Years ago I had taken an AR-15-style pistol on trade at a gun show. The owner was honest and told me up front that he couldn’t get the pistol to cycle and just wanted to get rid of it for a fraction of what he had invested in it. I gave it a good inspection and could see that most of its parts were of quality. Even if I couldn’t get it to work I could sell the gun’s parts and still make a decent profit. I brought it home and it sat in the corner of my workshop for years untouched until I learned of Sig Sauer’s SB15. I ordered one immediately, and while I waited for it to be delivered, I stripped my AR pistol down to its individual components. It was then I discovered a cracked gas tube that undoubtedly was the source of the gun’s problems.
I reassembled the gun using a GuntecUSA low-profile gas block and a new gas tube. My rebuilt AR pistol has a 10.5-inch barrel, and I installed a free-floating handguard from GuntecUSA as well as the company’s cone flash suppressor. I reassembled the gun’s lower receiver using the new Tac-Con 3MR trigger. I also installed a Magpul MOE pistol grip and triggerguard as well as a TAPCO single-point sling mount end cap.
Once my SB15 arrived, I slid it into place. To round out my Frankenstein pistol build, I mounted a set of Yankee Hill Machine Quick Deploy sights, an LMT Tactical Latch charging handle and an EOTech holographic sight. On the left side rail I attached an EOTech M6X light and laser.
I fell in love with this new build the first time I shot it. I set out my targets at 50 yards and co-witnessed my EOTech and iron sights. My first three-shot sighting group measured less than 0.75 inches with generic ball ammo. It didn’t surprise me that my build possessed this type of accuracy. What surprised me was that I was able to shoot so effectively with the SB15 stabilizing brace. The other thing I was pleasantly surprised by was the crisp precision of the Tac-Con 3MR trigger. It breaks at 4.5 pounds yet felt much lighter because of its short reset and crispness.
If you’re not interested in actually building your own AR pistol, feast your eyes on the following AR-platform pistols on the market—some with the SB15 brace, some without.
American Tactical Omni Hybrid Pistol
American Tactical’s Omni Hybrid pistol uses a polymer lower with a patented zinc alloy reinforcing plate molded into the receiver at the rear takedown pinhole. The pistol uses an aluminum upper receiver, and a free-floating, quad-rail handguard. It is offered without sights, with flip-up iron sights or with a red dot, hence the price differential (right). The Omni Hybrid “Maxx” pistol with a polymer upper with zinc alloy insert at the front pivot pin and barrel nut threading is also available. (americantactical.us; 800-290-0065)
The Armalite M15P6 has the short-est barrel currently on any AR-15 pistol, a mere 6 inches, for an overall length of just 24 inches. At the rear of the pistol is a Law Tactical Gen 3 Folding Stock Adapter that allows the SB15 stabilizing brace to be folded, bringing the M-15P6 down to only 17 inches. The pistol’s double-lapped, 1-in-7-inch-twist barrel is fitted with a compensator. The forged aluminum upper has a 12-inch top rail, an AXTS Raptor ambidextrous charging handle and a KeyMod handguard. The lower receiver features a Magpul MOE-K2 pistol grip, an ambidextrous safety and a two-stage trigger. (armalite.com; 800-336-0184)
Bushmaster Patrolman’s AR
Bushmaster offers its Patrolman’s AR pistol in a couple different configurations. All come with a 416 match-grade stainless steel barrel, and it can be had with a barrel length of 7 or 10.5 inches. Consumers have their choice of a round, aluminum, free-floating handguard or a Barnes Precision lightweight, free-floating, railed handguard. This latter model is called the Enhanced Patrolman, and these pistols also have the AAC three-pronged flash suppressor. (bushmaster.com; 800-883-6229)
CMMG Mk4 & Mk9 Pistols
CMMG has just recently added three AR pistols to its lineup: the Mk4 K in 5.56mm NATO, the Mk9 PDW in 9mm and the Mk4 PDW in 300 Blackout. The Mk9 and Mk4 PDW feature CMMG’s slim RKM7 free-floating KeyMod handguard, a Magpul MOE pistol grip and an ambidextrous rear sling mount. The 5.56mm and 300 BLK pistols come with a Magpul 30-round magazine. To take advantage of the 5.56mm’s accuracy and velocity, CMMG outfits the Mk4 K with a 12.5-inch barrel. All three of these AR pistols are covered by CMMG’s lifetime quality guarantee. (cmmginc.com; 660-248-2293)
Daniel Defense DDM4 300
Daniel Defense recently dove into the AR-platform pistol market with its introduction of the DDM4 in 300 Blackout. The hard-hitting pistol comes complete with a 10.3-inch, chrome-moly, cold-hammer-forged barrel featuring Daniel Defense’s new Strength-to-Weight (S2W) profile as well as a pistol-length gas system, a pinned low-profile gas block and the DDM4 Rail 9.0 handguard, which offers plenty of space for mounting accessories like lights and lasers. Also note the textured Daniel Defense pistol grip. (danieldefense.com; 866-554-4867)
