Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Justification for Packable AR15 Pistols in Vehicles

The PWS MOD2 MK107
is the top tier of AR15 pistols.
Justification for Packable AR15 Pistols in Vehicles

An unassuming $40 Eddie Bauer
pack has a suprise in it
Just a few years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the idea of having a packable AR15 pistol tucked into my vehicle though I have kept a stowed and cased AR15 or Tavor in the truck for years. More times than I can remember that rifle came in handy during impromptu range trips plus the assurance a few 30-round magazines of Hornady Defense and M855 5.56 can provide when you are 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 with the ability to deliver high precision shots under 100-yards and connect assuredly out to 400+ years if needed. Over the last five years, I have worked through a set of theories based on some discussions with some deep experienced friends which I would like to share. One high ranking Army friend formerly special forces, 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 having only a handgun is not enough and an AR15 pistol is the better personal defense and road travel firearm to have stowed in your vehicle.

Discussing my ideas with a few folks who have been there and done that, I began gaming out a few potential theories.  Beyond the zombie apocalypse type events, there only a couple logically probable scenarios which could occur:
  • Personal defense and security during an active shooter situation
  • General support of survival and security needs (such as being stranded or coming home to forced entry situation)
  • Support of movement to a safe location during a hostile/riot situation
  • … and of course an extremely unlikely situation where everything goes to hell and you need a weapon (EMPs, Solar Flares, invasion, zoombies...etc). With all the recent UFO activity, who freaking knows, maybe insane situation #4 is not so insane.

In any other immediate threat situation, the speed and reaction time would require your smaller conceal handgun inside the waistband to come into play first. The logical needs were for a PDW - Personal Defense Weapon which could deliver 90% 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.

Over the last couple years I have changed my perspective of AR15 pistols from just range toys to serious viable PDWs - Personal Defense Weapons and probably the best home defense gun you can own. The accuracy of these little AR15 pistols has shocked me. One particular AR15 pistol owned can deliver sub-MOA groups from its 7.5” match barrel - yes it will outshoot most rack grade rifles. Most of my other AR15 pistols with premium match barrels can stay well under the 1.5” 100-yard group mark and will keep my 6” steel target clanging away all the way out to 400-yards with ease. After all, AR15 pistols are in essence the pistol versions of rifles without the stock or rifle classification. The pace at which these little pistols can lay down precision hits is pretty amazing to the degree that I have questioned whether a full sized rifle would really give me that more of an advantage over a PDW for use in, around and out of a vehicle.

The SIG MPX pistol tucks into
almost any small pack
If we look at the reality of most urban combat shooting engagements, they occur statistically well under 100-yards which is a sweet spot for a short accurate PDW - Personal Defense Weapon. Statistically, it is also unlikely that any more than 10-20 rounds would ever be needed to address a single situation, but the PDW can still deliver plenty of firepower with a 30 or 40-round PMag attached. Four or five extra mags thrown into the carry bag delivers a substantial firepower capability. From very light 40gr high shock hollow points to M855 steel core rounds, the 5.56/.223 offers a lot of options for defense, survival and threat engagement. It is also statistically unlikely to have a need for supporting a long term armed engagement, but again the PDW can still handle that requirement as well. Though I was a little sore afterwards, I did spend an afternoon hammering 500 rounds through my truck AR15 pistol. That problem-free beatdown of that AR15 pistol changed my perception of what AR15 pistols could deliver drastically in just one afternoon. The PDW format can bring the firepower. I would gladly suffer a little discomfort for a one foot shorter gun that is 2-3 lbs lighter for this particular use.

A 7.5-inch Aero Precision AR15 pistol
in an ultralight small pack.
One of the most important points as a civilian is the assuring your are 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 placed in a particular way and almost always un-loaded. This can be troublesome.

Conversely if you have a concealed carry permit, carrying an AR15 pistol is covered under your permit because after all an AR15 pistol is not a rifle… its a pistol. Unless you are purposefully doing something illegal or demonstrating how easy it is to shoulder a Sig Brace in front of the police, having a loaded AR15 pistol is just as legal as the handgun on your hip. I would suggest referring to your AR15 pistol as a “legal AR format pistol” rather than just an AR15 if questioned. The point here is that in many cases having an AR15 pistol can avoid unintentionally breaking the law should your rifle not fit the widely varying locals regarding stowage for rifles.

