Gun Review: Ruger AR-556 Pistol

JWT for TTAG

Ruger has had a few lines of AR pattern rifles out for years now. Five years ago they released their budget minded series, the AR-556. Now Ruger’s entered the braced AR pistol market with a similar budget-minded offering, the Ruger AR-556 pistol with SB Tactical’s SBA3 brace.

This is, obviously, not a MIL-STD AR. I don’t know of any AR pistol in a unit’s MTOE. Beyond that, the guts of the Ruger AR-556 pistol are a little different.

JWT for TTAG

Ruger chose the bolt carrier type found on the old Colt SP1. Essentially, the carrier has material removed from under the firing pin leaving it “un-shrouded.” In the picture above, the Colt bolt carrier group is on the left, the darker Ruger BCG on the right.

When used with a notched hammer, which the Ruger pistol also has, this carrier style was billed as a safety feature in the case of a malfunctioning, or perhaps removed trigger disconnector.

In that case, this set-up would catch the firing pin on the notched hammer, interrupting a potential slam fire. I have never actually seen this happen on an unmodified trigger, but in theory, it could.

JWT for TTAG

If you want, you can swap out the BCG entirely.  I threw in a Colt BCG in the Ruger pistol without issue. However, you can’t just swap out the firing pins. They’re different.

In the photo above, the smaller-collared Ruger pin is the darker pin on the bottom left, the bright Colt pin is on top. If you’re particularly worried about firing pin breakage (I’m not), buy another pin from Ruger.

JWT for TTAG

The barrel is cold hammer-forged 4140 chome-moly with a five-groove 1:8″ twist rate. The feed ramps are standard M4 type. The bolt is 9310 tool steel.

There’s the infinite debate there, and it’s purely academic, but in terms of quality, I prefer 9310 over Carpenter 158. When properly heat treated, it’s tougher than Carpenter 158, but only by a small margin.

According to Ruger, the bolts are shot peened and pressure tested. The bolt carrier and gas key are both chromed and the gas key itself is well staked in.

JWT for TTAG

The Ruger website states that the BCG has a “matte black oxide finish.” That likely works fine, but it’s not phosphate coated. The receivers themselves are 7075-T6 aluminum forgings and include the classic Type III anodizing. The upper receiver includes the familiar forward assist.

JWT for TTAG

Instead of what has become the almost de facto grip on budget brand name AR’s, this one didn’t come with Magpul furniture. The pistol grip is Ruger branded and I don’t recognize the manufacturer, assuming Ruger isn’t molding the grips themselves.

The nylon grip is firm, without spongy give, and is hollow in the center. There is no floor plate on the grip to use the hollow space as a storage area. That’s disappointing, as I’d definitely store an extra set of earplugs in there, just in case. Firing a 10 1/2″ barreled 5.56 NATO without ear protection means instant and long-lasting damage to your hearing.

JWT for TTAG

The hand guard is M-LOK compatible, and its 9-inch length extends to just short of the muzzle. The pistol doesn’t come with any additional rail pieces, but has slots at the standard 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.

In front of that muzzle is Ruger’s own flash hider. Although this looks a lot like a traditional M4 birdcage hider, it’s not quite. Those MIL-STD hiders are solid at the bottom, providing a very small amount of a muzzle brake effect (at least that’s the theory). The Ruger brake has slats cut along its full circumference.

JWT for TTAG

If you look closely, you’ll see the pistol uses a carbine-length “direct impingement” gas system, extending almost to the end of the rail. That is much appreciated, as the carbine-length gas system has always seemed easier to get right and more reliable than the pistol-length systems.

I really can’t stand a 10.5″ barrel unless it has a silencer attached to the end of it.  There’s just so much noise and flash that any indoor shooting is unpleasant.

Fortunately, the Ruger AR-556 pistol‘s barrel is already threaded so you can put a silencer on it to tame the flash and boom. Be careful in your silencer selection. Some silencer companies don’t rate their 5.56 cans for such a short barrel.

JWT for TTAG

The key feature making this gun a pistol is the fancy new SB Tactical SBA3 adjustable brace. I’m not a big fan of pistol braces when used as a stock. Do they work well enough? Maybe, but they’re a poor make-do alternative to a real stock.

