By: Cary Kieffer

I know you give up some velocity but I really like the AR pistol idea. They are obviously shorter, lighter and to a lot of people handier. Especially when turning corners in a building or getting out of a vehicle. To me the best part is I get rifle like performance from a pistol that is perfectly legal to carry loaded in your car with your CPL in Michigan. I keep one in the Jeep at all times incase of a rainy day. Ya never know…we have a lot of trouble in this country. I’d rather know I have the weapon and a 6 pack of extra 30 round mags back there and never need them than need them and not have it. Anyway, here’s the specs on the build, an accuracy report and some chrono numbers.

Spikes Tactical "The Jack" receiver. Looks great but having trouble changing mags.

Spikes Tactical “The Jack” receiver. Looks great but having trouble changing mags.

Lower Build: I started with “The Jack” receiver from Spikes Tactical and I still intend to get it either cerakoted or highlight the skull somehow. I saw one where the guy used a brillo pad just to highlight the raised areas silver, it gave it depth and looked pretty good for a homemade job. I like the looks of the receiver but I have a hard time hitting the magwell going fast. My mag change is very smooth with a regular receiver but I catch the mag on this thing’s teeth all the time, so while nice looking I feel I gave up some speed for it. I finished off the lower with a RRA parts kit and 2 stage match trigger to include the RRA Star safety and a MagPul + rubber grip. I used the KAK Shockwave Pistol blade as well. You get the tube, buffer spring, buffer, castlenut, backplate and of course the blade. I went with a slip on single point sling attachment and a single point I got off Ebay for like 13$. The sling is very well made in the USA and  $13. After I got the first one, I bought 6 more, they are that nice. That does it for the lower.

It's going to look pretty cool when I get that skull highlighted.

It’s going to look pretty cool when I get that skull highlighted.


Carbon fiber handguard that for Chinese has been really nice.

Carbon fiber handguard that for Chinese has been really nice.

Upper build: I started with a Anderson stripped upper and put on a RRA upper parts kit. From there I went with what is no doubt a Chinese made Carbon fiber handguard. I got it from Ebay for $89, it looks nice and is solid enough and I’m in this gun about 800 rounds now and I just the other day finally needed to tighten up the bolts a bit. No big deal, it’s been good to me so far. The rails come with it and you can move them where you like. I did one on the left all the way back for my light. It allows me to use my thumb for the switch while holding the magwell with my left hand. I’ve been holding the magwell so long I don’t care to relearn anything different.

Vortex Viper 1-4 and a Streamlight 1100 lumen Protac. One of my favorite combo's.

Vortex Viper 1-4 and a Streamlight 1100 lumen Protac. One of my favorite combo’s.

The barrel is a Green Mountain 11 inch pistol barrel with RRA carbine length gas system. I bought the barrel from Blitzkrieg Tactical for I think it was $99 on sale, regularly like $160. I finished it off with a KAK flashcan I had my machinist Bill C. cut the teeth into. It’s nasty and dangerous, I love the way it looks and its very functional for tearing flesh and sending the sound away from me. Now slide in a RRA chromed BCG and Badger extended latch charging handle and I’m pretty well set. I put a vanity plate on it, the subdued American flag and a Streamlight 1100 lumen Protac. Finally I topped her off with a Vortex 1-4 PST Viper in a Burris PEPR mount. All in all this thing looks great and is built from stuff I feel will go the distance. I’m very pleased.

A modified KAK flashcan.

A modified KAK flashcan.

Accuracy: Very good is what I would call it considering what it’s for. It’s not a match gun, it’s an added insurance policy to help ensure if my world ever goes to shit that I get home at the end of the day to Kelly and our 2 wild beasts Bailey and Freedom. With 75 grain Hornady Match ammo I was able to print a couple of sub MOA groups when I first finished and test fired it. Barely sub MOA but sub never the less. I never had any ragged single holes but I had some nice clusters easily covered with a quarter. I never chrono’d that ammo because I wasn’t planning on carrying it with that ammo. I just wanted to see what she would do with some “good stuff”. On a “usual” day I shoot right around 2 MOA or a touch over with PMC 62 grain green tips and with Hornady generally in the 1.5+ MOA groups. (rested) That’s good enough for the purpose of this weapon.

