Who Wouldn’t Want to Carry the Firepower of an AK-47 or an AR-15 in Your Pocket?
Recently, Heizer Defense has introduced two innovative Hand Cannons: The PAK-1 in 7.62x39mm and the PAR-1 in .223 cal/5.56mm. Yes, that’s right. The PAK-1 is designed to fire rounds most commonly associated with the AK-47 series of rifles. Similarly, the PAR-1 is designed to fire rounds designed for AR-15s and M4 Carbines. How cool is that?
The PAK-1 and PAR-1 are single shot, break action pistols. The fire one round of 7.62x39mm or 5.56mm, respectively, and then must be reloaded. This type of pistol is not necessarily innovative, but these Heizer pistols are unique. The first and most obvious innovation is the ability to fire a rifle caliber round from a pistol. The second innovation is that these pistols are small enough to fit in your pocket. These pistols are super-thin, coming in at a mere 0.7 inches wide. They do have a steel frame and are a bit heavy for a pistol of this size, but that is to be expected for something for a weapon designed to fire rifle cartridges.
With only one round before reload, these are clearly designed to be a back up gun, or perhaps even the back up to the back up. They are easily concealable, and easily carried your pants pocket. These Hand Cannons could serve as your last ditch effort of self-defense.
GunsAmerica recently reviewed this pocket pistol, saying:
The thin design is accomplished by forming the frame in two distinct halves that are then bolted together. The frame can accommodate .45 Colt, .410, 7.62×39 and .223 barrels. Changing barrels is easy–just push out the pin and swap barrels. The additional barrels sell for $159 (for the .410 and .223) and $199 for the 7.62×39 (which only comes in ported) and the ported .223.
The GunsAmerica review indicated something that I did not expect: The PAR-1 in .223/5.56 had a recoil in line with a small .380 ACP handgun. It was easy and fun to shoot!
The PAK-1, however, was not exactly a fun gun for the range:
The 7.62×39, though, isn’t fun. I did my part for science and pulled the trigger on 30 or more of these. And I hated every pull. I’m going to say that’s it akin to shooting a steel framed .44 Magnum. It pops and stings. The recoil hit the web of my hand and lingered in that swell of muscle below my thumb. Sam, who also helped out with this review, felt it in the bones in his palm. About four days after we’d done most of the shooting, he sent me a text asking if I could still feel it. I couldn’t–but he was still sore.
In tests, the pistols were reasonably accurate at 15 yards or less. Remember, this is despite having only about an inch and a half of good rifling before the round exits the barrel.
One concerning thing about the test was that the PAK-1 had problems with 7.62x39mm ammunition that has very hard primers. The firing pin on the PAK-1 significantly dented the primers, but they failed to fire. Now, there are lots of pistols that have difficulties with certain brands. You need to make sure that your concealed carry pistol feeds and fires the ammunition you carry. Still, AK ammo fails to fire?
However, by far the biggest drawback in the test was the performance of those rifle rounds in these Heizer pistols. The GunsAmerica test showed that the hitting power, in terms of foot pounds of energy, was nothing like an AK-47 or an AR-15. Here are these most important test results and comparisons:
From an 16” .223 barrel, you can expect speeds near the 3,000 FPS mark. Heavier rounds will be slower, and lighter rounds more zippy. The Heizer spits out 55 grain .223 bullets at close to 1,100 FPS. That’s a serious decline, but the result could still be effective.
Let’s do a bit of comparison.
A 55 gr .223 traveling 3,000 FPS has 1,099 foot-pounds of energy.
A 55 gr .223 traveling at 1,100 FPS has 148 foot-pounds.
From a 16” AK, the 123 grain 7.62×39 should hit somewhere near 2,300 FPS. That’s 1,445 foot-pounds.
From the PAK1, that same 123 grain projectile was traveling closer to 900 FPS. 221 foot-pounds.
A 40 gr Eley Match .22 LR fired from a 5” Smith & Wesson clocks near 950 FPS. That’s 80 foot-pounds.
A 115 grain 9mm fired from a 3” barrel (1075 FPS) has 295 foot-pounds of energy.
A 185 grain .45 ACP fired from a 3” barrel (900 FPS) has 333 foot-pounds of energy.
A 90 grain .380 fired from a 3” barrel (1,000 FPS) has 200 foot-pounds of energy.
So, let me summarize what this means. A small 9mm concealed carry pistol with a 3″ barrel can provide almost twice the amount of foot-pounds of energy as the PAR-1 and significantly more than the PAK-1. A .45 ACP concealed carry pistol with a 3″ barrel (like my Kahr CM-45) crushes these “Hand Cannons” even worse. Think about this: A .380 ACP pistol like a Kel-Tec P3AT beats the PAR-1 in terms of foot-pounds of energy (but falls slightly short of the PAK-1). Let these stats sink in for a moment. A .380 ACP concealed carry pistol beats the PAR-1, and 9mm or greater beats both of them.
While firing an “assault rifle” round in a pocket pistol is very cool and innovative, their performance indicates that there are plenty of better choices even for last ditch self defense.