That said, the SBA3 adjustable is definitely my favorite of the pistol braces. It’s robust, adjustable, and doesn’t dig into my chest if I shoulder it.

Of course, according to the Ruger manual, when I shoulder the pistol I’m misusing the brace:

This brace is designed and intended to provide the user with additional support for better control of the pistol while firing from a singlehanded shooting position. NOTE: The pistol brace is not intended for use as a shoulder stock. The brace should only be used as outlined in this Manual. (See “Pistol Brace Adjustment & Function” section, p. 27.)

JWT for TTAG

I have a few friends who are missing an arm, hand, or who, because of injury, have diminished use of their hands. The SB Tactical brace is a game-changer for them.

They worked OK until SB Tactical started making them a little more solid and made them adjustable. Now they fit extremely well and don’t wobble on the arm when canted.

Ruger has offered different triggers on its ARs in the past. This one definitely has a mil-spec feel to it. It breaks at about 8 lbs and there’s tons of grit and squishy-ness in it.

Ruger offers their 452 trigger as a drop-in replacement and it, or something like it, would be one of the first things (other than adding a silencer) I’d do to this gun.

JWT for TTAG

The Ruger AR-556 pistol ran perfectly. As usual, I put 500 rounds through the gun for testing. I used the supplied Magpul polymer magazine, several of my own, a Surefire 60-round magazine and several GI style metal magazines.

I shot 55gr FMJ, green tip, 75 and 77gr OTM, as well as my own home-rolled 64gr soft point rounds I use for white tail culling. No round failed to load, fire or eject. No magazine failed to lock in, stay locked in during firing, or fail to easily release. As usual, I did not clean the firearm at all during the entire test cycle.

JWT for TTAG

I spent most of my time with this gun with the Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic mounted to it. Even with a brace instead of a stock, the 5.56 NATO has so little recoil that keeping the 2 MOA dot centered on targets for multiple shots out to 100 yards wasn’t particularly challenging.

That said, it’s closer in where the short-barreled guns really shine. It’s nothing to move the muzzle for fast transitions. In fact, the challenge is stopping the muzzle fully when firing.

JWT for TTAG

Where AR pistols don’t shine is the previously mentioned flash and noise, especially indoors. I have a few SBR’s, but they are all at least 12.5”. It makes a difference.

I assume the reason many folks settle on 10.5” is that this is the length of the original Colt Commando. Those are awesome, handy little guns, but it’s important to remember the originals came with a 4 1/4” “sound modulator” that helped with the blast and noise. Currently, the ATF considers those “sound modulators” in the same category as a traditional suppressor.

Of course, you could go the other way and put an aggressive muzzle brake on the AR-556 pistol. You’d effectively have a firearm that debilitates everything in front as well as to both sides of the muzzle. Success!

JWT for TTAG

On the bench, the AR-556 pistol performs adequately. Mounting a US Optics 10X scope (which looks ridiculous), I shot four 5-round groups at 100 yards, all with the pistol mounted in a Caldwell Stinger Shooting rest.

Several store-bought rounds hovered at the 1.5” mark.The best-shooting round, as always it seems, was IMI’s 77gr Razor Core ammunition, which averaged right at 1.5”. Really, this is still the best stuff I can find on the market.

The worst shooting commercial round was, oddly enough IMI’s 62gr M855, at 2.1”. Everything else I shot averaged somewhere between those two extremes.

There are a lot of great things about AR pistols. First, the brace allows those with limited mobility to enjoy shooting and hunting with an AR. The rest of us get the benefit of a fairly small firearm with tons of capability out to reasonable ranges, all in a small package that’s legal to own without having to jump through the NFA hoops. They’re a win for everyone.

JWT for TTAG

Ruger’s AR-556 pistol is a solid offering with good basic features. The quality SB Tactical Brace means that the gun will fit everyone, but won’t be particularly cheap. The MSRP is $899, but the pistol has a street price of around $750.

Specifications: Ruger AR-556 Pistol with SB Tactical Brace

Stock: None, SBA3 Pistol Stabilizing Brace
Handguard: Free-Float with M-LOK Attachment Slots
Sights: None
Barrel: Length 10.50″ 5 Groove
Thread: Pattern1/2″-28
Twist1:8″ RH
Capacity: 30
Finish Type: III Hard Coat Anodized
Height: 7.20″
Weight: 6.2 lb.
Overall Length: 25.30 – 27.90″
MSRP: $899

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and Finish * * *
Standard AR style. Good enough, but nothing to write home about.

