I finally had a chance to sit down and write the final part to the AR pistol build. Some things have changed with the law since Part 1 was released. Here is a linkfor you to keep yourself informed and on the right side of the law. If you don’t want to deal with the headache of changing laws, get an NFA trust and buy a sbr and a suppressor. This post will still help with assembling and sourcing parts for any AR platform build. So we are clear, an AR pistol is not a rifle, disclaimer over.
Part 1 ended with the pistol lower being completed. The next phase of this build began with planning out the upper receiver for the pistol. I prefer to support smaller companies for gun parts for many reasons, customer service being on top of that list.
I wanted a top tier billet receiver, choosing SanTantactical was a no brainer. These guys make some of the best uppers and lowers on the market. I picked a burnt bronze for the color to change it up a bit. Enough can’t be said for doing business with smaller companies and will see why throughout this post. The guys from SanTanare all about interacting with their customers on social media; little things like telling a customer how sick their build came out goes a long way. Try getting feedback on your build from Bushmaster, DPMS, or Colt.
The barrel was next on my list. Again I wanted to go with a smaller company but wanted top tier performance. AR pistols have a bit of a bad reputation for having malfunctions due to the short gas system causing short stroking and other various malfunctions. This pistol is to be used as my home defense gun and cannot afford to have a malfunction of any kind. I did some serious research into companies who have the right attitude and put out high quality components. That is when I found Ballistic Advantage. Deciding on the length of the barrel was not easy, this pistol needed to be easy to maneuver and 100% reliable. If you are having this same issue do this: IGNORE THE INTERNET and anyone who doesn’t even gun. These people will just spew half truths from YouTube videos they’ve seen and act like they know what they are talking about. Do what I did and call someone who actually makes barrels and shoots these guns. I called Ballistic Advantage and explained my situation to the super friendly guy there and without hesitation he said, “You know what, let me get Clint to help you, he makes the barrels.” Again name one company who will do that. Clint got right on the phone, he was genuinely engaged and interested in my build and really gave me that warm and fuzzy of what customer service really is. I told Clint I wanted a 100% reliable pistol that I could trust with my life. Clint asked me a series of questions ranging from what muzzle device, BCG, and buffer weight I planned to use. He made a few suggestions on what he typically does to make his pistols run without issue. We agreed to go with their 10.3” barrel. He then mentioned that he has a line of barrels called the Hanson Series. This barrel profile was developed by Clint Hanson and this is a brief description from their page on exactly what a Hanson series barrel is.
“The Hanson Profile, just like the quality and accuracy you have come to expect from BA, the Hanson continues this pattern. This barrel is essentially shoulder-less, symmetrically limiting barrel “whip”. The Hanson is designed to return to its home position sooner than other barrels which are beneficial for follow up shots at a high rate of fire or full auto fire. It has lightweight feel without the lightweight limitations. It is truly ideal for what an AR-15 is meant to do.”
I went with the Hanson series and Clint promised me that if the pistol did not fire every kind of ammo out there without issue to send the pistol to him and he would personally go through the pistol and do what needed to be done to get it running. Again, try to get that kind of guarantee from any major manufacturer.
The next part of this build was choosing the muzzle device, this was a no brainer. I went with the Noveske KX-5. If you build a pistol you will not be disappointed with the flaming pig.
Now that the most difficult part was over I moved on to choosing a rail. I’m active on Instagram (Follow me) and when I was looking at some SanTan fitted firearms I saw this rail that looked like nothing I have never seen before. It was love at first sight. I immediately found out who makes them and was pleased to see they are a small company. I gave SLR Rifleworks a call and again a surprisingly pleasant person answered the phone. I shared my vision for this pistol and explained I wanted the rail to end at the beginning of the brake. We settled on the 10” Keymod Solo Series rail and added a couple hand stops for good measure. These guys have a connection to a company who coats their rails for them and for a small fee I was able to have my rail match my burnt bronze upper.
I wanted a BCG that would run problem free with little maintenance. I decided to go with the Spikes Tactical nickel boron coated BCG, these are a bit pricey but worth it.
Assembling the upper is really easy, just pay attention and have the proper tools. Just hop on YouTube and you can find plenty of great videos with step by step instructions.
Now came the tough part, choosing the optic. I have an Eotech EXPS 3-2 on my rifle with the Magpul Pro mbus and that combo is amazing, but I do not need something like that for this pistol. This pistol’s main purpose is to engage threats at a distance no longer than 100 yards. I didn’t feel the need for backup sights on this. For this setup I went for the Aimpoint Pro. This optic has earned a reputation for being super rugged and performing like an optic that is double the price.
