Uniquely British, the “Pistol Rifle”

    Within the United Kingdom, handguns are effectively banned, with the exception of Section 5 owners (armed security), Section 73 (Historically significant pieces), and Black Powder handguns. Thus, due to working around the obscure wording of the law, UK shooters have found a niche “Pistol Rifle” that actually fits within the parameters of both being a rifle in measurement, but for all intents and purposes a handgun in function. The result is essentially an ultra long barreled revolver or handgun, with a “stabilizing support”, designed to counter-act the weight of the longer barrel. The exact specification being that a rifle must have a minimum length of 24 inches, and a barrel length of 12 inches. It must also be noted that there isn’t any regulation against placing the stabilizer of the “Pistol-Rifle” to a shooters shoulders and firing it from that position. Unlike the regulations regarding the pistol stabilizing braces in the United States.

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    The concept is very similar to the myriad of arm supporting braces that exist in the United States. UK shooters use this set up for 3 Gun competitions, where along with .22 LR rifles, can actually have a very high degree of performance, similar to 9x19mm and 5.56x45mm firearms in the United States. Many in the UK even have specialized minimalist holsters similar to those used in IPSC. These retain the “Pistol-Rifle”, extended barrel and stabilizer.

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    On this particular GSG, the barrel is extended to a length of 12 inches, while the arm stabilizer juts out from the bottom of the grip, it being riveted in place. Chopping either will result in the “Pistol-Rifle” being remanufactured into a conventual handgun, and thus illegal. Many in the UK like to invest in extended 16 round magazines as well. Myself being a foreigner, I could not legally discharge the piece, but took photos of the owner shooting it.

    Very much thanks to Callum from the Youtube Channel English Shooting who made this post possible!


    Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

    Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at [email protected]