Customization * * *
If you want to legally put a stock on it, get permission from our benevolent overlords first. Be mindful of changing BCG parts, as the BCG is not the standard MIL-STD carrier or firing pin.

Reliability * * * * *
Runs like a champ.

Accuracy * * * *
Better than any of the guns the Army ever issued to me, but right on par with commercial offerings in this price range.

Overall * * *
A decent gun at a decent price. The non-standard BCG is both a feature and a bug, so that washes out on the rating.

comments

  1. avatar IAmNotTheHulk says:

    A gun review!!

    1. avatar cgray says:

      Nah, it’s just another pocket dump. Some tall, fat guy.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      A gun review? It’s another unpaid ad for another AR-15. Really. Who could possibly care? I got a couple of paragraphs into it, went back to my search engine and started looking for a Randall #10 Saltwater Fisherman, 7″, Rosewood. Good+ condition for sale. Anyone?

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        Yeah, a gun review that highlights some differences between this and most other ARs.
        If you can’t read past 2 paragraphs, keep your mouth shut before you claim it’s an “unpaid ad”.

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          jw, I actually read the whole article before I started looking for a Randall #10 again. I think they called that “literary license” when I was in my English writing class after my ETS. The intent was the same. It’s another AR-15. This one with a 10″ barrel and a “pistol” grip that could easily go the way of bump stocks. Reminds me of buying eggs in the grocery store. Unless one is obviously cracked, they all look the same. Sorry.

        2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          And I was first issued the AR platform in 1979 and was forced to use them, off and on, until 2014. Even owned a few private ones. They all malfunctioned to excess. My H&KS and Galils are bigger, heavier and more expensive. But they work.

        3. avatar Geoff Tofte says:

          I kinda have to agree with the sarcasm, it seems like it’s been a long time for an actual gun review, and I’m sad to see you lower yourself to the level of the trolls , you don’t owe them anything l.

          JWT I always look forward to your articles/post …but I’m disappointed to see you even reply to such in my opinion clearly troll bait .

          Rise up brother , take the high road

        4. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Gadsen Flag, I have no issue with “it’s just another AR15” portion of your comment. Believe me, it’s not easy writing about the same platform, over and over again. Which is why the minor differences, like pointing out the BCG cut and the uses of the brace and why the adjustable brace matters, are actually the important parts of the review. I went back and read a few other reviews of this gun since I published it. None of them mention those things. They all just pointed out how great the gun is. And it’s a mediocre gun, as I wrote.
          That’s where TTAG has been different. At least that is how it is supposed to be different, and why I still continue writing for this publication. I have had, and continue to have, many offers with other publications, but they don’t let me just write it as I see it.
          That’s why your accusation that this is just an ad is so insulting. You’ve accused me of simply being a mouthpiece for a vendor instead of doing real objective work. You’ve accused me of having no integrity. And you did it after saying you only read the first two paragraphs. That is juvenile, and just shitty.
          I’ve generally enjoyed your comments in the past, and usually they are fairly well thought out and presented. But here, you were just being an asshole for the sake of being an asshole, insulting me and my work.

        5. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Geoff Tofte,
          I appreciate your comment. If you’ve been a longtime reader, you’ll know, from day one, I always hit back. I can’t stand rudeness and bullying.

        6. avatar Dude says:

          Everyone’s a critic. The reviews are what brought me to this site. I feel like there should be more, not less.

        7. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Jw, I didn’t realize you were the author. My sincere apologies to you. No offense was intended. No matter who the author was. It just that I’m tired of reading about ARs. Any AR. The difference from one to another is not worth mentioning. As I said my experience with the system began in ’79 and ended in ’14. It’s a mediocre weapon. When the concept of the “patrol carbine” was coming on line I took a class presented by the Florida SWAT Association. They insisted you shoot an AR. It was all the instructors were familiar with. I brought a department issued Colt M-4. I was prone and clearing another malfunction when one of the instructors asked me, “What’s wrong with that rifle?” I looked up and said, “It’s a fucking M-16! That’s what’s wrong!” He walked away without comment. I too have enjoyed your comments. I get the feeling you have seen the elephant. Yesterday you mentioned the Ruger Bisley. That would be interesting reading. Not just a range session. Hit the backcountry with one and tell us about it. Again, I’m sorry if I offended you. I’m really not an asshole. I just play one on TV.

