One rifle--short and small--please: 9mm rifles of SHOT (10 PICS)

Pistol caliber carbines and short-barreled rifles (SBRs) had a big presence at SHOT 2017. For purposes of this article, they’re called “little rifles,” encompassing both carbine and NFA-regulated varieties.


The X95 by IWI. MSRP: $1,999. (Photo: Team HB)

War Sport's impeccably appointed carbine. MSRP: $1600. (Photo: Team HB)

War Sport’s impeccably appointed carbine. MSRP: $1600. (Photo: Team HB)

Little rifles make the most of time and money by accommodating pistol-caliber rounds. By far, 9mm is the most frequently seen caliber in both carbine and SBR formats. That’s surely a reflection of its widespread use and affordability for handguns.



Chiappa’s M1-9. Options include a picatinny rail and wood ($636) or synthetic stock ($562). Photo: Team HB

Kalashnikov USA's AKM style 9mm will be released in June. MSRP not published yet. (Photo: Team HB)

Kalashnikov USA’s AKM style 9mm will be released in June. MSRP not published yet. (Photo: Team HB)

Even with the hassle and expense associated with NFA transfer procedures associated with SBRs, that market has grown perhaps even faster than that of pistol caliber carbines. The portability of these little rifles, the increased power a pistol round delivers through a short rifle barrel, and the ability to add optics and other accessories all contribute to their appeal.


Masterpiece Arms’ SBR, the 57DMG, can be adapted for 9mm or 5.7x28mm. MSRP $899. (Photo: Team HB)


GSG MP40 from American Tactical Imports. MSRP $649.95. (Photo: Team HB)

An unusual trend with little rifles as compared to most other firearms is that smaller producers are leading the way. On a tour of numerous SHOT Show booths this year, a majority of non-household name tactical rifle builders had at least one little rifle in their line.

On the other hand, reps of major gun makers like Smith & Wesson, Ruger, and Colt all communicated the same sentiment: we really should make one, but we don’t yet. Of course, there are exceptions, like IWI, but for the most part, little rifles are still the domain of the little producer.

Dark Storm Industries' DS-9. MSRP: $995. (Photo: Team HB)

Dark Storm Industries’ DS-9. MSRP: $995. (Photo: Team HB)

Masterpiece Arms' 20DMG carbine. MSRP $899. (Photo: Team HB)

Masterpiece Arms’ 20DMG carbine with folding stock. MSRP $899. (Photo: Team HB)

In addition to building rifles around a pistol caliber, one company, CAA, is building a rifle frame around entire pistols. The company makes a series of conversion kits for Glocks and other mass-produced pistols. The kits require no modification to the handgun, and offer a fully-functioning, accessory-friendly rifle platform wrapped around a pistol. Our testing team got to shoot both SBR and non-SBR versions of the kits, and they performed remarkably well.

CAA's Micro Roni stabilizer kit on a Glock. $550. (Photo: Team HB)

CAA’s Micro Roni stabilizer kit on a Glock. $550. (Photo: Team HB)

The War Sport SBR. MSRP: $1,600. (Photo: Team HB)

The War Sport SBR. MSRP: $1,600. (Photo: Team HB)

Although some SHOT Show gun vendors complained of flattening sales, producers of little rifles all said they’re selling their wares at a steady or growing pace. With hopes high that a new, gun-friendlier Presidential administration will eliminate the aspects of the NFA that encumber time and expense to SBR buyers, it will be interesting to see if their presence gains even more ground by SHOT Show 2018.

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