AR Pistols. The internet might be wrong...

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  • madwabbit

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 100%
    1   0   0
    Jan 2, 2013
    4,726
    38
    Lafayette, LA
    So I took the AR pistols out for some fun this weekend, and really wanted to evaluate what many of my peers consider a "novelty" gun. They've always just been a pair of range toys / conversation guns, but I got bored Saturday and decided to get nerdy. I have two: a diamondback and an exp-556, both with sig braces. Both have cheap-o red dots, and exp has a flash hider in lieu of the factory brake. Otherwise no modifications. Anyhow, internet knowledge generally considers AR pistols irrelevant compared to their longer brothers. Therein lies the problem- we are focused on comparing it to rifles, we should be comparing it to PISTOLS, as it is intended as a hand gun. Anytime these guns get brought up some ballistics guru chimes in to remind us how it doesn't compare to the 16" barrel. Why aren't we comparing it to a .45LC or a 9mm?

    My weekend findings: My lil AR "novelties" put excellent groupings at 50 and 75 yards, and rang the plate at both 100 and 150 yards repeatedly. Now, i don't think I'd shoot a living thing at 150 yards with it, but it'll get there for paper. I CAN testify that my hornady soft tips dropped hogs with zero problems at ~70-80 yards this spring.

    I don't have access to a chrono, but google-fu after I got home fetched this video. He posts an average of 1900fps, which puts it exactly between an AR rifle (2800fps) and a 9mm carbine (1200fps) in terms of velocity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2LfOdd9ibA

    Expansion as posted by ART:

    Load: Federal 55 grain Bonded Soft point
    Barrel Length Range Penetration Avg. Expansion Retained Weight
    10.5* 10 yards 14.5* .47* 56 gr
    10.5* 83 yards 14.5* .45* 59 gr
    7* 10 yards 18* .43* 53.3 gr
    7* 83 yards 16* .45 55.1 gr

    Load: Speer 55 grain Gold Dot Hollowpoint
    Barrel Length Range Penetration Avg. Expansion Retained Weight
    10.5* 10 yards 12.75* .56* 56 grains
    10.5* 83 yards 11.5* .55* 58 grains
    7* 10 yards 13.25 .50* 57.4 grains
    7* 83 yards 12.5* .49* 56 grains

    Load: Speer Gold Dot 64 grain Hollowpoint
    Barrel Length Range Penetration Avg. Expansion Retained Weight
    10.5* 10 yards 14.5* 59* 63.5 grains
    10.5* 83 yards 16* .52* 63 grains
    7* 10 yards 18* .46* 66 grains



    I am not a ballistics expert, hell I'm not even a novice. I do own, shoot, and love 16" ARs. No, the pistols do not compare. I've also got a variety of handguns. My opinion ultimately goes back to the remark "rifle ammo is still rifle ammo". Add in a 30-rd mag and a sub $500.00 price tag and I dare say its the best bang you're ever going to get for half a grand. The only "negative" I have for these guns is gaw damb they are loud.

    If i were going to fresh build an all-purpose version, I think I'd opt for an ~11" barrel for a "pistol" build in terms of maximum velocity benefit combined with it retaining pistol qualities legally. I'd probably also opt for 300blk, but that's a separate discussion entirely.
     
    Last edited:

    dixiejarhead

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 100%
    29   0   0
    May 27, 2012
    1,638
    36
    NOLA/Northshore!
    So I took the AR pistols out for some fun this weekend, and really wanted to evaluate what many of my peers consider a "novelty" gun. They've always just been a pair of range toys / conversation guns, but I got bored Saturday and decided to get nerdy. I have two: a diamondback and an exp-556, both with sig braces. Both have cheap-o red dots, and exp has a flash hider in lieu of the factory brake. Otherwise no modifications. Anyhow, internet knowledge generally considers AR pistols irrelevant compared to their longer brothers. Therein lies the problem- we are focused on comparing it to rifles, we should be comparing it to PISTOLS, as it is intended as a hand gun. Anytime these guns get brought up some ballistics guru chimes in to remind us how it doesn't compare to the 16" barrel. Why aren't we comparing it to a .45LC or a 9mm?