        8. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Also jw, you have to understand. I’m an old fart and have my prejudices. I came of age when HKs, FN FALs, BM 59/62s, etc. were as common as dirt and could be had for less than retail. And I’ve owned them all and then some. After a $50 factory rebate I had $350 in my first HK 91. That would have been 82-83 because my platoon sergeant gave me the check at mail call. To be honest I’ve thought about buying an AR. My policy is if I’m more than a tank of gas from home I take a rifle and support gear. I wouldn’t like it, but I could absorb a $1000 AR being stolen from my car/hotel room. I couldn’t afford to replace much of what I now own. Once I met a friend in Panama City to do a little diving and spear fishing over the weekend. I checked out of the hotel and, like the dumb ass I am, left an Eagle discreet carry bag containing a Galil AR with a four cell chest pouch w/mags. When I realized it I turned around, called the hotel and considered myself lucky to recover it. My ex left several thousands of dollars of jewelry in the Hard Rock Hotel Casino Biloxi. We never saw that again. Anyway, the AR. I just can’t bring myself to bet my life on one. I do understand why many do. Unfortunately, it’s about the only thing available a working man can afford. At least there are better mags today.

        9. avatar jwtaylor says:

          Gadsden Flag, thank you for the apology sir, and I apologize for replying so strongly and so quickly.
          If you get bored with ARs, imagine how bored I get. But when you look at the traffic from the site, what readers mostly want to read about are ARs and polymer frame striker-fired pistols.
          I do my best to make those reviews valuable and interesting for the reader.
          Since the most common complaint on my reviews is tldr, I removed a lot about the BCG cut, the notched hammer, and the small collared firing pin.
          I find it difficult to believe that the intention was to make sure that people could not turn this into a full auto gun, since a BCG swap is pretty simple. Moreover, slamfire detonation on a factory trigger is phenomenally rare. Hell, if people want to turn their ARs into slam fire weapons, they should just start setting their primers high.
          Since this is a less common cut, I can’t imagine it would be less expensive. I am at a loss as to why Ruger would not just go with a mil-spec BCG, or at least one closer to that.
          There are perfectly reliable AR platform weapons out there. I’ve seen one from Sons of Liberty go 17000 rounds without a cleaning, much less a malfunction. I have several that have gone through a 2000 round course without issue.
          That said, the guns that I have that are in my truck, and that I would take anywhere, are usually not Stoners design.

        10. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          ‘But when you look at the traffic from the site, what readers mostly want to read about are ARs and polymer frame striker-fired pistols.’

          TTAG readers need to get out more.

        11. avatar Gordon G says:

          JWT, very well done, balanced review. Thank you

        12. avatar Gordon G says:

          GaryH, so you just swapped in a 7.5″ 300 Blackout upper from Palmetto State Armory on your ‘556? Different magazines I assume?

      2. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        no. and i’m sure you’re aware.
        but.
        http://www.captainchrisstanabackrandallknives.com/
        i realize you have him sit at the big table during holidays. perhaps you’ve lost his edress.

      3. avatar GaryH says:

        @ GordonG That’s correct. Didn’t have to change anything, just the upper. 300 BO uses the same magazines and BCG as .223/5.56. I put the 300 BO upper on my Ruger 556 pistol lower, to be clear.

  2. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

    Hopefully Ruger can sell a lot of these so the company may continue to produce ” Real” gunms.

    1. avatar S.Crock says:

      Real guns as opposed to?

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        These….I think.

    2. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Maybe some blued GP100s and Bisleys, please?

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Which brings me to my burning question – is this thing more powerful than my 6-1/2″ Blackhawk in .44 magnum?

