Above: Swiss firearms maker Brügger & Thomet in cooperation with DS Arms in the U.S. has made the TP9 pistol available to the U.S. market. The TP9 is lightweight and small in size—ideal for both civilian and LE use. The TP9 is an ambidextrous, shooter-friendly design and has rounded edges to make handling comfortable. The safety, charging handle, sling attachment and magazine release functions are designed to accommodate all users. The TP9 is also designed to accept a variety of optics and other accessories by having an integrated M1913 Picatinny rail molded into the top of the receiver. A rail is also situated forward of the trigger guard which makes it well positioned to mount a weapon light. Additional rails can be mounted on each side of the pistol. High strength, translucent polymer magazines are used and are available in 15-, 20-, 25-, and 30-round capacities. TP9 pistols are available in basic black as well as green and coyote tan colors for shooters that like to blend in with the terrain where they operate.

Many recreational—and tactical—shooters have embraced the use of pistols chambered in “rifle” calibers, especially 5.56x45mm. Among the most common of these pistols are models based on AR-type actions, but with short barrels and no shoulder stock, built from the ground up as a pistol. These pistols are quite effective for varmint shooting at medium and longer ranges, and make one of the best compromise all-around “survival” weapons. Certain classes of competition shooters have also embraced these designs due the accuracy of the 5.56mm cartridge and the wide variety of factory and handloads that are available.

Collectors with an interest in military arms have become fascinated with this class of pistol because they offer the feel of shooting short-barreled rifle types, and because they were originally built as pistols they are not “National Firearms Act”-regulated short-barreled rifles. Other arms of this genre include designs that were originally shoulder weapons, such as semi-auto versions of famous pistol-cal submachine guns, also without a stock. A niche for these pistols also exists in the LE and security markets where operators have need of a compact weapon that offers greater firepower. Rifle-caliber pistols also find favor among bush pilots as a bailout gun, and a few decades back the Air Force came close to adopting such a design. But beyond these varied reasons many people like these pistols because they offer something different and they are fun to shoot. TW takes a look at some of these pistols that come in a mini package.

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Above: Swiss firearms maker Brügger & Thomet in cooperation with DS Arms in the…