Franklin Armory’s XO-26 legally wears a vertical forward grip, has excellent accuracy and tames a stomping round for fun shooting. Shown here with Aimpoint Micro Red Dot sight and Streamlight TLR-1 HP light.

I have reviewed enough AR-type pistols to have definite ideas about them—I like ’em! Not only are they fun to shoot, I consider them excellent Personal Defensive Weapons (PDW) for use by bodyguards, homeowners, or anyone looking for improved accuracy and power over a traditional handgun. With proper techniques, they can provide excellent rapid-fire accuracy and controllability, and not too shabby accuracy at extended distances with slower fire. In a car or house, where the AR pistol could be stored for quick access, these shooters can get the job done for anyone!


After hearing about Franklin Armory’s XO-26, I checked their website and found they were from California and shipping AR pistols with vertical forward grips! The pistol is offered in 5.56mm NATO, 7.62x39mm or .450 Bushmaster.

I was surprised not only at the breadth of the chamberings offered (particularly the .450 model which I planned to test), but also the fact they are made in California and can accept vertical forward grips. Firstly, California is not considered a hotbed of “black rifle” production. And, “everyone” knows a vertical forward grip on an AR pistol ist verboten—a federal crime, in fact!

The barrel and direct impingement gas system are surrounded by a free-float 6061-T6 aluminum YHM Specter Length Quad Rail forend.

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