    My weekend findings: My lil AR "novelties" put excellent groupings at 50 and 75 yards, and rang the plate at both 100 and 150 yards repeatedly. Now, i don't think I'd shoot a living thing at 150 yards with it, but it'll get there for paper. I CAN testify that my hornady soft tips dropped hogs with zero problems at ~70-80 yards this spring.

    I don't have access to a chrono, but google-fu after I got home fetched this video. He posts an average of 1900fps, which puts it exactly between an AR rifle (2800fps) and a 9mm carbine (1200fps) in terms of velocity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2LfOdd9ibA

    Expansion as posted by ART:

    Load: Federal 55 grain Bonded Soft point
    Barrel Length Range Penetration Avg. Expansion Retained Weight
    10.5* 10 yards 14.5* .47* 56 gr
    10.5* 83 yards 14.5* .45* 59 gr
    7* 10 yards 18* .43* 53.3 gr
    7* 83 yards 16* .45 55.1 gr

    Load: Speer 55 grain Gold Dot Hollowpoint
    Barrel Length Range Penetration Avg. Expansion Retained Weight
    10.5* 10 yards 12.75* .56* 56 grains
    10.5* 83 yards 11.5* .55* 58 grains
    7* 10 yards 13.25 .50* 57.4 grains
    7* 83 yards 12.5* .49* 56 grains

    Load: Speer Gold Dot 64 grain Hollowpoint
    Barrel Length Range Penetration Avg. Expansion Retained Weight
    10.5* 10 yards 14.5* 59* 63.5 grains
    10.5* 83 yards 16* .52* 63 grains
    7* 10 yards 18* .46* 66 grains



    I am not a ballistics expert, hell I'm not even a novice. I do own, shoot, and love 16" ARs. No, the pistols do not compare. I've also got a variety of handguns. My opinion ultimately goes back to the remark "rifle ammo is still rifle ammo". Add in a 30-rd mag and a sub $500.00 price tag and I dare say its the best bang you're ever going to get for half a grand. The only "negative" I have for these guns is gaw damb they are loud.

    If i were going to fresh build an all-purpose version, I think I'd opt for an ~11" barrel for a "pistol" build in terms of maximum velocity benefit combined with it retaining pistol qualities legally. I'd probably also opt for 300blk, but that's a separate discussion entirely.

    Great post! Thank you for taking the time!
     

    rcm192

    Sic semper tyrannis
    Staff member
    Rating - 100%
    111   0   0
    May 31, 2010
    6,159
    48
    New Orleans area
    I love my AR pistol. I put her together alll by myself! A linear comp helps out. Better than a fireball curling back and roasting your knuckle hairs!
    HOZLyF4.jpg
     
    Last edited:

    Jack

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 100%
    40   0   0
    Dec 9, 2010
    8,608
    63
    Covington
    I disagree in one small part, I think that as a pistol with a sig brace it doesn't do what I want out of a pistol. 5.56 is going to preform better than 9mm, that's obvious, but as far as utility, I don't see it doing what a pistol does as well as a pistol, it's utility is far closer to a rifle's and I don't see it out performing there.
     

    Metryshooter

    Well-Known Member
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    3   0   0
    Jul 11, 2010
    796
    16
    Like everything else, it depends on your intended purpose and arena of usage. That being said it does look like fun.
     

    SpeedRacer

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 100%
    91   0   0
    Feb 23, 2007
    14,350
    38
    Mandeville, LA
    I disagree in one small part, I think that as a pistol with a sig brace it doesn't do what I want out of a pistol. 5.56 is going to preform better than 9mm, that's obvious, but as far as utility, I don't see it doing what a pistol does as well as a pistol, it's utility is far closer to a rifle's and I don't see it out performing there.

    This. You can't compare it to "pistols", because I can't carry an AR pistol in my pants. You can compare it to an SBR, but you'd be hard pressed to convince me it's better in any way than a proven 10.5" system like the MK18. The only advantage is overall length, and I can see a case for a sub-10" barrel if you were building an uber short PDW type weapon with something like the Honey Badger stock, which would put it more in the subgun category. Surely it will outperform pistol calibers in that category as you suggest, but with those you also get lighter weight, (typically) smaller form factor by design, and often the benefit of a folding stock. But with a Sig brace it's basically just a really, really loud and concussive SBR that doesn't really fill any role I can think of other than a cool range toy (which is fine as well).

