Tag Archives: 5.56mm

FIREARMS: Justification for Packable AR15 Pistols in Vehicles

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Much more than a fun-day-at-the-range curiosity, the Major offers compelling reasons why an AR15 pistol just might belong in everyone’s roadside assistance kit…

Ms Pandemic Trump Trunk Gun

by Major Pandemic

Just a few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the idea of having a packable AR15 pistol tucked into my vehicle although I have kept a cased and stowed AR15 or Tavor in the truck for years. More times than I can remember that rifle came in handy for impromptu range trips plus the assurance 30-rounds of M855 5.56 can provide if stranded at night alongside the road. It also delivered personal assurance that I would have more than just a handgun in an extended survival or personal defense situation, and greately increased range. Over the past months I have worked through a set of theories based on some discussions with experienced friends which I would like to share. One high-ranking Army friend, formerly a Night Stalker, said, “There is no one perfect small arm for any situation, the dynamics of the environment you expect to be engaged in dictate the armament.” For several reasons, it is my theory that an AR15 pistol is the better personal defense and road-travel firearm to have stowed in your vehicle.

ar pistol
From stowed to ready to shoot in under 3-seconds.

THE POTENTIAL NEED
Beyond the zombie-apocalypse type events, there only a few logically probable scenarios which could occur:

One is personal defense and security during an active shooter situation.

Two is general support of survival and security needs (such as being stranded or coming home to a forced-entry situation).

Another is support of movement to a safe location during a hostile/riot situation.

The logical needs were for a PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) which could deliver 90-percent of the capabilities of a full-length rifle with an acceptable tradeoff of shooter comfort. In all those situations — accuracy, legal transportation, accessibility, maneuverability, and concealment would all be factors for a firearm stowed within a vehicle.

short ar15
A 7.5-inch barreled AR15 pistol slips into even small ultralight day packs.

ACCURACY & SHOOTING
Over the last couple years I have changed my perspective of AR15 pistols from just range toys to serious viable PDWs. The accuracy of these little AR15s has shocked me. One in particular I own can deliver sub-MOA groups from its 7.5-inch barrel, easily out-shooting most rack-grade rifles. Most of my other AR15 pistols with premium barrels can stay under the 1.5-inch 100-yard group mark and will keep a 6-inch steel target clanging away out to 400-yards. After all, AR15 pistols are in essence just short-barreled rifles without the stock or rifle classification.

KAK Buffer Tube
An extended KAK Buffer Tube greatly improves comfort

Statistical reality of most urban combat shooting engagements is that they occur well under 100-yards, a sweet spot for an accurate PDW. Statistically, it is also unlikely that more than 10-20 rounds would be needed to address a situation, but this PDW can plenty more. A few extra mags thrown into the carry bag provides substantial capability. From light 40gr high-shock hollow-points to M855 steel-core rounds, the 5.56/.223 offers many effective options for defense, survival, and threat engagement. It is also unlikely to have a need for supporting a long-term armed engagement, this PDW can handle that requirement as well. Though I was a little sore afterwards, I spent an afternoon hammering 500 rounds through my truck AR15 pistol. That problem-free beatdown of that pistol changed my perception of what AR15 pistols could deliver. I gladly suffer a little discomfort for a one-foot shorter gun that’s 2-3 lbs. lighter for this particular use.

LEGAL TRANSPORTATION
One important point as a civilian is assuring that you’re arming yourself in a legal manner. If you have a rifle stowed in your car, it can be problematic as you drive from one city to another or across state lines. Many cities and states have goofy rifle laws which can include requirements for rifles to be partially disassembled and cased and almost always unloaded. Conversely, if you have a concealed carry permit, carrying an AR15 pistol is covered under your permit because, after all, it is a pistol.

PWS MOD2 MK107
A PWS MOD2 MK107 Pistol nestles nicely into a Sneaky Bags SPYDER.

STOWING, CONCEALMENT & MOVEMENT
Aside from legality, it’s accessibility that’s also in the favor of the AR15 pistol, compared to a rifle. Plus, maneuvering a rifle inside a vehicle is tricky and most would agree that an AR15 pistol is easier.

Being able to move discretely with an AR15 pistol is probably the biggest advantage of all. A 10.5-inch barreled AR15 pistol equipped with a Law Tactical folding buffer tube adapter or stowed with the upper and lowers receivers unpinned slips nicely into any standard backpack or messenger bag. A 7.5-inch barrel means that same setup can fit into just about any smaller pack.

