Pistols with Rifle Receivers

I guess I’ll call them “PRRs” or “RRPs” (Rifle Receiver Pistols).  A few of us made comments over at at Say Uncle about the use of such pistols.  There was the assertion that Blackwater personnel have been using AK pistols out of vehicles.  I don’t get it.  Here’s my last comment;

A cut down, folding stock carbine I can see (AKS-74U et al) but I have yet to understand the allure of the “pistol” version (no shoulder stock at all).

“They became very common with Blackwater in Iraq.”

You’re not referring to a folder rather than a pistol?

Stateside, I see the rifle receiver pistol as a political creation (if it has a shoulder stock it falls under the NFA [as a short barreled rifle, or SBR]) rather than something that arose for a particular application.  Otherwise we’d be seeing handguns more along the lines of an Automag with 30 round mags, and/or the Tech 9 or some iteration thereof would be popular, which it isn’t.

There must be something I don’t understand.  Is it all about suppressive fire?  But in that case what’s wrong with having a folding stock on there just in case you want to, you know, aim, or something?

Can anyone fill me in on the particulars?  Why an AK pistol, AR pistol, etc., other than the fact that the stocked version comes with the NFA hassles and tax for civilians?  I mean; why are such pistols desired for defense and/or in combat?  Or are they?


15 thoughts on “Pistols with Rifle Receivers

  1. The only reason I’d build/buy one is because there are some politicians and petty tyrants who don’t want me to have one. Making Sarah Brady cry is a good enough reason to acquire any firearm.

    Still, I’d leave it in the safe though, because they can’t be that pleasant to shoot. In fact, at least one of our local ranges doesn’t allow you to shoot either rifles or shotguns without proper stocks.

  2. “Making Sarah Brady cry is a good enough reason to acquire any firearm.”

    Well, maybe that’s the tactic some vendors have in mind when calling it a “tactical pistol”. That’s the most plausible answer yet, so far as I understand things. But I admit to being ignorant in some areas. I’m still hoping to learn of a practical field application, i.e. one in which S. Brady is irrelevant.

  3. I’d say that’s the crux of it. Tho I see a lot PRRs and Pistol-Grip only shotguns with single-point slings. I’m sure such a sling doesn’t do as good a job as a shoulder stock (otherwise Police and Military who are not slaves to the NFA would be using them) but I’m curious if it makes them any more useful.

    As for me I see cartridges like .45 ACP +P and 10mm Auto as the very maximum of a practical semi-auto pistol (Revolvers can get a LOT bigger without becoming boat anchors like Desert Eagles, Wildey Mags, Tec-9s, and AR-pistols) you want much more power than that in a small package you really need to go SBR.

    Of course the fact that these PRRs exist, along with the other monster magnum pistols, and the monstrous hunting revolvers helps prove a great example of how stupid the NFA is.

    Oh and it also corners the interesting argument antis make where they mumble about long range rifles as being “Too Accurate” and being able to rein terror from vast distances. Meanwhile other guns are berated for their inaccuracy (“Assault Weapons” and “Saturday Night Specials”, I’m sure the PRRs might fit the bill) that won’t be able to be used defensively and pile up innocent bystanders.

    All directly contradictory, and very easy to use for our cause.

  4. I see there is a Ruger 10/22 in a pistol-stocked version at my local Academy Sports store, with a bipod mounted up front for stable bench shooting, and a rail for optics. It was reviewed in a gun magazine by John Taffin, if I recall, as a fine plinking and varmint gun, especially suitable for use with very young shooters due to lack of recoil.

    I also see the Kel-Tec Model PLR-16 Long Range Pistol in 223 Remington, advertised as a long range plinking and varmint pistol.

    While there is no “need” for these pistols, there is a market.

    The more serious use you describe in your post may be driven by practical reasons, or fashion.

  5. I admit to having both an AK and AR “pistol” in our gun room. They aren’t practical, but they ARE fun… Just another way to turn $’s into noise.

    If NFA were not a consideration, they would certainly have folders. As they stand, I would not take them anywhere but the range.

  6. Don’t use them myself, but the justifications seem to revolve around these concepts:
    1) More poop than a pistol. Not as much as a rifle, because of the shorter barrel, but more than a pistol.
    2) More obtrusive than a pistol (length, weight) but less than a rifle. Easier to point when in a vehicle.
    3) Longer sight radius than a pistol
    4) Use the sling as a stock replacement by holding weapon at full extension; the sling, if it crosses across shoulder on one side and under the opposite arm, gives an isometric stability.

    Not saying that any of these are true, but I’ve heard these justifications. Basically the same thing you would say about a PDW.

  7. Bugei; I agree with all those justifications (with the possible exception of the sight radius nit, which I don’t think applies to the AK pistol) if ad only if you don’t have the shoulder stock as an option. I guess a more poignant question is; why would someone choose a RRP over a SBR, the NFA notwithstanding?

