Pistol caliber carbines are the hotness right now. Especially in 9mm Luger. Everything from the SIG SAUER MPX to the dozens of AR-15 pattern guns introduced over the last couple years have been chambered in that well-loved caliber. Flint River Armory is doing something different, introducing a completely redesigned and improved AR style rifle in .45 ACP.

They started by addressing the weak points of the AR-15 platform, starting with the receiver extension pillar at the rear of the gun. Where there would normally be an attached buffer tube there’s now a solid piece of aluminum with a takedown pin at the top of the assembly instead of the bottom. It’s a stronger design, but it does mean that other existing upper and lower receiver combinations won’t be compatible.

The bolt has been redesigned to have a larger bolt head for the .45 ACP cartridge and to function without a gas key. Did I mention that this is a gas piston design? Because it’s a gas piston design.

There’s a charging handle on the left side of the receiver instead of the rear-mounted handle as in typical AR designs. Last but not least, they designed their own magazine for the gun, a double stack .45 design which fits snugly into the mag well.

It’s a very cool design, available soon for $1,500 MSRP.

67 Responses to Flint River Armory Unveils 45 ACP Carbine – SHOT Show 2017

    • Will somebody please help me understand how the convergence of a dead cartridge with an excessively complex and fragile design somehow makes this a good thing. Sure, do and own what you want but it reminds me of Nemo’s 30-06 AR. What could possibly go right?

      • I would respectfully suggest that 45ACP is shot more and is more popular with active members of the firearms community than 30-06.

        What designates a “dead” cartridge anyways? This isn’t 45 Colt, it’s 45ACP we’re talking about.

        That being said, the price and design changes made take it out of the for- fun arena and squarely into the fringes of home- defense and like usage.

      • I can agree with you here, except on two points. I don’t see how .45ACP is a dead cartridge. Looking at ATF firearms manufacturing data, which breaks down production by caliber into caliber ranges, I’m seeing strong numbers.

        The “To 9mm” category, which includes pistols chambered in everything larger than .380ACP up to and including 9mm, is the single largest category by volume produced. It averaged 1.3 million units from 2012 through 2015. (2016 figures aren’t available yet.) By comparison, the “To .50” category, which includes pistols chambered in everything larger than 9mm up to and including .50, captures the .45ACP cartridge. That category has averaged 1.12 million units produced per year.

        Now, not all of the volume in each of those categories is exclusively 9mm or .45ACP, but you can bet that the vast majority are. Those two categories are strong in themselves, but overwhelmingly outnumber other categories. I’d say that rumors of .45ACP’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

        • Your logic fails me. You don’t think the 10mm Short & Weak has *anything* to do with the 1.12M sales numbers in the “To .50” category? As popular as the m1911 is, in all its variant profusion, a century after its acceptance, even I am unwilling to believe that it accounts for more than 2/3 of that number, & probably much less than that. Not saying the .45acp is dead, but when a box of .45 practice ball costs more than one of the half-boxes 9mmP premium ammo is sold in, well, it’s easy to see why 9mm Luger is still the king of pistol sales. And since 45acp gets less of a boost from a long barrel than does 9mm, it again discourages the notion that there’s a huge market out there chomping at the bit for a $pendy PCC in which to shoot some. This is an interesting firearm, but the developer would have been brighter to bring it to market in a chambering that justified the added expense of its development & merited its gas-piston [vs blowback] operation, like full house 10mm, .50DE or .44Mag.

      • Is that you YM? The 45 ACP is far from dead. Hornady Critical Duty +P puts out 480 ft/lbs of energy out of a 5″ barrel. That is better than a .357 in the same sized package and at 445 ft/lbs in a much smaller 4″ barrel. It has the same muzzle energy as a 9mm out of a 16″ barrel with significantly more momentum and JHP rounds will still function properly. With a 9mm the velocity limits you to FMJ out of a carbine.

        • I like .45 ACP OK enough (have one), but had to laugh when you said it has more energy than a .357 magnum out of a 5 inch barrel (480 ft. pounds). The .357 mag. can have over 700 ft pounds out of a 5 inch barrel (Buffalo Bore).

          Out of a carbine length barrel .357 blows the snot out of .45 ACP.

          Somebody needs to make a 10mm carbine. The 9/.40/.45 are great and all, but a 10mm would be sweet. A .45 PCC like this would make a good home defense gun (but $1500 is quite a bit of cash).