    The ballistic data is interesting though, thanks for posting.
     

    madppcs

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 0%
    0   0   0
    Jul 4, 2010
    133
    16
    Forest Hill
    Mine makes for a perfect truck gun, or riding an ATV/UTV. And like stated earlier, they are LOUD. I have the troy claymore brake, so everything is going forward but I still would hate for my hand to be caught out beyond the muzzle



     

    Jasarii

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 100%
    34   0   0
    Jan 3, 2013
    1,171
    38
    Walker, LA
    love my 10.5in AR pistol. It does bark loud, but then sometimes I'll just throw the can on ;-)
    ebc038dd21267725d788ceec5553b24b.jpg



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     

    madwabbit

    Well-Known Member
    Rating - 100%
    1   0   0
    Jan 2, 2013
    4,726
    38
    Lafayette, LA
    This. You can't compare it to "pistols", because I can't carry an AR pistol in my pants. You can compare it to an SBR, but you'd be hard pressed to convince me it's better in any way than a proven 10.5" system like the MK18. The only advantage is overall length, and I can see a case for a sub-10" barrel if you were building an uber short PDW type weapon with something like the Honey Badger stock, which would put it more in the subgun category. Surely it will outperform pistol calibers in that category as you suggest, but with those you also get lighter weight, (typically) smaller form factor by design, and often the benefit of a folding stock. But with a Sig brace it's basically just a really, really loud and concussive SBR that doesn't really fill any role I can think of other than a cool range toy (which is fine as well).

    The ballistic data is interesting though, thanks for posting.


    I disagree in one small part, I think that as a pistol with a sig brace it doesn't do what I want out of a pistol. 5.56 is going to preform better than 9mm, that's obvious, but as far as utility, I don't see it doing what a pistol does as well as a pistol, it's utility is far closer to a rifle's and I don't see it out performing there.

    I agree, and that's a subject I didn't discuss because I just wasn't sure how to word as well as I'd like. It doesn't do pistol stuff as well as a pistol, and it doesn't do rifle stuff as well as a rifle. It's the middle ground, and offers enough "Pro's" from each to be a very viable bang-for-buck option. Excellent point in why it doesn't compare directly to pistols though. I think the more appropriate comparison might be pistol caliber carbines.
     
    Last edited:

    Jack

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    40   0   0
    Dec 9, 2010
    8,608
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    Covington
    Yeah, I guess if I was carrying one in a backpack I could see it, but even in a car I'd prefer a rifle.
     

    pecka

    Active Member
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    0   0   0
    Aug 9, 2012
    44
    6
    Montz
    Anyone have any experience using the support sling method? Is it effective out to 50-80 yards?
     

    Emperor

    Seriously Misunderstood!
    Rating - 100%
    11   0   0
    Mar 7, 2011
    8,229
    63
    Nether region
    Mine makes for a perfect truck gun.

    This^ is my intended use as well. Particularly for any urban uprising while in my vehicles. Take your pick: The NY father of the family in the SUV chased down, dragged out and beaten by the motorcycle thugs, the guy that hit the dumbass kid in Detroit that I think is still in a coma from his beat down, Reginald Denny (L.A. Riots), all of those that were beaten in their cars when the so-called protestors were blocking the interstates and highways after George Zimmerman verdict, I can go on.

    300 BO pistol w/SIG Brace using low velocity 165gr plastic tips. They barely penetrate more than 3-4 inches in stacks of old files; and barely lose any shape of the original bullet. Perfect for self defense in crowds. Of course there will be a primary with an extra mag, and the knives on me, too. But preparedness is not overkill. As for the loudness? So what? if you shoot for fun, wear muffs; if you have to pull that baby out of your vehicle and actually use it to save you or your family's lives; I would be surprised if you even hear it. And besides, that big bang factor lets a crowd of other would be assailants get the message loud and clear.

    I have tried to look at other reasons to have it?!? But outside of a little practice, and other than wasting money shooting for fun (which I won't anyway), I see none.
     
    Last edited:

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