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Best AR-10 Pistol Buyer’s Guide (2022)

Do you like the idea of an AR-15 pistol but want something with more “oomph?” Here are the six best AR-10 pistol options that punch well above their weight.

 

What Are The Best AR-10 Pistol Options:

WHY AN AR-10 PISTOL?

Some may question the practicality of a pistol chambered in a full-size rifle cartridge such as .308 Winchester, but there is certainly a place for such firearms. While technically not a “pocket rocket,” the spirit of the moniker still applies to the AR-10 pistol. Having access to full-powered rifle rounds in a small package is hardly a negative since a shorter barrel makes a firearm more lightweight and maneuverable. Furthermore, suppressors also feel at home on shorter guns. The additional length of a suppressor makes a pistol about the length of a standard rifle, while a standard suppressed rifle can feel like a musket.

One very fancy suppressed AR-15 SBR, notice the total length.

One very fancy suppressed AR-15 SBR, notice the total length.

An AR-10 pistol shines as a modern-day brush gun and is used to great effect for things such as hog hunting. The maneuverability afforded by a short and light build is appreciable in the field and won’t get caught in brambles or prove cumbersome when slung. Short-barreled, large-frame AR-style firearms are also employed by armed professionals around the world. Heckler & Koch’s HK417 is one such example, as it is offered with a 13-inch barrel as the HK417 A2. Essentially, everything appealing about an AR-15 pistol applies to an AR-10 pistol. You get a lightweight solution that packs a punch and is a truly utilitarian firearm useful for a variety of purposes.

WHAT MAKES A PISTOL A PISTOL?

When discussing AR-10 pistols, it is prudent to define what constitutes a pistol compared to a short-barreled rifle (SBR). The two types of firearms indeed look similar but there are some important differences. A pistol-style firearm has a barrel length of less than 16 inches and lacks both a stock and vertical foregrip. As these firearms don't have stocks, pistols are commonly equipped with smooth buffer tubes specific to pistols, or with stabilizing braces. Typically, pistol-specific buffer tubes feature no provisions for mounting a traditional stock and sometimes are outfitted with a foam cover to enhance a user’s comfort. Stabilizing braces, commonly called pistol braces, appear on both smooth buffer tubes and traditional buffer tubes, enhancing the ability of the shooter to aim and stabilize the pistol.

Two different styles of pistol braces.

Two different styles of pistol braces.

SBRs, on the other hand, are equipped with stocks and sometimes vertical grips. The catch is that prospective SBR owners must pay the ATF $200 for a tax stamp (and jump through bureaucratic hoops) to legally possess such a firearm per the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA). SBRs are mainly acquired in two ways: from a manufacturer in an SBR configuration from the factory or through the ATF Form 1 process. Through the latter process, a pistol or stripped lower can be manufactured (the language of the ATF) into an SBR by an individual or entity such as an NFA trust. Essentially, a pistol-style firearm allows one to have an SBR analog (sans stock and vertical grip, of course) while avoiding the $200 tax stamp and registration.

POTENTIAL PISTOL BRACE BAN

As always, ATF is up to its old tricks and has been working on yet another round of arbitrary definitions and rulings. In the summer of 2021, the Feds unveiled a worksheet that introduced a point system of sorts that sought to define certain pistol-classified firearms as SBRs—a move that would require a tax stamp for legal ownership. This worksheet focuses on a litany of arbitrary features such as parts design, firearm weight, adjustability and accessories. The ATF likely wishes to eradicate braces, forcing people to pay the $200 toll for the privilege of owning a short-barreled rifle. Possibly the ATF sees each brace-equipped firearm as lost revenue and these arbitrary reclassifications and rulings are an attempt to increase income. Or it's just petty bureaucrats doing petty bureaucrat stuff like trampling the rights of law abiding citizens …

READ ALSO: Potential Pistol Brace Ban Explained

With the potential changes to laws and regulations, braced pistols and brace accessories have been hit hard. Some products and pistols have even been discontinued, likely due to the potentiality of a brace ban or change to laws. This is just an assumption of course, but it wouldn’t make sense to continue full-bore production prior to substantial change only to be left with dead inventory. If things end up staying the same or little change comes, it shouldn’t take much effort for these manufacturers to spool up their machines and resume production.

As of now, nothing is certain. The only constant in this whole mess is the attack on braces over the years, which will likely continue regardless of the ATF's decision. While you can legally purchase anything on this list as of writing, it is important to realize their ongoing legal status may be in limbo. A pistol can of course be made into an SBR down the line if one should choose to, but the ATF is going to need $200 for their blessing. This is not meant to be discouraging, but simply a reminder to be prepared for anything that may come from future regulatory changes.

