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Old January 25, 2012, 01:52 AM   #1
Irish B
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Rifle vs Handgun Caliber AR

What would be the advantage of having an AR chambered in a handgun caliber over a rifle caliber? I suppose at close range in say in M4 platform it would provide more damage with a .40 hollowpoint than an fmj .223. . . Or is it more of just a cool factor and to say you have something different?
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Old January 25, 2012, 02:06 AM   #2
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In my opinion, none, lower fps, shorter sight radius, more recoil without a stock, less accurate, no vertical grip, no holsters (that I know of).

Cool factor, sure but not pratical for me.


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Old January 25, 2012, 02:17 AM   #3
Irish B
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No let me be more clear, not an actual AR handgun just an AR rifle chambered in a handgun caliber.
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Old January 25, 2012, 05:29 AM   #4
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I have both a 5.56 and a 9mm AR. right now 556 and 9mm prices are nearly identical so there is no real difference economically. recoil on the 9mm is much lighter. pistol calibers are blowback rather than DI so it's going to get dirtier faster but I've put about 500 rounds through mine and have never cleaned it. the department of energy uses colt 9mm AR15s to protect nuclear reactors because even out of a carbine the 9mm still has issues punching through concrete(especially hollowpoints). I just got mine because I wanted a unique gun that nobody else has. now I have a 9mm AR15 with a set of discontinued wood furniture on it so I would say I probably succeeded in that venture
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Old January 25, 2012, 08:18 AM   #5
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1) less over penetration.
2) ammo commonality with a service pistol
3) able to shoot at an indoor range
4) cheaper ammo
5) cheaper to reload for
6) reduced flash/noise
7) easier to suppress
8) better bullet choices
9) easier to control in full auto
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Old January 25, 2012, 09:57 AM   #6
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chack
1) less over penetration.
.223 typically penetrates household materials less than pistol calibers.

Quote:
7) easier to suppress
How so?
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Old January 25, 2012, 10:58 AM   #7
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effective suppression requires subsonic ammunition. Any well stocked hunstore in a free state will have subsonic 9mm ammo, and virtually all .45 ACP ammo is subsonic. to reach the same noise levels with 5.56 suppressors as for a 9mm suppressor you have to spend alot more money and use a larger unit.

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Old January 25, 2012, 11:00 AM   #8
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The only reason AR15 pistols and similar stockless rifles exist is so people can have an SBR without having to pay the tax stamp and do the paperwork.
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Old January 25, 2012, 11:06 AM   #9
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this thread has nothing to do with AR pistols, except that the OP mentioned that it wasn't about AR pistols.
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Old January 25, 2012, 11:29 AM   #10
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chack
effective suppression requires subsonic ammunition.
OK, I thought that was what you were referring to; but wasn't sure. I'll save the argument about what constitutes "Effective suppression" for another thread; but with the .300 Blackout, you'll soon have the same options as a pistol caliber AR in that regard.
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Old January 25, 2012, 11:34 AM   #11
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Then the OP should have been a lot cleared than titling it as "Handgun AR".


They do exist and are popular. If he wanted a 9mm AR then that's what should have been listed. There are a lot of less expensive choices in a 9mm carbine than the AR platform.

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Old January 25, 2012, 02:29 PM   #12
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Wow. I remember reading the OP. I went back and re-read it and I remember reading it the first time. Yet I still posted about AR pistols. I was really tired when I did that.
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Old January 25, 2012, 02:37 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish B
No let me be more clear, not an actual AR handgun just an AR rifle chambered in a handgun caliber.
How can you be any more clear than that?
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Old January 25, 2012, 07:05 PM   #14
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Haha thanks chack. So back to the lecture at hand. . . As i'm in the market for an M4 style AR for HD and fun it seems it may be more advantageous for me to look into a pistol caliber (nice spread, less chance of over penetration) instead of a rifle caliber as I wont be hunting or shooting 100 yards through car doors with the carbine.
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Old January 25, 2012, 08:11 PM   #15
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Quote:
3) able to shoot at an indoor range
I've never seen an indoor range that doesn't allow 556. most of the ranges I've been to allow up to 7.62x39. where are you from that a 223/556 is not allowed at an indoor range?

Quote:
4) cheaper ammo
not true at all. 9mm is almost identical and. 45 and .40 are both either on par with more expensive than 223.
5) cheaper to reload for[/QUOTE]
again I'm not seeing it, 223 is a very cheap round to reload and even 9mm reloading components are going to have trouble competing.

Quote:
8) better bullet choices
how so? you are comparing a battle rifle cartridge with compatibility with a number of hunting rounds against rounds designed specifically for close range anti personnel application.
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Old January 25, 2012, 08:24 PM   #16
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I'm amazed by the inability to read some people have lol.


