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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.]