        • Read again. I said equivalent sized not barrel length. A .357 that is equivalent in size to a 1911 with 5″ barrel has 3″ barrel and muzzle energy of about 450 ft/lbs. You can get a 5″ barrel in an even smaller package like the XD tactical. .357 loses a significant amount of energy once barrel length drops below 4″ Before the introduction of the 10mm, .40 S&W and improve 45ACP it was still the best round but in the modern age .357 is an inefficient caliber for use in sub 4″ barrels.

        • “but had to laugh when you said it has more energy than a .357 magnum out of a 5 inch barrel (480 ft. pounds).”
          That’s not what he said. He said “out of the same size gun”. A .357 revolver with a 2.5″ barrel is about the same size gun as a .45 with a 5″ barrel. The chamber is counted as part of the barrel in a semi-auto, but it isn’t counted in with the .357.

          “Out of a carbine length barrel .357 blows the snot out of .45 ACP.”
          Yes, that it definitely does. .357 is one of the few pistol-caliber cartridges that can really take advantage of a longer barrel.

          “Somebody needs to make a 10mm carbine.”
          Mech Tech makes a carbine conversion kit for a Glock, it’s been tested here on TTAG. You can mount it on either a Glock .45 or a Glock 10mm, and it becomes a 16″ 10mm carbine.

        • tdiinva

          You are right in saying that .357 really needs 4 inches or more barrel to shine. The .45 does better with shorter barrels. The .45 is generally a better CCW option than .357 (generally better for duty carry, and home defense too). I’d feel better with a .45 Shield than a .357 LCR etc. I’d feel better with a Glock 21 than a 686.

          Still, I looked up the specs from Buffalo Bore on their 125gr. JHP .357 out of a 3″ J-frame. They showed a velocity of 1475 fps, which yields over 600 ft pounds (better than the 480 you quoted).

          If you want to talk 1911s, you could go with the Coonan .357.

          You mentioned a 5″ barreled gun. That made me think of my Colt 1917 (.45acp revolver with a 5.5″ barrel – which I know is an atypical .45acp) and compare it to my slightly smaller Ruger Security Six .357 with a 4″ barrel. I know my Ruger can throw a hotter load than my Colt.

          The .357 is really best with a duty size revolver, and those aren’t that popular any more. The double stack .40 and .45 are generally preferred for their greater capacity, and quicker reloads. Still, shot per shot the .357 hits harder.

          I love them all.

      • Dead cartridge? What kind of crack are you smoking? I mean, rebuking that comment is not even worth the multi-paragraph replies people are humoring you with. It either displays a complete ignorance of firearms or you’re a caliber troll of some flavor.

  1. How’s the trigger and all around quality of it? Looks nice but does the quality compare to a JP GMR-15 in 9mm thats only $200 more?

    • Just curious, why is it the worst? Are you against the whole concept of pistol caliber carbine’s, the design of this specific model, ergonomics, the caliber, proprietary set up, price? With out knowing the inner workings, or having a range day to test quality and reliability it just seems odd to dismiss this out of hand. Just my 2 cents.

      • What is it with Flint and lead?

        But I digress. So something I’ve noticed is that there is an inverse relationship between quality and the size of the font a company uses to brand their products. The lower the quality the bigger the font.

        Pretty big text there FRA. Hope I’m wrong.

  2. Being a .45 ACP user, it always bugs me that all the pistol caliber carbines come in 9mm first. It’s not that I don’t like the round, I just don’t own one for because I don’t want to keep up with 3 or 4 different pistol calibers. Hopefully They’ll have a range day with this thing. I’d like to know about reliability, ergonomics, fit and finish, etc. $1,500 is a bit high but if it works as well as I’m hoping I may be adding this to my collection. Fingers crossed someone actually came up with a highly reliable, ergonomically familiar, quality built 45 ACP carbine.

    • My experience says 9 mm tends to be significantly cheaper than .45. That said, I cannot imagine carrying around a 16″ barrel to shoot either out of. We need to get rid of stupid SBR laws so we can have ACTUAL carbines, 8″ to 10″ at most.

      • “My experience says 9 mm tends to be significantly cheaper than .45.”

        It certainly is. Each round of .45 costs about 35% to 50% more than a comparable round of 9mm. Of course, there are those who would argue that you get what you pay for; a .45 caliber hole is 63% bigger than a 9mm hole, and at the same velocity a .45 delivers about 50% more lead (i.e., at 1250 fps, Corbon sells a 9mm/115 and a .45/165; at 1225 fps DoubleTap has a 9mm/115 and a .45/185-grain).

        ” That said, I cannot imagine carrying around a 16″ barrel to shoot either out of. We need to get rid of stupid SBR laws so we can have ACTUAL carbines, 8″ to 10″ at most.”