Diamondback Firearms, a relative newcomer in the world of AR manufacturers, produces the DB15 pistol series. Outfitted with 7.5-inch, chrome-moly barrels, flattop upper receivers and free-floating, railed handguards, the DB15Ps vary in color and furniture options. Each is fitted with Diamondback’s distinctive Edge flash suppressor. The DB15PFDE7 (shown) features a deluxe Flat Dark Earth finish that is durable and attractive and contrasts the black controls and grip. (diamondbackfirearms.com; 877-997-6774)
DoubleStar AR Pistol
DoubleStar produces AR pistols in three different barrel lengths—7.5, 10.5 and 11.5 inches—and chambered in 5.56mm NATO and 300 BLK. All use Eugene Stoner’s battle-proven direct gas impingement system for operation. There are a variety of options available in each barrel length, from flattop receivers and chrome-lined barrels to quad-rail handguards and enhanced flash suppressors. The 7.5-inch-barreled model features a round handguard and a Picatinny rail gas block for a front sight. (star15.com; 888-736-7725)
Masterpiece Arms MPAR556-P
This megapistol looks like a cross between an AR and an AK pistol, but it is neither—although it’s chambered in 5.56mm NATO. It uses AR magazines and an AR pistol grip, but the operating system is different (it use a short-stroke piston), and it has other features that some believe are superior, including a side-mounted charging handle with a large knob for faster reloading. Also note the handguard, which allows users to mount Picatinny accessory rails where needed. (masterpiecearms.com; 770-832-9430)
Some AR-platform pistols, like the Mossberg 715P, are chambered in the economical .22 LR rimfire cartridge, making them a lot less expensive to shoot. But even though the Mossberg 715P fires a round that is not generally accepted as a self-defense cartridge, it can be used as a handy training or all-out fun gun. (mossberg.com; 800-323-3555)
POF-USA P415 Pistol
Patriot Ordnance Factory, or POF-USA, known primarily for its innovative piston-driven line of 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifles, also offers pistols chambered in 5.56mm with 7.25-inch barrels. Like their rifle counterparts, the POF-USA pistols use the same short-stroke piston system. The pistols also feature the company’s free-floating Modular Railed Receiver (MRR) handguard. Unlike most manufacturers, POF-USA pistols work fine using cheaper, steel-cased ammo as long as the chamber is cleaned periodically. These guns also feature POF-USA’s patented E2 extraction system. (pof-usa.com; 623-561-9572)
Primary Weapon Systems MK107P
The MK107P looks more like a traditional AR-style pistol, but inside it has some unique features, including a .223 Wylde chamber. The gun does away with the AR-15 direct gas impingement system and substitutes a long-stroke piston system similar to that used in the AK-47 for enhanced reliability. The MK107P also comes with PWS’ Triad flash suppressor, Magpul’s MBUS sights and MOE grip, and an SB15. (208-344-5217; primaryweapons.com)
Rock River Arms LAR Pistols
Rock River Arms offers AR pistols in both 7- and 10.5-inch-barreled flattop configurations. Users have a variety of options to select from, including A2 uppers, chromed bolt carriers, free-floating rail systems and much more. Both guns come equipped with Hogue rubber pistol grips for enhanced control. Rock River Arms also offers 9mm pistols with either 7- or 10.5-inch barrel lengths with many of the same options. The 10.5-inch-barreled A4 model (shown) comes with M4-style handguards. (rockriverarms.com; 866-980-7625)
Sig Sauer P516
The P516 is available with either a 7.5- or 10-inch barrel. This model uses a gas piston design and has a four-position gas regulator, allowing you to tune the rifle for your ammunition, conditions and sound suppressor use. Chambered in 5.56mm NATO, the military-grade barrel features a standard A2-style flash suppressor and is surrounded by a railed, free-floating handguard. Sig Sauer also outfits this pistol with its SB15 brace and flip-up front and rear sights for quick targeting. (sigsauer.com; 603-610-3000)
Sig Sauer 556xi
Sig Sauer has begun offering the new SIG556xi series, a complete redesign of its SIG556 platform. Featuring a three-position-adjustable gas piston system, users can quickly change out the SIG556xi’s caliber, barrel, bolt, handguard and stock to turn one gun into many. Currently, the platform supports both 5.56mm NATO and 7.62x39mm chamberings. Sig Sauer offers three SIG556xi base models: the standard, the Russian and a third with the SB15 stablizing brace, which comes with a 10-inch barrel, a modular forend and flip-up front and rear sights for SIG556xi’s long Picatinny top rail. (sigsauer.com; 603-610-3000)
YHM-15 9mm Pistol
Yankee Hill Machine (YHM) is now offering a blowback-operated YHM-15 pistol in 9mm with a threaded, 5.5-inch-long barrel. This AR-platform pistol starts with forged 7075-T6 aluminum upper and lower receivers held together with YHM’s EZ Pull takedown pins. YHM’s aluminum KR7 Series Mini Handguard (YHM-5315) features an extended top Picatinny rail for sights and KeyMod slots at every 45 degrees for mounting additional accessories. The 9mm YHM-15 also comes with a metal 32-round magazine and a Phantom flash suppressor. The company also offers a 5.56mm YHM-15. (yhm.net; 877-892-6533)
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