From The (Almost) Darkest Depths Of Uselessness: HK93 Pistol

Can I officially call a time out on perfectly good rifles being turned into useless pistols?

Pistol-caliber carbines may not be the panacea to your shooting needs, but TTAG has sponsored a lively and at times spirited debate about them. We’ve wrung-out and written-up a passel of them: the Kel Tec Sub2000, Henry Big Boy, Calico M-900 , Marlin 1894C, FN PS-90, and the Just Right 9mm Carbine.

Some love them, and some don’t. I usually like them, because of their huge SEG (shit-eating-grin) factor and the fact that most people find them easier to shoot than pistols or full-caliber rifles.

But rifle-caliber handguns like this C93 pistol are nothing but short-range bullet hoses. I’d call them ‘mall-ninja range toys’ but that name would be even more inaccurate than the guns themselves: they’re expressly forbidden at most shooting ranges. (T/C Encores and Remington XP-100s are totally cool and completely different from guns like the one above.)

Factory guns are no-brainers for conversion into licensed SBRs, but I can’t believe that many of them will ever be converted back into anything useful. The ATFE makes that impossible by understaffing their NFA branch and creating a de facto 6-month waiting period for suppressors or SBRs.

Maybe I’m being too harsh on this 9-pound, 40-round pistol. After all, it holds twice the ammo and costs less than half the price of a .308 FN-FAL pistol. Even if you can’t hit anything with it, that’s gotta count for something. Right?



  1. avatar AZRon says:

    I realize that people on the internet enjoy crapping all over the Heckler&Koch name, (usually Glock and AR-15 Guys) but this ill-conceived contrivance is NOT put out by HK.

    It is another example of Century Arms nonsense that is based on someone elses R&D.

  2. avatar miforest says:

    utterly useless and completely senseless. a waste of a perfectly good reciever.

  3. avatar IdahoPete says:

    +1. Why bother paying that kind of money for something that will be difficult or impossible to shoot accurately? A 16.1″ barrel and a folding/telescoping stock will make a rifle compact enough to transport easily, but still reasonably accurate. These “wanna-be-a-cool-subgun” pistols represent simply a waste of bullets.

  4. avatar mp says:

    sbr conversion

  5. avatar Steve says:

    I am not a big fan of rifle-to-pistol conversions like the one above, but I wouldnt go as far as to say they are useless.

    Imagine you take an AR Pistol. Equip it with a flashlight and laser sight. Now you have the Ultimate Home Defense nightstand gun. 30+ Rounds of .223/5.56 in a short and maneuverable package that really packs a punch.

    You can run it one-handed while your free hand holds the phone to call the cops, restrains your Labrador, shields your child’s eyes from the muzzle flash, etc etc. Try that with a 20in AR.

    Plus these things have a tremendous S.E.Grin Factor, make great bullet hoses for cheap com-block ammo and would sit nicely behind my son’s booster seat.

    Jeesh, now that I think of it, What’s not to like?

    I have a buddy that has a Draco pistol, purely for the novelty. Its cheap, loud, has ferocious muzzle flash and conceals well behind….hmmm…the sofa? Anyway its a hoot to haul it out at the range once and a while and loosen up some fillings.

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      “You can run it one-handed while your free hand holds the phone to call the cops, restrains your Labrador, shields your child’s eyes from the muzzle flash, etc etc. Try that with a 20in AR.”

      One handed I’ll have much more control over my M4 as the but stock and sling will give me three points of contact with the gun compared to your one point of contact. It also has much less recoil than a comparable AR pistol.

      Get a SBR, AR pistols are notoriously unreliable and difficult to shoot well. The AR was designed to be a certain size to be able to function properly and be manageable. AR pistols are the type of gun you want your friend to buy, that way you keep your money but still get to shoot it. There is a very good reason no military or law enforcement agency has adopted them. YMMV, but I would be surprised if it did.

      1. avatar JWhite says:

        My AR has bluetooth installed for California Complaint Hand Free Operation (CCHFO) baby!

        1. avatar JWhite says:

          crap.. there goes one of my ideas… enjoy that interwebs

        2. avatar MadDawg J says:

          So you need to use a tool to activate the Bluetooth since it’s CA compliant?

  6. avatar Mr. Lion says:

    (T/C Encores and Remington XP-100s are totally cool and completely different from guns like the one above.)

    Becaaaause… why? The fact that they’re single shot pistols chambered for rifle calibers, and often much more powerful ones at that, makes them all cool and completely different than a semi-auto version of the same?

    Interesting argument you’ve got there.

    1. avatar Joe Grine says:

      They are “different” simply because of the people that shoot them. Get it?

    2. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      A pistol that shoots MOA groups at 100 yards and will dropbillion elk at 150 yards is a precision tool for skilled hunters. And yes, its cool.