        Exactly. This I can get behind. From a pistol caliber 9mm or .45, you get very little additional velocity between a 10″ barrel and a 16″ barrel. The exceptions are the .357 and .44 magnum cartridges, those keep building substantial velocity from longer barrels. But from a 9 or a .45, the difference is pretty minimal.

      • My M38 and M44 Mosins are called carbines and have 20 inch barrels. It is interesting how the definition of “carbine” has changed over the years.

        You are right of course. A PCC with an 8 inch barrel is about right. The whole SBR thing thing is silly and needs to be repealed.

    • There are only three reasons people like pistol carbines and I find none of them valid.
      1) Afordability of the round.
      If that’s the reason, shoot .22lr

      2) Worry of over penetration.
      That’s an overstated concern and if it actually was an issue, then you should be using a 20 gauge shotgun with #4 shot.

      3) Desire to match ammo with handgun.
      This one make the most sense to me but I already have a handgun so why not just use it?

      Handguns serve one purpose. They’re small. You can’t shoot devastating rounds through them because the recoil is unmanageable.
      Long guns serve many purposes. You can shoot extremely devastating rounds through them. Just select the bore to match the prey. They can be used at ranges from 1 to 1,000 meters. Or a shotgun can put down any threat most effectively with choice of shot size.
      To put a weak pistol cartridge in a long gun just seems like something that defies logic.
      Those that say “10mm or 44 magnum make good pistol carbine calibers” are on the right track. But why stop there? Long guns aren’t so limited so why limit them?
      Give me a .308 or 5.56 or 50 BMG if the task calls for it.
      People who argue the merits of .45 over 9mm lose all credibility when they advocate for a pistol caliber carbine.

      • Michael in GA,

        All of your points are valid for the most part.

        And I think that you overlooked some huge advantages of the right caliber, the right pistol caliber carbine, and the right ammunition.

        Consider an ultra reliable carbine chambered in .40 S&W, with a 16 inch barrel, that accepts 29 round magazines, shooting hot 135 grain jacketed hollowpoint bullets. This platform will:
        (1) launch 135 grain pills at over 1600 fps
        (2) produce almost no recoil
        (3) provide 3 points of contact for excellent accuracy and handling
        (4) enable extremely fast follow-up shots due to (2) and (3)
        (5) produce much less muzzle blast than handguns or long guns
        (6) be extremely maneuverable
        (7) be easy for teen children and women to handle
        (8) allow for a lot of missed shots with a 29 round magazine
        (9) reduce risk of over-penetration

        In other words, when considering in-home defense, the pistol caliber carbine platform that I defined above is superior to a rifle and shotgun in every possible way with the exception of “one shot stopping power” … where it still comes in a darn close second. (.40 caliber 135 grain expanding bullets impacting center of mass at 1600 fps will be devastating, period.) And when you account for the other advantages of the platform which make it exceedingly easy to put double-taps on target, I consider the right pistol caliber carbine platform to be the best choice for in-home defense.

        Sure, a 20 or 12 gauge shotgun shooting slugs to center mass will instantly stop an attacker every time … as will a .308 Win rifle. You better not miss with that first shot, though, because it will take a long time to get back on target. In real combat, connecting on the first shot is anything but guaranteed — especially when trying to swing long shotgun and rifle barrels around corners in your home. And you will be deaf … and only have a few shots left with many shotgun and rifle platforms.

        The only rifle platform that even comes close to being as “good” as the right pistol caliber carbine is a rifle chambered in 5.56 x45 mm, 7.62 x 39 mm, or .300 AAC Blackout that accepts 30 round magazines. Those platforms reduce recoil and enable faster followup shots … and certainly have substantial “stopping power” with expanding bullets. But you will still be suffering from extreme short-term hearing loss and quite likely even some long-term hearing loss. Add the fact that you have to stock a second caliber (assuming that you already have a handgun in the same caliber as your pistol caliber carbine) and I hope you can see how a pistol caliber carbine can truly be the best choice for in-home defense — especially if teen children or women will have to operate it.

      • Michael in GA,

        Other thoughts:

        The truly perfect in-home defense firearm is a short barreled rifle in .300 AAC Blackout with a suppressor. Recoil is light which enables fast follow-up shots. Overall length, and thus maneuverability, is outstanding with an 8-inch barrel and 6-inch suppressor. “Stopping power” is excellent. Muzzle blast is far superior to non-suppressed pistol caliber carbines — even pistol caliber carbines shooting subsonic ammunition. Of course accuracy is excellent and this rifle would be easy for teen children or women to handle.

