> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Reader Question: AR-15 Pistols



Reader Question: AR-15 Pistols


I've been reading your blog for quite some time and thoroughly enjoy the information you put out. I did a quick search of your blog and couldn't find anything specific about AR pistols. What is your opinion of them? 

My interest was peaked when I read about one of the character's AR pistol in "You Took Away Tomorrow", and now I am looking to possibly get one of my own, possibly starting off with a Kel Tec PLR 22 since it allows me to try it out without breaking the bank.

AR pistols are interesting really only due to some of the silly federal firearms laws and ATF rulings here in the U.S. 

Ideally, you would just have a short barreled rifle (SBR) with a normal stock - but, that requires a ATF approval, $200 tax stamp and so on. And, in most states you cannot legally carry a concealed rifle, SBR or not.

AR pistols allow you to have an "almost SBR", without having to go through the ATF/tax stamp process. You still have the buffer tube, which you can use for that important third point of contact. You get the short barrel and handy size.

The ATF has also recently ruled that 'arm braces' intended to stabilize shooting an AR pistol one handed are not stocks. Yes, you can put one of these on and AR pistol and it is still just a pistol and 100% legal per the ATF. I'm on the fence about whether or not these braces are too good to be true/likely to lead to trouble OR if they'll be legal and on the 'ok' list for the long run.

And, because an AR pistol is legally/technically a just pistol, if you have a carry permit, you may be able to legally carry a concealed AR pistol...just like you could legally carry a Glock or J-frame. 

Know your local laws. And 'legal' doesn't always mean 'good idea.' Despite being legal, a run in with an LEO while carrying an AR pistol around in a backpack is probably not going to be as simple as a quick, pleasant conversation.

So, an AR pistol is an interesting niche due to ATF rulings.

In YTAT, Jack used his AR pistol much in the manner I see them being useful - during a disaster situation, for low profile/vehicle operations, where law and order is still somewhat in effect and you're concerned about staying legal. That is a fairly narrow niche.

You could also use one as a home defense weapon - the shorter barrel/handier size being a virtue indoors, though the shorter barrel 5.56 would not be gentle on your ears. A 9mm AR pistol would probably be better for this purpose. You would want to think through the ramifications and potential legal complications if you did ever use an "evil black, short barreled military pattern assault pistol" in a home defense situation.

I have zero interest any other 'pistol' versions of rifles...an AK pistol, for example, lacks the buffer tube to use as an improvised stock, making it heavy, awkward, loud and generally inaccurate to use (though they to make a 'brace' for AK pistols, too - if you want to go down that path). 

Specifically, the Kel-Tec guns fall into the same camp of heavy, awkward, loud and generally inaccurate...and they are Kel-Tecs, which have a generally horrible reputation. If you want something as a range blasting toy though, then have at it. 

Useful Links:

Jerking the Trigger - AR-15 Pistols - Clearing up Misconceptions 

Gabe Suarez used to have a couple good blog posts on AR pistols up on Warrior Talk News, but it looks like it is down/in transition right now, and my Google-fu is weak. This product page, though, shows two techniques for making use of the buffer tube.

The ARFCOM AR Pistol forum has a wealth of information, FAQs and so on. Your best bet for a deep dive.