When Armalite puts its name on an AR-based pistol, it’s something of a turning point in the use of the AR-15 as a handgun, not a rifle.

With an AR-15 the big question is “What defines the difference between an SBR and an AR-15 Pistol?” An SBR, or short-barreled rifle, is actually legal to own but requires filing an ATF Form 1, getting local law enforcement approval (usually from a county sheriff or chief law enforcement officer) and paying a $200 tax stamp. An AR-15 pistol requires none of the aforementioned.

Cut to the chase and the bottom line, even by BATFE standards, an AR-15 manufactured as a pistol can have a short barrel; it just can’t have a shoulder stock or be able to have one mounted. This determination has led to various AR-platform “megapistol” configurations and operating systems with dedicated pistol buffer tubes (shorter tubes than a standard rifle with no capability for mounting a shoulder stock) and piston-driven systems specifically designed to eliminate the need for a buffer tube entirely, and thus creating a substantially shorter pistol.

Armalite uses a short pistol buffer tube for the Armalite M15P6 but with an added twist—a Law Tactical Gen 3 Folding Stock Adapter and a Sig Sauer SB15 Pistol Stabilizing Brace. The short pistol buffer tube is the most common for AR-15 pistols.

The addition of the Law Tactical folding adapter makes the Armalite M15P6 very compact for carry and storage; however, the buffer tube must be locked back into place in order for the gun to operate. (The M15P6 will fire a chambered round with the buffer tube folded, but the gun will not operate further until the buffer tube is locked into place and the action is cleared).

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This article is from the August 2015 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS. To subscribe or to read more from this issue, please visit

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