AR-15 pistols are popular for several good reasons. The ability to have a compact firearm with the performance and ergonomics of the AR-15 rifle is very attractive for those looking for potent vehicle or home defense options. AR pistols carry specific reliability, performance, legal and training issues.
For many pistol users, the AR15 pistol makes a lot of sense economically and for personal defense. Theres no hassling with the paperwork and waiting time as if you were purchasing a rifle.
A key thing to remember is that it is a pistol even if you have a 14 inch barrel on it and train it as such. Put it through the rigors of scenarios for home defense and vehicle defense.
One method with the use of a sling can help stabilize the AR15 pistol for quick accurate shots, you perform this by doing the point and shoot.
What’s your take on the AR15 pistol?
Alright, now I’m gonna talk a little bit about AR-15 pistols. Now AR-15 pistols are getting a real resurge in popularity. There’s a lot of companies building the pistol uppers, there’s a lot of people doing different things with the back end of the pistols, and there’s a lot of interesting things going on as far as peple training with them and using them, and realizing that there’s some huge benefits to the compact AR platform, the ability to fire an AR-15 essentially, the same exact thing is going on with the bullet, as long as you’re getting enough muzzle velocity out of your shorter barrel, this is very much like the SBRs, the short-barreled rifle.
Ballistics that people talk about, we’re talking about 6in, 7in, 7.5in, 10.5in, 11in, 12in, anything under 16inches here in the US is considered a short-barreled rifle. But as soon as you put a stock on this, it becomes a big issue as far as the law. Now it’s not ‘illegal’, but you do have to jump through a lot of hoops, you gotta pay a little extra money, you gotta wait a long time, and there are some states where that option doesn’t even exist. So for a lot of people, the AR pistol makes a lot of sense because it gives you a lot of the benefits of a compact platform shooting that 556 round, out of a barrel that is shorter than we would normally get out of a carbine with a collapsed stock. So that’s the advantage.
Now, here’s the thing, as far as SBRs go, I don’t own one. I’ve never bothered to jump through the hoops of any of the NFA -the National Firearms Act- type suppressors, Short-barreled rifles, fully-automatic firearms, I just don’t see a big enough advantage for me from a defensive standpoint to go through the hoops just to have it as a novelty, just to have it in my collection.
AR Pistols on the other hand are something that I’ve been dealing with since the 90s, since during the original Assault Weapons Ban, looking at how to build an AR-15 platform pistol that was reliable. That was the big issue. You used to have the short 3-inch buffer tubes, sometimes you had an over-the-top kind of situation, but we couldn’t have any breaks, we couldn’t have any kind of muzzle break, flash suppressor, anything on the end during the assault weapons ban period, so there were a lot of things that made it just not very a reliable option, not to mention the fact that there weren’t a lot of very reliable systems as far as the combinations of the gas systems and the buffer tubes that we could rely on so that we could have a gun that we knew was gonna work for vehicle defense, personal defense, home defense. So it wasn’t much of an option.
Fast forward into the 2000s, I actually did a big writeup in SWAT magazine about AR pistols and particularly focusing on one that was made out of carbon, so it was actually a polymer gun, and it was a short-barreled six-inch fluted barrel, very rigid system, and again not much going on as far as a long buffer tube.
Well the new thing that’s happened now in the last 5-6 years is, a resurgence in interest in the AR pistol with extended buffer tubes, so this longer buffer tubes, obviously with some padding back here, and barrel lengths of ten to twelve inches, making sure that we’re still getting the velocity that we want to get the bullets to perform properly, perform like rifle bullets should: either reliably expanding, or tumbling when they hit the person that we’re shooting at trying to stop them from hurting us around our vehicle, inside of our homes. It’s not very likely that you’re going to be carrying this as a personal defense tool under a jacket or something like that. But where we get into some trouble, where we get into some confusion, is in the proper use of the AR-15 pistol.
Now if you go back and look at that SWAT magazine article, what you’re going to see is some pictures of me talking about using this as a personal defense tool or especially like in an executive protection team setting, where you’re extending and pushing this gun out against the sling, whether it’s a bungee sling or a standard sling like this one, pushing out and getting some tension there so that you get some stability as you reach out to full extension. Now that’s certainly a viable method and it works really well with these. Originally as it was shown to me in the Agent K series MP-5 the K version, very small version that has the pistol grip, very short version, and you could drive that out, that MP5, against the sling, and shoot it very very well. And obviously, set up with a red dot optic like this it gives you a very great option.