I think that any firearm permanently stored in a vehicle should be easily concealed, and able to be clandestinely moved in a public setting. There was one situation where my truck needed unexpected overnight service and another where the hotel only offered valet parking. In both situations I had to de-weaponize my truck and walk through some clearly public areas with what was clearly a gun case. Those incidents taught me that discrete cases should always be used to house firearms in vehicles.

DISCREET CARRY OPTIONS
AR15 pistols, of course,  drop easily into almost any backpack and no one pays any attention to your standard Swiss Army or Eddie Bauer backpack. 5.11’s Select Carry sling pack is designed specifically for PDW use. It has an innocuous shape/style and rapid-draw feature that makes it one of my favorites.

ACCESSORIES TO MAKE COMPACT EVEN SMALLER
If you own an AR15 pistol you are missing half of the functionality of the firearm if you have not installed a Law Tactical Folding Buffer tube adapter. This accessory negates the need of disassembling an AR15 pistol to stow it in most backpacks. Deployment is fast — pull from the pack, slam the buffer tube over and charge the AR15 pistol.

Other options worth looking into to include the DOLOS V2. The DOLOS delivers a ratcheting quick takedown option to remove the barrel with assembly and disassembly occurring in under 5-seconds.

Dolos Quick Disconnect barrel adapter kit
Dolos Quick Disconnect barrel adapter kit.
Dolos
A Dolos and Law Tactical equipped AR15 is a tiny package

DON’T PUSH THE LAW
Any firearm within a vehicle has a high potential to be viewed, handled, and checked during any routine traffic stop. It is my belief that most law enforcement folks are tragically uninformed about what “is legal” when it comes to anything other than a classically sized rifle or pistols.

Additionally, if your AR15 also looks like an SBR with something a non-firearms educated officer presumes as a stock, you can double the hassle. Sure Sig Braces are legal, however this is where I suggest a standard buffer tube might be the better less-gray option to avoid extra hassle.

OUR RIGS
After a whole lot of shooting, I like the compromise of a 10.5-in. barreled AR15 pistol. Its has an exponentially quieter bark and fireball, delivers a bit more velocity than a 7.5-in. barrel, and provides a shooting platform that gives more room to stretch out.

major pistol
This Faxon barrel and Nikon 1-4 optic equipped ultralight AR15 pistol is very capable at intermediate ranges.

Parts breakdown: Faxon Ultralight 10.5-in. barrel; Faxon BCGs; Aero Precision upper; a billet lower; CMC Match trigger; Clark Carbon Fiber handguard; Rogers rail light; Nikon 1-4X scope, Aero Precision optic mount; YHM Quick Pull Take-Down Pins; Law Tactical Folding Buffer Tube Adapter.

Major Pandemic

[Major Pandemic is an editor at large who loves everything about shooting, hunting, the outdoors, and all those lifesaving little survival related products. His goal is simple, tell a good story in the form of a truthful review all while having fun. He contributes content to a wide variety of print and digital magazines and newsletters for companies and manufacturers throughout the industry with content exposure to over 2M readers monthly. Click HERE to learn more.]

REVIEW: Springfield Armory SAINT

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We have been waiting a long time for Springfield’s AR15 and it is worth the wait, and worth the money. Here’s why…

by Bob Campbell

Springfield’s ads had been teasing us with the introduction of a new product and very recently we learned that the SAINT was an AR15-type rifle. This is the first-ever AR15 with the proud Springfield Armory stamp. The rifle had been described as entry level but this isn’t really true. There are more expensive rifles but the Springfield isn’t cheap — it is simply below the $900 threshold. That is a pretty important price point. The rifle has good features and is built for reliability. The SAINT is intended to appeal to the young and adventurous and to those serious about taking responsibility for their own safety. I agree but older shooters such as myself who are able to discern quality at a fair price will also appreciate the SAINT. As a Springfield fan, the SAINT will take its place beside my 1903 Springfield and the modern 1911 Operator handgun, but there is more to the puzzle than the name. At present I have fewer than 600 rounds fired through the SAINT but the experience has been good. (I fire the rifles I test for real on the range, and not with the typewriter. I know the difficulty in firing one thousand rounds or more in an economic and physical sense.)

SAINT and 1903
The SAINT is shown with a 1903 Springfield. A proud tradition!

