AR Pistols – Crazy Compact and Politically Incorrect

By John Farnam

Springfield Armory AR Saint Pistol
Springfield Armory AR Saint Pistol
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( “AR Pistols”

Yesterday, at the ITOA Convention (Illinois Tactical Officer’s Association) in Oakbrook, IL, I had the opportunity to handle Springfield Armory’s “Saint Pistol.”

SA’s “Saint” line of “standard” ARs has been popular, and we’ve had students bring them to class. All have run fine!

However, this “Pistol” version features a 7.5″ barrel with an “arm-brace”on the end of the buffer-tube. Overall length is 26.” With a Law Tactical folding buffer-tube, the whole package is even more compact, and would fit within most briefcases!

The Saint Pistol also features a clever gas-deflector, which channels muzzle-blast forward, instead of to the side. Noveske makes a similar one, which I’ve seen in action. The Saint’s version is quite compact.

The Saint Pistol I handled was in 5.56×45, but I’m sure a 300Blk version will join the fray shortly!

Other “pistols” that fall into the same category include Inland Mfg’s M1 Carbine/Pistol. I shot this gun several weeks ago in TX. Again, compact, but the copy I shot had no stock at all. Just a pistol grip.

Robinson Arms XCR Pistol
Robinson Arms XCR Pistol

Robinson Arms “XCR Pistol” is another adaption of the same idea, as is SIG’s “Vertus” Pistol, and Daniel Defense’s DDM4/300, et al.

The whole idea of AR Pistols is to offer the American consumer a SBR (Short-Barreled-Rifle), which is not an NFA weapon, and thus not subject to interminable delays, burdensome NFA paperwork, and transfer taxes.

When you manufacture a weapon in this country, and call it a “rifle,” minimum barrel length is sixteen inches. When you manufacture a “pistol,” barrel-length is not restricted, but the weapon may not have a shoulder-stock.

At least the foregoing represented the “rules,” until recently. Then, some manufacturers started putting “arm-braces” on the buffer-tubes of ARs and selling them as “pistols.”

ATF has gone round and round over this issue for the past decade, changing their minds several times.

In fact, DJT may remove SBRs (and suppressors/silencers for that matter) from NFA status entirely, which will make the foregoing discussion irrelevant and of interest only to historians, but that has not happened yet.

Currently, at least, “arm-braces” are apparently okay, and the shooter may even use them as a shoulder support/index. So, this class of weapons has now become effectively, SBRs!

But, since they fall under the “pistol” description, state-issued CCW permits apply to them.

So in many states, where it would be profoundly illegal to have any kind of “rifle” (in any condition) in the cab-portion of a vehicle, one may legally have one of these “pistols” (fully loaded and ready to fire) on his lap, or on the seat next to him, or the seat behind him, so long as he has a valid CCW permit!

Thus, while many think there is no practical reason to own one of these, there may be a legitimate political one!

Inland Manufacturing M1 Advisor Pistol
Inland Manufacturing M1 Advisor Pistol

The most logical caliber for these “pistols” is 300 Blk, as with this caliber you pay less of a velocity-loss penalty owing to a short barrel than is the case with 5.56×45. However, either are satisfactory for most tactical challenges within 100m

I’ve had students show-up with AR “pistols” having no “arm-brace” at all, just the buffer-tube extending to the rear. Even so, a satisfactory shoulder support/index can be attained by most shooters.

I don’t currently own one of these “pistols,” as a standard AR, XCR, etc can be had with a Law Tactical (or other) folding stock, legal in most states. Folded, the whole thing fits into a skateboard-case for low-profile transport. My “FSM4″ is a good example.

However, I am attracted to the extreme compactness of the SA Saint Pistol I handled yesterday.

I may have to get a copy!


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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Try putting a DFA Modified Cycle System on it with a brace.



DEAR SANTA, I have been a very good boy this year and if you can get by my house this Christmas, I would really appreciate it if you would leave me …………

Sincerely and Hopeful JWB


These pistols are great and blur the line between pistols and rifles making them a must for a vehicle self defense weapon. I think my next one will be in 7.62×39, shooting cheap Russian ammo like my AR47 rifles.

Dave in Fairfax

Two words – Springfield Armory
Three words – Rot in Hell
ANY other AR pistol, unless RIA makes one, then them too, or S&W or Ruger.
See where this is going? Vote with your wallet.

Daemos in Illinois

“…unless RIA makes one, then them too…”
You DO mean RRA, Rock River Arms, and not RIA, Rock Island Armory or Rock Island Auction, don’t you?

I’m pretty sure Springfield Armory and RRA are the ones we are supposed to raise up our pitchforks against.


Xlnt reply. Just like our political system the gun industry knows 99% of people have a very short attention span and an even shorter memory and are easily distracted by the next “big thing”. Look at the vegas 9/11 style attack. A few new distractions and everyone moves on from the Vegas terrorist attack. They forget about it. Everyone stops talking about it. Stops asking questions even though we have got ABSOLUTELY NO ANSWERS WHAT SO EVER, NONE. Now, SA also knows this too. They know/knew what they were doing and they also know/knew that in time everyone would forget… Read more »


Fill me in, Bill. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT you are writing about!

Ron Dohner

Should have took posession of ur pistol …hope your loved ones dont have to defend themselves with a knife at a gun fight


“The most logical caliber for these “pistols” is 300 Blk . . . ” For close up self defense (including home defense) I think the .300 Whisper variation would be better, since with a very heavy subsonic bullet you still have decent terminal ballistics in a compact non-SBR which lends itself well to suppression. If the Hearing Protection Act ever passes, we’ll see a lot more “non-SBR” firearms like this in homes.


Hey Hank B!
Can’t you get 300 BLK ammo BOTH subsonic 200 grain and supersonic 110 grain?