So that’s the primary way that people are taught to shoot these, and it’s the primary way that people who have shot guns like this for a long time. So let’s take a look at how that’s gonna work. We go ahead and load and chamber, and I’m just gonna go ahead and stand here, I’m gonna drive out– this is a very typical kinda home defense, maybe a vehicle defensive distance. In fact, this is further than it would be, maybe across my bedroom, if I had to defend myself with this type of firearm. I drive out, I see my dot, when I see my dot, I fire a shot. No problem. I drive out, I can manage recoil, multiple shots, and you can see: not bad grouping, and relatively fast. Drive out again, I hit a magazine change, the same as I do with a regular AR, I insert, I reach back and pull, and you’ll see that this time, what I’ve done is I’ve switched to a smaller magazine. Obviously a big part of this gun is the compactness, right? So a smaller magazine, a 20-round magazine, as long as your gun works reliably with them it can be a great option for this pistol, especially if you’re keeping it for vehicle defense, if you’re securing anyone inside a vehicle, this can be a great option with a smaller magazine.
Now here’s where it comes to the interesting moment. the padding, the different things that you’ll see, different configurations back here, can make it awfully tempting to take this pistol and put it up against your shoulder and get a good cheek weld and shoot it just like a rifle. And that’s where the gray area is. And honestly, it’s something I’m concerned about for our community and for the industry as a whole, different attachments and paddings and butt stock-looking things are absolutely coming from the BATFE with letters saying ‘You can attach this to a pistol and not be in violation of the law’, my concern is that, in US code and many state laws, one of the descriptors of a rifle includes ‘the intention to shoot the firearm from the shoulder’.
So if I all of a sudden were to say to you ‘hey, here’s how you shoot this thing, you push it up against your shoulder, your chest, you put your cheek down on it, and that’s how you bring the gun up and shoot it’, well essentially, if this is why you buy it, if you buy it to do that and you go out and train with it, and I’m telling you as an instructor that this is how you do it, then I think that clearly changes the intended use of the firearm from being a pistol, something that you shoot out from your body, to something that you shoot up against your body. So until I see a letter from the BATFE that says ‘no no no, it does not constructively create a rifle if you intend to shoot this thing from your shoulder’, that’s not something I’m willing to teach. Now that would be four points of contact, that would be the traditional rifle ‘one, two, three, four’ points of contact when I come up to my cheek. However, pistol shooting can involve maybe three points of contact. So if we look at the letter of the law, we can realize that we can’t put it up against our shoulder -Or chest area I’m sure would be an extension of shouldering this device- maybe I can put my cheek on this and get three points of contact. And I’ve seen other instructors do this as well.
There are some devices which attach to the chin which I’m not a big fan of, it doesn’t seem like that’s a great idea. Obviously if I’m breathing, my chin, my mouth is moving. But I can put this up to my cheek. Let’s say I wanted to take a shot at the head and I put my cheek up on the gun, now I can take that shot with a little more stability. So as opposed to kinda hip-shooting this thing or kinda free-floating it, we’re taking it off the sling and just driving out holding it like this in this kind of a situation, which certainly could work, I could fire a shot into the chest this way and get a good hit. This way I can pull the gun back in, put it up against my face, obviously stop talking, fire that shot into the head area. So that’s one way to get a little more stability without having to worry about the shouldering issue.
So AR pistols, I think absolutely, a modern, good, viable option for home defense, maybe for a good vehicle gun, but be careful how you train with them, be careful how you build them, make sure obviously that you’re complying with all the laws, that you’ve got a lower that can be built as a pistol, that you aren’t taking something that was sold to you as a rifle and changing its configuration completely to make it a pistol. Lotta things to worry about when it comes to the AR pistols, but I think they’re absolutely worth worrying about, because it absolutely is a viable defense system.
There are groups of gun enthusiasts that love to appendix carry while another group of shooters thinks its a safety hazard. This group thinks an accidental discharge can occur while you’re drawing the pistol as the line of sight is toward the pelvic area.