AR-10 PISTOL OPTIONS

RADICAL FIREARMS RF-10 (RBP10-308-12)
RADICAL FIREARMS RF-10
The RF-10 is the most economically priced factory AR-10 pistol on this list. One thing to note is Radical Firearms presently lists the RF-10 pistol models as “temporarily discontinued” on their website. The word “temporary” is operative here, implying production of these models will resume at some point in the future.

The RF-10 features a 12.5-inch barrel that is constructed from 416R stainless steel. The billet upper and lower receivers are a matched set of 7075 T6 aluminum. The 12-inch TMR handguard is slim and provides multiple M-LOK slots at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The pistol also features an ambidextrous safety selector, a part often sought out by end-users and put onto builds lacking them. The RF-10 is equipped with an RF-MS compensator which helps tame the impulse of the .308 cartridge in a short barrel. The mid-length gas system also lends itself well to smooth shooting.
MSRP: $1,199.95 // radicalfirearms.com

DIAMONDBACK FIREARMS DB-10 (DB10P13BGSB)
DIAMONDBACK FIREARMS DB-10
Diamondback Firearms offers multiple iterations of their DB-10 in both pistol and rifle form, and in black or flat dark earth (FDE). The DB-10 pistol selected for this list sports a set of Magpul MBUS sights from the factory. The inclusion of a usable set of sights from the get-go is a great value, allowing the end-user to get out and shoot that much sooner. The sights also save money that is better spent on ammo or accessories.

The DB-10 AR-10 pistol features a 13.5-inch medium contour barrel, tucked neatly underneath an M-LOK compatible 13-inch V-Rail. While the handguard accepts a variety of aftermarket accessories, the DB-10 comes with anti-slip texture pads from the factory. A traditional buffer tube is present on the gun and is fitted with a Gear Head Works Tailhook Mod 2 brace. Diamondback’s CNC Muzzle Brake is on the business end of the pistol, mitigating recoil and producing an exceptionally loud report.
MSRP: $1,502 // diamondbackfirearms.com

SPRINGFIELD ARMORY SAINT VICTOR .308 PISTOL (STV9103308B)
SPRINGFIELD ARMORY SAINT VICTOR .308 PISTOL AR-10 Pistol
Right off the bat, it should be noted this pistol is discontinued according to Springfield Armory’s official website. Its status isn’t accompanied by any language suggesting the ceased production is temporary, either. That being said, the pistol can still be found in the inventory of both physical and online retailers as of writing.

The SAINT Victor has the shortest barrel length of the complete factory pistols in this buyer’s guide, sporting a 10.3-inch CMV (chrome moly vanadium ) barrel with a Melonite finish. The barrel is equipped with Springfield Armory’s SA 2-Piece Blast Diverter that is partially tucked underneath the M-LOK compatible handguard. The pistol’s carbine-length gas system and “H” buffer (heavy tungsten carbine buffer) work in concert to facilitate smooth shooting and reliability. Springfield Armory also includes a forward safety stop, mounted at the foremost position of the handguard. This hand stop can be utilized to prevent the shooter’s hand from going in front of the muzzle, as well as provide a reference point and general enhancement to ergonomics. The SAINT Victor also features a pinned low-profile gas block, ensuring the gas block stays put under whatever conditions you put it through. The pistol is marketed as a duty-oriented firearm that focuses on function rather than providing frills and unnecessary chaff.
MSRP: ~$1,100 – ~$1,400* // springfield-armory.com
*This rough price range is reflective of what the firearm is offered for at various retailers and sources at the time of writing.

POF ROGUE
POF Rouge AR-10 Pistol
Curiously, POF’s Rogue only appears to be offered as an SBR or in a standard rifle configuration on their official website. Rest assured, it is obtainable in pistol form from a variety of online retailers. As a pistol, the Rogue is equipped with a Mission First Tactical Minimalist Blade Pistol Brace. The Rogue is touted as an exceptionally lightweight and functional firearm that lends itself well to tactical, competition, and hunting applications alike.

