If you carry a PCC or, uh pistol caliber “AR pistol”, for serious work, what is a defining criteria for it? I mean besides the obvious ones like reliability, ergonomics, portability? Well, how about what it feeds off of? I can’t think of a lot of sillier ideas than being required to carry the same 9mm ammunition in two different types of magazines. And fortunately, our friends over at CMMG feel the same way.
Almost every PCC on the market today either feeds from Glock magazines or comes in an option to feed from Glock magazines. And largely, that has been great. Glock mags are well supported by the factory, with up to 33 round options. And the aftermarket is rife with everything from drums to $13 range mags. In fact, one could argue that the strength of the Glock system is the magazine.
But are you going to let your primary weapon dictate your sidearm, in the year 2020? Well, CMMG is at least now giving you an option. The all-new MK17 variant of the CMMG Banshee 300 now runs on Sig P320 magazines. Which is hugely helpful. The P320 is the first handgun that made me seriously consider a swap from my normal duty gun, a G19. I have reviewed several options from the SIG line up, including the X5 and X-Carry, and you know if you read my reviews often how highly I thought of them.
Not to mention, the P320 is the future. As the winner of the US Army sidearm contract, with a subsequent pick up by the rest of the DOD, half a million P320 pistols are already allocated. Because of how Army acquisitions works, you can bank on that purchase fueling a huge accessory and aftermarket push over the life of the contract. If you made for instance, holsters. Would you build it for the new gun that might sell 5,000 guns this year? Or for the one with 500,000 guaranteed in circulation, before civilian sales even start? Me too.
So I am very happy to see this new Banshee hit the market. Now is it all sunshine and roses? Not exactly. As a factory option, at the moment, the biggest P320 magazine available is 21 rounds. The Mk 17 ships with two of them. And while 3rd party magazines do exist that are larger, we couldn’t test any due to availability. However, it is an absolutely safe bet big stick sized mags will both be available, and be prolific, in the future.
And how about that 21 factory SIG model? Well, we know it is durable. Not only did it ace the DOD tests, but I have been running mine for a long time now. Sticking in the MK17, it extends down to even with the pistol grip. Which means optimal bullets for the smallest possible overall height. A bonus for concealment, or use in vehicles. Less to snag really starts to matter in an environment of seat belts and headrests. And when you get right down to it, 21 is usually gonna be enough to get it done. For a frame of reference, I always run 20 round mags in my truck gun AR’s.
And then we have our Banshee. An absolute work of art in aluminum and steel. It has all the things we expect these days from a CMMG 300 series, which is to say a lot. It features a minimalist micro CQB RipBrace, to minimize snags. The Rip part means no buttons to press. Grap and pull, the brace snaps to full length effortlessly.
The trigger is a CMC single stage, a big step past mil-spec. Triggers are often overlooked in AR-type pistols, due to the fact we aren’t usually looking for sub MOA type grouping ability. But a good trigger is faster, as well as more capable of taking a difficult shot. We might not need this gun to print on paper at 400 yards. But the trigger still matters if you are trying to hit a moving bad guy in a sea of bystanders. Big points to CMMG for putting a good trigger in.
Up top is an oversized charging handle, which is also ambi. The magazine release is all CMMG design and is absolutely huge. This is one of my favorite features of the Banshee series, an option I wish all my AR’s had. It alone is worth checking out at your local gun shop.
The barrel is only 4 inches long, which is not my favorite. But it is popular, so I understand why this length is the first offering. The bottom of the handguard does have a built-in hand stop, which is an excellent feature on a gun this size. CMMG was clearly thinking here, and I appreciate it.
The best part? The operating system, by far. Instead of a straight blowback design, we have a patented radial delayed blowback system. Basically, the CMMG Banshees take some of the energy of recoil and use it to unlock the bolt. The result is an incredibly soft shooting 9mm gun, with no compromise on reliability. Our test model ran everything we fed it, without the slightest hint of a hiccup.
More you say? Good. Cause CMMG has it. From the factory, every Banshee 300 series comes with 10 cerakote colors as an option. No charge, it’s part of the package. Our test model is in Bazooka Green, which has really grown on me. I am loving the idea of throwing some color in my safe, after decades of black or FDE as the only choice. It really gives the gun a fun and unique look. I also highly recommend the color, midnight bronze.
Overall, this is an excellent development. Not only is CMMG arguably the best 9mm AR on the block, but now it has a different feed option. If you are moving to the P320 family of pistols, this is a highly recommended addition to the package.