Rob Leatham and Rob Pincus goes over some advantages that appendix carry offers such as concealment, speed, and presentation of the weapon.
Rob Pincus explains one advantage that appendix carry shine is keeping your weapon in front while drawing and displaying. Where as the side holstered there is more required motion with your arms to get the handgun un-holstered and on target. With appendix carry positioned its very easy to go to your weapon and puts your body in a ready to fight posture.
With the right technique mastered even a pudgy person can use the appendix carry effectively. See the footage below to get the idea.
Leatham: You know Rob, I carry an XDX 3.3 in an appendix holster all the time, but you can’t get around the fact that there’s a lot of people talking about the safety of them and stuff; and I feel comfortable with it, but you know I really wonder what your thoughts are.”
Pincus: Yeah, it’s definitely something that’s caused a lot of controversy and a lot of buzz. I think that frankly, carrying and presenting from the appendix position, and re-holstering a lot on the training range, if you’re doing it right, can actually be safer and give you less exposure to covering yourself with the muzzle, then 3 O’clock, 4 O’clock, 5 O’clock. You know we’ve all been on the range, and we’ve seen that guy who brings the gun back from its shooting position and points it right in through his whole pelvic girdle, through his torso, to get it back into the holster. And with appendix carry, we don’t have that. The gun starts out in front of our body, and we can keep it in front of our body, if we think about the angles involved.
Leatham: One of the best things about Appendix is that it doesn’t create a width for
Leatham: So this is a real problem, you know, you skinny guys don’t necessarily see it, but I take up a lot more space than you do, and any time I’m having to work around here, especially in a seated position, it just doesn’t work for me-
Leatham: At all! And the fact is, if I point a gun at me, that’s my fault, that’s on me. If I point a gun at everybody else, I have a real problem with that.
Pincus: Absolutely. You know, a lot of guys, because they don’t want to cover themselves, will flag that gun way out to the side, and obviously pose a danger in the training environment, but really end up with a reckless swing of the gun, instead of a presentation of the gun.
Leatham: And that’s a draw, too! That’s a really bad presentation of the gun.
Pincus: It is! Sets you up for a really bad position here because you don’t get that bio-mechanical lock. So let’s take a look at what’s going to happen. If we’re here talking and some guy comes up from around the corner, jumps out, startles us, maybe fires a shot, we’re both gonna go into that athletic, lower center of gravity, orient towards the threat, and this is what everybody sees. They see that gun in appendix carry -and I’m just going to go ahead and tuck in here behind my XDS, when I do this, now that gun is pointed into my body. So what I need to remember is, just like I’m going to remove my concealment garment, there’s other things involved in presentation from the holster, I’m gonna learn that as I reach for the gun, I push my hip forward. By pushing my hip forward, as soon as this gun comes out of the holster, that muzzle’s already pointed out in front of me, I orient the muzzle straight to the threat, I tuck back in so I have my body engaged behind the gun as I drive out and get into my shooting position. Then I can bring the gun back in, I obviously have dealt with that situation, I’ve assessed my environment, I’ve topped my gun off, I’ve got into cover, whatever I have to do, when I go to reholster, and obviously in the training environment, I’m just going to reverse that process. I’m not gonna be in my lowered center of gravity position, I’m gonna push my hips back forward, orient my gun back down just like this, the gun never covers my body, stays out in front of my body between my feet or in front of my toes, and then I can relax. And that just can’t be done from behind the body, and if you watch everybody on the range, I promise you, you see them cover that outside the leg and the foot.
People say that ‘well, if I get a round on the outside of my foot, that’s a lot better than taking a round into my pelvic girdle.’ How about we don’t point the gun at ourselves, like we’ve always preached?
Leatham: Right, and not shoot ourselves.
Leatham: That’s usually the best.
Pincus: So how ’bout this, I’m gonna let you jump up here in front of the target-
Pincus: and I’ll just step out of the way. And go ahead and just think about that position you’re gonna get into, that lowered center of gravity kind of crouch position. Now as you reach down to get that concealment garment out of the way, you’re just gonna push your hip forward.
