Carbine/Rifle "Pistols" ???


March 13, 2013, 03:32 PM
Im assuming whether correctly or not that if a "rifle" does not have a stock then its barrel can be less than 16".

I've seen an AK variant and an AR variant "pistols" with ~12" barrels.

Legality and praticality? Experiences?


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March 13, 2013, 04:00 PM
If it is a rifle it has to have a stock and a minimum barrel length of 16"

If it is a pistol/handgun it can have any size barrel and cannot have a stock or certain other features like a vertical foregrip.

the gray area is switching back and forth between a rifle and pistol format like with Thompson Center Encores and Contenders. If it starts life as a rifle it technically has to stay a rifle. You can turn your pistol into a rifle but it has to have a 16" minimum barrel and a stock. Look at the Mec Tec conversion.
If you want to make an AR-15 pistol start off with a bare receiver and have the FFL log it as Receiver/Frame only in his books and the 4473. If you have a receiver/frame registered you can build what ever you want.

March 13, 2013, 09:57 PM
Ultimately, it's how the reciever (the "firearm" under our dumb laws) was connoted at its manufacture. Which is why you can't saw down a Mosin into a bolt-action pistol without tax stamp, but can buy an AR pistol with the goofy buffer tube sticking out with a tennis ball on the end and a magazine to hold onto.

And this isn't even getting into the constructive possession thing Adelbridge is alluding to. I assume there's a more informative sticky in the NFA forum, I'd check or ask around there.


CA Raider
March 13, 2013, 10:30 PM
you mean like this ...

16-inch barrel. 357 magnum
popular with buyers who watched the old TV show "The Bounty Hunter".
I think technically this gun is classed as a pistol.

But honestly ... I'd prefer to have a sawn off shotgun if I was going to shoot something at the range intended for that gun.


March 13, 2013, 10:34 PM
that Rossi has a 16" barrel and is called a rifle. Now, the only area of concern is OAL but I'm sure it meets regs if Rossi calls it a rifle.

March 13, 2013, 11:12 PM
With a lower that was transferred from an FFL as either a stripped lower or a pistol, you can build a pistol with a < 16" barrel and no buttstock. You can add a buttstock and a >16" barrel and turn that pistol into a rifle. You can go from pistol to rifle. You can not go from rifle to pistol.

To me, the only practical purpose for AR pistols is to test a barrel/gas sytem that you intend to SBR. You build the pistol, shoot the crap out of it. If it works, SBR the lower and put a buttstock on it.

Some people also think that a noisy rifle you can't shoot from the shoulder is fun, but I'm not one of them.

March 14, 2013, 03:23 AM
They make really fun range toys

March 15, 2013, 09:04 AM
16-inch barrel. 357 magnum
popular with buyers who watched the old TV show "The Bounty Hunter".

There's a really funny picture of Steve McQueen "sighting" down the bare barrel of his "Mare's Leg" trying to hit something at range (good luck with that) :D


March 15, 2013, 10:19 AM
I think this is the Rossi "pistol" that people are talking about.

March 15, 2013, 12:05 PM
I've got a ranch hand in 45 Colt. Fun to shoot, but, in my opinion, not too practical.

March 15, 2013, 07:52 PM
One thing of concern with a ranch hand is that if the state you live in has a law regarding the maximum weight of a pistol that model may not be legal as it weighs over 50 oz. in N.Y. Believe it or not it is not legal!

March 15, 2013, 11:23 PM
Separate from the legal issue, the practicality issue is important as well.
I have not shot an AR pistol but from everything I have read, youtubed, observed and so on, they are toys and/or fill very niche needs but in general do not very satisfying and appear to be a rather miserable shooting experience.
I see many people struggling to shoot them accurately or comfortably, many others building, shooting and then selling them very quickly, others in a constant state of 'improvement' but never seeming to end in a satisfying and stable gunsafe member in good standing.
Based on all of that, I wouldn't recommend a 'true AR'-based pistol configuration for anything other than the toy/project/niche thing.
BTW, some time ago I had a chance to purchase a 'pistol' configuration of my MP5/94 H&K clone - i.e. the stablemate to the AT94. It's a much better designed version of rifle-turned-pistol with no buffer tube to muck up the design. But with the mag limit out here it really made little sense and I passed.I do have some regret on that one but that's the only pistol-from-rifle design that I'd consider. Perhaps I'd also look at the Sig design that is like the MP5 pistol but chambered in .223/5.56. But neither of those have buffer tube oddities that are common in all AR pistols.
Up to you.

March 15, 2013, 11:26 PM
SV, I built an AR "pistol" as a legal stop-gap enroute to a an AR "rifle". I started w/ a stripped Stag receiver that the dealer transferred to my my brother as a "pistol". (Now they are transferred as "others".) I bought the virginity certificate from Stag for $10, added a full length buffer tube and a 16" bbl, and had a "pistol" longer than my issue M4. Just recently, I bought a carbine buffer tube & put a stock on it so I could practice for this deployment.

I literally only built it as a pistol so that someday should I want an actual AR pistol, I can take the stock off my rifle, & put a short bbl on it, assuming current laws, etc, don't change.

AK pistols are heavy, but they have a much more effective round out of a short bbl than a .223" AR. .223" AR ballistics out of SBRs suck - even my M4 is measurably worse, even by Army standards, than the 20" M-16. And the AR buffer tube can only be made so short before reliability suffers.

March 15, 2013, 11:32 PM
I've shot a scoped AR "pistol" with a 11.5" barrel that was just as accurate as a rifle from a benchrest. For most uses, the rifle caliber pistols are obnoxiously loud, produce a monumental muzzle flash, and aren't especially handy to carry. Mine(equipped with high output light and laser) hangs above my bed in case of a Zombie assault(or similar multiplayer invasion). Carried by a single point sling, the AR pistol or AK Krinkov provide overwhelming firepower compared to a handgun.

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