I finished the assembly of the upper and all but sprinted to the range to test fire and zero the pistol. After having three fail to eject malfunctions and overall shitty function I went home crushed. This pistol that I spent this time and effort into was a dud. The next morning I called Clint at BA for some help and he dropped what he was doing to help me diagnose the issue. I explained the issues that I was having and we were able to come to the conclusion that the charging handle I was using was the culprit. It was warped and the finished was terrible. The charging handle was binding up the operation of the pistol, so I swapped the junk one out for a BCM Gunfighter mod 3. I went to the range the following day and wouldn’t you know it, the pistol ran like a sewing machine. I put 300 malfunction free rounds through the pistol and held groups far better than I was expecting for this length barrel.
I wanted to take the pistol to a course that would put it through a serious amount of stress, mud, and dirt. I used this pistol for the second day of Fighting Rifle taught by Tactical Response. The second day of this course was a brisk 45 degrees accompanied by a cold downpour all day.
Post course BCG
The only malfunction I had was due to a muddy magazine that created a double feed. We put approximately 600 rounds through the pistol that day and it ran flawlessly in the mud and rain.
Here is the link to the YouTube video I made from the course.
Something to consider if you plan to build a pistol; a single point sling is key for maintaining a nice cheek weld while keeping that brace clear of your shoulder. All you need to do is push the pistol out and the sling tension will be more than enough to have a nice tight cheek weld.
My three favorites!
I couldn’t be happier with this build. The companies I used for this build have gotten a lifetime customer out of me based on this experience. If you have any questions about building an AR of any variation feel free to contact me and I’ll help you as much as I can.
What are your thoughts on the Pistol platform in AR and AK? Let me hear your input!
I recently traded my S&W 1911for a Yugo M-70AK-47. Some of you may believe I made a good move and some of you are considering tracking me down and kicking my ass. I debated doing this trade for quite some time and took quite an emotional beating from a good friend of mine when I told him I made the trade. Putting aside bias towards a certain platform and nostalgia for a tried and true piece of Americana, this was a smart move on my part.
The 1911 is as American as apple pie and pickup trucks, but in my situation it was a redundant firearm that was easily replaced by my Glock 19. The 1911 has amazing knockdown power and would stop a threat with one well-placed round, but so will any caliber firearm. No one shoots only one round in a life or death situation. The 1911 is by no means a piece of junk or a dying platform. For my situation the 1911 just didn’t make sense and the cost of .45 ammo is insane compared to 9mm or even 7.62×39.
We can talk Glock vs. 1911 another time; this is about finding purpose for what you choose to have for personal defense and discarding items you no longer have use for.
From a recent AK playdate
The AK platform has genius in the simplicity of its design. The tolerances are loose which allows the ability for the firearm to function even when caked with mud and crap on the internals. If you believe we are at risk of a foreign incursion, you most likely have a Combloc firearm in your safe already. This platform is used by every country we view as a threat to our homeland and getting used to its function and manual of arms is a smart decision. If something were to happen like “Red Dawn” or any other invasion scenario, you would have an abundant amount of ammo ripe for the picking.
I try to keep firearms that have the same caliber as the military and law enforcement as well as our main adversaries overseas for the purposes of ease of sourcing ammunition in a SHTFscenario. A bare bones armory for some people would maybe have these common items:
When thinking of a prepper, most often we picture a person who has some sort of room in which they store massive quantities of supplies such as food, water, methods of self-defense and tools for hunting. They may have some limited training on survival or bush-craft and hopefully can properly utilize the firearms they spent all that hard earned money on. Ask a prepper what they are preparing for and they will mostly likely draw up some specific event or collapse of some kind. They may even go into their plans on how to survive it.
That sounds like a great plan right?
It sounds like they could live forever in their cozy secret squirrel location. If an intruder came they could defend their location with their armory. For me it sounds like borderline hoarding and they are not prepared for anything other than becoming a supply house for an intruder because they are a soft target. If you prepare yourself with purpose and maintain a flexible but firm preparedness philosophy you will be better off with very limited “Prepping” supplies and a shitload of training.
Don’t be this guy
Having more firearms than your team can carry by hand is stupid, plain and simple. We are preparing for complete self-reliance not starting a firearm collection. Having too much of anything just means you wasted your time and money. You will potentially leave food and guns behind, to a possible threat to you, when you decide that you can’t take them when you bug out. I am sure by now you know how I approach preparedness.
Do you even prep, Bro?
