SIG Sauer is always coming up with new and innovative firearms, they are on the cutting edge, and their products are always in great demand, too. To wit: many times I have to wait weeks and months, to get products to test from SIG - they are back-ordered quite often, and that attests to the popularity of their firearms. However, for this article, I didn't test a firearm, instead, I tested the ACP - Adaptive Carbine Platform, this is not a firearm, it is an "accessory" if you will, that you can adapt to many full-sized handguns.
Some explanation is in order. What the ACP is, is a device (for lack of a better term) that can be attached to many firearms that have an accessory rail under the dust cover (they won't work with a 1911, though). When you add your handgun to the ACP set-up, you basically convert your handgun into something of a Personal Defense Weapon (PDW), or something a bit like a "carbine." This ACP comes in several different versions, and one can be used as a short-barreled rifle, if you can to jump through all the red tape that the FedGov requires - I won't and don't! Check with SIG, to make sure your intended handgun will work with the ACP before ordering one.
The ACP is manufactured out of aircraft grade aluminum, and is anodized black, a very attractive look to it, as well as a "mean" look when you get it all set-up on your handgun. The ACP also has accessory rails at 3, 6 and 9 o-clock (as well as the top rail), for attaching lasers, red dot scopes or whatever else you may desire on a PDW. I elected to test the Enhanced version of the ACP, this came with a SIG Sauer red dot sight, mounted on the 12 o'clock rail position (but SIG forgot the battery for this red dot sight). The enhanced version also comes with a bungee corded sling, that you can wear in several positions, and when you adjust it to your liking, you can extend the ACP out from your body, until there is tension, and you have a very stable platform for those longer shots.
I'm a firm believer in that, simpler is better, so I don't add a lot of things to any of my firearms. However, I did think that the ACP would be a good candidate for a laser mounted on one of the accessory rails. I contacted my friend, Iain Harrison, at Crimson Trace and requested one of their CMR-201 Rail Master, universal lasers. If Iain Harrison's name sounds familiar to you, then you'll know he won the very first "Top Shot" firearm competition, on the popular television show. The guy can shoot, and he knows guns - period. The CMR-210 was a perfect match for the SIG Sauer ACP - I mounted the CMR-201 at the 9 o'clock position on the accessory rail, and it was right on for the zero. In my humble opinion, a laser should be mounted on the ACP - gives it that much more versatility.
Okay, now while the ACP was designed by SIG, you can use many different types and brands of handguns in this set-up. I elected to mount my Glock 19 in the ACP, and with a 33-rd magazine, it was the perfect set-up, we're talking a serious PDW weapon here, that can not just reach out there and "touch someone" but it just looks super-mean. (Diane Feinstein is going to hate it.) It took some adjusting to get the Glock 19 to properly fit perfectly inside the ACP...but it really is easier than you think. SIG provides a video on their web site, and also provides a DVD with the ACP, demonstrating how easy it is to insert a handgun into the ACP. Like I said, the first time took a little longer - I wanted everything adjusted perfectly and securely. Once I had the adjustments made, I could easily insert and remove the Glock 19 inside of a couple minutes into the ACP without any problems. A bit of practice is all it takes, and SIG also provides inserts so you can adjust your handgun to fit perfectly inside the ACP. I tried a couple other handguns, but for my money, the Glock 17 or 19 is my preference for this set-up.
The lower portion of the ACP, right at the front, has a "catcher" for your forward hand, so your hand can not slip in front of the muzzle of the gun. This is legal to have in the United States, since it is not a forward grip - which would be illegal unless you registered this as a short-barreled rifle. You really need to check-out the ACP demo video on-line at the SIG web site to totally appreciate what I'm saying. The whole set-up really works as advertised, and I was a little skeptical when I first saw the ACP on-line at the SIG web site - I didn't think it would work as well as it did - as well as advertised. It worked better than I thought it would!