Leatham: Ooh. I get it, so I’m basically pushing the gun forward.
Pincus: Pushing the gun forward. Also makes that grip more accessible.
Leatham: Yeah! It actually clears my stomach out of the way.
Pincus: Well as a scrawny guy I don’t have that issue!
Leatham: For you skinny guys it’s not a factor, but for us pudgy guys, that’s always a deal, I’ll have to work around that.
Pincus: Now you come straight out of the holster, the muzzle’s going to be in front of you, you make that rotation, and then you drive out, you take your shots, you come back in, you do whatever you need to do for the aftermath, and reverse the process, hip forward, back into the holster, and relax.
And that’s how you present from the Appendix carry very safely, and in a way that allows you to get a lot of reps without really worrying about covering yourself in a way, that doesn’t happen when you come from behind the hip.
This is one tactical shooting drill that you probably have never seen, but it certainly brings up an interesting topic on realism in training and the engagement of moving targets.
Rob Pincus came up with this shooting drill called “Dynamic Deviation Control“. Dynamic Deviation Control is a pistol shooting drill that is designed to inculcate a shooter to engage a moving target. This is just fancy talk for saying shooting while your gun is in motion.
Keeping you gun perfectly still during precision drills on the range is one thing, but do it while in motion will be a common occurrence during a defensive event. This may be a missing key element in your shooting regimen for personal defense.
This type of drill takes your paper target shooting up to the next level.
When you consider the bulk of tactical pistol training occurs on non-moving paper targets this drill makes a lot sense. Certainly worth trying out next time you are at the range, just be careful not to drop the basic principles such as grip, stance and sight alignment when you add movement to your gun.
Leatham & Pincus discuss the foundation and the first steps in learning how to shoot rapidly. That first step is keeping your arms and upper body rigid while shooting rapidly. According to Leatham & Pincus the foundation of fast shooting has nothing to do with the slow easy trigger pull commonly taught by many gun schools.
But it has everything to do with pulling the trigger quickly and controlling that recoil. We do this by maintaining that strong structure when holding the pistol. There is no need to be meticulous with the trigger pull and looking concentrating on the front sights.
Theres a time and place for everything that you learn in marksmanship. The slow trigger squeeze to be accurate and the quick trigger pull when you’re under real life threatening situation. Practice both.
Pincus: Wow that looks really good. Every time I teach somebody how to shoot quickly, you already know how to do this, but they don’t, I wanna show them what the fundamental starting point is- what I call the foundation- for being able to shoot fast. Go ahead and unload, I need you empty. Most people’s dry-fire drill is a ball-and-dummy drill (clear) is a ball and- (stay striker-back though) So aim at the target, Rob, what i always teach ’em to do is listen, you have to hold the gun in a manner that I don’t move you. So this is pretty good right there. Any time I wanna move the gun, I want their body to move, not wrist. Wrist and joints, that’s bad, shouldn’t bend. Now the next part of it is, we teach people, ‘focus on the front sights, squeeze the trigger’, but in a real shooting environment, you realize you don’t have time to play that game. So you have to learn to pull that trigger. I can look at the target and tell you Rob can do this right. Finger on the trigger, when I say ‘now’, dryfire. Standby, ready, now! [Click] Standby, ready, now! [Click] Standby, ready, Now [Click] Ready, now [Click] So what you’ll notice on someone when they’re learning is that almost always we have that stupid jerk that controls recoil, right? So if people would quit trying to control recoil, and learn how to pull the trigger quickly, then the recoil wouldn’t become a factor. Let me explain why.
So you’re aimed in on the target, you’re ready to go. You’ve decided to shoot -remember, all the work’s done now.
Pincus: At this point, I don’t even care where your focal distance is, target, sights, as long as you see a good enough representation. Finger on the trigger, ready to fire, pull the trigger. Now! [Click] So the trick is to be able to pull the trigger rapidly. Now at any point did you see the sight move off the target?
Pincus: Now! [click] Did it ever move off of the part?
Pincus: So we don’t need any better trigger pull than that. But we think we need this fine-tuned- ‘touch the trigger, we need you to squeeeze it real careful-like, like this. [click]’ -Look how long that takes! It takes me three seconds -put your finger on- if I told you to just ‘squeeze the trigger’ I’ll start now. [Click] That’s a second! Do you know what happens in a second?!