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Gov, don’t know about on paper, but in the real world here’s a hypothetical. You’re in the woods with things that have teeth, claws and an affinity for meat. Maybe yours. You have a choice. A 10″ barreled .223 caliber spitting out 55 grain softpoint, or a 6 1/2″ .44 mag loaded with 300 grain Buffalo Bore hard cast semi wadcutter. Don’t bother to answer. The question was rhetorical.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Yeah, I figure with the warm loads (not +p) the .44 has the power of XM193 out of a 16″ barrel, and you’d get much deeper penetration out of the heavier bullets in .44. But on the other hand, if I had to make a 200 yard shot the AR pistol would probably be better. It would help if it had the 3-1/2 lbs trigger that the Blackhawk has though.

        3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          At two hundred yards the tooth and claw is not an issue. .223/556 are good for two things. Varmints and humans within their respective range and bullet type. Stick with bigger, deeper holes. They work better.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          The Blackhawk is a lot easier to tote too. 46 ounces vs. 6.2 pounds.

          Which brings me to the real issue I’d have with AR pistols – this thing weighs 6.2 pounds, the AR-556 weighs 6.5 pounds. The only advantage this thing has over an AR rifle is it’s 7 inches shorter (collapsed). If you could come up with a <4 pound (with optic) pistol capable of reaching out a couple hundred yards with sufficient accuracy I'd be interested, but I just don't see the appeal of these.

      2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Don’t care for the GP 100, but the Bisley? Now you have my attention!

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          The GP is unquestionably prettier than a Glock though.

        2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Been awhile since I looked at Ruger’s single action line, but something in a 5 1/2″ big bore would be about right.

        3. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Gov, gotta go along with you there, but I saw an old brick smeared with dog shit the other day that was prettier than a Glock. But Glocks work and they don’t make your hand smell bad.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Uh… GP 100s flat out work. And they’ll take 100,000 rounds of that stuff that will break your S&W with just a few boxes.

        5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          That said, I would consider saying the GP was the revolver equivalent to the Glock 17/19 to be an apt description. (Or would that be the Glock is the semi-auto equivalent to the GP?) Still prettier though.

        6. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Gov, you misunderstand. I know GP 100s work and they’re as strong as an I bream of steal. I just don’t care for them. Love a Security Six. Just a personal thing. And yes, they will out last the three or four Smith .357s I own. Even my Python. I won’t care though. They’ll be patting me in the face with a shovel before that happens. In the meantime, let’s just enjoy shooting what we own and like.

        7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          I can see the Security 6 appeal. The GP does depend a bit on the furniture, kind of like an AR. My wife inherited an AR from her brother (who was smart enough to take an argument with his girlfriend out in public and now subsequently can’t own firearms) and it was a real yawner IMHO. But when I dressed it up in Magpul OD furniture and dropped a Timney trigger in it it magically transformed into a semi-OK rifle… I really like the Altamont grips (rubber with wood side panels) and really hate the Hogues. Of course, with the Glocks you don’t get to change out the furniture. Now the Blackhawk came with rubber grips but now it wears laminated rosewood grips and it’s just damn pretty.

        8. avatar jwtaylor says:

          If Ruger would make a Bisley framed gun, just like their Bisley hunter in 44 Magnum, but chambered in 45 Colt and built to handle the pressures that cartridge is capable of, I have to believe that they would be huge sellers.
          I base that opinion off of what I have been willing to pay for Linebaugh’s gun and what many people are willing to pay for a Freedom Arms 45 Colt.
          If they could keep the price under $1,500 they couldn’t keep them on the shelves.
          That is the gun that I would pick. and effectively have picked, for brown bear country.
          But I’ll tell you this, now that I’ve spent a little time with Grizzlies in the wild and up-close, no handgun is enough. Few rifles are enough.
          I will never forget the first time I watched a furry Volkswagen running down the mountain. It was big, and it was fast.
          Did I mention it was big?