Now, when you have your handgun all installed in the ACP, and properly adjusted, the first thing that will cross you mind is, "how do I chamber a round, the slide is covered by the frame of the ACP?" Not a problem, the way your handgun sits inside of the ACP, there is a lever on the left side of the ACP, simply pull back on this lever, and it retracts the slide, chambering a round - couldn't be easier, and it is very instinctive to do. The muzzle of the ACP - it is huge when you look at it from the dangerous end - it looks like you have a grenade launcher you're aiming at someone. Out of necessity, SIG designed the ACP front end, so that the entire slide of the handgun is enclosed in it - making the front end opening menacing, to say the least. Personally, I wouldn't want to be looking down the front end of the ACP if I were a bad guy! The front end opening is so large, that you can use most sound suppressors on your handgun, if you are paid the $200 transfer tax to have one - the opening looks huge at the front end of the ACP.
The length of the ACP is 14-inches, and that's not really too bad, when you look at the whole set-up. It weights in a 17+ ounces, and that isn't adding a lot of weight to a Glock 19. The ACP is 2-3/4 inches wide, at the widest point. And the height is 7 inches tall, without a long magazine, such as the 33-round Glock 9mm magazine. You can also have the ACP without the sling and red dot, but I strongly suggest going the Enhanced Version route - I shot the ACP without the sling attached to my body, and it wasn't very stable in my humble opinion. And, the red dot - that just adds to the whole set-up, you can get on-target very fast with the red do. You can also add after-market pop-up front and rear sights to the ACP if you want - just attach them to the 12 o'clock position accessory rail, and it's not a bad idea to have these pop-up front and rear sights as a back-up to the red dot sight - never know when a battery might die or the red dot break. You can NOT use the sights on your handgun once it is inserted into the ACP - they are completely covered.
You can also manipulate all the controls on your handgun, once it is inside of the ACP - slide release, mag release, etc. It did take me a little while to decide how I wanted to wear the bungee corded sling. I elected to have the whole set-up run across my chest - then I simply had to just pull the gun up away from my body, and extend it forward and fire, couldn't be easier. And, I found I could easily engage targets of opportunity out to 75-yards without too much effort, and I'm betting, you can hit a man-sized target out to 150-yards. Now, the 9mm isn't the most powerful handgun round, but I wouldn't want to be hit with it - even at that distance - it can still kill!
I kept waiting for something to quit or break on the ACP, or for my Glock 19 to malfunction, so I could do a malfunction drill, but the gun just kept perking along without any problems. Now, the questions arises, is there a need for the ACP? Well, I believe there is, if you are into Executive Protection, and you want a little more versatility out of your handgun, and you might encounter targets at more than regular handgun distances, the ACP can be a great aid in this respect. As to a use in a survival situation - you bet! Look, we all can't afford the latest whiz-bang ARs or AKs - and the ACP can really boost the versatility of your handgun - you basically have a short-barreled pistol caliber carbine with your handgun inserted into the ACP - without all the red tape involved in owning a SBR. Yes, it's not quite as stable with the bungee corded sling, as it would be with a side-folding stock, but you'll be amazed at just how tight you can get the ACP extended with the bungee corded sling, and how steady the whole set-up is. By adding the ACP to your handgun, you have increased your chances of engaging long-distance targets and hitting them, than if you only had a handgun in your hand.
Now, while the ACP isn't currently on Diane Feinstein's hit list of so-called "assault weapons" - you can be sure that at some point, she will probably add it to her list, if for no other reason than it is one bad-looking set-up, therefore it must be some kind of assault weapon, right? Well, that's her weird thinking anyway. And, right now, you can't find any 33-round Glock 9mm magazines, but when they become available again, grab as many as you can. And if you get an ACP, then you'd better get all you can afford to buy. If for no other reason, get the ACP set-up, just for the menacing look it has - it'll sure grab the attention of everyone at the gun range when you shoot it, and they'll all wonder what it is.
So, my answer is "yes" the ACP does have a place in the scheme of things, for use as a PDW or an addition to your handgun, turning it into a better survival weapon, for taking those longer shots. Full-retail is $499 for the enhanced version I tested. Get one while you still can, 'cause I predict they will ban it - even though it's not a firearm. - SurvivalBlog Field Gear Editor Pat Cascio
Legal Proviso: To reiterate: In the United States it is illegal to install either a vertical foregrip or a buttstock on a pistol without first paying a $200 Federal Transfer Tax to turn it into a "Short Barreled Rifle" (SBR.) Do not risk a Felony conviction, a lengthy prison sentence, and forfeiture of your gun ownership and voting rights over just a one time $200 tax!
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