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Whatever else you can say about the new RONI Carbine Kit—and the thing that must be said is that it requires a federal Short Barreled Rifle license ($200 and a long wait)—the handgun-based weapons system certainly introduces a new aesthetic. Let’s call it submarine chic. It’s a radical departure from the AR’s combat chic, bulldog bullpups and the minimalist KelTec Sub-2000 (our choice). I’m not quite sure if I like RONI’s newbie; there’s a hint of H.R. Giger to it that I find deeply unsettling. In some circles, that’s a distinct advantage. In any case, is the RONI really the thing you want when you could have a “proper” rifle and a handgun? Or is it evidence that the home defense shotgun has had its day? Will black rifles start to look like this? I’m confused. Which is, I’m told, the point of great art.

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  1. I think the introduction of the RONI coupled with the current offerings from Kel-Tec, Hi Point, Berreta, KRIS and the venerable lever guns shows that there's a strong market for pistol-caliber carbines. To many, the practicality of "one bullet, two guns" (and in some cases, one magazine, two guns) is very alluring.

    As you noted, these carbines are capable of filling a similar role as the home defense shotgun. Having said that, I find the two compliment each other for home defense. For my smaller statured wife, even a 28 ga. is uncomfortable both in terms of recoil perception and ergonmics. However, an 18"bbl .357 lever gun fits her like a glove on both counts and provides PLENTY of fire power without over doing it.

  2. As far as the aesthetics of the RONI, that's a refelction of the fact that nobody seems thrilled with the appearance of any of the semi-auto cailber cardbines. No single design has yet emerged as the new standard in terms of mechanics or appearance (think what GLOCK did for pistols or the M16 for rifles) so manufacturers continue to throw stuff against the wall.

    The company that surprises me the most by their relative absence in this conversation is H&K. They have the models, ergonmics, aesthetic sense, experience and reputation to corner this market but seem highly reluctant to do so. their USC carbine rates very high on all of these but was a commercial flop due to its limited magazine capacity (10) and high price ($2,000+/-). I guess they're uncomfortable putting "military grade" weapons in the hands of civilians.

  3. I’m a big fan of ‘one bullet, two guns’ although I currently don’t own the arsenal to practice it. A. 357 carbine would be a delightful and practical complement to my revolver, and I would jump on a 9mm carbine that uses Ruger P95 magazines. (Not holding my breath on that, however…)


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