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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
So I am considering building a PDW for travel/bag carry, specially to carry in a sling bag (5.11 Select Carry) in situations when I want something more than a pistol but still want to keep a low profile. Currently I have a CZ Scorpion Evo S1 filling that role role and it works very well, but I wonder if there is a rifle caliber that could do the same thing?

I am not interested in going with an SBR right now because I would rather not deal with the NFA happy horse <deleted> and paying $200 just to sit on my hands for 3+ months just to get permission to exercise my RIGHTS only to risk confiscation later, so I am looking at building a braced “pistol.” The bag I am using will comfortably carry up to about a 20 inch overall length.

Initially I thought about an AR pistol but the buffer tube makes that impractical, yes I have seen folding ARs but they cannot fire folded if needed and a collapsible stock would only give me a 3 or so inch barrel which is pointless.

I also ruled out 5.56 because it is too velocity dependent, anything less than about an 11.5 inch barrel is pointless and I doubt I will be able to get away with something that long.

My second thought was a Krinkov in 5.45x39 but that would be prohibitively expensive, the cheapest Krinkovs I can find are $2,000+, I’m not looking to spend much on this since it is such a niche thing, ideally I’d like to keep this within The PCC and AR price range of about $500-$1,000.

The issue is that out of very short barrels rifle calibers approach diminishing returns so my options are a bit limited and the selection is also not great.

As far as caliber, currently I am looking at 5.45x39, 6.8 SPC, and .300 Blackout, but I honestly do not know that much about their ballistics, particularly out of a short barrel, I’m reasonably familiar with 5.45x39 and know it is a good caliber out of a short barrel but I’m finding that other than the Krinkov and AR uppers I see nothing made in that caliber, and neither of those choices would work. I am much less familiar with the others, how does 6.8 SPC and .300 blackout behave out of a short barrel? How do they compare against 5.56, 5.45x39, and 9mm? I’m not set on any of those calibers but I’m attempting to think of something that is available. What caliber would you recommend?

What weapon would you recommend? Bearing in mind the requirements:
Must have a pistol brace
Overall length must be 20 inches or less
Cost must be under $1,000, with the brace
Must have an effective caliber out of a short barrel

Or am I better off just sticking with the Scorpion?
 

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I have two suggestions, based on your requirements. Both would be chambered in .300 AAC Blackout. The first is a 8.5" barreled upper with a Dead Foot Arms Modified Cycling System folding brace. This is the only traditional buffer system that allows you to shoot the pistol with the brace folded. Be aware that the MCS costs $485 list--but that includes the buffer tube to attach the brace. As far as I can tell, this is the only rifle caliber folding stock/brace assembly that does it.

The second way you could go is with Brownells' BRN-180 Gen. 2. Right now the shortest barrel they have is 10" but the AR-18/180's piston upper completely eliminates the need for a buffer while allowing for firing the pistol with the brace folded. This upper, however, is listed at $899.99 so the entire build will probably exceed your $1,000 target.

Edit: I chose .300 AAC Blackout because it was designed to be used with shorter barrels. While 5.56/.223 needs approximately 14" of barrel to burn its powder load (thus the reason why 5.56 AR pistols have such pronounced fireballs,) .300 BLK does the same in about 8-9" of barrel. Now, the velocity out of a shorter barrel will be less, but with .300 BLK bullet weights ranging from 110 to 220 gr (or more,) you should be able to find a sweet spot for your particular setup. I recently (as in about two and a half week or so ago) built a .300 BLK AR pistol with a 10.5" barrel. I haven't shot it yet--I live in Tulsa and don't have money for a range at the moment.

Here's a photo of an AR with the Dead Foot Arms MCS installed (this is set up as a rifle.)
external-content.duckduckgo.com.jpg
 

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Unicorns are not cheap when you make a fairytale wish. FN PS90
 

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If the goal is to keep a low profile, I'd suggest looking at "covert" bags other than the "tactical as all hell" 5.11 bag. Anyone who's into guns would recognize the multiple 5.11 labels and the weird shape, and know you have a gun in there. Go for something that looks like a basic hiker/college student backpack. Bright colors are better than black, OD or desert tan. No MOLLE webbing, no quick-pull straps, no funky, nonsensical shapes. Just a boring old book bag. That Select Carry bag is as subtle as 5.11 pants, tactical boots and a rigger's belt.