      A pistol that can barely produce minute of trash can groups at 15 or 20 yards and cannot be fired or retained with one hand is at best a fun but silly range toy. If your range even allows them, which all of mine don’t. It might be cool, until you get bored of hip shooting and mag dumps.

      1. avatar Mr. Lion says:

        I’d pay good money to watch someone cook off a few .45-70s or .30-06s one-handed.

        1. avatar Mark v says:

          I’ve done it. I went through 100 rounds of .308 one morning in a single shot bolt action pistol, shooting from Creedmore position. Not so many of .45-70, but a dozen or so.

          No big deal if you know how to shoot properly.

          Most don’t.

      2. You as well as the others posting negative comments I would guess are Glock guys. You have no idea what you are talking about. I own a C93 carbine and converted a pistol to SBR legally. Added an ATI collapsible stock to make the SBR. The carbine is almost as accurate as my AR’s, which are high end, LMT, HK 416 and others. The converted SBR can easily shoot 4″ groups at 100 yards, as well as my HK MP5 and HK 93 SBR. It is a matter of want. The C93 SBR and carbine have never giver me any trouble with over 5000 rounds combined. I have a couple of friends who have same results with the same guns. The only issue I have is the cases are dented after shot and cannot be reloaded.

    3. avatar Dubya Bee says:

      Please tune up your sarcasm detector.

    4. avatar Mark v says:

      Instances of single shot pistols running wild and spraying multiple shots in random directions are rather rare.

  7. avatar Levi B says:

    These are released for the crowd that wants to make an SBR as you noted. It’s not the companies who release them fault that there is a large ‘tard factor that goes into most peoples’ gun buying decisions.

  8. avatar irock350 says:

    It shoots the .223, that is not exactly an unmanageable round in a short barrel. Throw a hand stop and a single point sling on that bad boy and you could have a very fun pistol. Just because you can’t put in a IWB holster and shove it under a shirt and go play pretend urban commando at a competition, or put 15 holes through the middle of a target at 100 yards doesn’t mean the gun is useless. They are still fun as hell to shoot. Not every gun is made to be concealed or competed with. Some guns are just fun to shoot. But like I said throw a handstop and a single point sling on the pistol and you could compete with it, and hit man sized targets at 100 yards. If I can do it with my PLR-16, you can sure as hell do it with this.

    1. avatar Matt Gregg says:

      The PLR-16 is capable of shooting 1/2 MOA at 100 yards. That is awesome accuracy from any pistol, let alone a semiautomatic one.

    2. avatar MadDawg J says:

      Not sure what you mean by a hand stop. If you are actually referring to a legit hand stop, you’re good to go, if you mean a grip then bad idea.

      It is illegal to add a front grip to a pistol without an NFA stamp (AOW). That $200 would be better spent on a SBR so you have a but stock.

      1. avatar Matt Gregg says:

        Vertical grips are verboten but the magpul AFG has been approved by the boys at the tech branch.

  9. avatar Joe says:

    I think the SEG factor is under-appreciated. Take guns like this HK93, the Rossi Mare’s Leg, the Taylor’s terminator-style lever action pistol grip shotgun, the Serbu Shorty, or even something “out there” in a different direction like the Marlin 464 SPX tacti-cool 30-30 lever action or their chainsaw grip pump shotgun.

    Most of us shake our heads and ask “why?” And I’m not likely to spend my hard-earned dollars on any of them. However, if someone has some disposable income and wants a new toy for the range, then more power to them. It’s a sale of a gun, likely to lead to the sale of a lot of ammo, which keeps companies I care about in business to (hopefully) sell something more practical that I’ll want to buy later on.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      if someone has some disposable income and wants a new toy for the range, then more power to them.

      I agree. But I think the OP was saying that it’s not a range toy, since it’s banned on a lot of ranges. Still, if somebody wanted a safe queen, I guess this one would be just as good as another.

      1. avatar Joe says:

        Good point, I glossed over the inability to shoot it at most ranges. The few people I know who own one of these shoot them maybe once a year, maybe less.

  10. avatar Woodsman says:

    Not sure what the problem is. When I look at that gun I see a great candidate for an SBR.Just sayin

  11. avatar Steve says:

    I think it’s kind of funny when you have someone, who surely has thousands of dollars invested in AR15’s and the like, starts spouting off about how useless an rifle-to-pistol conversion is.

    If you want to start saying that This Rifle or that gun is “not useful” you need to turn the argument around and look in the mirror.

    Your AR15 isn’t much of a rifle in the eyes of most hunters…because it shoots .223. AR’s, AK’s, CTME clones, and all those other “tactical” weapons are about as useful as an extra asshole in the middle of your forehead when it comes to hunting and home defense. Sure they can be pressed into service, but there are better choices.

    Handguns and Shotguns are better for home defense and concealed carry. Real hunting rifles are better for putting venison in the freezer.

    AR’s are good for eating bricks of ammo, draining your wallet and scaring liberals.

    Its not so nice to have that snark directed at your own gun collection.

