Reload Image

Reload Image

There are different opinions regarding what to do and how to survive if a major event occurs that causes crowds to scatter. It could be a short-term problem such as a natural disaster, or it could be something sufficient to end civilization as we recognize it. Some people talk about bugging out while others are of the mind to stay put and ride out the storm.

In some instances, the resulting panic and lawlessness can ensue in just minutes or hours. This was demonstrated recently on several occasions with the rioting and looting that took place in cities in which protests were held to speak out against perceived abuses by the police. In fact, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a wide-ranging catastrophe that might place you or your family in danger; it could be something as simple as turning down the wrong street on the wrong night.

Having the ability to rapidly respond to an imminent threat during those first few minutes or hours is critical to not only repelling the threat, but also in facilitating your movement to a safer location—preferably at home, on familiar ground. These are the moments when your concealed-carry permit will pay for itself many times over. However, if the threat is significant, a pistol or revolver, alone, might not be enough to get you through to the other side.

For those reasons, a firearm such as YHM’s 5.56MM Pistol may be the solution that helps tip the balance in your favor when dire circumstances require an extra measure of protection. At first glance, it appears to be a basic AR-platform rifle, but a second look will confirm the absence of a buttstock—and that makes all the difference for the average civilian.

Nuts and Bolts

Before we can talk about the need for a weapon such as the 5.56MM Pistol, we need to know what it is. As mentioned, it’s a pistol based on the design of an AR-15 rifle. The only thing that differentiates it from a rifle is that there is no stock, although the buffer tube has to stay in place for proper operation.

The YHM 5.56MM Pistol has a 10.5-inch barrel—versus a 16-inch barrel, which is the minimum for most rifles sold on the market. The barrel is made of 4140 steel, has a melonite QPC finish, and a 1:9 twist. The pistol’s amenities include YHM’s Phantom 5CS Flash Suppressor and its KR7 mid-length Keymod handguard. Other accoutrements are regular fare, including the standard trigger guard and pistol grip.

The pistol’s upper and lower are constructed of 7075-T6 aluminum. The upper is an M3 flat top, which has a standard Pictatinny rail to attach optics. Alternatively, you can attach YHM’s optional iron sights if you desire. The package is rounded out with one aluminum AR-style magazine to get the buyer started … speaking of which, it’s time for me to get started.

The Argument

As with any topic of discussion, there are opposing viewpoints regarding the practicality and efficacy of a pistol that’s built from a rifle design. Naysayers will say it’s not a stable shooting platform, because it can be a bit awkward to engage with a two-handed hold (as you would use on a rifle), since there’s no shoulder stock (more on that later).

On the other hand, because of the design and its capacity for larger rounds, these types of pistols are a bit heavy for one-handed shooting and aren’t as concealable as a regular handgun. Some, therefore, may ask, “What’s the point?”

I can quickly think of several reasons such a weapon makes perfect sense.

The YHM 5.56MM Pistol, dressed with the Lucid M7 Micro Dot, is a svelte package more easily concealed than a standard AR rifle. Nevertheless, it still provides the benefit of the rifle caliber and the higher-capacity magazines to which AR users are accustomed.

The YHM 5.56MM Pistol, dressed with the Lucid M7 Micro Dot, is a svelte package more easily concealed than a standard AR rifle. Nevertheless, it still provides the benefit of the rifle caliber and the higher-capacity magazines to which AR users are accustomed.

The first is caliber size. Because the 5.56MM Pistol fires the 5.56/.223 round, it provides a significant increase in terminal performance over common handgun rounds—even with the shortened, 10.5-inch barrel.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at what our military personnel are using on the field—it’s not pistol-caliber carbines. Certainly, pistol-caliber sub-guns are used by special teams in specific situations, but they aren’t the first choice for personnel on the front line.

The second selling point for YHM’s 5.56MM Pistol is that it’s a pistol … stay with me here. Concealed-carry permits in almost all states apply only to pistols. Most states will not allow citizens to legally conceal a loaded rifle in a vehicle that is ready for rapid deployment.

The YHM 5.56MM helps bridge that gap by providing a package that packs a powerful punch and offers higher capacity than most handguns, but does it with a product that is classified as a pistol. This means it can be carried concealed by any CCW holder, provided it is legal to own this type of firearm in a given state. In short, it’s a compromise tendered by YHM to give everyday people access to a more potent alternative while staying within the bounds of the law.

Is it an ideal solution? No. The first prong of an ideal solution would be for everyone to have access to short-barreled rifles that can be fired from the shoulder without having to undergo an arduous background investigation and having to pay a special tax to exercise a fundamental right.

The second prong of the ideal solution would be for all states that allow concealed carry to include these types of firearms and full-sized shotguns and rifles–not just handguns. Luckily, the state I live in allows the concealed carry of any weapon as long as it is legal to own it, and because I live in the South, there isn’t nearly the number of prohibitions you might find in the “left-leaning” states.

Discreet Carry

Yeah, the kid in us wants to get all tacti-cool and wear the latest operator apparel and stuff our gear into the latest tactical bags and packs. But in a real survival scenario—and especially during normal life—a low profile would draw much less attention.

For example, let’s say you have the YHM 5.56MM Pistol, and you throw it into a great, little case you bought from a tactical gear vendor that has all the magazine pouches and attachment points you could need. You’re not walking down the street with that on your shoulder without everyone knowing what it is. Further, if you have it tucked in your vehicle and someone happens to catch a glimpse of it, you might as well have a “steal me” sign painted on it.

To me, it makes sense to blend in with the natives. That’s why we contacted Blackhawk and asked the company if it would provide one of its Diversion Racquet Bags for review and for use with the YHM 5.56MM Pistol. The Diversion Racquet Bag is made of 420 velocity nylon, has a nicely padded interior to protect the firearm, and includes a divider that will allow the user to carry two firearms instead of one.

