There are countless evolutions of rifle and AR pistol designs in the market. Each brought forth with the goal of meeting customer demands. One area that has seen a big push is the “truck gun” market. A truck gun is essentially a short barrel AR or AR pistol that can be easily stored and handled in a small space. The genesis of this design comes from the military special operations community that nudged rifle companies to build a gun they could run more easily in vehicles and small spaces. Fast forward to 2020 and there are countless options in this arena. One in particular that caught my eye is the PSA JAKL.
Like the general AR market, the sheer number and similarity of guns can be overwhelming. In fact, it can make your eyes glaze over as you search online for options. For the most part, there isn’t a lot that makes one gun stand out from the others on the surface. It is because of this that the Palmetto State Armory JAKL caught my eye.
PSA JAKL Details
The PSA JAKL caught my eye because it does not have the traditional AR buffer tube and stock. It uses the super reliable long-stroke gas system seen in the AK-47. Dale Morgan, lead AR platform designer for PSA, designed the gun.
PSA had been kicking around the truck gun concept for a while, but it was not exactly what they wanted. The game changed when it decided to abandon the AR buffer system and head to the long stroke piston. From there, Morgan focused on the recoil system and modeled the receiver around it. With that, PSA already knew what things like the bolt mass and spring rate were, which helped the overall design process.
Opting for a piston system allows for the use of pistol braces and other folding stocks. The prototype gun PSA has shown features the SB Tactical Triangle folding brace, which fits the gun and overall application well.
PSA JAKL Features
The gun has a monolithic upper; it adds rigidity and keeps the upper and handguard as one unit. The benefits of this are many, but the most noticeable is the continuity of rail surface. An optic placed anywhere on the rail will be centered on the receiver. It has a non-reciprocating charging handle on the left side of the gun. PSA has plans to build an ambidextrous version of the upper as well for those who are either left-handed or simply want the ambi option.
The gas system has three adjustable positions, for standard, suppressed, and single shot use. This is great news because anything in this category is usually going to end up suppressed; having an adjustable gas key keeps us from suffering excessive gas blowback and black lung while running our cans on this gun.
The aluminum handguards feature three M-LOK slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions and includes a forehand stop. The barrel is a short 7.5 inches with a 1/8 twist, which works well for subsonic loads. The whole thing only weighs about 5.5 pounds and can be easily carried or stored in small spaces.
More of the PSA JAKL Build
The lower is pure mil spec AR; this allows the shooter to drop in their own trigger or other components. There are a few items that will not be compatible, however, such as a BAD lever, which won’t work because of receiver geometry.
For those of you already drooling and planning on mods, know that the barrel can’t be changed out. PSA threaded it into the receiver and you would destroy the screws in your attempt. If you want different calibers, it requires a new upper. With that said, PSA chambered the first version of this gun in 300 Blackout. This is a fantastic decision as the round fits well with the operating system. Throw in a suppressor and you have one hell of a small 30 cal fighter.
PSA plans on making a 5.56 version as well, but it will be pushed out to a 10.5-inch barrel, as a 7.5 inches is nothing short of obnoxious and finicky. It will also be a carbine length gas system. Another version I am personally excited about is a 9mm variant. It will be a blowback 9mm version on PSA’s Scorpion mag lower.
PSA also plans to do a Glock mag-compatible version down the road. But that’s not all. Another angle PSA hopes to take on the platform is to push it out in either a 16-inch or 14.5-inch variant with a pin and welded muzzle device to create a DMR. The plan is to chamber it in Grendel or Valkyrie.
PSA JAKL Price
PSA is known for “keeping it real” by pricing its guns for everyday people. The JAKL will be no different with a goal price of between $799 and $899, depending on final manufacturing costs.
As of publishing time, PSA says its plan is to have it on the market by late summer. PSA pushed back the launch of its PS9 Dagger from early June to late June. Here we are in late July with no Dagger, so I’m not sure if the same will happen with the JAKL. Regardless, I am looking forward to adding this handy shooter to my “just one more gun” collection. For more information, keep your eyes peeled on PalmettostateArmory.com.