  8. I think most of it boils down to “Because I Can” and there’s a market for it. I have a friend here who’s turned all manner of things into pistols. For example, he’s taken a beat up old Romanian PSL kit, had the receiver he bought tranferred as a pistol receiver and made himself a pistol chambered in 7.62 Russian. One heck of a flame thrower I might add. Not to be outdone, he repeated the process with a FAL kit he had. Since then he’s plunked down the cash for a stamp on the FAL pistol and coverted it to a SBR. He’s also made a Vz-58 pistol as well as the obligitory AK pistol and is currently in the process of making a 9mm AR pistol.

    Personnally, I bought one of the Draco pistols from Century expressly for the purpose of getting a stamp and creating a hard-to-find version of the Romanian Special Forces rifle, complete with wire folding stock and laminated vertical foregrip. But that’s just me. 94 days and counting on the Form 1.

  9. Both the allure of tinkering and the business of marketing I heartily advocate. That doesn’t answer my question though. Haz; I’m beginning to think that “just because I can” is the only answer. This all started with Uncle’s link to a “tactical” (a highly over-used word) AK pistol. If it’s tactical, what’s the tactic? One guy was saying they were being used by Blackwater across the pond. I haven’t seen it, so I’m curious whether they’re using these “pistols” or, as I suspect, SBRs. Several of our customers, military and private, have taken our products overseas and sent back photos. The U.S. DOD has sent plenty of our product into Iraq. Lots of use on rifles and SBRs, but none of these “pistols” that I’ve seen as of yet. I know what I think about their practical uses, and I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with that.

  10. I’ve never heard of the rifle caliber pistol used in combat, but I believe a lot of this came about at the conclusion of Clinton’s Folly where pistols were limited by weight, dimension and magazine capacity. When the ban went away, the doors were open to just about any tinkering that could be done and the imagination was the limit (witness my friend above).

    Home builders started the craze, and manufacturers followed suit. I watched this progression over at gunsnet.net when I first got into to the politically incorrect rifle craze in ’04. They’ve even got a forum dedicated specifically for AK pistols. Said friend started out building AMD 65 kits into pistols and went from there.

    I think it’s suspect on it’s face due to the “Blackwater did it” angle. Not saying they didn’t, but…I treat everything I hear that says Blackwater did this or did that with a bit of skepticism. Kind of like “I know this guy, who knew a guy, who worked with a guy, who worked at Blackwater, who said they did this”. Know what I mean?

  11. As to the ‘tactical’ element, just about everything on the market anymore is ‘tactical’. All you’ve got to do is throw a folding or telescoping stock and/or hang a rail or five off of something and it’s ‘tactical’. Doesn’t do much for the weapon in question except raise the price about 50%.

  12. I’ve thought of selling “stealth/tactical throwing rocks”. They’d look and feel exactly like ordinary rocks, so no one would be able to tell the difference. Being so stealthy, you could probably get them through airport security. Metal detectors wouldn’t pick them up, and their textured surface would make it difficult to pull prints off of them (just like Glock pistols only stealthier). Can you pisture the ads in Soldier of Fortune? “Are you ready to rock?”

  13. I’ve spent a few tours in the Middle East, SW Asia, and Africa and while I wasn’t employed by Blackwater I’ve been around them a good bit (and other contract outfits) and I never once saw anyone using an RRP. The locals love to cut off or remove the stocks of AKs, and that leads to their (thankfully) bad marksmanship, but I never saw any Americans or other first worlders do that.

    In my first hand combat experience I cannot see any good use for them. When confined to a vehicle I have used a folding stock AK in open country, and an MP-5 in town so it’s more concealable. When in soft skinned vehicles it’s common to keep the rifle aimed out the window and rely on vehicle speed and immediate accurate firepower to make up for the lack of armor. Sometimes in really tight quarters in cities I just keep my Glock at a relaxed low ready to minimize scaring the locals while still having the quick ability to return fire. A standard pistol is light and allows you to fire at the odd angles often required from a vehicle.

    I don’t claim to be an expert and know everything, but I personally cannot see a viable use for a heavy weapon with limited accuracy due to the lack of a stock. The only possible use is for PSD work with a bungee sling, and even then you need to train a good bit with the setup to be fast and accurate. That’s my two cents worth, maybe someone else has a different idea.

  14. Given the NFA rules, the 5.56 pistols that *don’t* have a tube hanging out the back – think a kel-tec PLR or the similar – those guns have 5.56 power (better than any pistol I can shoot), are easy to shoot, and quite easy to carry, stash in a shop or office. Ought to be good for hiking, but 5.56 is the wrong cartridge for bear. Of course, the sig 5.56 with folding stock (and no tube out the back) folds to be nearly as small as the “pistol” version or a PLR.

    Get rid of NFA weirdness, and most of this would go away.

    I would think (and poster above seems to confirm) that groups like US Mil or Blackwater that can carry anything they want would use short barrelled carbines, or perhaps the sig 5.56 style that fold up shorter than an M4 becaue there’s no gas/spring tube sticking out the back.

  15. I came home in March after 2.5 years in Iraq, and I never saw Blackwater or any other PSD/CP companies using pistol versions of AKs or AR. I saw lots of locals with AKs that had busted or sawed off stocks, and the dilapidated state of their gear was only matched by the sloppiness of their “discipline”.

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