        And yet that short barreled rifle in .300 AAC Blackout is not a pistol caliber which requires the owner to stock another caliber. And the owner has to jump through the hoops and pay the extra cash for the tax stamps for the short barrel and the suppressor. Those drawbacks are so serious that few people own such rifles. If those drawbacks are a big deal for you, then the right pistol caliber carbine platform is the next best choice. That is why there is so much interest in pistol caliber carbines. Oh, and practice/plinking ammunition is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of .300 AAC Blackout ammunition.

        • Is .300 Blackout suppressed really all that big a deal though? Unsuppressed, yes, supersonic .300 Blackout is definitely a good thing.

          But suppressed? You end up with .45 ACP ballistics, a 220-grain bullet at 1000 fps. And a smaller-diameter bullet to boot. A .45 with a suppressor would put out the same energy, same weight, and do so in a package that’s, what, 1/4 the size of the 300 Blackout/suppressor combo.

          If you want a suppressed AR carbine that packs a wallop, look at .458 Socom. Same mags at 300 Blackout/.223/5.56, same upper swap as .300 Blackout, but now you can get 600 grains at 1000 fps. 3x the delivered energy, in a bullet that makes a hole 3x bigger, and tremendous momentum. Downside is the recoil is accordingly much higher and the capacity is lower.

        • What you’re overlooking is that while supersonic BLK with a can is definitely louder than subsonic with a can, it is also much less loud than supersonic without a can. Enough that I think it’s worth the effort.

        • TexTed,

          My only mention of subsonic was in regard to how much noise an unsuppressed PISTOL caliber carbine would generate with subsonic ammunition.

          My suggestion that the “perfect” home defense firearm platform — a .300 AAC Blackout carbine with 8 inch barrel, 6 inch suppressor, and expanding bullets — implies that you are using 125 grain bullets with muzzle velocities of 2200+ fps at the barrel.

      • You missed one major reason, hunting, several states allow hunting with shotguns or pistol calibers (straight walled cartridges) but not rifle rounds.

      • I started to refute this inane post, but the more I got into it, the more pointless it became. That is, you’re just so wrong and ignorant of this topic, that it would take several articles worth to get you up to speed with eveb rudimentary knowledge. I figure if you had any interest in that, you would have done so already on your own. Otherwise, you’re not going to read, let alone accept, anything I write on this, anyway.

        So I’ll just leave it at “you don’t know what you’re talking about” and be on my way. Anybody can google this topic, read a couple of decent articles, and come away sufficiently informed to concur with me on that point, at least. No sense in me writing five pages here.

        • Am I the only one that finds it no trouble to buy all the 22 LR I want at reasonable, if not low prices? Often buy 3k+ at a time; and yes I use a lot of it.

        • unknown,

          “Am I the only one that finds it no trouble to buy all the 22 LR I want at reasonable, if not low prices?”

          For the most part, yes.

    • I have a JR Carbine in .45. It’s not a great design – too heavy and too complex too disassemble, but it is reliable and takes the same G21 mags as my primary home defense gun.

  3. Pretty stupid with proprietary mag. Otherwise, if a handgun cal “carbine” makes sense 45 is more logical than 9mm.

    • I don’t know about stupid, annoying yes, but stupid is relative. The reason I say this is because most pistols out there have proprietary mag set up. You can’t use a 1911 mag in a glock, can’t use a glock mag in a H&K, and can’t use a H&K mag in a XDm, the list goes on and on. So unless you only one brand and one caliber, it’s almost a forgone conclusion that you’ll have to buy a specific mag for a specific pistol. This is no different in my mind.

      • But one of the big selling points in favor of pistol caliber carbines is commonality with a sidearm. Magazine compatibility with a common pistol is a strong selling point for a gun like this, and making it proprietary takes that selling point away for no obvious benefit.

        • That means they would have to have a version for the umpteen different mags. And don’t say make it a Glock, not everyone likes or wants a Glock.

    • I get what they’re going for with the proprietary magazine. Benefit of the doubt reason is that they believe they’ve designed a superior magazine that works better than others in their firearm. Perhaps…..

      More likely reasons are that they just want the additional revenue stream of replacement magazines that only they supply, plus the “installed base”, to borrow an engineering term, of having an existing amount of proprietary equipment out that. Once people already have the magazines, then it becomes more attractive to purchase other products from this same company that utilize the same magazines. Maybe these people will come out with a handgun or other long gun? Or maybe an owner wants a second PCC? It makes sense to buy another one that already uses the same magazines. In these ways, the manufacturer influences future sales of both magazines and firearms themselves to their favor.

      The risk to this strategy, though, is that consumers will discern this strategy early on and just avoid becoming entangled with it by not buying it at all.