Let’s look at the particulars. The SAINT features the A2-style front sight/gas block and a folding rear sight. The rear sight is stamped with the Springfield “crossed cannons” emblem. The rear sight isn’t target grade but it is useful for short-range defense work and snagging predators to perhaps 100 yards, the use I will put this 6-pound, 11-ounce rifle to. The gas system is a mid-length architecture. Without getting into a discussion that would fill these pages all its own, the mid-length system is ideal for use with common bullet weights. The SAINT has a 16-inch barrel chambered for the 5.56mm NATO cartridge. This means you can fire .223 Remington or 5.56mm cartridges without a hint of trouble. Its 1-in-8 inch barrel twist is increasingly popular. Midway between the 7- and 9-inch twist this barrel twist rate has proven accurate with the majority of loads I have tested. So far this includes loads of 52 to 77 grain bullet weights.

SAINT
The SAINT handles well. The author found the SAINT exceptionally controllable.

The trigger is a GI-type that breaks in my example at 6.7 pounds. This is in the middle-ground for an AR trigger and it is clean and crisp. There is also a special coating that allows the trigger group to ride smoothly. The receivers are anodized aluminum, no surprises there, but the bolt carrier group is also specially coated, and stamped with the Springfield logo. I like that a lot. Springfield has added a new design with the Accu-Tite Tension system. This is a set screw located in the lower receiver that allows the user to tighten the receivers together. I like this feature and I probably will not add any other tightening measures to the SAINT. The furniture is Bravo Company and the handguard is a Springfield exclusive. The three-piece handguard features a heat shield in the lower base, and allows for accessory mounting via a keylock system. The handguard offers excellent grip when firing but doesn’t abrade the hand when firing in long practice sessions. I like the stub on the end of the handguard that prevents the hand from running forward onto the gas block. Optics are not optimally mounted on the handguard since it isn’t free-floated, so the receiver rail is available for mounting optics. The six-position stock utilizes a squeeze lever for six-point adjustment. The grip handle is the famous BCM Gunfighter.

SAINT sights.
The front and rear sights are adequate for shorter-range use, and the controls are excellent. Note bumper on handguard to prevent the hand running forward off the handguard.

To begin the evaluation I filled several magazines with Federal Cartridge Company American Eagle cartridges. The rifle had several hundred rounds through it and I expected the same performance for this Shooters Log test. These 55-grain FMJ cartridges burn clean, are affordable, and offer excellent accuracy in a practice load. I loaded the supplied MagPul magazine and a number of other various magazines I had on hand. The bolt was lubricated. AR15 rifles will run dirty but they will not run dry. I addressed man-sized targets at 25 and 50 yards, firing as quickly as I could get on target and align the sights. Keeping the hand forward on the handguard (and avoiding the gas block!) and controlling the rifle fast and accurate hits came easily. The rifle is controllable in rapid fire but then it is an AR15… The sights are adequate for the purpose. The Gunfighter grip is particularly ergonomic allowing excellent control. As for absolute accuracy with the iron sights, it isn’t difficult to secure 3-shot groups of two inches at 50 yards, par for the course with an iron-sighted carbine.

Accuracy Testing
For a complete evaluation, you have to go further with accuracy testing and this means mounting a quality optic. I settled down with a mounted Lucid 6x1x24 rifle scope. This optic provides a good clear sight picture and has many advantages a trained rifleman can exploit. I settled down on the bench and attempted to find the best possible accuracy from the SAINT. Hornady has introduced a new line of AR15 ammunition. Since black rifles run on black ammunition the new loads should prove popular. My test samples of Hornady Black Ammunition featured the proven 75-grain BTHP. This is a good bullet weight for longer-range accuracy and it proved to give good results in the SAINT. I also tested a good number of popular .233 loads including a handload of my own, using the 60-grain Hornady A-Max bullet.

Meopta MeoRed
The Meopta MeoRed Red Dot gave good results.

I have also mounted a MeoRed red dot with excellent results. For use to 50 yards this red dot offers good hit probability and gets the Springfield up and rolling for 3-Gun Competition.
I like the Springfield SAINT. I drove in the rain to get the rifle and was at the door at my FFL source when they opened. I had to wait to hit the range! I am not disappointed and the SAINT is going to find an important place in my shooting battery.

Check out the complete specs HERE

SAINT free-float
The SAINT is also available with a free-floating handguard tube.

Bob Campbell is an established and well-respected outdoors writer, contributing regularly to many publications ranging from SWAT Magazine to Knifeworld. Bob has also authored three books: Holsters For Combat and Concealed Carry (Paladin Press), The 1911 Semi Auto (Stoeger Publishing), and The Handgun In Personal Defense (The Second Amendment Foundation).