Despite the all-American claim that bigger is better, there are some cases in which smaller and more compact really pays dividends. For instance, when you’re looking for the ultimate truck gun, an easily stored and transported range gun or simply need a highly maneuverable home-defense gun, a pint-size AR pistol can be a lot more user friendly than its full-size counterpart.
Thanks to the popular pistol-stabilizing brace, AR-15s are now available in short-barrel, compact configurations that can be stabilized for more-accurate shooting with a third point of contact on the brace. As a result, firearm enthusiasts now have access to AR-style firearms built with a barrel anywhere in popular lengths from 5.5 to 12 inches and chambered in pistol calibers, 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK and more. While the industry is laden with tons of AR-style pistols, we're going to distill the market down to seven great options, but know that there are many options out there, ranging from budget-priced to high-end.
Known for its premium-quality rifle builds and innovative new cartridge designs, Alexander Arms struck gold again with the recent addition of the Highlander pistol chambered in 6.5 Grendel. Not only is the 6.5 Grendel highly effective at close range, it’s also a screamer at serious distance. Featuring a 1:7.5-inch twist and 11-inch barrel, the Highlander weighs just 6.2 pounds, produces very little recoil, and utilizes an SB Tactical SBA3 five-position stabilizing brace. MSRP: $1,659
Built with 9-, 11-, and 12-inch variants, Bravo Company Manufacturing (BCM) offers the RECCE pistol in 5.56 NATO and .300 BLK with the SBA3 five-position pistol brace. A proven manufacturer for high-grade military and law-enforcement guns, BCM’s RECCE pistol is loaded with features, including a Gunfighter charging handle, PNT trigger and a tapered barrel with fluting. Most pistols weigh between 5.5 and 6 pounds and feature a 1:7-inch twist, chrome lined barrel. MSRP: $1,500-1,600
Already popular in 9mm, .300 BLK, and .40 S&W, CMMG expanded the Banshee 300 MK10 lineup to include the long-awaited 10mm AR pistol. It takes Glock mags, features an 8-inch barrel with 1:16-inch twist, and weighs just 5 pounds, 9 ounces. What’s not to love? The Banshee sports a proprietary CMMG RipBrace with six positions and an ambidextrous sling plate, as well as a RML7 M-Lok handguard with an SV brake. At just 24.3 inches in overall length (brace collapsed), the Banshee is as compact and maneuverable as the AR pistol gets. MSRP: $1,649
If you’re looking for a quality-built AR pistol that won’t break the bank, it’s hard to do better than Ruger’s offerings, which come in 5.56 NATO, .300 BLK, and yes, 350 Legend. If you’re feeling patriotic, you can even get the 5.56 version with an American-flag finish. Each pistol comes with a 30-round Magpul PMAG except the 350, which comes with a five-rounder. The .300 BLK and 5.56 models feature a 10.5-inch barrel, while the 350 Legend features a 9.5-inch barrel. MSRP: $899-949
SIG’s MCX is now available in the Virtus pistol series, which includes 5.56 NATO and .300 BLK configurations. The BLK comes with a 9-inch barrel, while the 5.56 features an 11.5-inch barrel. All models come with a 30-round polymer magazine and folding PCB, which makes an already nimble platform that much more compact. Ranging from 7 to 7.4 pounds, the Virtus utilizes gas piston operation, an M-Lok rail system, and a 1:5- (.300 BLK) or 1:7-inch twist (5.56). MSRP: $2,029
Available in 5.56 or .300 BLK, Springfield Armory’s new Victor Pistol is an ultra-compact, fast-shooting AR platform that weighs less than 6 pounds. Featuring a BCM Mod.3 pistol grip and BCM trigger guard, the Victor pistol comes with an SB Tactical SBX-K brace and 30-round PMAG. The 5.56 comes with a 7.5-inch barrel with 1:7-inch twist rate, while the .300 BLK is built with a 9-inch barrel and 1:7-inch twist. With an overall length of 26.5 to 27.5 inches, the Victor pistol packs plenty of punch in a low-profile platform. MSRP: $1,015
While it comes in the standard calibers of 5.56 and .300 BLK, Wilson Combat’s ARP Tactical Pistol is also available in .300 HAM’R, giving shooters another unique offering from a high-end manufacturer. Utilizing a 11.3-inch barrel, the ARP is built around a direct-impingement system and measures between 27.5 and 30 inches of overall length, depending on model. At less than 6 pounds, the ARP is ideal for close quarters and easy stowing, whether that’s in a truck or behind the nightstand. A Q-Comp flash hider/muzzle brake adds control, while an M2 two-stage trigger delivers premium accuracy. MSRP: $2,000