  4. Looks cool, but I don’t see much of a market for an AR that outside of a few parts, doesn’t have anything in common with other ARs.

    • My hipoint 4095TS was only $200. It isn’t my primary home defense gun, but is a fun plinker, trunk gun, or backup gun. A lot of bang for the buck

    • Even after upgrading my Sub2000Gen2 Glk22 40S&W (MCarbo trigger parts, Deltapoint red dot, QD sling points), I spent way less than $1000. Plus I already had a pile of Glock40 mags all ready to go. And I don’t see this as a “fun plinker,” it is a solid HD setup that can use my Octane45 can, too!

  5. .

    What’s wrong with 10mm or 44 magnum? :-\

    If I’m going to carry a “long gun” (medium long gun?) in a pistol caliber I want the most powerful (easy to find) ones I can get. 🙂

    – Thomas

    • Big fan of 10mm, so it’s almost painful to say it, but it doesn’t seem to perform well out of a carbine. The extra velocity seems to hinder expansion or destabilize the projectile excessively. I guess it wouldn’t be as much of an issue out of, say, a 7″ SBR, but I’m not willing to jump through the NFA hoops.

      Now, the Ruger Deerfield carbine seemed popular, and I never knew anyone who had one to have a single complaint, so .44 seems viable from a longer barrel. So, AR style with a magwell that takes Desert Eagle mags? Add a quick change barrel, and you’d have options for .50 AE and .357 as well.

      • Just get an AR in 7.62×39. More power than a .44mag, vastly cheaper and its a round that actually loads from a magazine.

        • I also like the 7.62×39, but would stick with an AK or SKS. Still, a .44 mag. fired from a rifle has more muzzle energy, and would hit a little harder at shorter ranges.

  6. Maybe I’m just that much of a cheapskate, but the idea of a PCC that costs more than $800 is kinda absurd to me. When you can find ARs that cost $600 and are reliable I find it strange that only a few manufacturers put out something that is less mechanically complex and deals with lower cartridge pressures for under $1000.

  7. $1,500 ?!?! Cut that in half and I MIGHT think about it. How many rounds does the mag hold ? And someone else said, “Why not 10mm or .44 mag. if you want a gun that size for a pistol caliber round ?
    Indeed, a Hi-Point would make more sense for a .45 acp long arm/trunk/ house gun.

  8. Having carried a Thompson 1927 as my “patrol rifle” back in the day, there is much to be said for a nonrecoiling long arm. Full auto was just a bonus. Heavy and not that great for carrying around, it was very accurate and reliable.

    Overpenetration is overhyped.

    This, with, a proprietary mag not so much.

  9. The cheek slap on the old Hi-Point’s is obnoxious and an AR style platform would be nice.

    I’d take one in .45 or .40 with a threaded barrel for <$700. $1500 is way over priced IMHO.

  10. The .45 acp does not respond as well as other cartridges to a longer barrel. If this thing could handle .45 super loads then maybe. At this price point, I would still balk.

  11. I add my plus 1 for a 10mms PCC also. Its a caliber that makes a lot more sense than 9mm or 45acp with its potential velocities. If loaded in near its safe limits it’s approaching 41Magnus ballistics.

  12. Am I the only one that finds it no trouble to buy all the 22 LR I want at reasonable, if not low prices? Often buy 3k+ at a time; and yes I use a lot of it.

  13. I see the pistol caliber carbines as a category to be used by homeowners that aren’t capable of handling full powered rifles or shotguns because of infirmity or disability. Which for the most part is the elderly.

    The argument about .45 vs. 9mm at house ranges out of a carbine is a non issue except for price. For someone who’s disabled or elderly that usually means a fixed or limited income.

    1500 dollars for a carbine and then paying for .45acp on top of that is just too much for this set up.

  14. Now, where are all those people arguing about shotguns and carbines not being maneurable enough, shotgun sights getting tangled in, well, something hanging around the house, and pistols being inherently better suited for self-defence in tight quarters (which is true, by the way)? 🙂

  15. For what it’s worth, I have a FRA CSA45 carbine and my brother has the CSA45 pistol. We went to an rep sponsored outdoor shoot and each bought one. I own DSA FALs, LMT ARs, HK products, ect. The FRA Carbine is on par with any of those in superb fit and finish, IMHO. Shoot one , see if you can’t stop smiling. Rumour has it a 10mm upper is coming this summer, as well as 9mm, .40s&w and 10mm complete weapons. Not for everyone, but also not a tool without a place in the tool box. $1,500 and made in the U.S of A? ( makes me like it already).

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