-up with AR “pistols” having no “arm-brace” at all, just the buffer-tube extending to the rear. Even so, a satisfactory shoulder support/index can be attained by most shooters.

I don’t currently own one of these “pistols,” as a standard AR, XCR, etc can be had with a Law Tactical (or other) folding stock, legal in most states. Folded, the whole thing fits into a skateboard-case for low-profile transport. My “FSM4″ is a good example.

However, I am attracted to the extreme compactness of the SA Saint Pistol I handled yesterday.

I may have to get a copy!