Having a legally stowed, cased, and unloaded full sized AR15 rifle in the back of the vehicle is a viable concept, however accessibility to that gun to put it into action fast is another matter altogether. It hardly seems a sound idea to have an accessible loaded AR15 rifle on the front seat of your vehicle with a blanket over for concealment - you’ll likely get arrested. One the other hand, a concealed carry license allows loaded pistols to be concealed, on the person or within a vehicles or in personal belongings. It would seem that if the need arose, playing a legally stowed, loaded and accessible AR15 pistol in a backpack in the front seat would be far faster than walking around to the trunk, opening it, unzipping the rifles case, and loading the rifle.

Mrs Pandemics Trump Trunk Gun
With a 3X optic, 400-yards is not a
long way at all for an AR15 pistol
Maneuvering a rifle inside a vehicle is a tough situation and most would agree that a short AR15 pistol is more appropriate. If you have ever tried swinging a AR15 rifle around inside a car, it pretty much sucks. Conversely, a 10-inch AR pistol can usually be pivoted from the passenger window to the driver window without becoming hung up on windows, dashes, and steering wheels. Thinking through a multitude of situations which could occur on the road, my theory is that it would be preferable to have a short maneuverable AR15 pistol if facing a survival situation or stranded roadside camping inside a vehicle. If clearing between or around vehicles or through an urban environment to make haste back home, a shorter AR15 pistol would also seem to be the better tool than a rifle.

Though legality is a big issue, discretely being able to move with an AR15 pistol is probably the biggest advantage of all. There is no way even a disassembled rifle is going to slip into a standard sized backpack. If you need to move discretely with your rifle from your vehicle it is going to be really quite obvious you are carrying a rifle around - "Hey over here everyone I am got a rifle! " A 10.5” 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 and no one will know.  A 7.5” barreled AR15 pistol with Law Tactical Folding stock can fit into pretty much any smaller pack.

It is my belief that any firearm permanently stored in a vehicle should be easily concealed, and clandestinely moved in a public setting without undue attention. There was one situation where my truck needed unexpected overnight service due to an accident and another where the hotel only offered valet parking. In both situations I had to de-weaponize my truck and walk through some rather public areas with what was clearly a gun case. Those incidents taught me a lesson that discrete cases should always be used to house firearms in vehicles even if it is just one of those non-tactical square soft cases. A similar situation occurred more recently again when I forgot to remove my firearms from my truck before routine oil change, however I was able to grab my Eddie Bauer backpack containing my AR15 pistol and backup Glock 17 and walk over to the coffee shop to wait without anyone taking a second look - that act also happens to be 100% legal in my state. A standard AR15 rifle is just not going to give you that option unless it is disassembled and in a more discrete case like a Hazard 4 Plan C or something similar.

A simple two-point sling or a convertible ALG Defense Quad Dual QD sling delivers a carry option which enhances both concealment and handling. If “it” did happen during a hostile situation where LEO and government officials were on high alert and you did have to trek on foot back home, it would be much better to have a little PDW AR15 pistol concealed and slung under a long rain jacket than walking home with a rifle slung over your shoulder.

Sneaky Bags 31-inch SPYDER accommodates
everything from PDWs, Tavors, and
disassembled AR15s
The discreet carry Sneaky Bags are a wonderful option with plenty of internal tactical storage capabilities. The medium Sneaky Bags 31” SPYDER sling bag which looks like a modified tennis racket bag can conceal several firearms at once, but the weight starts to add up. The standard Sneaky 31” SPYDER bag can accommodate a variety of firearms, for example: a Tavor bullpup rifle, a PWS MOD2 pistol PDW, nearly any assembled 12” barreled SBR or AR15 pistol, and dis-assembled (upper/lower) rifles. It is a handy and extremely well made case.

AR15 pistols of course easy drop 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 for my Sig MPX 9mm and other AR15 pistols.

An Aero Precision AR15 pistol with Law Folding
Tactical Buffer tube adapter, Dolos QD barrel
System upgraded with a Brigand Arms 
hand guard
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 and shoot. This is a setup that can deploy instantly from any discrete bag when “it” hits the fan. If you are considering an AR15 pistol for your vehicle, then this would be a must have accessory from my perspective.

From tiny to capable in under 5-seconds.
The DOLOS V2 also chops an AR15 pistol down even smaller. The DOLOS delivers a ratcheting quick takedown option to remove the barrel with assembly and disassembly occurring in under 5-seconds. The DOLOS V2 is compatible with any Midwest Industries thread pattern barrel nut handguard which it turns out is pretty common including the very trick Brigand Arms Carbon Fiber handguards.

