Gelatin Test of Heizer Pocket AR and Pocket AK

When the Heizer Defense .223 Remington Pocket AR and 7.62x39mm Pocket AK single shot rifle caliber pistols were released to the market, the question on many people’s minds was: Out of such a short barrel, will those calibers really be very powerful or effective at all? The folks at GunsAmerica apparently wondered the same thing, prompting them to conduct gelatin tests of the two little pistols to see just what they could do. The article documenting their test is linked here, and the accompanying video embedded below:

The first note I should make is that GunsAmerica did not test the pistols against FBI ballistic gelatin, but against ClearBallistics gel, a more stable substance that has slightly different properties. This isn’t a strike against the test, but it should be noted as it’s best to only compare tests using the same kinds of gelatin. The second is that the 7.62×39 Heizer upper for whatever reason did not want to extract the fired cases. Finally, velocity for both rounds was very low, 1,100 ft/s for the .223 Remington round (the article doesn’t specify which) and 900 ft/s for the 7.62x39mm round. I am not sure what the muzzle velocity of the Lehigh round is approximately from a 16″ barrel, but that’s a velocity loss of approximately 62% for the 7.62×39, and probably around 67% for the .223 Remington. From the Heizer, the .223 Remington produced about 164 Joules, whereas the 7.62×39 produced about 301 Joules of energy.

The gel results are unsurprising. Firing projectiles at close to a third their intended velocity does not result in good expansion or fragmentation, the rounds performed very poorly.

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Giolli Joker

    Wilson Fisk doesn’t really need that gun anyway…

    Well, all as expected… nice pocket flamethrower, though.

  • Anonymoose

    Still waiting on that Pocket Nugget.

    • iksnilol

      Nugget + hacksaw


      • Anonymoose

        =10 years in prison+revocation of my RKBA

        • iksnilol


          We goopniks ride hard. Live by the Adidas, die by the Adidas and stuff aren’t jokes y’know?

  • Kovacs Jeno

    Pocket FlashBang is the correct name.

  • iksnilol

    Hey if they suppress it the bullets should be subsonic.

    Quiet plinking, guys 😛

  • m-cameron

    the rounds perform poorly…..if you compare them to a rifle round fired out of a rifle.

    however if you look at the performance of other ammo commonly fired out of a derringer (ie. pistol calibers)……the performance isnt half bad.

    • Sianmink

      It’s not half good either! (/waldorf)
      I’m pretty sure a .38 special out of a 2″ barrel will perform rings around this stuff.

      • iksnilol

        About the same as the 7.62×39, just with 4-5 more shots and less noise/flash (AKA your ears won’t be bleeding).

  • DW

    That velocity/energy loss, wow. It’s not worth carrying over a .32 or a .380, hell, a 22WMR revolver with 2″ barrel may very well have better energy.

    • Anonymoose

      It’s to make a big flash and boom at the range, not for practical use.

      • DW

        For that please use tannerite

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    Maybe im just cranky this morning but this is dumb.

  • Joesph Constable

    Wow. The author who is a stickler about ballistic gelatin can quote energy in joules. One sophisticated dude.

    • Oh, uh, yeah, I should have probably also given foot-pounds figures for those, sorry. They would be 121 ft-lbs for the .223 and 222 ft-lbs for the 7.62×39.

  • Bill

    I like how with the Winchester round a little smoke kind of farts out the entry hole to the ballistic gel block after striking.

    I’ll wait for the 45-70 version, that would make a great paperweight in kind of a get-the-@#$%-out-of-my-office way

    • Amanofdragons

      Look up the m4 Alaskan by American derringer. 45/410 over 45-70. Just get some bigger aftermarket grips and you’ll be happy.

      • iksnilol

        + it has two barrels.

        • Giolli Joker

          Not that you’ll be really willing to fire the second shot…

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, but still.

            I like even numbers.

  • derfelcadarn

    If you can’t fit the with the projectile, you can burn them to death with the muzzle blast.

    • Sep

      Heizer PocketDragon
      Heizer PocketFlamer
      Heizer PocketFirestarter
      Heizer PocketFireball

  • smartacus

    At least it’s chambered in .223
    if it were chambered for 5.56, it would have like 4% less rifling 😉

  • Gorilla Biscuit

    Thank you for spending the time and money proving this is a completely worthless defensive firearm.

  • Bob

    So, are these the dreaded cop killers that made everyone want to ban cheap steel cored ammo, that apparently can barely penetrate a light jacket?

    • Bob McHugh

      Which does bring up a point. Shooting rifle based ammo out of a platform like this would not defeat normal IIIa vests I don’t think. You have lost too much velocity/energy to penetrate. Although, I wonder?

  • Marcus D.

    So Heizer continues to design and build utterly useless and radically overpriced firearms. I am sooo surprised. (Not.)

  • ozzallos .

    Not saying that I would ever use this thing, but the fact that the Lehigh .223 round “…would enter on a desirable trajectory, only to quickly change direction and exit the gelatin…” is almost a desirable attribute… If not for the fact that it was actually designed to fragment. Given the velocities though, it’s not surprising the bullets failed to fragment or expand.

  • BrandonAKsALot

    So you’d be better served with a 9mm? And these rifle cartridges, designed for long barrels are not effective in these? I would have never guessed! Except that I did every time these things came up.

  • J-

    7.62×39 shooting a 123 grain bullet at 900 fps sounds like it’s on par with a 124 grain 9mm out of a 3 inch barrel, minus good JHP expansion with the addition a massive fireball.

  • Mike

    I think a Liberator would be a better option than this thing, same size and better ballistics, with a few more rounds rattling around in the grip.

  • steveday72

    Shouldn’t they have tested those with gelatin hands holding them?? I mean, the gelatin is supposed to show the damage sustained when the firearm is fired – with rifle rounds in a derringer type pistol damage will likely be occurring to the wrist&hand firing it.