The Rogue is a feature-packed pistol. The receiver set is forged yet provides an aesthetic similar to a billet set. The 12.5-inch barrel is tucked beneath an 11-inch Renegade rail that features the usual M-LOK accessory slots in addition to a small stretch of 1913 rail at the foremost position of the bottom of the rail. The muzzle is fitted with a Mini B muzzle brake, a small single-port design that still tames recoil. An ambidextrous safety selector and drop-in 4.5-pound single-stage trigger are present in the lower receiver as well, providing great value and giving off a premium feel.
MSRP: $1,676 – $1,769 // pof-usa.com

CMMG BANSHEE Mk3 (38A928E)
CMMG BANSHEE Mk3
CMMG’s Banshee line encompasses multiple calibers and configurations so it is only natural that they offer an AR-10 pistol. Besides a standard black finish, the Banshee Mk3 is offered in multiple Cerakote options such as Charcoal Green, Sniper Grey, and Midnight Bronze. The pistol also features a suite of ambidextrous controls, including the charging handle, magazine release, and safety selector.

The 12.5-inch barreled Mk3 features CMMG’s EML11 rail that stands ready to accommodate M-LOK accessories. The Mk3 also makes use of a billet receiver set manufactured from 7075 T6 aluminum. The EML11 handguard omits the traditional feature of a continuous 1913 rail stretching across the length of the handguard. Instead, CMMG opted to include 1913 rails only at the extremities of the top of the rail and left the middle section slick but with M-LOK slots included to facilitate the attachment of desired accessories. A CMMG Zeroed Linear Compensator adorns the Mk3’s muzzle and helps tame .308 recoil by eliminating muzzle rise and redirecting impulse downrange.
MSRP: $1,949.95 // cmmg.com

AERO PRECISION M5
AERO PRECISION M5 Lower
Perhaps you’d prefer to roll your own. Upper and lower receivers and parts from Aero Precision and other companies such as Ballistic Advantage offer all the components for an AR-10 build. Nicely, Aero Precision’s M5 components come in black or flat dark earth (FDE). An important thing to keep in mind when building any type of AR-10 is the compatibility of parts. There are no established part and component specifications when it comes to the AR-10. For this discussion, we stick to the DPMS high-profile style of AR-10 components. If we were to delve into all the options of building an AR-10 pistol, this article would be obscenely long and you probably wouldn’t want to read it. That said, we are going to hypothetically build an AR-10 pistol to attempt to demonstrate the cost and potential options one could go with. Without further ado let’s get into the build.

• Aero Precision M5 Stripped Upper Receiver – $149.99 (APAR308503C)
• Aero Precision M5 Complete Pistol Lower with SB-Tactical SBA4 Brace – $494.99 (APPG308094)
• Aero Precision M5 ATLAS R-ONE M-LOK Handguard 12-inch – $209.99 (APRA538704A)
• Ballistic Advantage 12.5-inch .308 Tactical Government Modern Series Barrel w/ pinned low-profile gas block + stainless steel gas tube – $264.00
• Aero Precision .308/7.62 Bolt Carrier Group, Complete Nitride – $229.99 (APRH308186C)
• Aero Precision AR10 BREACH Ambi Charging Handle w/ Large Lever – $89.99 (APRA700301C)
• VG6 Gamma 762 Muzzle Brake – $94.99 (APVG200007A)
• Magpul MBUS Pro Sight Front – $84.95 (MAG275)
• Magpul MBUS Pro Sight Rear – $104.95 (MAG276)
• Magpul PMAG 25 LR/SR Gen M3 Window – $21.80 (MAG292)
Total Cost: $1,745.64 // aeroprecisionusa.com

The components picked for this hypothetical build were easily found on Aero Precision and Ballistic Advantage’s official websites. Things such as shipping and tax were not included in the total cost. There may also be the additional cost of having someone assemble your build for you like a gunsmith or an armorer. Or, if you feel like doing it yourself, you might have to buy several tools to properly build your AR-10 pistol.

The hypothetical build covered here features a mixture of complete components and those that require a bit more assembly to get working. This is by no means a de-facto build, simply a build that attempts to showcase a variety of options one may choose when building an AR-10 pistol, plus approximate costs. You might opt for a different barrel, muzzle device, grip, charging handle, or other major components. Your chosen AR-10 pistol could prove cheaper or more expensive than the hypothetical build we have here. Again, we are met with a myriad of options when doing a build, so explore and build what your heart desires.

MORE ON SBRS, PISTOL BRACES, AND SUPPRESSORS

 

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One response to “Best AR-10 Pistol Buyer’s Guide (2022)”

  1. StLPro2A says:

    Silly Boy, it is not about “lost revenue.” It is about lost CONTROL over We The Little Peeps.
    “That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants.” – the late Col Jeff Cooper.

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  • Silly Boy, it is not about "lost revenue." It is about lost CONTROL over We The Little Peeps.
    "That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants." - the late Col Jeff Cooper.

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