Since the RRA PDS does not come with iron sights, though just about any type of BUIS (Back-Up Iron Sights) designed for a Mil-Std-1913 rail will work, I decided to put an optical sight on the gun for testing. I felt that a 5.56mm pistol would be heavy enough and hard enough to shoot effectively that I did not want a very bulky sight, so I chose the Trijicon RMR (Ruggedized Miniature Reflex). Designed to hold up to hard military usage, the RMR seemed the perfect choice, especially since it is only 45mm (1.8 inches) overall and 1.2 ounces in weight. The model I used is the RM01, which operates on a 3V CR2032 lithium battery for over two years of continuous use. I find the 3.25 MOA Red Dot of the RM01 fast enough for close range shooting and precise enough for longer range shooting.
Trijicon also offers the RM02 with an 8.0 MOA of angle red dot. For those who prefer dual-illuminated models, Trijicon offers the RM03 with a 13.0 MOA amber dot and the RM05 with a 9.0 MOA amber dot. Instead of a battery, the dual-illuminated models use tritium and fiber optics. Each of the RMRs is readily adjustable for windage and elevation. Magnification is only 1X, but since I do not consider the PDS Pistol much more than a 50-yard weapon, I didn’t consider this an issue.
I took along some Guatemalan 55-grain surplus ammunition as well as a 50-round box of Black Hills 77-grain ammunition, which I have found to be extremely accurate 5.56mm ammunition. I did my preliminary shooting to get the RMR zeroed and to test the pistol’s handling with the 55-grain surplus ammunition. Even though the 55-grain did not have a penetrator as SS109 would have had, I got a good example of the penetrative advantages of a 5.56mm pistol when shooting groups at 25 yards to zero the optic. I was shooting so far low and left at the beginning that at least one round punched through the thick metal target frame. That frame was a lot thicker than most auto bodies these days.
Once the optic was zeroed, I did some shooting at 25 yards and found that I could get five-round groups of 4 inches, plus or minus. When shooting I had been pushing my support hand hard up against the Safety Flange, which was relatively comfortable. There was definitely more muzzle rise than when shooting an AR with a stock but no more than on most pistols. A friend who was shooting with me shot a better group and commented that he had found it worked better to bring the support hand back to the magazine well. I tried this method and found it worked better for me as well. In the past I have found that stockless rifle caliber pistols often work better with a sling affixed as one can push them forward against the sling when shooting to get a more stable shooting platform. I think I would consider a sling for the PDS if I were going to use it for an array of shooting tasks.
Once the RMR was on, I tried shooting in situations where I felt the PDS would be most tactically applicable. For example, its primary advantages as I saw it were penetration and stopping power combined with a high-capacity magazine, but at relatively close ranges. I put up silhouette targets at 15 to 25 yards and tried firing double and triple taps and strings of 5 to 10 rounds. Even shooting fairly quickly, I could keep my shots on the silhouettes. At even 15 yards, however, I would not have been confident to take a head shot.
As I thought about the PDS, it occurred to me that it would make a very effective car gun for a driver who might face carjackers or other attackers whom he would like to quickly discourage at close range. Admittedly, my views are influenced by the fact that I train and work with security teams and also advise wealthy clients in some dangerous parts of the world.
Admittedly, the use I’ve described will not apply to most likely buyers of the PDS, but I think there will be a substantial number who will consider that it makes a useful car gun. I can see some interest in the PDS for those who ride an off-road motorcycle, bicycle, or ATV in areas where attacks have occurred upon on hikers, campers, etc. It should discourage attacks by two-legged predators and should be useful against dangerous four-legged ones.
Rock River Arms does quality work and the RRA rifles I own have always performed excellently so price is, to some extent, a function of paying for a well-made product. The PDS is, indeed, a well-made product, though as I have pointed out a specialized one. It will perform well within its own parameters, but remember it isn’t a rifle and isn’t a traditional pistol.