Pincus: In the competition world, I lose the match. That one second cost me the whole match. In a real environment? Something way worse happens in a second. You realize even a big guy like me, what’s the distance, I can move seven yards in a second?
Rob: Absolutely. Yeah, you know, this to me is so important, right? Now I know my fundamentals could stand to improve dramatically-
Pincus: Naw your fundamentals are good.
Rob: You’re one of the best coaches in the world, that’s what you do, I know you do it really well, but I think it’s important that people hear that the best coach in the world, when it comes to competition shooting, if he’s telling you to do that three-second trigger press in the environment of defensive shooting, probably something’s wrong.
Pincus: It can’t work! It can’t work. The whole thing- you know what’s gonna happen in three seconds? You’re not gonna be involved in the game. It’s gonna be all over and you’re gonna be a loser.
[su_heading size=”30″]You Can Have Both[/su_heading]
There are many gun enthusiasts out there that are on different platforms. One of the big question is, “Is the most important thing speed, or is it accuracy?” In this post Rob Leatham and Rob Pincus will discuss and answer this.
The main thing is finding that happy balance that you shoot fast enough without being too slow and be accurate. Both Rob will walk you through some timing drills to build your skills up to where you need to be.
No Secret or Trick
After several rounds of this timing drill, neither Rob’s was faster than the other in reaction time. Both fired with the same speed on target. At the conclusion both Rob’s confirmed that “It’s about pulling the trigger instantaneously without moving“. Does that mean you don’t learn the basic fundamentals, obviously you still do then you progress to faster trigger pull. Both Rob also confirms that most people don’t progress further due to instructors not passing on further skills development.
[RobL] Hi, Rob Leatham with Springfield Armory, we’re here at Cowtown USA shooting facility outside of Phoenix Arizona, and I’m here with Glen from Independance Training.
[Glen] Rob, you know we get a lot of different shooters out here at the range from all different types of skill levels, and regardless of the type of platform that they’re running, whether it’s rifle or carbine or handgun, they all have the same question: Is the most important thing speed, or is it accuracy?
[RobL] That’s the eternal question right there. How fast do I have to go before I start missing, and how much slower do I have to go to be more accurate? The real truth is, you can never go as fast as you want, because you’ll start missing, and you can’t be as accurate as you’d like to be, because it’d be too slow, so it’s all finding that balance. There’s lots of ways to determine how fast you should go, but the skill-building portion of it is really what interests me. I’m gonna run you through a couple drills here, so–
[RobL] Go ahead and– what you’re gonna do is, start off with timing me.
[RobL] Fundamentally, I want you to give me a standby ready that’s on an instant, and push the button, and I’m gonna fire a shot.
[RobL] Whenever you’re ready.
[Glen] Alright. Shooter ready?
[RobL] So what’s that time?
[Glen] Point two-five!
[RobL] So in one quarter of a second, I’m able to respond to an audible, and shoot a target dead center.
[RobL] Now if you wanna go faster, you can, but there’s tricks to doing it, and it almost always costs you something. So give me a couple more of those.
[Glen] Alright. Shooter ready!
[RobL] So what’s that time?
[Glen] Point one-nine.
[RobL] Ok so that’s starting with finger off the trigger, which I consider the ready position. I teack ready position- contact point is the gross trigger-pull from the start of contact to the wall. So that was all the way out, do me again.
[Glen] Alright. Shooter ready.
[RobL] What’s that?
[Glen] Point one-four.
[RobL] Okay, give me one more.
[Glen] Shooter ready. Standby.
[RobL] What’s that?
[Glen] Point one-six.
[RobL] Ok, so in under two-tenths of a second, I’m able to pull the trigger off an audible and hit the target pretty much dead-center. Let’s give you a shot at this thing.
[RobL] So you can start with your finger anywhere you want, you’re aimed-in ready to go, and as soon as you get the buzzer, gimmee a shot.
[RobL] Are you ready? Standby!
[RobL] Excellent, nineteen! Do it again. Standby. Ready?
[RobL] Point two-two, give me a little faster. Standby, ready?