As far as a weapon for your intended purpose, I'd just stick with the Scorpion you already have. It's pretty ideal for the purpose.
 

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If the goal is to keep a low profile, I'd suggest looking at "covert" bags other than the "tactical as all hell" 5.11 bag. Anyone who's into guns would recognize the multiple 5.11 labels and the weird shape, and know you have a gun in there. Go for something that looks like a basic hiker/college student backpack. Bright colors are better than black, OD or desert tan. No MOLLE webbing, no quick-pull straps, no funky, nonsensical shapes. Just a boring old book bag. That Select Carry bag is as subtle as 5.11 pants, tactical boots and a rigger's belt.

As far as a weapon for your intended purpose, I'd just stick with the Scorpion you already have. It's pretty ideal for the purpose.
I totally agree! The Scorpion is great for the purpose you describe.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
If the goal is to keep a low profile, I'd suggest looking at "covert" bags other than the "tactical as all hell" 5.11 bag. Anyone who's into guns would recognize the multiple 5.11 labels and the weird shape, and know you have a gun in there. Go for something that looks like a basic hiker/college student backpack. Bright colors are better than black, OD or desert tan. No MOLLE webbing, no quick-pull straps, no funky, nonsensical shapes. Just a boring old book bag. That Select Carry bag is as subtle as 5.11 pants, tactical boots and a rigger's belt.

As far as a weapon for your intended purpose, I'd just stick with the Scorpion you already have. It's pretty ideal for the purpose.
I have to disagree on the bag, the older ones, like the one I have, don’t look tactical at all to me, I agree it’s an odd shape but to my eyes it looks more like a commuter bag. This isn’t my video, but it is identical to the bag that I have, red and gray:

I did look at other bags as well, but I dodn’t find any others that would deploy nearly like that, they all required fumbling with zippers then fishing out the firearm, but the 5.11 not only deploys it but it comes with lots of webbing on the inside for spare magazines, a full trauma kit, a spare tourniquet, and I even had enough room for the CZ cleaning kit. My only complaint is that the webbing goes the wrong direction. I do admit the hot pull tab is kind of obvious though but if it’s a concern I don’t have to use it. There is only one 5.11 patch on it, a diminutive tag on the front that you would have to get right up on it to see, and it can be removed with a pair of scissors. It also has a built in single point sling and comes with the select carry fanny pack (if that’s your thing) that can attach to the strap if you want, or you can leave it off like in that video.
 

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Let me admit that i am now and have been a 300AAC fanboy. For a pistol or SBR its pretty much a perfect round. Ive hunted deer and bear with mine using a 10.5" barrel. Performance has been fantastic especially if you choose an adjustible gas block. For hunting/home defense i use the Lehigh Defense 176 grain controlled chaos (subsonic). However, there are plenty of supersonic rounds to choose from. The downside is ammo is a little pricey, especially right now. You dont need to discount 5.56 either, if you choose the proper barrel twist/length. You can handload some pretty good projectiles foe shorties. I really like some of the heavier bthps, they tend to perform pretty well at lower velocities.
 

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To get back to just talking caliber...
The advantage of a rifle over a pistol in effectiveness comes from rounds that are travelling at over 2,500 fps. Relatively few rifle rounds will maintain that velocity when fired from a 10" or shorter barrel.
Best bet is the 5.7x28, although it does not meet the parameters of discussion as it was designed as a handgun cartridge that turned out to be useful in a rifle, and available rounds fall slightly short of that 2500 fps.
However, before leaving the genre of high velocity pistol rounds, let me throw in the TCM9R, which is also somewhat short of 2500 fps.

And now, the Liberty 9mm load with a 50 grain bullet... still only 2000 fps, but they claim that bullet design gives them a hydrostatic effect similar to the higher velocity rifle rounds. And if we're talking 9mm, guess where that leaves us as to the gun?