20160821_100216-1Now onto what I do carry. Seven mags total, one in the gun and a 6 mag pouch with a shoulder strap I used in the desert. The mag in the weapon has 10 rds of 53 grain Hornady Superformance. I chose it because I wanted fast and fragmentation and I am only batting with 11 inches of barrel. I have read the 6 billion debates on AR defensive ammo just like everybody else….when all said and done I just don’t know or even care anymore if there is a perfect load for the 5.56. I give up, too many conflicting reports and tests. So, this is what I do know…NOBODY wants to get shot with my little creation…I’ll worry about things like training to make sure I keep hitting the target as quickly as I can and maintaining situational awareness. I feel that’s way more important than any bullet style, weight or speed it’s going. Just hitting somebody is hard enough, I know from personal experience because they will be shooting at you too. So….10 rds of 53 grain Superformance followed with 20 rounds of good ole’ PMC 62 grain LAP green tips. Reason being, I figure by the time I have capped off 10 rounds one of 2 things will have happened. A. somebody will be dead and fight over. B. The fight continues but the enemy has found some cover by now. I want all the penetration I can get at this point. I don’t give a damn if my 62’s don’t tumble, mushroom or explode like a bomb. All I care about is it gets through the barrier and if it makes a perfectly neat 22 cal hole strait through the target then so be it…a hole in them is a step in the right direction. So, in a nutshell, I don’t care so much what made a hole or how big it is….I just want a hole in my target. I feel that’s a step in my favor regardless of how fast it puts him down.20160821_101432-1

20160821_100716-1Hornady Superformance 53 grain: Like I said the Hornady will shoot 1.5 ish MOA generally and sometimes a bit better. I busted out the chrono today and this is what I got:

6 rounds: 2705, 2706, 2730, 2738, 2743 and 2768 fps. Average speed: 2731 fps. Muzzle Energy: 877 lbs.

Fast enough that the Hornady bullet should do what it’s supposed too and fragment. I do not buy into any worries this V-Max won’t penetrate deeply enough to do the job. Yet at the same time, I don’t see it going through the next 10 walls.

PMC X-TAC 62 grain LAP: 2’ish MOA groups usually, sometimes on a good day they are better.

5 rounds: 2562, 2580, 2603, 2610 and 2648 fps. Average speed: 2600 fps Muzzle Energy: 930 lbs.

For 11 inches of barrel I felt like an average of 2600 fps was fast enough for the LAP bullet to do it’s job. I’ve shot this stuff at quite a few different things and it seems to plow right through which is what I wanted for my last 20 rounds in the magazine.20160821_100814-1

Summary: I like and trust my build. I feel like in 50 years, barring anything unforeseen, the weapon will still be in good working order. I have had zero malfunctions of any kind in my first 800 downrange. I don’t care for how “The Jack” magwell slows me down, when I build a 458 Socom upper I intend to use this lower and just build a normal lower for this with exactly the same parts listed above. Additionally on the magwell, P-Mags don’t like to drop free, aluminum military mags do everytime.20160821_100145-1

My barrel is pretty good but I don’t think I would have paid 160$ for it, for $99 I have been very pleased. If it hadn’t been on sale I would have used another 12 inch Orion barrel at about $130. I shoot better rested groups with that rig but it is a heavy profile barrel and for me doesn’t handle as well as the lighter Gov’t profile Green Mountain does. All in all it makes a great “truck gun”. If I can’t get through a terrible day with this thing then I just wasn’t meant to get through it, I have all the tool here I can ask for.20160821_100135

The Future: I see myself with a Form 1 homemade Can. I have 5.56 Cans but I wanted to build a 6 inch lightweight titanium can for this. I don’t care all that much if it’s the quietest thing ever. I just need it to take the edge off the noisy 11 inch barrel.  I’ve looked around quite a bit online for idea’s. I see a titanium body with stainless internals, a blast chamber and 3 baffles. Like I said, it doesn’t have to be super quiet, just keep me from half knocking myself out if I ever have to use it uncovered/indoors. Anyway….  What’s in your truck?? Tell us about it. As always thanks for reading and train often.



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Cary Kieffer

USMC Infantry/Combat Veteran/MUESOC/Sniper School - Med Retired LEO w/ 8yrs on job before Iraq wounds caught up with me.

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