So there I was, minding my own business, searching for a 10mm pistol caliber carbine (PCC) for less than Kriss Vector street price. I’d had my fill of sourcing parts for an AR pistol build, only to find that reliably feeding 10mm into an AR-15 platform is a giant Dremel-abusing PITA. Upon Stumbling around SHOT 2018, I found this:
It’s called the 1SHOT, a product of USA1SHOT and RSR Industries. USA1SHOT produces models for Glock, 1911, SIG P320, and S&W 686 handguns in both left- and right-hand versions. For handgun models that feature nearly identical backstraps (G19, G17, for example), USA1SHOT provides one model to cover them all and some grip tape to help the 1SHOT mate with the handgun’s grip.
NOTE: Since I purchased my 1SHOT in January 2018, it appears USA1SHOT has redesigned the grip and buffer tube angle and now calls it the 1SHOTARM. This review only covers the 1SHOT shown in the photos throughout this article, though I imagine the latest 1SHOTARM has improved on the design.
OVERVIEW / HANDLING
The 1SHOT is a molded half-section of polymer that mates to a handgun’s rear and left grip panels, sports AR buffer tube female threads in the rear, and includes a KAK Shockwave buffer tube and pistol brace (gen 1).
There is no ‘attachment’ involved. Your hand secures the 1SHOT to the pistol and that’s what keeps the product from being NFA regulated and you on the ATF’s good side. You simply grip your handgun, add the 1SHOT, acquire a cheek weld, line up the sights, and bang. In theory….
The grip adds some girth to the rear and left side grip panels of your handgun. I found it similar to adding a larger backstrap (the largest backstrap) on the numerous pistols equipped to do so these days. It’s comfortable, just fatter.
Your hand can form a mostly natural two-handed grip, though I found my palms not mating to each other as naturally or solidly as without the 1SHOT. That’s of little concern, because you now have a rock-solid cheek weld to steady the whole show. Or so I thought.
The buffer tube position and angle result in a low comb height. For iron sights, I was using the middle of my cheek, pushing the lower third of my cheekbone into the brace. With a Vortex Venom attached, I was using some jawline on the brace. Not ideal, but still stable.
After several mags with both options, I preferred iron sights for comfort and stability. It’s a shame, because I intended this for use with a red dot.
The manual of arms is a bit strange with the 1SHOT. Unless you have gorilla hands, you won’t be reaching the mag release with your right thumb. Also, charging the slide is very much an ‘over the top’ grip, vice a sling-shot rear grip.
Slide manipulation and mag changes are easiest when the pistol is at a low ready, not when braced against your shoulder. The grip is secure enough to allow you to remove the 1SHOT from your shoulder and not lose control of either the handgun or the brace. Overall, if you consider your right hand useless for anything beyond gripping the handgun and pressing the trigger, you’ll figure it out.
Drills with a weaponlight on the dust cover proved uneventful. My left thumb still reaches the Streamlight TLR-1’s paddle switch. A TLR-7/8 with side pushbutton activation may be more difficult with the larger grip now that your hands are slightly farther back from the dust cover, but I didn’t have a chance to test it.
Shooting with the 1SHOT is a mixed experience. The design of the grip and ability to brace the handgun against your shoulder is a large improvement in stability. With irons, I found ringing a 10-inch steel gong at 60 yards was a breeze. With a red dot, a 10-inch plate at 100yds was repeatable in slow fire. With any popular 9mm, .45 ACP, etc. pistol load, review a bullet drop chart at those ranges before expecting excellence.
Keep in mind that a semi-automatic slide reciprocates right there—right there—in front of your face. However, there’s plenty of clearance with a normal shooting stance, enabling you to avoid slide bite…on your face. Length of pull is a little short compared to a fully-extended AR-15 stock, but if you’re comfortable with braced AR pistols you won’t have a problem.
Reliability is actually increased in one aspect. I have a heavy .45 ACP suppressor that normally makes Browning short-recoil action handguns choke without feeding them the stoutest ammo loads. The 1SHOT enables the slide to slam rearward against a more solid platform, cycling even cheap .40S&W ammo through a suppressed GLOCK 40.