I am a minimalist and I see that people are starting to get good at hoarding not preppingbecause it is easier to go to a store and buy gear and buy guns and ammo and to buy preassembled “Survival kits”. Someone please explain how buying an endless mountain of gear and supplies makes you prepared. That awful Doomsday Preppers atrocity is filled with commercials of washed up celebrities hawking crappy pre-packed meals. For a small fortune you have managed to prep without even leaving your couch. Spend a quarter of that money on some damn training and classes on how to grow food, how to dehydrate meals and how to pack them in a manner that will save your food for decades. We have gotten so lazy as a nation that we can’t even prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse ourselves!
We go to Ebay or Amazonand buy some Zombie survival kit or Prepping essentials kit because it’s easier than getting off of our fat pimply asses to do it ourselves. Do you actually think these stupid ass kits are assembled by someone who knows their shit? Does the username of the seller give you the sense of trust your very survival depends on? Zombiedude543 has a blue star rating so he must be legit, right?
A chicken for no reason
The difference between an individual who is prepared and one who is a prepper comes down to mindset and physical fitness. Take this post as a challenge to you to take a long look in your signal mirror and make the decision to up your preparedness game.
Are you prepared enough to even enjoy those freeze dried lasagna meals or the dreaded Country Captain Chicken MRE while the world turns into a shit sandwich all around you? Test yourself and document what your physical limits are now. Give yourself 4 months to make substantial gains in your strength and endurance. What is the point of spending your time and money on all this food, gear and training if you die of a heart attack trying to get to your bug out location? I am no model of physical perfection by any means trust me, but I work at making myself better every day. If your survival skills are up to par with your level of fitness there is little left to chance regarding your survival. It is solely upon you to change the terms that define you. Prepping is an action, not a way of life. The act of prepping is merely a small facet of what being prepared is. I hope you are getting sick of me saying this and you start to put these words into action. Having a whole mess load of instruments doesn’t make a musician; it’s what we do with the tools we amass that define us.
I was fortunate to be invited to the Defensive Preparedness Summit hosted by ORSto share ideas and philosophies on defensive shooting tactics and wilderness survival in a practical application environment. The ranch facility is a sprawling hilly terrain which is perfect for anything ranging from shoot and move drills to shelter building and animal tracking.
When the group all arrived we did our hugs and handshakes and then we got down to business. Lance went over the range safety rules and safety procedures, showing us the location of the medical kits and the information necessary to call for EMS in the event of an injury. Lance has clearly done his homework on how to run a safe range, it felt good knowing that the person running the range to the time to educate himself on proper range procedures.
Lance shooting steel.
We began our first course of fire with some basic pistol shooting drills to reinforce the basics of the SAFE series. Once our fundamentals were solid and we were warmed up we started to do some drawing from the holster drills and Getting off the X type drills. Being from Massachusetts where drawing from a holster is mostly banned at ranges these drills were a breath of fresh air to me, drawing in my living room with snap caps just isn’t the same as drawing and firing live rounds. We did variations on these drills for quite some time and moved onto strong hand only firing and reloading drills in which we would rack the slide off of our holsters or belts to get the pistol back into action. We moved on to shooting some Vtactargets in which Lance would call out a color and number and we would close on the target and shoot the designated number of rounds into each called target. I did almost all of my training with rifles in the military so pistol shooting is far and wide my weakest skill-set. I struggled a bit on these exercises, but anytime that I needed assistance or when Lance would see that I was getting sloppy he would be right over to reinforce the fundamentals in a manner which translated directly into hits right on target. Over the next few days we did some shoot and move drills with everything from a KRISS Super-V to some nice custom Ar-15 rifles in which he hid some of my favorite targets, the Ivan!
Me shooting the KRISS
It wouldn’t be an ORSclass without some serious PT involved, so we did a great deal of hill climbing and pull-ups because you only fight as hard as your body is capable. Lance setup 4 steel targets ranging from a sniper’s paradise target to some really challenging gong targets at distances of 15yds – 320yds. Lance was able to make our long days on the range seems like mere minutes when in reality we were spending upwards of 10 hours a day honing our skills in defensive shooting and long distance shooting.
We ended our last range day with a competition, a modified version of H.O.R.S.E. we would take turns calling the most difficult shot possible and it was no surprise Lance tied for first, I surprised myself and got second place but there was no better ending to one of the most memorable training experiences I have ever had in my life. Enough can’t be said to the level of approachable professionalism Lance has integrated into his company’s philosophy of training. I cannot wait to go back and get some more rounds down range, if you are looking to get some training in I highly suggest reaching out to ORS, you will thank me after and tell him KERsent you.