Known as “America’s Rifle”, the Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR, also commonly referred to as the AR-15) has continued to gain popularity since its development in the 1950s. As of late, the talk of the town seems to be the MSR’s shorter versatile sibling, the MSR pistol. It wasn’t all that long ago, that I acquired my first M&P15 Pistol, and I’ve since come to understand why they are so popular. It’s one of the few guns that’s started to accompany me on almost every range trip. While I enjoy taking my M&P15 Sport II out, the compact size of the pistol makes it easier to pack alongside other guns when running out the door to the range.
Among my favorite rounds to shoot are 5.56 and .223, and for good reason… They serve such a wide array of purposes, from hunting to home defense and even basic target practice; but let’s be honest, they are just plain old fun to shoot. There’s nothing like spending the day at the range, ringing steel plates downrange with your MSR. Not to mention, having the ability to push your shots out to several hundred yards with the right setup, can make you feel like you can conquer any target.
While I would advise against it, you probably could shoot a standard MSR one-handed. But more than likely, you’ll lack the proper control to remain accurate, and as with all firearms, safety comes first and foremost. However, in a pistol configuration, the fixed arm brace with closure strap makes it fun and easy to shoot one-handed. Especially with the proper optic, you can maintain a high level of accuracy and a fast target acquisition speed while only using one hand. In addition, other accessories such as hand stops (not foregrips) and weapon-mounted lights that you would use on your standard MSR are flexible enough in their design to work with MSR Pistols. But the fun doesn’t end there, with the pistol configuration, you still get a full 30-round capacity (where allowed by law), so the fun doesn’t have to be cut short, just because the firearm itself is short!
The M&P15 Pistol is much more than just a range toy though. In my opinion, AR-15 pistols make for one of the best home protection options. The shorter barrel length allows you to tightly turn corners and clear rooms with ease, while the magazine capacity will have you covered in the event there are multiple threats. All in all, it makes for a well-balanced option to have in your home defense repertoire.
Pistol vs. Rifle
Luckily, I don’t have to choose between one or the other, but I often hear people discussing which is “better.” That’s an answer that’s going to vary by individual. Here are several of the key specs of the M&P15 Pistol and M&P15 Sport II to compare, to help you decide if there is one that would better suit your needs.
|Specification||M&P15 Pistol||M&P15 Sport II|
|Weight||53.6 oz.||103.2 oz.|
Coming in roughly 10” shorter and at half of the weight, the M&P15 Pistol may seem like a no-brainer. However, with that comes the potential for reduced accuracy if you are really hoping to reach out and touch distant targets at the range. Additionally, there are restrictions on which accessories and modifications you can make to the pistol configuration. Before making any modifications to your MSR Pistol, be sure you are aware of your local regulations and be sure to research all potential accessories prior to purchasing any to ensure that any modifications you make are legal under the statutes. At risk of sounding biased, the Pistol’s pros far outweigh the cons, but you can’t go wrong with having both either...
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