        9. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Jw, I didn’t see your reply to my Bisley post until a minute ago. I agree. The Ruger Bisley will sell. However, I believe it would be more a discerning shooter’s revolver. Unfortunately, many of today’s shooters think if it’s not a Tubberware pistol it’s not a real pistol. And the Bisley, any modern single action revolver, is an outdoorsman’s firearm. There are precious few of us left. I had a Freedom Arms Field Grade in .454 Casull. Sent back to have it refitted with micarta grips. Most accurate handgun I ever owned. Even though we have a few black bears around here it was a bit much. 7 1/2″ barrel was a little longer than I like too. Besides, have a 4″ Mountain Gun and 6″ 629 that will handle them and the odd pig. Agree with your statement about the rifle. Sometimes though, I’m moving tree stands, planting food plots, just working. Need both hands free. Finally, if I ever see a 5 1/2-6″ Freedom Arms in .44 mag at a reasonable price…

      3. avatar Geoff Tofte says:

        I wish they would bring back the old army ,

  3. avatar Tec's Dad says:

    Are these legal in Connecticut?

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      Pretty sure Freedom is illegal there.

  4. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Interesting and good review.

    I fail to see the attraction of rhe AR pistols. Always seem to run more than a decently appointed budget AE carbine.

    I am not tall but the brace seems lacking as a stock. They are hellaciously loud and way too big to carry.

    I’ll stick with regular carbine (AR or lever) and may get another Keltec sub 2000 now that they are slimmer with a little better stock.

    While not my cup of tea, we have tremendous choices for folks to enjoy.

    1. avatar Rain Shadow Armory says:

      The benefit of Ar “pistols” is that you can keep it loaded in your vehicle if you live somewhere you can not have a loaded rifle . You can cross state lines without having to notify the Atf that you are travelling with an sbr & you can essentially have an “sbr” without having to pay a tax stamp if you have a want or need to own one .
      As to why someone would want this particular model is because they don’t know any better or will only shoot 100 rounds a year and don’t care that most Ar rifles under $1k are not milspec and use sub par components and bad qc and will have malfunctions , not if but when . This Ruger bcg along with the original Colt Sp1 bcg are colossal design failures and will cause the firing pin head to lock the hammer back not the carrier itself as it was designed and will cause damage to the firing pin and in all probability your bcg and trigger group . This was a huge mistake on Ruger’s part using a horrible design by Colt that was a fear related decision on neutering scary full auto carriers for the public back in the day .
      Sorry rant over

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        If they treated SBRs like pistols, then I would probably buy one.

        Of course, it would most likely be in a pistol caliber……cause that how i roll.

        Would be a prime reason to own a 10mm for me.

        Or maybe a 30 carbine AR….works well from a short barrel.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Specialist, we don’t often agree, but these AR pistols are the next thing to useless. You’re right, I’d rather have a lever action carbine. Looking at a Marlin Texan now I bought recently. I want to put a set of ghost ring sights on it before I deploy it. Too many irons in the fire.

      1. avatar Specialist38 says:

        Well ….Rain had one good point about having in your truck where a loaded rifle is dis-legal.

        But aside from that , I prefer a more rustic rifle.

        Missed buying a 336 LTS getting money from an ATM…gone when I got back.

        I still like my Marlins and Winchesters for defense work.

        I do have a Ruger Scout for when I need a rifle unloaded but otherwise ready.

        We probably agree on several things …. but is fun to argue so you can re-evaluate your own position.

        I have nothing against the AR pistols but not something I hanker for.

        1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

          Specialist, we often don’t agree, but on this we do. If I had only one rifle it would be a Scout. Had mine built by Jim Brockman on a stainless Winchester Model 70 action before the Styer came out. Jeff Cooper and I discussed it at SHOT. A friend has a Styer. Still prefer my Brockman 70. If you don’t own a Scout, of some configuration, you don’t a general purpose rifle.

        2. avatar ‘liljoe says:

          Wah wah wah.

          I own two different AR pistols, a 5.7 and a 556. And I love to shoot both regularly.

          They may be useless to you but they shoot fine for me, accurate to about 150-200 yards with a red dot, which, given my eyesight, is about the same for my 16 and 18 inch barreled AR rifles.

          Smaller so easier to maneuver in small spaces, no ATF tax stamp, fun to shoot. Am I a mall ninja? Probably 🙂

          Doesn’t matter though, if someone wants one, and it legal to own, they can buy it, because freedom.

          Having said that I’ve built my 556 platform one for less than the price of this Ruger, but with a 2 stage match trigger, a vortex red dot, nickel boron BCG ( cause I hate to clean) and a flaming pig (cause I like it :)… I know their market but people need to look into just building their own, even new gun owners.