    “Just Sayin’…”

    1. avatar MadDawg J says:

      1) Weapons are a person choice, no need to get upset if someone has a different opinion than you.

      2) I disagree with a lot of what you said, put don’t feel this is the time or place for that discussion as none of it pertains to the HK reviewed here.

  12. As pistols, these are impractical aside from one purpose”

    Being able to own and test fire the gun for reliability in a Title 1 non-NFA configuration before converting into a NFA registered short barreled rifle. Throwing on a buttstock once the paper work clears is often an easier option than cutting down the barrel for many people.

  13. avatar Frank says:

    Can we go old school on these pistol cal. carbines and get a C-96 carbine?

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      How ’bout a K98 pistol, in the ever-popular 8×57?

  14. avatar "Dr."Dave says:

    Welcome to America, mother________s!

    It might be useless, it might be ugly, it might be dumb, but I can buy as many of them as I want and do so as I please with them.

    1. avatar Chris Dumm says:

      +1, and thank God for that!

      I’m not saying we shouldn’t be *able* to buy them; I’m suggesting there are wiser places to spend our fun money. *If* I were able to spend thousands on guns as one comment implied (I wish; I’ve got two kids) a gun like this might be fun.

      I shot my share of stockless SBRs at the Shot Show and elsewhere, and I was amazed at how difficult they are to shoot accurately.

  15. avatar Skyler says:

    Eh, it’s a free country. At least that’s the saying, not sure it’s very true anymore.

    This is a lot like the argument against SUV’s. Very few people “need” an SUV. But I’ll be hanged if I’ll let someone else tell me if I need one or not. Need is not the criteria. Want is the reason to buy an SUV.

    Need or usefulness is not the factor to judge whether these weapons are worth buying. Want is the only reason that is necessary.

    I don’t need more than one, maybe two, pistols. I don’t need more than one rifle. I don’t need even those weapons. But I want them, and that is all that matters.

    And if I want a rifle caliber pistol, then I wouldn’t worry myself about some people on the internet saying that it’s not useful or needed.

  16. avatar jd says:

    Add a stock and you’ve got SAS’ favorite weapon for decades (but in full auto)..or Leghorn could mount it on a FPV with long range transmitter and hog hunt on his lease ala “Heli Hog’n” (vimeo).

  17. avatar Stacy says:



    You’re using the attitude of the anti gun crowd. You’re singling out a well made firearm and calling it “useless.” Dianne Feinswine thanks you. Marginalizing certain guns PLUS calling them “useless” has been the chief tactic of the antis for many many years. Even using the anti’s favorite phrase of “bullet hose” will get you a good rating from the Brady ___holes. I know you’re not a brady banner, SO DON’T TALK LIKE ONE.

    1. The c93 is a FANTASTIC “door answerer” i.e. a good gun to answer the door with, esp at night (and don’t tell me never to answer the door at night, I have lights, and gathering intel on who is at the door, especially since they won’t be expecting me to be armed, whether a good guy or a bad guy, is a good idea).

    2. The weight of the c93 is great for absorbing recoil

    3. It is arguable that the .223/5.56 is better as a pistol round than a rifle round when dealing with threats from two legged threats (9mm just doesn’t do the job much of the time).

    4. The c93 and the .223/5.56 is about the best close quarters weapon you could ask for, other than a polymer .45 with a hi cap.

    THE ONLY problem with this gun is the noise. It desperately needs a suppressor. If you have to fire it indoors, you WILL have hearing loss.

  18. avatar Joseph says:

    Go with the flow bro. If this kind of stuff works your crank then have at it, I personally haven’t got any real experience with them but for a variety of reasons these kinds of weapons will never appeal to me. I would rather have the mobility and precision (i.e. control) of a pistol over an auto or semi-auto rifle that’s just as likely to shoot my target in the head or the foot as it is the chest that I literally shoved it into.

    as for the whole 5.56 pistol thing… I’ve seen first hand the problems that come with the 5.56 as a main battle rifle cartridge coming out of a Full barreled rifle, I really don’t see how chopping the barrel in half, what with physics and all, is going to help any of these rifle cartridges 5.56 or other overcome their inherent difficulties.

  19. avatar Devon says:

    Have you heard of a stock? You add it to this gun and have an instant short barrel rifle called a HK53.

    The HK53 is one of the best close quarter rifles in the world.

  20. avatar jim says:

    don’t tell me they are not accurate and they do allow a bipod and literally no recoil but the c93 do need an upgrade as soon as you get one, a different angle locking piece from hk parts which cost an extra 60 bucks for them to be reliable.

  21. avatar Brandon says:

    The people who say these aren’t accurate are people who are stupid enough to spend $1500 or more on their ar15. My buddy and I shoot rabbits with these on the weekends and with a little practice, like any new gun, hit anything we aim at. Sure we aren’t sniping at 600 yards but the range we shoot at is tons more practical.

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