(in good fun, no offense)
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Old January 25, 2012, 10:12 PM   #17
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Sticking to the OP's point, handgun caliber bullets also imply handgun caliber powder loads. Most are half what a rifle uses, therefore, the effective range is considerably reduced.

Just because it's a larger diameter bullet does not mean it's more effective or creates a larger wound. Power does that, not diameter, entirely why the high speed (3000fps) 5.56 can have much more dynamic impact than a larger bullet - like the .380.

Another factor is that for the same weight, the smaller diameter bullet will probably have a better BC, fly flatter further, and retain energy better at longer distances.

The .45 Colt crowd likes to have a single caliber, one shot from the 5" handgun, another from the 16-18" rifle, but it doesn't make it perform like a .30-30. It will only have the incremental increase of the additional length of barrel, often less than 50fps per inch. Conversely, the rifle cartridge shot from a barrel short enough to be consider handgun length will still retain a great deal of the much larger amount of power the cartridge contains.

It's not about diameter of the bullet at all, it's about how much powder propels it. Unfortunately, the shooting public doesn't seem to have a grasp on that, which explains the current fascination with the .300BO. Big bullet stuck in an intermediate case means tradeoffs - you lose range and efficiency.
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Old January 25, 2012, 10:23 PM   #18
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A 5.56 will do much more damage than a 9mm AR15 at close range, even out of a short barrel. The 5.56 with correct loads is also going to penetrate less walls. It will have better accuracy and longer range. The recoil to me feels the same. Id wager that a 5.56 ar is more reliable as well.

The only real benefits i can think of are reduced muzzle flash and the ease of supression.

That said, Im still building one some day.

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Old January 25, 2012, 10:30 PM   #19
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The thread title is confusing, but after reading the posts it is much clearer.

I cannot think of a single good reason why "I" would buy an AR in a pistol caliber. I think there were more attempts to use the AR platform for handgun calibers a few years ago, but the idea seems to be much less popular. In practical use most are finding the 5.56 round does just fine up close, with no more danger of overpenetraton than handgun calibers.
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Old January 25, 2012, 10:39 PM   #20
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"I've never seen an indoor range that doesn't allow 556"

I've never seen an indoor range that DOES allow 5.56

Ive heard of ranges that dont allow .50 AE, .357 sig, and 5.7. Luckily thats not my experience.

Just saying, in a few/some/many/most places indoor ranges are pistol caliber only.
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Old January 26, 2012, 01:12 AM   #21
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So at close range your average fmj 5.56 round would cause more damage than your average jhp .45? It seems to me that even a soft point 5.56 would slice right through someone with very little expansion at say 1 yard away but I'm far from a balastics expert.
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Old January 26, 2012, 08:37 AM   #22
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That is what lots of folks used to think, but a lot of testing has shown that softpoint 5.56 actually penetrates no more in people, or common home building materials than handgun rounds, or buckshot. Less than some loadings. The handgun chamberings and shotguns used to be used more often because it was thought they would be safer. Testing has shown that a short barreled AR loaded with good softpoint ammo is just as unlikely to overpenetrate. For a variety of reasons this is why the shotgun is falling out of favor for LE and militaty use.
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Old January 26, 2012, 08:53 AM   #23
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Quote:
So at close range your average fmj 5.56 round would cause more damage than your average jhp .45? It seems to me that even a soft point 5.56 would slice right through someone with very little expansion at say 1 yard away but I'm far from a balastics expert.
Why use a soft point?

With typical 55 grain ball ammo travelling at over 2700 fps (you should be getting well over 3000 even from a carbine at such close range), the round will quickly yaw in the body and tend to come apart, producing multiple wound channels while at the same time slowing considerably and hence tend not to overpenetrate or the parts that do manage to over penetrate do not pose a great danger down range. In short, you get good penetration in the body that produces a significant wound comprised of multiple wound channels and less danger down range from rounds that overpenetrate the body.

For example, see
Quote:
Q. So, velocity is a critical component for the wound profile. How fast must the bullet be traveling when it hits its target in order to fragment reliably?
at http://razoreye.net/mirror/ammo-oracle/

Much of the heavier ball ammo will come apart at slightly slower velocities as well.

You will get more damage from your .223 round than from a .40 out of an M4 pattern AR15.

Quote:
"I've never seen an indoor range that doesn't allow 556"

I've never seen an indoor range that DOES allow 5.56
I have seen both. There are a lot of ranges with peculiar restrictions. Some are necessary, some are simply rules based on the preferences of the range.

Quote:
Just saying, in a few/some/many/most places indoor ranges are pistol caliber only.
Yep. Heck, I have even been to a couple outdoor ranges that would not allow rifle FMJ ammo, but never more than once have I been to any one of them.
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