Gun Review: Armalite AR 19 (8″ Barrel)

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Guns are an interesting field. Intrinsically, most guys and gals are loyal to their brand. If you like Glock, then you stick with Glock. Those who like Remington stick to Remington. As humans, we are creatures of habit. Psychologically, this means we are more likely to buy firearms when we know the name of the gun. Nationally, there are several companies that everyone has heard of – Remington, Smith and Wesson, Sig – but above all of these (especially with the media pushing it), only Armalite challenges Colt for the top name in gun making.

If you do not immediately recognize Armalite, do not worry, a lot of people do not. That is because we are all familiar with the term “AR.” While anti-gun nuts will try to tell you it means “Assault Rifle” or “Automatic Rifle” (this is how you weed out the really dumb ones), the term “AR” means, and always has meant, “Armalite Rifle.” The 10, 15, 9 or 19 simply is the model number. With the coming of the AR 19 onto the market, we now see a true AR by Armalite on the 9mm platform.

The Market

With the newest “Biden Bucks” entering the marketplace, diluting the currency of the United States, one thing that is binding people across the country (liberal, conservative, and independent alike) is that people are buying guns. Anything that goes “pew, pew” is rising in price and people are scrambling to buy them. The main reason people are buying these weapons is for self/home-defense. This is where the market of the AR-19 comes in. As a 9mm platform, the AR-19 is better for home defense than the AR-15 or the AR-10. The smaller, lower velocity rounds of the 9mm are less likely to penetrate walls (though they will sometimes). This means that the AR-19 is is better for a home defense gun than other models.

For personal defense, the AR-19 works well. Though it is classified as a pistol, it is difficult to carry open and almost impossible to carry concealed. This means the market is not really here for an every day carry gun, but that is not what it is designed for. Likewise, this is a mid-level gun for law enforcement as it is compact and easy to use, however, does not have the penetration of the 5.56 or .308 rounds. This is a double edged sword, when working in a “mixed” environment (with hostiles and civilians) the lower penetration can limit collateral damage.

Finally, the last market that we look at for semi-automatic firearms is hunters. Most states have prohibited 9mm for use hunting large game (though there are some states that allow use with hollow points). 9mm is less likely to bring down large game so it is not really designed for this purpose. The AR-19 would perform well for varmint hunting (fox, coyote, etc.), especially with the right optics, where legal. Technically, you could hunt small game with it, though you would have to be accurate with rabbits and use birdshot rounds for fowl. This gives the AR-19 a pretty wide market, earning a score of 8 out of 10.


The pistol nature of the AR-19 makes it quite useful. It is not as bulky as the AR-10 or AR-15. This means it can be a functional car gun or home defense gun. The AR platform allows you to use safety devices like Stopbox on the gun, which helps keep the firearm safe around children. Armalite includes a muzzle brake on the unit, so anyone can shoot it without worrying about kick or drift. This makes it a great “tool” to show your liberal friends a safe gun is not scary.

When looking at the AR-19 for survival, it is a passable survival gun. It is lightweight, which is good. It has AR parts, which are easy to find. Finally, it uses 9mm ammo, which is very common. Overall, it will fit well in your pack with the movable arm-brace. This makes it a nice, short range, bug out gun to compliment your long-range and sidearm elements. 7 of 10.


Armalite built the AR-19 on the AR platform. This is one of the most common platforms in the world, which means that you can find parts for it anywhere. Mine came with a break already on the unit, which I will likely keep. If you want a more tactical break (one with spice for breaking glass), this could be attached by a smith. There is an upper rail stock, though you could get dual or quad rails if you so chose. Mine came equipped with Nexus pop-up peep sights, there is a tool for adjusting the sights in the grip. Being on an AR platform, almost all of the parts can be “upgraded” if you need help with your shooting or want to customize. Realistically, the only addition I may make to this gun is a red-dot sight (my preference) and a possible lower rail for a laser or front grip. 9 of 10

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Right out of the box, you can pop in a clip, remove the chamber lock, and you are ready to use your new gun. The AR-platform is one of the most user-friendly platforms on the market. If you are a first-time user and want a home defense semi-automatic, then this is a great pistol that will get you used to the platform. Once you become used to it, you will find that it is fairly easy to use and care for a firearm. One of the features I like is an ambidextrous safety. Sometimes it is easier to “flip the switch” with my trigger finger than with my thumb.

When we took the gun to the range, we missed the first 3 rounds we shot at the target. Once we adjusted for the sights, the gun was right on target (though we were still shooting a little low). Once this was corrected, the gun shot quite well. The patterns were tight. (the up down was me, not the gun). Adjusting the peep sights was easy, for me it was down the whole way. Overall, it preformed well at the range, once sighted in. 7 of 10.

Cool Factor

Shooting an AR is like shooting a Sharps or a Henry. Not matter what model you are using, you know you are shooting a high quality piece of history. AR is the brand that defined the field of civilian semi-automatic self defense firearms, and it is still defining the field today with high quality products. While many gun guys and gals have “AR” rifles, not everyone has an actual AR – its like going to a store to get Band-Aids and buying “adhesive strips.” Generic replicas never quite have the gravitas of the original.

Other than the 22 LR models, the 9mm model is the smallest of the AR models. This can be a +/- thing for many people. This gun does not pretend to be something that it is not, you are not going to “Red Dawn” the Russians with this gun, but you are not likely to “Red Dawn” the Russians anyway. If you have to use this in self defense for your home or family, it is a reliable gun with a reasonable magazine that you can count on. As noted above the lower caliber makes it “safer” for non-professional users. Remember, a gun is only as safe as its user. 8 of 10.


The Armalite AR-19 is a very strong home defense gun that you can actually recommend to novice users. As with any gun, take the time to get trained and learn how to use it. An untrained self defense unit in a home can be more of a danger to the people in the home than an intruder – keep your family safe by becoming a safe gun user and storing your gun properly. With a strong safety on the gun and being accurate, the AR does its part to keep you safe – make sure you are doing your part.

With an overall score of 39 out of 50, the AR-19 is an amazing gun that you can own for a reasonable price. As this article is being written, back orders for the next batch going into production are being taken on the Armalite website. This is a great gun to add to your collection, and if you are looking for a home defense gun that is easy to use and easy to find training for, this may be the gun for you.

Christopher W Smithmyer
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