          PSA has pistol kits on sale (including 300 AAC) regularly for about 250-300 with a BCG, Lowers go for about 40-60, red dot is 100-150 including finding one used online, flaming pig is 120, and a decent trigger for about 85….. building your own? Priceless.

    3. avatar ozzallos says:

      In 556, I have to agree with you. From 16″ to 10″ you lose almost 500fps. They never fall down into pistol territory, but it’s horribly wasteful. OTOH, give me 300blk in an 8in with the ballistic profile of 45acp at subsonic and I’m all in for the AR pistol format. 30 rounds of medicine.

      I also have a Sub2000. Not because I think it does any better, but for the fact that 9mm is ubiquitous. Everybody needs something in 9mm.

  5. avatar Joe in NC says:

    Can somebody help me understand this? It’s a pistol with a brace but if I shoulder it and fire it am I suddenly in possession of an unregistered short barreled rifle?

    1. avatar Jason(Possessor of 2.5 TTAG points) says:

      No. ATF says you can shoulder it…….for now.

      1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

        That too can change like the wind.

    2. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Joe, just buy a real rifle and be done with it. You’ll be better off.

      1. avatar Joe in NC says:

        Already have one. Love it

  6. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    “…and put an aggressive muzzle break…”

    I’ve seen it both ways, is it a muzzle ‘break’, or, ‘brake’?

    I’ve always assumed it puts the ‘brakes’ on the muzzle rising when firing…

    1. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Brake. As in to stop its movement.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        The last thing you want is a broken muzzle…

    2. avatar Big Bill says:

      It’s “brake,” as others have said.
      Unfortunately, though, the author got this wrong.
      The flash hider without the slot on the bottom is designed that way to act as a compensator as well as a flash hider, keeping the muzzle down, and not as a brake.
      Otherwise, a pretty good review, even though I, personally, don’t agree with the rationale behind the desire to own one. Seriously, if you think the short length will allow you more maneuverability as you clear your house, you just don’t know that you shouldn’t be clearing your house. If you watch as teams train to clear buildings, you would understand that clearing a building isn’t something you do alone. Far, far better to hunker down and ambush the perp, rather than inviting the perp to ambush you.
      I do see the idea of using one as a truck gun where you can’t use a SBR, but, IMO, a pistol is far better in this role, as it would be easier to put someplace you can get to it easily, and is far more maneuverable within the confines of a vehicle. Of course, if you can’t keep a handgun loaded in your car, you can’t have one of these either.
      That said, I’m not against someone having one. It’s just that I don’t want one.

      1. avatar jwtaylor says:

        “keeping the muzzle down, and not as a brake.”
        Reducing recoil and muzzle rise are the purposes of a brake.

        1. avatar Big Bill says:

          “Reducing recoil and muzzle rise are the purposes of a brake.”

          No.
          A brake is to reduce recoil, and a compensator is to reduce muzzle rise.

          https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&ei=6SX8XLGaOIzC-gTg8o6YDg&q=rifle+compensator&oq=rifle+compensator&gs_l=psy-ab.3..35i39j0i20i263j0i30l8.3047.3420..4715…0.0..0.110.209.1j1……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i71j35i304i39j0i13j0i13i30.w7oPrcNQ4MY

        2. avatar Charles says:

          There seems to be a heated discussion over “breaks”, “brakes”, “compensators,” “suppressors”, “silencers”, and “flash suppressors”; and which reduce recoil and which reduce muzzle rise.

          When I was a young troop, long before we had screw in chokes for shotguns, there were adjustable Poly Chokes; and also, mysterious Lyman Cutts Compensators, which performed other functions.

          My M1 and M14 muzzles were bare, but M-16s, M109s (howitzers) and tanks have bulbous noses on their tubes.

          It seems to me that we would almost have to construct matrices, charts, and graphs to show how much of which function each of these devices actually perform.

        3. avatar Big Bill says:

          Charles: An M-14 has a flash hider; the muzzle isn’t “bare.”
          Do a Google search for M-14; that thing in front of the front sight is a flash hider.

  7. avatar B.D. says:

    Thank you for the spot on application of the “pistol”. I know a guy who lost his right hand and most of his right leg, and the left is pretty scarred as well, but mostly functional, and he rants about these things all the time.