Unsuppressed, or with full house 10mm loads, the GLOCK and 1SHOT ran as advertised. My only concern is with the 1911 model, flat mainspring housings only. While USA1SHOT advertises that the brace disengages the grip safety, I would want to thoroughly test that claim before depending on the 1SHOT for defensive use.
Shooting comfort is hard to evaluate with just four data points. I only have a large-frame GLOCK model 1SHOT (G20/21, etc.). Given an extremely lightweight setup, I was uncertain how many fillings Underwood 180gr loads would dislodge.
Through my G40 and G20, Underwood 10mm produced a medium thwack to the shoulder and cheek; nothing abusive, but not Sunday afternoon plinking pleasant, either. With .40 S&W in either pistol, it was on par with a .223 AR pistol—breezy. I expect that a 1SHOT mated to a 9mm duty-sized handgun would be a cinch.
My biggest gripe with the 1SHOT isn’t the 1SHOT itself, it’s the KAK Shockwave brace. I’ve used Gen 1 Shockwaves on several AR pistol builds. They’re cheap, they work, and I think they look pretty good.
They’re also slim, rigid, and do not soak up any recoil. On a .223 semi-auto, that’s not a problem. On anything more powerful, particularly on a setup this lightweight with Underwood loads, it gets uncomfortable.
I’ve also found that the Shockwave set screw tends to migrate out of the detent unless you torque that sun–of-a-gun down like you mean it. If the set screw slips out of the detent on an AR pistol, your face inches closer to a closed and self-contained receiver. On the 1SHOT, your face inches closer to a wood chipper. I would have gladly paid more (or less) for one of these two options:
1. USA1SHOT deletes the buffer tube assembly, drops the price, and leaves buffer tubes/brace options open to the customer.
As it is, I intend to torque that brace locking nut down and leave it as extended as possible. Since the Shockwave conceals the detents and leaves you blindly tightening the Allen screw into bare aluminum, I figured out a trick: remove the screw to find the desired detent, then mark the buffer tube with pencil. If you collapse the brace and want to extend it to that same LOP, you have a reference point.
Additionally, you can save yourself an Allen wrench and upgrade to an exposed set screw here or here. In the future, I may tinker with removing the Shockwave buffer tube and upgrading the brace.
So what is the 1SHOT, other than a goofy-looking accessory? I started my journey searching for a ‘cheap’ alternate to a full KRISS Vector setup, something that would allow consistent hits at 50-100yds. I found it. For 9mm PCC aficionados, it’s far cheaper ($200) than a CZ Scorpion Evo or even a Kel-Tec SUB-2000, assuming you already own the handgun.
For iron sight handgun hunters that know the limit of their shot isn’t the terminal performance of the bullet, but bullet placement (that’s me!), this stretches 10mm or .357 Mag handguns out some extra distance.
It’s not a firearm itself, so it ships directly to your door and travels wherever you do. [Here’s the ‘I am not an attorney’ disclaimer.] I imagine you could carry this (in a backpack, in a vehicle) wherever you can carry a handgun.
I dislike carrying a slew of firearms in my truck and leaving it in a parking lot, even as quiet as my little town is. I can now pack a G20, keep the 1SHOT stowed under the backseat, and have a rig capable of taking deer (or bad guys, of course) farther than I could ethically do with iron sights alone.
It’s lightweight, has almost no moving parts (damn you, set screw), and fairly intuitive after some practice. For me, it’s a perfect truck gun accessory. It eliminates the need (not the want, nor will) to carry multiple firearms in my vehicle.
Specifications: USA1SHOT 1SHOT
Platform: GLOCK (anything but the minis), full-size 1911 (flat mainspring housing only), SIG SAUER P320 (medium grip), and S&W 686
Finish: Model T
Rating (out of five stars):
Overall * * * *
The KAK Shockwave holds back the overall feel of quality and stability that the 1SHOT otherwise oozes. Practical utility is there, cost is reasonable, and fun factor with light loads is outstanding. Provide some brace options as mentioned above, tweak the comb height, and this is a 5-star item.
All photos by the author for TTAG.