The AR15 Pistol…….a useful tool or fun toy?

Before diving into the meat of my post, I first want to ensure everyone fully understands why an AR15 pistol is just that…..a pistol. While utilizing the exact same receiver and action as the AR15 rifle the BATFE recognizes that due to its short barrel, lack of butt stock, and having no vertical fore grip the AR15 pistols are “designed to be fired with one hand”. It is essentially no different than the Ruger 10/22 carbine vs. the Ruger Charger pistol. It just has a lot more punch!

The Sig Sauer arm brace caused a massive boom in the AR15 pistol market. The brace itself is designed to strap around the shooters forearm to help support the weight of an AR15 (and later AK and others) pistol, which is outrageously heavy for any pistol. Each Sig Brace ships with a miniature copy of the ATF Tech Letter confirming the addition of the brace does not constitute a butt stock and therefore does not turn it into a Short Barreled Rifle (controlled under NFA law). Understand that a Tech Letter is not legislation, but the interpretation of the ATF Branch issuing the Tech Letter. Likewise, BATFE has determined that the Magpul angled fore grip is not a vertical fore grip and therefore does not turn it in to Any Other Weapon (AOW) which is also controlled by NFA law.
(Please be familiar with all state and federal laws prior to building/modifying an AR15 pistol. Ignorance will not prevent prosecution!)

Now that the legal jargon and background are out of the way let’s look at the AR15 pistol itself and the viability of using one for defense. With the increased popularity it isn’t uncommon to see AR15 pistols not only in the classic .223Rem/5.56×45 but also 9mm and 300 Blackout. I can understand the advantage of ballistics performance by choosing a .223 or .300Blk, but not sold on the AR pistol in the same caliber as my daily carry; it somewhat defeats the purpose. Obviously none of us (I would hope) are going to try to conceal an AR15 pistol on a regular basis. Even with a 7.5” barrel it would be incredibly difficult to do. So where is the advantage you ask…’s in the law.

In Ohio the CCW permit is in fact a CHL (Concealed Handgun License). It applies in no way to long guns except in the fact that if you have your CCW and have a loaded rifle magazine in your vehicle that is not in the rifle, you are not considered in possession of a loaded weapon. Without your CCW permit, you are. The AR15 pistol on the other hand…is a PISTOL and therefore authorized to be completely loaded anywhere in your vehicle just like your primary carry. With an AR15 pistol you have the ability to carry a rifle round capable, full capacity, optics compatible weapon.

This is about when most people say why would I need anything more than my 9mm or .45? I understand that thought process as the likelihood of pulling an AR pistol out of a case instead of your 9mm is remote at best. Here are the scenarios that are the driving force behind why I carry one in my vehicle at all time.

Taj Mahal Hotel & Oberoi-Trident Hotel

Mumbai, India, November 2008. 10 armed militants carried out a series of complex attacks on 4 different location in Mumbai. Two of these locations were the Taj Mahal Hotel & Oberoi-Trident Hotel. During the 3 day siege of the hotels 61 people were killed.

The great thing about an AR15 pistol is that when carried in a discreet case such as the Troy Ind. Tennis racquet case, Blackhawk Board Bag, Blackhawk Gym bag, or S.O. Tech Go Bag it attracts virtually zero attention. Admittedly, the S.O Tech Go Bag was not designed to be as discreet as the others, but when used in black or even OD green at a glance you would never assume it cases a firearm. I have carried my AR15 pistol into many hotels without turning a single head.

Anyone not burying their head in the sand knows that America will be victim to more violent terrorist attacks that could easily mimic Mumbai, Paris, or Brussels. If I’m in a static location such as a hotel I am much better prepared to handle such an event with an AR15 pistol to compliment my CCW carry gun. It gives me increased range, accuracy (especially if running a red dot), and capacity to defend myself.

Riots / Civil Unrest / Get Home Gun

Riots are nothing new to America. From Los Angeles and Cincinnati to Ferguson, MO they are a legitimate threat to innocent would be victims in the vicinity. Depending on the severity of the riot it could mean blocked roads, overwhelmed law enforcement, traffic jams of fleeing residents, and of course crime. As someone who has traveled a good bit you never know where you may end up stuck. In the worst of scenarios it could even require leaving the vehicle behind and moving out on foot. Imagine visiting a friend in New Orleans when Katrina hit. Would I necessarily have it out, assembled, and slung when walking through a crowd of violent rioters….not likely. It would give them a reason to focus on me instead of all the other stupid stuff they are doing. I’d still rather have that option in a bag on my back than not at all. This same mentality can be applied to the “total collapse” theory if you subscribe to it. If that EMP takes out the power grid and you’re walking home… I want something more than my carry gun with me. If I was still in a car trying to evac out……given the choice I’ll take an AR15 pistol on seat next to me.

Get trained, have a plan, and stay safe.

Blame it on my being an Eagle Scout and taking “Be Prepared” to heart, but just like my reasoning for carrying my G19 on a regular basis…..hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Below is my personal AR15 pistol carried in a S.O. Tech Go Bag Extended. My bag also contains a mag pouch, several spare rifle and pistol magazines, limited medical gear, chem lights, 550 cord, and a few other odds and ends.



  1. Well thought out article! I have used this same mind set traveling around in various large urban cities and even out into the Mountain states for an ATV pistol. The AF Backpack by Quality arms was a great briefcase pistol when I was a LEO on the street and the SIG P556, SIG PM400 have served me well as a SRO.


  2. Nice article. I have an Omnipoint with Sig Brace. A little awkward to site if you try and shoulder (which I guess technically you aren’t supposed to do) but a riser helped with raising the optics and a gym bag goes unnoticed. Would rather have it and not need it then…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s