I found that carrying two firearms made the Racquet Bag bulge a bit much, and it didn’t look natural. However, the internal divider provides an excellent way to separate one firearm from several magazines and other small gear you might want to carry. It comes in three colors (red, blue, and black) with white accents, and it will carry firearms up to 29 inches in length.

The Diversion Racquet Bag has been around for a few months. I’ve used it on multiple occasions to carry firearms in public and haven’t even gotten a second glance. It’s easy and comfortable to carry, with both a shoulder strap and hand straps, depending on user preference. And, because of the Racquet Bag’s round shape at one end, there’s plenty of room for an installed optic on the firearm, so there’s no worry about a tight fit with the zipper (unless you’re going crazy with the optic size).

Lucid M7 Micro Dot

Speaking of optics, another accessory we received for review with YHM’s offering is Lucid’s M7 Micro Dot optic. The M7 is a low-profile optic that has a 21mm objective, is parallax free with unlimited eye relief, is fog- and waterproof, and even has an auto brightness sensor to adjust the intensity level according to ambient light.

Lucid claims that the M7 is 100 percent shockproof, having been tested with .458 SOCOM rounds, and it comes with spacers so the user can adjust the height of the optic. The red dot’s coverage is 2 MOA, which translates to 1 inch at 50 yards (think in terms of pistol shooting) and .5 inches at 25 yards. Adjustments can be made in ½ MOA increments, which means that at 50 yards, it’ll take four clicks to make a 1-inch adjustment. That was about to be the next step of the process.

Some Stress Relief

Because there are no major calamities occurring at the present time, making use of the YHM 5.56MM Pistol was limited to the range; hopefully, it stays that way. But, with what’s happening in the world today, it definitely pays off to have practice time logged.

We set up the M7 Micro Dot to zero to get a feel for the pistol’s reliability and accuracy. During the session, we fed it a few generic brands of .223 practice ammunition, along with a healthy supply of Black Hills loads, including the 55-grain soft-point and the 60-grain V-MAX.

Throughout the shooting sessions that day and on subsequent days, we experienced no malfunctions with any ammunition we tried. The YHM pistol seemed to prefer the Black Hills 55-grain soft-point rounds. We were able to consistently get 1.25- to 1.40-inch groups at 25 yards with that load and the Lucid M7 Micro Dot. Considering the lack of a stock and any practical way to securely stabilize the rear of the pistol, this was better accuracy than we expected.

Operation was smooth, although the trigger was a bit heavy for my tastes. It’s a typical AR trigger fashioned after military specs and, according my scale, had a total pull weight of 6.25 pounds. The trigger pull was smooth with a crisp break.

Once we did our testing for reliability and accuracy, we tried the pistol offhand at 15 yards. After several magazines, we attached a single-point sling to stabilize the pistol while shooting and saw the groups tighten up significantly compared with when we were holding the pistol normally. Anyone that gets a pistol of this type needs to make a point of acquiring such a sling for any serious work.

The Final Shot

I enjoyed my time with the YHM 5.56 MM Pistol. While it is like most standard ARs, I do enjoy the specialty items. This pistol was reliable from the first round to the last, totaling nearly 300 rounds. The iron sights (optional) were easy to use, but I like having the addition of an optic.

This type of weapon may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay. In all honesty, it is a compromise between offering most of the AR’s attributes while being a little more awkward to handle, especially for those not used to a weapon of this type, but that’s easily remedied with the addition of a sling.

That said, this is a great compromise for civilians who don’t have access to short-barreled rifles and can’t legally carry or store a loaded rifle while going about their business. YHM’s answer to this problem is a well-executed design that will be just the ticket if things go sideways in a hurry and a regular-carry pistol just isn’t enough to end the fight.

Until the laws change, the YHM 5.56MM Pistol is ready to bridge the gap and help you get home safely.



YHM 5.56 MM Pistol

  • Forged 7075-T6 aluminum YHM lower receiver
  • Forged 7075-T6 flat-top A3 upper receiver with M4 feed ramps and “T” marked
  • 5 inches, 1:9-inch twist, 4140 steel barrel with a melonite QPQ finish, threaded ½ inch x 28.
  • YHM Phantom 5C2 flash hider/compensator
  • YHM KR7 mid-length handguard (YHM-5305)
  • Direct impingement carbine length gas system
  • Standard 30-round magazine
  • Includes all internal parts
  • Total weight: 5.4 pounds

MSRP: $2,007


Lucid M7 Micro Dot

  • Cast aluminum frame
  • Built-in rail mount
  • Weight: 4.6 ounces
  • Water- and fog-proof
  • 100% shockproof (.458 SOCOM)
  • Reticle: 2MOA dot 25MOA circle
  • Auto brightness sensor
  • Auto shut-off (2 hours)
  • 7 brightness levels
  • Battery: 1 AAA (not included)
  • ½ MOA adjustments
  • Parallax-free
  • 21mm objective lens
  • 1x unlimited eye relief
  • Limited lifetime warranty

MSRP: $229


BLACKHAWK! Diversion Racquet Bag

The Blackhawk Diversion Racquet Bag offers a discreet way to carry a more-potent self-defense package in public without raising any eyebrows. Passersby took no notice of the innocuous-looking weapon case.

  • Constructed of 420 velocity nylon
  • Internal divider for carrying up to two firearms or separated upper/lower AR-15 receivers (up to 29 inches long)
  • Padded walls with inner shell to hide firearm(s) outlines
  • Heavy-duty, lockable zipper sliders
  • Available colors: black, gray/blue, gray/red

MSRP: $71.45


Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the December 2015 print issue of American Survival Guide.