[RobL] Point one-five, so you’re just as fast as I am. One of the things that I get all the time, is that students always think there’s some magic in the reaction time, that maybe I have a better reaction time than you. I don’t. I’ve tested myself a zillion times, I’m just the same. What I’ve learned how to do is pull the trigger REALLY fast without moving, and it’s not a trick. But you obviously have learned how to pull the trigger fast. There’s a lot of silly stuff going around out there, people think you can only shoot accurately if you pull very very slowly, but that’s only really important when the precision becomes very very high. So let’s increase the required accuracy a little bit.
[RobL] Step on up, I need you to hit the box in the center, in the A-zone.
[Glen] A-zone! Head?
[RobL] A-zone in the head.
[RobL] Start on the target, ready to rock.
[Glen] Alright. Finger on the trigger?
[RobL] Yep. ready to go. You’re– the decision to shoot has been made, you’re waiting for the go.
[RobL] Standby, ready?
[RobL] Ok, so time is point-one-six. Did you get the quality shot you needed?
[Glen] I did.
[RobL] so why would you ever pull the trigger slowly? Alright? Was there a low? Was there a high? It was pretty much a good shot. Alright, do it again. Standby, ready? [BeePOP] Point one-nine. So you’re right on, bullets are touching each-other, you’re shooting as quickly as you can fire the gun, because you’ve learned a fundamental technique that a lot of people don’t know. You know what that is?
[Glen] What’s that?
[RobL] Jerking the trigger without moving the gun. And a lot of people think that this whole thing is about squeezing the trigger, and it’s not. It’s about pulling the trigger instantaneously without moving. Now you realize, if he can hit the middle of that head at four yards like that, that would hit the whole target at fifty yards. What happens is the process changes, and the person thinks because the shot gets more difficult that he has to change the process. You don’t. You just have to do it right.
[Glen] And do you think that’s an error in the way that people are taught the fundamentals, or the way they’re teaching themselves, or the way they’re learning the fundamentals?
[RobL] No… I don’t think it has a lot to do with the fundamentals, I think it has to do with us as instructors, as we’ve not kept up with the needs of our students. The first guy you get, you’re not gonna teach him how to do this.
[Glen] No, absolutely not.
[RobL] ‘Cuz there’s no way you can do it. There’s no way he can even understand the concepts of pulling the trigger that quickly. He’s almost every time gonna jerk the gun out of alignment when he does it. So that guy, you’re gonna say ‘listen, line the sights up, learn to pull the trigger without moving the gun. If you need to do it slowly, do it slowly. But then as you become better at moving your trigger finger, to the exclosion of moving anything else in your hand’, then we should keep up and now what we say is ‘Ok, pull the trugger faster’ and faster, and faster, and faster, and faster. Because the trick is always, once you wanna shoot fast, we start taking things that should happen in sequence, and doing them all at once.
Sights are on the target, you say fire the gun, you know when you fire the gun, the gun’s gonna kick, so as you fire the gun, you’re also controlling the recoil that’s coming from firing the shot, and it moves it down.
[Glen] Now at what point does a shooter move from that ‘perfect sight alignment, good solid sooth compression’, to what we’re doing here?
[RobL] I always push a student to the point of failure. The practice range is the place to screw up. So let’s say– I’ll give you a perfect example. Run me again, and I’ll show you the jerk, ok?
[RobL] We good there?
[Glen] Shooter ready. Standby.
[RobL] So what’s the time?
[Glen] You are point-two-one.
[RobL] See the shot down on the bottom?
[Glen] All the way down there.
[RobL] So the normal way of dealing with that would be, come back to the student, say ‘Listen, you need to slow down’. But what I did was nothing to do with the speed that I did it. It’s the fact that I moved the gun out of alignment when I fired the shot. So unfortunately, what will come back to them from the instructor’s standpoint, is ‘Oh we need you to slow down, you’re not ready to pull the trigger that fast’. It had nothing to do with pulling the trigger. To get the gun pointed down there, I had to do something, right? I had to move the gun out of alignment. So then we take the student and say ‘Listen, quit worrying so much about aiming, worry about pulling the trigger and moving nothing else’.
by J Hines
Source: IndependenceTraining Youtube, Rob Leatham, Rob Pincus