    Cool gun for the price. Would love to see some more like it. Maybe an SBR next?

  8. avatar HellBilly says:

    Don’t bother putting a suppressor on it. They’ll be banned soon.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Someone “doesn’t care for them at all.”

      1. avatar possum, destroyer of arachnids says:

        YOUR FIRED

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I got $20 that says nothing happens on suppressors. Although the Hearing Protection Act is probably dead, at least until Aunt Nancy is put out to pasture. Any takers?

  9. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Ruger still has not chambered the AR 556 in 300 AAC Blackout,this pistol in 300 Blackout with a 8 1/2″ barrel would be a natural.

  10. avatar Political gristle says:

    Meet the next insturment to be used in a mass shooting by a leftist nutjob then subsequently banned. (Pistol brace)
    Why the hell do y’all need a fully semi automatic Machine pistol. You can’t hunt with it.
    Mark my words.

    1. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      I beg to differ,one can hunt with a AR pistol,then again the second is all about hunting,Not.”I am as serious as scurvy People.”

  11. avatar Political gristle says:

    ……banned, along with the shockwave.

  12. avatar Docduracoat says:

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can’t stand being next to one of these AR “pistols” at the range.
    Especially indoors, the blast and fire are awful!
    It ruins my range day if one of these 10.5 or 7.5 inch monsters is going off in the next couple of lanes.
    I personally have never seen one with a silencer on it.
    They are just like a giant boom box turned up to max.
    It’s Like punching everyone around you with each shot.

  13. avatar Will Drider says:

    A simple and cheap Flash Can muzzle device ($20+-) will direct the noise, flash and concussion forward. Makes it a much more user friendly and folks next to you will appreciate it too.

  14. avatar Charles says:

    I really appreciate the article, especially the info on the BCG and firing pin.
    I have been thinking of an AR pistol, mostly this one.

  15. avatar Biff says:

    I’m going to have to try a 12.5” SBR Upper. I’ve heard from a few other people that it’s their favorite length for a short 5.56 if running unsuppressed. I have a PSA CHF 10.5” and it’s a high quality upper, I just don’t enjoy shooting it.

    This Ruger looks ok, but they really need to ditch that carrier for a std. full auto profile carrier like everybody else uses. I thought these and notched hammers went extinct in the 1990’s. They also need to nitride their barrels. There is no excuse not to.

    As things are now, I’d rather have a PSA 10.5” A2 kit. You can get one with the SBA3 brace a nitrided barrel and carrier (full auto profile) and their enhanced trigger for around $329 shipped when there is a sale. Their lowers are also on sale right now for $29. I don’t feel the need to free float a 10.5” barrel, but PSA has cheap kits for that too. Their budget rails are just ok, not great.

  16. avatar GaryH says:

    I was glad to see this review. I just recently purchased a Ruger AR556 pistol. I like it a lot. Put a hundred rounds through it last week. It worked fine with the Pmags, but the Brownell’s 20 round metal mag caused some problems. The mags were very difficult to remove and there was one fail to feed with it. I knew about the different style BCG, but didn’t realize the firing pin was different. I really like the AR556 pistol and got a good deal on it for $570 shipped, but the 10.5: barrel is still too long for my liking. So I bought a 7.5″ 300 Blackout upper from Palmetto State Armory. To me it is more pleasant to shoot. Not quite as loud and hardly any muzzle flash.

    1. avatar D B Cooper says:

      GaryH, could I ask where you ordered your ‘556 pistol from? Thanks

      1. avatar GaryH says:

        DB Cooper, I ordered mine from Sportsman’s Outdoor Super Store. If I didn’t mention it before, the prices was $569.99 and that included free shipping to my FFL.

        1. avatar D B Cooper says:

          Thanks Gary!

  17. avatar Joseph Mengore says:

    Thanks for the article jwt. I have purchased this Ruger, but have not received it yet. I found this review very informative and well written. I am not sorry that I bought this pistol. I have been shooting ARs and M16s for 50 years and am still a big fan. Thanks again.

  18. avatar Ralph says:

    JWT: What’s the best commercial defense load to be used in CQB distances for a 12″ AR?

    Are 68+ grain hollow point/SP loads losing too much velocity from short barrels?

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