Monday, April 13, 2015
Heizer PAR I Pocket AR in .223
Ah, the Heizer Pocket AR. There are so many questions about this little pistol but before we fall prey to trying to answer too many of them let's define the use for this pistol which will eliminate most of the queries. This pistol is for close quarter combat in a back-up role to a larger and higher capacity primary weapon. Close-quarter back-up is the standard we will use in our analysis of the Pocket AR. I feel that the moniker "Pocket AR" is somewhat of a misnomer since a standard AR carbine or rifle come with a magazine capacity of 20 to 30 rounds. The Pocket AR comes with a capacity of 1. That's right...one round. However, what it lacks in firepower is made up for in the power of fire (more on that later).
Let's get down to the specifications of the Heizer. It is chambered for the .223 Remington round. It weighs 23 ounces has a height of 3 7/8 inches, a length of 6 3/8 inches and a width of 0.7 inches. Size wise it is very comparable to my SIG P238 .380 ACP pistol.
This entire pistol is made of aerospace stainless steel. The trigger module moves on ball bearings. The trigger pull is over 12 pounds (since that is where my trigger pull gauge runs out) but there is only a little take up with a very smooth pull due to the ball bearings on which the trigger rides. The recoil is substantial and the chamber contains a cartridge extractor but not a cartridge ejector. This is probably of no matter since fast follow-up shots is not in the Heizer's repertoire.
The extractor does lift the cartridges far enough out of the chamber that they were easy to remove.
The sights are fixed and hardly there at all. They don't glow, twinkle, self illuminate, or give you options to change the front sight's colors. The front sight is black, period. Similarly there is no accessory rail to mount flashlights or lasers. Remember this pistol's mission: close quarter combat; a crisp sight picture is not necessary. Your range is probably from contact distance to the length of a mid-sized sedan. If your shooting solution requires greater distances and more follow-up rounds you're using the wrong handgun.
The chamber and barrel of the Pocket AR is 3.25 inches in length and about 2.25 inches of that is the unrifled chamber. The barrel only contains about 1 inch of rifling to make that bullet spiral. I was expecting that the bullet would tumble in flight causing it to tear at the target rather than making a nice tight entry hole.
However this was not the case with the first five rounds of American Eagle 55 grain ammo fired at 15 feet. Evidence of bullet tumbling can be seen in the 21 foot target.
I am not completely sure if bullet tumbling is all that bad of a thing to happen. Bullet tumbling was a frequent occurrence with the .223/5.56mm rounds used in the Vietnam war. While the full-metal jacketed rounds did not expand upon contact they tumbled and changed directions when they entered the body. An enemy combatant hit in the chest might have the bullet exit his body at the hip. This gave the bullet more opportunity to damage internal organs and put the combatant out of action. Achieving this effect will depend upon the velocity of the round. Heizer claims a velocity of 1400 feet per second. The website Ballistics by the Inch (http://ballisticsbytheinch.com/223rifle.html) puts the velocity of a .223 fired from a three inch barrel closer to 1200 feet per second. I do not know if either of these velocities would cause the tumbling to continue after the bullet enters the body or if the body would cause the bullet to lose velocity so quickly that it would cease to tumble and limit the penetration. Again, this is a close quarter weapon; the closer the range the higher the velocity and the greater effectiveness of the round.
I mentioned earlier that what the pistol lacked in firepower it made up for in the power of fire. This may be an unintended consequence of this pistol but here's what I meant:
Fired at a range from contact distance to perhaps two feet the assailant's clothes will probably catch on fire and the flame, gasses and powder will probably enter the wound channel as well as the assailant's mouth, nose and eyes. At this range the effect to the aggressor would be devastating. I would tend to think that if there was also an accomplice or two, they would be running after hearing the ear-splitting report and witnessing the Heizer belch flame, smoke and gas.
All in all the pistol was fun to shoot although I must admit that I was wearing a weight lifter's glove as it had an extra layer of leather across the web of the hand. That was helpful since the slim pistol concentrates the recoil right back into the web of the hand. The Heizer Pocket AR also did have a very short break-in period. The first round required two pulls of the trigger to fire the round. The second round required tour pulls, and the fifth round required two pulls. After that the pistol functioned flawlessly. While the accuracy is not worthy of a target pistol, this is not a target pistol. There is no doubt that this is a well made pistol, the question becomes this: do you want to carry a single shot pistol, capable of only short range accuracy with a cartridge that cannot reach it full potential out of what is essentially only a one inch rifled barrel.
Posted by Average Joe's Handgun Reviews at 11:07 PM