Just about anywhere we want! :D
 

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5.7x28 was designed for the ps 90 and then FN brought out the pistol. So it is a rilfe round. And you will love it! The power of a 9mm the recoil of a .22lr.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
 

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5.7x28 was designed for the ps 90 and then FN brought out the pistol. So it is a rilfe round. And you will love it! The power of a 9mm the recoil of a .22lr.

Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
Since the P90 pretty much defines the PDW category (it's the illustration in the Wikipedia article!), I think it has to be included in this discussion.

Besides, FN developed the P90 and Five-seven simultaneously. The NATO spec requirement was for a cartridge to replace the 9mm.
Note that although the P90 and Five-seven were developed simultaneously, the Five-seven was not released at the same time as an ammo change was required for reliable operation.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Since the P90 pretty much defines the PDW category (it's the illustration in the Wikipedia article!), I think it has to be included in this discussion.

Besides, FN developed the P90 and Five-seven simultaneously. The NATO spec requirement was for a cartridge to replace the 9mm.
Note that although the P90 and Five-seven were developed simultaneously, the Five-seven was not released at the same time as an ammo change was required for reliable operation.

I’d actually considered the PS90 but I had to pass on it due to the very high price and the fact that I would have to SBR it, but other than that, yes, it would be virtually perfect for this role.

The 5.7x28 does have an issue though, while it CAN be a fantastic round all the loads I have been able to find for it are neutered “civilian” loads, significantly nerfed from the original SS190, were it SS190 (or even SS195LF) you wouldn’t get much argument from me, but the current stuff is ballistically basically just .22 Magnum. You CAN get the real stuff, usually one round at a time, but the price is about the same as .338 Lapua match or even more, filling even one 50 round magazine would cost hundreds of dollars. Now consider that I would probably want to fill at least 4 and will need even more for sighting in and function testing.

For the ballistics of the civilian 5.7x28 you may as well just get a Keltec CMR-30.
 

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What's wrong with .223? It's gotten uncle sugar through a few wars now. If I went bigger in an AR platform, I think I'd go with .308....MAYbe 7.62x39. I've killed a few hogs and deer with that one. It seems to work.


I like shotguns, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
What's wrong with .223? It's gotten uncle sugar through a few wars now. If I went bigger in an AR platform, I think I'd go with .308....MAYbe 7.62x39. I've killed a few hogs and deer with that one. It seems to work.


I like shotguns, though.
It’s velocity dependent, out of a carbine or rifle barrel it’s great, but it sucks from short barrels. About as short as you can go is 11.5 inches, the military experimented with 10 inch barrels with the XM177 but found them lacking, they were replaced with the XM177E2 which had an 11.5 inch barrel, those remained in service until the M4 replaced them. 5.56’s Main mode of effectiveness is fragmentation, but fragmentation has a minimum velocity, about 2,700 feet per second and short barrels either don’t get that at all or the maximum range before the bullet decelerates under that is just a few yards from the muzzle. Even an 11.5 inch barrel only gets you about 25 yards before velocity goes below fragmentation range as I recall. A non fragmenting 5.56 is basically a glorified .22 magnum.
 

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I’d actually considered the PS90 but I had to pass on it due to the very high price and the fact that I would have to SBR it, but other than that, yes, it would be virtually perfect for this role.

The 5.7x28 does have an issue though, while it CAN be a fantastic round all the loads I have been able to find for it are neutered “civilian” loads, significantly nerfed from the original SS190, were it SS190 (or even SS195LF) you wouldn’t get much argument from me, but the current stuff is ballistically basically just .22 Magnum. You CAN get the real stuff, usually one round at a time, but the price is about the same as .338 Lapua match or even more, filling even one 50 round magazine would cost hundreds of dollars. Now consider that I would probably want to fill at least 4 and will need even more for sighting in and function testing.

For the ballistics of the civilian 5.7x28 you may as well just get a Keltec CMR-30.
Well, sounds like you've answered your own question. :D

Although for my own purposes... I keep coming back to the 9mm.
 
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