Sig Sauer P516

AR-style pistols have become an increasingly common sight on ranges around the country, and in a nod to their increasing popularity (and the overall AR design) Doug Larson decided to review Sig Sauer’s recent P516 model to test how well a rifle design translates into a modern handgun. With Sig’s P516 offering 30+1 rounds of 5.56mm ammo, he had his hands full.

“Although a 7-inch barrel is offered, the pistol received for testing had a 10-inch barrel. That length is the same as one of Sig’s short-barreled rifles, but the pistol does not require ATF approval for civilian ownership,” Larson notes in his inspection of the P516. “The barrel is chrome-lined and makes one twist in 7 inches, which is good for stabilizing longer, heavier bullets…. Attached at the front is an A2-style birdcage flash suppressor that makes a pretty good attempt at reducing the flash signature, which is difficult with such a short barrel.”

How to grip an AR-style pistol is an evolving art. Because of the lack of a stock (since the design must qualify as a handgun) users are forced to employ alternative means to brace the gun. “One way is to hold the pistol grip in the normal manner with the support hand wrapped around the firing hand in a Weaver or isosceles stance,” says Larson. “Another is to grasp the handguard with the support hand, which I found to be much more usable. Others will hold the magazine well with the support hand, which is an acceptable alternative.”

At the range, the Sig P516 surprised Larson with rifle-quality accuracy for all of its 30+1 rounds of fearsome 5.56mm ammo. “From a benchrest, the gun proved to be very accurate, with groups averaging about an inch or less using an EOTech XPS3 red-dot sight,” says Larson. “That is much better accuracy than the average person can expect to get out of a typical handgun.”

To read the full article, check out the May 2014 issue of COMBAT HANDGUNS, available on newsstands January 28, 2014. To subscribe, go to

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