The stock Dolos V2 QD Barrel removal system
from Pantheon Arms
Combined with the Law Tactical folding Buffer tube adapter, the DOLOS can deliver a 10”x8” AR15 pistol (7.5” barrel) package that will fit in most Ipad sling packs such as the Drago Sentry and most small sling packs. The shown build features a 7.5” pencil profile .223 Wylde Black Hole Weaponry match barrel, Aero Precision receivers, Phase 5 Tactical Hex2 buffer tube, Sig Brace, Nikon 3X BDC optic, and DOLOS adapter with Brigand Arms carbon fiber handguard. This is a 400-yard headshot capable rig that brakes down to only 10”x8” with a 20-round magazine in place ready to party. The last time I was on the range this little pistol shot a .74-inch 100-yard group.

Any firearm within a vehicle has a very 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. I have had more than a few LEO folks ask me if my Tavor or an AR15 pistol was an SBR. Though we all know AR15 pistols are legally just pistols, however if you are pulled over and you are justifiably searched, I would bet that less than 50% of police would have the knowledge to clearly identify your loaded ready to rock legal AR15 pistol as a pistol - hassle initiated.

The Rogers Rail light is a must for any
AR15 pistol for defense and survival

The Streamlight based light snaps 
on/off any pica tiny rail
and works on pistols and ARs.
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 SB Tactical and Sig Braces are "legal", however this is where I suggest a standard buffer tube might be the better less grey option to avoid extra hassle. Add in that the ATF is again at it suggesting a wildly subjective grade card which could make you heavily accessoried AR pistol illegal, the less to explain to LEOs the better. Notably with the buffer tube extension the Law Tactical Folding Adapter provides, I would submit that shooting configuration to be so comfortable that a Brace is not required. Using a rifle length buffer tube makes for a soft and comfortable shooting AR pistol.

Recently I had a series of discussions with some badass military, LEO, and security folks who were convinced that PDWs were the more correct choice for a vehicle based firearm vs a full sized rifle. Sorting through those discussions, the main re-emphasized points were compact size, firepower, 0-100 yard accuracy/lethality, maneuverability, stowed concealment, and the ability to move with the weapon discretely when not in play. 

From my perspective the AR15 pistol meets those needs perfectly. One of my friends said it well - “If you are going to war a rifle is preferred, but for shots that might be fired in, around and from a vehicle or just for personal defense, a faster handling compact SBR, PDW, or AR15 pistol are tough solutions to beat.”

Mr Pandemics gold and grey tiger stripe
Trump Trunk Gun. The Extended A2 Rifle length buffer tube
improves comfort for my 6'1" wife's wingspan.
After a whole lot of shooting and testing, I like the compromise of a 10.5” barreled AR15 pistol. Its has an exponentially quieter bark and fireball and delivers a velocity jump compared to a 7.5” barrel, and provides a shooting platform that gives the shooter more room to stretch out. 

My new favorite factory AR15 pistol is the PWS MOD2 MK107 AR15 Pistol with Maxim Defense Adjustable Cheek Rest - truly an amazing firearm which packs beautifully in the Sneaky Bags SPYDER.

Since I do not want a $2500 (including the Vortex optic) potentially stolen from my truck, I opted for part-ing together a couple AR15 pistols. The his and hers Pandemic Truck guns are both based on Faxon Govt/Socom 10.5” barrels with Faxon matched headspaced BCGs. 

A very nice, light, and highly accurate AR15 pistol
My wife’s pistol features an Aero Precision upper, YHM Quick Pull Take-Down Pins, ALG handguard, Rogers Rail light, Burris 3X 332 prismatic sight, Black Rain lower receiver, Mega Arms trigger, and Paracord wrapped A2 rifle buffer tube which extends the “cheek weld” for my wife. We call this the Trump Trunk Gun, since Trump likes everything gold plated… maybe minus the tiger stripe.

My truck pistol uses a Clark Carbon Fiber handguard, Rogers Rail light, Nikon 1-4 scope, Aero Precision optic mount, YHM Quick Pull Take-Down Pins, Aero Precision upper, a billet lower, CMC Match trigger, Law Tactical Folding Buffer Tube Adapter, and A2 rifle length buffer tube.

Both of these builds have stood the test of time for me, though I did rebuild my wife's pistol with a FDE paint-job and topped it with a Burris 1-4 MTAC scope. In my kit, I have even added a CMMG .22LR drop-in caliber conversion kit to offer even more utility to the AR pistol.

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1 comment:

Bry-Guy said...

Very cool! I have a question though regarding the Clark carbon handguard. Was it compatible with the dolos take-down system? I know you mentioned it in a previous build with the epoxy version of the tube. Looks like Clark now has a clamp on version. How did you get it to interface? Thanks!